With all of the excitement over California’s new crop of winemakers who are invested in making balanced, food-friendly wines, it’s easy to forget some of the longtime producers of deliciously drinkable west coast wines. Steve Edmunds gave most of us our first experience of California Gamay with his “Bone Jolly” – a play on the word “Beaujolais” packaged in a bottle with skeletons on the label. Steve encouraged the planting of Gamay on high elevation vineyards in the Sierra Foothills with volcanic soils similar to those found in the Beaujolais. It’s an understatement to say that our shelves are now crowded with many other domestic Gamays, but Steve’s example is always a delight that shows the grape’s balance of refreshing acidity and joyful berry and plum fruit. If you haven’t tried one in a while, we suggest you check in. JR
Since 1985, the Edmunds St. John label has stood for balanced, low-alcohol, and terroir-expressive wines from some of the most unique and well farmed vineyards in the state of California (Fenaughty, Witters, and Barsotti to name a few). Winemaker Steve Edmunds spent decades as a renegade minimalist surrounded by point-hungry power players. And while an energetic new wave of producers in California has been credited with bringing balanced, gastronomic wines back into favor, Edmunds has been making them for his entire career. It is tempting to suppose that all these years of practice have paid off in increasingly elegant, age-worthy wines, but our experience with older Edmunds St. John cuvees demonstrates that he's been making truly great wines from the start.
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