Pfendler Pinot Noir Rosé 2015

Wine: Pfendler Estate
Vintage: 2015
Country: USA
Region: Petaluma Gap (Sonoma Coast), California
Grapes: Pinot Noir
Vines: Sustainable
Production: Tiny
Price:  $18

The concept of terroir is a tricky one to define, most loosely within the broad confines of place, which, we all know is a concept that varies in subtleties and extremes. Culturally speaking, you can't say Los Angeles and San Fransisco are interchangeable for being within California any more than you can argue New Orleans and Nashville are the same because they're both south of the Mason Dixon. This is kinda how the Sonoma Coast AVA looks right now, which Jon Bonné calls "the big lie" in his book "The New California Wine". It's a 750 square mile swath of land that reaches from the actual coastline to the east side of the Sonoma Mountains, encompassing parts of The Russian River Valley and Carneros. Inside that AVA, which Bonné attributes to a gerrymandering led by Sonoma-Cutrer Don, Brice Jones, in 1987, are many micro-climates that more precisely define terroir as the French (the Burgundians anyway) meant it to be.  Most of these areas are still awaiting AVA approval by the federal government, and the Petaluma Gap is a frontrunner. It's also home to Pfendler's 19 acres of estate vineyards.

The proposed AVA's climate as stated by the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Association:

"Geographically, the Petaluma Gap borders West Marin and Valley Ford on the west, then follows Chileno Valley and Spring Hill Roads to Adobe Road on the east, Cotati on the north and Lakeville on the southeast. This is not your normal geography. As inland valley air heats up, it pulls the cool coastal air into a naturally formed 15-mile-wide “gap” in the coastal range mountains. The wind flows off the ocean between Tomales Bay and Bodega Bay, builds up speed as it funnels through the gap, then empties into San Francisco Bay. Wind and fog define the area, giving the term “micro-climate” real meaning."

Fog and coastal wind influence grape growing to the point of creating a cool climate atmosphere, a favorite environment for pinot noir and chardonnay. If you've never stuck your toes into the Pacific Ocean off the Northern California coast, this isn't bathwater-warm Miami Beach, or even Montauk in August. It's damn cold, and so are its breezes. The four Pfendler vineyards sit on the ocean-facing side of the Sonoma Mountains, planted from foothill to mountain top. Winemaker Greg Bjørnstad works with proprietor Kimberly Pfendler to produce three wines totaling fewer than 700 cases. It's truly a tiny operation, and the wines can be had outside Cali only through direct order from the winery. Don't be mad, this is the digital age. Full disclosure: this bottle was a sample sent to Pig&Vine for possible review from the winery.

The Pfendler Pinot Noir Rosé 2015 is a pale salmon-hued beauty with a nose of ripe strawberry and raspberries still hanging on the bush. Fog and mountain clouds with mountain fruit (I feel high already) persist on the palate and in the mind. Balanced acidity, alcohol and flavors of delicate nuance slide into a long, delicious finish. I savored it last Saturday afternoon, too stubborn to work and too lazy to leave the house, while watching the final episodes of OITNB Season 4. Paired it with an arugula salad with avocado, cucumbers, sweet tomatoes and feta, plus a little Maldon salt for perfection (just like Judy King). 

Get yours here and, if I were you, I"d grab a chard and a pinot, too. 

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you! If you enjoyed it, I'd be super stoked if you shared it with someone.

Le Sot de l'Ange Rouge 'G'

Wine: Le Sot de l'Ange
Vintage: 2014
Country: France
Region: Touraine Azay Le Rideau, Loire Valley
Grapes: Grolleau
Vines: Biodynamic (Demeter certified)
Production: Small
Price: $22

The young Quentin Bourse makes wine from 12 hectares of biodynamically certified vines in Azay Le Rideau that he took over from a friend in 2013. I first discovered his chenin blanc 'Sec Symbole' at N7, the curtained French inspired Bywater restaurant with a mostly natural wine menu and a disdain for publicity (who the owners are remains a secret). The chenin was delicate and delicious with honeysuckle perfume and ripe melon fruit in such beautiful balance that the producer was instantly listed high on my Yes, please! list. It's also the one that made me take note of importer Selection Massale. The small company focuses on natural wines farmed organically and biodynamically in France and Swabia, a loosely defined border that encompasses the southwestern German provinces Württemburg and Baden. With their hand-drawn pruning shears emblem conspicuously placed on each back label, they're easy to spot on the shelf, and I've been looking ever since. They're also the geniuses who bring in Les Capriades pét-sec. I picked up this grolleau at Bacchanal a few weeks ago. 

