Thursday, December 24, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The most obvious answer is: Sauvignon blanc, and probably the crisper, more minerally style that one finds in France or the US, as opposed to the fruitier, softer style of New Zealand.
But you could also do a Grenache (or Garnacha, in Spain); it would match the robustness of the chutney and peppers. It could push past the delicacy of the fish a bit, however. It's risky but I love the concept for its boldness. I think I would not serve just the Grenache with this dish, however.
If you're feeling daring, you could pour both an SB and a Grenache, and let your guests each find their own balance. That would be fun.
If the topping is spicy and hot enough, you could pour a Gewurztraminer.
One writer suggests a nice dry French rose. I can see that.
Or, you could do a White Burgundy (or good Oregon Chardonnay); I think you could go with either a Fume blanc (aged in a charred barrel, which might match the Chipotle well) or an unoaked one with lots of structure.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Anyone who thinks analytically is easily swayed by measurements. If an expert tells us that this is a 92-point wine, we tend to believe there is some difference, however faint, between it and a 93-pointer. After all, we can acccurately measure temperature, brassiere sizes, and the speed of a fullback---why should wine be different?
Well, wine IS different. Indeed, we can measure the wine's total acid, the pH, the residual sugar, and even the tannins and sulfites. But there are countless other factors, working away in the deeper biochemical levels. Altogether, this myriad of elements drives what we think when we taste and smell a wine. And many of those factors change over time, as the wine sits in its glass, or is rudely jostled during a trip to the wine judging event, or even as our own olfactory nerves' sensitivity changes, from hour to hour.
As a result, the process of scoring wine cannot be totally scientific. It gives us at best a snapshot of what one expert thought, at one time. But we will all keep using scores. Let's just remember what they are: rough approximations of what one person thought a wine was, at one moment in time.
It's OK if you don't like a 95-point wine. It's fine if you love a wine that some critic gave only 82 points. All you really have to do is to learn what you like, and perhaps learn which advisors to trust for YOUR palate!
Let's give scoring its place, but we all know that the poetry of wine is entirely subjective. Science, and even language are utterly incapable of capturing it.
Here is the article which inspired this blog:
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
1. mag of 1999 L. Latour Gevry-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques: This impressive bottle was very kindly brought by one of the guests, a special friend. For me, it was too austere; not enough fruit. I'm not at all sure that I would consider PN successful in Burgundy. I know that's heresy, so burn me. I know that many experts would say that I just don't understand.
2. 2000 B.Freres: past its prime; barely good; it did open up and got a bit better, but still not up to their reputation. See my other posts: Good Pinots from good years should last longer than 9 years!
3. mag of 1999 Archery Summit Premier Cuvee PN: Total disappointment. This is the only bottle that didn't even get finished as the tasters got sauced and less discriminating. I bought it in '02 when I didn't yet know the better PN makers. This place is a great facility and some of their wines are good, but for the high prices it is just not a good fit for the discriminating consumer.
4. 2002 Van Duzer: I didn't know this one (it was brought by someone else). It had a light nice bouquet and was OK.
5. Anderson Family Vineyards 2002 PN: best nose of the bunch; great balance; a real treat. The crowd favorite. Disclaimer: I used to volunteer there, and "cut my Pinot teeth" on their style. Cliff Anderson's wines are well-made and they seem to age better than do most others, which is a huge plus for anybody with too many wines in the cellar. And when his wines are "on," they give up the most wonderful Pinot nose you can find anywhere in the world.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Behold the humble yeast: They turn sucrose (table sugar; C12H22O11) and water into CO2, heat, and alcohol (C2H5OH).
Without yeast, there would be no wine (though I suppose one could distill hard alcohol and add it to grape juice, but I don't see that product clogging the grocers' shelves).
Without yeast, no wine.
Without wine, chaos (surely).
Ergo, without yeast, chaos!
I've been studying yeast, preparatory to making some Viogner wine, and you know what? They are really just like goldfish. Like pet fish, they come in many forms, and have been bred (hybridized) for particular properties. Just within the ambit of enology, there are dozens of specialized yeast varieties that one can buy and use--some are for cooler ferments, some express fruits better, some are good for high residual sugars, some don't mind concurrent malo-lactic fermentation, etc. There is even K1-V1116, a "killer yeast" that engenders comparisons to piranhas; I'm using it on some Cayuga grapes right now (the yeast, not piranhas). And if you add in the myriad naturally-occurring yeasts that rest in their trillions upon the skins of grapes and elsewhere, the sheer number of types might boggle the mind.
