East meets West

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Well, it was bound to happen: our first CA wine!

We taste a lot of wine from all over the world here at Vinotas Selections, even if our emphasis has been on Europe, and more specifically, France.  That’s just a factor of the genetic roll of the dice that had me visiting family there and first trying wine there as a youngster.  But you have to keep an open palate in this business, you never know what you’ll find.  Sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised.

So one night, I’m blind tasted on a wine that I swear up and down is a ripe-vintage Côte Rotie, redolent of dark fruit wrapped around a core of bacon fat and earthy minerality.  Big, but pretty and nicely balanced.  Nope.  It was Cabot Vineyard’s Humboldt Syrah.  From Northern California, Humboldt County to be exact.  And yes, I had to Google Map it to find out exactly where this was.  Unbeknownst to me, it’s better known for other, uh, agricultural products.  The type one smokes.  Or so I’m told.

Humboldt County

Humboldt County

In any case, Cabot Vineyards is one of the northern-most wineries in California.  John planted his first vines in 1998 amid the rolling slopes and narrow gorges of the region, and the first wines came from the 2001 vintage.  John tends the vineyards using the same organic principles he learned as a farmer, with minimal intervention in the cellar to express the true nature of each plot.  He also uses very little or even no new oak, depending on the wine and the vintage.  As with all good winemakers, there is no set formula.

John working harvest

John working harvest

John sources his grapes from 5 different vineyards within 5 miles of each other on several different soils (schist, shale, clay) with differing exposures.  The average age of the vines is 10 years, with varied spacing depending on the site (some sites are at 35 degree angles!) and the vines’ vigor.  John farms mainly Syrah, with some Zinfandel, Viognier, and some small blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec.

Organic Vineyards Rock

Organic Vineyards Rock

Despite being from CA, these wines are not over-oaky nor are they sweet or super-fruity.  They are much more European in profile, with dark fruit, minerals and tons of acidity.  They have attained cult-like status on wine boards and on CellarTracker.  And now you are very invited to discover these fabulous wines for yourself, as they’ve finally hit the East Coast.

And I’m really proud to say we’ve got ’em.

Cheers!

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