My first sip of Frank Family Vineyards actually happened at a local restaurant, Scott’s Seafood. By that time I’d heard so much about the iconic Napa winery, but had never actually tasted anything from them. So I was delighted to see their Chardonnay on the menu, the perfect accompaniment to my seafood dinner. That was over a year ago already, and I still remember how much I enjoyed that wine. So here’s a peek at what the latest vintage has to offer…
Fort Ross Vineyard focuses their vines to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The interesting thing about tasting from a winery with focused varietal selection is how different the resulting wines are based on individual block location, clonal selection, and of course the winemaking methods. The grapes for the Fort Ross Vineyard 2015 Mother of Pearl Chardonnay consist of old Wente clones, grown atop the estate’s highest elevated vineyards. Winemaker Jeff Pisoni highlights the complexity of the resulting fruit with his minimalistic winemaking approach.
I’d been so eager to taste from Fort Ross Vineyards for so long. The reputation of the South African couple who paved the way for Fort Ross-Seaview becoming an AVA and who are the first commercial producers of Pinotage in California far proceeded them, making them almost celebrities in my book. After tasting the Fort Ross Vineyard 2012 Pinot Noir I understood why that reputation has stayed a strong one, and my expectations were not disappointed. Shortly after that review I was invited to visit with the winery’s winemaker, Jeff Pisoni. So on the eve of that visit, I decided to “study” up and taste what the Fort Ross Chardonnay has to say. (more…)
Pinot Noir Blanc kind of sounds like an oxymoron, right? How can a red wine be white? And, if it is, how much will it still taste like the well-known (and for me beloved) varietal? I had so many questions when I saw folks posting pics of this unique Pinot Noir winemaking method a few weeks ago — from various different producers, mind you. Well, it was John and Irene Ingersoll of to the rescue once again to help satiate my curiosity…
I discovered Semillon in Australia (and, yes, if you ever meet me, I do pronounce it “wrong”), where it seemed to be served in abundance — at every restaurant, wine bar, and shop. I fell in love with the grape honestly thinking we didn’t have it here in the States. With less that 1,000 acres of Semillon planted in California, and with most of that being blended into other varietals (usually to act as a “softener” to more fruit-forward white wines like Sauvignon Blanc), it’s no wonder I had that impression.
Suffice it to say that when I finally discovered that I can get 100% Semillon in my hometown, I’ve been snatching up tastes, glasses, and bottles anywhere I can get it. Now the American version, wherever you get it, is vastly different than that produced by my friends down under. But this expression from Yorkville Cellars is everything I’d expect from what could very well be my favorite white grape — smoothed textured, delicate acidity, a balance of fruit and earth. And, as Yorkville Cellars Founder and Grower Ed Wallo says, “Semillon is notable as being one of the few white varietals that is very ageable; so your choice: enjoy it now or let it develop a bit more and include it in a special occasion.”