Authors Posts by Hawk Wakawaka

Hawk Wakawaka

543 POSTS 191 COMMENTS
A wine drawing philosopher with a heart of gold. aka. #firekitten

For our holiday gift this year, Jr and I decided that instead of buying each other stuff we’d do something really cool together. So, I called up Captain Bob at Coastal Air Tours and arranged for us to take a flight around the San Francisco Bay and over Sonoma in a 1926-biplane. Old Blue even still has its original motor and original 104″ prop – the same type of motor and plane used by Lindbergh to cross the Atlantic.

Getting ready for the biplane flight

We flew in Old Blue but Captain Bob has another biplane from 1929 as well. He works on both himself and said that with planes of that era the maintenance is primarily focused on keeping things in good condition and well oiled rather than on replacing parts because most are so sturdy. He even loaned us flight jackets to stay warm.

in flight

Biplanes are piloted from the backseat. The front, where we sat, was just wide enough for both of us side-by-side. Sunglasses are a must-wear since your eyes need the air shields and it’s so bright out. We flew Sunday of this past weekend. It had rained hard on Saturday so our trip was unbelievably clear and everything down below was a brilliant green.

over the San Francisco Bay

As much as I knew what we were getting ourselves into when I made our plans for the biplane ride it is still completely overwhelming to look down after takeoff and realize you are looking *over the side of the plane straight to the ground below unobstructed* because when flying in a biplane you are of course also sitting outside. My mind is still sort of blown over that fact – we flew around the Bay Area while sitting outside.

the city on the right the Golden Gate on the right

While Captain Bob will do flights all over wine country or up the Pacific coastline, we asked if we could fly around San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge. Remarkable to have them both come into view.

the Golden Gate Bridge

Unbelievably beautiful – the Golden Gate Bridge.

approaching San Francisco

Getting ready to circle San Francisco.

San Francisco

Circling the city over San Francisco Bay.

San Francisco

We flew over the Bay Bridge then did a circle and came back along the Bay side of the city. Here, looking back as we flew on towards the Golden Gate Bridge.

the Bay Bridge in the background

The Bay Bridge in the background.

flying towards the Golden Gate Bridge

Heading towards the Golden Gate Bridge.

the city behind us

San Francisco and Captain Bob behind us.

we just flew over the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge behind us.

flying back to Sonoma low over the slough

After flying over the Golden Gate Bridge we circled around Marin and then came back over San Pablo Bay and flew towards Sonoma hugged close to the ground over the slough. It’s a trip to see what you can learn about a region from touring it by air. For example, did you know San Quentin Prison has tennis courts? Or that there is a rather deep quarry in Marin right on the edge of the Bay – I kept thinking it was close enough to the water that it wouldn’t take much for it to fill with water. Or, in Sonoma there is so much low-lying ground full of clay from San Pablo Bay and its flood zones. Most of all though it was all just stunning.

flying over Sonoma wine country

Once we reached Sonoma country again, Captain Bob flew us over the southern parts of Sonoma wine country before we headed back to land in town of Sonoma.

coming in for a landing Coming in for a landing.

If you’re interested in taking your own biplane ride, Captain Bob was fantastic. He does flights around the Bay Area, up the Pacific Coast, or over Napa and Sonoma wine countries. It’s pretty crazy sitting outside flying around in a biplane but it’s also fantastic and an utterly unique, special experience. It’s worth checking out.

Here’s the link to his website: http://coastalairtours.com

You can also call or email him for more information or to make a reservation. His info is on the website.

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Copyright 2016 all rights reserved. When sharing or forwarding, please attribute to WakawakaWineReviews.com.

 

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Last month Winebow sponsored their 5th annual Women in Wine Leadership Symposium. They brought together leaders and innovators from all aspects of the wine industry with women leaders from other industries as well including research, executive coaching, and law. They asked me to be a panelist on a discussion of bringing confidence to our work life.

