Sunday, April 18, 2010

TN: Yellow Wine, Palmina 2008 Tocai Friuliano Subida

Here's a yellow wine (vin jaune) from Santa Barbara. I'm a bit skeptical of the idea since it's so unorthodox. White grapes are fermented as one would do with red grapes, and usually this is down in a hands off fashion with minimal intervention. So no sulfur dioxide, no filtration, nothing.

The Palmina 2008 Tocai Friuliano Subida pulls it off spectacularly, however. I'm often concerned about the stability of low or zero sulfur wines like this when they go through the distribution chain. Since this came directly from the tasting room, there's no question this is as intended. Perfect provenance, and a stunning 'outside the box' wine.

2008 Palmina Tocai Friulano Subida Honea Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
Crazy wine: Friuliano fermented on skins, aged sur lees, bottled unfined and unfiltered with no SO2. Cloudy, yellow color. Nose of summer. Pears, lychees and floral hoppy aromas. Intense! Palate is a bit flat and bitter at first, then opens up to show more of a pear/melon flavor with a bit more acidity present. Maybe a bit off-dry. Bitter phenolic bite remains, but it becomes complimentary. Really great with some funky, earthy cheeses. Quite the food wine. 12.3% ABV, though it has nice body.

Unique, very well made wine. I can't imagine a professional critic scoring this well over 90, but they tend to only favor whites with lots of oak. This is so impressive. The Cliftons are really redefining what is possible in California.


Matt Mauldin said...

Wow- those sound like really cool wines. I'm a big fan of the Brewer side of the equation- Melville, BC... I need to get hip on the Palmina stuff.

I would be surprised if either of those two wines made their way into the distribution chain. Will have to put Palmina on the "to do" list next time I'm in Santa Barbara. Thanks for sharing...

CabFrancoPhile said...

Palmina is definitely worth seeking out. The whites tend to be low alcohol and very aromatic, which is often not the case in a region where 15% ABV Viognier is the aromatic wine of choice. They're also making a bunch of SV Nebbiolos, and I'm curious to see where those end up going. They're just releasing '04 and '05, like the Piedmont producers of Nebbiolo.

Jeff said...

Man, you really like the Palmina stuff. I'm going to have to check them out. I keep on seeing them on wine lists in restaurants, but I haven't tried them yet. I read some other good stuff about them, but you really make them sound captivating. Someone's growing Tocai in California? I guess it's not that crazy...? It's a similar latitude...and I've had very few Tocai's that I didn't like.

CabFrancoPhile said...

Palmina definitely belongs in restaurants because the wines are meant for food. I'm not crazy about every one of their wines (their Dolcetto just doesn't work for me), but I think you'd like most of them if picking randomly. I don't think you'd confuse them for Italian, but they're atypical for California.