Monday, February 20, 2017

02/20 JIM KRESS, TOLOSA WINERY, VINCE FERRAGAMO, FERRAGAMO WINERY, "CARESSA J"

JIM KRESS - WINEMAKER, TOLOSA WINERY 

A PLACE OF EXTRAORDINARY POTENTIAL
Edna Valley is nestled amongst the northwest-southeast running volcanic hills of San Luis Obispo County and is the frontier for the most complex cool-climate varietals in California, especially Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The transverse valley is an extension of the sea, with a funnel leading past Morro Bay, 3,600 feet below the Pacific. The cold Pacific wind sweeps down the coast and into the valley and vineyards, creating a microclimate reminiscent of that of Burgundy. Oscillations in warm and cold mimic that region’s daily rhythms, only further improving from the Pismo Venturi effect that clears the evening fog. Edna Valley, the coolest appellation in California, has all the benefits of Burgundy without the threat of snow, rain, and hail.

In Edna Valley, much as the soil and the climate come together, the paths of three men have converged. With a shared zeal to build complex, nuanced and balanced wines, they play off each other’s strengths; winemaker Jim Kress and consulting winemaker Jean Hoefliger’s excitement for the potential of the Tolosa vineyards has only increased vintner Robin Baggett’s appreciation of his home of so many decades. True believers in terroir and the deepest evocation of place, together their mission is to discover the valley’s best pockets of soil, and through the art of uniting the right sites, clones, rootstocks and farming practices, create exceptional Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays that are the purest expressions of Edna Valley.

ABOUT JIM KRESS THE ARTISAN
There’s a revolution stirring in California winemaking. A move to overthrow the technical and tactical approach in favor of a more artisanal expression that allows the true nature of place to shine through. Robin has entrusted winemaker Jim Kress with the expression of Edna Valley through the wines of Tolosa.

Motivated by an early desire to put his stamp on a wine from start to finish, Jim found himself immersed in the sciences of agriculture and chemistry that allowed him to fulfill his creative instincts through crafting wines of balance, depth and complexity. His fascination with differing soil compositions and the impact of local climates has led him on a pursuit to understand how these factors influence the resulting wines. After an undergraduate degree from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, his passion for food and wine eventually led him to the UC Davis Masters of Science program in Enology and Viticulture. During his subsequent tenure at Domaine Chandon, his interest in Pinot Noir was kindled. Jim is enticed by the intricate dance required of the craft of Pinot Noir—the challenges in the vineyard and cellar of this fickle grape and the exquisite rewards it offers—as well as its versatility in pairing with food and complementing a variety of culinary trends.

Now, after 20 vintages spent honing his technical mastery with wines from some of California’s most prestigious appellations, including Napa Valley, Los Carneros, Russian River Valley and Santa Rita Hills, Jim is eager to explore Edna Valley and to dig through its unique soil compositions to create wines which express the singularity of this marvelous terroir.

Tolosa partner and consulting winemaker Jean Hoefliger has been on his own journey to uncover the secrets of terroir in disparate parts of the globe.   Jean’s mix of scientific training, passion, and obsession with craft has made him one of the true voices of the New California wine revolution.

Jean was born and raised in Switzerland, and after receiving his degree from the Swiss federal school of Changins, he worked in Switzerland, Bordeaux, and South Africa at the estates of Chateau Lynch-Bages, Chateau Carbonnieux and Meerlust. He then moved to California, spending five years as the winemaker at Newton Vineyard before joining Alpha Omega. As the winemaker at Alpha Omega, he is creating wines that are a remarkable mix of Old and New World and recognized as some of the finest representations of the terroir that is Napa Valley. He also is continuing to pursue the artistry of world-class Pinot Noir that distinguished his tenure at Newton, Hartford Family Winery and Armanino Family Cellars, and during his early studies at the Fonjallaz family’s Swiss vineyards.

