Oh how we love Pinot Noir! That beautifully fickle grape that makes a medium bodied wine with notes of fruit (strawberry, cherry, raspberry, blackberry), earth (herbal, mushroom, leather) and spice (cinnamon, clove, smoky, tobacco). Whether from Sonoma, Napa, Santa Barbara, Oregon, New Zealand or Burgundy, Pinot Noir is a perfect food wine.
(First posted on November 6, 2012 on www.tastingpanelmag.com)
In September, six top Dry Creek producers — Paul Draper (Ridge), Erik Miller (Kokomo), Clay Mauritson (Mauritson and Rockpile), Doug Nalle (Nalle), Hugh Chappelle (Quivira) and Julie Pedroncelli (Pedoncelli) — participated in a panel discussion at Ridge Winery, "Debunking Zinfandel Myths," led by journalist Patrick Comiskey.
Left to right: Hugh Chappelle, Erik Miller, Paul Draper, Clay Mauritson, Patrick Comiskey, Doug Nalle and Judy Pedroncelli.
With vines dating to pre-Prohibition, Zinfandel is the grape most uniquely associated with California viticulture and was the first variety to create a wine craze in California; it is still known as "as the wine of the people." Today there is a renewed interest in this varietal as Zinfandel is being rediscovered and re-appreciated.
But do we want Old World or New World style Zin?
"It's a troublesome question to address," Comiskey explained. "Dry Creek really is a place of effortless naturalness for American Zinfandel. It is in a climate range that guarantees ripeness, and Dry Creek seems ideally suited for getting Zinfandel ripe in a balanced way."