What We Say Mendocino County Brut
SUPERIOR WINE/QPR ALERT:
Today’s wine, from wine legend, Paul Dolan, is a superb sparkling wine, for a fraction of the price of comparable wines. The combination quality and low price has earned today’s wine this special alert. If you love great sparkling wine, do not miss out on today’s limited opportunity to try one of our very favorites.
LIMITED QUANTITY ALERT:
Today’s wine will very likely sell out. We are in contact with the winery, trying to secure another allotment. Don’t say that we didn’t warn you…
SECRET SAVINGS ALERT:
Subscribe to our Daily Dispatch (above) and you’ll always know what our Top Secret coupon code of the day is. Every day we issue a new members-only code that entitles you to have Ground Shipping included on orders of six or more and, sometimes, an added discount!
Mission Codename: Never In Too Deep
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Revisit Paul Dolan Vineyards and retrieve his delicious and unique Mendocino Deep Red Syrah, Petite Sirah and Grenache blend.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Paul Dolan Vineyards
Wine Subject: Brut – Sparkling Wine – Méthode Champenoise
Winemaker: Paul Dolan
Backgrounder: For today’s selection, we sent Agent Red back to Paul Dolan, in search of a fantastic exclusive sparkling wine for our Operatives Holiday celebrations. Made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, today’s stellar sparkler is made in the Méthode Champenoise. This method, one of four used in the creation of sparkling wines, makes for far more complex wines. With secondary fermentation occurring in the bottle, this method is far more arduous – and expensive – than other methods. As the name would suggest, the Méthode Champenoise is the same technique that is used in the making of French Champagne.
Paul Dolan, the pioneer of organic wine farming, is a hero to most organic wine producers in the United States. Paul literally wrote the books on sustainable wine production, with his ‘Code of Sustainable Wine Growing Practice’s for the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, and the ‘Green Winegrowing Handbook’ which gives an overview of Sustainable, Organic and Biodynamic wine growing. As CEO, market-leading Fetzer Winery, Paul led the company to sustainability and profitability, proving that it was possible to deliver wine that benefit wine consumers, wine workers, local communities – and the planet. His experience at Fetzer is chronicled in his tome, Paul tome on sustainable viticulture, ‘True to Our Roots: Fermenting a Business Revolution’. Today, Paul acts as winegrower for his own label, in Mendocino County, where he continues his tradition of crafting “special wines that sustain our environment, the place where we live and the people who live here.”
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Light golden yellow, this beautiful sparkling wine presents an unending cascade of fine bubbles. Bubbles rise in clustered columns, and move at varying speeds. At the surface of the wine, a fine halo of mousse persists throughout the drinking experience.
Smell – Fresh, sweet lemon and honey mingle with white flowers, green apple, yellow pear, lemon custard, soft vanilla and a hint of yeasty bread.
Feel – Fine and tingly across the entry. Then, as the wine passes the mid-palate, the bubble grow in a soft but energetic plume that expands slightly, driving bright flavors around the entire palate. Overall, this wine has a very elegant, vivacious feel that encourages more sipping.
Taste – Sweet and tart green apple, lemon curd and orange blossom lead the way. These combine with citrus, vanilla, pear, underripe white peach and the faintest hint of subtle spice.
Finish – Extremely long, for a sparkling wine, with gorgeous sweet-tart flavors that go on and on. After the fun plume of the mousse fades, this sparkler unleashes its flavors – which, in turn, take a very long time to fully fade away.
Conclusion – We have always loved Paul Dolan’s wines – just as we love the man and his mission. Today’s Mendocino County Burt is an extraordinary sparkling wine that really took us by surprise. We knew that the wine would be great, but our expectations were exceeded. What really surprised us was the low price of the wine. Not that we are complaining, of course. In fact, we are stocking up on this bubbly, which we will be serving at our Wine Spies HQ Holiday soiree, later this month, and again on New Years! If you love fantastic sparkling wine, this wine will certainly please you. Cheers to you and yours!
Busy with barrelling, Paul Dolan was unable to sit down with Agent Red for an interview. Please be sure to check this space, the next time we feature another of Paul’s extraordinary wines.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of Paul Dolan Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Paul Dolan Vineyards
About This Wine:
Characterized by a fine mousse and lively tastes of crisp green apple, our limited production Chardonnay blend is perfectly balanced by delicate tea biscuit flavors.
Our carefully tended rows of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are nestled near the Mendocino National Forest. This northern wilderness is a land of extremes, with cold nights and warm days that allow our grapes to reach ideal ripeness. Our sparkling wine has a lively fruit character balanced by crisp apple, ripe pear and subtle nut flavors.
This wine expresses the ego of place… the unique expression of a carefully nurtured piece of land, made manifest in each bottle. To this end, we do without conventional pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. We treat the soil and all we grow on it as a living, life-giving system. Our winegrowing practices create special wines, and sustain the land. They also sustain our environment, the place where we live, and the people who live here.
Holiday Pairings: crab cakes, pumpkin cheesecake, a celebratory toast
About The Winery:
As a fourth-generation winemaker, farmer and father, I seek to leave the world in better condition for my children. They inspire me to craft special wines that sustain our environment, the place where we live and the people who live here.
Organic grape growing and wine making are approached as a partnership with nature instead of an exploitation of the land. This takes patience, requiring more time in the vineyard. There are no short cuts or quick fixes with organic farming, but the care invested creates healthy soil, balanced grapes, and elegant wines that are expressive of place.
About The Winegrower:
The Winegrower – Vineyard/Farm as a living, life giving system
“A sustainable farm should be a whole farm, like a whole person. It must have integrity. It must have a moral center. It must be connected to its values and the greater world. It must aspire to do what is right, not just for the bottom line, not just from a legal standpoint, but from a moral and ethical standpoint. It’s not only accountable, it’s responsible.” Adapted from Paul Dolan’s True to Our Roots, Fermenting a Business Revolution, 2003.
Winegrowers are nature’s partners. These farmers take a holistic approach and treat the soil and everything grown on it as a living, life-giving system. They are always thinking systemically about how their activities give back to the land. Farmers use nature’s own processes to restore nutrients to the soil, regulate water usage in the vineyard and create biodiversity to keep balance. The plant and animal kingdoms are connected.
By listening to the unique needs of the farm, winegrowers find creative, natural solutions to problems that arise.
Biodynamic winegrowers use the biodynamic calendar to guide the timing of their work: when to plant, cultivate and harvest crops. However, biodynamic farming is much more complex and encompassing than the calendar. Farmers must also eye changes in the weather, rely on common sense and use knowledge of the specific needs of their land to guide annual farm activities.
The farm is a healthy organism – an individualized, diverse ecosystem guided by the farmer. The ultimate goal is the creation of a completely self-sufficient biodynamic farm that produces everything it needs onsite: fertilizer, pest control and water management.
Biodynamic farming and winemaking produce wines that are authentic expressions of the vineyard and the passion of the grower.
Varietal: 45% CHARDONNAY; 55% PINOT NOIR, 100% Organically grown grapes; C.C.O.F. Certified.
Appellation: Mendocino County
TA: 0.939 g/100ml
Disgorged: July 2, 2011