WWW.TOLOSAWINERY.COM



FORMER NFL STAR VINCE FERRAGAMO - FERRAGAMO WINERY "CARESSA J"

After an illustrious NFL career that included an appearance in Super Bowl XIV in Pasadena, California, he opened Touchdown Real Estate in Anaheim Hills, CA as the owner/broker, but Vince needed a new challenge. Coming from Italian heritage, he had a natural love for food and wine. He began to study wine, and an idea was born.

His home in Orange Park Acres, California was the perfect canvas for his new project. The climate and soil in Orange was conducive for growing wine grapes, and Vince decided to convert the horse corral to a vineyard. So, in 2010, he researched the process and made the decision that Sangiovese and Cabernet grapes were the right choice for the wine he wanted to make. He planted the vines and waited for them to bear fruit. The first vintage of Caressa J, named for his daughters was a quality product and he knew it would only improve as the vines aged. A man passionate about football now had a new love. He spends countless hours working in the vineyard and his personal attention has paid off.

The 2012 and 2013 vintages both received gold medals at the LA International Wine Competiton. Dinner parties at Casa Ferragamo always include a tasting of the Caressa J and it has become a hands down favorite with family and friends. Vince is very active in the community and has donated his wine to several charity events, including Vendemmia de San Antonio, The Ronald McDonald House and many others. The chairman and founder of the Vince Ferragamo Foundation, Vince is dedicated to helping those that are in need, especially those involving children. A dedicated family man, the newest member of the Ferragamo clan, grandson Javi Cenzo is already joining Nonno in the vineyard. His passion for family now extends to a passion for wine.

OUR WINES
"Caressa J" is named after my 3 daughters, Venessa, Cara, and Jenna. Our climate with its warm days and cool nights, is perfect for the grapes. During harvest, we focus on phenolic ripening and longer hang times, giving rise to a rich and elegant wine with refined and polished tannins.

The Sangiovese grapes offer intense floral and spice aromas while the Cabernet grapes balance the wine with dense layers of fruit. On the palate, it is weighty, dense and vibrant with complex structure thanks to the support of the acidity. With passionate preparation, this wine has developed into a robust medium bodied wine. Enjoy as we do with veal pasta and spaghetti and meatballs. Salute!!

OUR WINEMAKERS
Mick Drago and Jeff Lazenby have produced the wine from Vince
Ferragamo's vineyard since 2010. Mick founded Belle Marie Winery in 2000,
and Jeff is General Manager and Assistant Winemaker.

Mick Dragoo - Mick Dragoo's appreciation for winemaking began during the Vietnam War, when he served in the Army as a maxillofacial surgeon treating trauma patients arriving home from the war in Northern California. On his off-time, he would visit Napa Valely wineries to unwind, and was impressed to discover some parallels between the art and science of winemaking and surgical reconstruction. After retiring from a successful peridontal practice in Reno, Navada, Dragoo returned to Napa Valley to begin his next career, as a professional windemaker. Twenty years later, Mick and Mary Dragoo relocated to Southern California and opened Belle Marie Winery, a micro-boutique winery in Escondido, California that produces thirty or more wines every year in a wide variety of styles, but with a particular speciality in full-bodied, blended red wines. With an inventory of up to 78 different grape varietals available each year, Dragoo travels up and down California to the best growing regionsand vineyards in the state from which hravest his grapes. In his spare time, Dragoo continues to develop and teach state-of-the-art surgical practices to surgeons worldwide.

Jeff Lazenby - Jezz Lazenby's passion for winemaking began during his college years at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the mid-1980's. With convenient proximity to the Central Coast wine country, he made frequent trips to area wineries, exploring the many varietals that thrive in the area and learning about how geographical and climatic influences shape varietal selection in the vineyard and the resulting styles of wine. Wine remained a hobby for years as Lazenby built a successful career as a health care executive while continuing to learn about wine in his down time. In 2000, he met Mick Dragoo, who had jsut started Belle Marie, and the passion for winemaking began to blossom more quickly. Soon he was spending his weekends and holidays volunteering at the winery, studying Dragoo's style and philosophy of winemaking, and learning about all aspect of running a small, boutique windery operation. By 2006, the Dragoo's convinced Lazenby to retire and join the family business full-time.

