It’s unusual for West Marin to have a debut tasting of top wines made by West Marin winemakers, but that is exactly what happened last Saturday night at Gather in Inverness Park. Wine lovers tasted a quartet of unusually delicious, offbeat wines made by Brian Ojalvo of Bolinas and John King of Stinson Beach, which were paired with excellent small plates by chef Ed Vigil.
Ojalvo and King’s tiny new winery, based in Marin and Napa Counties and coyly named West of Temperance, is dedicated to producing very small quantities of excellent wines you’ve likely never heard of, which makes them all the more alluring. How about a tasty glass of Teroldego (teh-ROHL-deh-goh)? I had never heard of the grape, let alone tasted it.
Brian and John are far from your typical winemakers. Brian studied art and painting in New York City and earned a degree in fine arts. After he worked his way out west, he was appointed assistant winemaker at Sean Thackrey’s estimable winery in Bolinas. John holds a degree in East Asian studies and Japanese from the University of California, Los Angeles. He was a senior manager in Tokyo for Microsoft. His boss, a world-class wine lover, sponsored a gourmet dining club where great wines were always part of the dining experience.
Brian and John met 15 years ago and now their vinous dreams are coming true in the bottle. Mark these down as wine winners.
2013 Teroldego, Yolo: A rare Italian variety. The color is a deep garnet with full rich flavors of dark red fruit. Great structure; could age for a long time for additional greatness. We all loved it!
2012 Aglianico, California: This is a better-known grape, rich in history, cultivated and revered by the Phoenicians, Greeks and the Romans. Very rich, bright, cherry-like fruit tastes, full in the mouth—a wonderful red wine. My favorite!
2012 Sangiovese, Mendocino: Sangiovese (which means “blood of Jove” in Italian) is the staple variety of Chianti, but winemakers have often blended it with other varieties to temper its tense, acidic taste. Yet this 100-percent Sangiovese was a fine surprise to me. Not only interesting, but delicious.
Colorfield Blended Red Wine, Volume I: Many different grape varieties from many different vintages. An alchemist’s dream come true. Bright and spicy with a tantalizing complexity.
Order forms are available at www.westoftemperance.com and (415) 342-1603.