Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Clos Pepe, and...

We drove West on Santa Rosa Road to the Clos Pepe winery (the vineyard is on Hwy 246). It's set back from the road in a walnut orchard, in a facility they share with Cold Heaven, Bruno D'Alfonso & Kris Curran, and Arcadian. Chanda was there, with a couple of her greyhound friends; Wes was pouring, and there were tacos.

We tasted a 2001 Chardonnay from Wes's library, very clean and crisp with lemons and apricots on the palate. That was followed by six Pinot Noirs. Wes follows the wine wherever the grapes take him, and these Pinot's ranged from an elegant and subdued Burgundian style to a big, brassy Sta Rita Hills version. I didn't take any notes so you won't get descriptions, except to note that I brought home two bottles of the 2007 "Vigneron Select".

I would certainly have enjoyed tasting at Arcadian or at Cold Heaven, but being relatively familiar with their wines we passed on this occasion. I did ask Morgan about her new Sauvignon Blanc project...she's known as the "Queen of Viognier" and this is a new grape for her. But she told me she bottled it two days ago, and it's still mad. So no tastes were available. Next time perhaps...

Instead we drifted next door, where Bruno and Kris have set up shop. Kris was the founding winemaker at Sea Smoke; she has left them and is with Foley and Lincourt now. She still finds the time to make her own wine under the Curran label. Bruno was for many year the winemaker for Richard Sanford; he now makes under the labels Badge and DiBruno. We tasted the 2006 DiBruno Pinot Grigio and the 2007 Curran Grenache Blanc. The latter is one of my favorite wines, with a big and bold flavor with just a touch of residual sugar. We also sampled the 2005 Badge Sta Rita Hills Pinot Noir, a delicious, dark, moody Pinot, and the 2004 DiBruno Sangiovese. They also had some good-looking sandwiches, but we had filled up on tacos and so took a pass on that.

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