The Sot de l'Ange, roughly translates to 'fool the angel'. There's a story there, I'm sure. Bourse makes small lots of chenin blanc, gamay, grolleau, côt (malbec) and cabernet sauvignon. The Rouge 'G' that we have here is grolleau 'sans soufre' made in a ridiculously quaffable style that'll take a chill if you're so inclined. But it's fault-free and drinks just as easy at room temp. Bright and juicy, light in color, cool yet undemanding, it's as friendly as a *Tri Epsilon pledge who's a closeted art student . It was the perfect accompaniment to a recent art installation project where I arranged a few Hipstamatic prints on the wall above my couch. 

*Tre Epsilon is not a real organization, best I can tell, but the Tri Ep house is the central setting in the 1952 pulp fiction novel "Spring Fire", which I've been reading, and the main character is a new pledge and impossibly innocent when the story begins. 

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you! If you enjoyed it, I'd be super stoked if you shared it with someone.

Philippe Gilbert Menetou-Salon Rosé 2015

Wine: Domaine Philippe Gilbert
Vintage: 2015
Country: France
Region: Menetou-Salon, Loire Valley
Grapes: Pinot Noir
Vines: Organic/Biodynamic
Production: Small
Price: $27-30

Menetou-Salon is Sancerre's quiet twin, the one in glasses with her hair pulled back and a bookish personality. But when they reached college, Sancerre's popularity found competition among the other coeds and Menetou got contact lenses, let her hair down, and suddenly her beauty commanded attention. But she's still the shy one, and most people overlook her. 

Sancerre sits a little east of Menetou-Salon and has both more acreage under vine and more popularity, so much so that one could argue Sancerre might be, at times, overpriced. In the hands of producers like Philippe Gilbert in Menetou, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir can be every bit as expressive and delicate and alluring as its neighbor. I discovered this producer in Neal Rosenthal's portfolio last summer and fell in love immediately with the rosé, so when I saw the new vintage at Keife & Co., I did not think twice. 

Philippe farms his 27 hectares (a fairly sizable chunk of vineyard land in this part of the world) with biodynamic practices and is certified organic. Philippe was a playwright in his previous life, writing and producing plays for the theater, but the call of the vines was too strong to resist and so he returned home to take over for his father and run the family winery, which dates back to 1768. That's a hard legacy to walk away from, and I'm so glad he didn't.

The Domaine Philippe Gilbert Menetou-Salon Rosé 2015 is, in a word, gorgeous. The delicacy of the pinot noir grapes balance ripe fruit without being juicy, stoney notes with great acidity and a long, long finish of all these lovely entwined flavors, like a lover unwilling to leave your side. About 300 cases are allotted to the US each vintage.

It's a great quaffer on its own, but I paired it here with the burrata and herb salad from 1,000 Figs in the Bayou St. John neighborhood. I first dined there last September when I came down to New Orleans to look for an apartment. What began as a food truck called The Fat Falafel -  in operation since 2012 - branched into the brick and mortar that produces this incredible cream-filled mozzarella ball of goodness so fresh and divine that I've developed a regular craving for it. Seriously, I have to cap myself at one order a week.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you! If you enjoyed it, I'd be super stoked if you shared it with someone.

Centonze Frappato 2014

Wine: Centonze
Vintage: 2014
Country: Italy
Region: Vittoria, Sicily
Grapes: Frappato
Vines: Sustainable
Production: Small
Price: $18

The older I get, the fewer the existential crises. Hello 40s, keep the apathy coming. But last week, in the midst of advertising my good fortune in the blogosphere and asking folks to vote for Pig&Vine for a Wine Blog Award (two things I inherently hate - self promotion and asking for anything ever), I slipped into an existential state. Of course I’m incredibly flattered and honored to be among some very talented writers on the shortlist for a Best Writing Award, and of course I want to win…but what does it even mean to win?

