During my quarter-century of winemaking, I have been fortunate to learn about Riesling from some very talented winemakers from Germany, Austria, Italy and New Zealand. While Pinot Noir is my first love, my fascination with Riesling has only grown over the years. Like Pinot Noir, great Rieslings seem to channel the essence of their vineyards with a beauty and precision that can be stirring. So last year, when my longtime friend Norm Kobler asked if I wanted to make a Riesling from his family’s famed Vonarburg Vineyard in the cool “deep end” of the Anderson Valley, I jumped at the chance.
Norm’s parents were pioneers in the Anderson Valley, founding Lazy Creek Vineyards in 1972. Their 45 years of growing Riesling, Gewurztraminer and other varieties helped to build Mendocino’s reputation for producing North America’s most exceptional aromatic white grapes. One of the coolest vineyards in the valley, Vonarburg is lovingly farmed by Norm, and owned by his mom, Theresia.