California floods may affect 2019 wine production

May 25, 2019

Memorial Day is Monday. At the end of a long, happy weekend, please pause to remember all our troops that have fallen in service to their country. Regardless of your politics, very few of the fallen had a choice, whether they perceived the wars were just or not. Those who join or are drafted swear to serve the will of the country. Conscientious objectors’ rights are secured by the troop. Others should take it up with all the old men and women sitting in D.C., in air-conditioned rooms with Danish and coffee.

Big-buck buckaroos should look into Chateau Trotanoy Pomerol 2009, which just entered its window. A true gem produced by Moueix of Chateau Petrus fame, who bought Trotanoy in 1953. This 99-100-point wine still shows dark color, but the sharp tannins evidenced on release have subsided. Nose still shows plenty of blackberries, cocoa and pie spices. A “fat” wine with wonderful concentration. Came on at $448 due to hoopla of vintage and hysterical wine scribes. It is being advertised under $400. Relatively great buy! By comparison, Chateau Petrus 2009 was rated 97 by most and sells for $3,775. That is per bottle, folks! Petrus came on at $3,100.

For my ilk, here are a few reality wines. Purple Heart, a red blend from C. Mondavi & Family, is so named “to honor the bravery, selflessness, integrity and determination of our troops.” CMF donates some of the proceeds to the Purple Heart Foundation, a truly worthwhile charity. A Sonoma red blend of 67 percent Merlot, 19 Zin, 8 Petit Verdot and 6 Cab Franc with four years of cellaring is some bargain. 2014 and ‘15 came in around $16-$18 and are 88 points McD. Look for nearly black ruby color, plums, blackberries and currant with hints of black licorice and cedar bouquet, and blackberries and blueberry with pie spice on the medium-bodied palate. Ready to drink. If you enjoy it, save by purchasing a case. They will cellar well at least to 2025. While I’m on this, any who buy new vintage Sonoma and Napa for consumption and can afford to store may wish to plan ahead. The 2019 may be problematic. Any cool, dark place, sub 75 degrees, will do for a short time.

I’m still awaiting replies from friends in Napa and Sonoma inundated by flooding, as most folks will remember. Over the years, Barbara and I have met several of the folks in the region. In many respects they remind me of those farming in our region. Warm, hospitable, down-home friendly, very hardworking and proud of their product. I have not prompted them for replies because I’m certain they are struggling to salvage what looks like a difficult vintage. Wine grapes, generally speaking, are not at their best under extremely wet, cool conditions. This year, keep La Crema in mind for Chard and Pinot Noir. For many years (since 1979), Rod Berglund was focused on Sonoma Coast. Now it is Jackson Family. Fortunately, they decided to acquire production from Central Coast, Monterey, Alexander Valley, Santa Rita Hills and most recently Willamette. La Crema’s recent efforts have had favorable QPR. The 2017 Sonoma Coast PN rated 88 McD and the Chard was 89 points. Both are sold under $20. In the Chard, look for apricot, lemon, apple, hints of oak-driven pie spice aromas. Complex palate shows lemon, nectarine and melon supported by appropriate acidity that provides a long, clean finish. The 2017 La Crema Monterey Chard is also 88 McD with bouquet of peach, pear, pineapple with a hint of acacia. On the creamy palate, vanilla and French butter (not movie butter). I Bidenized the “French not movie” bit from Keith Beavers of VinePair - great line. Those who want upscale can look to La Crema Nine Barrel Chard 2015, 95 McD, scrumptious.

Regarding Barr and spying. There is a small difference. Spying is an illegal activity. Surveillance is court authorized due to accurate representations of possible crimes. Words do have meaning. AG Barr is an excellent wordsmith. How many know the meaning of jejune? Insipid, banal, vapid and inane are several synonyms. Probably few utilize these in their daily correspondence. Perhaps uninteresting or dull works. However, neither captures the disdain jejune implies.