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How to Really Buy Wine. Go To Extremes.

on 24/09/12 at 7:08 am


For all the blather applied to wine (and I write this as a professional blatherer), the question everybody has about wine is this: How do I buy the stuff?

Of course, we’re not thinking mechanically. We all know how to trot down to the liquor store or supermarket to pick up whatever is on offer. Rather, the unspoken question is: How do I beat the system?

This is the thing about wine. It always seems like somebody—but not you!—gets the deals. Finds the nuggets. Seems to have inside information.

I can’t tell you the number of times someone has said to me, “There’s this great little Pinot Noir producer who’s really slamming it.”

I feign a mild interest. (Actually, I’m practically rabid with equal parts greed and annoyance.) “Oh, really? And who might that be?” I ask as casually as I can.

I’m then told about a guy who makes maybe 200 cases and—here’s the key—whose grapes come from the vineyard equivalent of a rock outcropping somewhere on the Aleutian island chain.

Let me give you a recent example. Just last week I visited a winegrower named John Cabot. He makes lovely Syrah from—get this—the northernmost vineyards in California. And where is that, you ask? Cabot Vineyards is located deep within the Klamath River gorge in the town of Orleans in Humboldt County. Trust me: It’s way out there.

John Cabot, 40, started nearly two decades ago as a grower of specialty organic vegetables. As so often happens, one thing led to another and he started growing Syrah and Viognier in a place about as far removed from conventional California wine culture as you can imagine. Humboldt County is famous for cultivation, but the cash crop isn’t wine grapes.

FULL STORY via Wine Spectator