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Wine Tasting Notes from the Indagare Global Classroom

Because we know our members and subscribers love wine (and traveling for it), as part of our Indagare Global Classroom, we are hosting an incredible lineup of winemakers—from Napa and Sonoma to Mendoza in the foothills of the Andes. Here are some of the top tips we’ve gleaned so far from the winemakers we’ve been listening to plus tasting notes and our recommendations for what to drink.

Explore our upcoming Indagare Global Classroom and Global Conversation programming.

Napa Valley

The Vineyard: Olabisi (small batch; 1,000 cases per year, direct to customer only)

The Winemaker: Ted Osborne

Location: Calistoga, the northernmost town of Napa

What’s in a name: Olabisi comes from an African name and means joy multiplied

Wine-tasting Basics: Pour it. Then follow the 4Ss. See it (note the color). Smell it. Swirl it. Sip it.

Wines Tasted: 2018 Rosé of Syrah ($32); 2018 Pinot Noir Carneros Napa ($50); 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon “Picnic vineyard” ($90)

Best of the bunch: The Pinot. Made from Carneros grapes with wild yeast. Our tasters described it as fresh, with hints of strawberry rhubarb, pie fruit, clove, mocha, blackberry and honey. According to Ted, it is unfiltered, made using Francois Frères oak barrels, which help to give it soft tannins (structure) but a fresh feel.

Ted’s go-to wine: “I just drink my wine or my friend’s wines. On my street are five of the best winemakers in the valley. My favorites: Northern and Southern Rhone Valley and the white Burgundies (our benchmark for our own Sauvignon Blanc).”

By the numbers: Cases of Rosé produced per year: 40 Syrah, 40 Zinfandel, 20 Merlot-Rosé.

Where to find it: Calistoga restaurants Lovina, Solage Resort, Evangeline or through the Olabisi tasting room. “We live four blocks from our tasting room—we can skateboard to our tasting room.” There’s also a wine club that is free to join. It is a way for customers to get two shipments per year and first dibs on wine because it is usually sold out before it hits the website (six- bottle minimum).

Ted’s ultimate wine test: “Did you finish the bottle?”

VINE TIPS

Rosé is made from red grapes, lightly pressed. Red Cabernet grapes are crushed halfway, so you get a pink juice that is not completely clear; the skins also give it color.

Average yield: It depends on the grape, but in Napa, two to four tons of grapes per acre yield 110 to 220 cases of wine.

A bud break is “a grand growth period.” You can expect a foot a week of growth during the spring.

BEST FOOD PAIRINGS:

Cabernet: Grilled meats, Italian food, toasted garlic, onions pasta, dried or aged cheeses

Pinot: Lamb, pork, pizza

Rosé: Fried chicken, spicy food—or basically anything

Explore our upcoming Indagare Global Classroom and Global Conversation programming.

– Jen Barr on April 29, 2020

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