by Jeff Miller of Artisan Family of Wines (Seven Artisans, Sly Dog Cellars, Red Côte)
I couldn’t think of anything that would warrant a full post, so I decided to go with a potpourri about various subjects.
Pinot Noir. Had dinner with some friends and tasted a couple of Pinot Noirs. One was light and elegant, with fragrance in the forefront. The second, a full-bodied, almost brawny exemplar of the type that is becoming more and more common. Instead of strawberries, you get dark fruit and even some prune. I just don’t’ get it. If you want the second type of Pinot Noir, why Pinot Noir at all? Why not a Cabernet Sauvignon, or even a Zinfandel? Pinot Noir does elegant better than any other grape. Why try to force a round peg into a square hole?
Alternative varieties. Why can’t the consumer get their collective head around the fact that if nobody ever tries the alternatives, we’ll be drinking the same stuff for the next hundred years. I’m sure at some point in time, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir and Chardonnay were the alternatives of their day. I don’t know anyone that restricts their fruit intake solely to oranges. I know no one who limits their starches to spaghetti, who would never touch a bowl of rice or, God forbid, some couscous. If there are people who always order Vanilla ice cream, I don’t know them. But the numbers are legion of those who limit their whites to Chardonnay and their reds to Cabernet Sauvignon. It has been said that it’s easier to sell a mediocre Cabernet Sauvignon than a world class wine made from a grape the consumer hasn’t heard of. It seems to be true, much to the detriment of the development of wine.
Winery/tasting room. After waiting for weeks to hear back from the state about out septic system, we got an email with a number of documents that need to be filled out. Sent them on to our septic engineer. Called him several times, no return call. Still don’t know where we stand.
Weather. Mark Twain said climate is what you expect, and weather is what you get. Well, sunny California isn’t so sunny these days. At night it’s dipping into the low 20’s and even the high teens. Fortunately, the vines are dormant, so they don’t care. But it’s sure playing havoc with the water pipes. One leak (pull out drenched carpet, buy a couple of shop fans to keep air circulating to prevent mold), and I’m draining them now every night just to be safe. Not often that the weather in Napa is pretty similar to the weather in Toledo this time of year, though at least it is a little warmer during the day that it is there.
Obamacare. Or, in California, Covered California. Maybe if your income comes via a paycheck that is the same week to week, month to month, this all works ok. But if your income fluctuates, it’s really hard to figure it out. My latest foray into this is to convince whoever that I’m really an American citizen (can you imagine the pickle I’d be in if my last name were Perez). I uploaded, as instructed, my California driver’s license, and then got an email saying I needed to upload my social security card, which I dutifully did. Nothing since then. I don’t know if I’m sitting in someone’s pile that they haven’t gotten to or what. Somehow, it seems like we live in a world now where the simplest things are difficult (didn’t Clauswitz say that about war?).
At any rate, those are my musings on this cold December afternoon. At any rate, going back now to my basketball game. Sure hope the Bruins pull this one out.