If you are an Old World favorite follower you know that the wines’ distinction comes from the vineyard,chateau….dirt. More recently some New World wines are adapting this philosophy, but by and large they are still known by the winemakers.
Terroir is a word that does not easily translate into the New world philosophy. An easy way to think about it is just to think about the dirt, each area has differences in the soil. But, it is much more than that. It is the soil, minerals, water that make up a particular vineyard. But, it is also the air, total climate, farming techniques…history that make up terrior.
I am a firm believer that a great winemaker can do wonders with any juice given, but great wines come from great vineyards. Many think only of the winemaker as being important to the end result. The truth is that the the vineyard manager, the farmers who tend the crops and the winemaker all play important parts in the final product.
In a recent discussion with one of these “Rock Star” high end winemakers, he admitted that he is only as good as the grapes he can contract in each vineyard. Some very famous vineyards contract down to each vine. Think To-Kolon,
Recently I was given a couple bottles from the Gasparini-Beals vineyards, Dry Creek, Sonoma. Lambert Bridge Cab Franc and Cuvee Wine Cellars rose (from cab franc).
The Rose was light, crisp with hints of cherry and strawberry. A little bit hardier than most domestic Rose’. A compliment in my thinking. Soft and elegant. Thomas Pichon and Patrick Smith are the winemakers, both with long histories in California wines.
Lambert Bridge Cabernet Franc 2012, was an extraordinary treat. The minute the bottle was opened the fragrances filled the room. Violets and roses meld into the senses. The dark, luscious juice sends tingles down your spine. The rich, ripe fruit – full of plum, dark cherry and hints of chocolate and tobacco. What a thrill.
Jennifer Higgins is the winemaker, she also has a very illustrious history. Studying under some famous names such as Zelma Long, Jill Davis and David Ramey. What a lineup.
Gasparini-Beals continues to grow quality grapes. (Prayers to everyone in Sonoma and Napa). With these two wines the fame of this vineyard will certainly continue to grow.