Posted: August 10, 2011 By Tim Fish
Whenever I write about the Sierra Foothills, I always call Bill Easton because he’ll tell you what he thinks, not what you want to hear. In these salad days of online news media, the rule seems to be “decide the story first, then fill in the blanks.” Chalk it up to my nights covering mayhem and BS at a daily newspaper, but I like being thrown a curve ball. That’s when you learn something.
Easton took umbrage—and he’s an umbrage taker from way back—when I said the Foothills were like the Finger Lakes and Long Island wine regions in New York, well-regarded by those in the know but largely undiscovered by the wine masses. He asked: Why compare? “Bordeaux may be like Napa may be like Barossa Valley may be like Stellenbosch.” Easton said. “It is what it is.”
Posted: August 3, 2011 By Tim Fish
Note to self: Whenever you hear someone grumble that California lacks the wine pedigree of Europe, remember the day you walked through San Lorenzo vineyard with Pete Seghesio and his boys.
It was one of those mid-summer Sonoma County mornings when the fog scares off early and the heat rises at you like exhaust from the dirt. Joe and Will were chasing each other in ATVs around the outskirts of the vines as Pete showed me the oldest patch of grapes in San Lorenzo, a 7-acre parcel near the Russian River in Alexander Valley.
"The deed for the ranch goes back to 1896," said Seghesio, whose great-grandfather Frank Passalacqua paid 10 gold coins for it. The copy of the deed is framed on the wall of his house, which overlooks the vineyard, and it refers to "seven acres of young vines."
Posted: June 30, 2011 By Tim Fish
Posted: June 30, 2011 By Tim Fish
Posted: June 20, 2011 By Tim Fish
Posted: June 10, 2011 By Laurie Woolever
Posted: June 1, 2011 By Kim Marcus
Posted: May 2, 2011 By Tim Fish
Posted: April 18, 2011 By Tim Fish
Posted: April 13, 2011 By Alison Napjus
Posted: March 23, 2011 By Tim Fish
"The resident meshugana of Napa Valley" is what John Buehler calls himself. Yiddish for crazy person, meshugana pretty much sums Buehler up. While his neighbors are asking $100 or more for a bottle, Buehler sells most of his wines for $36 or less.
"Five years ago, people walked up to me and asked what was wrong with my wines because of what I charged," Buehler says. "Now I'm a hero."
Posted: March 21, 2011 By Tim Fish
Posted: February 23, 2011 By Tim Fish
Posted: January 31, 2011 By Tim Fish
Zinfandel fans are a devoted bunch. Not only has the annual Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) tasting thrived for 20 years in San Francisco, but thousands of Zin buffs lined up Saturday in the drizzling rain for a chance to taste the latest releases from more than 200 producers. Except for a few 2006s and 2007s, most of the wines poured were from the 2008 vintage or barrel samples from 2009. The 2008s remain a mixed bag, with many unbalanced wines, but the best are showing more promise than I expected a year ago. The 2009 Zinfandels should have wide appeal, at least from my preliminary tastings. After the 2009 harvest, many of us didn’t know what to expect. The vintage was like a good book with a lousy ending. But the initial 2009 barrel samples seem pleasantly ripe and balanced, offering good structure and acidity. Following are my notes on some of my favorite wines among the roughly 50 I sampled.
Posted: January 26, 2011 By Tim Fish
A lot of us drank Zinfandel in the old days because it was cheap. For 10 bucks, I could buy a terrific bottle in the early 1990s and I didn’t have to cross my fingers or anything. Today the top wines run $30 or $40 and, since I don’t have a mattress stuffed with Facebook stock, I can’t drink those every day.
And yet, one of the perks of being a Zin buff is that it’s still possible to find a tasty wine at a decent price, and not just the generic Zinfandels that carry a California designation. Most regions still produce a few honest, handcrafted Zins that sell for less than $20.
Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County is home to two of my favorite values, and the current releases remind me why the wines are so reliable.
Posted: December 6, 2010 By Tim Fish
Posted: October 26, 2010 By Tim Fish
Posted: October 25, 2010 By MaryAnn Worobiec
Posted: October 13, 2010 By Kim Marcus
Posted: October 12, 2010 By Tim Fish
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