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Teeny Tiny Wines


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Who's your favorite tiny artisan producer?

Dover Dan and I were introduced to Old Wave by a local restaurateur who had three vintages on his list, and I think over a couple of months we drank his entire cache.

The wines are made from old vine Sonoma grapes, and feature a surfing cork on the label. (Every once in a while you'll pull out a bottle that has a label colored in with colored pencils, done by his kids.) :cool:

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Mary Baker

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Who's your favorite tiny artisan producer?

Dover Dan and I were introduced to Old Wave by a local restaurateur who had three vintages on his list, and I think over a couple of months we drank his entire cache. 

The wines are made from old vine Sonoma grapes, and feature a surfing cork on the label.  (Every once in a while you'll pull out a bottle that has a label colored in with colored pencils, done by his kids.)  :cool:

We recently discovered Kalamar wines. It's run by a guy who has an annual production of about 500 cases (split between merlot and syrah) in his three-car garage. The grapes come from Yakima Valley in Washington.

I'd say it's on par with DeLille's D2 or Mathews Red.

Out of 120+ Washington State Merlots evaluated last year, the 2000 Kalamar Merlot was awarded 4th place by Wine Press Northwest.

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

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I tried a Savignon Blanc from Tohu winery. The winery is located in New Zealand and it is owned by native people. The wine is absolutely delicious. It is difficult to find in the wine stores. Had to order mine special, but it is worth it AND the wine is under $20.00 per bottle.

matilda254

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Wow - great question! Here are a few of my faves from my trip to Napa and Sonoma in 2000:

Havens Wine Cellars makes some of the most luscious Merlot and Syrah I've ever tasted. Very small production artisan winemaking at its best.

Franus Wine Company, which shares facilities with Havens, also makes amazing and complex wines on a small scale. I met Peter Franus when I was touring the facility and was impressed with his passion and dedication. Also talked to him a bit about some of the more "mad scientist" type winemaking practices that he was experimenting with at the time. Very cool stuff. Very tasty wines.

Goosecross Cellars white wines were what really impressed me on my visit there. The Sauvignon Blanc and the Viognier were both exquisite. Quite reasonably priced for the quality as well.

Vincent Arroyo Winery in Calistoga makes a signature Petite Syrah that's absolutely one of the best domestic examples of this varietal I've had. In fact, when I was there, they were selling futures on the next vintage because it had sold out so quickly. I also tried the Zinfandel and it was very delicious. Walking along a creek on the property I stopped to chat with a gentleman who was running his dogs and playing fetch with them. Looked as though he might have been a caretaker or worker on the property. After speaking with him for about ten minutes, he finally revealed that he was Vincent Arroyo, the winemaker. What a nice and unassuming gentleman he was! I really enjoyed chatting with him more about his winemaking philosophies which are very Old World. Not a lot of manipulation of the wine, just do the best you can with whatever that year has given you to work with. Pretty cool and it definitely shows in the end results.

Unti Vineyards in Sonoma is also a personal fave of mine. Their Petit Frere Syrah is a perennial by-the-glass option at my restaurant and it is absolutely delicious. It has a very lovely Rhone-like quality and is very deep and intense in flavor, yet still very soft and easy to drink. I also love their Grenache Rosé, which is really hard to find, but well worth the effort. Seriously ballsy pink wine. Their Zinfandel, Syrahs and the Sangiovese are all excellent as well.

Pezzi King Winery also makes small production wines in both red and white varietals that are all consistently of high quality. The big reds like the Zinfandel and Cabernet are particularly noteworthy.

For imported wines lately since it's warmed up and I'm more into white wine I've really been enjoying the Chenin Blancs from Francois Chidaine. His various Montlouis bottlings (think blue-collar Vouvray from the other side of the river) and his Vouvray Le Bouchet (which I'm also serving by the glass at Rouge) are really amazing wines for the price. They taste a whole lot more expensive than they are and have all the lovely complex minerality and honey that one would expect from wines from that area. I think I'll have to go get some of that for my own wine rack!

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Well, you're all clearly missing out if you haven't enjoyed wines from Harrison Vineyards... :raz:

I've had the wonderful fortune of having two separate wine dinners with the delightful winemaker Lyndsey Harrison of Harrison Vineyards- I think her production is some 3,000 cases/year, and her best wines are her Pritchard Hill cabernets and chardonnays. She also produces a wonderful zinfandel she calls "Zebra Zinfandel."

I was fortunate enough to host a dinner with her in 2003 at Woodfire Grill in Atlanta, whre we were nearly mobbed, and then again this year at Blais, the now defunct Trio/El Bulli/French Laundry inspired resto.

Lyndsey, however, might not be the known as a boutique winemaker in the near future... She's originally from New Zealand and just purchased a lot of acreage in Central Otago where she plans on making Pinot Noir, Riesling, and I think Gewurztraminer.

Cheers,

C.R.

aka "Greg Koetting"

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My favorite small guy producer is Ted Lemon at Littorai in Sonoma. His "One Acre" pinot noir is my favorite current California wine. His production is so small that he only sells to selected restaurants, plus his mailing list. Worth looking for.

Mark

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Who's your favorite tiny artisan producer?

In this country (US), John Thomas. A small Oregon pinot noir producer with a very idiosyncratic style. Other winemakers who know him say that he will do anything for his wines (meaning work 24 hours straight, if required, etc.)

He is a somewhat shy man that does everything himself on his three acres of vineyard and declassifies any wine he feels is not good enough to bear his name.

Iconoclastic, mannered, authentic and very interesting; both the man and his wines.

Best, Jim

www.CowanCellars.com

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Havens Wine Cellars makes some of the most luscious Merlot and Syrah I've ever tasted. Very small production artisan winemaking at its best.

I couldn't agree more. Their merlots are really excellent. Also, the people involved couldn't be nicer.

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Marc Angeli from the Anjou in the Loire. Hard stuff to come by, but worth the effort. Great rose and dry "La Lune" Anjou (which would be AOC Bonnezeaux if not vinified dry) and great sweet wines too. Unsulfured, so be careful about storage.

Two domaines from Chassagne-Montrachet:

-- Bernard Moreau, who makes an amazing red wine from the "La Cardeuse" climat. They have a monopole on the climat, which, IIRC, is in the Morgeot 1er cru.

-- Fontaine-Gagnard, who make both great reds (Chassagne Clos St Jean, Volnay Clos des Chenes, Pommard Rugiens) and whites (Chassagne Caillerets is the only one I've had)

--- Lee

Seattle

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