I’ve written about Stillman Brown and the wines he makes somewhere in Paso Robles often enough over the last several years that people might think I owe him something. All I really owe him is a thank you for his delicious wines as well as for his witty emails. Karen and I have really enjoyed all his wines, but since this series of articles is primarily about the “lighter” wines that we’ve been enjoying at home, I thought I’d share with you two of those that were released most recently. And rather than bore you with my descriptions, I figured I’d just turn you over to Swilly himself:
“2019 Chateau d’Abalone Vermentino. It’s light and it’s big, it’s crisp and it’s soft, and it smells like….Vermentino, not like table grapes, dirt, and Muscat de Middleman was added instead of the best possible yeast for the variety. Unusual vine canopy management and my little enological tricks – a ‘secret ingredient’? – make a difference, I think: it’s the equal of the 2015, which … oh well, how about a more recent brag? The new swill slayed all comers at a post-Christmas party I was semi-forced to attend, There were some pretty good palates there, but a few belonged to “snobbeliers” so I didn’t mention that the wine was still in bottle shock at that point. It might have been interpreted as winemaker egomania watered down to mere smugness…
2019 Colossus Viognier. There would have been more if not for Bambi & family, who munched away undisturbed for the extra weeks it took to ripen everything this year, but I did manage to get enough to partly fill a beautiful Caucasian 265 liter barrel – second use, as when new it had held the previous vintage only three months. Second is not second best for barrel fermented whites, sez me. I also had enough to partly fill a 55 gallon stainless drum. (Fill >80% and ferment —> yeast lava flow.) No sweetness, no cloying warm climate perfume, no “it’s cool climate Viognier, it’s supposed to be thin and weird'” Santa Barbara marketing spin. It’s 31 proof.”
Did you follow all that? Yeah, me neither.
From Karen: But the wines were great. These wines go with all our “lighter meals” – turkey, chicken, fish and also what we like to call our “snacks” nights – shrimp cocktails or even steak tartare. Add some fruit, cheese and crackers and we can have dinner on the table in 10 minutes. We know these wines complement whatever we are having for dinner.
The bad news is that I expect these wines are long gone. The good news is they were released about a year ago, so maybe we can expect something equally exciting sometime soon. But the only way that you will know is if you get on his email list, so contact him at email@example.com. You’ll have the opportunity to get some wonderful wines and also some entertaining emails.
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 30 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also President of MCP Financial, which provides outsourced controller services. Michael can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.