Unlike pet fish, yeast can remain dormant in a dry environment, but they are most at home in water, such as the sweet and boundless sea contained in a single grape! They have a set of requirements, if they are to be able to function. Behold, the needs of wine yeasts:
1. They must be stored cool. Mine are by the butter dish in the fridge.
2. They need to be re-hydrated carefully. Not too hot and not too cold. Not for too long. Not with water containing chlorine. Not with must (grape juice) containing too much SO2 (sulfites).
3. The right quantity of yeast must be added to the must (the fruit juice). Too little, and it could take too long to spread throughout the must, allowing other organisms to reach the bounty first and make vinegar, acetone, or bitter wine out of your precious juice.
4. Like fish from the pet store, yeast must be introduced carefully to the must. If the must is too much hotter or colder than the yeast, it can shock the yeast into creating "petite mutants," reducing the rate of fermentation, or causing it to produce hydrogen sulfide (think rotten egg smell). And the must temperature must be at least a certain temp.
5. Like pet fish, yeast must be fed. In addition to sugar, they like nitrogen and phosphates. No french fries or pizza for your pet yeast, mind you.
Then, when the alcohol level is finally too high for them, they quit working, and go dormant. They sink by their millions into sludge at the bottom. They could be used again, but in practice (due to their contamination with undesirable stuff), they are sent to the septic tank or the sewage treatment plant. Almost makes you wonder if somebody will pick up the banner for them: "Prevent Yeast Abuse!" Give them pensions, or something.
And get this: Their mere existence in winemaking poisons their own environment, not unlike overpopulated humans in that way. They die as victims of their own success. Is the universe cold, or what?
But that is the life of wine yeasts. They sleep, dormant, forever if need be, but then are suddenly thrust into absolute Heaven, but only for a few days. For us, they make their Heaven into a Hell. One person's Hell is another's Heaven! Reflect on that, the next time you lift a wineglass.
Here's an article:
Friday, September 25, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
But, guess what? Just look at Duckhorn's per-bottle charges, and you'll be amazed; I guess they're marketing to damn fools, because nobody else would pay these prices for such low quality:
Their 2005 Goldeneye Pinot noir is $60: I disliked the wine down there (although the setting is gorgeous and the patio tasting service is top-rate), and I disliked it again last night. No varietal bouquet or flavor. For this kind of money, buy the 2008 Beaux Freres or any number of good Oregon pinots!
2006 Napa Merlot: $59. ($59???) Very plain. No nose. Not worth $12. Hell, not worth $2.
'05 Napa cab: $69. Way too tannic--you can't even drink it. Too little bouquet.
'03 Napa cab: $99. It gets only 87 points from Spectator and they want $99 for it? Hey, dudes! You can buy an 87 point cab for just $10-15--why would you waste money on this stuff? It's just as over the top with tannins. I don't see any fruit in there. Maybe it will drink in 20 more years? If they're going to make wines like this, they should do us all a favor and cellar them for 10-20 years, and then sell them when they can actually be consumed.
I'll say it again: Head for Yakima, Red Mtn, Tri-cities, and Walla Walla. Drink the cabs (and syrahs and cab blends, and Lemberger) from there, and notice all the change in your pocket afterwards, and marvel at how good the wines are, and how clueless many of the CA winemakers are. Ultimately, the damn fools will die off or quit buying-overpricing your wares on low quality is not a successful strategy.
Friday, September 4, 2009
1. Women need iron supplements and men don't (men tend to eat more red meat and they don't lose blood regularly).
2. Women and men have the same pituitary hormones, but in different ratios.
3. There are a few anatomical differences (such as, in the 1970's and 1770's, many men wore their hair longer than the women did. And such as, women do the whole PG, L&D thing, while men either smoke cigars outside or catch spears inside while marveling at the elasticity of the cervix).
4. Women are now achieving more in education than men are, particularly in college and grad school, but also in high schools. And men are paid more for the same job, in some places, but I think that may change faster now, given the women's advantage in school.
