Current employee of Le Dû's Wines in NY, soon setting off across the country to uncover the story of American wine! Follow us at @WineInAmerica.
#Nebbiolo is a surprisingly rare grape. Even in its native Piedmont, it accounts for only 8% of vineyard land. There are fewer than 100 hectares planted in the United States. 🕵️♂️🍇
Over 80% of prewar Italian immigrants came from Sicily and Southern Italy. Piedmont was the wealthiest and most politically dominant region. But if fortunes were reversed, could Nebbiolo have taken Primitivo/Zinfandel’s place as a grape relatively uncommon on the boot but dominant in California? 🤔🇮🇹🇺🇸
Probably not. The Nebbiolo vine is *not* for beginners. It flowers early and ripens late, making it susceptible to both spring and autumn frosts. It loves the occasional fog bath (some say the name is derived from ‘nebbia’, Italian for fog ☁️☁️☁️) but is prone to the mildew that may result from such humid conditions. Its fussiness would make Pinot Noir blush: it demands southwesterly exposure, a proper gradient, constant sun above, and fog licking at its toes. #diva
Sound anything like California’s Central Coast? 🌅
In the Santa Maria Valley, where the East-West Transverse Range bends back into the North-South Coastal Range, it’s possible. Vineyard selection still requires extreme discretion - an eye like @JimClendenen’s, perhaps.
Jim began the Nebbiolo program at the legendary #BienNacido vineyard in 1994. Production is small, but if you track down his “The Pip” Nebbiolo, it will only run you about $30. You’ll believe anything is possible when you have real California Nebbiolo of this quality come wafting out of the glass at you! 🙌🙌
🏞.“The Pip” is named after Jim’s old cellar dog Pip, a border collie. So it only seemed right to include one of our own pips! 🐈 — 2 months ago
The Barbera and Aglianico in this little friend would have been quite familiar to many of California’s early wine drinkers. 🍷 This is table wine as the Italians know it, in the tradition of those who made the journey to America and brought their grapes with them! — 2 months ago
Finger. Lakes. Saperavi.
If this ain’t American winemaking in the 21st century we don’t know what is! 🇺🇸🍷🇬🇪🍇
At least, that’s what we were thinking before reading up on Standing Stone and founders Marti & Tom Macinski. They actually first planted this fascinating Georgian grape here in ***1994*** (just 3 years after Georgia left the USSR, for those keeping score at home) intended for blending.
Increasingly impressed by the quality of the grapes, they offered their first varietal Saperavi in 2010 - as “The Dark Red”, since the grape name was as yet unrecognized by the federal government. Once it was, they became the first American winery to release a wine labeled Saperavi.
Fine tuned to the cold, high mountains of Kakheti in eastern Georgia, it makes sense why it would thrive in the Finger Lakes! The name Saperavi literally means “ink”, a sensible name for a grape with pitch-dark skin AND flesh! 🖤
Marti and Tom sold the winery and retired in 2017. But their enduring legacy may just be budding. We’ve heard of Saperavi planting projects underway in New York, Virginia, and Oregon.
Saperavi’s runaway affinity for the Finger Lakes may have been a bit of a happy accident, but the Macinskis deserve every bit of credit for thinking outside the box, putting it in motion, and bringing it to fruition! 🙌🙌🙌 — 2 months ago
Connor had this 2 months ago
Whadda wine! 🇺🇸🍷
Byron Kosuge established himself as a California legend at Saintsbury in Carneros from 1985 to 2001. Saintsbury’s cool climate Pinots swam upstream from the general thrust of American wine at the time, emphasizing a softer touch.
His own label, B. Kosuge Wines, takes it a step further to the West Sonoma Coast at the edge of the continent. 🌊🌊🌊☁️☁️☁️ He has dedicated the rest of his career to doing his part to find the path forward for California wine in a changing world.
Byron felt that 2015 and 2016 were the finest vintages he’d ever produced. So when 2017 rolled around as more of a B+ vintage, he declassified all of his elite Hirsch Vineyard fruit for use in the Sonoma Coast wine. Many winemakers would have used the opportunity to crank up the price, but Byron kept it level. Here at Le Dû’s Wines in Manhattan, it’s $32.99 on the shelf.
Repeat: 🚨🚨THIS IS OVER 50% HIRSCH VINEYARD PINOT NOIR AND YOU CAN GET IT FOR UNDER $35🚨🚨.
Byron is an insightful guy with a lot of thoughts about where California wine is and where it’s going. If you ever get a chance to visit with him, jump on it! — 2 months ago
Connor had this 2 months ago