After having to take a short break from participating in #Winestudio, because Tuesdays seem to be the most popular night to schedule school/church/sports activities, I was able to accept a kind offer to participate and sample the wine for February. If you remember, #Winestudio is an online wine education program produced by Tina Morey. The focus is on a producer or winemaker and participants get to sample their wine and live chat with the winemaker. It’s a fun evening of wine learning.
Ordaz Family Wines
This month we are meeting a winemaker whose family history is marked by “perseverance, passion and a little bit of danger.” His story and the story of his family heritage, in some respects, have roots common to us all; an ancestry born in a different place.
As usual, I was so giddy to be in the “room” with my fellow participants and talk to a winemaker about his origins and his wine that I missed a few answers to the questions, due mainly to the fact that I was, well, excited to be there. I know that sounds weird but excitement can be distracting. I’ve seen it happen with our new puppy while trying to teach her to come or sit. I was the puppy running around crazily, trying to greet everyone instead of paying attention. But fortunately, there are several participants self-controlled enough to stay on topic so I was able to go back and re-read their discussion tweets and find out what I’d missed learning about. Also, if you haven’t had the opportunity to participate in an online live chat, it’s not easy keeping up with everyone’s tweets/replies so things do get missed.
Anyway, our guest winemaker is Eppie Ordaz of Ordaz Family Wines based in the Sonoma Valley.
Here’s what I gleaned from the evening:
- Eppie was recently named one of several “winemakers to watch” according to Sonoma Magazine, although he only took over as winemaker in 2013.
- His father is Chuy Ordaz. Chuy has been a vineyard manager (40+ years) of several of Sonoma’s most famous vineyards and is highly respected in the field of vineyard management. Chuy began Ordaz Family wines in 2009.
- The family is originally from Mexico. (It took 33 attempts for Chuy to make it into the United States. You can read more about the adventure here.)
- Eppie has a degree in accounting. Winemaking and accounting may seem wholly unrelated but both require attention to details and certain elements have to add-up correctly to get a successful bottom-line.
- Eppie’s goal is to try to be a steward of the vineyard work so the “wines represent both the variety and the vineyard.”
- All Ordaz’s wines are produced from vineyards Chuy oversees although the family has the goal of owning their own winery and estate vineyard in the near future. Currently, the operation is out of a custom crush facility.
- Eppie is committed to producing single-vineyard wines.
- The focus is Small lot, High quality wines.
Small Lot, High Quality Wines
For Tuesday’s discussion, we opened Pinot Noir Placida Vineyard Russian River Valley 2014 ( $38, 13.7%)
“Placida Vineyard is a 9 acre lot in the heart of the Russian River Valley appellation. it’s selection of clones provides great fruit characteristics needed to create well layered and balanced Pinot Noirs.” ~ Eppie Ordaz
The Russian River valley has a “gold ridge aspect” meaning a portion of the area has a yellow clay-like soil. According to Eppie, “It’s like striking gold for the region” in terms of making RRV Pinots and Chardonnays. The wines in the words of the winemaker are “distinctly wonderful”.
For February, my tasting partner has been on “vacation” so I’ve had to go it alone in drinking and discovering the Pinot. I’ve missed his straight forward palate! However, we had fun deciding on the menu pairing. Pinot is delicious with chicken, mushrooms, and even Indian dishes but we went classic with a Roasted Veggie Tart and Goat Cheese Souffle. Souffles are surprisingly easier than I expected, especially if you bake them in little Ramekins instead of trying to tackle the Julia Child sized ones.
The Pinot was bright and aromatic: earthy, baked cherries, spice and buttered toast.
Tasting it alone, there were cranberry/cherry, cloves, cola, spices, and acidity. The veggie tart smoothed it out and brought out berries. The goat cheese souffle was the dish that made it taste like a spoonful of Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. Since I was drinking for one, I emptied the bottle over a span of three days. The second and third days were still as good but with an added touch of roses.
A dahlia flower adorns the Ordaz labels. Eppie said the flower represents his dad’s love of gardening and being a native flower of Mexico, the family’s Mexican heritage. The website states: “the Dahlia symbolizes the cultural beauty that continually shapes our lives. Universally, the Dahlia expresses diversity, elegance, dignity, personal expression, and the eternal bond between two people, all things that are inherent in any great bottle of wine.”
Next Tuesday evening #Winestudio will dive into the Ordaz Sandoval Vineyard Malbec. You’re welcome to join in the discussion on Twitter at 8pm CST. Use the hashtag #winestudio. There will be more chatting with Eppie and discovering the unique relationship between wine, vineyard and family heritage.
The wine featured is a sample courtesy of Ordaz Family Wines.