Category Archive: California Wines

Two go hand in hand… Trione Vineyards Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Posted on February 15, 2013

Two go hand in hand…Trione Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

trione vineyardsTrione Vineyards has always been a staple in Sonoma, just ask any local.  Whether they are making Zinfandel or Syrah, Trione farms from the best Sonoma locations for each varieties.  The Russian River Valley with its well-drained soil provides the perfect place for growing world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  Both wines go through a strict 3-year barrel program, using the best French oak available.

The Trione Vineyards Chardonnay is silky with flavors of baked tree fruit and crème brulee.  It has a vibrant acidity that only this Russian River can create.  The oak is used perfectly to add just enough spice to the delicious fruit. (more…)

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Biodynamic Farming at Ampelos Vineyards

Posted on May 14, 2012

Want to make it in the wine business?  Buy a vineyard next to Sea Smoke and Cha- Ching!  Any smart businessman would just cash in, purchase the vineyard, harvest the grapes, produce wine with an abundant use of French oak and throw a little Syrah into the Pinot and money, money, money.  Only a fool would purchase this valuable real estate and make wine the hard way; either a fool or a true visionary.

Owner and winemaker, Peter Work an IT corporate executive from Denmark had the urge to leave the corporate life and dive into his true passion, wine.  His love for wine drove him to the Santa Rita Hills where he found an 82 acre parcel of land which he  devoted to harvesting grapes the way they were intended.  Like all good Danes, Peter’s vision and purpose is a lot more global in thinking.  He wanted to make wine, all the time, thinking of its effects on the ecology and the people living in the area.  His decision to be biodynamic is not a marketing gimmick; there is real soul behind it.  I sat with Peter for about an hour, a very different meeting from other wine makers.  Instead of talking about his wine and the cute story of the name and the design choice behind the label, he discussed in detail the process of biodynamic farming.

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Moshin Vineyards Crusaders for Balanced Wines

Posted on April 9, 2012

Moshin Vineyards, crusaders for balanced wines

In 2009 Moshin Vineyards and Winery celebrated it’s 20th anniversary; 20 years as a crusader for balanced wines.  The owner/winemaker is Rick Moshin who began making wine out of his garage in the 1970’s.  His professional career included a 12 year stint at Gary Farrell where he solely focused on Pinot Noir.  When he erected the Moshin Winery he chose to stay true to this finicky grape.  In staying true, Rick uses biodynamic farming techniques in the vineyard and does not add sulfites, letting the natural acidity preserve the wines.  The winery uses a gravity flow system so that very little human contact interferes in the temperamental juice’s journey in finding a resting place in barrel.  Upon sitting down and tasting with Rick, he mentioned that his intention is to make Pinot taste like Pinot.  This day in age other winemakers are pushing ripeness and the Pinot Noirs are loosing their inherent liveliness and acidity.  At Moshin the opposite is true; pushing acidity rather than alcohol which ultimately, while in the glass, shows that it has a sense of place.



On the table tops of the Santa Ynez Zaca Mesa

Posted on March 22, 2012

Zaca Mesa, a pioneer of Rhone varieties in the Santa Ynez Valley

Zaca Mesa is a Pioneer in the Santa Ynez valley, it is one of the first to plant Rhone varieties.  Zaca means “peaceful & restful”.  It is situated 1500ft on a plateau (hence the name mesa, or table top in Spanish) and lies above the fog line and provide excellent drainage. This is Indian land. All the estate vineyards are farmed sustainably.  The vineyards are easy to farm and the plateau allows for even ripening.

Ken Brown was the first to plant Syrah in Santa Barbara back in 1978.  He used vines from Eberle and Chapoutier.  He was one of the original Rhone Rangers at Zaca Mesa, since then many other winemakers passed through the cellar such as Bob Linquist and Lane Tanner.  Today the winery is owned by John Cushman who was an original investor.  What was once 1,600 acres is now downsized to 750 acres with only 200 acres devoted to vines.  Today the focus at Zaca Mesa is in lower yields and quality.  I was very surprised by the result of this tasting. (more…)

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