Thursday, April 1, 2010

Local winemaker in TTB feud

A prominent local winemaker is locked in a bitter feud with the BATF over the labelling of his Gobbin wine. In 2006 Rolf Paoli, owner of Spurious Cellars in Aptos, discovered a small vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Overgrown and forgotten for decads, he painstakingly restored the vines.

Identifying the grape was difficult; initially it was thought to be Primitivo Bianco, but researchers at UC Davis eventually concluded that the grape was a little known French variery called Gobbin, also known as Poisson d'Avril. Once prevalent in the region south-east of Languedoc in France, in the late 19th century the grape became unfashionable and all but died out. This is believed to be the only surviving planting in the continental USA. The grape is an exceptionally early ripener but produces very small clusters and is difficult to work with.

In 2008 Paoli teamed with with reknowned winemaker Sizdah Bedar and together they produced just 100 cases of wine. However neither Gobbin nor Poisson d'Avril currently appear on the TTB's list of approved wine grapes, and as a result the TTB are preventing its release.

2008 Rolf Paoli "Gobbin"
Harvested in early August at 32 brix, the wine is refreshingly light at less than 13% alcohol. Unoaked; there's just a touch of residual sugar and a strong note of dihydrogen monoxide on the finish which may evaporate with time. 95+


cheryl durzy said...

Happy Poisson d'Avril