Friday, April 13, 2018

04/13 WES HAGEN, J. WILKES WINES, MIKE & VALERIE THOMPSON, THOMPSON 31FIFTY WINES,

MIKE & VALERIE THOMPSON - FOUNDERS, THOMPSON 31FIFTY WINES

THE NEWEST BOUTIQUE WINERY IN HEALDSBURG, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY, CA

WINES:
2015 Cicero Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 
This wine is our newest creation.  This exceptional and full-bodied single vineyard wine was aged for 19 months in 100% new French oak barrels.  Our inspiration for this wine was a quote from the revered Roman statesman and orator, Cicero, who stated that “life is nothing without friendship.”  We wholeheartedly agree!  Our tasting notes include hints of dark berries, cooked red fruits, cinnamon, molasses, dried fruit, strawberry and cranberry.  Cicero is seductive on the nose and has a lovely texture and finish covering the entire palate.  Excitement runs through our senses each time we sample this special bottling of a Pommard clone.  95 cases bottled.  $80 per bottle.  Available by the 3 pack or case.

2015 Thompson 31Fifty Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 
This wine was aged for 18 months in 65% new French oak barrels.  It is silky and opens exquisitely in the glass.  Our tasting notes include hints of bright raspberry, ripe cherry, black plum, baked fruits, cocoa, black olive and a long finish with structured acidity.  This wine will continue to drink well over the next five to seven years.   225 cases bottled.  $60 per bottle.  Available by the 3 pack, case of 1.5L.


WES HAGEN - WINEMAKER, BRAND AMBASSADOR, J. WILKES WINES

A STORY AS BIG AS THE WEST

JEFF(ERSON) WILKES WAS A WINEGROWER AND WINE GRAPE SALESMAN AT BIEN NACIDO AND SOLOMON HILLS VINEYARDS IN THE SANTA MARIA VALLEY AS WELL AS FRENCH CAMP VINEYARD IN THE PASO ROBLES HIGHLANDS FOR TWENTY YEARS (1981-2001).

Jeff’s tireless promotion and demand for quality anchored the Bien Nacido Vineyard, Solomon Hills and the Santa Maria Valley as the heart and soul of Santa Barbara County winegrowing, providing grapes to some of the greatest winemakers in California. Jeff launched his ‘J.Wilkes’ label in 2001, focusing on Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay, and made his last wine in 2010 before his untimely passing late in that same year. Soon after, the label was relaunched as a tribute to Jeff’s unwavering love of the Santa Maria Valley, his commitment to value and quality, and later as a vehicle for blending AVA wines that show the best of the Central Coast and our diversity of meso-climates..

Jeff’s love of the Old West and sailing the Pacific Ocean continue to guide our winemaking team. The freedom that the West and the Pacific represent are in every sip of J.Wilkes, as is the pursuit of discovery that drives humans to search for new experiences and better lives. A bottle of J.Wilkes is an investment to keep your friends and family at the table for an extra hour. We believe the combination of food, love and wine is one of the most important rituals left in this country and is the cure for spending too much time with technology..



Friday, April 6, 2018

JESSIE “JABS” BIRSCHBACH, THE SOMM JOURNAL, SAM SMITH, SMITH-MADRONE WINERY

JESSIE “JABS” BIRSCHBACH - MANAGING EDITOR, THE SOMM JOURNAL / SENIOR WINE EDITOR, THE TASTING PANEL & THE CLEVER ROOT

JABS IS A FEATURED PANELISTS AT THIS YEARS KAPALUA WINE AND FOOD FESTIVAL
A collaboration of Kapalua Resort partners creating a new spin on the longest running food and wine event in the USA. The annual Kapalua Wine and Food Festival is a celebration of epicurean excellence showcasing the finest in food and wine and embracing all things Hawaiian – notably – the fabulous culinary bounty on Maui and here at the world-renowned Kapalua Resort.

