Most people would never think about wine in terms of a personal journey of either the wine drinker or the producer and why would they? Many of the widely available wines commonly found in grocery and liquor stores are the product of large commercial businesses and are designed to satisfy the broadest cross-section of consumers. I never thought about it until I really began to explore wine and what unfolded was the revelation of a large community of dedicated small production winemakers creating wines they love and hope others that share a mutual passion appreciate their efforts. This is one such story.
Nikki and Jeff Nelson are the owners of Liquid Farm and through Wine Berserkers we struck up a conversation because I found their wine very enjoyable and the personal motivation to be a producer intriguing. After learning we were organizing a tasting with fellow Wine Berserkers Nikki graciously offered to participate and bring her full complement of wines for the group to taste. Here’s insight into their journey in their own words.
“We seek to support local viticulture and honor our palates’ love for old world wines that have naturally high acidity and are not masked by many of the modern day manipulations.
To do so, we selfishly decided to make what we most love to drink: Chardonnay that is earth and mineral driven from cool climates with little or no new oak. To achieve these qualities we were drawn to one of the coolest of all California AVA’s, Sta. Rita Hills. Located in Santa Barbara County, it is home to some of the most Chardonnay-suited, unique, ancient soils in North America.”
Jeff and Nikki show a vineyard map of the Santa Rita Hills AVA detailing where they source fruit and the reasons behind those choices. In fact, Jeff brought a few sample rocks of diatomaceous earth from a vineyard to show the types of soil they look for in a location.
I’ve got your back! Watch Nikki and Jeff fend off the assault of questions from our wine loving and inquisitive group. They exhibit amazing energy, passion, and enthusiasm which shows in everything surrounding their project.
Here’s a few from the stellar Liquid Farm lineup. The unlabeled bottle on the far left is the Liquid Farm 2013 Mourvedre Rose barrel sample, this was it’s first public outing and a few barrel samples of chardonnay in the background with green painters tape and cryptic wording for a label. What a treat!
A few of the wines we tasted and a little detail regarding ABV, oak treatment, and fruit source. As you can see from the “SOLD OUT” stamped below a number of the wines, they’re popular.
This is an all-too-familiar sign of a Wine Berserker event. Coolers filled with wine, travel cases on rollers, boxes of stems, and miscellaneous duffel bags stuffed with the required accessories for a big evening.
Just a few of the blind bottles still hiding in their newspaper and aluminum foil cocoons before their enviable revelation. The pink labeled bottle? It’s a 1992 Foxen Pinot Noir, fruit profile was fresh as a daisy. Thanks FMIII for a thoughtful and greatly appreciated treat for the group.
Most of the reds were served blind and here is Chris pouring his bottle. Blind tasting really adds a level of entertainment because it removes some label bias and really forces a person to rely on the senses.
The Wine Berserker community is a great place to learn about wine but it’s also a terrific resource. Say you just moved to Orange County and didn’t really know anyone but wanted to meet people that were as crazy and interested in wine as you? You attend a Berserker event and make 12 new friends in an evening like Dennis and Norma. Welcome to the OC.
Some of us really enjoy writing tasting notes, I’m guilty, and nobody does it better than FMIII and Chris. Even Nikki jumped in after seeing us scribble away and grabbed a pen to jot down her thoughts on the reds we tasted together. Come to find out, she’s an avid tasting note writer. We’re a sick breed…
It was “Greek Night” for dinner which included hummus, tzatziki, dolmades, roasted nuts, pita bread, rice, salad, chicken a la Avo, and steak.
Because of overwhelming demand we opened the tasting up to two tables. Here’s Jeff telling a great story about the mystery still wine he brought which becomes champagne after dosage.
Here’s the gang of six mid-dinner with a table full of food, stems, and friends.
Not sure how it all started other than Frank and I enjoy a nice Petite Sirah for dessert so it’s sort of a tradition when we host and my wife Chris made a stunning cappuccino fudge cheesecake which garnered high praise from the crowd.
It’s not all about wine all of the time! Leslie picked up her Google Glasses in the morning and brought them to the party for all to geek out on. Here is Gregg giving them a whirl. I believe Leslie is officially the first person in the world to tweet with glasses from a wine tasting.
Interested in reading the tasting notes from this event? Jump over here in Wine Talk and see what all the fuss is about.