2009 Compagni Portis Heirloom White
This is an utterly singular vineyard. When you look at the basics: 60 years old, organic, dry-farmed, yields of less than 1 ton per acre, you just start to drool. That the vineyard lies on some of the original property as Harazthy’s old Buena Vista property, and is planted to one of the most singular field blends of white varietals, makes it totally fascinating. Though the exact percentages are still a mystery to me, the vineyard is planted to Gewurtz, Riesling, Trousseau Gris, Berger, Green Hungarian, and probably a few other things. I vinified it in a manner to best express the purity of place—whole-cluster pressing, native yeast fermentation to complete dryness in neutral and stainless barrels, minimal lees stirring, and zero ML. As one would expect with these varietals the wine is highly perfumed and spicy, but it is the density and mid-palate weight that I also love here. This is a real taste of California history, from the last vineyard of its kind in Napa or Sonoma counties.
In 2009, we picked the fruit in two passes. The first part took in the easterly part of the vineyard where more early-ripening Gewurtzraminer and Trousseau Gris grow; the second pass occurred two weeks later for the section with more Riesling and mystery whites. Both lots were fermented using native yeasts to dryness in stainless steel and neutral French oak barrels. The final wine is a blend of the two lots, the first providing loftier, spicy and floral aromatics, while the second provided more weight and body. The resulting wine is an exotic, quixotic, white that is as unique and different as the old vineyard from which it comes.
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/Jun 10
($20; a blend of “all kinds of things that were planted way back when, but mostly gewurztraminer, trousseau gris and riesling, with some stuff that’s almost extinct, like burger and green Hungarian, probably some chasselas and palomino, and so on”) Light, greenish gold. Subtly leesy aromas of pineapple, orange rind and pear, with a stony underpinning and a hint of smoke. Quite suave and silky on the palate, with a subtle sweetness to the citrus and orchard fruit flavors. Zesty minerality gives this very dry and understated wine a chewy quality. Finishes with lingering spiciness and echoes of bitter orange and pear skin. I find this really intriguing. Twain-Peterson said that these 60-year-old mystery vines yielded less than a ton per acre in ’08.
100 cases made
$20 | Sold Out.