A few days ago, Andy Borowitz reported for The New Yorker that the Cleveland Cavaliers’ new slogan, borrowed from Sartre’s 1943 Being and Nothingness, hung above the Quicken Loans Arena entrance.  “All human activities are doomed to failure” it read. My young friend Zach, with whom I watched and mostly distracted from watching Game 3 Wednesday evening, pointed out that I’ve been writing about existentialism quite a bit lately. So in attempt to avoid becoming a whiny bore (existential crises are inherently self absorbed acts of over thinking) I chose a particularly buoyant red wine to drown out the morose voices in my head. 

The Centonze family established their winery in 1998 in the Trapani region of Sicily, farming 20 hectares of indigenous varieties, including frappato, grillo, Nero d'Avola and zibbibo. Giovanni Centonze runs the estate with his son Nicola and daughter Carla, applying modern trellising in teh vineyard with contemporary technology in the winery. The Centonze Frappato 2014 exhibits the grape's typical style with ripe strawberry fruit aromas and flavors, and soft, lush tannins. It goes down exceptionally easy. Actually, this was a repeat bottle as the first one went down so quickly I forgot to snap a photo. Vinified and aged four months in stainless steel tank, it then rests another four months in bottle before release. It's 100% pure, happy fruit eager to be everyone's friend, with or without accompaniments. Go forth, be free, good-humored and excellent. 

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you! If you enjoyed it, I'd be super stoked if you shared it with someone.

wine writer (n.)

This is part of a series called Wine Words, a glossary in the works that breaks down the barrier between those in the wine know and those who have no idea what the hell everyone's talking about. A new word posts once a week, covering everything from a grape name or region, to a winemaking or tasting term. 

Wine Writer (n.) 

As you may have heard, Pig&Vine was selected as a finalist for Best Writing on a Wine Blog by this year's eminent panel of judges for the nonprofit Wine Blog Awards, a nearly decade-old affair created to recognize the tops of the most democratic arm of publishing known as the blogosphere. (go ahead and vote for P&V right quick, then bounce back here) It seemed fitting then to tackle this confusing term in this week's Wine Words episode. In short, a wine writer is one who wine writes. 

"Wine Writing," Jancis Robinson, MW, writes in her seminal work, The Oxford Companion to Wine, "a parasitical activity undertaken by wine writers enabled by vine-growing and winemaking but more usually associated with wine tasting, and even wine drinking, than with either of the former." Robinson is among the most famous, most renowned of wine writers on the planet and her dry British wit certainly shows in this entry. I wonder if she thinks of herself first as a writer, or always as a wine writer. 

Robert Parker, Jr. might even be more well known in the United States than the author of the aforementioned encyclopedic tome, if only for his controversial influence over wine style in the latter part of the 20th century, and for his trademark practice of reducing a producers blood, sweat and tears to a numerical score. I loathe scores. They're lazy on the part of the writer and lazy on the part of the reader. But what do I know? I'm a blogger. Novelist Jay McInerney  (Bright Lights, Big City) has written wine columns for the now defunct Home & Garden and The Wall Street Journal and combines an ease for language with an unpretentious and partisan attitude toward wine with, as you'd expect from a fiction writer, a literary tone. I just read this morning an excerpt about Tavel where he mentions A.J. Liebling's love for the small Southern Rhône appellation that makes exclusively rosé wines. Funny, a co-worker still in the very early stages of her wine education asked me Monday evening if Tavel was worth all the attention some patrons throw its way. Liebling's 1959 memoir Between Meals about his youth spent in Paris, pre-staff position at The New Yorker, is a beautiful and compelling work for all who love food and wine and France. 

Alice Feiring, staunch advocate for the natural wine movement, has recently published her third book, a look into the ancient winemaking history of Georgia (the country). Her second book, Naked Wine: Letting Grapes Do What Comes Naturally, is an adventure to discover the original seed of this new sometimes militant group of winemakers. Jon Bonné's The New California Wine is deeply informative and story-driven, though I recommend reading Paul Lukac's American Vintage: The Rise of American Wine first for a solid background on the old California, for stronger context. Bonné also writes regularly for the online publication Punch Drink, which I love dearly. I could not have passed the WSET Diploma exam without Anthony Hanson's Burgundy, even if it is 30 years old. (It was only 17ish when I was studying). Vino Italiano: The Regional Wines of Italy by Joe Bastianich and David Lynch arrived from Amazon a few weeks ago and I have yet to crack the spine. I used to sell Mauro Veglio Barolo to David Lynch when he ran the wine program at Mario Batali's  Babbo. He was always one of my favorites.  

