Thursday, May 31, 2012

6/1-Encore Broadcast Michael Jordan visits with Janice Schmidt & Mike Lamborn

Janice Schmidt - Winemaker/Owner Estate 1856
The son of the fourth generation, Brian Schmidt and his wife, Janice, have protected and nurtured the vineyards since the 1990′s. Early supporters of the sustainability movement, they have focused on producing balanced vines with evenly distributed fruit, preserving and improving soil structure through the use of cover crops, implementing regulated deficit irrigation with a pressure bomb to improve wine quality and managing pest issues using integrated pest management.
Brian was born in Healdsburg and grew up on the family ranch with his sisters. After his father retired, Brian continued to farm the vineyards utilizing the techniques he learned at Cal Poly and the wisdom he gained from his father and grandfather. A founding member of the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley, Brian is focused on promoting the region’s award winning grapes.
Janice grew up in Santa Rosa before attending to UC Davis, from which she graduated with a BS in Food Science and a MS in Enology. She spent 20 years at Jordan Winery, working with winemaker Rob Davis and legendary wine consultant Andre Tchelistcheff, crafting the quintessential Sonoma County Cabernet.

There are points in everyone's lives that revolve around self-reflection: Am I happy with what I'm doing? Is my life heading in the direction that I want it to? Did I really need that cheesecake? Some of these "reflective stages," if you will, are more serious than others. Robert (Bob) Lamborn, our hero of the story, was in one of these serious stages when he made a life altering decision. He had no idea of the legacy he was about to create.
Recently divorced, Bob, a Private Investigator in the San Francisco Bay Area with security clearance in both the CIA and FBI, made the conscious decision that his life needed more structure and complexity. What better industry to add structure and complexity (he was already well-balanced and getting better with age) to Bob's life than the wine industry! Bob convinced his son, Michael, to purchase with him two separate but adjacent plots of land on Howell Mountain, an eastern appellation of the Napa Valley. Having no idea what they were getting themselves into, father and son team, Bob and Mike, purchased respectively, 25 and 15-acre plots of land at 2,200 feet in elevation in 1971. Of the forty purchased acres, a total of 14 were actually plantable.
The two men, along with other friends and family members, put their heart and soul into clearing these ruggedly beautiful plots of land into what are now majestic mountain top vineyards. After thorough research, both vineyards were planted to Zinfandel. Bob and Mike knew they needed a name for their wine. Of all the potential ideas, one stuck out the most to them: Lamborn Family Vineyards. It was a perfect name, simple and true to the business. Despite the fact that the majority of their friends told them the name made them sound like a couple of guys making wine in a garage, they went ahead with it anyway. Thus, the very first "family" winery label in existence was created. Many wineries have since followed suit. The first vintage, 100 cases, came in 1982, and was crafted by family friend and neighbor Randy Dunn. 1983 marked the first commercial release of Lamborn wine at around 350 cases. Production was kept very small and all excess fruit was sold while the Lamborns established their market. 1984 brought about 500 cases and production levels slowly increased each vintage until it reached a peak of 2700 cases in 1992. Not a lot has changed with Lamborn Family Vineyards in the last 20+ years. They continue to focus on their Number One goal: producing modest quantities of estate grown zinfandels and cabernets of a superior quality at an affordable price.

Friday, May 25, 2012

5/25-Michael Jordan visits with Neil McNally & Voice of Karlsson Vodka

Neil McNally - Rosenthal Estate Wines

Yes, wine in 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.
We invite you to visit us at our Malibu Wine Tasting Room that boasts views of the Pacific Ocean and is an amazing location to relax and enjoy the sunset while sipping a glass of your favorite Rosenthal – The Malibu Estate or Surfrider wine. We are located on the Pacific Coast Highway, just 300 yards north of Topanga Canyon and across the street from the gorgeous and inviting Topanga State Beach. We hope to see you there soon where you can enjoy a bottle of wine and taste the flavors of Malibu for yourself.

Karlsson’s Gold is hand-made from a blend of seven varieties ofvirgin potatoes from the exclusive Cape Bjäre in the south of Sweden. It is meticulously distilled once, in an unfiltered process that conserves the inherent characteristics of the unique ingredients, producing a revolutionary concept – a vodka with natural taste. Savor it neat, on the rocks, or in a Martini. Or see how this connoisseur’s vodka will transform your favorite cocktails by adding taste.
Developed by the Master Blender Börje Karlsson, it took over three years to transfer the ingredient properties of the virgin potatoes of Cape Bjäre, into a vodka he would sign his name to. The result is an small batch handcrafted vodka, with outstanding character and something truly unique – a natural vodka with taste.

