"traditional" California wines

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Howard Cooper
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#51 Post by Howard Cooper » August 16th, 2018, 7:13 pm

Mel Knox wrote:
August 16th, 2018, 7:10 pm
Howard,
You might have confused Willie Mays with Louisville Las Cases....
No. Maybe with Mays Chambertin.
Howard

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Todd F r e n c h
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#52 Post by Todd F r e n c h » August 16th, 2018, 7:43 pm

Ross W wrote:
August 14th, 2018, 8:36 am
Tons of great suggestions. My favorites are: Monte Bello, Dunn Howell Mountain, Montelena Estate, Heitz Martha's Vineyard, older Mayacamas, Togni and Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard (and a relative bargain).
Can't say I've ever heard of this producer or seen the wine - tell me more...
Apparently I'm lazy, have a narrow agenda, and offer little in the way of content and substance (RMP) (and have a "penchant for gossip" -KBI)

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Re: "traditional" California wines

#53 Post by Wes Barton » August 16th, 2018, 10:14 pm

Todd F r e n c h wrote:
August 16th, 2018, 7:43 pm
Ross W wrote:
August 14th, 2018, 8:36 am
Tons of great suggestions. My favorites are: Monte Bello, Dunn Howell Mountain, Montelena Estate, Heitz Martha's Vineyard, older Mayacamas, Togni and Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard (and a relative bargain).
Can't say I've ever heard of this producer or seen the wine - tell me more...
Ken Burnap was an owner and manager of The Hobbit restaurant (which Alice Waters came to fame copying) then bought a site in the Vine Hill subregion of the Santa Cruz Mountains, which had been continuously growing grapes since 1863, from David Bruce, who had just switched it over from Zin to Pinot. Prior to that it had been well regarded for Germanic whites. Further back, around the turn of the century, a prominent east coast wine writer cited it as one of the only three grand cru vineyards in the United States. Structured, age worthy Pinots until he retired and sold the label to his long time assistant winemaker Jeff Emery, and the vineyard to a naive rich person who hired a big talking inexperienced winemaker. They ripped out those wonderful old vines while also expanding their plantings, which doesn't make much sense. As far as Cab goes, SCMV along with Ahlgren put Bates Ranch on the map in the late '70s. Jeff currently (starting in '05) gets Cab from the Luchessi Vyd. above Saratoga, a small quality site planted in 1981. It won't be easy to find a mature bottle due to small production and a local sales model. Woodside Vineyards Estate Cab is a similar old school quality Cab. They lost their need for national distribution in the early '80s.
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#54 Post by Howard Cooper » August 17th, 2018, 4:57 am

Wes Barton wrote:
August 16th, 2018, 10:14 pm
Todd F r e n c h wrote:
August 16th, 2018, 7:43 pm
Ross W wrote:
August 14th, 2018, 8:36 am
Tons of great suggestions. My favorites are: Monte Bello, Dunn Howell Mountain, Montelena Estate, Heitz Martha's Vineyard, older Mayacamas, Togni and Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard (and a relative bargain).
Can't say I've ever heard of this producer or seen the wine - tell me more...
Ken Burnap was an owner and manager of The Hobbit restaurant (which Alice Waters came to fame copying) then bought a site in the Vine Hill subregion of the Santa Cruz Mountains, which had been continuously growing grapes since 1863, from David Bruce, who had just switched it over from Zin to Pinot. Prior to that it had been well regarded for Germanic whites. Further back, around the turn of the century, a prominent east coast wine writer cited it as one of the only three grand cru vineyards in the United States. Structured, age worthy Pinots until he retired and sold the label to his long time assistant winemaker Jeff Emery, and the vineyard to a naive rich person who hired a big talking inexperienced winemaker. They ripped out those wonderful old vines while also expanding their plantings, which doesn't make much sense. As far as Cab goes, SCMV along with Ahlgren put Bates Ranch on the map in the late '70s. Jeff currently (starting in '05) gets Cab from the Luchessi Vyd. above Saratoga, a small quality site planted in 1981. It won't be easy to find a mature bottle due to small production and a local sales model. Woodside Vineyards Estate Cab is a similar old school quality Cab. They lost their need for national distribution in the early '80s.
Have not seen their wines for many, many years, but I liked what I had from them years ago.
Howard

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Re: "traditional" California wines

#55 Post by Kevin Porter » August 17th, 2018, 6:09 am

I expected to see Seavey mentioned by now. Then again, I haven't heard them mentioned in any context in years. What's going on with them? I checked their web site and they're still pulling big points from AG and others - why no chatter?

