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From a visit to one of my favorite wineries, Gargiulo Vineyards.
  • Consistently Delicious Zin

    November 15, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Ridge Vineyards This is an easy one again today, as I previously wrote about Ridge Vineyards in my post History. Quality. Ridge. back on October 19. Long story short, this is another historic Californian winery and they produce some of my favorite Zinfandel-based wines and Cabernet Sauvignon. I highly suggest you read about… Read more

  • Rare Riesling from Napa

    November 14, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Palmaz Vineyards Palmaz Vineyards, as it exists today, was founded in 1997 by Julio and Amalia Palmaz. Julio is a medical doctor by trade, credited with being a co-creator of the heart stent, though he and his wife Amalia always believed that close attention and care to their land can produce superior quality… Read more

  • Delightful Old Vine Garnacha

    November 13, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Domaines Lupier Domaines Lupier is a relatively new wine estate, founded in the 2000s by Enrique Basarte and Elisa Úcar. Enrique comes from a background in wine, having worked in vineyards throughout Spain following degrees in agronomical engineering and oenologist studies. Elisa studied economics and holds an MBA, though she also has more… Read more

  • Historic Estate on the Upswing?

    November 12, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Domaine François Lamarche While the Lamarche family origins place them in Vosne-Romanée as early as 1740, the domaine was founded in 1797. Over time, particularly through the end of the 19th century, the domaine grew in size under Henri Lamarche and his wife Marie Grivelet from Chambolle-Musigny. When their son Henri (born 1903)… Read more

  • Historic Napa Cab

    November 11, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Far Niente Far Niente was founded in 1885 by a forty-niner of the California gold rush named John Benson. John constructed his winery just below the hillsides in western Oakville, and he had it designed by Hamden McIntyre who was behind the Christian Brothers winery (now the CIA at Greystone). Like several prominent… Read more

  • Howell Mountain Elegance

    November 10, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Viader Viader was founded in 1986 by Delia Viader (first commercial release in 1989) and is located on the slopes of Howell Mountain 1,300 feet above the Napa Valley floor. Delia was born in Argentina and came to the United States as a post-graduate student, and she holds a Doctorate in Philosophy from… Read more

  • Stunningly Natural Zin

    November 9, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Martha Stoumen Wines Martha Stoumen Wines is a project dedicated to making natural wines in a patient, environmentally considerate manner. Following her study of traditional agricultural systems and Italian as an undergraduate, Martha worked the vineyards, olive orchard, and winery of a small farm and learning center in Tuscany. These experiences built her… Read more

  • Georgian Traditionalist

    November 8, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Shalauri Cellars Shalauri Cellars is a relatively new Georgian producer whose first vintage came in 2013 with releases of Mtsvane, Rkatsiteli, and Saperavi. Shalauri’s goal is to create artisanal wines by utilizing the traditional approach of fermentation and aging in Qvevri. For those not familiar with the Qvevri Method (I was not when… Read more

  • Thank God Vineyard Leases End

    November 7, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Domaine Cecile Tremblay Domaine Cecile Tremblay has a very interesting history, partly because she did not start making wines until 2003 though her family owned vineyards for several generations. Cecile is the great-granddaughter of Edouard Jayer, uncle of the famed Henri Jayer (go Google some of his wines, and perhaps sell your car… Read more

  • A Modernist’s Nebbiolo

    November 6, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Conterno Fantino Founded in 1982 by Claudio Conterno and Guido Fantino, Conterno Fantino has grown into a somewhat large (~140,000 total bottles annually) producer of Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, and Chardonnay. This being said, the winery employs only about 10 people at a given time including Alda, Fabio, and Elisa Fantino who joined over… Read more

  • Must-Try Red from Greece

    November 5, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Thymiopoulos Vineyards For several generations, the Thymiopoulos family has owned vineyards in Naoussa, though they typically sold the fruit to other wineries without making their own wine. This changed, however, when Apostolos Thymiopoulos completed his oenology program at the University of Athens and returned to the family vineyards to produce a wine under… Read more

  • Small Batch Syrah

    November 4, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Lillian Winery This should be a fairly short and easy read today, as I already talked about the history of Lillian Winery in my post Sensual Syrah a few weeks back. Long story short, Maggie Harrison worked with the Krankl family at Sine Qua Non, and Manfred Krankl encouraged her to start her… Read more

  • Rockstar Value from the Loire Valley

    November 3, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Domaine des Roches Neuves Domaine des Roches Neuves was founded in 1992 by Thierry Germain following his move to the Loire Valley from his native Bordeaux. At 23 years old, Thierry soon met Charly Foucault from Clos Rougeard who would become an inspiration behind some of his winemaking practices. Thierry converted his domaine… Read more