Friday, May 18, 2012

5/18-Encore Broadcast Michael Jordan visits with Gary Franscioni & (Nebil) Bilo Zarif

Gary Franscioni - Proprietor, Roar Wines
We are a family winery specializing in small lots of Santa Lucia Highland's Pinot Noir, Syrah and beginning in the summer of 2009, Chardonnay. Our roots in the Santa Lucia Highlands are quite deep. Both Gary and Rosella grew up in California's agricultural heartland where Gary’s family has farmed for over 100 years. After graduating from Cal Poly with a degree in agribusiness, Gary took over the running of the family farm business, which owned and managed over 200 acres of row crops in the Salinas Valley. Recognizing the region's potential for premium wine grapes, we planted Rosella's Vineyard in 1996. We also co-own and manage the Garys' Vineyard with Gary Pisoni of Pisoni Vineyard.

Both vineyards have developed a reputation among high-end wineries for low yields of intensely flavored grapes. In 2007 and 2008, we planted two new vineyards; our own "high altitude" Sierra Mar Vineyard, which is located six miles south of Garys' Vineyard at 1000 ft elevation; and the Soberanes Vineyard, just south of Garys' Vineyard, which we are developing in partnership with the Pisoni family. After working with several wineries to develop the pedigree of the vineyards and the region, we decided in 2001 to make our wine. As third generation growers, our goal with ROAR Wines is to make small lots of wine that are a pure reflection of the Santa Lucia Highlands and in particular the signature flavors of our vines. The name ROAR comes from the sound of the Monterey Bay winds that roar through our vineyards as well as the thrilling sound of a roaring crowd.
We hope you enjoy our wines and thank you for your support and for spreading the word about ROAR Wines to your family and friends.
Gary & Rosella Franscioni.

(Nebil) Bilo Zarif - Owner Summerland Winery

Like many children raised in Iskenderun Turkey, Nebil “Bilo” Zarif’s introduction to fine wine began at a young age. It became a lifelong education that has developed into a way of living. His passion for fine and rare wines began in France where he was introduced to the regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone Valley while studying in Paris.

Later when Zarif would come to settle in the states he directed his wine interests towards the prestigious wineries of Napa. During a visit to Napa Valley and the Robert Mondavi's Winery in 1984, Zarif had purchased several reserve wines for his collection. In 1994, Zarif acquired 300 acres of land in the Cuyama Valley, a serene high elevation region of Santa Barbara County. Over the course of seven years he would expand Barnwood Vineyards to encompass more than 2,000 acres with 800 acres planted to vine. It was during this same period that Zarif’s passion for wine would lead him to acquire the renowned Maison Deutz winery in San Luis Obispo County with a partner he had met in the energy industry. Together they expanded this property to approximately 800 acres of mostly Pinot Noir planted ahead of the pinot craze and raised the stature of their Pinot Noir bearing the name Laetitia Vineyard & Winery.

In 2001 Zarif sold his interests in Barnwood/ Laetitia to pursue new and exciting possibilities, most notably Summerland Winery. Drawing upon years of experience in the region, Summerland is dedicated to offering the best of the wine producing areas spanning from Santa Barbara to Monterey.

Friday, May 11, 2012

5/11-Michael Jordan talks with Michael Ouellette & Fred Scherrer

Michael Ouellette - Vintap Wine
VinTap founder and Director of Operations, Michael Ouellette, has been engaged in the sourcing, marketing and wholesale distribution of artisan wines for Vintap since 2009.  Spanning a career of more than 20 years as a highly successful restaurateur, he first sharpened his skills as a chef, and then moved into the dining room as a sommelier, wine director, and general manager.  Michael has owned and managed some of the top award-winning restaurants in the Napa Valley including Mustards Grill and Martini House and served as consultant to many others including Vino Volo Group, Real Restaurants, Pat Kuleto Restaurant Group, and The Left Bank Restaurant Group.  Michael’s personalized wine programs have received praise from The New York Times, The Wine Spectator and the San Francisco Chronicle for their content and imaginative categories. Michael made the natural progression to wine making in 1992 when he launched his eccentric Blockheadia brand, producing award-winning Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, and Petite Syrah.