WWW.FERRAGAMOWINERY.COM

Monday, February 13, 2017

02/13 NORM YOST, FLYING GOAT CELLARS, WOPN, IAN BLACKBURN, WINE LA

NORM YOST - OWNER/WINEMAKER, FLYING GOAT CELLARS - TALKS WOPN

Two pygmy goats, Never and Epernay, inspired winemaker Norm Yost to name his winery Flying Goat Cellars.

The goats were his pets and lawnmowers and came to be a source of entertainment and enjoyment, with their unrestrained spiral loops, flipper turns and straight-legged leaps. When pondering a name for his new wines and brand, Norm wanted to project fun, enjoyment and happiness. While many people put their own name or their children’s name on their label or vineyard, Norm’s playful spirit opted to name it after his kids. His kids, of course, were those two pygmy goat pets, who had always inspired him and made him laugh.

With this same spirit of enthusiasm, Flying Goat Cellars and Goat Bubbles were launched in Lompoc, CA.

Norm Yost graduated from the University of California, Davis with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies in 1981. When his college roommate graduated from the winemaking program with a job and Norm didn’t have employment, he morphed from a beer drinking football player into a winemaking craftsman. During his 35+ vintages in the industry, Norm worked for diverse wineries in cool climate regions, from Oregon’s Willamette Valley to the Russian River in Sonoma County and finally Santa Barbara County. He attributes his vast experience in the industry to the success of Flying Goat Cellars, which he launched in 2000. As the proprietor of his own business, Norm enjoys the freedom to focus on his passion for making vineyard designated Pinot Noir and sparkling wine. Half of Norm’s winemaking career has now been in Santa Barbara County, where he celebrates working with the exceptional local fruit. He is currently a board director of World of Pinot Noir; formerly a board director of Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance and Santa Barbara County Vintners Association and a winemaking instructor at Allan Hancock College.

March 3-4, 2017
WORLD OF PINOT NOIR
BACARA RESORT & SPA
santa barbara, california

2017 WORLD OF PINOT NOIR
The 17th Annual World of Pinot Noir takes place at the luxurious Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, CA on Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4, 2017. Featuring nearly 200 wineries showcasing Pinot Noirs from around the world, the event includes two days of dinners, in-depth wine seminars, luncheons and two grand tastings. The picturesque backdrop for the entire event is the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara. Guests can stay at the resort, attend tastings and dinners and soak in the beauty of California's beautiful Central Coast.

WWW.FLYINGGOATCELLARS.COM
www.worldofpinotnoir.com


IAN BLACKBURN – WINE LA - TALKS LODI WINES 

ABOUT WINELA
wineLA is about enhancing the wine culture of Los Angeles. To do so, wine must be in rhythm with fashion, music, food and other beverages.  It must take advantage of the geography, the architecture and the centers of interest. Los Angeles is a giant playground with an amazing array of venues, spaces, wine bars, restaurants, beaches, roof tops, gardens, and magical views. We want to be a part of the LA lifestyle, the wine lifestyle, and celebrate the people, the place and the passion. wineLA will promote significant events, occasional classes, and tastings of merit. This is phase two of what we started 20 years ago at LearnAboutWine.com - America’s first wine education website and first in wine event creation. LearnAboutWine will now evolve onto a digital platform; the transformation will take some time; so we will slowly rebrand our event efforts onto wineLA, reduce the number of activities we focus on, and elevate our efforts to focus on the next big thing… Doing what is best for the wine industry and the communities we serve.  Edicts:  innovate, evolve and excite.

We thank you for joining our newsletter, we will be sending fewer emails and packing them with amazing content. We want to be your wine content provider and would love to hear about your favorite places, your music, your locations - we want to be under the influence of what ignites your passion for Los Angeles.

