So here it is, Memorial Day 2018. Well, by the time I post this it will no longer be Memorial Day, but I'm writing this as sort of an "as I'm going along" kind of way.
So a few months back while at an industry tasting I was fortunate to come across a family run business that just so happens to own 3 distinct wineries. Two of the three I am very familiar as I carried them at the wine shop. Both always impressed me for a number of reasons.
One of the first things that my wine rep at the time mentioned to me was that these two particular wineries were owned by a gentleman by the name of Bill Price III. That name might not be of any significance to you, but to me, it meant "Kistler."
The interesting thing about Kistler was that while I knew the name and had opportunities to try some of the wine from time to time, it was rarely, if ever, available in the retail markets. It was another one of the "Cult" wines from California. They did make one wine, their Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay, that they did make available from time to time. Each and every time it was offered, believe me, I bought it!
So knowing that Bill Price was one of the owners of Kistler, I was highly interested in these other two wineries from a new venture he had started. Sort of like getting in on the ground floor. The wineries he began were Three Sticks and Lutum. Both wineries focusing on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to begin. Just as importantly, sourcing grapes from two iconic regions; Durell Vineyard and Gap's Crown Vineyard. Later adding to those with the addition of Walala, Alana, One Sky and William James Vineyards. Interestingly, the winery name came about as Bill was known as "Billy Three Sticks." Get it? The third or III (looks like 3 sticks).
When I tasted the wines being offered I had no doubt that they would end up on the shelf. Both Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir had a distinct Burgundian influence while showing what great fruit from these areas can bring and add to the wines.
So here I am at this industry tasting and seeing those wonderful wines once again. Now held under Price Family Vineyards & Estates, PFV for short, and joined by another winery called Head High, I had to rekindle my love of these wines. Indeed I did! I also made contact with their Chief Operating Officer, Prema Behan.
I know I probably took way too much of her time explaining the story that I just did above, but once I get started talking about something so inspirational, well, hard for me to stop. No kidding, right. One of the good parts of this was my connection with Prema. It allowed me to be one of the first to sample their new vintage of the PFV Estate Pinot Noir for 2016.
Now back to our program already in progress....
So here it is Memorial Day 2018 (wait, I already said that). In expectation of opening this wine for dinner, I had already made the decision to make my Mushroom Risotto with Seared Scallops. Risking my "man card" be taken away for not doing bar-b-que. I haven't done bar-b-que for MANY years and the only grill that I ever owned was a hibachi. Do they even make those anymore?
I just knew that the Umami flavor from the mushrooms and a creamy risotto would go oh so well with Pinot Noir. I hate to say this, (no I don't) "but I was so right."
So I've assembled all the necessaries for dinner, my mise en place if you will, and am opening the bottle of wine now in front of me. Wow, one good sniff and I can already get a feel for this wine. Pause to pour. As I usually like to do with all wines, I took my first sip with the expectation of leaving it to sit until dinner is ready. First impressions; Wow, more later.
Now I have some timing issues to deal with. I know the risotto takes the longest so I start that first, I'll not bore you with the step by step, just know I make risotto the old way, adding broth until creamy and usually taking at least 45 minutes. Not sure how I can translate 45 minutes on paper?? Much longer pause (does that work?). Now I'm sauteeing the mushrooms but still working on risotto.
You know what, I've given up on the "play-by-play." All during this, I'm trying to cook and scribble notes, and if you couldn't guess, I didn't wait on the wine. Just couldn't, too good. Fast forward, I'm done with cooking the mushrooms and risotto, have seared the scallops and sauteed some deconstructed Brussel sprouts and even worked on a mushroom syrup recipe I got from Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Time to sit down, eat and savor this wine to the fullest. While the food was, dare I even think about complimenting my own cooking skills (of course I will) extraordinary! Even more so was the wine.
The aromas of dark strawberry and cherry that carry through on the palate. Those combined with a touch of oak and spice that only kept getting better as the evening went on. Defining this wine as a Burgundian would not give it justice. Grand Cru gets you closer, but that distinctive fruit and long red fruit finish get you to what makes this truly a wine of distinction. Comprised of grapes from 3 of their estate vineyards, Durell, Walala and Gap's Crown, this blend brings together the best of the three. Only the second vintage to be produced, the wine is meticulously cared for and spends 11 months in French Oak, of which, 60% is new.
As I'm not certain as to availability in the area as there were only 865 cases made, you may want to contact the winery directly. You can click here to take you to their website, although at the moment you still need to call in order to order this wine, or at least that's what the website indicated. When you call please tell them "Hi, It's Don 4 Wine sent me." With small production and high quality, this may be the time to obtain some wines as they could disappear like Kistler.
I'm looking forward to reviewing more of their wines, especially some of the Chardonnays they produce given that they too come from those same vineyards. The Lutum wines are on my radar as well, along with their Head High wines.