One very interesting aspect of the wine tasting profession is the notion of a regional palate. The difference is clear to those who judge at competitions that use tasters from all over the world, or even just from different parts of North America, from east to west coast. There is a definite propensity for those who taste mainly wines from the west coast, whether it is the Okanagan Valley in BC, Washington, or California, to prefer lower acid, “bigger,” more fruit forward wines. West Coast palates also tend to be far more tolerant of higher alcohol wines.
Napa Valley is noted for its abundance of wineries, wine tastings, warm/hot climate (even in winter), lavish restaurants, and compact access to literally dozens of wineries—currently numbered at over 700. But, with notoriety also comes popularity. Let’s face it—in the summer and fall, Napa is a zoo of tourists and locals. The two main thoroughfares, St. Helena Highway (Route 29) and the Silverado Highway, are usually jammed with vehicles, as are the tasting rooms.
It takes guts to grow premium wine grapes—plus a sizable amount of cash, a love of farming, and the fortitude to deal with the ongoing challenges, both environmental and political, of producing a great glass of wine. Frost may not be the biggest of a grower’s concerns, but it has become a vexing problem here in California’s Russian River Valley, where the rights of farmers sometimes go head to head with the rights of fish.
he most open and evolved of Twomey's 2008 Pinot Noirs, this Russian River Valley ruby red beauty surprises with sunny orange peel on the nose opening up to ripe cherries. Soft with a zing on the front of the palate, opening up to berries and balanced acidity. Finish with a soft yet zingy finish. A perfect balance of yin and yang. Sister winery of Napa Valley's Silver Oak, Twomey Cellars is located in Calistoga. Read more at Another Wine Blog.
William Allen, of Simple Hedonisms, contributed three great Russian River Pinots, 2007 Siduri Sapphire Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir ($41), 2007 Lynmar Estate Hawk Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir ($70), and 2007 Holdredge Pinot Noir Wren Hop ($50). Total retail value $161.00.
Gary Finnan, of GFC Marketecture, contributed this marvelous bottle of Williams Selyem Russian River Pinot, 2002. Retail value is $65.00.