ABOUT BEEKEEPER CELLARS
Beekeeper Cellars is the vision of best friends and co-winemakers IanBlackburn and Clay Mauritson. The two collaborated after adventurous individual careers in the wine business, and at last, decided to work together on a project of their own.

Clay, a 7th generation grape grower, and his family found themselves the owners of a significant slice of the Rockpile Appellation, through an amazing set of historical land transactions. The Mauritson family realized the potential and parented the creation of the ROCKPILE AVA. In 1998, Ian and Clay climbed the hill and watched the Madrone Spring Vineyard get planted, while discussing the future of Rockpile and the dream it represented.

In 2008, Clay saw the fruits of his family's labor taking shape and came to Ian with a unique opportunity to source some of the Rockpile fruit. He told Ian in the difficult days of 2008, “now is the time to get in and build the business and have it take shape as the market improves, and to not wait until business is strong as you will have a hard time getting access to the right quality assets.” Ian took heed of Clay’s wise comment and said "When your best friend is Clay Mauritson and he offers Rockpile fruit and to assist with winemaking…... you make Zinfandel.”

In Los Angeles, Ian operates a specialty wine marketing organization known as wineLA and has pioneered wine education for the past 20 years (since 1995) through www.learnaboutwine.com andwww.wineLA.com.  Beekeeper Cellars is also involved in Ian’s Masters of Wine Thesis project and provides him the winemaking training he requires to help pass the difficult Masters of Wine exam...an ongoing pursuit.

WWW.WINELA.COM
WWW.BEEKEEPERCELLARS.COM

Monday, February 6, 2017

02/06 DAVID HUNT, HUNT CELLARS, RUSS WEIS, SILVERADO VINEYARDS

DAVID HUNT – OWNER & WINEMAKER, HUNT CELLARS

Our Story
It started over 20 years ago as a fantasy: living on a lush beautiful vineyard, producing your own style of favorite premium varietal wines that are well received and appreciated by those who have discovered the wines and shared them amongst friends.

Now, drive along the scenic Highway 46 West, about three miles west of the 101 Fwy at Oakdale Road, you will find this dream has become reality for David Hunt, Winemaker and owner of Hunt Cellars, a winery committed to producing “Memorable Wines”. We believe that great wines leave indelible impressions when poured with wonderful meals and great friends and scintillating conversations. Hunt Cellars was founded on the philosophy of producing wines that you will look forward to simply sipping by a cozy fireplace or pairing with your favorite meals to enhance that special event or moment in time.

How It Began
When The Hunt Family decided to pursue their dream they were uncertain where they would choose to build their vineyard. The Hunts spent exhaustive days and weekends traveling to various premium wine regions from Oregon, Washington, and throughout the State of California. They finally narrowed their decision down to the Central coast to San Luis Obispo County. Paso Robles was selected because of its rich diversity in soils, superb growing climate and unique styles of wine making along with the spirit of graciousness and traditional American values.

Eventually after looking at numerous parcels of vineyard potential property, they settled on uniquely beautiful property containing over 550 acres on Highway 41 in Creston. This unique property met their criteria in topography, soil composition and unparralled beauty. Within the 550 acres there are four terrior’s with varying elevations containing soil composites that mirror the great wine regions of the world. They were convinced that they could grow wonderful exciting intense fruit here on this property.

Destiny Hunt
The Hunt Family decided to name their vineyard, “Destiny Vineyards,” in honor of their new baby girl they named Destiny who was born in 1996. Just ask Destiny who has the best wines today and she will certainly tell you.

Destiny Vineyard’s first planting consisted of: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Syrah, Cab Franc, Viognier and Zinfandel. The Hunts decided to build a tasting room for their premium wines, which opened in October of 1999.

In 1997 they began producing their first releases of memorable wines… Experience has taught Hunts that in order to make great wines you must simply have the best fruit. At Hunt Cellars, we believe passion, hard work and never giving up until we have put together all the components and structure that will give our wine the varietal character, flavor and velvet finish that will become a trademark of our wines.