There. That's about it. The similarities include everything else, and it's a big world out there, so there are millions upon millions of similarities.
You think I'm wrong? OK--you wanna talk shopping? I can't stand the mall, but you should see me in a garden store, or with a wine catalog. Whether it's a young woman in the mall, or a 50-something guy in Home Depot's tool bin, shopping is really only research, isn't it? Or, you wanna talk about staying at home, versus pushing papers in an office? For the first time, there are more women employed than men in the US. Or, how about math and logic and using the left brain? There are plenty of women who prove every hour that those are emphatically not a male domain. And the number of men who know how to listen to their "feelings" is probably, oh, 100%, though maybe not enough of them know how to talk about it.
So why would wine be any different? I know some manly guys who prefer rose and white wines. Ditto for ladies who want a red so tannic it can curl teeth. Maybe more women than men prefer sparkling wines (aphrodisia is far beyond the scope of this note), but how often do you see a guy turn down a free glass of Moet Chandon?
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
We visited King Estate last week (pictured). It's in the boonies, about ten miles west of Cottage Grove.
What a grand winery! It must have been Oregon's most expensive (and expansive) place, until Dom. Serene was built. The tasting alcove is in the restaurant, which is inside and outside. Very elegant indeed. In fact, the architecture makes it worth a trip.
They have about 600 acres of grapes, and over 300 of them are in Pinot gris (their "signature grape," according to Kevin, one of the best-informed, brightest wine pourers I've yet met. They have three labels of gris. I liked the middle one (Signature) the best; it's $17 retail and has a nice nose and is good on palate. I can get it for you at wholesale if you like. The Domaine gris ($25) was Jane's favorite of the three. The Pinot noirs were OK, but I don't recommend them. I think K.E. is too far south and hot for Pinot noir. Also, the trellis high wire seemed too low to me (you can see it in the photo)--PN grapes need about 12 leaves per cluster to reach full ripeness. Maybe it's different in the hot semi-desert (kidding, but it seemed like it) down there, but I suspect the the viticultural practices limit the wine's quality (though I'm sure the vineyard workers would protest with reasons why the trellises are OK).
We also visited Ch. Lorane, which has a great deck high above a pretty lake. Most of the wines are not recommendable, but we found a rose from Tempranillo and a Viognier that were OK. I went there because they make some wines from hybrid grapes, but sadly they're not going to convert any vinifera lover. I still think that is possible, just not at Ch. Lorane.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Arggh! I find some wines for sale, at retail, in California, at prices awfully close to the WHOLESALE prices I can buy at, and, today, even below my wholesale purchase price, in one instance.
So I call my distributor, who listens patiently, then explains, for his thousandth time:
1. CA allows volume discount pricing to distributors, so the big ones can sell to their bigger retail customers at lower prices. This is how K&L, a giant online and brick-and-mortar retailer in the Bay Area, can offer such great prices (though, if you buy from them, you must pay shipping to get the wine up here, and by the time you do that, I can ALWAYS give you a better price). In Oregon, by state law every sale of a wine to a wholesaler (large or small) must be at the same price. So my distributors can't get discounted pricing even if they buy large volumes.
2. Most wine that gets to Oregon comes into the US in, or comes through, California. To get wine up to Oregon, shipping costs of approximately $2-3 per bottle must be paid. This increases Oregon's wine prices over California's big-city wine prices (the California boondocks face the same shipping price adder as Oregon does).
3. California, being a state with high income and property and sales taxes, has very low taxes on wine purchases. In contrast, Oregon, with its (pardon the editorial comment: stupido refusal to enact a sales tax and thereby raise some money from our tourists, who comprise Oregon's largest industry) has pretty high taxes on wine purchases.
Taken together, the Oregon consumer is disadvantaged compared to the California consumer. But, then again, how many of us would want to live in California, just to get cheaper wine? C'est la vie!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Thankfully, this vile label is now illegal in the great state of Alabama. Thank goodness we have vigilant citizens there who would protect us all from vice in any form. Now we can all sleep peacefully at night, knowing that our censors have our well-being firmly in hand.
