COLUMN WRITTEN BY PHIL SILVERSTONE
For Digital First Media
Opinion is, of course, subjective. I remember the great British astronomer Patrick Moore was once asked whether he believed intelligent life existed in our solar system. He replied that he had heard it rumored intelligent life existed on the Planet Earth, but he was still waiting to find some evidence. Everyone has an opinion about one subject or another. For example, I firmly believe that the greatest film director of the 20th century was the Italian Lucino Visconti and that the 1952 Jaguar XK 120 was the most beautiful motor car ever designed. I would nominate Venice as my favorite city in the world, and Manhattan as the one place I could happily live without ever visiting again. The most satisfying book I have ever read is professor JRR Tolkien’s trilogy “Lord of the Rings,” and Gustave Mahler’s Fifth Symphony never fails to make my eyes moist. For me, the so-called comedies on American TV are an absolute waste of time (except for “The Big Bang Theory”) and modern British architecture is a total travesty, ruining the landscape of my homeland.
Having delivered my laundry list of favorites when it comes to wine, it’s almost impossible for me to make the same black-and-white statement. Wines change each vintage. Their characters, their styles, their tastes, their entire personalities are a consequence of the harmony of elements — some natural and some the device of their creators in the winery. The question is one that is posed to me every time the subject of wine is raised. Yet wine regions have their devoted disciples who insist that the wines of, say, Burgundy or Bordeaux, are the best. That the wines of Italy eclipse those of Australia. That a Chardonnay is far superior to the Riesling. And so it goes. I tend to enjoy under-hyped, beautifully made wines, which are never purchased to impressive my friends, but to impress my mouth.
I have a superb red wine to recommend for the holiday season, which blew my socks off, so it’s pretty lucky I had a pedicure the night before. Holman Ranch was built on land established when California was still part of Mexico. In 1928, the land in California’s Carmel Valley was purchased by a man named Armsby, who experienced financial problems in the 1940s, so he sold it to the son of Holman’s Department Store. Over the years the land changed hands many times and eventually Thomas and Jarman Lowder purchased Holman Ranch in 2006. However Jarman died in March of 2011 at age 60, following a long battle with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. But not before she and her husband has established one of the most respected wineries in California. To honor her memory, the Jarman family take the best hand-selected estate grapes and create two premium varietals: Jarman Chardonnay and Jarman Pinot Noir. They have also partnered with the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation and committed a portion of inventory and a percentage of sales towards finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
Jarman wine uses only 100 percent estate-grown, organic and certified-sustainable grapes. Aged in French oak barrels, Jarman’s vintages are held in limited supply.
Jarman Pinot Noir 2013 (Carmel Valley, Calif; approximately $75)
This stunningly gorgeous wine spends 10 months in the barrel which gives a rich, complex character with a multitude of flavors which include cedar and plump red berry notes. It has a full-bodied boldness which tends to be lacking in many pinot noirs I’ve tried recently. The price tag is well over my normal budget, but because it’s the holiday season, I’ll suggest, as I always do with pricier wines, that three or four of you contribute to the experience of tasting one of the finest (perhaps THE finest) pinot noirs on the market today. If you have a chum who lives in a state where wine shipments are permitted through the mail, you can purchase from Jarman Wines website: shop.holmanranch.com/Wines/Jarman-Wines.
Phillip Silverstone’s column appears each week in this newspaper. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is a weekly podcast heard on TuneIn Radio anytime and anywhere worldwide either on the free TuneIn app for all smart phones and tablets (Search: Phillip Silverstone) or online at: http://bit.ly/1gY2Ht4 “Follow” the show for weekly updates. You can also LIKE Phillip on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Phillipsilverstone and follow him on Twitter: @wining.