Recently the organizers of the event released a video recap taking a look at some of the key discussion points from throughout the day. Remarkable women like the Honorable Analisa Torres, Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon, and communicator extraordinaire Marilyn Krieger all make appearances. I do a couple quick times as well.

Here’s the video.

 

Cheers!

Wine & Spirits Dec 2016The Northern Paradox: Refined Cabernet from Napa Valley’s Warmest Climates
by Elaine Chukan Brown

Calistoga Canyons

One of the earliest signs of up-valley Napa’s potential to grow great cabernet was Eisele Vineyard, a site planted back in a rugged Calistoga canyon created by a seasonal creek. The site has been continuously under vine since the 1880s, when it was primarily growing zinfandel and riesling. Cabernet arrived in 1964, when Napa was beginning to turn its attention to Bordeaux varieties.

The soils of the canyon’s alluvial fan (rare in mostly volcanic Calistoga) grew ample, silky cabernet that caught the eye of vintners like Paul Draper at Ridge, who bottled a single-vineyard wine from Eisele in 1971. The cabernet has been bottled as a vineyard designate ever since: Joseph Phelps claimed it from 1972 until 1990, when the Araujo family began bottling their own wines from the site. Such an ongoing library of site-specific cabernet is unusual anywhere in Napa Valley. Most of the current vines were planted in the 1990s and have reached a healthy maturity.

To keep reading check out the just released December 2016 issue of Wine & Spirits MagazineThe rest of the article digs in further to the growing conditions at Eisele Vineyard. The article then turns to Larkmead‘s new block-designate bottlings, also from Calistoga, and then moves south to St Helena to speak with Cathy Corison of her eponymous winery and Aron Weinkauf, winemaker at Spottswoode

Considering how very much there is to say about the two regions in North Napa, the look at the four producers is only a very quick dive into the good work people are doing in the area but it looks at some of the factors that have helped make that work possible. 

The current issue of the magazine also celebrates organic farming in Champagne, quality wines from Verduno, and the return of classical Kabinett, along with a look at this year’s top rated wines in each of those categories as well as Rioja, Port and Alsace. 

The editors even managed to sneak in a contributor photo of me with blond hair – I couldn’t believe it. They snapped the photo without my knowing at their recent Top-100 event. 

Cheers!

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Fulgencio

This year marks the 25th anniversary of ¡Salud!, an Oregon programme that provides vital healthcare services to seasonal vineyard workers and their families (see Alder’s recent column on Winegrowing in the wake of Trump about this vital aspect of American wine production). A record $911,300 was raised during the recent annual fundraising weekend 11-12 November.

The ¡Salud! auction took place the weekend after the US presidential election in the midst of a series of rampant protests that took over Portland, escalating by Friday to violence, filling downtown Portland and damaging property. The ¡Salud! festivities on Saturday carried an extra level of poignancy as a result. Attendees were not only well aware of the recent riots but also of the likely impact of the recent election results on the community ¡Salud! was designed to assist.

As with the rest of the United States, Oregon agriculture depends on migrant workers predominantly from Mexico. US policies that curtail immigrant labour have been shown to have a deep impact on the economic health of not only agricultural industries but also state economies more broadly. Alder’s recent report considered the likely impact on vineyard work in California under president-elect Trump’s proposed changes. Recent US history gives other examples as well.

To keep reading, heading on over to JancisRobinson.com where the article continues. You’ll need a subscription to read it.

Here’s the direct link: http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/oregon-leads-the-way-with-vineyard-worker-care

Subscription to JancisRobinson.com is £8.50 a month or £85 per year ($12.20/mo or $122 a year for you Americans) and includes searchable access to the new 4th edition of the Oxford Companion to Wine ($65) and the 7th edition to the World Atlas of Wine ($50) as part of the subscription costs, as well as interactive discussions on the Purple Pages. Click here to sign up.