ABOUT JABS:
Jessie “JABS” Birschbach, Managing Editor at The Somm Journal magazine, is a Certified Sommelier with a background in fine dining (Spago, Beverly Hills; Mastro’s Steakhouse, Beverly Hills) creative marketing (Signature Creative, Protagonist) and comedy (iO West, UCB LA). JABS is an active homebrewer, belonging to the Pacific Gravity Homebrew Club, and specializes in pairing cannabis strains with wine and beer. Although she is from the island of Kauai, spending the first six years of her life on the islands, JABS grew up in San Diego where she received her Bachelor of Science in Marketing from San Diego State University. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her wife and son.


SAM SMITH - ASSISTANT WINEMAKER, SMITH-MADRONE WINERY 

ESTATE:                 
All wines made entirely from the winery’s estate vineyards surrounding the winery on top of Spring Mountain in the Napa Valley. Stuart Smith chose specific slopes with different exposures for specific varietals when planting the vineyards: eastern exposure for Riesling, southern and western exposures across flat stretches for the Cabernet Sauvignon and the coolest north-facing slopes for the Chardonnay.  There are numerous historical sights on the ranch, as well as the huge array of natural beauty and wildlife.

SOIL:                         
The soils are mostly deep-red Aiken Stoney Clay loam, part of the Aiken, Kidd, Forward complex of soils which are volcanic-based, well-drained and deep for mountain soils.  The underlying geology is the Franciscan Assemblage, unique to California coastal ranges, which includes altered mafic volcanic rocks, deep-sea radiolarian cherts, sandstones, limestones, serpentines, shales and high-pressure metamorphic rocks, all of them faulted and mixed in a seemingly chaotic manner as a result of tectonic plate activity.  The soils are rocky, with some rocks as large as small cars.

THE ESTATE:       
200 acre ranch, partly planted as vineyard over a century ago; California black bears and other wildlife once thrived here; enormous 120-year-old Picholine olive trees frame a path and view overlooking Napa Valley and Bothe Napa Valley State Park

Friday, March 9, 2018

03/09 GAVIN CHANIN, CHANIN WINE COMPANY, LUTUM, CHUCK FURUYA - DK RESTAURANTS

GAVIN CHANIN - FOUNDER/WINEMAKER, CHANIN WINE COMPANY & WINEMAKER, LUTUM

ABOUT CHANIN WINE CO:
Chanin Wine Co. is dedicated to crafting wines from Santa Barbara County that reflect the individual vineyard in which they are grown. We focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, two grapes that are especially revealing of subtle differences in geography, geology and climate. Our grapes are grown in Santa Barbara County, where cool coastal winds, diverse marine based soils and a long growing season provide an exciting and unique environment for Burgundian varieties.

The vineyards are the focus of all of our wines and each wine is made from grapes grown at one vineyard and not blended. We search out old vines, and make wine from some of the oldest in the county. This allows us to make refreshingly balanced wines at lower alcohol levels than most California “blockbuster” or “cult” styled wines. Through low yields, improved farming techniques and gentle winemaking we aim to create a wine that pairs well with food and is delicious young, but is also age-worthy. All of our vineyards are organic or sustainably farmed.

Our winemaking philosophy is rooted in representing each individual vineyard by emphasizing balance, finesse, and complexity. We avoid excessive alcohol, and modern winemaking additives (such as commercial yeasts, bacteria, enzymes) that can overshadow vineyard characteristics. We also do not filter our wines or use intrusive wine processing machines. The goal is to grow grapes that are so healthy none of the above is needed.

ABOUT LUTUM:
LUTUM was born from a shared vision between Bill Price, entrepreneur and owner of Classic Wines and Price Family Vineyards, and winemaker Gavin Chanin. Their wine focuses on small-production, single-vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from prime vineyard sites in California. The name LUTUM is Latin for dirt or soil, referencing their mission to make wines that express these great sites, with little to mask the vineyards’ natural character. Together, they are the Bards of LUTUM.


CHUCK FURUYA - DK RESTAURANTS

Congratulations to VINO ITALIAN TAPAS AND WINE BAR for representing Hawaii on the Semifinal list of the 2018 James Beard Awards.

