When I wrote the last post about field blends, I recommended one that’s produced by David Coffaro in Dry Creek (Sonoma County).
Then, I remembered the great afternoon my husband and I spent there a few months back. We’d never heard of him – there’s a Cafaro Cellars that we know of here in Napa Valley, but this is different.
After spending a few days at Sea Ranch and just loving the David Coffaro field blend we had with dinner one night, we decided to visit their tasting room on the way home.
It’s a very low key tasting room, but the wines! Truly a treasure trove…
For those of you who frequent tasting rooms and have tried enough Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet to fill a lifetime, just check out this vineyard map (you may have to scroll down to make sense of it). When’s the last time you tasted Peloursin? My answer to that question was “never” – until, of course we went to the Coffaro tasting room. Peloursin is an obscure red from the south of France. The only reason I know anything about it is because it’s a parent of Petite Sirah. The other parent in Syrah. Continue reading
Will you look at the color and size of these things? I was taking one of my favorite walks, by a who knows how old vineyard, and spotted these crazy-looking, neon grapes.
Could it be that I’ve laid my eyes on Flame Tokay grapes, in person, for the first time of my life?
And look at the vine’s next-door neighbor. Nice, normal looking black clusters. Could be Zinfandel, Grenache, Carignan, Petite Sirah, Barbera, Alicante Bouchet… Who knows? It’s a field blend.
In the first wine boom in California (late 1800s) there was a great deal of Italian influence and many of the grower/producers were inclined to plant several compatible varieties all together. They’d harvest and vinify them all together, too, so the blend was pre-made.
Since different varieties ripen at different rates, they’d end up with less mature fruit in the mix, which would keep the acidity lively and very ripe fruit, too, for rich fruity flavor, and everything in between. And they knew that including a little Barbera in the vineyard would also bolster acidity, where if they wanted more structure, Petite Sirah was the go-to grape. This choir of different varietal aromas and flavors coming together provided a kind of instant complexity and natural balance. Continue reading