Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Thursday, October 11, 2007

La Reve Californie

French children somehow (Babar?) learn about California and San Francisco and start dreaming about it early. Many of them end up in San Francisco as adults. For me La Reve Californie is to be found outside of San Francisco in the wine country - Sonoma, Amador, the Central Coast. Of course, this may just be be a variant of my Reve Francaise. Other pastures always look greener.

Driving down the backside of Silicon Valley on I-280 (not in the rush hour), the tawny hills show no evidence of the frenetic activity just over the hill, creating a precursor, an illusion perhaps, of pastoral peace and beauty to come - the smell of eucalyptus, cattle grazing beside the road, vines showing their colors on gradual slopes - who could ask for more?

For me, La Reve Californie is the wine country, not the Napa Valley with its trophy and tourist wineries, but the the wine country - Paso Robles, Los Olivos, Solvang, Lampoc, Santa Barbara. Lucky me, I got to stay with my friends, Steve and Carole, in Morro Bay where the surf hits the sand, the sun sets are pink, the views are spectacular, you can still buy locally caught fish and the wineries are just a short drive away. Steven, BTW, makes the best poached eggs in the world. So tempting, they call out for red wine!

On the way to Morro Bay, I stopped at Hahn and Scheid wineries near Arroyo Seco. The Hahn wines were okay, but nothing to write home about. Carole tells me I tasted the wrong wines. Hahn had pulled out 30 year old Cab and Merlot vines to replace them with Pinot Noir. Why? Terroir? Winemaker preference? Money! The Bordeaux grapes went for about $2000 a ton, the Pinot sells for $4500. Thanks a lot, Miles! Oh well, so much for pastoral beauty, nothing is what it appears to be.

Scheid on the other hand continues to supply their grapes to many prominent wineries, but decided to make some wine of their own. Their 2006 Sauvignon Blanc is an exquisite example of the Sauv Blanc prototype in the "New Zealand style" although I found it pleasantly lighter. Elegant, light, crisp, tart with just the right amount of grassiness, lemon and grapefruit in both the nose and the mouth. Great with fish, seafood, and oysters, but quite good on it's own, too, since is so nicely balanced and not too acidic. If I were handing out ratings it would definitely rate at least a "90."

Check back to read about my visit to Paso Robles wimeries with Steve and Carole.


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