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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quivira Makes Jam, Not Just Jammy Wines

Posted By on Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 3:00 PM

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Wines are often described as "jammy," but how often can you buy jam and wine from the same producer? Dry Creek Valley producer Quivira will sell you both, and some honey from the estate as well, with the help of some goats, bees, and manure-filled bull horns.

The goats mow the lawn, the bees pollinate and offer honey, and the bull's horn is buried by moonlight. These are some of the unique practices that are symbolic of biodynamic processes. Biodynamic is a deep discussion on its own, but for the purpose of this post, think of it as organic on steroids, or if you're less inclined, voodoo farming. We'll find another time to debate.

What is certain is that biodynamic farming requires deep attention and respect for soil and surroundings, and strives to bring nature and land into harmony. It's little surprise that many animals are involved, and biodynamic producers often have farms or gardens interspersed amongst their vineyards.

Quivira leverages their animals and plants for more than just wine. Animal visages adorn each bottle, both animals friendly to fruit and less so. Goats may mow the grass, but pigs eat the crops. Still, both earned their own label.

Gardens provide a pleasant accent to a winery tour, and the raw materials for great seasonal jams. Their Chandler Strawberry single-varietal preserves are bursting with chunky, jammy, tart-sweet strawberries perfectly reflective of the varietal. The bees that aid in pollination also produce honey for visitors.

While Quivira makes a range of Rhone varietals and a Sauvignon Blanc, it's best known for its Zinfandels. The 2009 Dry Creek Zinfandel has a classically "Zin" jammy nose, with a tiny dusting of cocoa powder. The taste starts mid-soft with a medium-jam level, followed by a mocha middle, and the sustaining sourness of acidity in the finish that promises this wine can last on your shelf for a few years if need be. It's a medium-big jammy Zin, "not Rosenblum big," according to one friend.

Quivira's Zinfandel has a suggested retail of $20 but tastes closer to a $30 bottle. Quivira wines are available in San Francisco at K&L, Whole Foods on 24th, Andronico's and Canyon Market. Jams and honey are both available only at the winery and through their website.


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Ben Narasin


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