Saturday, January 18, 2014

2008 Freestone pinot noir, Sonoma Coast


Bursting, almost fizzy with cherries
dark purple
a little vegetable or herbal overlaying it
so good



Freestone is the legacy of Joseph Phelps Vineyards, which itself has constituted the second career of Joseph Phelps, circa mid-1970s construction company CEO from Greeley, Colorado. The average wine drinker interested in behind-the-scenes information will want to know that


the vineyards lie only 5-8 miles from the Pacific Ocean west of Bodega Bay, providing a long and cool growing season. Goldridge soils, dramatic elevations, careful attention to clonal and rootstock selections and use of biodynamic farming principles result in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that is distinctly Freestone ... rich flavors develop while the filtered light provided by the fog layer ensures a nice backbone of natural acidity.

The average wine drinker who likes to leave technical details to that large and chummily circulating fraternity of professional consultants, growers, vineyard managers, winemakers, cellar managers, and assistants thereof, the good people who give us so much pleasure, will nevertheless prick up his ears at the name Bodega Bay. The movies, you see, are more familiar than wine production specifics, even if most of us don't keep track of that large and chummily circulating fraternity of directors, writers, sound editors, costume designers, set designers, storyboarders, makeup stylists, key grips and best boys, and assistants thereof, who give everyone so much pleasure. Bodega Bay. Isn't that where Mitch Brenner and Melanie Daniels get into trouble about some birds?



Image from Daveland

It surely is. And then, speaking of unusual places, consider the village of Atacheo, Michoacan, Mexico. Freestone's vineyard manager originally came from there. This would be unremarkable except for the further fact that, as the winery website explains, more than eighty percent of this small town's population works far away in the California wine industry. Atacheo's Facebook page (yes, it has one, assuming this is our Atacheo) cheerfully announces that the community has a population of "about 1,500 with 4,000 living in the USA  and around the world." So the Facebook page's ad hoc census numbers roughly agree with this one winery's claim -- but, on a logical level, how do these figures compute? Atacheo, Michoacan, Mexico, looks to be more than two thousand miles from Bodega Bay. Even a California wine job closer to the border still would require a long trek.



So why on earth would the majority of natives of this one obscure place happen to work so far from home, and all in one particular foreign industry? Do they trek back each night? It would be as if I worked in Sonoma, and yet still counted as a resident of Lansing. And I wouldn't trek back every night.

The explanation has to lie in something more than a strange Atacheo-an coincidence. If you think about it, it must be more a sort of microcosm of ....




Image from Orange Juice

Oh.

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