Thursday, December 2, 2010

12/3-Mike Sullivan, Mel Knox

Mike Sullivan-Benovia

Ben Dewane and Novian Anderson never met, yet they raised their children with similar old-fashioned values. Hard work brings its own rewards, they would say. Be the best at what you do. Surrou

nd yourself with good people, and let them get to work. And nev

er, ever produce anything that wouldn't make you proud.

With such similar family backgrounds, it's no wonder Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane would eventually find each other and marry. Together, they began a journey that led them to found a winery that would make them, and their fathers, proud--proud enough that their label pays homage to the two men, Benovia.

Their journey also inspired them to assemble the best possible team of respected winemaking veterans. They recruited Bob Mosby as general manager and found the perfect partner in Mike Sullivan, one of

northern California's top winemakers, and someone who shares their passions. With Mike as coowner and responsible for the wine making, they recruited Daniel Roberts as winegrower and viticulturalist, and Tucker Catlin as vineyard development director. Then they brought on Tina Alves as operations manager, Chris Kangas as vineyards manager, and Nick Finarelli as Enologist to bring even more depth to the winery's operations. They are good people, and together they make an even better team: a team of accomplished professionals with more than 150 years of collective experience producing some of California's best wines.

"At Benovia, our team is an extension of an extraordinary family," says Joe, "a family that eats, drinks, and

breathes a lifelong passion for wine."

That passion led to the purchase of the renowned Cohn Vineyard atop a mountain near Healdsburg, where the couple lives, and led to a new winery in the heart of the Russian River Valley. The journey will continue with an exciting new Pinot Noir vineyard near Freestone, and the Martaella ranch (named after Joe and Mary's mothers), surrounding the winery itself.

Joe and Mary have invested in all the right things to make Benovia flourish-vineyards with unique terroir and a well equipped winery. But their most important investment is people.

"We see these people as the soul of Benovia," says Joe. "Mary and I trust in their passion and in what they bring to the wine. They expect a lot of themselves, and they expect it from each other. We like to call them 'Benovians.' I think our fathers would be proud of them.

Mel Knox-Barrel Broker

It\'s hard to believe that in the 80s I sold all the barrels and kept records all by myself. Maybe that\'s why I was nervous every time I drove by IRS headquarters here. Now I have a staff that doesn\'t keep records in a cardboard box like I used to do.

In 1972 I was vaguely thinking about attending law school or graduate school when I got a job driving a delivery truck for a huge liquor store where two college friends were running the wine department. The next thing I knew I was a full-fledged w

ine nut. From 1974 until 1981 I worked as a wine buyer for the Wine and Cheese Center of San Francisco. We ran a tasting bar with a fairly advanced tasting program. I can remember tastings of Sauternes going back to the 30s, clarets going back to the 19th century, older California wines, older Barolos and Barbarescos, German wines going back to 1937, and so on. One time we tasted every Ridge Monte Bello ever made - there were fewer examples then but it still took two days. Through this store I met a tremendous number of winemakers, tasted wines from all over the world, and learned a lot. I started selling barrels in 1980 and have never stopped.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

11/26-Larry O'Brien

Larry O'Brien MS-Wirtz Beverage

Wirtz Beverage Group is a leading national distributor of the world’s top luxury and premium wine, spirits and beer brands. With more than $1.5 billion in annual sales and operations in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin, Wirtz Beverage Group counts the world’s elite suppliers as its partners.

The company’s distinction comes by embracing innovation and aggressively driving top-line growth. Honoring quality and integrity are its hallmarks while its financial stability is unrivaled. Wirtz Beverage Group provides customers and suppliers a best-in-class model for success.

Wirtz Beverage Group is a division of Chicago-based Wirtz Corporation, having diversified interests in banking, real estate, insurance, sports, entertainment and wholesale distribution throughout the United States. Founded in 1926, Wirtz Corporation has been family-owned and operated for four generations.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

11/19-Dan Tudor

Dan Tudor-Tudor Wines

In an increasingly mechanized world, there are still a few handcrafted products that stand out. Fine wine is one of them.

At Tudor Wines, we select fruit from family-owned vineyards and transform it into wine using traditional techniques. These include small fermentations mixed by hand and aging in French barrels. The resulting wine has a purity of expression that cannot be duplicated on a larger scale.

The 2000 Tudor Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir was the inaugural release from Tudor Wines. By work

ing closely with our family growers and winemaking staff, we made sure that low yields combined with maximum grape maturity produced wine with optimal flavor profiles - a balance of ripeness, acidity, and tannins.

- Dan and Christian Tudor

Dan has an impressive list of accomplishments. His winemaking skills were acquired from the ground up. He has consulted extensively with Larry Brooks since 1999 in all aspects of Pinot Noir production and winery/vineyard establishment thereby gaining invaluable knowledge and experience from one of the world’s preeminent Pinot Noir specialists. The 2000 Vintage was his Inaugural Vintage. He achieved accolades that many seasoned winemakers long to receive.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

11/12-Tobin James

Tobin James-Tobin James Cellars

Tobin (Toby) James grew up on a vineyard in Indiana, worked in a wine shop in Cincinnati and knew at the age of 18 that he would own a winery. He apprenticed at the Estrella River Winery, eventually being hired on full time and becoming their cellar master. From there, he headed to Eberle Winery to eventually make their wines with Gary Eberle.

