I have spent most of my adult life suppressing one of my most basic instincts. Despite my best efforts, though, that side of me comes out fairly regularly. No, it has nothing to do with Sharon Stone and the murdering of a rock star, nor does it involve any weapon of any kind or a desire to return to nature or anything nutty like that.
No, I think at the root of my essence is an intense need to be intensely sarcastic. Many of the regular readers of this blog are likely thinking: “This is him trying to rein in the sarcasm? Whoa.”
Yeah, I know, I have a problem.
Most of the time, I can control it, particularly if my wife is there to give me a bit of stink-eye or even a quick jab to my nearest extremity. However, there are a few individuals out there who, when I am in their general vicinity, will cause the sarcasm to flow in a steady stream, virtually non-stop.
And there are a few who are as bad as I am, and when we get together, our sarcasm streams tend to cross, often resulting in total protonic reversal, which is bad, real bad. One of those people is my brother, which renders family get-togethers brutally painful for everyone else.
Another is Ed St. John of Pedroncelli Winery in Dry Creek Valley.
I can’t honestly recall when I first realized that Ed was a sarcasm kindred spirit , but I do know we would trade barbs during online wine tastings that no doubt offended quite a few others when we did so. Why am I so sure? Well, when two people, both with solid foundations in the art of sarcasm realize that there is another with the same predilection in the general vicinity, they run with it. There is no concern for the feelings or opinions of others, they both simply want to outdo the other, legitimize their own wiseacre bone fides.
In other words, we acted like jackrabbits (although “rabbit” was replaced by another word for “donkey”).
I do know that the first time that we met in person was at the Pedroncelli Winery about two and a half years ago. The winery had invited a group of writers for dinner as part of the launching their 90th Anniversary—yes ninety years. After exchanging “niceties” we started in on the sarcasm heavy and thick. Most of the comments were shared as asides since Ed’s lovely wife, Julie Pedroncelli St. John, was giving us a tour of the winery as well as a brief family history (Julie is the third generation of Pedroncelli to work in the winery).
When it came time to sit down for dinner, I had barely started giving him my “We-probably-shouldn’t-sit-next-to-each-other-since-we-will-certainly-offend-everyone-in-this-building-once-the-wine-starts-flowing” look when he simply (but forcibly) pointed to a chair indicating where I should sit, and he promptly sat down in the adjacent chair.
The next couple of hours included wonderful food, plenty of laughter, a few disapproving glances from Julie, and incredible wines. Here are a few of Pedroncelli’s Signature Collection, all incredible bargains.
2017 Pedroncelli Sauvignon Blanc: Retail $17. Under screw cap. Slightly golden yellow, with a slight green tint, quite tropical on the nose with mango, pineapple, peach, and a bit of petrol. The palate is quite fruity (loads of peach here) and simply, delightful. Rich, full, good weight, this is wonderfully un-Sauvignon Blanc like. If, like me, you tend to shy away from the variety, this is a great option to get back on that horse and at a price that is frankly too low. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2017 Pedroncelli Dry Rosé of Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley: Retail $17. 100% Zinfandel. True Rosé. Yes, this wine is pink, and yes, it is made from Zinfandel, but this is not your mother’s “White Zinfandel.” This wine is completely dry and amazingly, this is the 64th consecutive vintage of this wine, making it the first Rosé of Zinfandel in California. Think about that for a minute or two—Pedroncelli was making a dry rosé of Zinfandel for a couple of decades before the first white zin ever hit the shelves. When I asked Ed about the relatively recent explosion in the popularity of pink wines, he tried his hardest not to roll his eyes and give me a look as if to say: “What took you people so long?” Great deep color. Subtle strawberry notes. Fantastic acidity and as with all Pedroncelli wines, an incredible value. Lovely. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2016 Pedroncelli Mother Clone Zinfandel: Retail $19. Called “Mother Clone” since the vines, planted in 1927, were taken from the original 1904 planting on the property. One of the largest production wines in the Ped portfolio, this is light in color and delicate on the nose, particularly given that it’s a Zin (and far from those tough to drink, heavy, fruit-bomb Zins). The red berry and spice on the nose are typical of Dry Creek, according to Ed, and the great fruit and mouthfeel underscore that this is my type of Zin: reserved, but with great flavors, a fantastic wine on its own, but even better with food. Outstanding. 90-92 Points. For the price? Stupid value here.