Morrison Wood, who probably would not have considered himself a wine writer per se, mentioned the stuff often enough in his cooking column "For Men Only!" which he wrote for the Chicago Daily Tribune in the 1940s and 50s. There's a brief wine chart at the front of With a Jug of Wine, a collection of his columns turned recipe book, I find charming for the dated language - he often refers to his wife as "The Little Woman", in earnest - but also for the mention of dry Sauternes, which some people think is a recent trend. My real love for this book is that my father used to make Wood's recipe for anchovy toast with scrambled eggs in sherry and parmesan for breakfast on special occasions. I preferred his Eggs Benedict, but anytime Harry Collins cooked, it was a treat. 

I hope I've cleared up some confusion here. One can be both wine blogger and writer. Or is this a Chablis is always chardonnay but chardonnay is not always Chablis situation? Whatever. GO VOTE FOR PIG&VINE PLEASE.  Love you forever. 

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you! If you enjoyed it, I'd be super stoked if you shared it with someone.

Division-Villages 'Méthode Carbonique' Pinot Noir 2015

Wine: Division Winemaking Company 'Méthode Carbonique'
Vintage: 2015
Country: USA
Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Grapes: Pinot Noir
Vines: Sustainable
Production: Small
Price: $20

I've met Divison Winemaking Company's winemaker Tom Monroe twice, both times were brief but memorable. The first was last December at Hopper's on upper Magazine Street where proprietor Ric Hopper generously opened and shared a few bottles with the small group of sales reps and hangers-on like myself who'd gathered on a Wednesday afternoon. (Among those bottles was the Giovanni Canonica Paiagallo Barolo, which I'm still crushing hard for). Tom had his chenin blanc 'Savant' with him that day, an unusual bottling that I've been wanting to re-visit ever since. The pinot noir here I brought home from Bacchanal, which is also where I met Tom for the second time. We remembered that we share a mutual good friend in Andy Fortgang, Sommelier extraordinaire at Portland's Le Pigeon, and so it doesn't matter that I don't really know Tom, I feel like he's a friend. That he makes some damn fine juice is all bonus. 

Tom Monroe and Kate Norris are co-winemakers and co-founders of Division Winemaking Company, an urban winery in Portland, Oregon's Division-Clinton neighborhood, and part of the Southeast Wine Collective project, a custom crush facility with wine bar and restaurant attached. A handful of like-minded small producers make their wine there, and the wine bar features their own plus others with a similar approach to the craft, prizing sustainably grown fruit handled simply, and striving for unadulterated, honest wines. Chris Brockway of my beloved Broc Cellars (I'll drink that Sogi "all day and day") is on the list. 

The Division-Villages pinot noir is one of a few cuvées under the 'Villages' sobriquet, pronounced as the French do [vil-lahj], it evokes the easy table wine of France's Beaujolais region, known for practicing carbonic maceration with gamay grapes to produce soft, fruity wines that go down quick and delicious. This one hits all the marks. It's a young wine with ebullient cherry notes on the nose and palate, satiny tannins so soft they take you by surprise in the most pleasant way, and a long finish, always the mark of quality. I'm curious to experience all the Division wines, and just added a trip to Portland to The List.  

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you! If you enjoyed it, I'd be super stoked if you shared it with someone.

Pig&Vine is a finalist for a wine blog award!

Sometimes you go along in life and you think, Hey, I'm doing pretty okay, I really got something good here. Just as often, you suffer the opposite. Call it Imposter's Syndrome, low confidence, an excuse to say F-it all, let's drink! - it all boils down to the essence of human existence, the reality of our smallness and the inherent insecurity that goes along with never really knowing why we're here in the first place. Existential crisis ensues, you open another bottle, probably a more expensive one than the last because F-it it's just money, you can't take it with you. Then your blog makes it to the final round for a Wine Blog Award in the Best Writing on a Wine Blog category and suddenly everything is clear. Keep doing what you're doing. And open that expensive bottle because we need to celebrate. 

My hat is fitting a little tight today, but I'm also incredibly humbled to be a contender among some very talented, accomplished wine writers. My first thought is, I've got to up the ante. Scratch that, my first thought is that you need to vote for Pig&Vine ASAP. My second thought is, here's a great motivator to take what I've done and make it even better. But seriously, VOTE FOR PIG&VINE FOR BEST WRITING ON A WINE BLOG.

Love you forever,

Amy

 

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you! If you enjoyed it, I'd be super stoked if you shared it with someone.

