Saturday, November 17, 2007

Funky Cali

I recently tried two interesting wines from the golden state: one was a new release from the always solid Edmunds St. John and the other was the most expensive CA sparkler I have yet tried, produced by Equinox in the Santa Cruz mountains.

The Edmunds St. John Bone Jolly Gamay Noir 2006 is a fantastic wine and a cool domestic stand-in for Beaujolais. It's produced from fruit grown on Whitters vineyard in El Dorado county.
As many folks know, Steve Edmunds makes REAL wine, the natural way, fermented DRY. As such his wines don't get nearly as much press. But they are without a doubt worth seeking out and supporting. This gamay is a beautiful light violet color and tastes of pure tangy red fruits. No Beaujolais schist minerality as the grapes, I imagine, do not grow in schist. Terrific fruit purity though, and very food friendly. It will be my red for Thanksgiving dinner.

1997 Equinox Blanc de Blancs was an interesting animal. I'm reviewing this as if I were to sip this sparkler not knowing the price ($60!) There was a distinctive, evolved, hazlenut nose, with some earthy apple fruit. On the palate the wine lacked fruit purity and intensity, though the dryness and yeastiness of true Champagne were present (which I usually find to be lacking in most methode champenoise sparklers from outside of Champagne). There was something not quite right with this wine - brett perhaps? Is brett possible in sparkling wines? Anyway, the promising aromas led to a real dud on the palate.

To end on a positive note, I truly enjoyed the Edmunds St. John Gamay. Alongside the Bone Jolly this Thanksgiving I will probably serve a 2006 Rancho Sisquoc Sylvaner from Santa Barbara. I tasted this wine blind a few months ago and it seemed like a well-made, inexpensive Williamette Valley riesling, in the off-dry stylee. Thanksgiving is almost here! Which for me, my family, Nattles and her family and a few others, means lots of food lovingly prepared by Chez Joe and pastry chef Natalie. More than anything I'm looking forward to the truffled mashed potatoes. Mmmm, truffled mashed potatoes....

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