The final nominees will be announced on Wednesday, March 14. The 2018 James Beard Awards Gala will take place on Monday, May 7, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The 2018 Media Awards will be held on Friday, April 27, at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City. Tickets to both will be on sale beginning March 21 at jamesbeard.org/awards.

ABOUT CHUCK FURUYA
In 1988 Chuck Furuya became only the tenth person in the United States to pass the rigorous Master Sommelier examination.   It was his passion to fully aexcel at wine service and education that led him on the path to certification as a Master Sommelier

Furuya first began working in restaurants while attending college as a way to earn extra income.  Chuck ended up managing some of Hawaii’s most highly regarded establishments including Bagwell’s 2424 in the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, La Mer at the Halekulani, and serving as cellarmaster at the former Kahala Hilton.

Sharing a mutual passion for wine and food and a desire to create exceptional, quality dining at reasonable prices, restaurateur D.K. Kodama and Chuck Furuya began collaborating in 2003.  Today, they have 8 restaurants together.  (Visit www.dkrestaurants.com for more information).  VINO, for instance, located at Honolulu’s Restaurant Row was recently featured in Travel & Leisure’s article “America’s Top 25 Wine Bars”.

A noted expert on pairing wines with Pacific Rim cuisine, Furuya created the pairings and wrote the wine introduction for the first Hawaii regional cuisine cookbook, The New Cuisine of Hawaii. He has worked at special events with virtually every celebrity chef in America; Thomas Keller, Mario Batali, Nancy Oakes, Marcel Desaulniers, Charlie Trotter, Emeril Lagasse, Ming Tsai, Norman van Aken, Rick Bayless, Nobu Matsuhisa, Douglas Rodriguez, Bobby Flay and Joachim Splichal, as well as with Hawaii’s own big names – Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong.

In addition, Chuck writes a monthly wine column for the Honolulu Star Advertiser and is also a regular contributor for New York based wine writer, Stephen Tanzer’s Winophilia.

Educating people about wine and discovering new talent, however, is what brings him the most satisfaction. “I love finding new wines, especially great values. I love pairing wines with foods. But most of all I love teaching.”

To that end, Chuck conducts winetastings for the trade/professionals every week and is therefore on a different island weekly still teaching.  As the former Chairman of Education for the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers, he was nationally involved in wine education and certification.

Friday, March 2, 2018

03/02 WORLD OF PINOT NOIR

MICHAEL HORN IS LIVE FROM THE WORLD OF PINOT NOIR!

WORLD OF PINOT NOIR
March 2-3, 2018
RITZ-CARLTON BACARA
Santa Barbara, California

The annual World of Pinot Noir event gathers the planet’s foremost Pinot Noir wineries and winemakers, renowned chefs, sommeliers and leading wine scholars in a weekend-long seaside celebration of this delicious and storied wine.

Each year more than 200 Pinot Noir producers from around the world convene on California’s coast to share and discuss their wines. Santa Barbara is blessed with a climate that provides fresh fare year-round; taste how our talented chefs pair their most creative, locally focused dishes with Pinot Noir from around the world.





Friday, February 16, 2018

02/16 MIKE & VALERIE THOMPSON, THOMPSON 31FIFTY WINES, JOSH PHELPS, GROUNDED WINE CO, COLLUSION' RED WINE FROM WASHINGTON STATE

MIKE & VALERIE THOMPSON - FOUNDERS, THOMPSON 31FIFTY WINES

THE NEWEST BOUTIQUE WINERY IN HEALDSBURG, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY, CA

WINES:
2015 Cicero Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 
This wine is our newest creation.  This exceptional and full-bodied single vineyard wine was aged for 19 months in 100% new French oak barrels.  Our inspiration for this wine was a quote from the revered Roman statesman and orator, Cicero, who stated that “life is nothing without friendship.”  We wholeheartedly agree!  Our tasting notes include hints of dark berries, cooked red fruits, cinnamon, molasses, dried fruit, strawberry and cranberry.  Cicero is seductive on the nose and has a lovely texture and finish covering the entire palate.  Excitement runs through our senses each time we sample this special bottling of a Pommard clone.  95 cases bottled.  $80 per bottle.  Available by the 3 pack or case.

