Oded Shakked returns to California Wine Country with Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger, with three wines from Longboard Vineyards, for tasting and discussion. In the first portion of today’s show, Dan Berger is on his way in, against inclement weather and traffic.
They get right into the history of the name and Oded admits that he would never have chosen this name if he had known it would be such an important brand so many years later. At the time, he was a professional winemaker, hired to make his bosses’ wine.
It’s true that he is a surfer, at the time he was a winemaker at J Vineyards and Winery. He wanted to make Syrah and they were not interested in that. So he exchanged a raise for production space and started making it on his own, in 1998. It remained a hobby winery until he went full time with it in 2005. Surfing brought me into winemaking, he says, because it took him to the western coast of Europe looking for waves. That is also where he discovered wine. He found his vocation and got a degree from UC Davis and then worked for a roster of top wineries before Longboard.
Oded likes the fact that Americans have created a food culture that was not around 40 years ago. That includes more and more people who will age red wines. He likes wine with “fuzzy edges” which reminds him of the sound of vinyl records as opposed to digital recording.
No more surfboards on the labels.
They don’t use surfboards anymore on their labels, because he wants the focus to be on the wine, not the surf.
The tasting room is in Healdsburg, two blocks off the plaza, right by the railroad tracks. It is open daily 11am-6pm.
They are a small winery, under 5000 cases. Longboard is one of the few small independent labels that grows the grapes, makes the wine and sells it. He either grows the grapes or buys from trusted growers like Rochioli.
He makes a very traditional methode champenoise bubbly wine, which is sold out at the moment. As Dan Berger has just arrived late, they are tasting the Longboard Chardonnay, which Dan suggests would age well. His manipulation is minimal. Dan says that Oded’s strength is his connection to great growers. Another great advantage is that he had access to all the best equipment for making wine. They also taste Meant To Bee Pinot Noir, which comes from a vineyard where there is a beehive in an old walnut tree.