Fall Release Report – Northern California
Toast to another great year with the tart strawberry, lemon peel, and Campari-esque nv Scharffenberger Brut Rosé Excellence Mendocino County $18. Despite unusually cool weather throughout much of the North Coast in August, particularly in Napa Valley, 2013 is looking similar to 2012 in both quantity and quality. Lodi and Lake County enjoyed an even, Mediterranean summer, with Lodi cooled by Delta breezes and Lake County by altitude. While we won’t see those wines until next year, some 2012’s in the pipeline to watch for include the 2012 Argus Chardonnay Atlas Peak Napa Valley $24, with honeysuckle and quince notes and a soft apple-butter finish, the lemony 2012 Vigilance Sauvignon Blanc Red Hills Lake County $15, bone dry with a rich vein of volcanic minerality, the 2012 Trione Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley $23, rich, creamy with a Chateau Carbonnieux-like vein of gooseberry, and the fresh and easy 2012 Dry Creek Vineyards Dry Chenin Blanc Clarksburg $12 from a vineyard in the Sacramento Delta just outside Lodi. Producers are ecstatic about 2012 reds as well. Marissa Lange of Lange Twins in Lodi says, “2012 was universally spectacular.” Tony Britton, winemaker for Marimar Estate adds, “2012 was the perfect growing season, nice and even. Everyone is completely stoked.”
His 2011 Marimar Estate Chardonnay Don Miguel Vineyard “Acero” Russian River Valley $29 is peachy and round with butter but no oak, in the trend that is upsetting barrel makers (Acero is Spanish for “steel’). In its second release, the 2011 DuMol Estate Chardonnay Russian River Valley $55 is creamy and tangy, Meursault-like, with a feral quality and minerality. 2011 was cooler and more difficult, but with wines like the 2011 Harney Lane Lizzy James Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi $35 you’d never know it. An absolute steal and made with 109 year old vines, it has layers of chocolate, raspberry, cherry cola, and tar and subtle vanilla from aging in French oak. The 2011 Sorelle Winery Sangiovese Troppo Bella Lodi $25 is full-bodied with deep cherry notes and a tart finish, very Mediterranean in style.
To read the full article, please visit http://grapegoddess-mastersommelier.blogspot.com/2013/11/northern-california-fall-release-report_12.html
Do any of you growers or producers have different views of the 2012 or 2013 vintages? Anyone have other newly released favorites from Northern California?