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Friday Fishwrap
Wine At The End Of The Earth

By Charles Olken

I have come about as far as one can go without getting on a boat and sailing across the pond. I am at the very tip of Cape Cod, and you can take it from me that this is "Lands End".

When you look out on the ocean here to the east, you are looking at thousands of miles of water. I have been to "Land's End" in England and there was no wine there. Not so here in Provincetown.

This is a prime vacation spot, and aside from the trinket and T-Shirt shops, the place is chock-a-block with galleries, restaurants and upscale stores--more than a handful of which sell wine.

As is my wont, I do bring along some choice bottles, and we buy what we need beyond those half dozen that I lug on the plane. I will admit to being both pleased and surprised at the variety of West Coast wines in both restaurants and wine stores.

But, of equal surprise to me were the patterns of supply. Without doing any kind of semi-scientific survey, it seemed to me that CA Chardonnay was well represented in the thirty dollar level but was completely underrepresented at higher price levels where the French seemed to have the market all to themselves.

Because this is seafood country, I ran out of whites early. A Siduri Pinot filled in nicely as a second bottle last night in one of the few meals where we ate in, but great CA whites were hard to replace. It is OK to drink French once in a while; we do in San Francisco so why not here.

Pinot, both from CA and OR were also often seen. Yet the most well-represented variety from our home turf turned out to be Cabernet Sauvignon. Its abundance practically overshadowed Bordelaise reds--something I had not seen on earlier trips to this part of the world.

It was OR Pinot Gris that most surprised. It was everywhere, and while not in overwhelming numbers, it seemed to enjoy a standing that might only be seen in its own neighborhood.

At a very fine meal (Ten Tables is a name to remember if you ever get out this way) the other night I chose an Illahe Pinot Gris 2012, and not only was I surprised to see a young wine in a place that often seems a vintage behind, but when I ordered it, the Captain commented that it was one of their most popular wines. And it was very good indeed.

So, there is hope yet. One can go to the end of the earth and find good wine, some of which comes from the West Coast.


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No Subject
by gabe
Posted on:6/21/2013 8:40:48 PM

Flattered that you enjoyed the Illahe pinot gris, and equally flatterd that you chose to order it.  The Boston market has indeed been very supportive of our winery.  That gris was fermented in a 1,600-gallon oak cask, and transfered twice - not for stylistic reason, but out of necessity, because the only way we can temperature control a wine in an oak cask is to move it indoors.  Fortunately, those two transfers led to some serious lees stirring, and resulted in a wine with a fantastic mouthfeel.  Again, I am incredibly flattered that you enjoyed our wine.  cheers!

by Charlie Olken
Posted on:6/22/2013 12:52:26 AM


I was happy to see the wine because it fit at the price I wanted to pay of a first course wine, and of course, I have heard good things about it--mainly from you.

So, try it we did, and when we went back to Ten Tables on our last night in Provincetowm, we ordered it again.

Good job.

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