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I spent ten days in Arizona this month tracking the burgeoning wine and food scene there. Having lived in the state almost eight years, I’ve kept an eye on things for well over a decade curious to see how the quality progressed through the region. Though in 2012 I moved west to California, I’ve returned at least once, usually twice, each year since to check in on developments and see friends. In 2014, things in Arizona wine seemed especially exciting as the concentration of vineyards with quality viticulture was increasing and the quality of top notch wines were increasing too. This Spring I returned for a friend’s wedding and quickly made plans to come back this Fall to research the food scene as well as the wine as it was clear things were taking off in the state.

So, at the end of October I flew into Phoenix and took a week touring Arizona wine countries – Sonoita and Willcox in the southern part of the state, and Verde Valley up north – before then being part of a full day event in Phoenix hosted by the Arizona Vignerons Alliance. In the midst of checking out Arizona wine country I also checked in on the local food scene. It turns out Arizona grows top quality durum wheat, heritage grains, and some of the world’s best pistachios as well. Those plus locally grown produce and meats mean the local foods movement has taken over area restaurants for top quality local food – I got to visit several of those spots as well.

Following is the Instagram photo collection from my ten day intensive on the road throughout the state. It gives insight into Arizona grown grains, pistachios, the state’s wine regions, and restaurants.

 

Yes! Getting these babies back on Native territory! Look out Arizona – here I come!

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And here stands the future home of Garage East, what will be a neighborhood winery in the Agritopia area of Gilbert, Arizona. Agritopia is a planned community designed to have whatever residents need within the community including community gardens, and a farm that serves the neighborhood restaurants. Garage East is part of a community for craftsmen built to house small businesses, each selected to be unique while also complementing each other with the idea that together they can grow new ideas and create solutions to issues that may arise for any one of them. Included will be a machinist, a brewery, a farm stand, florist, salon, letterpress and Garage East. Garage East has made wines from Arizona grown grapes and will also be experimenting with fermenting fruits from around the Agritopia farm. The focus is on making Arizona wines for Arizona with a central focus on the neighborhood community. #arizona @garage.east

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This is Sonoran white wheat, one of the oldest varieties of cultivated wheat in North America, with its roots in Arizona. It had been essentially lost as newer, high yield varieties took over wheat farming in the last century. Then 20 years ago ethnobotanist Gary Nabhan inadvertently located it while speaking to a small-crop farmer in Mexico. She had a coffee can full of seeds Gary had never seen before so he traded her for them. The seeds were propagated in Arizona and studies of the straw in the state’s ancient adobe structures showed it to be the same variety. Today Sonoran white wheat is cultivated by a few small-scale farmers in Arizona where it is being used to make local, artisanal foods like heritage pasta, bread and even the pizza dough for Pizzeria Bianco. #arizona @pizzeriabianco @haydenflourmills

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Jeff Zimmerman grows heritage grains in Arizona and mills them into flour, distributing it to artisanal food producers throughout Arizona, while also packaging and selling it throughout the United States under his label, Hayden Flour Mills. His work with Sonoran white wheat has helped make the heritage variety available to chefs and bakers throughout its home state. He has also helped keep durum wheat in Arizona. Arizona durum is considered the highest quality durum in the world with at least 90% of the state’s durum crop being exported for use in Italy. Farmer-millers like Jeff though have made it available for pastas, breads and pizzas here. In Phoenix, for example, Hayden Flours go into Pizzeria Bianco pizza dough and bread (Jeff started Hayden Flour Mills in the back of a Pizzeria Bianco restaurant), as well as FnB breads, pastas and grain salads. Jeff also makes him own durum pasta sold to restaurants throughout the state. Here we caught him in the midst of his weekend Flour clean up. #arizona @haydenflourmills @pizzeriabianco @fnbrestaurant

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Sonoita. #arizona

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Tasting with Kelly and Todd Bostock of Dos Cabezas in Sonita, first from barrel and tank and then across current releases in can and bottle. The wines across the board have a pleasing freshness coupled with generous flavor but most of all they taste completely of Arizona. The fruit notes changes but a kiss of agave nectar, a sprinkle of cocoa powder, flavors of molé and even the dusty red earth of the desert appear throughout. These are very much wines of place. The Bostocks are also doing exciting things making fresh wines with Brian Ruffentine for Garage-East that are breaking the mold by exploring making refreshing and charming young wines ideal for quick release as a thirst quencher for life in the hotter parts of the Arizona desert. Cool stuff. #arizona @doscabezas @kellybostock @garage.east