When Peachy Canyon started, the owner needed a winemaker. A deal was struck so that Toby would become the founding winemaker and also have the opportunity to continue making Tobin James Cellars' wine at the same facility. The very first wine Toby made won a spot on the coveted "top 100" wines of the year with the Wine Spectator. Toby's reputation continued to grow, and in 1993 decided to build his own winery on highway 46 east of Paso Robles.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

11/5-Nelson Tucker, Michael Browne

Nelson Tucker - The Wine Guy
We review various wines and make objective conclusions as to the qualities of the wines on the date tasted. If a wine is not suitable for a positive review (minimum of 80 on a 100 point scale), we do not publish the results. An old saying applies, "If you cannot say something nice, don't say it at all." Wines reviewed on this site have met our criteria as wines that are palatable and worthy of purchase and consumption. You will rarely see a 100 rating. However, a rating or 89+ is considered exceptional and highly recommended. Our ratings and reviews are
subjective and may differ from your own experience. We offer them as a guide to help you determine whether, or not, to purchase a wine. As for restaurant reviews, we call it like we see it!

Kosta Browne began as a dream shared by Dan Kosta and Michael Browne. In the summer of 1997, while working at J
ohn Ash & Co. restaurant in Santa Rosa, California, Dan and Michael decided to venture into winemaking. They saved tip money for two months and eventually had enough to buy a half ton of Pinot Noir, a used barrel and an old hand-crank stemmer-crusher, a purchase that marks the beginning of Kosta Browne. Since that vintage, they have nurtured relationships with the best growers and honed their winemaking skills, making sure to focus on the vision and values with which they began.

In 2001, Dan and Michael partnered with Chris Costello and his family, who collectively provided the business experience and relationships that gave Kosta Browne the necessary resources to grow. Chris was able to craft a business plan that conveyed the appeal of the Kosta Browne story and sensibly described its future, helping to convince many wary family members and friends that investing in the vision would be worth it.

Today, Dan, Michael and Chris work very closely to maintain the quality and consistency of the entire Kosta Browne experience.

Friday, October 29, 2010

10/29-Neil McNally, Steve Evans

Neil McNally-Rosenthal Malibu Estates Wines
Yes, Malibu. The grapes for our wines are grown not on the famous beach, playground to the stars and surfers' Mecca, but in a scenic valley four miles inland and 1400 feet above the coastal fog. In 1987 Los Angeles businessman George Rosenthal began planting vineyards at his 250 acre Malibu retreat, but only after he spent two years carefully checking soil composition, drainage, and weather conditions to make sure he planted the correct varietals in the most ideal locations on his property. The work proved worthwhile and Malibu Newton Canyon is now recognized as its own distinct AVA (American Viticultural Area) or appellation. Thirty-two acres of hillside vines are now planted in this unique microclimate, where cool evening breezes temper warm, sunny days.
It's an intense undertaking that requires a labor of love. The slopes are steep and everything from canopy management to harvest has to be attended to by hand. The wines are then aged in French oak barrels under the watchful eye of winemaker Christian Roguenant who strives to bring out their unique character. The reds are vinified with limited intervention to highlight terroir and the Chardonnay is made in a Burgundian style yielding a lightly oaked, crisp wine that complements a wide array of foods.
Tips on the best & worst this weekend at the Box Office. Steve reviews and comments on all the latest from Hollywood and gets the story behind the film.A veteran of the industry, "The Movie Guy" says exactly how he feels about the movies that you will be watching this weekend. Mike Horn comments on the lineup of big screen offerings but does not always agree with what Steve has to say. This is the movie review

Thursday, October 21, 2010

10/22-Theresa Heredia, James Carling

Theresa Heredia-Winemaker, Joseph Phelps
Theresa supervises all Pinot Noir and Chardonnay production at the newly completed Freestone Winery. Theresa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and also completed three years of study in the Chemistry and Viticulture/Enology PhD program at UC Davis. After Davis, she worked her first harvest in 2001 at Saintsbury, and in 2002 was hired as a Research Chemist for Joseph Phelps Vineyards. For the 2006 harvest, Theresa worked at Domaine de Montille in Volnay.

The Ventura Limoncello Company was founded in 2007 by James Carling and Manuela Zaretti-Carling. Our mission is to the be premier producer of Limoncello liqueurs in the United States. We use the recipe handed down to Manuela from her Nonna in Italy. Ventura County, California, is home to some of the most amazing lemons in the world and their peels make a world class Limoncello. Due to the year round lemon growing season, we produce Ventura Limoncello in small batches all year. We work direct with local Ventura County growers who pick tree-ripened lemons to our specifications.
Ventura Limoncello Originale was released in February, 2008 and was initally well received. Our Limoncello was awarded Gold Medal at the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Ventura Limoncello Originale has been America’s highest rated Limoncello 3-years in a row. Ventura Limoncello Crema was relased in October, 2008. It was awarded Gold Medal at the 2010 LA SIP Awards.
Ventura Limoncello’s liqueurs are all natural and handcrafted. We hand peel all the fruit. This ensures only the top layer of peel containing the oils are used. No pith. Our natural processes produce aromatic and full flavor liqueurs. The true sign of an all natural Limoncello is “Il Collarino” (the little collar). This is formed by the citrus oils that gather at the top of the bottle. In our Limoncello Crema, milk fat may gather at the top. A quick shake before serving mixes everything back together in the bottle.
Thank you for learning about Ventura Limoncello. Please contact us if have any questions.

Friday, October 8, 2010

10/8-Kick off from the Rock Sugar Pan Asian Kitchen

Michael Jordan and Chef Mohan in the house at RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen

Jim reports fromSanta Barbara County Vinter's Assoc. - 64 different varietal grapes in the Santa Ynez Valley alone!