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Wines closer to home


bellaS.F.
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Hope to not sound too pedestrian, but our wonderful wine cellar is based mostly on Ca. wines. Living in the S.F. Bay area, and being very active in two large wine organizations, we are exposed, for the most part, to the wines from CA. through Washington. We are looking forward to gaining an education in European wines (as well as wines from other areas) Reading everyone's responses to their favorite wine memory, fed my senses.

For a wonderful domestic "sparkling wine", (I do faux pas and call it the C. word in the privacy of my own home) there is Roederer Estate in the Anderson Valley. Their vintage S.W., called L'Ermitage, is really wonderful. (Yes, I do know how the winery came to be, but this is where the grapes are grown and tended.) Anderson Valley is also marvelous for many Alsatian varietals. Our favorite winery, Navarro, makes some amazing whites (Pinot Gris, a very dry, spicy Gewurztraminer (wonderful with Thai food, Dungeness crab), a Chenin Blanc, and a Dry Reisling...), usually a very good Pinot, and small batches of other red varietals. Oh yeah, award wining late harvests if you like to drink your dessert. You can only get their wine at the winery (or at some very good restaurants) but they have a toll-free number and will ship (where Uncle Sam says it's O.K. to ship)

Love big Zins and Syrahs... anyone else?

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Not pedestrian at all. Peachy Canyon Zinfandel. Blockheadia Ringnosi Zinfandel (also their Sauvignon Blanc). Ridge is doing these different blends of Zin that I like a lot. I love Bonny Doon. When I lived in San Francisco we used to go down there a lot. Found some of their Syrah in a wine store in NY last year that I liked a lot; also their Pinot and their Roussane. Joseph Phelps -- I can get an inexpensive grenache that I like in the summertime and I just found a bottle of the Syrah. California wine is so good with California food; drinking it here in NY reminds me of meals I cooked in San Francisco. I also like Australian shiraz -- Mad Fish, Czimcy (sp?), Australian dessert wines.

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Have you ever tried Ridge's Pagani Ranch Zin? Quite yummy. Unfortunately, very hard to find. I have some suggestions for you, but a new Joyce Goldstein dish is nearing completion and I would rather not burn it. Tomorrow...

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No, never tried it. It's very hit or miss about finding California wines here. Oh, have you ever tried Peachy Canyon Zinfandel Port? It's so good, but I can't find it to buy here -- I drank it in a restaurant.

What Joyce Goldstein recipe are you cooking? (There's a dinner thread you can post on, too.)

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Our favorite winery, Navarro, makes some amazing whites (Pinot Gris, a very dry, spicy Gewurztraminer (wonderful with Thai food, Dungeness crab), a Chenin Blanc, and a Dry Reisling...), usually a very good Pinot, and small batches of other red varietals. Oh yeah, award wining late harvests if you like to drink your dessert.

Their late harvest Gewurtztraminer 1988 is truly world class. I still have a few splits; it will hold it's own with the best Alsatian SGN.

beachfan

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Beachfan, do you have the Cluster Select Late Harvest?

Toby, Iam going to call around tomorrow to see what I can find out about the Zin Port from Peachy Canyon.

I just found (and what a find!) this website this week after reading about Michael Anthony's obsession in "Food and Wine" magazine. Is just about everyone using this site from the East Coast? Is that why there does not seem to be much interest in U.S. wine? I would imagine that the selection available there is not grand. Before I moved out here, I used to visit S.F., enjoy all this area had to offer, and then go back to Philly with a list of wines, only to have a State Store employee sort of laugh when I requested them. One of about a skillion reasons to buy a one-way ticket out of there.

By the way, I made a risotto pancake from Enoteca by Joyce Goldstein. Some fun stuff in that book. I actually got to help her at a cooking demonstration earlier this summer. She was trying to coordinate making 3 dishes at one time. She joked that this when she could use a slave, to which I enthusiastically gave her one. I couldn't believe that no one else thought of it. (That is how I got to get up in an old Italian wine press and literally press wine, not at the same event of course. I still can't understand why no one else was interested in that one either.)

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Beachfan, do you have the Cluster Select Late Harvest?

Is just about everyone using this site from the East Coast? Is that why there does not seem to be much interest in U.S. wine?

Yes it's the Cluster Select Late Harvest. Turns out it's from the 1989 vintage.

While most are from the east coast, there are some West Coasters. I think the majority preference (if there is one) for European wines has more to do with taste preference and price/quality ratio than availability.

beachfan

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Beachfan--I do think availability and exposure plays more of a role than you might think.

Bella--we East coasters do travel, you know, and it's incumbent upon anyone hoping to form a sense of what's best or what's interesting to do so and to have an open mind and palate. Navarro has been mentioned, and their beautiful website linked to, numerous times on this site already--I just did a quick search, and found the first time I mentioned them way back in November here:

http://forums.egullet.org/ibf/index.php?s=...5503&hl=navarro

Here again in the context of direct shipping laws:

http://forums.egullet.org/ibf/index.php?s=...5551&hl=navarro

also here:

http://forums.egullet.org/ibf/index.php?s=...5551&hl=navarro

This was also one of our better CA winery threads, to which Beachfan contributed quite a bit:

http://forums.egullet.org/ibf/index.php?s=...&hl=schramsberg

There's plenty of interest in American wine bella--whenever someone asks me for my favorite two producers I have them taste their way though Navarro first and Chappellet second. (It isn't only their dessert wines--clearly among the best in the world--which win awards; their dry wines garner serious attention, and awards, as well.) However, you can't deny getting your hands on the best US wines, or limited production wines from small wineries, through the vagaries and restrictions of three tier system, all at a fair end price can be problematic. It is another one of the many reasons you are blessed to live where you do--and East coast wine drinkers turn toward France and Spain and Austria and South America and Ontario and Long Island and so on.

