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A Bigger-picture approach to drinking wine locally


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My problem (it's not a big problem) with the whole "locapour" movement is that once a wine is fermented, bottled, etc., it becomes not that much more important than an Epoisses in terms of consuming it 50 miles from home.

A ripe, organic peach? Yes.

That said, I once had dinner at a mega-starred restaurant in Haute-Savoie. My server, at the end of the meal, asked me about my cheese preferences (while standing in front of a cheese cart the size of a piano), and I said, "Well, I can get Reblochon at home in DC, so maybe I'll try some other local cheeses." He looked at me, with a slightly condescending smile, and said, "Get the Reblochon." He was right, more than I can possibly tell you.

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Here I sit drinking the last glass out of a bottle of Henri Billiot Brut réserve and remember why the only local wine I will drink is made by Jeff White - then again he has the sense not to grow Chardonay, PM, or PN in this climate.

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My problem (it's not a big problem) with the whole "locapour" movement is that once a wine is fermented, bottled, etc., it becomes not that much more important than an Epoisses in terms of consuming it 50 miles from home.

A ripe, organic peach? Yes.

That said, I once had dinner at a mega-starred restaurant in Haute-Savoie. My server, at the end of the meal, asked me about my cheese preferences (while standing in front of a cheese cart the size of a piano), and I said, "Well, I can get Reblochon at home in DC, so maybe I'll try some other local cheeses." He looked at me, with a slightly condescending smile, and said, "Get the Reblochon." He was right, more than I can possibly tell you.

I guess it all depends on what your reasons are for buying something locally. I have a solid list of reasons I source my food locally other than taste, although taste is certainly one of them.

Here I sit drinking the last glass out of a bottle of Henri Billiot Brut réserve and remember why the only local wine I will drink is made by Jeff White - then again he has the sense not to grow Chardonay, PM, or PN in this climate.

Well then I'd say you're missing out on some really excellent wines. By the way, what does your PM refer to because I can only think of petite manseng, which Jeff White most certainly grows and bottles.

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From what I have tasted locally, I really do not think that I am missing much - I am a fan of cooler climate wines for instance right now I am rehydrating from my afternoon workout with a glass of 2003 Domaine Follin-Arbelet Corton-Charlemagne (it has been a long week). I might start to get excited about more local wines if one of them would produce a drinkable white, no not a Corton-Charlemange, that is not possible outside of Burgundy, but something dry, medium bodied, with no more than a kiss of oak, and a modicum of complexity, oh and not charge me what I paid for the wine I am drinking now.

A clue on what I meant by PM, I was drinking Champagne.

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" a kiss of oak, and a modicum of complexity..."

Steve, I can't tell you how much I disagree with you. From the '09 Barboursville Octagon that we opened alongside of '09 Sassacaia two nights ago to the Granite Heights that I shared last night there are serious efforts in Virginia. It is arrogant to dismiss them. RDV is doing a "brown bag" tasting with a second growth in one, Caymus Special Select in another and the two RDV wines in the third and fourth. It's not only a successful marketing gambit, it's also a comeback for those like yourself who dismiss Virginia wine without knowing what the best now taste like.

At Woodbury Kitchen several weeks ago the sommelier was passionate about an upcoming trip to RDV for the tasting just as Jen from Black Ankle. The sommelier had Linden Hardscrabble Red on his list and was proud of it. It was smooth, silky and shared.

Jeff White also makes a great red, Hodder Hill, whose '10 may be the best Virginia red yet. I'll know more on Monday when I taste it again and pick up the case that I bought.

It's no longer that you are simply missing a good wine. Rather, it's your loss. Frankly, it's no longer that it is a good Virginia red but simply a good red.

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Joe, we have far different tastes in reds, you like them big and voluptuous while I like them a bit more reserved and elegant. For example you like Amarone, while it is not my favorite my tastes in red lean more towards Pommard. Reading your write-up of Octagon and seeing the examples you give of the wines that RDV is tasting their wine against I can assure you that they are wines that match my taste – I find Caymus to be over-ripe and over-extracted, and without knowing the 2nd growth I am going to lean towards the belief that it has been overly Parkerized (unfortunately most of them have). I am happy that you like the wines and advocate for them, there are different wines to satisfy different tastes.

But you also did not answer my challenge; I am looking for a drinkable white from Virginia or Maryland.

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Ah, gotcha' on the PM Sthich.

As for your white challenge, I think the 2010 Bedlam from Black Ankle (conveniently unfortunately sold out now ;) ) would fit the bill. It's cofermented in stainless steel so no oak there, with a nice round mouthfeel and a good bit of complexity as I remember it. It's my favorite vintage since BAV started producing that wine in 2006. I'm also a big fan of our Albarino, also stainless steel fermented. I find it very typical of the grape though so if you're not a fan, it wouldn't be for you.

To comment on the discussion about the RDV wines, I don't believe the Caymus is in the salon tasting because the RDV wines are made in a similar style, but simply to showcase their wines next to highly regarded wines. I was able to easily identify the bordeaux, the Caymus and the 2 RDVs without even swirling the glass (just taking a good sniff). It didn't take much more to discern which was the Lost Mtn and which was the Rendevous based on the palate. They still might not be to your taste - the bordeaux certainly seemed more old world in style and it's rated 98 pts by Robert Parker so... :P

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the bordeaux certainly seemed more old world in style and it's rated 98 pts by Robert Parker so... :P

I can assure you that if Parker gave it 98 points it is hardly "old world."

If I have an opportunity to try the mentioned Black Ankle I will try it.

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My problem (it's not a big problem) with the whole "locapour" movement is that once a wine is fermented, bottled, etc., it becomes not that much more important than an Epoisses in terms of consuming it 50 miles from home.

A ripe, organic peach? Yes.

That said, I once had dinner at a mega-starred restaurant in Haute-Savoie. My server, at the end of the meal, asked me about my cheese preferences (while standing in front of a cheese cart the size of a piano), and I said, "Well, I can get Reblochon at home in DC, so maybe I'll try some other local cheeses." He looked at me, with a slightly condescending smile, and said, "Get the Reblochon." He was right, more than I can possibly tell you.

Environment/travel costs would be a big one but I am sure someone will educate me on the efficiency of wine from Croatia traveling by llama to the sea and on a big boat for awhile and then a truck for a minute, vs me picking it up 30 miles from home.

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Environment/travel costs would be a big one but I am sure someone will educate me on the efficiency of wine from Croatia traveling by llama to the sea and on a big boat for awhile and then a truck for a minute, vs me picking it up 30 miles from home.

Travel costs have a negligible impact on the price of wine, a single refer carton packed filled with wine costs pennies per bottle as for environmental costs you probably consume more energy driving to and from a vineyard to pick-up a case of wine then it takes to put a case of wine on a truck in France, drive it to the port, ship it across the ocean, and then drive it from New Jersey to your distributer. Over-road trucks and container ships are very efficient per pound of freight, a car is not.

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Environment/travel costs would be a big one but I am sure someone will educate me on the efficiency of wine from Croatia traveling by llama to the sea and on a big boat for awhile and then a truck for a minute, vs me picking it up 30 miles from home.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ieiGjBELAY On this link @ the 32:08 mark Anthony Bourdain says "I want to bathe in this, I want to frolic in this wine. Where is my toga?"

Croatian wine from Bibich.

I foolishly bought a case of this based on those words above. Money that I could have otherwise spent at Black Ankle, Glen Manor, Delaplane, RDV, Barboursville, Linden.....

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