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Tuesday
Dec202011

Morgan Twain-Peterson discusses the new releases from Bedrock

Last week Morgan Twain-Peterson sat down with me to discuss his new releases from Bedrock Wine Company. Morgan is the son of Joel Peterson, founder of Ravenswood Winery and the recipient of my 2010 Winemaker of the Year recognition. The thing I like about Morgan’s wines is his philosopy to to let the vineyard sources speak in their own voice, something he attributes to his father instilling in him at a young age.

I know this may sound a bit over the top but when I think of Morgan and his wines, I find his wisdom and humility when combined with his approach to winemaking is exceptionally rare for someone who is still thirty years old. I keep pushing the concepts of “Chosen One” and “Golden Child” out of my mind, but it isn’t long before those images return as a frame of reference with Morgan as the ultimate force of good in a “B” kung-fu movie. Then there is the whole Master of Wine action, where he only needs to complete his disertation before becoming the youngest American MW. Wine is in his DNA, he made his first wine before the second grade. As a critic I maintain my objectivity when it comes to wine, yet I am among the growing throng who appreciates him on many levels.

First of all, I don’t think of Morgan as the nouveau Ravenswood, even though both father and son created their brands through bottling under designated vineyards. Morgan has been an even more active proponent of bringing esoteric  varietals (through field blends) to the atention of the market. His 2010 Heirloom White, from Compagni-Portis Vineyard is a great example. Over the last generation, craft winemaking has continued to evolve in California, Twain Peterson represents the future of that, not just as a winemaker, but also as one of the founders of Historic Vineyard Society, a non-profit, creating a registry of ‘old vine’ vineyards in California and raising awareness of the importance of preserving and understanding the heritage of this unique resource. When your philosophy on winemaking is so connected to old-vine material, it makes sense to also be part ofthe vanguard in preserving it. I reviewed thirteen different examples of 2010 Bedrock in issue two of www.pdwr.co and include a link to the page The file dowloads outside of pdwr.co (in honor of Morgan’s birthday).

purely domestic wine report is a fan of Historic Vineyard Society and provides a web page for them on this site. 

During our meeting, Morgan tasted me on several wines and I shot them in 8mm: Please enjoy.

Friday
Nov112011

Willamette Valley bound for the weekend at Salud Auction and lots of tasting

One of the important aspects of purely domestic wine report is to physically visit all of the major growing regions I will be responsible for at least three times each year for a minimun of four days. So I am sitting at Oakland Airport waiting to board my flight to Portland to start making those trips, tasting wines, meeting vintners and answering their questions about who I am and what I represent. 

The impetus of this trip was to attend the Salud Auction. My attendance as a writer to this event was graciously provided by the event organizers. Salud helps provide healthcare and other vital services to the farm workers in the Willamette Valley. In 2010, the total number of the community served was in excess of 3500, with nearly $700K in payments for coverage disbursed. It is estimated that only 40% of the farmworker community in the Willamette Valley is part of the programs administered by Salud. 

I first learned of the event when I attended Oregon Pinot Camp in 2007 and I decided then that I wanted to attend someday. With the new self-imposed mandate to go to the places I write about iit seemed like the perfect excuse. The event begings this afternoon at Domaine Drouhin Oregon (DDO) for a big board auction and tasting with the vintners (all 42 of them). I know most of the brands, but will be meeting some of the vintners for the first time. 

Tomorrow morning I begin my day with a private tasting at Penner Ash, followed by visits at Stoller and Antica Terra, with Maggie Harrison. In the evening, I will attend the Salud Auction gala dinner and live auction in Portland. Sunday morning starts early again with visits to Belle Pente, and Ayoub on tap. I am giving myself enough time to drop into the tasting rooms for informal tastings and introductions on Sunday, and Monday which begins at Bethel Heights.  In the future, I anticipate that I will merge Willamette trips with visits to Walla Walla and Columbia Valley, and stretch my time on the ground to nine or ten days at a time. 