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Re: "traditional" California wines

#56 Post by Ross W » August 23rd, 2018, 2:25 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
August 16th, 2018, 10:14 pm
Todd F r e n c h wrote:
August 16th, 2018, 7:43 pm
Ross W wrote:
August 14th, 2018, 8:36 am
Tons of great suggestions. My favorites are: Monte Bello, Dunn Howell Mountain, Montelena Estate, Heitz Martha's Vineyard, older Mayacamas, Togni and Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard (and a relative bargain).
Can't say I've ever heard of this producer or seen the wine - tell me more...
Ken Burnap was an owner and manager of The Hobbit restaurant (which Alice Waters came to fame copying) then bought a site in the Vine Hill subregion of the Santa Cruz Mountains, which had been continuously growing grapes since 1863, from David Bruce, who had just switched it over from Zin to Pinot. Prior to that it had been well regarded for Germanic whites. Further back, around the turn of the century, a prominent east coast wine writer cited it as one of the only three grand cru vineyards in the United States. Structured, age worthy Pinots until he retired and sold the label to his long time assistant winemaker Jeff Emery, and the vineyard to a naive rich person who hired a big talking inexperienced winemaker. They ripped out those wonderful old vines while also expanding their plantings, which doesn't make much sense. As far as Cab goes, SCMV along with Ahlgren put Bates Ranch on the map in the late '70s. Jeff currently (starting in '05) gets Cab from the Luchessi Vyd. above Saratoga, a small quality site planted in 1981. It won't be easy to find a mature bottle due to small production and a local sales model. Woodside Vineyards Estate Cab is a similar old school quality Cab. They lost their need for national distribution in the early '80s.
Dan Posner had some 94 Cab a few months back. I assume he probably still has them.
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#57 Post by Ian Alper » August 23rd, 2018, 6:06 pm

Wes - great info on SCMV. Still enjoying their wines. Other than Arcadian, I can think of no other producer's pinot that has a track record for aging so well. And yes, they did a wonderful job with the Bates Cab.

I was invited to the pick-up party a few years ago even though I was not in their wine club. They had a Merlot, Cab and Pinot open that were all over 15 years old and I really enjoyed the Cab and Pinot (the Merlot was totally in the AFWE camp at that point).

Also enjoyed a Ghostwriter Bates Cab last year but not sure who is getting the fruit these days.

Surprised Kathryn Kennedy has not yet been mentioned. Their estate Cab ages and improves for decades and has a balance and lightness like few others.

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Re: "traditional" California wines

#58 Post by Wes Barton » August 23rd, 2018, 7:50 pm

Ian Alper wrote:
August 23rd, 2018, 6:06 pm
Wes - great info on SCMV. Still enjoying their wines. Other than Arcadian, I can think of no other producer's pinot that has a track record for aging so well. And yes, they did a wonderful job with the Bates Cab.

I was invited to the pick-up party a few years ago even though I was not in their wine club. They had a Merlot, Cab and Pinot open that were all over 15 years old and I really enjoyed the Cab and Pinot (the Merlot was totally in the AFWE camp at that point).

Also enjoyed a Ghostwriter Bates Cab last year but not sure who is getting the fruit these days.

Surprised Kathryn Kennedy has not yet been mentioned. Their estate Cab ages and improves for decades and has a balance and lightness like few others.
I. Brand gets Bates CF (think he gets CS, too, but maybe not released yet?) Don't need to taste it to know it's good, with traditional ripeness. A friend of mine got some last year as a sort of pre-commercial test batch. It's quite good. Fun fruit to play with. He'll be getting some again this year. Maybe it'll be the next board darling. [berserker.gif]

Kathryn Kennedy's estate vineyard has shrunk considerably, but the Small Lot has expanded. There's some really good juice in there. It's a preference thing, but I generally like the Small Lot better since it has more mountain character. It's long had a good amount of Martin Ranch Cab in the mix, which is right next door to Bates. More recently it includes a small bit of Bates.

