Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Drinking With The Publicist

Some wine writers speak about publicists the same way they speak of a bottle of wine with cork taint.  Necessary evil, goes with the territory.  Not me, though.  As a wine writer, I have found publicists to be invaluable sources of information in my endeavor.  Sure, they all want to pitch something.  But it's always wine.  How bad is that?

I recently met with a publicist with whom I have communicated for several years, although never face-to-face.  Sam Dependahl, left, of Jarvis Communications, has been in my inbox more than my family has.  We even coexisted in the same city - Culver City - in my radio days.  He has provided me with a lot of fodder for this digital realm, and his invitation to lunch for a long overdue meeting was welcome.

Lunching with a publicist is great - small talk lasts about two minutes, and the rest of the time is all about wine.  That's how I like it, and I think that's how Sam likes it, too.  Oh, did I mention he walked into Cooks County with a box of wine under his arm?  That's another nice thing about lunching with publicists.  Sam brought a box, but we settled on tasting two wines that seemed perfect for the blazing hot Los Angeles afternoon, a rosé and a Moscato.

Cascinetta Vietti Moscato d'Asti 2011

Cascinetta Vietti is from Langa, in Italy's Piemonte region.  The 100% Moscato d'Asti grapes are harvested from estate vineyards in Castiglione Tinella, and the wine is fermented in stainless steel - where it stays until bottling.  The alcohol level is stopped at a super-low 5.5% by reducing the temperature.  Yeast is added for a secondary fermentation to take place in the bottle.

A very aromatic bouquet of flowers and fruit makes this frizzante wine a delight to sniff.  On the palate it's sweet and lush with fine bubbles hanging around awhile.  The acidity is nothing short of sparkling - it begs to be paired with food, but makes a great sipper on a hot day.  The wine was perfect with the awesome fries Cooks County serves.

Crossbarn Sonoma County Pinot Noir Rosé 2012

Crossbarn Winery, in Sonoma County, bears the name of legendary wine man Paul Hobbs, although the winemaker is Molly Bohlman.  Crossbarn is Hobbs' line of everyday wines: Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.  It is an appellation-specific line, while his higher line is vineyard-specific.  By the way, the winery's name comes from a structure on his family's New York farm, the "cross barn."

The rosé is made from Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.  It is fermented 80% in steel tanks, 20% in neutral oak.
It's an extremely light pink wine with a slightly funky aroma, which I love in a rosé.  Beautiful strawberry and raspberry fruit also adorn the bouquet, with more of the same coming on the palate.  It's perfectly dry, with great acidity and freshness, and notes of grapefruit and cantaloupe appear on the finish.  It was a great match with both the BLT and the grilled salmon sandwich.

It was interesting to me that when Sam and I talked about these two wines we didn't talk very much about aromas or flavors.  We focused on the acidity, the freshness they both bring to the table.  That's what I look for in a white wine or a rosé - a refreshing acidity that makes good wine pair so well with a variety of foods.

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