Toccata - A Little Bit of Dust from the Dirtman
We just returned from our long weekend in Wickenburg, Arizona at the Rancho de los Caballeros Dude Ranch. This was a five day fun-filled adventure into an old mining town in Arizona. There were plenty of activities to participate in and plenty of delicious food to eat. We had 80 of the nicest people that you could ever get together. We served the Toccata Sparkling Rosato at our featured dinner and it was a big hit. Many who attended said they were ready to go back next year.
We are just completing our yearly task of pruning the vines. One of the grapes that we prune nearly last is Nebbiolo. It loves to come out early so by pruning late, we delay budbreak by a couple of weeks to hopefully carry it past the frost season. Budbreak should be in full swing within three weeks. In the meantime, after all the rain we are busy mowing the grass, getting the irrigation systems in operational order, and starting mildew control. The vines have enjoyed the wet weather. It has been great for both irrigation purposes and cleansing the soil. The best news is that the great California drought has expired and as of early March, the Cachuma reservoir is over 73% full.
2017 Malvasia Secco: Always a best seller in the Tasting Room, this floral variety’s history goes back to Croatia and Greece. It is similar to Muscat Canelli but different in that it is a little more floral and flavors are a little sharper. This one contains .44 residual sugar which is less than most hotshot Chardonnays. If fermented completely dry, you would be tasting what might be perceived as bitterness. Try this wine with tuna salad or a turkey sandwich, cheeses, and light salads.
2016 Malvasia Bianca: I just tasted both of these Malvasia Biancas side by side and found this one to have a wonderful mouthfeel. I think the fact that it is 2.4 residual sugar helps to give it some creaminess, whereas the drier Secco seems to be a little crisper and almost tart. To me, this one exemplifies the richer flavors of the variety. These are two very distinct wines, even though they come from the same vines. Try with Easter ham, bleu cheese, or grilled pork.
2015 Nebbiolo Barbera: 2015 was a low crop yield year and wines from that year seem to be more intense. This one is 60% Nebbiolo and 40% Barbera, an interesting match because there is enough Nebbiolo to not be overwhelmed by the Barbera component. Barbera’s heaviness and jamminess are balanced by the austere high tannin, lighter colored Nebbiolo. The result is a wine with a beautiful hue that drinks readily. On its own, Nebbiolo would take longer to mature but this one is ready to drink. It would be great with rosemary roast pork, lamb chops, lasagna bolognese, and you might be surprised by how enjoyable it is as a red wine cocktail.
I am on my way to March madness with my friend Jed Steele in Jacksonville, Florida, followed by a stop in Nashville to try to sell some wine! You should consider attending the Vintners Festival in May. It’s a good excuse to come see us.