2015 Thompson 31Fifty Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 
This wine was aged for 18 months in 65% new French oak barrels.  It is silky and opens exquisitely in the glass.  Our tasting notes include hints of bright raspberry, ripe cherry, black plum, baked fruits, cocoa, black olive and a long finish with structured acidity.  This wine will continue to drink well over the next five to seven years.   225 cases bottled.  $60 per bottle.  Available by the 3 pack, case of 1.5L.


JOSH PHELPS - WINEMAKER/OWNER, GROUNDED WINE CO - DEBUTS 'COLLUSION' RED WINE FROM WASHINGTON STATE

ABOUT JOSH PHELPS
Josh's roots run deep in Napa, raised in a winemaking family, he was exposed to the industry from a young age, starting his very first endeavor in the wine world, "Napa Valet", at age 15. He continued to build his knowledge of the business through college, selling wine, working the harvest and creating wine for friends with his father, Chris Phelps (of Dominus Estate). As a Napa local, his philosophies on winemaking and business are advised the luminaries of the wine world he calls his mentors and friends like Joel Gott, Kimberly Jones and Leslie Rudd, and of course, his own father.

With Grounded Wine Co., Josh hopes to build on this legacy and make his own splash in the wine world while exposing wine drinkers of his own generation to his hometown in wine country. Working with trusted farmers and childhood friends, his company reflects his deep understanding of wine, one that can only be developed growing up around the vines. He has been named to Forbes's 30 under 30 list, along with Zagat's 30 under 30 and Wine Enthusiast's 40 under 40 - though one of his proudest accomplishments is still the Eagle Scout badge he earned at the age of 18.

ABOUT GROUNDED WINE CO
Grounded in heritage, grounded in soil, grounded in simplicity - Grounded Wine Co.'s mission is to create wines that evoke a sense of place. Intriguing, clean, balanced, and accessible, Grounded Wine Co. produces terroir-driven wines with an emphasis on quality and experience.

Grounded Wine Co. is the personal brand of Napa native Josh Phelps, built to reflect his experience growing up in wine country, and his relationships in the wine community. A grassroots, all-American, wine label, the wines feature grapes from trusted, sustainable vineyards in the U.S. and showcase what it means to be a winemaker today.


Friday, February 9, 2018

02/09 WORLD OF PINOT NOIR, KATY ROGERS, SOUTH COAST JACKSON FAMILY WINES, JONATHAN NAGY, BYRON, GREG BREWER, BREWER CLIFTON WINERY

WORLD OF PINOT NOIR IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER. WE HAVE ALL THE DETAILS AND EVENT INFO ON TONIGHT'S WHAT'S COOKIN' ON WINE SHOW!

WORLD OF PINOT NOIR
March 2-3, 2018
RITZ-CARLTON BACARA
Santa Barbara, California

The annual World of Pinot Noir event gathers the planet’s foremost Pinot Noir wineries and winemakers, renowned chefs, sommeliers and leading wine scholars in a weekend-long seaside celebration of this delicious and storied wine.

Each year more than 200 Pinot Noir producers from around the world convene on California’s coast to share and discuss their wines. Santa Barbara is blessed with a climate that provides fresh fare year-round; taste how our talented chefs pair their most creative, locally focused dishes with Pinot Noir from around the world.


TONIGHT'S SPECIAL GUESTS ARE:

KATY ROGERS - DIRECTOR OF DTC – SOUTH COAST JACKSON FAMILY WINES
JONATHAN NAGY – WINEMAKER, BYRON WINES
GREG BREWER - FOUNDER/WINEMAKER, BREWER CLIFTON WINERY



Friday, January 5, 2018

01/05 JEFF KUNDE, KUNDE FAMILY WINERY, GREG BREWER, BREWER CLIFTON WINERY

JEFF KUNDE - KUNDE FAMILY WINERY

For over a century, five generations of the Kunde Family have farmed our 1,850 acre-estate in the heart of Sonoma Valley—a truly remarkable legacy in the modern age of California winemaking. A fervent, forward-thinking vision of land stewardship and sustainability began over one hundred years ago, and has been shaped with each successive generation.