Stay tuned for issue two of purely domestic wine report that will include wines from this trip.

Wednesday
Nov022011

first reviews: 2009 and 2010 Petrichor Syrah from Sonoma County

This review requires a little bit of introduction as it shows how interconnected the wine business is.

During the time I worked retail in Napa Valley I met my fair share of visitors who were enraptured with the whole idea of living the vintner lifestyle but few had the depth of passion and financial means to pull it off. 

There are three notable exceptions to that list though; people who pushed past the ‘pipe dream’ stage and are leaving their mark in the business. 

Paul Lato, a Sommelier from Warsaw by way of Toronto who told me he was going to Santa Barbara to make wine in the early ’00s. Paul Lato is now considered one of the top producers of wine in the central coast. 

Tom Futo, a Wichita businessman and former client who enjoyed all of the wines I ever recommended to him (except the one he won’t let me forget), and then one day in 2004 asked me if I thought he should buy Oakford… the winery, not the wine. That property is now Futo.

The last guy is Jim Foley, a businessman from Central California I met in 2000 who I am happy to say was one of my most solid clients for years always providing great, thoughtful feedback on the wines I recommended. I started seeing Jim a lot more in the valley around 2004 when he told me he had moved to Sonoma. After that we would bump into each other periodically at wine events in the area. Last week I received an email from him inviting me to a small group tasting of his new estate-grown wine made by Duncan Arnot Meyers. I let him know that I couldn’t make it to the event but was able to arrange to meet him that afternoon to taste his wines;  the 2009 and 2010 vintages of Petrichor Les Trois; a Syrah (877 and 470 clones) and Grenache (Alban) blend. The vineyard was planted in 2003 and comprises 3.5 acres. 

2009 Petrichor Les Trois Sonoma County $48.00 DW92 premiere release

13.6% alcohol, 169 cases produced, 47SR877|39SR470|14GR

The nose provides an alluring mix of well developed, concentrated, balanced and complex aromas; olive, lavender, grilled meat, black plum, asian spice, cola, lilac and soy. Bright cherry flavors, with a mid-palate of licorice, lilac and black fruits are well integrated into a mineral-backed framework. Drink 2011 - 2018

2010 Petrichor Les Trois Sonoma County 

I tasted this wine simply for context. I agreed to not formally review it because it would be premature to do so. I however can say that it has many of the same elements as the 2009. I look forward to reviewing it next year.

If you are looking for new producers of top-level Syrah from the North Coast, this is an admirable newcomer, made by one of the top talents in the business. Production will grow gradually to the 450 case level, with the tantalizing possibility of a varietal Grenache bottling at some point.

Find the wine at Petrichor

 

 

Tuesday
Oct252011

Exclusive: read the review on 2008 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon

For those who want to see some of the review content contained in the premiere release of purely domestic wine report, I present a sample here. The review of 2008 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon. The only thing that has been removed is the rating I gave the wine. This is only one of over 170 wines reviewed in the first issue. 

Again, thanks for your interest!

Doug Wilder

publisher

purely domestic wine report

 

Thursday
Oct202011

Find me at Pinot on the River in Healdsburg, Sunday, October 23rd

Less than a week after launching the premiere issue of purely domestic wine report concentrating on Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, I am jumping into the research for issue two at the Pinot on the River in Healdsburg. There are at least a dozen new producers there that i am very curious to look at.

Weather should be great this year, forecast in the low ’80s. I hope to see a lot of friends there and you know the drill - if you find something you really like, find me and tell me about and I’ll try to get over and check it out. Here is the link for tickets:http://www.pinotfestival.com/index.html The grand tasting begins at 12 noon, though a VIP ticket may be the way to go if you want the total immersion experience ($150) that kicks off the day with the editor/publisher of Pinot Report, Greg Walter, the go-to specialist when it comes to Pinot Noir.

For disclosure purposes, I am attending on a media pass along with my editor generously provided by the organizers. 

doug wilder

purely domestic wine report

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