View of Destiny Vineyards
As you enter The Hunt Cellars Tasting room, the fun wine experience begins, as you are greeted with either live music or our white grand player piano, which can play any song. Stroll up to our Cabernet Bar, where our warm and friendly staff are eager to lead you through a light hearted and fun sampling of our wines. You may also choose to sip your wines on our spacious 1200 foot veranda, smoke your favorite cigar under our pavilion or simply stroll through our lush inviting landscaped lawns. We want you and your guest to simply have a wonderful time at Hunt Cellars and bring your friends and family back on your next visit to the Paso Robles Wine Country.

How Hunt Cellars Wines Differ from Others
There are many different wineries in the Paso Robles area; few compare to the quality of Hunt Cellars. Hunt uses only the best and rarest mountain grown fruit to produce the best harvest of grapes. Their vineyard’s location has been specifically chosen for its composition and diversity – every step of the production process is designed so Hunt Cellars produces the highest caliber of wine for you to enjoy.

HUNTCELLARS.COM


RUSS WEIS - GENERAL MANAGER, SILVERADO VINEYARDS

“The beginning of vine planting is like the beginning of mining for precious metals: the winegrower also ‘prospects’.” - Robert Louis Stevenson,  The Silverado Squatters, 1880

A century later, the Miller family began the journey Stevenson described, establishing Silverado Vineyards in 1981. “It was beautiful land, and it was land that was working,” says Diane Miller of their first vineyards, purchased in the 1970s. Diane and Ron sold their grapes to some of Napa’s best vintners, who made award winning wines from them year after year. Encouraged, they struck out on their own with the goal of making the best wines the estate could produce at a fair price. This has remained the guiding philosophy over the years. The winery’s name, Silverado, comes from the abandoned mining town at the top of the Napa Valley, where Stevenson stayed so many years ago. It is an appropriate symbol: three generations of the Miller family are still “prospecting” for wine, staying true to the idea of coaxing something precious from the soils we are privileged to care for.

ABOUT RUSS:
Russ was born into a family of grape growers in Madera, California. As a boy, he spent many days and nights working side by side in the vineyards with his father and grandfather. This rural California experience proved to be the foundation of a career in fine wine that would take Russ to every corner of the globe.

Russ first moved to the Napa Valley in 1981 to pursue degrees in Literature and French at Pacific Union College. While an undergraduate Russ spent a year in Haut-Savoie in France. Rumors still circulate that he did more skiing than studying. Upon graduation in 1985, he taught English language and literature at a small liberal arts college in Japan.

In 1987, Russ returned to Napa and joined the Christian Brothers Winery in St. Helena, California as a tour guide, eventually working his way up to a position in Public Relations. He worked closely with Christian Brothers’ legendary winemaker, Brother Timothy. His familiarity with foreign countries and languages was well known to Christian Brothers’ ownership, International Distillers & Vintners Ltd. who made Russ their Global Brand Manager for California Wines in 1990.

In 1993, Russ joined the Robert Mondavi Winery where he led the Asia/Pacific export business. He held several posts with Mondavi, including Director of Public Relations for Opus One. In 2000, Russ was named Mondavi Winery’s Senior Vice President for International Business Development, a position he held until joining Silverado Vineyards in 2004.

When he’s not busy touting the virtues of Silverado Vineyards wines, Russ enjoys playing piano and admits to “a bad game of golf.” He’s also involved in a personal wine project with partners in Spain’s Priorat region.

He’s a member of the Board of Directors of the Stags Leap District Association, the International Programs Committee of the Napa Valley Vintners and serves on the board of the Napa Valley Symphony.

Russ lives near Yountville with his wife, Laurie, and their daughter, Josephine. The Weis family still lives on and farms the vineyards in Madera where Russ grew up.

WWW.SILVERADOVINEYARDS.COM