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Heading into Callaghan. #arizona @kentcallaghan @callaghanvineyards

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Thing one I like about Sonita: can’t get enough of that desert sky and landscape. #arizona

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Thing C I like about Sonoita… #arizona

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Dinner time get together with Arizona winemakers = taste wines of the world. #arizona

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Cochise. #arizona

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Dude. YES! #arizona @sandreckonervineyard

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Snakeskin in the middle of Rolling View Vineyard on the Willcox Bench. #arizona @piercebarbara @saeculumcellars

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Storm approaching over Turkey Creek. #arizona

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Oh would you just give me a big fat break I love Arizona sky too much #arizona

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Next time you’re in Willcox, eat here. The service is slow but damn the food is good. #arizona Unica on Hackett

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What is it?! It’s a wonder! Mystery of the desert! We saw it. #arizona

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Praise the Lord! We hit up my favorite roadside fry bread spot! Whoo hoo! My favorite. #arizona

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Yum. #arizona Caduceus 2015 Agostina white @puscifer

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This spot is going to be killer. Merkin Vineyards & Osteria opens Tuesday in downtown Cottonwood. They’ll be pouring Merkin wines but also serving a menu made from all Arizona sourced ingredients including produce primarily grown in Merkin gardens as well as pasta and bread made on site using Hayden Flours grown and milled here in Arizona (including Arizona heritage grains). The inside space here looks killer – awesome details throughout including an open kitchen and visible produce storage plus interiors designed and made by local independent designers, builders and artisans. Two years ago I got to see some of the pasta prototypes and this space before all the current innovations. It is really awesome and inspiring to see the development of those early ideas into the current form. #arizona @puscifer @haydenflourmills

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One of the most special spots I have gotten to spend time in any where, my second time visiting the 5000 ft elevation, steep slope terraced Judith Vineyard in Jerome. Last time we were able to follow it up with a vintage vertical back to 2008, including barrel samples. This time we followed up on a few of those vintages and tasted some of the newer varieties too, like this Nebbiolo planted in absurdly rocky, shallow soils of volcanic and caliché rock (read calcium, i.e. Limestone) – its first fruit vintage, 2015, is distinctive and delicious from barrel, super energizing and fresh. The site shows a totally unique dusty, almost chalky, glittering minerality across varieties, including the Malvasia. #arizona @puscifer

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Pro tip: get the fry bread again and always go for the powdered sugar option. #arizona

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Amazing. Arizona Vigneron Alliance live auction led by professional auctioneers. #arizona

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Brand new. Get on it. 33 Degrees. Malvasia Bianca and a Rhone red blend. Slurp. #arizona @puscifer

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Now entering a completely different world… (we ordered a mojito and margarita as safe bets.) #arizona @melktaylor

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Oh yes, Flagstaff, let’s do this. #arizona @flg_terroir

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Make a wish. #arizona

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Filling the need. #arizona @firecreekcoffee (that guy right there used to be my DJ. A few years ago one of my best friends unbeknownst to me lied to he and his DJ brother saying it was my birthday. Suddenly I had magical powers. If I called out a song they played it. We started with Prince and worked our way to AC/DC. I had no idea why the hell people kept bringing me drinks, asking me to dance and smiling at me until the DJ’s opened my favorite song with a HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ELAINE!!! and I got excited to find out who the other Elaine was. Our faux-birthday dance party successfully filled the bar and the dance floor, got my other friend asked out on a date, and got me into one of my only bar fights. The guy was three times bigger than me and I made him scream like a hyena (don’t mess with a woman’s hat) then they kicked him out. All thanks to that guy. Marty. He used to be my DJ.) for anyone curious, I ordered an almond milk mocha and it’s the most bitter awesome thing ever. (Also, I only ever get in bar fights in Alaska or Arizona. You know how it is.)

