One night last fall at a wine dinner at Chez Panisse, Alice Waters got up to address the dining room and made a surprising confession. “Shame on me,” she said, “for paying so little attention to California wine. I had no idea what was going on underneath my nose all this time. And to think that it was through my daughter, Fannie, that I discovered something so important around me.”
Eric Asimov, the New York Times' wine writer, has a great article in this week's NYT dining section about the changing style of California Pinot Noir. Asimov declares that he favors a lighter, more subtle, food-friendly style of Pinot and I whole-heartedly concur. But while this style has long been out of favor in this state, it's starting to come back. He hits on a lot of my favorite producers (people we've featured previously in 7x7, I might add) like Au Bon Climat, Copain, Calera and Peay. All these wines are worth trying if you see them in a shop or on a wine list. None of these wines are hard to find.
2006 Grgich Hills Estate Chardonnay
Citrus and apple with a hint of toast and spice. Tightly wound, this wine insinuates that even a half bottle will keep nicely for a few years. ($22)
2005 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs
Gorgeous and complex, this wine has the perfect balance between sharp, laser-like structure and deep, hedonistic richness. ($16)
2006 Robert Sinskey Carneros Pinot Noir
Sinskey has the touch when it comes to Pinot. Notes of red cherry and cranberry have an underlying bed of loam and tea. The fresh acidity is integrated for a velvety texture. ($19)