Monday, May 03, 2004

Vineyards in Marin?


My family moved to Marin county, just north of San Francisco, when I was only three years old. It must have seemed like moving to the country for my parents. In front of the house there was a stable rather than a garage and a huge fig tree instead of a lawn. My parents took up organic gardening and even raised chickens.

But it's only been in recent years that there has even been a farmers market in Marin and most of the produce certainly isn't grown there. While the street my parents live on is zoned "light agricultural usage" it's really an anomaly. The average home price in Marin last year was over eight hundred thousand dollars, and farming long ago lost out to property developers.

So it was with great interest that I learned about a winery in Marin. Mount Tamalpais Vineyards and Pey-Marin Vineyards are run by Susan and Jonathan Pey, two seasoned wine professionals who clearly know what they like in terms of wine. Speaking with Jonathan Pey I learned that winemaking has an even longer history in Marin than in neighboring Sonoma or Napa and that while economic conditions are challenging and production is low, the soil and climate makes for excellent European style wines.

At a pre-release event this weekend, I got a chance to try the 2003 Vin Gris de Marin, a crisp and refreshing dry wine perfect served chilled all summer long. I also got to try their Pinot Noir and Merlot which were both rich, elegant wines yet very drinkable. You can find their wines at local markets such as Mill Valley Market, Plump Jack, or Woodlands Market and at local restaurants such as Insalatas, Fork or Luna Park. You can also purchase them online or try them this Friday May 7th at Woodlands Market from 5-7. Drinking local wine is a great way to reconnect with one of the things--the "terroir" that made Marin county so desirable in the first place.