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Life is so very full of blessing when we open to it. I just spent 45 minutes listening to a Hopi man named Elgean as he shared with me his people’s religion, his clan’s belief system, what family means for him and how his name means he always has somewhere to go, people who love him. Elgean is from the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in North America with structures carbon dated to the 12th century. He taught me how to read Hopi painting and kachina – here a mural I have walked by so many times and never understood and others here in Flagstaff too. Here in Flagstaff I am not truly part of this Native culture but because of how I grew up it has been as if I see into two worlds. It has sometimes meant being called to intervene on others’ behalf only from being willing to interact calmly with Native people and because I am also non-threatening for non-Natives since for most I pass. One of the worst situations I broke up a fight provoked by a non-Native and helped the Native man home to a safe place again. The teaching “for the grace of god go I” was really driven home for me living here in Flagstaff – seeing that it is merely coincidence that makes my life easier than many people that are mistreated by prejudice. Today Elgean shared so much time with me, it turned out, simply because I smiled and was willing to listen. His teaching me to read the murals and telling me about his clan’s history and values was his way of thanking me even though all I gave in return was a willingness to listen. Before we went our separate ways he prayed a blessing for me, taught me the words for it and gave me prayer corn to make my life stronger. We can be as angels to each other. May we all continue to rise again and again to the occasion and listen, show gratitude and in that way love. #arizona

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Dude. Currently drinking Colorado Cinsault. And I’m drinking it. #arizona #colorado Sutcliffe 2013 Cinsault on tap.

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Flagstaff classic: Diablo Burger. Meat will get us through. #arizona

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Old school bricks look like brownies made from local soils in downtown Flagstaff. #arizona

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Look what I have… Congratulations, @puscifer ! Looking forward to the read! #arizona

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And this run through Arizona is finally coming to a close… #arizona

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Cheers!

Copyright 2016 all rights reserved. When sharing or forwarding, please attribute to WakawakaWineReviews.com.

Using Grapes from the same vineyard, Billo Nazarene found a way to make two distinct wines that flaunt Walla Walla’s newest sub-AVA’s unique terroir.

Steve and Brooke Robertson, Billo Navarene

In the southwestern corner of Walla Walla’s newest sub-appellation, The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater, stands the SJR Vineyard. Home primarily to Syrah, but also Grenache and Viognier, the almost 8 planted acre site grows in the signature basalt cobbles and gravel that gave the sub-zone the moniker local vintners prefer, the Rocks.

The Rocks was registered as a recognized AVA in February 2015. Geologist Kevin Pogue articulated the appellation boundaries based almost entirely on its unique soil conditions, a basalt cobbled alluvial fan deposited by the Walla Walla River at the southern part of the valley. The stones of the Rocks District resemble those that made Chateauneuf du Pape famous, but unlike their French counterpart, the tumbled basalt boulders of The Rocks District can be found up to 600 feet deep. While the basalt has eroded to a shallow iron-rich topsoil in portions, the stones dominate the landscape throughout the sub-zone.

To keep reading, head on over to the Wine Business Monthly website where you can view this article in its entirety for free. It begins on page 30 of the November issue and digs into how Steve and Brooke Robertson (shown above left) have worked to fine-tune the farming quality of their SJR Vineyard while also working with winemaker Billo Navarene (shown above right) to dial in the unique style of their Delmas Syrah. At the same time Navarene has also made his own Rasa Syrah from the same site. The result is two utterly distinctive Walla Walla Syrahs that each clearly showcase the characteristics of the vineyard while still being unique from each other. 

This article is one of my favorite things I have written in a long while – the Robertsons and Navarene were incredibly generous with their time and willingness to share tips and techniques on vineyard improvement and every step of the winemaking for both wines. I feel privileged to have been able to share such an insider view to the wine growing and making process. 

Here’s the link to the article: 

http://bit.ly/2fan6lb

Cheers!

