EDITOR'S NOTE - Terroir in the Wind

     One of my most vivid memories of Jess Jackson, the founder of Kendall-Jackson who passed away in April of this year, is centered on a patch of dirt in Annapolis. It was back in the late 1990s, and he was busy building the collection of California vineyards that would become Jackson Family Farms. He’d gotten into the habit of commuting from one site to another by helicopter, and he’d decided this would be the most efficient way to show his expansion plans to a journalist.
     We headed to Occidental first, where he had recently planted a vineyard next door to Coastlands, then set a course due north along the coast. When we landed on a hilltop in Annapolis, there was nothing but a clearing on the ridge. He strode up to the top, circled around, planted his Texas boot on a pine stump and began to enumerate all the best aspects of the site, the most remote of all his properties. The exhilaration he clearly felt was not unlike the energy his new neighbors shared—the Peays one ridge west, David Hirsch and Walt and Joan Flowers several ridges south—when they walked their land with me. There’s a completely different energy in Sonoma County than in any other California wine region, and it becomes more concentrated the closer you get to the coast. David Darlington knows that coast well, from cycling King Ridge and from researching his latest book, An Ideal Wine, a tale of the quirky, seminal figures at the center of California’s contemporary wine scene, to be released this summer. If you want to experience the far coast—and to understand why, perhaps, the region really does warrant its own appellation for wine—there may be no better way to do it than on a bicycle. More leisurely travel this summer might take you to one of the Pacific-influenced sparkling wine vineyards we profile in this issue or, if you’re headed to Europe, the Mediterranean vineyards for Cava and Prosecco. Each will give you a different terroir perspective on summer refreshment.
     W&S Senior Editor Tara Q. Thomas offers up a more radical Mediterranean white wine for
summer—Santorini. Thomas’s fascination with Greek wine began while she was a student at the Culinary Institute of America. On an internship in Athens, she caught wind of a turn-around in Santorini—where vineyards had been disappearing to make way for resorts—leading her to this ancient Aegean ruin of a volcano, where winemakers were just beginning to rediscover the potential of its assyrtiko. Today, the island is the focal point for some of Greece’s most talented wine producers, whom Thomas visited for a week this spring, much of her time spent seeking protection from the wind. The severity of that wind, of the soil and the sun, combine in some of the most compelling wines you can pour at the dinner table—much of the moisture these vines absorb is from that wind, literally capturing the sea in a bottle. Exposing, perhaps, the earthbound prejudice inherent in the concept of terroir…