Suburban Wino 2: The Wordpress Experiment

Bottle Recap – 3 of 3 | May 20, 2009

Stretched out entirely for your anticipation and enjoyment (with absolutely none of the delay a product of the J-O-B, my backyard renovation gone awry, sweeps week, beer-drinking opportunities with friends, the Certified Specialist of Wine studying, or a newfound love for homebrewing), I present the final bottle from the other night:

Kokomo Winery’s 2006 Chalk Hill Malbec, Windsor Oaks Vineyard. Chalk Hill is a seperate AVA (American Viticultural Area) within the larger AVA of Russian River Valley (you’ve probably heard of that one). It’s in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, and is generally known for growing white grapes.

Malbec, however, has thrived in the foothills of the Andes in Argentina, so by taking this grape and planting it at the highest elevation on Chalk Hill, the grower has kept it warm (away from the low-lying cool fogs that roll into the Russian River Valley), thus making it riper, which combined with the high natural acidity of the Malbec grape, creates a nice balance of fruit flavors, sugar, and acid in the ripe grapes.

Okay, so what the hell am I talking about? Well, the sugars translate to a good bit of alcohol in fermentation, and the balance of alcohol, fruit, acid, and tannin (bitter, “mouth drying” element in a red wine) is what can make a wine soar (or suck). Think of lemonade with too much lemon and not enough sugar. Or, a liquor drink like the ones you always wanted in college, with not but a drop of coke in the Jim Beam…did the trick then, but tasted pretty bad. However, a perfectly blended long island iced tea (or trouble mug) not only tastes great, but makes you look much more handsome.

The Kokomo folks (and good folks, too; I think they went through a bunch of red tape to make me their first wine club member in Georgia) did a pretty good job with a grape that isn’t really at home…at least not yet in California. While I think the best stuff still comes from Argentina, I dig that they’re experimenting with some new stuff, and not just making the usual Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Check them out at, or stop by their very laid-back tasting room (tasting warehouse, really) if you’re ever on Dry Creek Rd…my pretension sensors were at zero there. Sadly, I can’t say that for a lot of other wineries, especially in hoity-toity Napa Valley.


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