My Top Five Aesthetic Discoveries of 2006

My Top Five Aesthetic Discoveries of 2006

5. Hiromi

This young Japanese jazz artist is…well…remarkable. Her compositions are original and unique in the same way the sound of The Who or Led Zeppelin’s compositions were unique. If you are a Jazz fan this woman’s work should become indispensable.

4. George Saintsbury
He’s not exactly "new". However, in the course of doing work for Saintsbury winery this year I had a chance to read through his work, mainly his "Notes on a Cellar Book. Saintsbury was a very influential English literary historian and critic who possessed a keenly intellectual and, I think, visceral appreciation for wine. In "Notes" you see these two things meshed with his Victorian sensibilities. Reading "Notes" is a real pleasure. Here is a good Post from WineSapian on Saintsbury and his "Notes on a Cellar Book".

3. Aged Sauvignon Blanc
We just don’t drink our whites with age on them, do we. My first exposure to a well aged SB that pleased me was a 20 year old Pat Paulson SB that was amazing…for about 10 minutes, then fell apart.  In those 10 minutes it tasted like no other white wine I’d had from the U.S. and I wanted more. But it left the room. This year I decided it was time to test aged SB and went out and found 3 or 4 ten year old examples. These were expressive, subtly fruity, with hints of maderization, a nuttiness and the best still possessed a backbone of acidity. I’m hooked.

2. Kermit Lynch’s Palate
The man is  legend and for very good reason. A bit of a tempered iconoclast, Lynch gained famed with his book "Adventures on the Wine Route". MFK Fisher called this book, "
  "One of the pleasantest and truest books about wine I’ve ever read." I never really sought out the wines that Lynch discovers and brings to his store, Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants, until this year. I’ve yet to be disappointed. He brings me discoveries and new wines and new ideas all at the same time when his packages of wine arrive at my home.

1. Old Hill Ranch Vineyard
Bucklin Winery became a client of Wark Communications in 2006. With that relationship came access to Bucklin’s 150+ year old Old Hill Ranch vineyard in Glen Ellen in the middle of Sonoma Valley. For those of you who are thinking, "Tom’s about to go off on a promotional aside for a client"…I don’t care. I’ve walked throughout this vineyard, through the season, this year and I never failed to be stunned by it’s complex, natural and intellectual beauty. Many of the individual vines are so unique they take on personality, particularly if you follow their progression throughout the seasons. Then there is the odd intermixing of varieties throughout the vineyard, a flagrant and promiscuous ensemble of more than 25 different types of grapevines. After harvest this year I was walking through the vineyard. The vines’ second crop and part of the first was still hanging on the vines. As I walked through the vineyard I found myself gobbling up and tasting Grenache, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Alicante Bouschet, Carignane, Syrah, Lenoir, Tempranillo, Chasselas, Mourvedre and who knows what else. And many of the grapes hung on vines over 100 years old. A sensual experience of this sort must be what wine lovers live for.

4 Responses

  1. Fredric Koeppel - December 30, 2006

    We recently had the Kalin Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 1995 from Potter Valley. A revelation. The current release is the ’96.

  2. David Vergari - December 31, 2006

    Try to get your hands on some Hunter Valley Semillon with ten years of bottle age. Absolutely remarkable! Happy New Year.

  3. Red Wine Varieties - January 13, 2007

    Red Wine Varieties

    Dryer red wines are your best bet for a flavonoid The bottom line is the sweete

  4. Montgomery Paulsen - April 27, 2012

    Get me your address and I’ll try to find you another 20-year old Pat Paulsen Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc to try. Just don’t leave the room this time.
    Monty Paulsen
    [email protected]

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