Organolepticians Number 77
How the seasons roll round! I wrote a song called “April Starlight” in 1977, when I was a tour guide at Mondavi, and my younger daughter was still waking up nights, needing a little snack. Just by sitting up with her for half an hour, in the wonderful silence of a chilly night, on a back street in a small town where there were a thousand times more vines than people, I could ride the turning wheels of eternity! It was a magic time, when I could feel my own heart beating with the slow rhythms of land and sky.
Now here we are in the 25th year of the adventures of Edmunds St. John, and the wheels are picking up steam! I’m glad to say I’m still making wine. In fact, I feel like I’m just learning how, in a way, to make wine that makes sense to me. I’m coming around to the idea that, if wine has an important place in the Grand Scheme of Things, (and our Western mythologies, at least, insist that it does) it’s surely not just for the mere aggrandizement of the mortals who shepherd wine from the ground to the glass, and therefore said wine needn’t be aiming to be thought of as “important.” But it damn sure ought to make us glad to be alive, and these days, that’s as important as it gets.
So! Let us be glad, in three new ways!
This blend was such a happy surprise the first time out, I felt confident about repeating the approach last year. It was an intuitive hunch when we dumped the Vermentino and Grenache Blanc together into the press in August of ’07. Lookiing at the way the ’08 turned out, I’m beginning to think it’s taking on a life of its own. One might be tempted to think of it as a beating heart of gold.
There’s more Vermentino this time around: 59% as it happens. It’s pale gold in color. The nose reminds me a bit of a Ligurian white (that’s where Vermentino first captured my attention): fresh, a bit floral, and that whisper of crushed rock, and lemon zest. A small, pretty note of fresh mint. Despite a little baby fat, it dances on the tongue, no boubt due to ample acidity. Lip-smacking, from start to finish!
2008 BONE-JOLLY GAMAY NOIR ROSÉ
Rosé needs, above all else, to exude freshness. Interesting about freshness in wines; you can open up a 20 year old red, from a good producer—from Burgundy, or the Southern Rhone, even, occasionally from California, and the freshness might be the first thing that strikes you, because so much time has passed since the wine was harvested. On the other hand, a wine that’s bottled just five months after the grapes were picked carries a freshness that’s all about being brand new. And after the dark, cold stretch between November and April, that burst of freshness from a new rosé carries the spirit of Spring, of renewal, of a fresh start. I don’t think any red grape does fresh as nicely as Gamay; that’s why we decided to make a pink wine from it in the first place!
There’s a trace of blue in this wines’ electric red-pink color. It’s got a really lively, fresh nose of strawberries and a little citrus (blood orange?), and a strong mineral streak. Vibrant in the mouth with great acidity, the pretty Gamay fruit just singing through the finish. What a barbecue season wine this will be!
(510) 981-1510, or info@edmundsstjohn.
I’m gonna bathe my feet down in that peaceful river;
Steve Edmunds (April Starlight copyright 1977)