Oded Shakked, owner of Longboard Vineyards, is back on California Wine Country this week, and we also have Tom Simoneau on the phone from his vineyard in Alexander Valley. Tom and Oded were last on California Wine Country in person together on March 28, 2018 (when the picture above was taken). This time due to Coronavirus restrictions, everyone is on the phone.
Tom describes the vineyard as of today, where it is 100 degrees, down from 104 a half an hour ago. “We are through bloom and fruit is setting. This has been one schizophrenic Spring. (…) It will be an interesting year… Mother nature throws something at us a little different every year, so she’s in charge, so we just do what we do.”
Oded is calling from the cellar where it is 68 degrees. He calls his winery, “a deliberate accident.” He grew up in Israel and decided to follow his interest in surfing. He traveled to France to surf, got to know wine, and heard about the UC Davis wine program. So he came to California to attended that program and never looked back. He worked for a sparkling wine house in Napa, for the Jordan family as well as a job a Chateau Lafitte in France, then he settled in Healdsburg. Now he has lived here longer than anywhere else.
Longboard is a reflection of his love for surfing. Longboard surfing is more about flowing movements and balance and he sees parallels between surfing and winemaking. Tom Simoneau loves the Longboard sparkling wines. Oded describes the process that yielded those complex flavors. From about 7:00 he gives a detailed explanation of the process of making sparkling wine.
The Malbec is 2017 vintage. It is one of the five main Bordeaux varieties, which are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Tom grows some Malbec. Oded likes the more blue fruit, rather than red fruit. You don’t see a lot of Malbec by itself, since most of it ends up in high-end Meritage blends. It has a little herb and mineral flavors with a broad mid-palette and a long finish. Oded sees Balance as the key similarity between surfing and winemaking.
Longboard Vineyards has limited seating outside, by reservation. They are also selling wine for outside pickup. One can stop by and purchase, or order ahead. But they can’t do tastings at the bar as they normally do. Tom mentions that they are located in what used to be a cannery then it was Clos du Bois facility. The orange awning is their visual marker. Oded drives a restored 1951 Ford Country Squire wagon, too.