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March 03, 2010

08 J. Christopher, Oregon Croft Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

I got a sage piece of advice the other day from a fellow wine writer: don't be afraid to make enemies. Be as honest and objective as you can--I guess the rest will basically take care of itself. And I am. But the longer you do this, the more people you inevitably get to know, and your biases bloom like mold in April. I find myself refusing samples. Or taking them with the caveat that I'll only ever write about them if I get enough friends together to do a brown-bagged blind tasting. At some point, it becomes impossible. Fortunately, I don't know these guys. And I hope they don't read this. You're going to make enemies and you're going to have to forge ahead. I couldn't care less. And I'm at an advantage because I'm rarely recommending or cautioning any wine. You have no idea how much I appreciate that any winemaker would bother to do this. It's not their jobs to impress us. It's our work to find a reason for most of these wines. A ball to wear that gown to. The problem is, I'm starting to look good in a dress. Nevermind, I mean I'm starting to make friends. That might be why I've been so reluctant to write about this Croft Vineyard sauvignon blanc, which I first tried in the 2001 vintage and fell in love with a few months into the 2004. That's when I made it my house wine. But four years later, as more of us become neighbors in this business--and I'm honored to share a fence with any of you--the house has gotten bigger, and if we all had to meet somewhere, some amalgamation of all our favorite bars with Chefs Paul Kahan (or anyone he gives his nametag to) and Dan Mondock out back, this is what we're drinking once everyone gets inside. J. Christopher's 2008 Croft Vineyard sauvignon blanc is America's house wine. Take off your socks and put on your PJs. I've had it every week this year. Where I like to wax eloquently about the ether of old white Bordeaux, the Sudoku-like mindfuck of Loire, or the explicitly Cinemax-like pleasure of all Champagne, Croft makes me just want to keep my mouth shut. I don't want to make this winery happy. Don't want to run into them at a tasting and say, yeah, hey, it's my pleasure, but you're the one doing the work! I don't want to be full of myself. And time will tell if I delete this post. Make it something short and sweet about the Kaffir lime, smoky Silex (!) minerality (okay, now I've gone too far, it's not as ethereal, but at least far better than every New Zealand wine), gooseberry, raw quince, grapefruit, grapefruit, and grapefruit. So maybe it says something that I can't. That I can't shut up. That all I want to do is open a bottle, pour a few glasses, make a few new friends.

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