1. HumboldtCnty: My first real/known introduction to HumboldtCnty (the county just north of Mendocino) wines was when JohnCabot showed his Syrah at HdR some yrs ago. I was rather impressed w/ that wine. But when I look at the wineries (http://humboldtwines.com/) that are in HumboldtCnty, my reaction is "who be dat??".
I had known (in CyberSpace) AndrewMorris for several yrs on the WB board. I believe he's the chair of the HumboldtCnty vintners association. I had often noted his "Briceland Vnyds" on his sig line but never gave it much thought until I finally associated him w/ HumboldtCnty. Their WebSite (www.BricelandVineyards.com) is pretty much non-existent, so I contacted him directly and he forwarded me a current price list. The wines looked interesting and (hopefully) representative of HumboldtCnty; so I ordered a mixed case for my group to try. The hope was that this would give me a better feel as to what HumboldtCnty had to offer as a wine growing area.....at least as interpreted by Andrew's winemaking. Not sure that I actually accomplished that goal. I'm still pretty clueless about HumboldtCnty wines in general.
This is an area of Calif that I've not explored ever at all. All the pics I've seen show very impressive scenery, blanketed by huge redwood forests. It's an area I'd like to poke around a bit and get to know better.
So...what was my take on the Briceland wines?? I thought they were decent/well-made wines at a fair price. The only one I didn't like was the SauvBlanc because of its overly-agressive herbal/cat-pee character that reminded me too much of the onerous task of cleaning Boots' cat litter box afore I tasked my son to the job. The Syrah, w/ its cracked pepper character, was my favorite of these wines. I found the Pinots the most interesting of the wines. They didn't seem to show much of the high-toned/bright fruit character that you get out of Pinots from down in Sonoma. They seemed to show somewhat of an earthy/dusty character that I most often find in SantaCruzMtns Pinots, if anything. That earthy/dusty/loamy/herbal character is something I also find in reds out of Stu's AlderSpringsVnyd...a vnyd whose terrain is, I think, like much of HumboldtCnty. The Pinots reminded me some of AdamLee's PinotMeuniers as well.
These were not profound wines by any means...but interesting enough that I'd like to explore more the HumboldtCnty wines.
So...what's my take on HumboldtCnty wines...acknowledging that my data base is pretty sparse?? I guess I see no reason that HumboldtCnty can't grow wines as good as anywhere else in Calif. They remind me a bit of Nevada and Calaveras Cnty in that, on paper, it's an area that can grow serious quality wines. JohnCabot's Syrahs are ample evidence of that fact. The problem is that there are not enough great examples out there for HumboldtCnty wines to be taken seriously. When you mention HumboldtCnty wines to most wine geeks...it's sorta like.....snicker/snicker..."Ohhhh..they also grow wines in HumboldtCnty??". For that perception to change, I think it behooves the HumboldtCnty growers to get some of their grapes into the hands of some of the name/high-profile winemakers to the South. I'd absolutely love to see what AdamLee could do with HumboldtCnty Pinot...or even Syrah. Then I think I could get a better feel of what HumboldtCnty can deliver in the way of quality wines.
Anyway...HumboldtCnty..a place I really need to explore some day....both the wines and the scenery.