Dan Berger is the featured guest on his own show today, to tell Steve Jaxon about Bahl Fratty Riesling, his new wine label. When Dan Berger first discovered fine wine early in his career as a journalist, it was an encounter with Riesling that got his attention. Today we get to hear about his first attempt to make a Riesling to his own demanding standards, and Steve Jaxon gets to taste some of it.
Dan Berger is on CWC every week, but in these two special episodes last year, he was also the featured guest, telling his story to Steve Jaxon and co-host Harry Duke. The first week was about his career in journalism. The second week has the story about the corked Riesling and about Dan’s annual wine competition.
First they taste a 2018 Black Kite Chardonnay from Petaluma Gap. It has combined flavors of citrus fruit and cream. (Like a Creamsicle? asked the editor.) It spent about a year in the barrels.
Mendocino County Grown Riesling
Dan is a big fan of Mendocino county for the great fruit it produces. In 2005 a friend in New York said they can make Riesling better than we can in California. He thought of Cole Ranch in Mendocino County. The name Bahl Fratty is in Boontling, the local lingo of Booneville. It has an entire vocabulary of local terms. For example, the very first telephone installed in Booneville was put in by a man named Bucky Walter. So, the telephones were called a buckywalter. A cup of coffee is a Horn of Zeess. Anderson Valley Brewing Company has a beer called Bahl Hornin’.
Dan likes his Rieslings dry and this may be the driest of all. Dan’s winemaker is Greg La Follette, who will be on CWC next week. It was not until 2022 that Dan could get access to some of the Cole Ranch fruit. This is his first production. Riesling takes the personality of where it grows, in the mountains or valleys.
Dan has brought some salmon and cream cheese to show how his Riesling goes perfectly with it. He plans to make another vintage, from two different sources this time, the one in Mendocino and another from Carneros. He will also make a little bit of Vermentino.