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Tandem Wines

Greg La Follette is somewhat of an icon among California winemaker circles. Educated at University of California Davis, he trained under wine masters such as Tchelistcheff and Kongsgaard and was one of the first winemakers bringing attention to the “true” Sonoma Coast (at Flowers).

His own Tandem label sources from vineyards that represent long-standing relationships. La Follette helped plant Keefer Ranch Vineyard when he was the winemaker at Hartford Court. He provided much of the bud wood for Van der Kamp Vineyard in Sonoma Mountain. La Follette has a long standing relationship with Sangiacomo vineyards. He was the first to recognize the potential of Ritchie Vineyard when he first brought grapes into Flowers several years ago.

La Follette has consulted on numerous new winery launches including Londer Vineyards and James Ball Vineyards, both in the Anderson Valley, and has contributed his expertise on the international stage as well. He has designed and redesigned fourteen wineries worldwide and was the consulting winemaker for the new University of California Davis teaching winery. He will be crafting Tandem wines at a new winery being built in Anderson Valley by James Ball. Recently he was the consulting winemaker at De Loach.

With the 2006 vintage, La Follette has released four Pinot Noirs, three Chardonnays and a Pinot Meunier. The Pinot Noirs are burly and masculine in style and need decanting or time in the glass to reveal their charms.

2006 Tandem Auction Block Sonoma County Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 916 cases, $60. Composed of the best barrels of the winery’s best vineyards including Manchester Ridge, Sangiacomo Sonoma Coast, Silver Pines and Hawk’s Roost. Aged 11 months in 18% new French oak. · A constantly changing array of cherries, roasted nuts, oak char and cedar on the nose. The delicious black cherry core is accented with a cola and pine note. This one grows on you in the glass, taking on more charm as time passes. Each time you take a sip it gets better and better. Still has some tannins to shed and will benefit from aging. A remarkable wine that sneaks up on you.

2006 Tandem Silver Pines Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

14.9% alc.,851 cases, $60. Located at 980 feet elevation in a wind tunnel from the Petaluma Gap on Sonoma Mountain farmed by Norm and Carol Silverman. Mariafeld and Pommard clones. Aged in one-third new French oak for 11 months. · Oak-kissed black cherry scents are very lovely. On the palate, there is a healthy attack of loamy dark fruits including rhubarb. Like all good wines, it picks up steam with time in the glass. A fruit-driven wine of admirable balance which drank beautifully the next day from a re-corked previously opened bottle.

Tandem wines are available for sale on the winery’s website at www.tandemwines.com. There is some national retail distribution. The wines can be tasted at the Family Wineries Tasting Room in Kenwood daily. The wines are currently vinified at the old apple processing plant on Granvenstein Highway in Sebstopol 707-823-2794.

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