Punk Rock Girl. Workhorse. Card Shark. Vinophile. Woman Winemaker.
This is Jessica's bio listed on Armida's website, and it's brevity is fitting for this young woman who seriously enjoys her walk more than just the talk.
I caught up with Jessica last Friday at the Dry Creek winery and vineyard near Healdsburg. Since harvest 2008 is in and all the grapes are pressed the fun has begun in the barrel rooms. She showed me the forklift technique called the "swoop and carry" to move barrels up and down and between rooms. Watch the video links below to see this smooth forklift operator in action and to find out her favorite and least favorite winemaking processes.
There were nine Pinot Noirs from around the world in our first
"Drink, Pray, Make Wine Blind Tasting" last weekend. Our group
of 8 (7 women and 1 man) consisted of wine wholesalers, wine retailers, budding winemakers and general
wine lovers. We tried using the wine scoring sheet from Russ Beebe's Californiawinehikes
which did help initially to organize our individual experiences by a 20 point
system based on appearance, aroma, balance, body/texture, taste, finsih and
overall quality. However, we found the point system left us wanting more room
to roam- to wax poetic or at least offer more verbal discourse about our
experiences. It was soon apparent that the fun of social wine tasting is to
share our diverse palates. Everyone has a little different perspective and
that’s the fun of drinking wine.
Before I share the overall wine rankings and the wines we tasted, here’s what
one varietal from different geographies is a great way to truly learn the
meaning of terroir. We all could tell a California product vs. a French import, but the other new world products were tougher to place.
seeing the bottle you can’t be influenced by what you think you know
including the price point. I was personally surprised by a wine I had
previously purchased and enjoyed over the summer did not stand up in
our tasting. Wow, that sort of blew my mind.
temperature and O2 changes pretty fast so you need enough glasses to pour
and taste all the wines at the same time to level the playing field.
wine without food is weird. For many of us, we love wine because it pairs
with food so well. We rarely drink it solo these days. So to taste wine a la carte, the flavors can be almost out of context. For example, the
German Pinot Noir with low marks in the evening tasted a whole lot different (better) when we had
it the next afternoon with a bowl of lentil soup.
Wine Rankings of 1st Drink,
Pray, Make Wine Group Blind Tasting
Pinot Noir-Old and
3 Highest Ranked
1. Peay-Scallop Shelf 2006 Sonoma Coast14.2%
alcohol $52 retail Peay Vineyards
Tasting points: “Pretty” was the word falling out of our mouths with beautiful aromas and multilayered balanced flavors. See
Peay’s tasting notes on their website by Vanessa Wong, winemaker with whom I
hope to catch up with soon to hear about her thoughts on the 2008 grape and baby vintage.
2. Edgewood Estate 2001 Carneros 15+%
alcohol $24 retail (not available any longer but you can try Snooth. Jeff Gaffner winemaker. Tasting points: “A Cocktail Pinot” New Oak, Big with
good tannins still.
3. Vosne-Romanee 2005 Domaine Jean
Grivot 13% $52 at K&L Wines SF. Domaine Grivot applies an organic approach to viticulture, read more here at LaPaulee.com
Tasting Points: Strange Candy, Odd, Not good. Some liked this wine with food, some were just not convinced. For more on German Pinots-Are they a force to be reckoned with? See Greybeard's post on ReignofTerroir from Nov. 7.
My four 40-year old Manzanilla olive trees were picked on Nov. 2 by my talented friends who raked and plucked inbetween bites of Dynamo Donuts (ah it's good to have talented friends who like to make things like maple bacon donuts!).
The mini-harvest was completed at Figone's of California Olive Oil Company press just down the street. If you are ever in Glen Ellen, you need to stop in and meet Frank Figone-he has perfected the extra virgin pressing process like no other "olive oil vigneron."
Like the grape harvest this year, olive yields were down by 20% for much of the same inclimate spring weather.
Did you know that 99% of the olive oil consumed in California is imported? Only 1% of our wonderful California oil is consumed right here in CA!? What's wrong with that?
Frank takes the left-over olive pressings back to his olive orchards and vineyards to add nitrogen to the soil.
It appears olive trees and vineyards are the perfect agricultural pairing.
They say you plant grapes for your kids, and olive trees for your grandkids.