Biodynamic wine anyone? Honestly, you may be sipping on more biodynamically farmed and made wines than you realize, as many who do don’t necessarily advertise it. (Hello, Tablas Creek.) Anywho, that’s not actually why I gravitated to this wine—it was the fact that Troon is consistently in pursuit of planting with vineyard specificity, replanting and grafting new vines appropriate to their Applegate Valley estate. Thus, more Rhone varieties are being planted, Rhone-style wines being made. This is the first release of this white blend, made in partnership with fellow biodynamic farmers and winemakers, Barbara and Bill Steele of Cowhorn Vineyard.
This is a little sneak peek post. This wine isn’t officially on sale until next month, but hey, why not start planning your summer sipper shopping list now? In all seriousness, though, this wine is called passion because that’s what winemaker Cindy Cosco has—serious passion for her craft. Solid body, packed with complex flavors and textures, this is a full-on white wine blend for the kids that don’t think they like white wines or are hesitant to pair white wines with a substantial meal.
Winemake Bret Urness is a boots-in-the-dirt kind of winemaker and his wines speak to that. Sourcing from some of the best vineyards along the Central Coast (Ballard Canyon, Solpman, Duvarita anyone?, this guy makes some of the most earthy (but elegant) Rhone wines I’ve tasted — and yes that goes for the white wines as well.
I don’t know what made me stop in Tin City on a drive through the Central Coast. And I can’t say why, in particular, I walked into Bret’s urban tasting room. But I do know I’m glad I did and reliving that visit via this wine reminded me why I came away with a couple of bottles.
I was so excited to try this wine—honestly to relive it. I received a sample of the Delille Cellars Chaleur Blanc, but alas it was before I was taking wine notes so regularly and rigorously and, unfortunately, did not have anything to refer to when I received this year’s vintage. So, even though I could remember I enjoyed the wine before, I treated this like an all new experience. Well, it was everything I wanted it to be—full of flavor, round supple body, and yet always light and refreshing from start to finish. And I’m not usually a fan of white wine blends…
It’s always interesting when you discover a winery in your own backyard. It wasn’t until I was doing research about San Francisco South Bay Rhone producers for a recent article that I came across Jeff Fadness of La Vie Dansante. What’s even more remarkable is that in tasting through his wines (and I must admit tasting through neighboring winery and exclusively white Rhone producer Lion Ranch as well), he put my fear and stereotype of Rhone white blends to rest.
Yes, I know there are some iconic California Rhone producers who craft, what many call, beautiful and balanced white blends. In fact, Fadness credits the expression of his white blend to the Esprit de Tablas Creek by Tablas Creek. Even so, I have to credit Fadness himself for creating a blend of white varietals in which the sum of those varietals expresses even better than the separate components.