Cesconi Nosiola IGT 2013

Wine: Cesconi Family
Vintage: 2013
Country: Italy
Region: Pressano, Trentino
Grapes: Nosiola
Vines: Organic
Production: Small
Price: $16

Earlier this week, I was talking with two of my co-workers at Bacchanal, where I work the wine room a few hours each Monday, about this nosiola on the shelf. Both declared it delicious, one said he pounded a bottle on his own one night, which is to say, it's easy, refreshing and irresistible. I'd been eyeing the bottle for a couple of weeks myself, anticipating something sleek and alluring as the label suggests, so I took one home and opened it the next night with a spread of thinly sliced, melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto and a generous portion of creamy triple-milk Robiola Rocchetta, The Sopranos season five as background. 

Nosiola is a white wine grape native to the Trentino-Alto Adige region in Northern Italy that sits at the foothills of the Dolomite Mountain range, not far from the Swiss and Austrian borders. Historically, it's been prized for use in Vin Santo Trentino DOC, a dessert wine made from a combination of botrytized and straw-dried grapes fermented to an alcohol strength of about 16% and aged for a minimum of three years, though it's not uncommon for a Trentino producer to hold his Vin Santo for nearly a decade before release. In recent years, dry, crisp versions of the grape have been bottled as a varietal wine, though still rare. There are approximately 500 acres planted in Italy today, and that's about it for the planet. 

The Cesconi Family's wine roots go way back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 17th century. Four brothers and their father run the estate now, farming organically and moving slowly toward a more biodynamic approach with the vines. They ferment with native yeasts in a combination of stainless steel and old oak, and age in 3,000-5,000 liter Acacia wood barrels. They make several white wines and a couple of reds from their vineyards in Pressano. 

At first taste, I was slightly disappointed, but perhaps more so for my excessive expectations than a fair judgement. It's a perfectly quaffable drink - with citrus notes and stone fruit and nosiola's distinct hint of raw hazelnuts. The finish is medium in length, and I would absolutely drink it again. But I kept looking for a little something more, some notion of Oh. My. Gah. that's so freaking delicious! I looked so long and so hard that I drained the bottle. It's like that crush you know you can never have - maybe you don't even really want her - but she leads you on, give and take, give and take, until you forget you can cork the bottle at any moment and walk the hell away. It's the anti-climax climax; the chase is the reward. 

Obviously the Cesconi Nosiola 2013 has something going for it. There's something going on here. I might have to dive into another bottle to be sure...or wait for the 2014 to arrive. 

 

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you! If you enjoyed it, I'd be super stoked if you shared it with someone.

zinfandel (n.) grape variety

This is part of a series called Wine Words, a glossary in the works that breaks down the barrier between those in the wine know and those who have no idea what the hell everyone's talking about. A new word posts once a week, covering everything from a grape name or region, to a winemaking or tasting term. 

Zinfandel (n.) Grape variety

As I wrote earlier this week, zinfandel is, in a sense, America's national wine grape - unofficially of course. But because its true identity was a mystery for so long and it thrived so well in Northern California, bragging rights went uncontested, despite the variety being a species native to Europe, not North America. It first arrived on American shores in the early 1800s on the East Coast, probably in a batch of assorted vinifera cuttings from Austria. By 1860 it was planted in both Napa and Sonoma counties in California where it quickly became prized for its ability to produce claret style wines. Fast forward to the 1980s, the grape became synonymous with White Zinfandel, the blend of mostly zin made in a sweet style that dominated the American wine market. It's been a long trek back to respectability, with a hiccup of over-cropped, high alcohol and high extraction reds from hotter parts of the state during the 1990s and early 2000s. It was in the last decade of the 20th century that viticulturists were able to apply DNA testing to the zin vine and discover that it was identical to the primitivo grape of Italy's Puglia region. Further research by UC Davis' Carole Meredith and collaborators discovered another perfect match, and the origin of zinfandel, on Croatia's Dalmatian coast in 2001. It is one and the same as the crljenak kaštelanski [tsril-yeh-nak kah-steh-lahn-skee] grape.

