One of my first introductions to wine was when I work at An American Place restaurant, a good 20 years ago. (Yee god.) The place was one of the first to focus on local food, in a macro sense. It only served ingredients and wine from American. The only exception was the fancy sugar cubes imported from France.
The wine list contained all the usual suspects of American brands, including one staff favorite, Lolonis, distinguished by the lady bug on the label advertising the winery’s organic bona fides.
I think it’s been that long since I tasted their wine, and this week I had the opportunity to drink the 1999 Private Reserve Merlot from Redwood Valley. Initially I was dismayed because the cork crumbled when I tried to open it and had to settle for pushing the remainder down into the bottle. But the wine was bright ruby, the color of a much younger wine and it was packed with fruit, gentle tannins, good acidity and a long beautiful finish. None of the green merlot flavors that I’m afraid are typical on Long Island merlot. I might not have picked this out blind as merlot, as it wasn’t typical, but rich. It was also very clean and evident that it has many years ahead of it.The Redwood Valley is in Mendocin, north west of Napa. From the Lolonis website:
The area’s climate can vary widely over the course of the day, with mid-day temperatures reaching the mid- to upper 90s and dropping to the mid-40s by the days’ end. The effect of this is that the grape acidity stays constant while the phenolic content remaints relatively high. This, combined with the unusual Redvine Series Soil enable the growth of both the sturdy reds and complex whites that we have been growing for over half a century.
So what’s Redvine Series Soil? Info from a USDA website:
The Redvine series consists of deep, well drained soils formed in old alluvial material weathered from sedimentary rock. Redvine soils are on dissected terraces and have slopes of 2 to 30 percent. The mean annual precipitation is 37 inches and the mean annual temperature is 57 degrees F.
This is good information. And evidently it’s a good place to grow organic/biodynamic wines as the winery Mendocino Farms can attest.