Sommelier Says with Jonathan Mitchell-Viognier
Sometime around 1989, when I was just a tadpole, I bought a book called Plain Talk About Fine Wine written by the late, great Justin Meyer, Christian-Brothers-Monk-turned-winemaker, and founder of Silver Oak Cellars in Napa. I had met him a few times and was as intimidated as I was impressed. He was a highly-regarded pioneer, who made such great wines, and was humble at the same time. That WAS intimidating! His book mirrored his philosophy and was utterly inspiring to me. I attribute his work on that book as well as in the vineyards to my interest in the wine business. Anyway, as is typical of me, I never DID finish that book. Not even close. I think I got ADD at the part about the anatomy of the grapevine. :-) However, just today I did finish it, and the last two paragraphs absolutely parallel my core philosophies, and as I read them, I got goose bumps. It was as if he put those very words in my head. And I thought *I* had come up with this iconoclastic wine philosophy. The last two paragraphs of his book read as follows: "In my opinion, we have too many gurus and snobs connected with the wine business, and they've intimidated more potential wine drinkers than they've won over. In fact, the ultimate abuse occurs in the wine business when some of these people begin to believe the myths which they have used to infect the minds of the unsuspecting public. Let's get back to basics. When I started this book, I surveyed friends in the business to see what topics should be covered. The most popular, overriding theme that came back was: "Tell people to trust their own palates" "Tell people not to be intimidated by gurus, snobs, and yes, even the wine producer." "Tell people if they enjoy a wine, drink it and don't be concerned about whether or not they can articulate why they like it." Wine is like music-you may not know what is good, but you know what you like! It all gets back to PLAIN TALK ABOUT FINE WINE." That kind of creeped me out because I have been uttering almost the exact same verbiage for a while now. And thought it was MINE! Turns out Justin must have wanted some mouthpieces out there! :-) In that spirit ladies and gentlemen, raise a glass and toast to the good life. And drinking what you like!!! :-) Cheers Jonathan
By Jonathan Mitchell
From up in the most northern part of Sonoma, this is an excellent example of California's splendid white wine tradition. Winemaker Steven "Buzz" Leveque has created a cool-climate chardonnay that is at once rich and robust, yet racy and balanced.
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