According to data shared by Dry Creek Valley zin producer Clay Mauritson in a conversation with Pig&Vine last week, " In 2004, there were 42,000 acres of zinfandel in the state of California. In 2012, there were 46,000." In other words, zinfandel acreage has remained fairly steady over the last 50 years or so. Most Americans now understand - and appreciate - the dry rosé market, which suggests that perhaps less blush-style zin is being made and more serious age-worthy reds are in the fermentation tank. Or maybe production has remained steady and the rosy-hued saccharine swill is being guzzled off-radar by funnel wielding sorority girls across the midwest. Even so, producers like Mauritson Family Vineyards have been growing zin for nearly 150 years, and their Sonoma County neighbor Ridge Vineyards has been bottling single vineyard designated zins since the early 1960s. Some stay the course. 

Zinfandel is a difficult grape to grow, with small closely-packed berries and thin skins, it's prone to bunch rot and a level of uneven ripening that surpasses that of other varieties, including Northern California's most widely planted red grape, cabernet sauvignon. Clay says it's partly the shape of the bunch itself. Once the primary bunch of berries have reached their maximum size, but before they begin to change color (aka verasion), the vine produces two additional bunches on top of that bunch, creating what grape growers call "shoulders". Those shoulders draw energy away from the primary bunch, leaving the situation a bit trickier when it comes to homogenized ripening. This is one reason why even the most restrained zin producers turn out wines with rich dark fruit qualities and voluptuous body. You can see the smaller bunch stacked on the primary one in the image below.

zinfandel on vine

Because of zinfandel's staying power over the decades, curious producers have begun to discover old abandoned plantings in places like Lodi, which got its reputation for producing the heady syrup-style cheap reds that turned so many of us off to zin. And by old, we're talking 70, 80, 90, 100 years old. That's old vine wine. The other thing we're beginning to see in California is a search for ideal site selection for all varieties, zin included. When Mauritson and Ridge talk about single vineyards cuvées, they're talking about carefully farmed plots that demonstrate distinct nuances in the wine. This thinking is more akin to Burgundy, and I'm fascinated to see where we will go from here. 

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you! If you enjoyed it, I'd be super stoked if you shared it with someone.

Ridge East Bench Zinfandel 2014

Wine: Ridge Vineyards 'East Bench'
Vintage: 2014
Country: USA
Region: Dry Creek Valley, California
Grapes: Zinfandel
Vines: Organic
Production: Small
Price: $30

It wasn't planned, but seems fitting that last week's zinfandel conversation continues into Memorial Day, as zin has long been considered the quintessential American grape. It's not actually an American native - more on that in a few days - but it has been unofficially dubbed our national vinifera. Paul Draper of Ridge Vineyards has been making Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma reds since 1962 with zinfandel a primary focus. He's well known among industry professionals for being especially transparent with his grape growing and winemaking. That, plus an unwavering focus on restrained and elegant wines, has made him a bit of a hero among the new movement cool kids, though he's not quite a natural winemaker. Still, the many single vineyard bottlings represent a honed appreciation for site selection over blend. By blend, I mean of parcels, not necessarily grapes. The East Bench zin here is only one of two 100% single varietal wines that he makes.  

Grown in seven parcels in the East Bench vineyard, planted in 2000 and 2001, this is still a young wine. Ridge's winemaking notes state that 2014 has been the first vintage that all seven parcels were developed enough to include in the final wine. The grapes are organically grown, though he does add some water, I would imagine, to drop and balance the alcohol, and a bit of tartaric acid. These two items - water and tartaric acid - are listed right on the label, a rare site on any wine bottles throughout the world. It speaks to the argument over what exactly IS in our wines. On the Ridge website, they also state the amount of sulfur used at crush and during aging. 

What I find most fascinating about this zin and Clay Mauritson's, which I wrote about last week, is that the vineyards are so near each other, farmed differently - Clay's are trellised and Ridge's head trained - and handled slightly differently in the winery. They're also from two different vintages - 2013 and 2014. Curiouser and curiouser, the nuances of winemaking - a beautiful marriage of art and science - never cease to amaze and reward.

The Ridge East Bench Zinfandel 2014 is a bold, rich wine with wild raspberry and blueberry flavors on the nose and palate. Great acidity and beautifully balanced with silky tannins and long, lush finish. I paired this with a pork tenderloin roast seasoned with ground cumin, sage, course black pepper and salt. Was a great match. 

Learn more about zinfandel from Clay Mauritson in our conversation shared last week, and check back here on Wednesday for a history and science of the grape itself. 

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you! If you enjoyed it, I'd be super stoked if you shared it with someone.