Here are some more articles I found:
Alabama posts nation's 13th worst crime rate - Birmingham Business
Alabama: ASSAULT WEAPONS BOOST MURDER RATE, ORGANIZED CRIME
Some Alabama counties still double the national average illiteracy rate
Mississippi's still fattest but Alabama closing in - Yahoo! News
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Here's the view from Lopez Island Vineyards, on Lopez Island in the San Juan islands in NW Washington. We just got back yesterday.
I love it that you can find a winery almost anywhere. Although there are over 700 islands in the archipelago, there is only one winery, and it was located about 0.3 miles down the gravel road from our B&B. They grow two white grapes that make a good blend (Madeleine Angevine and Siegerrebe); the former is a disease-prone vinifera grape from the Loire Valley in France, although it's grown there as an eating grape, not a winegrape, and the latter is a German winegrape. They also buy fruit from Yakima to make red vinifera wines. Brent the winemaker trained at Cal Davis.
A stream of tourists came in and out, so they get good business in the summer, even on this remote island, one of the lesser-traveled, harder-to-get-to places I've been. The winery overlooks gorgeous vineyards, and somebody has planted a row of poplars which you can see in the photo; that makes one feel like they're in France.
For further reading:
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Maturity curves . . .
- If it has improved in the first two hours and got even better the next day, let it sleep at least another 5 years and try it again.
- If it declines within the first two hours, drink the rest of it up quickly.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Our existence is thick with interconnected layers. Some are physical, like geologic blankets on an Earthen bed. Some are incorporeal, but no less momentous, as when our slightest actions weave a most complex web of effects upon others. The complexity of these effects is so startling, the more you think on it, that it almost makes one afraid to exhale. Each of us drives the entire world. The bee dance seems primitive, random, until you understand its utility and beauty, and then you see that a single bee drives its entire world. If the bee does not perform its dance properly, the other bees will not find the blooms. If the far-flung flowers are not pollinated, then there is no fruit. If there is no fruit, then the village goes hungry. If the village goes hungry, then the young people leave. If the young people leave, they make revolution in the city . . . and this all springs from the ability of a single honeybee to do its dance?
The simple view of my wine business is that I recommend wines to friends, who may or may not buy them. But that ignores a universe of complexity that lies beneath. If you buy a wine, enjoy it, and comment favorably, that reinforces my belief in the wine. and I may tend to recommend similar wines. If you don't like it so much, that affects my view, too. Our puny West Portland wine buzz might be picked up by a wine writer somewhere, and suddenly our little-known darling wine is in the national spotlight. And so much of this is random. The most amazing thing can happen, but is anybody listening? Wine scores are silly. What do you like? And if you don't buy a wine, is that just the weak economy, or full cellars, or should I change my recommendations? Is it the frailties of our language, which is so utterly unable to describe a wine? So many questions. Should the artist make what she sees as beautiful, or should she make what will sell? Ah, the layers.
And yet all our palates are ever-changing, layered in ever-swirling strata affected by our mood, by the weather, by a glass. We are not machines--our senses' sensitivity ebbs and flows. Today just might not be a good nose day. There are so many variables that a supercomputer could not be programmed to account for them all.
Thinking of three very good wines offered this year, one sold like hotcakes for $8.75, one sold darn respectably for $25, but the third one-heartily pumped thrice by yours truly--hardly sold at all for $8.50. Explain that to me.
We humans are so impressionable. If we notice what we see and hear and feel, it makes us either more assured in our beliefs, or more curious about changing them. As much as we revel in each other's unique personality, as much as we love to buy land (what? own the Earth?) and construct boxes of our own on it, in which we take refuge from others, we are still community animals. We affect each other in ways we cannot imagine. Simply occupying the same space makes us all brothers and sisters, in an incredibly intimate sense. Sharing air, sharing future memories, sharing wine.
Sharing layers of meaning that enrich our lives.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
Tasting:By Appointment and Memorial Day and Thanksgiving weekends
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Went to a French winetasting last week, for the trade. Ah, the trade! It was hosted by three large distributors, on the rooftop patio of the old Meyer & Frank building (now, it's The Nines Hotel, with the bar "Departure" on the roof with the patio. Left is a pic of the inside of Departure; here is some more info:
"The long-awaited lounge named Departure had its debut on floor 15 of The Nines hotel in early April 2009. Designed by renowned local architect Jeff Kovel of Portland's Skylab Architecture, Departure anoints the SW corner of the Nines with floor-to-ceiling glass views of the central city and Pioneer Square."
