INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS OGGENFUSS – PLUMPJACK & CADE WINERIES – NAPA

by / Wednesday, 01 June 2011 / Published in FEATURE, INTERVIEWS, On The Go

One of my favourite things when it comes to Social Media is the offline aspect. I’ve taken the conversation offline on a few occasions, in this case with Chris on my Napa visit (as well as with Paul Mabray of VinTank – see interview) strictly because I liked what he had to say and most of all, how he said it. So it just seemed natural to give him a heads up that I was coming to town and just wanted to say hi IRL. I’m glad I did, Chris and the Plumpjack/Cade Team were absolutely forthcoming and very generous with their time… not to mention, the wines I tasted on that day really helped change my view of the California wine scene.

I wasn’t familiar with the Plumpjack or Cade brands before flying out to the West Coast so it was very much a day of discovery. One thing that intrigued me about their complete range, whether it be the estate wine or top end bottle, they’ve all been treated with velvet gloves. Really! The blending techniques are world class, the wines have an incredible tannin structure¬† (every single ONE! ) and eventhough the alcohol levels are quite high in some of their wines, it’s very well integrated (meaning: the actual levels seem to be much less than they are). But my favourite aspect was the fact that they let some “funk” shine through, I love funk. Call me old school or old world, just give me barnyard!! Don’t get me wrong, the wines are nowhere near “penetrating” in regards to this characteristic, they just haven’t been vinified in the typical fruit bomb manner. Couple that with some of Napa’s best terroir (Stag’s Leap and Opus One are just a stone’s throw away) and you have a recipe for something GREAT!

If Tony Biagi (Chief Winemaker at Plumpjack and Cade) were a makeup artist, his work would look like this:

Well applied makeup

Unfortunately many winemakers still tend to overdo it with the “makeup” they give wines and therefore their work looks something like this:

"not so well" applied makeup

All in all, many thanks go out to Chris and the PJ/C team! The day spent together was a blast and the only thing left to do now is find me some Plumpjack and Cade on this side of the pond.

Keep on keepin’ ON!

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