I don’t make Chardonnay, but I do get plenty of questions at wine events.
“Do you make an oaky Chardonnay.”
“Do you make Pinot?”
“This wine is how much!?”
“Where is Cloverdale?”
“What’s your favorite wine?”
Let me do a quick summation. I make 8 to 10 individually stylized wines per season. All the wines are different. Some are blended varietals, or from a single vineyard, or from different appellations. Over the course of two years in oak, each of the wines tastes differently. With every passing moment in time the wine is changing, therefore, what tasted great yesterday has changed today.
When I bring wines to an event or a dinner, I often bring various vintages, sometimes several vintages of the same label. But once again, each of the wines in a vertical is different. Each taste differently.
What’s my favorite wine?
I make a lot of wines for a lot of different reasons. Is my favorite wine my white wine with Thai spring rolls? Or my 2011 Signature with a rib-eye? Or my 2014 Sangiovese on the deck overlooking Santa Cruz smoking a cigar with my brother? They are all my favorites at the time.
I get asked the “what’s your favorite” at every single event I do. If I said my “favorite wine” was my most expensive wine, I’d probably be accused of simple profiteering. If I choose my least expensive wine, perhaps I'm being overly modest? If I say all of my wines are my favorite, that’s not an answer.
The “what’s your favorite wine” question is right up there with “if you could only eat one food the rest of your life, what would it be?” As much as I love pizza, pasta, and Thai green curry, I couldn’t eat one of those every day. I’d die of boredom.
At events, if I get the favorite wine question from a taster and I have the time to walk through the wines with them, I will pour every wine I have, even the behind the counter stuff. I will also not say much of anything about the wines to the individuals asking the question. I purposely leave out descriptors. I want the person asking the question to reach their own conclusions without my bias. If you like my most expensive wine, great! If you like my least expensive wine, great! If you like my single vineyard 100% Cabernet, fabulous.
And if you really don’t like any of the wines, that’s fine too. I’m sure there’s an over-oaked Chardonnay or Pinot with mega-purple out there that you’ve been drinking for 10 years to declare your favorite.