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Toward Natural and Sustainable Winemaking
A History
How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters, and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink
The Technology of Their Production

32 S P A R K L I N G W I N E S Champagne and other types of sparkling wine, which make up the bubbly category, are differ- ent from varietals: in addition to being effervescent, these wines are almost always blends rather than single-grape (varietal) bottlings. And they are fantastic with food! But unfortunately, most of us reserve our enjoyment of these bubblies for celebrations or drink them like cocktails, with- out food. We should consider these sparklers more frequently, because they have an amazing affinity for many dishes. Where do the bubbles come from

220 D E S S E R T W I N E S For years I’ve noted sadly that, with a few exceptions (mostly avid sommelier types and pastry chefs), people don’t give dessert wines much thought. It’s their loss. Admittedly, many diners are sated by the time they reach the end of the meal, but those who always pass on dessert wines are missing out on many of the wine world’s greatest and most delectable offerings. S T Y L E S O F W I N E A N D W I N E - G R O W I N G A R E A S While styles of dessert wines differ by grape, from country to country, and regionally, virtually

777. D’Alfonso is an ardent believer that clones “are the biggest determi- nant of character” in pinot and—ironically for someone with access to his pick of fruit from the oldest and most respected vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills—a self-proclaimed nonbeliever in terroir. t a s t i n g n o t e s 1999 La Rinconada (tasted in 2001): Satu- rated, black-red; violets and blueberries on the nose; deep cherry and plum on the palate, with notes of meat, cinnamon, black pepper, and cedar; a very packed, rich wine with round tannins and velvety finish. 1999 Sanford

concentrated, full, and chewy, long and velvety. 1983 St. Clair Vineyard (tasted in 2002): Brilliant, medium, orange-rimmed terra- cotta; preserves of old raspberry, strawberry, and cherry on the nose; chocolate, evergreen, and briar in the mouth; medium-weight, full- bodied wine with a slightly sweet core, a medium to long finish, and a suedelike texture. 1982 St. Clair Vineyard (tasted in 2002 from magnum): Dark, saturated black-red with some terra-cotta and a slightly orange rim; aromas of rose petal and dried leaves; earthy, mineral flavors in the mouth, with white

with a hint of smoke; uncharacteristically dense and chewy wine for Lane Tanner, rich and velvety. 2000 Melville Vineyard (tasted in 2001): Very transparent, medium black-red; distinc- tive floral nose combining camellia, lilac, and lavender; cherries, earth, licorice, and wet stone on the palate; rich wine with the texture of fine linen. 2000 Santa Maria Valley (tasted in 2001): Transparent, light to medium black-red; strawberries and a hint of mint on the nose; berry fruit, characteristic Bien Nacido black pepper, and soft allspice in the mouth; light to