Fred Scherrer - Scherrer Winery

Since our small winery’s first vintage in 1991, our goal has been to create handcrafted, full-flavored wines that express the personality of the unique Sonoma County vineyards where they are grown. Fred first became known for Zinfandel from his father’s Alexander Valley vineyard, and now his careful hand with Pinot Noir from the Russian River and Sonoma County has quietly gained attention and a steady following. That same attention has made Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah that exemplify the bounty of Sonoma County vineyards.Thank you for taking the time to find us,

Fred and Judi Scherrer

Friday, May 4, 2012

5/4-Encore Broadcast Michael Jordan talks with Wes Hagen & Jeff Mangahas

Wes Hagen: Vineyard Manager, Winemaker. Wes has run the show here at Clos Pepe since 1998. He manages the vineyard and the crew, communicates with our producers and fine-tunes viticulture to suit the stylistic needs of their winemaking. Involving himself in every aspect of the planting, growing, harvest, crush, fermentation, aging, bottling, shipping and marketing (jncluding the photography and text in the website), Wes is passionate about his life's goal -- producing and celebrating world-class Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. From 1997-98, Wes researched and wrote the petition that established the Santa Rita Hills American Viticultural Area with help from Bryan Babcock, Richard Sanford and other local wine personalities. The 'Santa Rita Hills AVA' was approved in 2001, and the name was changed a few years later to 'Sta Rita Hills AVA'. In his quest to promote the wines of Santa Barbara County, and the Santa Rita Hills in particular, Wes created and served as Director of the Santa Barbara County Fair Wine Competition from 2002 until 2004. As a result of his hard work promoting the region and penning the AVA Petition, Wes was awarded the Central Coast Winegrower's Association 'Grower of the Year Award' for the 2001-2002 growing seasons. Wes writes a bi-monthly column for WineMaker Magazine called 'Backyard Vines', and has written content for the L.A. Times Magazine, guest blogged for the Wine Spectator and, articles for the Sommelier Journal,'Burgundy-Report', WestCoastWine.Net, and other small publications. In his free time Wes consults on establihsing small vineyards (hillside Pinot Noir only), and has judged the L.A County Fair Wine Competition for eleven years, Riverside International for twelve, and the Long Beach Grand Cru for thirteen years. Wes also lectures on subjects such as the history of wine, backyard winegrowing, and general topics of viticulture and wine education.
Chanda Hagen: Assistant Winemaker, Olive Tree Pruner, Animal Trainer, Shepherdess. Chanda and Wes met in April 1999 over a bottle of Beaujolais at a college-style party in Isla Vista (UCSB). Their first date was the Vintner's Festival the next weekend, and they have been inseparable ever since. The marriage proposal was accepted on New Years 1999-2000, and the couple was married at Clos Pepe on September 9th, 2000. Their Honeymoon was spent picking and crushing the grapes from the 2000 Vintage, which resulted in a Pinot Noir that Robert Parker called 'brilliant', 'complex' and 'promising'; just like their marriage! Chanda's influence as assistant winemaker runs deep. She makes sure Wes' energies are tempered by common sense and an obsessive degree of winery sanitation and organization. Besides Pinot Noir, Chanda's passion is horses: Hunter/Jumpers and Dressage. Chanda is training her horse, Charlemagne (Chase for short), for Dressage. Chanda also takes care of our miniature sheep here at the Clos, which have been bred into a flock for eating winter weeds and fertilizing the vineyard organically and sustainably.

Jeff Mangahas - Wine Maker Williams Selyem

Jeff Mangahas grew up in Washington State, graduating from the University of Washington in 1993 with a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology. Beginning his career as a cancer research scientist in Seattle, Jeff started to explore Washington’s wine region. Eventually, his career took him to New York City, where his interest in wine switched into high gear as he discovered the abundant restaurants and the wines of the world they offered.During this time, Jeff started visiting the wine regions of France. With his scientific background, he also discovered he had a real passion for learning about the winemaking process as well, and it soon became clear that his hobby should become his career path. Jeff put research science behind him and enrolled in the UC Davis winemaking program, earning his M.S. in Enology in 2003. After a harvest at Artesa Vineyards and Winery, he went to Dutton-Goldfield Winery to dig into Pinot Noir and cool climate winegrowing. Beginning as enologist in 2002, Jeff was promoted to assistant winemaker in 2003. In 2006 Jeff became Winemaker at Hartford Family Winery specializing in Pinot Noir from cool-climate, estate vineyards in the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast Appellations, as well as Chardonnays and Zinfandels. In 2011 Jeff was named Winemaker at Williams Selyem winery in Healdsburg. Jeff is a true student of Pinot Noir and credits the 1996 Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard Pinot Noir as an eye-opening wine that helped spark his passion for Pinot Noir. “I have been a huge fan of Williams Selyem for years and am excited to be working with the amazing team here as well as world-class vineyards like Rochioli and Allen.”Jeff lives with his wife Crystal and daughter Mia in Santa Rosa, where he spends his free time cooking, gardening, drinking wine, and enjoying the company of family and friends.