One of the benefits of living relatively close to the U.S. is, with a little effort, the ability to access some of the state’s exciting wines generally only available on mailing lists. One of my favourite yearly events is when I pick up my Wind Gap orders from the year. Wind Gap, one of an increasing number of California wineries seeking to break new ground with vinification, grapes, and cool climate sites, each year offers a number of obscure varietal wines. In 2013 one such offering was this delicious Blaufrankisch, an Austrian grape.
Blaufrankisch is a pretty obscure grape not known to be particularly exciting, but respected as sometimes producing very good wine. I can easily say the Wind Gap version of this grape is the best I’ve ever had.
I can admit I did not expect a wine like this from Spring Mountain. That’s likely due to the Blaufrankisch grape’s unique profile, which is savory and spicy as much as it is darkly fruited. The acidity proves fresh and helps the wine pop. But perhaps I should not be surprised as the best Spring Mountain wines possess greater freshness and balance than many from the Napa Valley floor due to the high elevation. Ritchie Creek Vineyard is one of the oldest on the mountain, founded in 1966. In sum, this is an extremely enjoyable wine, particularly with a homey mid-week meal. I found it a perfect accompaniment for veal cutlets with grainy mustard on Ciabatta. Only 24 cases bottled.
$36 from the winery