For this instalment of my summer guest blogging series “Somewhere, Beyond the Sea” I am very happy to present you with the work of Joe, who runs the wine blog Oenophilogical. Joe has captured my attention with his focus on affordable wines (something I care about deeply) and his concise and well written tasting notes. Joe also shares my love for Rieslings and even has tried some other, more obscure German grapes. As we explored what he wanted to write for this series, he was the one that most surprised me with his idea. I hope you like it as much as I do. Thanks, Joe!
Dry Creek Fum Blanc 2011
Is it possible to sail a dry creek and end up somewhere over (beyond) the sea? Yes, indeed! The first and most important thing you have to do, of course, is find the right place to begin – the right dry creek.
That would be Dry Creek Vineyard where the flagship (their wording, not mine) white wine is a Fumé Blanc. Gracing the label of that refreshing wine is a beautiful picture of a sailboat. Why is there a beautiful picture of a sailboat on that bottle of wine? Well, first it’s important to note that Dry Creek isn’t dry – not really. It’s an active stream in California that runs through the counties of Mendocino and Sonoma – stopping off at Lake Sonoma – and then continuing on it’s way past Dry Creek Vineyard to the Russian River.
You should also know that the folks from Dry Creek Vineyard are sailing enthusiasts. In fact, Dry Creek Vineyard is the official sponsor of several major sailing regattas around the U.S. Because of their passion for sailing, they have been putting sailboats on their wine labels since 1984 which has earned them the moniker “the wine for sailors.” They see similarities and a kind of symbiosis in a love for both good winemaking and sailing. Here’s how they put it. Winemaking and sailing actually have a lot in common. Like winemaking, sailing is fun, adventuresome and romantic. Like sailing, the art of winemaking demands the skill, discipline and determination of a group of people committed to the same goal. Sailing and winemaking are a study in choreography and teamwork – each person contributing something essential to the ultimate success or failure of the team. Now, I had read about the Dry Creek “wine for sailors” and decided I wanted to try one. I have to admit that I’m not a sailor. The only sailing I’ve done was in a Sun Fish on a lake at a camp I went to for two summers when I was a boy. And yet I find many images of sailing to be beautifully majestic and calming while at the same time redolent of excitement, exploration, and exploits. I have two prints of paintings by Winslow Homer that have hung alternately in my offices and my home over the years that have brought me much joy. So I wanted to sample one of those wines. The Dry Creek wines aren’t sold at all the stores in my area. Very few, as it turns out. So I had to undertake a little adventure of my own in searching for this selection. To my surprise, I found the last store I visited (Calvert Woodley) in the throes of a major sale on white wines. They advertise these things, of course, but I just can’t keep up the way I’d like to. Anyway, it must have been the winds of fate that blew me into the store at that very moment. You see, they only had one bottle of the Dry Creek Vineyard 2011 Fumé Blanc left in stock when I arrived. And I got it! It had to be kismet. Having secured my treasure, I took it home with me to be opened and enjoyed as a reward for my dogged determination. Here is what I recorded in my “ship’s log” about the wine. Winemaker: Dry Creek Vineyard Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc Wine: Fumé Blanc Vintage: 2011 Appellation: Sonoma County, CA Price: $12.99 Notes: This Dry Creek signature white is light yellow with a green tinge. On the nose I found a peach-o-rama. Seriously, there was copious peach scent in the bouquet. It was appropriately light on the tongue with very bright acidity. On the palate I found white peach, lime, and honey with pear and floral notes. The finish had a grassy bracing zing. It was a dry white, and the label confirmed that with an alcohol content of 13.5%. I thought it was very enjoyable. I could absolutely imagine pairing this Fumé Blanc with a nice grilled fish or shrimp dish. I have to thank The Winegetter for his challenge to write a post on – about, around, through, for, from – the theme “Somewhere Beyond The Sea.” This post answers that call to the best of my ability. I was very honored that he would invite me, among others, to share a guest spot on his blog this summer. Finally, drinking my “wine for sailors” and looking at the sailboat depicted on it’s label brought me daydreams of distant beaches, warm breezes, and idyllic surroundings. And it inspired me. Perhaps because The Winegetter was, himself, inspired to the theme for this blog series by the well-known Frank Sinatra tune “Somewhere Beyond The Sea,” I was moved to write a song. For better or worse. Ha! The goal of the song is to celebrate some of the thoughts and feelings that I associate with sailing, adventuring and the allure of the sea. My tune is called “Somewhere Over The Sea.” I’ve included a home-brewed demo of the song below. I’m not expecting a Grammy nomination for this, but I do hope folks enjoy listening to it.