Sunday, June 26, 2011

Terra Savia

Meeting a winemaker is common in an industry which centers around their craftsmanship, but none the less, I can't help but feel like I am meeting a celebrity of sorts. (Wine dork, proudly I stand!) There is something about that twinge in their eye as they pour a sample of their latest vintage much like one would imagine Santa Clause having when he delivers all those toys.

Courtesy of Emily Heller
I recently attended a tasting of Mendocino County vintners which lead me to one winemaker, Jim Milone of Terra Savia. Jim is not only outgoing, informative and a great story teller but extremely passionate about what he does. A fourth generation grape grower with a philosophy that winemaking happens in the vineyard and only finished in the cellar, our "wise earth" takes care of the rest. With 37 acres of Certified Organic grapes and no more than 6,000 cases of production, I was immediately drawn. It only took one sip of sparkling to know I had discovered a new treat, well ok, it was two sips as you should never judge a wine upon first sip! Produced in the traditional methode champenoise, 100% chardonnay and remaining on tirage for minimum 30 months, the result is a crisp, refreshing, yet yeasty bubbly ready to accompany a hot summer evening.

Moving to the Chardonnay, I realized I had found a producer that really understands his trade. Showcasing chardonnay in a way I have been seeking out for a number of years. Produced in stainless steel  this exemplary chardonnay remains bright, flavorful and keeps the integrity of the grape. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of chardonnays being made in stainless steel but many fall short as some winemakers may be transitioning out of heavily oaked chardonnays to please the mass market's palate. Terra Savia does an extraordinary job at  presenting the chardonnay grape in its original and fruity form. I think this has a lot to do with their sustainable practices, experience and passion.

Courtesy of
Finishing with the Meritage, a brilliant and elegant melange of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignin and Petit Verdot comes together in a structured and complex manner. With solid tannin structure and a long finish, this is a wine to savor.

In addition to their wines, Terra Savia also produces Olive Oil a secret (or not so secret) obsession of mine and honey through cultivating their own bees. Their land also serves as a Wildlife Rescue dedicated to the wise Owls which you will find gracing their label. With over 1000 species of plants and animals thriving on the property, this sounds like much more than just a great place to grow grapes but a wildlife retreat focused on sustainability.

Next time you are in Hopeland, Ca., make an appointment to tour and meet Jim who will tell you all about the Owl adventures happening at their oasis in Mendocino. Visit Terra Savia for more information.

Charlotte :)

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