I have a couple of SoCal stories in other places today that I want to highlight.
I think Mourvedre is the best grape in Paso Robles, and I'm not alone: local luminaries like Justin Smith and Tablas Creek winemaker Neil Collins agree. Here's a story in today's Los Angeles Times on that topic. Don't miss my 5 recommended Paso Robles Mourvedres, all of which can be ordered online.
A little further south, in the Santa Rita Hills, Greg Brewer is pushing the edge artistically and in alcohol level with his Diatom Chardonnays. I admire the first push, but had a hard time getting my mind around the second. Read my interview with him in Wine Review Online (sorry, wine reviews are behind their pay wall).
My intense and revealing interview with "Sideways" author Rex Pickett is still up on Palate Press. Many folks in Oregon hope/believe Pickett's book "Vertical" will do for their region what "Sideways" did for Santa Barbara County. My opinion? Only if it's made into a movie, and I'll believe that when I see it. Read it and decide for yourself. (Note: Pickett gets a lot more money per copy from this book than from "Sideways," as you'll see in the interview, and if you buy it from the link at right, in the words of Tony Soprano, I get a taste. Not a big taste. More like a sniff. For details, see the photo above.)
Pickett wrote almost exclusively about Pinot Noir, but I'm a huge fan of other wines from Santa Barbara County, especially Rhone wines like Syrah, which I think are better there than in Giants fan territory. But that's a story for another day.