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Discover small‑production wines that whisper to connoisseurs and collectors.

secrets-of-sonoma-lead

When people think of Sonoma wine, Pinot Noir comes first to mind, but the diversity of terroir makes the region suitable for both Burgundy and Bordeaux varietals to thrive. Sonoma’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean means cooler temperatures than in neighboring Napa Valley, and its 16 approved sub-appellations offer world-class wines across a range of styles. While its Burgundy varietals have taken center stage over the last few decades, the area first gained its foothold in winegrowing more than 100 years ago, through Zinfandel and field blends of mixed red grapes. Today, winemakers are preserving that heritage by turning to old-vine vineyards to create sumptuous new wines.

Adventurous connoisseurs are also looking to Sonoma for bottlings that most wine lovers look to Napa for—Cabernet Sauvignon. Elegant versions with the structure and tannins to age well can be found, often for a smaller investment, from some of Sonoma’s family vintners that dot the landscape. Read on for a selection of under-the-radar, handcrafted wines from some of our favorite producers that show off eight of the county’s sub-appellations. Embedded from Fort Ross–Seaview in the mountains along the coast to Carneros and the Russian River Valley to Sonoma Mountain on the county’s eastern side, these small-production vineyards are worth contacting directly to sample their best vintages.

To keep reading, continue to The Robb Report website for a slideshow look at what wines I’ve recommended from Sonoma worthy of gifting. The article is free-for-all to read. 

http://robbreport.com/paid-issue/slideshow/secrets-sonoma

Cheers!

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This summer Mark Davidson interviewed me briefly to ask what I like about Australian wine, in particular Pinot Noir. The result is a 2 minute 2 second audio snapshot of what I’ve seen from the producers and wines through some Australian wine travel and persistent follow up tastings and meetings with vintners since.

In it I speak to the importance of tasting global wine as well as having the freedom to go deep at home, the character of Australian pinot, and what gives wine energy.

Here’s the recording:

 

To read more, check out Wine Australia’s write-up on the tasting done on Australian pinot noir at IPNC here:

http://www.wineaustraliablog.com/events/australian-pinot-noir-breaks-ipnc/

Or, read my write up on the event here:

http://wakawakawinereviews.com/2016/08/08/ipnc-master-class-2016-australian-pinot-noir/

Cheers!

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This year I decided to do as much hands on, boots on the ground harvest time as possible.

Last week I posted photos from my journalistic deep dive of 9 days shadowing the team led by Raj Parr and Sashi Moorman in the Sta Rita Hills and Eola-Amity Hills. Together they’re directing Domaine de la Cote, Sandhi, and Evening Land.

After leaving Lompoc, in Santa Barbara County, I drove north to the Dundee Hills in Willamette Valley where I stayed while working over the bend at the Carlton Winemakers’ Studio. In wanting to go deep in harvest this year I chose to start first as a journalist (see last week’s post) and then work as an intern. But working as an intern was tricky – I needed a place I really could really do the work but without being attached to any particular winery. The Carlton Winemakers’ Studio was a perfect option. There I got to do some of everything involved in the winemaking process, see lots of different approaches and fruit from all over both Oregon and parts of Washington. (The early signs look like good harvest quality.)

At the Studio winemakers can be as involved or not as they want. Some are there only to use the space and equipment while others are there in a full custom crush capacity having their wine made for them. There is also every possible scenario in between of getting help while also doing the work yourself. As a result, the Studio itself needs interns. So, I signed up and worked as an intern for two weeks.

After I was in Willamette Valley for just a couple more days to finish up writing work before hitting the road back to California to get in those vineyards and work on an article about Napa Valley wine.

Here’s a look at the Instagram collection I made while in Oregon.

