Wine Regions: December 2007 Archives

Breakout Wine Regions of ’08 – Part Three

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by Courtney Cochran

Journey to Japan

When I poured the 2005 Koshu Yamanashi Cuvée Denis Dubourdieu for a group of creative executives the other day, one wryly remarked that he sensed “a soupçon of Samurai sword” in his glass.  Jokes aside, this pioneering effort in traditional winemaking from Japan is dry, low in alcohol (just 10%) and offers tasty notes of lime rind and other citrus fruits before a crisp, food-friendly finish.  Koshu is one of the first vinifera grapes (the species to which Chardonnay and Merlot belong) successfully grown in Japan, and we should expect to see more of it on adventurous wine lists in the not-too-distant future. 

Breakout Wine Regions of ’08 – Part Two

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by Courtney Cochran

Patagonia Precedent

Voyage deep into the heart of Argentine Patagonia and you’ll find stunning Bodegas Familia Schroeder, a winery on the scale of the most ambitious in Napa.  The five-story, gravity-flow winery encompasses a white tablecloth restaurant in addition to its well-appointed visitor center and special “cave” showcasing the fossilized remains of a dinosaur found on-site during construction.  The Schroeder “SAURUS” (the name is a reference to the dinosaur) Patagonia Extra Brut Non-vintage sparkling wine is a sophisticated bubbly offering notes of white flowers, lemon zest and steely minerality before a crisp finish.  Pick number three to be announced Friday!

by Courtney Cochran

Whoever said wine is a stodgy industry offering few surprises is sorely mistaken. With three exciting wines from breakout regions as proof, I’m here to say that there’s lots of change afoot in the wine world, as new areas previously assumed unfit for wine production step into the spotlight, just in time for sampling in the new year.  

Georgia On My Mind

The rolling hills of north Georgia are home to Persimmon Creek Vineyards, a labor of love founded in 2000 when physician Sonny Hardman and his wife, Mary Ann, purchased 101acres along meandering Persimmon Creek and planted a vineyard.  The rocky soils and cool nights found there are ideal for grape growing, and their 2005 Persimmon Creek Cabernet Franc is a promising early effort, offering compelling notes of smoke and baking spices alongside firm structure and ripe red-black fruits.

Look for my other picks later this week...

How Green Was My Winery

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By Courtney Cochran

It used to be enough to be “green.”  

But with Parducci Winery’s recent recognition as a carbon-neutral winery – the first of its kind in the United States – there’s a new standard for environmental achievement on the domestic wine scene.

Mendocino County’s oldest family-run winery was awarded the prestigious 2007 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) last month in Sacramento for its pioneering work in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the effects of climate change.  Parducci’s use of solar power, wind energy and bio-diesel fuel was applauded, as was the winery’s commitment to taking additional steps to offset its remaining carbon footprint.  

Besides achieving carbon neutrality, Parducci and its parent company, Mendocino Wine Company, farm according to organic and biodynamic principals and are committed to sustainable viticulture practices that will protect the environment for future generations.

I’ll drink to that.