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Dan Berger Cellar Dwellers Plus Barry Herbst

Our guest on California Wine Country with Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger today didn’t make it to the studio, so, the podcast will be about two wines that Dan Berger has brought in, one young Rosé and another “cellar dweller” from his extensive personal wine cellar. And we’ll end with a phone call from Barry Herbst.

The harvest in California was over two weeks ago in Sonoma County but only ended today, Nov. 17, in Monterey County, where they just harvested their last grapes this morning. It is very cool in the Central Coast this year. The 2021 vintage will be rather different there, compared to Sonoma County. The Central Coast is huge, in terms of acreage, from Santa Barbara to Livermore.

The first tasting is a 2020 Rosé, from Kelby Russell, a winemaker in New York state. It is made from  Cabernet Franc which Dan likes. This winery is located in the Finger Lakes region of New York state, which is a great place to visit if you’re a wine lover.

Dan’s other wine is a real “cellar dweller,” a 2004 Frog’s Leap Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon. The producer, John Williams, is committed to making balanced wines, so the alcohol is low, 13.6%. He likes it because it smells and tastes like Cabernet Sauvignon, just as it is supposed to. The taste matches the aroma. There are hints of pipe tobacco, black cherry and plum. “It’s got everything”

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Barry Herbst, the wine buyer at Bottle Barn, calls in on the phone to talk to Steve Jaxon, Dan Berger and Harry Duke. Bottle Barn is our longtime sponsor and Barry Herbst joins us on the show regularly to talk about all the new wines showing up in their vast and sometimes astounding stock. The Beaujolais Nouveau is out starting tomorrow. The Harvest Fair winners are still on sale and Rosé is featured year-round now, so they always have a good selection of Rosé from France, California and sometimes elsewhere.

The Thursday prior to Thanksgiving is the Beaujolais Nouveau release date. The French wine regulators set this rule, and it is in the contracts with distributors and retailers. Dan thinks that Beaujolais Nouveau is frivolous wine, it’s too fresh to have much character. But people like the idea of “new wine” or “vin de l’année” and in France, the release date is a popular party event in homes, bars and restaurants.

Bottle Barn always has all the local producers who have anything at retail, including the major local brands such as Alexander Valley Vineyards, Pedroncelli and Balletto, wines from all the local AVAs, a deep selection of imported varietals not easy to find anywhere else, as well as a vast selection of beers, sake and spirits. Occasionally Bottle Barn will purchase an entire cellar from a collector and those selections are sometimes once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to find rare and older wines. Bottle Barn is open 10-6 seven days a week.

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