Even though it's October and now officially fall, the weather is still summery here in the Southland, and many people continue to reach for cool whites instead of red as they wind down after a long day. Sunday evening, I attended a pizza party on the west side, and as my generous hosts kneaded the dough, sautéed the mushrooms and chard, sliced the garden-grown heirloom tomatoes and garlic, and grated the parmesan, we all mused about what to open first. It was about 5:15 PM; hot beams of orange sunlight drizzled through the bougainvillea and pink jasmine verdure. I'd brought a bottle of lambrusco, but it wasn't cold yet, and a bottle of IGT Veronese that was simply too full and rich for a summery afternoon. Dark and Stormy? We weren't sold on the idea of starting with rum. Slovenian Cabernet blend? Intriguing, but still not the right time. We wanted something cold, fresh and guzzlable. "I have a bottle of Verdad Albariño in the fridge," my generous host said. A light bulb went off over our heads. Perfect.
Specializing in organic and biodynamic wines of Spanish varietals, Verdad Wine is the personal initiative and design of Louisa Sawyer Lindquist, wife of Central Coast wine pioneer Bob Lindquist and founder of Qupé Cellars. Sawyer Lindquist became enamored with Spanish wine while working in the wine trade in New York, first in retail in Long Island and then later for a prominent Spanish import/distribution outfit in the city. She relocated to San Francisco in 1990 and began combing California for possible examples of Albariño and Tempranillo to see how the grapes would do out here; but there were none.
She claims it was her partner Bob Lindquist who inspired her to make her dream of creating Spanish-styled wines a reality. The first Verdad wines were vinified in 2000. In 2005 the couple planted the Sawyer Lindquist vineyard in Edna Valley and had it certified Demeter biodynamic in 2009. They currently produce a rosé of Garnacha, a couple of Albariños, as well as Tempranillo. But it was the Albariño that hooked me, with its aromas of orange flower and mineral, bright fruit, shimmering acidity, and delightful finish. This wine is an ideal way to start a long leisurely dinner party with good friends and good food. Leave the reds for after dark -- this wine makes summer last a little longer.