 

Road Pho is the best pho. #headingnorth

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First stop Portland: Heart. ❤️ #coffee

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View from the top: checking Brix levels on Chenin from atop the three stack. #willamettevalley @crltnwinestudio @wvwines

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View from the sorting line: full country. #willamettevalley @crltnwinestudio @wvwines

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Evening view from the sorting line: country sunset. #willamettevalley @crltnwinestudio @wvwines

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Field note observations on the Great American Earwig: they need some moisture but not too much. They do not come in on very cold fruit, nor on fruit from warmer sites. They do come in on fruit from moderately cooler sites . They seem to like fruit that is not excessively acidic. They go either under things or all the way to the top of things. Some portion of them can definitely survive a light press load but perhaps not the hard press. A high portion can definitely survive the destemmer. When you smash them they smell peppery. Have not determined yet how they do through laundry. They eat aphids so are beneficial. They tend to group near gardens. They are all over me. They like my hair. #willamettevalley @crltnwinestudio @wvwines

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Punch downs up high on Pinot Noir. #willamettevalley @crltnwinestudio @wvwines

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Exceptional Pinot coming in this morning. #willamettevalley @crltnwinestudio @wvwines

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So, this is good. That is all. #willamettevalley #vermouthfromwillametteforthewin #vermouth

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Yum. #willamettevalley @wvwines

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Doing cold soak on Pinot destemmed last night. #willamettevalley @crltnwinestudio @wvwines

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Behold the wonders of organic farming. #willamettevalley @crltnwinestudio @wvwines

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Doing pH and TA measurements on Pinot noir. #willamettevalley @crltnwinestudio @wvwines

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Brilliant and hilarious substitute. #willamettevalley @crltnwinestudio @wvwines

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Classic Oregon: marion berry pie for harvest lunch. #willamettevalley @crltnwinestudio @wvwines

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I have always like pressure washing. That is all. #willamettevalley @crltnwinestudio @wvwines

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Moving Pinot Gris between tanks. #willamettevalley @crltnwinestudio @wvwines

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Sample tasting Euro press versus Basket press cuts on Chardonnay. #willamettevalley @eyrievineyards @wvwines

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Steak and champagne. Harvest perfect pairing. Thank you, love. #willamettevalley

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Post Punch downs prime palm reading opportunity. #willamettevalley @crltnwinestudio @wvwines

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All about roses, so pretty and delicious. #willamettevalley @remywines @wvwines

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And there it is, the close of almost four weeks of harvest. One of my goals for the year was to spend harvest as boots on the ground, hands in as possible. In Lompoc I spent a week and a half shadowing the team led by @sashimoorman and @rajatparr joining in on cellar work as part of better understanding how their views of wine inform their winemaking philosophy and then become tangible choices through vintage and harvest. It was a great opportunity to continuously move between the big picture view, through interviews and discussions while also tasting, and the decisions of actual winemaking. Sashi and I have had an on going conversation about his winemaking views for several years now and diving in so fully was the best next step to give that conversation traction. I am grateful for the generosity and trust he and Raj showed in letting me truly see what they do. From Lompoc I drove north to Willamette to work at the Carlton Winemakers Studio. Anthony King (here second front from left) knew I wanted to work harvest so when he realized their team at the Studio needed help during the peak of the season he called to ask if I’d join them as an intern. Shown here is the team I got to be part of for two weeks at the Studio – from left, Ben, Anthony, Christina, myself, and Jeff in the back. Anthony, Jeff and Ben were excellent teachers and Christina a pleasure to work with. I was glad to reconnect with the strength and endurance I was raised with commercial fishing through the brute work of wine harvest, inspired to be part of a team again and reassured too to have the time this last month to give all this persistent study I’ve been doing in wine these last years further grounding. I really dislike the idea of being full of shit and tend to be overly thorough in whatever I do to resolve that. More than that though I just love knowing how things work and value full immersion as learning. I’ll never believe, I think, that I know much when it comes to wine but I am hugely grateful for the patience, generosity, humor, hard work and camaraderie shown me by the team in Lompoc and here. I miss you guys. Hugs to you all from the road #willamettevalley @crltnwinestudio @wvwines

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Thoughts from tasting samples today made from a vineyard I have visited again and again…

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To check out how my harvest in the Sta Rita Hills and Eola-Amity Hills went, read more about it here: http://wakawakawinereviews.com/2016/10/10/harvest-in-sta-rita-hills-and-eola-amity-hills/

Copyright 2016 all rights reserved. When sharing or forwarding, please attribute to WakawakaWineReviews.com.