Sadly, I'm hearing that The Nines is having trouble booking as many as nine hotel rooms a night, so maybe you should run, not walk, to check out the Departure Lounge, in case it's in trouble already. What a great view!
The best part of this tasting was that owners from about 20 French (and one Italian) winery were there, pouring. Aside from collecting Bordeaux and having visited Burgundy, Alsace, Bordeaux, and the Loire Valley, I'm really pretty ignorant about French wines. Some of my questions initally drew surprised looks, but then the pourer/owner quickly recovered composure and politely gave me an answer. Maybe I supported their stereotype of Americans as ignorants; I don't know.
I have a bias against most French wines, and that bias was supported at the tasting. The vast majority of the wines (and they ranged from cheap to very spendy) were too thin, too sharp, too little nose, too unbalanced. Surprising, for a nation with so much wine history. I think it's partly the sub-optimal weather there, and partly the French's resistance to change (although that is changing).
Let us all be grateful for the fantastic wines that are findable in Walla Walla, Tri-cities, Yakima, and the Willamette Valley. You can find unbelievable quality at low prices, there.
As you might expect, the French didn't completely lose their national honor at the tasting; here are some of my faves from the Departure trade tasting:
1. Sommariva Prosecco di Conegliano: $15.50
As fate would have it, this was the only non-French wine there. This is Italian prosecco, and it is BY FAR THE BEST PROSECCO I HAVE EVER HAD (and I have had quite a few by now). It was poured by Cinzia (Cynthia?) Sommariva, with whom I spoke for quite a while--she is passionate about why their Prosecco is so good. Her family's vineyards are in the hills 50 km north of Venice, in the official DOC for Prosecco. Many other Proseccos are made from flatland grapes, or, worse, from outside the DOC. Her family picks the grapes by hand. The wine is made in stainless steel vats, and bottled monthly, enough freshly bottled each month to handle the demand. When you get the wine, you will first notice the classic and delicious yeasty bread aroma, coupled with lemon gelato--that bread aroma is found only in the best champagnes. In the mouth, it is fresh like you're picking fruit right in the orchard--green apple and some citrus--and oh so smooth! Nice finish. This one should figure heavily in your summer plans! And with lower alcohol and fewer calories than other sparkling wines, this is great for summer.
2nd favorite:2006 Jobard: Bourgogne Blanc: $27
Poured by Antoine Jobard himself, of Domaine Francois et Antoine Jobard. This is pure Chardonnay in the classic French style: minerals along with crisp fruit. Chardonnays were the order of the day at the tasting, and as you know, I usually won't choose a Chard for myself. I disliked almost every one of them I tasted. But this one was so utterly excellent that I must recommend it to you. It is so fruity--simply rampant with fruit--that it seemed slightly sweet, so I asked Antoine how much residual sugar it had, and he answered, "less than one" [gram per liter]. That is utterly dry, but it is a common palate trap--great fruit can fool you into thinking sugar. This is a rich, elegant wine, crisp with a looonnnnngg finish; to my mind a much better wine than their next-higher wine, which costs over $50! I think any California chard that could best this one would easily cost two or three times as much as this. Dive in! And if you're in the ABC club ("Anything But Chardonnay"), you should nevertheless give this a try.
3. 2006 La Tour Vieille, Banyuls Vendanges (500ml): $25
La Tour Veieille was poured by Christine Campadieu, who told me that her family's lands "plunge with the Pyrenees into the [Mediterranean] sea."This is a red dessert wine, made from Grenache and Cinsault. It has a great port nose, but it tastes fresh and alive; no oxidation whatever. I tell you, this would be DIVINE after dinner with a plate of assorted expensive cheeses and maybe some nuts and a little fruit, and Christine confirmed that that is exactly how she would enjoy this wine. It is not high-alcohol as port as (this wine's not fortified); it is just delicious.
4. 2007 Meyer-Fonne, Gentil d'Alsace: $14
Poured by Felix Meyer. He told me this is Pinot gris, Riesling, Pinot blanc, and Muscat. It has a fantastic, complex, multi-fruit and floral nose and is silky smooth and crisp and wonderful on the palate. It's $17.64 (plus S&H) at retail.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
For the answers to these questions, tune in again in, say, three to ten years.