  • Refined, Aged Burgundy

    November 2, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Joseph Drouhin Joseph Drouhin is a historic producer in Burgundy that found its start in 1880. Joseph, a 22 year old from Chablis, moved to Beaune and started his own wine company with the aim of providing high quality wines. His son Maurice, however, shifted the focus to estate grape growing and winemaking… Read more

  • Fit for a King

    November 1, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Blankiet Estate Blankiet’s roots start with Claude and Katherine Blankiet, a couple who spent years searching for land conducive to grape growing on the western foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains. Finally, in early 1996, an agent working with the Blankiet family showed them an undeveloped property above the famous Napanook vineyard (and Dominus… Read more

  • Cult Cali Pinot

    October 31, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Williams Selyem Williams Selyem is another winery with a homegrown, almost comical, origin story. During the 1970s, Burt Williams received several tons of free grapes from a grower with an abundance of fruit that would otherwise most likely go to waste. With his friend Ed Selyem, in 1979 the pair started making wine… Read more

  • The Cabernet in Cabernet Sauvignon

    October 30, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Alpha Omega I talked about Alpha Omega’s origins in a prior post (A Napa Take On Chablis), though will reproduce it briefly here. Alpha Omega is the creation of Robin and Michelle Baggett following their move to Napa Valley in 2006. Though Robin began his foray into wine much earlier, in 1988 as… Read more

  • Five Generations of Burgundy

    October 29, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Albert Bichot Domaines Albert Bichot traces its roots back to 1831 when Bernard Bichot started a wine trading business. Hippolyte, Bernard’s son, succeeded him and was the first family member to purchase vines in Volnay due to his belief that upstream control of the product is vital to his success as a merchant.… Read more

  • Bordeaux Battle

    October 28, 2019 by

    Today’s Stories: Château Léoville Las Cases is a historical Bordeaux estate rated as a Second Growth (Deuxième Cru) in the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855. Though the estate used to be much larger and is one of the oldest in the Médoc, it was split up between 1826 and 1840 as a result of… Read more

  • Ethereal Chateauneuf-du-Pape

    October 27, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Château de Beaucastel Château de Beaucastel, as it exists today, traces its history back to 1549 when Pierre de Beaucastel purchased a barn and plot of land extending to Coudoulet. Chateauneuf-du-Pape (which translates to “the Pope’s new castle”), however, is a French AOC that traces its history back to the early 1300s. In… Read more

  • Bit by the Burg Bug

    October 26, 2019 by

    Once you’re hooked on white Burgundy, there’s no going back. Today’s Story: Etienne Sauzet Domaine Etienne Sauzet found its origin in the early 20th century when Etienne inherited and purchased additional grape vines in the village of Puligny-Montrachet. A family endeavor throughout its history, the domaine has operated under four generations and became modernized under… Read more

  • Pasta Night? Look No Further

    October 25, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Santa Margherita Santa Margherita was founded in 1935 by Count Gaetano Marzotto, a pioneering vintner who helped revitalize a portion of the Venetian countryside in both farming and winemaking. With a goal of producing authentic Italian wines full of regional character and tradition, Marzotto expanded the Santa Margherita brand to vineyards in Alto… Read more

  • TOR. Need I Say More?

    October 24, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: TOR Wines TOR is a small production winery that makes single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Bordeaux varietals from high-quality fruit sourced from multiple vineyards in Napa Valley. Its proprietors, Tor and Susan Kenward, started their endeavor following Tor’s nearly three decade career with Beringer Vineyards helping craft their reserve and single vineyard… Read more

  • “This Blessed Plot, This Earth…”

    October 23, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Realm Cellars Realm Cellars was founded in 2002 with a focus on producing high-quality, limited production Bordeaux blend and single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Co-Founder Juan Mercado left his role as a hospital administrator in San Francisco to pursue working in the wine industry and, until recently, Realm sourced their fruit from historical,… Read more

  • Burgundian Beauty

    October 22, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Domaine Leflaive Domaine Leflaive is a very highly regarded winery located in Puligny-Montrachet, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy. While origins of the estate come as early as 1717 with Claude Leflaive, the winery as it is today seems to begin with Joseph Leflaive (1870-1953). Initially working as a naval engineer who helped develop the… Read more

  • Up-and-Coming Chablis

    October 21, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Garnier & Fils Garnier & Fils is a family endeavor in Chablis, where the Garnier family has owned 57 acres of property for decades. The current patriarch of the family sold their grapes to other winemakers, however in 1996 his sons Xavier and Jérôme produced their own wine for the first time and… Read more

  • Italy’s Favorite Grape…from California?

    October 20, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Gargiulo Vineyards Gargiulo is a small, family-owned winery in Oakville, Napa Valley that produces about 3,400 cases of wine each year from two vineyards. Owners Jeff and Valerie Gargiulo bought their first vineyard, Money Road Ranch, in 1992 to fulfill their winemaking dream, adding to the property in 1997 by purchasing the 575… Read more

  • History. Quality. Ridge.