Today, Kunde Family Winery is still family owned and operated with a hands-on team of 4th and 5th generation family members at the helm. At the end of the day, every decision we make, every wine we craft, and every experience we provide honors the legacy of founder Louis Kunde, who emigrated from Germany and purchased the original Wildwood Vineyards ranch at the turn of the century in 1904. Cresting the second century was a profound milestone for the family. Moving forward, we remain committed to innovation and state-of-the-art facilities, while also maintaining a deep, personal commitment to sustainable winegrowing and preserving the land for generations to come.




GREG BREWER - FOUNDER, WINEMAKER, BREWER CLIFTON WINERY

FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS…
Over 20 years ago two young aspiring winemakers met, each bringing a vision and a drive to produce world-class wine. Focusing on the Burgundian roots of pinot noir and chardonnay, they paid homage to France. They were keen on making their own footprint and forging a style that was uniquely Californian. The wines embrace the power, pedigree and richness of the Sta. Rita Hills, that has become the trademark of Brewer–Clifton.

In 1995, Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton met while working on a committee meeting for the Santa Barbara Vintners’ Association. At the time both held production jobs at Sunstone and Beckmen, respectively, and forged an immediate friendship that would ultimately germinate in the creation of Brewer-Clifton just one year later.

Saving modest disposable income over a period of twelve months, $12,000 was set aside and fruit contracts secured to produce an inaugural 240 cases of wine within Santa Barbara Winery where Greg held the role of assistant winemaker in 1996. Always having their sights locked on an area that they would personally later map and define as the Sta. Rita Hills, they utilized relationships in the neighboring Santa Maria Valley for the majority of their fruit as vineyards were being developed closer to home. One exception to that adjacent provenance was Sweeney Canyon which Brewer-Clifton produced without interruption from 1996 through 2011.

When considering a logo and label, a priority was something that would not run the risk of being dated and that could remain timeless. The Wine Cask restaurant in Santa Barbara was an incubator for food and wine professionals during that time, and the hand stenciled gold ceiling of the dining room proved to be an ideal and subtle reference to carry through that message of tradition and region. A few exposures with a disposable camera then developed, photocopied and colored in with a black Sharpie pen and the brand took flight..

After brief periods being housed within other wineries of employ, Brewer-Clifton created their first stand alone facility in what would become Lompoc’s “Wine Ghetto” in 2000. Nestled immediately between the local legend Rick Longoria and the upstart Sea Smoke, Y2K was a pivotal impasse both for B-C and Sta. Rita Hills which was identified and approved as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) that same year.

Fueled by unbridled confidence and unprecedented media attention, Brewer-Clifton swiftly sought to better secure vineyard provenance which gave birth to their farming company shepherded by Francisco Ramirez in 2005. Greg and Francisco developed, planted and built Melville vineyard and winery in the mid 1990s and the decade working together there fostered the elite vineyard team that would eventually create Brewer-Clifton’s estate vineyards, which now includes sixty acres across four separate parcels within the AVA.

2012 marked the first vintage where all the fruit produced hailed from estate vineyards within appellation. That year The Wine Spectator deemed the 2012 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir as the #8 Wine of the Year, picked from all the wines submitted to the publication from the entire world.

In 2017, Brewer-Clifton joined Jackson Family Wines, a company equally committed to singular, site-specific, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Greg Brewer notes, “The Jackson family maintains a commitment to world-class wines, a respect for nature and vision for uncompromising quality that’s very much aligned with our philosophy, I’m confident our collective strengths will further propel the Sta. Rita Hills on the global stage of fine wines.