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Winemakers taste, judge, discuss Napa Valley’s ‘artisan wines’

A tasting and discussion of “artisan wines” from Napa Valley set off an explosion of conversation between members of the St. Helena Star/Napa Valley Vintners Tasting Panel who met last week at the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone.
At the outset of discussions, the very definition of “artisan” was challenged. Brett DeLeuze of ZD Wines said he associates artisan winemaking more with home winemaking. DeLeuze does not see “artisan” as a positive term and said the goal of ZD is to produce world-class, not artisan, wines.
As the definition of “artisan” was explored, the majority of panelists agreed that artisan winemaking could be synonymous to labor-intensive, or “hand-crafted” wines. It also could be used by a winery making 100 or 30,000 cases; size was not relevant in and of itself, many contended.
Regardless of the term used, Kristen Belair of Honig Winery likened the pursuit of artisan or “fine” winemaking to a connection with a place — people having a connection to the product and understanding the source of the ingredients. Winemaking buzzwords such as “wild yeast” and “whole cluster fermentation” are used by wineries as a way to tell their story, to show their connection and attention to detail in making their product.
So lively was the conversation, it was evident the topic struck a note with the winemaking panelists. One sensed the discussion could have gone on forever, much like those meaning-of-life talks that go on all night in college where the partakers are surprised to find the sun coming up.
What was agreed upon by everyone on the panel was that a tasting of artisan wines from Napa Valley would necessitate a tasting of almost every single Napa Valley wine. As one of the great wine capitals of the world, Napa Valley uses, explores and re-examines winemaking techniques (that some may call “artisan”) in their pursuit of making the very best wines.
With an understanding that fine winemaking was being discussed, and trying to avoid the term “artisan” for fear of another round of dictionary definitions, a number of winemaking techniques were briefly discussed. These techniques are often used to denote attention to detail and fine winemaking, although surely each of these procedures could in turn be disputed or discussed at length by the winemaking members of the panel.
For some wineries, the use of native, or wild, yeast is important to producing fine wines. These yeasts pre-exist in the vineyard or in the winery cellar and their proponents say they provide a further expression of the growing site on the wine.
Other wineries use whole-cluster fermentation. This process requires putting whole grape bunches, stems and all, into a tank for fermentation, with no prior crushing or de-stemming. Those who use it do so to produce fruit-driven wines.
“Unfiltered” and “unfined” wines are other favorite descriptors among some Napa Valley wineries. However, John Skupny from Lang & Reed challenged the use of these terms, asking, “How can you undo something you have not done?” Panelists laughed in agreement, as John went on to use the terms “nonfiltered” and “nonfined” (no fining process used). Proponents of nonfiltered and nonfined wines say this is a gentler way to produce wine while also keeping the depth of natural flavors that exist in the wine.
Regardless of the techniques that a winery chooses, it became apparent that the goal is the same for the great majority of Napa Valley winemakers: to produce the best wines in the world. To do so, these winemakers are not satisfied to follow a set recipe and churn out wine each year. They prod, they explore, they re-examine techniques in their fervent pursuit of greatness.
With that, the panel examined the wines submitted by Napa Valley Vintner members for the tasting and found these to be their favorites:
• Jarvis 2008 Will’s Science Project ($105). This cabernet franc was aged in small (110-liter) barrels and only 400 cases were produced. Will Jarvis, son of the winery owners, made the first batch of this wine for his eighth-grade science experiment. When it was tried 10 years later, it was so delicious that the winery made a second batch in the same way and added this wine as a new product for the market.
• La Jota Winery 2009 Cabernet Franc, Howell Mountain ($75). The La Jota cabernet franc vineyard was planted back in 1976 and was grafted onto St. George rootstock, which resists phylloxera. Hand-crafted at each step, the wine is also not fined or filtered. Complex flavors with rich black fruits made this a popular wine with panelists.
• Alpha Omega Winery, ERA, 2009 Red Blend ($195). Wild yeasts were used for this 80 percent cabernet sauvignon wine, as well as barrel fermentation. Winemakers Jean Hoefliger and Michel Rolland have created a big, lush wine; panelists appreciated its rich red fruits and silky mouthfeel.
• Franciscan Estate, 2010 Chardonnay, Carneros ($40). This wine was produced with wild yeasts. Panelists loved its vivid fruitiness, and its gentle handling of oak. While having a nice richness on the palate, the wine was called graceful and elegant. This is a beautifully produced wine.
• Elyse Winery, 2007 Grenache, Carneros ($37). Whole clusters were fermented to make this favored wine, but what really captured the panelists’ attention was that dry grapevine canes were steeped in the must. Winemaker Mike Trotta explained that the technique was devised from an old Rhone Valley procedure, and enhances the aromas of the wine, adding white pepper and a nice smokiness. The canes are chopped into small pieces, toasted and put into cheesecloth sachets, which are steeped into the open-top fermenters. This wine has a beautiful nose of rich fruits, floral and spice leading to a rich, delicious wine on the palate.
• Oakville Ranch Vineyards, 2010 Field Blend ($38). This wine was made by fermenting zinfandel, petite verdot, primitivo, and petite syrah all together (co-fermentation). Panelists appreciated that the wine emulates the time in Napa Valley history when different grapes were all planted together and fermented together, creating what are called “field blends.” The wine was also favored for its expressive aromas and flavors.

