Timorasso, Melon from California & other cool wines & things this week

Here’s the link for the Facebook event page for my Bele Casel Prosecco and Prosecco Colfòndo tasting in Los Angeles week after next. Angelinos, please come out and taste with me…

bubba stark zidarichMan, it’s been an insane week. It’s only October 3 and OND (October-November-December, the busiest time of year for restaurants and people who sell wine) is already in full swing.

One of the highlights of my wine week (although I actually tasted it last week) was the 2011 Zidarich Vitovska, which I shared with my friend Bubba Stark at Bufalina in Austin (yes, his name is really Bubba but I call him Moses for obvious reasons).

I’ve loved and followed Beniamino Zidarich’s wines for many years now and they consistently deliver vibrancy and wholesome, nuanced fruit flavors with just the right amount of oxidative character so as not to trump their balance. And these wines make you feel great the next day (if you know what I mean).

walter massa timorassoI was very stoked to taste the 2011 Timorasso by Walter Massa at my good buddy Nathan Smith at Dolce Vita in Houston where he runs a fantastic Italian wine program.

If you follow along here, you probably already know and love this profound expression of Timorasso, the white Piedmontese grape variety that Massa singlehandedly and brilliantly revived. The wine showed great this week but it has many years ahead of it imho.

But the most exciting thing is that it’s yet another benchmark wine that’s finally found its way to Texas, where Italian wine lovers continue to thirst for thoughtful and meaningful expressions of Italian viticulture.

lieu dit melonHouston’s own celebrity sommelier Vanessa Treviño-Boyd turned me on to the Lieu Dit 2013 Melon from Santa Maria, California when I tasted with her and Jasmine Hirsch at 60 Degrees Mastercrafted, also here in Houston.

I would have never expected to taste such minerality from Santa Maria let alone see a bottling of Melon. A truly original wine that knocked me out with its freshness and varietal expression. Vanessa’s serving it by the glass at the swank restaurant where she manages a great list.

monteverro super tuscanAnother highlight of the week was taking part in my first Google hangout tasting with young French winemaker Matthieu Taunay who works with Michel Rolland to make the newest arrival in the crowded scene of French-grape wines in Tuscany, Monteverro.

I can’t say that the wines are “my speed.” But it’s always fascinating to interact with a top-flight winemaker like Matthieu and it was compelling to hear him speak about sophisticated temperature-control technology that allows him to provoke spontaneous fermentation during vinification.

About 40 minutes south of Bolgheri, Suvereto, where these wines are raised, is as-of-yet uncharted territory in the expansion of this category. It will be interesting to see where these high-priced wines land among the Super Tuscan set.

And the Google hangout was a great way to taste with Matthieu. The PR firm sent out the wines and then set up the hangout. I was one of six wine writers on the call and it proved to be a fantastic medium for tasting and interacting in realtime. I really enjoyed it.

peperoni pizza recipe homemadeTracie P made us wholewheat pepperoni pizza this week. It was delicious.

lila janeAnd dulcis in fundo, it seems that Lila Jane could start walking any day now.

L’shanah tovah, yall! Erev Yom Kippur is tonight. I’ll see you on Monday. Thanks for being here…

3 thoughts on “Timorasso, Melon from California & other cool wines & things this week

  1. Hi Jeremy, Big hugs. Nice to see your little one growing. Always blown away by her mass of hair! :)

    There is actually a good chunk of Melon all around California as a result of it coming in decades ago mislabeled as Pinot Blanc. Both Oregon and California ended up with the mislabeled vines, and no one discovered the mishap until into the 1980s. Oregon was swift to make a correction so that most Melon vines were pulled to plant actual Pinot Blanc, though some old vine Melon from the 1960s still grows there. In California some people honestly still name their Melon Pinot Blanc and then add something like “Melon clone”, or they’ll bottle it with Pinot Blanc up front, and Melon de Bourgogne named in smaller print somewhere. The cost of vineyard testing here was undesired for most people.

    That said, some of the older Melon plantings are still here in California and properly named as such. Santa Maria Valley is a secret treasure trove of interesting fruit. Many of the vineyards there established in the 1970s grow older clones, and varieties not seen widely through the state. It’s pretty exciting walking some of those vineyards. Smaller, newer labels like Lieu Diet are jumping on unique bottlings of these varieties. Pretty cool. Santa Maria Valley proves to be quite a cool climate too, with unique and varied soil compositions so that you can get quality cooler climate varieties growing with super distinct mineral length.

    Cheers, Jeremy!

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