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Discovering new wines at Napa estates
John Williams, owner of Frog Leap Winery in the Rutherford appellation of Napa Valley, discusses his farming philosophy while sipping the sauvignon blanc. Jen Eastwood/Special to the RGJ)Better late than never.
That old vine aphorism came quickly to mind after a recent weekend visit to three Napa Valley wineries. Before the trip, I'd seen their releases on wine lists or in wine stores around town and with two of the Comprar Levitra producers, those sightings had been fairly frequent.
Sighting, though, had never become sipping (with the exception of one wine dinner), but that's all changed. The wineries repaid my visit with pours that were well balanced, resisting the fashionable temptations of ostentatious fruit or excessive oak or tannins that should be brought up on charges. At every estate, I found wines that I'd want to drink again, that I wished I'd tried earlier.
And the wineries were truly family affairs, their proprietors having decades' long (and, in some cases, generations' long) connections to the Napa Valley.
John Williams, whose family owns Frog's Leap Winery, grew up on a dairy farm in upstate New York. But it was vines, not udders, that were to be his destiny. As an undergraduate at Cornell University, he took a job in a winery "there were pretty girls and not a cow in sight," Williams recalled, laughing, on a broiling late July day at Frog's Leap.
After college, he got off the bus in Napa Valley in 1974 with $40. Turinabol Roid Plus Stints at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars (where he helped bottle the '73 cabernet sauvignon that won the Judgment of Paris tasting), at the University of California at Davis, and as a winemaker followed. In 1980, Williams and his then partner sold their motorcycles to raise cash to launch Frog's Leap; in 1981, the winery made its first wines.
This month, Frog's Leap begins its 34th harvest, and the winery's holdings now consist of 200 acres of vineyards and crops. Frog's Leap has been certified organic since 1989, a pioneer in the Napa Valley, and the estate is dry farmed "so the vines put roots down deep in the ground," Williams said. "Irrigation was only introduced in Napa in the late '70s or early '80s."
Williams characterized his approach to grape growing as "thinking like a vine. The vine isn't thinking how to get 96 points from Robert Parker. It's thinking that it needs to keep the fruit tart to keep the birds away from it until the seeds are ready to germinate. All the information the vine needs is "Anadrol 50" in its farming system." Dry farming, cover crops that promote soil fertility, and flowering plants and perennial grasses that attract beneficial insects rank among the Frog's Leap practices designed to unite the vine with its environment.
And, Williams added, the crops and farm beyond the vine rows help keep the winery's vineyard workers employed year round. Several Napa "Achat Anabolisant Belgique" Valley "Oxandrolone Powder India" restaurants, for instance, source produce from the Frog's Leap farm.
The tasting began with a '12 chardonnay (100 percent) that was largely aged in concrete tanks. The wine was bright, very fresh, with a hint of fruit, some earthy biscuit flavor, and jabs of stone and minerals. I mentally reached for a freshly shucked oyster.
The '12 zinfandel arrived next. Unlike many cruiserweight California zinfandels, this one eschewed bruising alcohol (it's 13.7 percent) in favor of a zinfandel, petite sirah and carignan blend that offered an unexpected nose (fruit met funk), succeeded by fruit flecked with spice on the palate.
The '12 cabernet sauvignon, the winery's first estate grown cab, delivered an earthy gloss, like "velvet rubbed backwards against the nap," as Williams put it. At about $52 retail, the cab is a steal by Napa Valley standards, especially for one from the famed Rutherford appellation. The tasting finished with a treat: the '91 merlot, the second merlot vintage at Frog's Leap. The wine had mellowed over nearly 25 years, but its structure remained.
After the tasting, my party strolled by a pond originally created as a habitat for a breeding pair of California red legged frogs.
"The frogs lasted four days," Williams said. Tren Delantero Ford F100 72 "A great blue heron got them on the first dive."On a cloudless Napa "4-chlorodehydromethyltestosterone Ireland" Valley morning, I drove up Spring Mountain, higher than I'd even been before. The street numbers (if that's what you call them) seemed to promise arrival only to withdraw it through single digit increase. And then at the top of a curve, I was suddenly there, at the gates of , with strands of cabernet sauvignon draping the hill below and the Vaca Mountains rising in the east across the valley.
Cabernet sauvignon vine rows at . The roots Sustanon 250 Pills Side Effects of the Schweiger family run similarly deep on the mountain. The parents of Fred Schweiger, the family patriarch, had property at the top of Spring Mountain, and Schweiger eventually owned a parcel adjoining his parents' land.
Clearing the parcel for fine wine grapes, a crop that would flourish in the rich volcanic soil, began in the late 1970s, with Schweiger's father helping him remove trees and cut brush. So did the guys from Schweiger's construction squad.