Harvest season is wrapping up in California, and soon the region's winemakers will finally get to catch up on some sleep. But before that happens, we wanted to check in with one of our local favorites: Dan Petroski of Massican, an upstart winery focused on making Italian-inspired white wines in Napa Valley.
'Napa' on Serious Eats
There's more to the story of Ribolla Gialla, particularly in the Napa Valley.
"Semillon is not a fashionable variety," announces Wine Grapes. "Nowhere outside Sauternes," the book continues, "does there seem to be a groundswell of enthusiasm for this noble variety." Time for a re-write, Wine Grapes.
If you've been tasting wine all day in Napa or Sonoma, by sunset you might be ready for a change of pace. Ad Hoc, Thomas Keller's family-style restaurant in Yountville, recently got its liquor license, and the team, including Bar Manager Christian Schnurr, Sommelier and Assistant GM Jessica Pinzon, and GM Josh Blackman, has been busy perfecting a Keller-approved 6-item cocktail list that just made its debut. We took the launch as an excuse to head up to wine country to check it out.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a wine-loving young woman in Napa on Saturday morning must be in want of a breakfast sandwich. And luckily, there's a fantastic one at Model Bakery in St. Helena, CA.
Despite its unappealingly mysterious jet-black color and origin as a fungal infection on a corn cob, it's delicious. Vaguely mushroom-y (but not in a truffle-y way), a little tart, and extremely savory, huitlacoche makes one of the greatest taco/sope/huarache fillings around and I very rarely get my fill of it.
"People don't necessarily expect great cocktails in Napa Valley," Michael Pazdon said. He runs the bar program at the newly opened Goose & Gander in St. Helena, together with partner Scott Beattie. "They'll come in and be like, 'Anything but another glass of wine, please!' And I've got your back."
Every growing season—every vintage—is different, and while some are good and others not so good, 2011 is shaping up to be one of the worst in Napa's recent history. It's a popular adage that a good winemaker can make good wine even in a poor year, but sometimes it's just bad. Grapes struggle every year with the whims of nature and the weather she doles out, and disease can be a problem at any time. Some vineyards have gotten away without too much pain, but this year there has been a major problem with rot.