Gideon Beinstock of Clos Saron, a mensch among growers and winemakers (Slow Wine Guide 2019)

Posting on the fly this morning as I head out to Napa and Sonoma to taste tomorrow and Friday for the Slow Wine guide 2019.

But I just had to share the above photo, snapped yesterday.

That’s grape grower and winemaker Gideon Beinstock of Clos Saron in the North Yuba AVA, a sub-AVA of the Sierra Foothills AVA.

In the image, he’s walking me through his “Home Vineyard,” a parcel planted to Pinot Noir and the source for some of his best wines.

Many have written about his astoundingly good, utterly compelling wines. I was left nearly speechless by our tasting (this year, for example, he’s releasing a 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon that he farmed and vinified there; the 2013 Pinot Noir Home Vineyard Lower Block was also a standout among many truly superb wines).

Others have written about how he arrived in North Yuba and his years there since.

It was a thrill for me to get to taste and interact with this sweet, thoughtful, and inspiring man. But the thing that really touched my heartstrings was talking with some of the young people he’s mentored. They speak of him in such glowing tones and with such affectionate reverence. And the reason is simple: he so generously shares his knowledge and experience with them.

Where I grew up, they call that a mitzvah.

Gideon, thank you for your time yesterday. Tasting your wines with you was a truly moving experience. You are a mensch among grape growers and winemakers.

Wish me luck and wish me speed! A lot of ground to cover between now and Saturday! Thanks for being here.

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