    October 19, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Ridge Vineyards Ridge Vineyards, another historic California winery, found its beginnings near the top of Monte Bello Ridge in 1885. Osea Perrone, an Italian doctor in San Francisco, bought 180 acres and constructed the winery into three levels of the mountain using native limestone. He produced the first vintage under the Monte Bello… Read more

  • Blood, Sweat, and Pinot Noir

    October 18, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Kosta Browne Kosta Browne is a very storied, highly sought-after winery whose Pinot Noir amassed a cult following over the years. The “winery” started in 1997 with two friends, Dan Kosta and Michael Browne, who both happened to work at a restaurant in Santa Rosa but desired to make their own Pinot Noir.… Read more

  • Going Against the Grain

    October 17, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Susana Balbo Susana Balbo’s career in wine is truly incredible and her broad range of wines and critical acclaim speaks to it. Susana originally hoped to study nuclear physics, however her family would not let her leave Mendoza to pursue it because the pathway was “unconventional” at the time. Instead, Susana remained in… Read more

  • Why Wait for Screaming Eagle?

    October 16, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Jonata Jonata came onto my radar in unlikely fashion about two years ago, as these wines very rarely call retail stores home. I sat on the Screaming Eagle waitlist twiddling my thumbs for the chance to purchase an allocation (I am still waiting), and I received an email that their sister winery, Jonata,… Read more

  • Traditionally Unconventional

    October 15, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Paolo Bea Paolo Bea is a beautiful, working farm winery located in the hilltop commune of Montefalco in the region of Umbria. Records indicate that the Bea family lived in Montefalco as early as the 16th century and to this day produce fruits, vegetables, olives, and livestock to both sustain themselves and sell… Read more

  • Sensual Syrah

    October 14, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Lillian Winery Lillian came to fruition in 2004 with their inaugural release of Syrah. The winemaker, Maggie Harrison, worked as assistant winemaker for Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non (think $200-$1,000 bottles of cult Rhone varietals) when he encouraged her to begin producing her own Syrahs. With grapes coming from the White Hawk… Read more

  • Vitality from Spain

    October 13, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Envínate Founded by four friends who studied Oenology together, Envínate quickly become one of, in my opinion, the most important producers in Spain. These individuals (Roberto Santana, Laura Ramos, Alfonso Torrente, and José Martínez) came together through their mutual passion for growing grapes native to Spain and making wines that demonstrate with full… Read more

  • A Napa Take On Chablis

    October 12, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Alpha Omega Alpha Omega is the creation of Robin and Michelle Baggett following their move to Napa Valley in 2006. Though Robin began his foray into wine much earlier, in 1988 as a grape grower and in 1998 by starting Tolosa Winery, Michelle worked in the design and development of hospitality brands before… Read more

  • King of Wines

    October 11, 2019 by

    Barolo is a wine worth devoting yourself to. Battista Rinaldi Today’s Story: Oddero Oddero is one of the great, historical producers of Barolo and Barbaresco, with the family owning property in Piedmont dating back to the 18th century. This being said, Giovanni Battista Oddero started producing wines in the commune of La Morra sometime between… Read more

  • Polished Pauillac

    October 10, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Château Haut-Bages Libéral Château Haut-Bages Libéral is a winery in the Pauillac AOC of Bordeaux, and one of eighteen wineries classified as a fifth-growth in 1855 (5ème Grand Cru Classé en 1855). The classification came about when Napoleon III, the emperor of France, organized a Universal Exposition in Paris and wanted French wines… Read more

  • Who Wants Pie?

    October 9, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Davies Vineyards Davies Vineyards is one of the most storied wineries in Napa, however to be perfectly honest I don’t think many people new to exploring wine know about them. Their history began in 1862 when Jacob Schram purchased 200 acres and began the development of hillside vineyards in Napa. In 1870, Chinese… Read more

  • Grape of Kings

    October 8, 2019 by

    Cabernet Sauvignon is the king of grapes, but Pinot Noir is the grape of kings. Unknown Today’s Story: Wild Hog Vineyard Wild Hog Vineyard is a small and family-owned operation, and one whose wines I’ve been eager to try for some time now. While the winery opened in 1990, the Schoenfeld family started producing wines… Read more

  • Calistoga Royalty

    October 7, 2019 by

    Today’s Story: Chateau Montelena Chateau Montelena found its origin many years ago, in 1882 to be exact, but experienced short-lived winemaking prowess thanks to the onset of Prohibition during the early 1900s. The winery passed hands several times until, in 1968, Lee and Helen Paschich purchased Montelena with Jim Barrett (who some of you may… Read more

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