May 2018 - Page 2 of 6 - Please The Palate
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Think Napa Valley and you probably think Cabernet Sauvignon. But, this past week, I spent three days at the first annual Wine Writers Educational Tour, taking a deep dive into Napa Valley. Of course, I tasted a lot of very good Cabernet Sauvignon and learned about the more than 100 soil variations in Napa and more. But we tasting many more wines than Cabernet Sauvignon and one wine that stood out over the week was a Riesling! The Smith Madrone Riesling is the Please The Palate pick of the week. Smith Madrone Winery was started by brothers Stuart and Charles Smith in the fall of 1970. They purchased their property, an abandoned vineyard, on Spring Mountain. A densely forested property, they logged the land and with the idea to make great wine, planted Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir was later grafted over to Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. When Stu Smith was asked why he planted Johannesburg Riesling, he explained that in 1970 and 1971, all of the grapes sold for the same amount of money. A white wine boon came in the mid-1970s but then the red wine boon followed and much of the Riesling in Napa began to be pulled out.
This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.
Barolo. Just saying the name sounds important. It sounds regal. It sounds strong. When I lived in the Piemonte area in Italy shortly after college, I knew very little, if anything, about wine. But on the table at every meal, I was drinking Dolcetto and Barbera on a daily basis. It was on special occasions that my friends would pull out a bottle of Barolo. I did not have the vocabulary to describe wine. But I knew that this was a special wine.
At Pebble Beach Food and Wine, a panel of sommeliers lead a discussion of Barolo as we sat down for a tasting of the Giacomo Borgogno wines from 1967 to 2010. Founded in 1761, Giacomo Borgogno is the father of Barolo, the original Barolo producer. He was the first to put the local wine into a bottle and commercialize it, beginning the legacy. The Borgogno family managed the estate for 247 years until 2008 when they sold it to the Farinetti family and a new evolution for the winery began.
Barolo has always been a classic wine, considered one of the best. The name implies a big, bold wine, but in the glass, the lack of a deep color contradicted this.
This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.
After much anticipation, The Studio by Feast It Forward is opening in downtown Napa. Bringing together food, wine, design, art, music and philanthropy under one roof, The Studio is a live studio experiential showroom and wine collective. The wine collective includes 16 producers, most of whom are from Napa Valley. But one of these producers is Inman Family Wines from Sonoma whose roots are in Napa.
Inman Family Wines is owned by Kathleen Inman, née McGowan, who was born at the St. Helena Sanitarium, as was her mother. Her father was also born in Napa, as well as some of her great-grandparents. Kathleen attended Napa High and was the editor of the high school page that used to run in the Napa Valley Register. As a featured vintner at the wine collective at The Studio by Feast It Forward, Kathleen is “excited to have my wine be in Napa because it is my hometown.”