If you recall the old Harvest Moon Vineyard, which Ahlgren and others used to get, that's the old higher up vines at Martin Ranch, which is in the SCM. There lower vines aren't due to elevation - which was the default fallback criterion when drawing up the AVA, while the lower part of Bates right next door is in, because it met the quality and character primary requirement. So, their own Therese Vineyards Cab has to use the Santa Clara Valley AVA. We did an extensive tasting of '07 SCM and SCV Cabs back when they were the current release. This beat out Monte Bello and Mount Eden with the group. That's just because it was a bit more accessible. It was my third, but not by much.
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#59 Post by Sean Devaney » August 25th, 2018, 7:50 am

Thanks for the great info Wes. Really great wines from Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard and Ahlgren from Bates Ranch. One small nit to pick is the Luchessi Vineyard is in Cupertino but close to Saratoga. George Luchessi was my brother and sister's 2nd grade teacher and is a really a great guy.

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Re: "traditional" California wines

#60 Post by Ian Alper » August 25th, 2018, 10:37 am

Sean - great bit of trivia! Do you know how large the vineyard is? When I drive by Katherine Kennedy I always imagine it to be some of the most expensive vineyard land in the world considering what nearby homes are selling for in Saratoga.

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Re: "traditional" California wines

#61 Post by Brian Glas » August 25th, 2018, 12:46 pm

I always enjoyed the Mayacamas Chardonnay.

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Re: "traditional" California wines

#62 Post by Sean_S » August 25th, 2018, 1:02 pm

Ian Alper wrote:
August 25th, 2018, 10:37 am
Sean - great bit of trivia! Do you know how large the vineyard is? When I drive by Katherine Kennedy I always imagine it to be some of the most expensive vineyard land in the world considering what nearby homes are selling for in Saratoga.
Different Sean but it can't be more than an acre or two left. Yes its darn expensive land which is why Marty sold it off. It you keep going up mount eden road there are even more expensive neighborhoods and vineyards. Lone Hawk vineyard is one such example (Nestled in between a half dozen or so $5M+ houses).

And yes SCMV is really good. Was at their pickup party a few weeks ago. One of my favorite local producers.
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#63 Post by Howard Cooper » July 26th, 2019, 5:06 pm

Anyone who has not done so should be George Taber's book Judgment of Paris. It really does a great job of laying out the history of many of the iconic wine producers and winemakers of California history.
Howard

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Re: "traditional" California wines

#64 Post by Neal.Mollen » May 29th, 2020, 10:33 am

So does Chappellet Pritchard Hill belong in the trad camp?
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#65 Post by Mel Knox » May 29th, 2020, 10:54 am

Neal,
I think so but I haven t been there for five years.

If we are talking about traditional California wines, then what tradition are we talking about?? For example, Au Bon Climat resisted going 15% alc etc but I don't think of them as traditional.
You could say the same about Qupe when Bob Lindquist was running the show.

We could say old fashioned Louis Martini Zinfandel, aged in 30,000 gallon redwood tanks, was traditional whereas Ridge Zin, aged in small barrels, is not. Is Ridge the New Tradition?

Did anybody mention Simi Reserve Cab?? I have older bottles thathave aged wonderfully but have not had any newer vintages.
ITB

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Re: "traditional" California wines

#66 Post by Eric Ifune » May 29th, 2020, 1:17 pm

If we are talking about traditional California wines, then what tradition are we talking about??
I opened a 1978 Mayacamas Late Harvest Zinfandel last week. Still quite nice, not pruney still good fruit. Reminded me of an old Amarone.

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Re: "traditional" California wines

#67 Post by Mel Knox » May 29th, 2020, 6:45 pm

Bob Travers at Mayacamas created a tradition with his '68 LH Zin....nobody thought yeasts could ferment must to such a high level of alcohol.
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Re: "traditional" California wines

#68 Post by Leonard A Mauney » May 29th, 2020, 7:07 pm

Larkmead

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Re: "traditional" California wines

#69 Post by Rich Brown » May 30th, 2020, 11:21 am

Eric Ifune wrote:
May 29th, 2020, 1:17 pm
If we are talking about traditional California wines, then what tradition are we talking about??
I opened a 1978 Mayacamas Late Harvest Zinfandel last week. Still quite nice, not pruney still good fruit. Reminded me of an old Amarone.
Nice! I've had that wine a few times and agree its still drinking well! The 68 is still my favorite Mayacamas LH - have 3 left that I'm waiting to open with friends/family as they're really hard to source.

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