I hope you enjoy this Horse and Plow Draft Horse White 2015…..I think it’s one of the more interesting white wine blends I’ve come across in the past few months, even before considering the price point.
Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of wine information that isn’t anything other than glorified tasting notes. After all, I’ve seen wineries and winemakers write their “official” tasting notes and the process is anything but official. Often it includes references to flavor profiles that many in the room can’t find in their own palate and other times, it’s prewritten based on critics reviews of past vintages.
Personally, I also don’t find that difference between boysenberry and blackberry notes, a peculiarly engaging topic.
BUT, there’s a heck of a lot to be said for a winery or wine club for that matter, delivering something that is varietally correct enough that it can be identified.
That’s where this wine confused me for a second. First, it’s not the fullest expression of a white wine, but also not that acidic. In many ways, structurally it reminded me of Chardonnay. Then again, I knew at this $20 or so price point and 200 case production that Chardonnay wasn’t likely. After all Chard’s pretty expensive from this region of the world.
What is here though, is surprising.
38% Pinot Blanc, 24% Pinot Gris, 38% Riesling
All of those names are familiar if you’ve been a wine of the month club member for a while, but normally I’m talking about them in terms of Oregon white wine.
Here in California, almost independent of the region, we’re focused, rightly or wrongly, on Chardonnay.
Riesling has long been one of the darlings of Sommelier’s and the wine trade, but simply hasn’t caught on despite repeated chances. Interestingly, it’s also (I’d say with Pinot Noir) the least blended grape on the planet.
Pinot Gris is a mutant clone of Pinot Noir (think a graft of the plant that went wrong). Pinot Blanc is a mutation of Pinot Noir, usually confused with Chardonnay both in the vineyard and in the glass.
So fun all around.
That’s really what you have here though, you have bits of each of these grapes that you can kind of get a sense of. Riesling delivers its trademark acidity. Blanc delivers a smoothness and roundness. Lastly, Gris delivers a biting edge.
Likely any of the 3 would offer too much and this is where blends are fun. We allow the winemaker to show us what they’re interested in.
This is also something of a glaring point in the world of Sonoma wine.
Horse and Plow recently opened a tasting room just outside of the town of Sabastapol. Admittedly, it might be my favorite spot in the wine country to hang out. It still feels small, not too small though and definitely local.
The wines though can blend together at times. It’s literally a sea of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They run together at times for most people tasting.
As you might expect, there’s a subset of wineries that zig as others zag. Usually that’s meant a focus on Rhone varietals and that’s largely true at Horse and Plow. Honestly, I thought their Draft Horse White would be a Marsanne-Roussane blend and I’ve done a few of those lately, so I thought it would be a pass. At first glance this wine was clearly not that.
Lastly: yes, the wine is technically from Napa Valley. Good luck finding a ton of other Napa Valley white’s at this price point. Especially given that the grapes are 100% organic.
Members of our Exploration Wine Club may see this is an upcoming shipment.
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