According to the winery, Goldeneye’s Gowen Creek Vineyard, located in the “heart” of the Anderson Valley, showcases mixed terroir, featuring elements from the valley’s warmer regions and its cooler, Northern “deep end.” The Southwestern exposure allows for a wide array of vineyard blocks planted with specific clones of Pinot Noir ideal to each site and soil type.
The Narrows Vineyard is located on a narrow ridgetop at the northernmost tip of Anderson Valley, located along the Mendocino Coast in northern California. As such, vines are influenced by its proximity to the ocean, producing summer fog and cooler daytime temperatures. It’s the perfect location for a vineyard planted completely to Pinot Noir grapes…
I first came across Amador Cellars during a report for the SF Chronicle. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of tasting a few of their wines in the comfort of my own home as well—and the quality of wine I received in the tasting room has held up with every sip, from their 2012 Reserved GSM to their 2014 Reserved Grenache and now this single-varietal expression of Syrah.
When it comes to modern California Chardonnay, it seems more grapegrowers are focused in on purposeful planting, winemakers taking a more “hands-off” approach in the winery. Thus the nuances of the actual fruit are able to come forward, unmasked by excessive ML or NFO aging. Tasting the J. Cage Cellars 2016 Schmidt Home Vineyard is one such Chardonnay that piqued my interest into the current California expressions of the grape. So when owner Roger Beery asked if I’d like to taste his most recent release, my answer was an enthusiastic “yes please!”
I was in town for the Lodi Vineyard & Wine Economics symposium, and decided that I would spend some time getting to know the wines of Lodi. The region has a bit of a bad reputation, known to produce excessive amounts of grapes (namely Zinfandel and Cabernet) that ultimately end up in “bulk” wine. At various other tasting events, I’d had the opportunity to taste a handful of smaller producers from the region who are focused in on creating a new reputation for Lodi—one of infinite variety, producing, yes, sometimes Zinfandel, but more often lately “other,” lesser-known varieties that seem to thrive in Lodi’s climate and soil.
So I came to town early on that day, a Wednesday. Unfortunately many wineries and tasting rooms were closed, saving their hours for weekend tour-goers. But thank goodness McCay Cellars was open (and staffing a very friendly hostess, I might add). I’d heard glowing things about their wines and, well, all of them were true. I came away with two wines—both Grenaches. I’d never considered Lodi a Rhone-style region. But, as I said, these small, often family-run wineries, are putting new grapes to the test and, thus, Lodi on the (legit) wine map.