Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hillsides vs. Valley-Floor Vineyards

A good viticulturist makes many decisions, especially when planting a new section of the vineyard. A common myth states that better quality wines come from hillsides rather than the valley-floor. This ultimately depends on varietal, rootstock and management as the tannins and berry size differ. Hillside soils do tend to have better drainage and most great wines are grown in poor, shallow soils.

Try your own experiment tonight. Pick an Oakville, CA producer such as: Franciscan Oakville Estate, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Robert Mondavi Winery or Sterling Vineyards. They are large enough to encompass both terroirs. Across the board, these are wonderfully proportioned wines with bright, succulent fruit marked in most cases by an appealing minty or herbaceous character. Descriptors most commonly associated with Oakville District Cabs include muscular, substantial fruit reminiscent of black currants, blackberries and plum.