3

I spent over a month deep in harvest this year here on the West Coast of the United States.

First, I did a journalistic deep dive following the team led by Raj Parr and Sashi Moorman in Lompoc for nine days through harvest getting first hand insight into the winemaking that goes into their three labels – Domaine de la Cote, Sandhi, and Evening Land – and a little bit of Piedrasassi and Combe as well. It was an incredible opportunity to truly see how they make their wines, shadowing the team in every stage of harvest from calling picks all the way through barreling down after fermentations are complete. The first seven days were spent with their team in their winery in Lompoc processing fruit from Sta Rita Hills. Then for two days Sashi and I went to the southern part of Willamette Valley so I could shadow the team there working with fruit from the Seven Springs Vineyard for their Evening Land project. The nine days were non-stop busy with full harvest hours.

After checking out the Seven Springs project, we flew back to Santa Barbara County and I drove from Lompoc to the northern part of Willamette Valley to work as an intern at the Carlton Winemakers’ Studio. More on that later.

I’ll be writing over the next months in a few different ways about my time with Sashi and Raj, but for now, here’s a look back at the Instagram collection from harvest with them and their team to give you a better sense of what harvest looked like. Integral to their philosophy about wine and winemaking is tasting wines from around the world that connect to the wine type or variety they are making, as well as enjoying wines that they admire, so there are also photos of some of those wines we tasted along the way.

 

Owning Trousseau. @rajatparr @duncanarnot @ownrooted

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Syrah? Yes.

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Chardonnay juice fresh picked this morning for Sandhi. #santabarbaracountywine @sandhiwines

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The actual wines from the 2011 Syrah blind tasting? … @sashimoorman @rajatparr

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There are clear reasons someone like Raj Parr has risen to such prominence and regard in the world of wine. The wines he has tasted repeatedly at different ages and stages in his life is one. His tasting experience revolves around the finest, rarest and oldest classical wines of the world. The memory he has for what truly seems like any wine he tastes is another. He can readily recount what wine he was drinking in what year and talk easily about how it tastes that time versus another time when he drank it again. The incisive clarity with which he combines these assets of tasting history and memory for it though ultimately deserves the regard he’s gained. It’s a level of insight few have. Last night he let me read through his November 1998 notebook written during his first trip to Burgundy while working as a sommelier at Rubicon as the assistant to Larry Stone. In the back were also loose pages of other wines tasted in the same time period. There I found this tasting note for the 1865 Lafite, a wine he has enjoyed again many times since, and continues to view as one of the best wines he has had in his life. Just his description here of the wine and his response to it captures for me so much about how Raj views wine, what he values in it, what he loves and that coupled with following the Domaine de la Côte crew this week has shined a light into what this Pinot project is about. The conversations with Raj, Sashi and John have been invaluable and their kindness in letting me do grunt work and be part of everything. It’s been a huge honor to have this time and I am super grateful for being given these glimpses, like this notebook, of lives lived in pursuit of beauty, taste, service and excellence. @rajatparr @sashimoorman @domainedelacote

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Oh, Pierre, you big tease. I love you. #champagne

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Holy moly this is good. Indian street food from Bollywood Theatre, Portland. #indianfoodforthewin

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Strange beauty full of intrigue and so alluring. Wonderful wine. #champagne

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Rain in Willamette Valley. #willamettevalley

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Walking Seven Springs Vineyard #Repost @sashimoorman

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To check out how my harvest in the Willamette Valley went, read about it here: http://wakawakawinereviews.com/2016/10/18/harvest-in-willamette-valley/

Copyright 2016 all rights reserved. When sharing or forwarding, please attribute to WakawakaWineReviews.com.