With new golf courses springing up in and around Clark Philippines and an ever-increasing patronage by tourists from neighboring South Korea, Clark Freeport is short on hotel accommodation.

Even with the addition of 27 holes in 2009 and 2010, there is an acute shortage golf tee times for at least 5-6 months each year. Local players compete with frustrated (golf) tourists from Korea and China for tee times. Unfortunately Clark Philippines doesn’t have the luxury of vast tracts of land suitable for this type of development.

Mimosa offers 36 holes of championship golf, visitors can pay and play, busy during the weekends but not that difficult to get on or join up with a group to form a 4-ball. The new FAKCC offers 27 holes of world-class golf.

Where to go in Clark? Hotel Clark Philippines is a De Luxe Hotel in Clark and Subic, a risk free place to stay, cozy and nice ambience, a nice function place for special occasion

You might want to check also the Yats Restaurant is the best restaurant for special dinner, best restaurant for dinner with friends near Manila, also the best place to celebrate special events.

Famous Restaurant in Pampanga, a place to dine with friends in Clark, cozy restaurant with a nice ambience, a nice function place for special occasions. Yats Restaurant is one of the good restaurants in Pampanga, a restaurant with good food, a place that is nice for celebration, ideal for business dinner meeting, a good place to enjoy family reunion, and an attractive restaurant that serves good wines for dinner.

Are you looking for an attractive restaurant or a nice place to eat with friends in Clark, Angeles City Pampanga? Yats Restaurant and Wine Bar is a restaurant with good food and good wines for dinner located at Clark Angeles City Pampanga. Perfect for exclusive dinner venues for groups, recommended for private dinner in Philippines. A Restaurant in Clark for business dinner meeting. Private dinner place or dinner restaurant in Clark Subic Near Manila Angeles City Pampanga. Yats Restaurant is one of the Good Restaurant in Pampanga Angeles City Clark near Manila.

What many tourists and residents of Manila, Subic, Pampanga Angeles City and Clark Philippines found out over the holidays when they traveled out of town going north to Pampanga for a short getaway and a nice vacation was that there is a highly recommended hotel in Clark is also a very night out place.

Looking for a party venue in town?
Clearwater Resort and Country Club is one of the ideal venues for birthday party because it is a risk free venue. Not only Birthday Parties but also a good place to enjoy family reunion. A good place to celebrate special occasions. Clearwater Resort and Country Club is one of the resorts in Subic Clark Angeles City Pampanga or near Manila with activity amenities, place that are nice for celebration.

This web site contains articles and information that will be helpful to visitors, residents and tourists traveling out of town from Manila on a short getaway to Subic, Angeles City, Pampanga and Clark Philippines. There are several web sites that contain information that might also be pertinent to what is happening in North Luzon, Subic, Tarlac, Pampanga, Clark Freeport Philippines.

Looking for interesting hotels near Manila Subic Clark Angeles City Pampanga?
Trouble free hotels and well recognized hotels in Subic Clark Angeles City Pampanga
Clearwater Resort and Country Club offers a good place to stay in Subic Clark Angeles City Pampanga. In offers nice place to have rest in Subic Pampanga outside Manila.
One of the Philippines top hotels in north Luzon.

Wedding couples looking for wedding reception venues and beach wedding venues can log on to this Philippines Wedding Venue web site for free information and assistance:

Yats International Leisure Philippines

For assistance with lodgings, accommodations, hotels and resorts near Manila in Subic, Pampanga, Angels City and Clark Philippines log on to

While in Clark, one might as well add to the itinerary a visit to the famous Clark Wine Center, the largest wine shop in Philippines which offers over 2000 selections of fine vintage wine from all wine regions, vintages spanning over 50 years covering all price ranges.

If this article about Clark is useful to you, please click here to contact us to tell us what more you wish to know about this article or Clark Philippines, which can be something about Clark investment, about Clark resorts, about Clark Swimming and Leisure or simply general news about Clark.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012 Learn about wine, Press Releases




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