2007 here started late--bud break and bloom were a full month late
I've tasted many 2007 Pinots. With few exceptions, there is only so much a talented winemaker can do with non-idyllic grapes. The White Rose Dreamcatcher is a special find; those vines are very old and on rather steep slopes; the wine offers up a complex nose and good fruit. Some say that "leaner" pinots need time to reveal their fruit, and I hope that is so. But aside from Dreamcather, I'm not buying the '07s. Hold onto your wallet until the 2008s are available. I will be watching the Beaux Freres 2008 Pinots, and will advertise them next March and June. They are fabulous now, even though bottling is months away. I suspect there will be many fantastic pinots from Oregon sporting the '08 vintage on their labels. When they're more widely available, my glass and I will soldier through a number of them, so that we can all load up on quality pinot.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Located high on Mt. St. Helena and in the high north end of the Napa Valley, it gets fogs and cool breezes spilling over from the Russian River Valley. This leads to night-time temps of just 50F, versus day temps as high as 100F, and that diurnal difference gives the wine more acidity, which you can taste. Also, we learned that not so long ago, wines would top out at about 8% alcohol, but the yeasts used today can push that to 12-15%, so wines have become much more powerful in the past few decades.
I thought their Chardonnay ($46 retail) was firm, fruity, and had good grip. The 750's can age for seven years. The '06 Zin ($27 retail; head-trained on 6' trunks and planted in 1972) was sharp with no nose at first, though later it opened to a nice bouquet. But it cannot quite stand up to one of California's super-zins, such as a Turley or a Hartford.
Then we jumped into the various estate cabs, from 1999 to 2005. I found some a bit acidic or thin. The '05 had a better nose than the other 2000's, with dark fruit and tobacco notes. The '99, though, was amazing: with an awesome bouquet, sweet tannins, and still tastes young.
I can buy these at Columbia Distributors, if you are interested.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
1. A soda suggestion:
If you drink soda and know about the health dangers of artificial sugars and corn syrup and phosphoric acid, then give Pepsi Natural a try. It uses real sugar, kola nut, water, some naturally-occurring food acids and colors, and not much else. I found it hiding behind the refrigerated section, at Costco. It's good stuff; I hope it survives. It's much more like a real food, in huge contrast to mainline Coke, Pepsi, etc. It IS a sugar drink, to be sure, but if you're already drinking diet soda or corn syrup soda, you could benefit from avoiding the corn syrup (artificial; does not exist in nature; some think it can't be digested as sugar and is instead laid down as fat; in fact, some think it's partly responsible for the obesity epidemic), the aspartame (linked to seizure disorders), and the phosphoric acid (leaches calcium out of your bones) that are in the classic sodas. I'm not a doctor; do your own research.
2. A book recommendation:
If you like: mystery; cannibalism; cargo cults; goddess worship; fast action; aging, mistake-prone protagonists, organ theft, airplane theft, ocean maroonings; minefields; and extramarital sex, then I recommend a great book: It's "Island of the Sequined Love Nun" by Christopher Moore. It's awesome.
and at least one of them is a good one! We went to Jackson TN to visit some of Jane's friends, and found two wineries nearby: One was imminently forgettable, but the other, Crown Winery, is well worth a blog post:
If you often wonder: "Who are these people who found new wineries?", here is an answer: Peter Howard is a "British gas physicist" whose ancestors include the gent who named the types of clouds, and also include the shipbuilder to Peter the Great. Peter Howard married a former Miss Tennessee, and there you go.
The new winery building has a spacious tasting room and is built in the California Spanish style. It sits amidst a hilly former dairy farm. The winemaker is quite talented. Because of the humid summers (and the resulting disease pressure), they grow mostly hybrid grapes (please recall my earlier missives about the undeniable--and green--trend towards hybrids). I took a special interest in their Chamborcin, because that is a parent of Regent, which is taking a foothold in my own vineyard. Their Chamborcin is very nice: Bright fruits, good balance, very drinkable.
So, if you find yourself halfway between Nashville and Memphis, check out Crown Winery! And you have to go there, because it is a CRIME for them to ship wine outside of TN. You can thank some of the most corrupt politicians in the country for that little (unconstitutional) gem.