I popped in to the TAPAS tasting at the Presidio this past weekend: 30-odd wineries all making wines from Spanish varieties. I was on a bit of a mission, looking out for all the Albariños as I think this is a grape that California can and will soon embrace, my finds will be posted a bit later.
In the meantime however, are three wines off the beaten bodega.
2011 Pierce Ranch Vineyards, Arintom San Antonio Vallley AVA, Monerey County
Arinto is one of the oldest varieties out of Portugal. This one in particular was super crisp, with lots of stone fruit and lemon flavors. A very fresh wine.
Josh Pierce planted a half acre (which came out to three barrels) of Arinto, despite never having even tried any wine produced from the grape first – he had read about it and liked the idea of its high acidity and expected to blend it into his other whites…..lo and behold, his solo Arinto turned out pretty good.
It’s hard to keep up with all the wine Ken Volk makes. He admits to having his cash crops – Pinot, Chardonnay and some Bordeaux – so he can tinker with his “Underappreciated Rarities
One such underappreciated grape was his Malvasia Bianca (which on this Spanish day should have been called Malvagia…) This is like a lighter style Gewurz, so much lychee on the nose but the palate is a bit more rambutan – if you’ve ever tried one of those spiky little guys! – tropical with a hint of black pepper. Would be great with chow mein or a Thai yellow curry.
On a side note Ken had a high school summer job at the Wham-O factory…yes, Wham-O creator of such modern marvels as the Hula Hoop, the Frisbee and of course The Slip ‘N Slide (those links are all the original commercials if you’re feeling nostalgic). It just so happens though, that this summer gig inspired him to invent a tank a lees stirring device much like the Water Wiggle, where instead of water it gets, ahem, wiggled around by CO2. Love it!
Trousseau, or ‘Bastardo’ as our Iberian cousins call it – apparently with no insult implied – is the cult grape of the moment. This one is a beast. Some soft cherry fruit, a bit of espresso, and some black olive, this wine is rich and full….with spicy peppercorn finish as well. This is what one means when we talk about a steak wine, pure carnivore.
Dorothy Schuyler owns and makes the wines here, she had the foresight to move to Paso from LA before the influx. As the winery’s name foretells, they are all about Spanish varieties.