To your suggestion of Roederer for sparkling wine I'd add my favorite, Schramsberg.

It's very good to have you aboard--Margaret Pilgrim needs some local comraderie and we stand to gain from your added perspective as well. Welcome and post a bio in the bio forum if you haven't already done so.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Defining the East Coast, as I do, to be the Upper East Side of Manhattan, is the California wine selection here really so bad? What would be a few examples of can't miss California wines that you can easily get in California that I can't get at Sherry-Lehmann or Morrell or someplace like that? I mean, if you go to Morrell's Web site and search for all USA wines you get something like 30 pages of wines, many of which sound relatively boutique-ish.

Sparkling: Having tasted just about every serious West Coast sparkling wine, I'll cast my vote for Argyle's 1989 Extended Tirage Brut. Fresh yet amazingly complex, with structure out the wazoo. Of course I may be nuts. I brought a bottle of this to a dinner with several people I know to have excellent palates and nobody even remarked on it, while they raved to high heaven about a couple of over-the-hill Alsatian whites. So what do I know?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Was the wine identity disclosed to your dining companions in advance, Shaw? I've enjoyed Argyle and seen it on an increasing number of lists.

Also, as you're well aware, wineries have an incentive to get into NY so their wines can be seen on the NY restaurant scene and by NY wine media. Just because a wine may be carried in NY at a given price doesn't mean it is likely to be in NJ, CT, PA, MD, DC or VA at any price. But then, that doesn't fit your definition of the East coast so I hereby withdraw my objection.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Bella, thanks. I lived in Berks Co., PA for 2 summers recently. The state stores are ridiculous. Occasionally you can find ok wine, but there's no logic behind it. We found and drank a lot of Hahn's cabernet franc one summer -- it was ok.

Having grown up in NY, lived in San Francisco for 18 years, and now back here for 5, I think there's a disconnect in most New Yorkers understanding of food in California. It changed the way I cook completely, but it took me a while to understand. It's like visitors think the weather is fog. I think you need to live in any place for some time to understand. To me, drinking California wine in NY transports me back.

There are some Californians in egullet. I wish you all would post more about food and wine so I could enjoy it vicariously.

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Was the wine identity disclosed to your dining companions in advance, Shaw?

Yes. Are you suggesting that this might affect the judgment of a group of mostly Euro-snobs?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Also, as you're well aware, wineries have an incentive to get into NY so their wines can be seen on the NY restaurant scene and by NY wine media.  

Our friend who started Kunin wines followed that strategy. He focused on getting his wines on the wine list of top NY restaurants and select restaurants in major markets like Trotters, Radius and the French Laundry. Leveraging the cache factor of being on those wines lists is a cheap and extremely effective marketing strategy.

Even though Kunin wines is based in Santa Maria, it is probably easier to find their wines in NY than California.

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Kunin makes a nice bottle of wine. I've spoken to Seth Kunin on the phone and he seemed like a nice guy. I got turned onto their wines at a Skurnik tasting (local distributor) when Ned Benedict the wine director at Aureole turned me onto it. But in general, I don't see how anyone prefers new world wines vs old world wines. Where's the complexity?

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Seth Kunin grew up on the Upper East Side and my wife has known him since they attended Birch Wathen prep together. I’ll try to encourage Seth to make some posts. He can address the new world vines vs. old world vines question.

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What would be a few examples of can't miss California wines that you can easily get in California that I can't get at Sherry-Lehmann or Morrell or someplace like that?

Steven,

There are so many great Californian wines that are next to impossible to get outside of California. Limiting myself just to Russian River (Sonoma) Pinot Noir, off the top of my head I would say that it would be very difficult to find any of the following in NY (and if you did, it would likely be at 200-300% above retail):

Gary Farrell

Williams Selyem

Martinelli (Helen Turley)

Rochioli

Davis Bynum

Peter Michael

Any NYC leads would be greatly appreciated . . .

I also have a good friend who would love to know any NY/NJ store that stocks Turley zins.

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Kunin makes a nice bottle of wine. I've spoken to Seth Kunin on the phone and he seemed like a nice guy. I got turned onto their wines at a Skurnik tasting (local distributor) when Ned Benedict the wine director at Aureole turned me onto it. But in general, I don't see how anyone prefers new world wines vs old world wines. Where's the complexity?

Kunin's Viognier is the only California bottle that evokes Condrieu. But at least there's one example.

Actually Garretson's viognier also does, but it's not as sublime.

beachfan

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What would be a few examples of can't miss California wines that you can easily get in California that I can't get at Sherry-Lehmann or Morrell or someplace like that?

Steven,

There are so many great Californian wines that are next to impossible to get outside of California. Limiting myself just to Russian River (Sonoma) Pinot Noir, off the top of my head I would say that it would be very difficult to find any of the following in NY (and if you did, it would likely be at 200-300% above retail):

Gary Farrell

Williams Selyem

Martinelli (Helen Turley)

Rochioli

Davis Bynum

Peter Michael

Any NYC leads would be greatly appreciated . . .

I also have a good friend who would love to know any NY/NJ store that stocks Turley zins.

1999 martinelli blue slide ridge.........sublime, but try to find it in nyc., retail....

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