Category Archives: Muscadelle


Your West Coast Oenophile wishes there were a way to accommodate the vast backlog of wines I have sampled throughout my protracted abeyance. The backlog of wineries I am now entering in the Sostevinobile database easily exceeds 300, and if only card scanning software were able to extract the information in the manner that we need it!
one knows precisely how many individual wine labels are currently being
produced throughout California, Washington, and Oregon—perhaps
with most adhering, to a substantial degree, to sustainable growing and vinification practices
. By these statistics, I am not even at the halfway point in cataloging the wines we will evaluate for our inventory, and so the pursuit continues, even if I cannot cite every one of these efforts in these postings.
Even if Sostevinobile achieves its ultimate goal of developing autonomous premises in 10-12 West Coast metropolises, with a projected annual roster of 350-400 by-the-glass offerings at each site, along with offsales of another 2,000 wines, we will barely make a dent in the innumerable selection of bottlings from within our proscribed radius. 
In this light, continuing to quantify new labels may seem a quixotic quest, but my efforts belie the deeper intent of this endeavor, namely to cultivate an encyclopædic knowledge of West Coast wines. My method of self-inculcation has differed than approach one might take in attaining certification as a sommelier or a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), in that I have initially sought to expose myself to as many wine labels and their sundry bottlings as possible, with only a cursory exploration, beyond familiarizing my palate, for the nuances and complexities such as soil composition, specific varietal clone, maceration techniques, acidity, etc.
I haven’t concluded my exploratory phase—broad swaths of our tri-state region still warrant extensive investigation, and even the AVAs I have frequently explored continue to reveal new and astounding œnological gems, like Deovlet, Lieu Dit, Lava Vine, Dexter Lake, Doubleback, B&E Vineyard, to name but a few. Still, with some 3,100 wineries and over 175 varietals logged into the Sostevinobile database, I have begun to move beyond the methodic enumeration of wines and labels—not to minimize the pivotal importance in demonstrating the range and versatility of West Coast viticulture—and reexplore the nuances and details that add a coloratura to a wine’s narrative: maceration techniques, cold stabilization, °Bx, titratable acidity, clone variations, etc. Ostensibly, these variables may not hold immediate allure for the majority of consumers—who has ever heard a patron insist on a wine with a pH in the 3.4 to 3.7 range?—and certainly stand subordinate to the immediate gratification of a wine’s taste, smell, and feel, but it is an affinity for such technical details and a yearning to comprehend the myriad aspects of a wine’s history and complexity that portend to amplify the wine tasting experience.
Over the past year or so, I have largely revisited many of the same wine producers and attended the same major trade events that have populated this column ever since I began writing for Sostevinobile. The opportunity to reexplore many of the same wines, particularly in subsequent vintages to the samplings chronicled here, served to consolidate my appreciation for the terroir of the grapes, the acumen of the viticulturalist, and the craft of the winemaker. And while my approach may differ from the methodic deconstruction one undertakes to qualify for the Court of Master Sommeliers, within the extraordinary expanse of West Coast wines, a more comprehensive appreciation will not be found.