Domaine Romanee Conti. Chateau Grillet. Santa Margarita Ranch. Okay, so maybe the last one does not ring a bell, but it should! Nestled in the southernmost reaches of Paso Robles lies a single vineyard AVA – Santa Margarita Ranch. The Margarita Vineyard that inhabits this AVA stands out as the only vineyard located within its own namesake region. This unique vineyard and AVA is the home of Ancient Peaks winery.
Why should you know about Ancient Peaks? Well, besides the fact that it produces elegant and complex wines, there is a history to the place. First farmed by the Franciscan missionaries in the 1780s, the land took a progressive turn when the Robert Mondavi family saw great potential and planted vines in the region in 1999. Eventually, he sold the land back to the owners and as of now, three families own this winery, vineyard and AVA, which gives them complete control over producing wines distinctive to this unique pocket of California. They are entrepreneurs, ranchers and wine-lovers.
Continue reading Ancient Peaks – California’s newest wine appellation
It’s Bastille Day! La Fête nationale, The National Celebration, The French Revolution!
I can’t help but think of Champagne on a day like this, and what better way to celebrate than pop a bottle of bubbles and yell “Vive La France!”
Here are my top 5 Champagnes that could have been used to celebrate the revolution!
Continue reading Top 5 Champagnes for Bastille Day!
There is a belief among wine cognoscenti that grape vines must suffer before they can produce great wines. In the Willamette Valley of Oregon, not only does that happen, but everyone in the wine business undergoes an annual pain called, “The Harvest.” Is Mother Nature going to be good to us, or will we be left to our own devices and suffer unruly weather? Unlike other regions in the world, such as Australia and the Napa Valley in California, the Willamette Valley proves unpredictable, and provides vintners with unhappy grapes from difficult vintages. While all wine growing regions suffer good and bad years, Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley, just like the varietal in Burgundy, paints a picture of extreme variance.
Continue reading Braving the Willamette Valley front: Oregon Wine Month
Yesterday, Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW) gathered at the Press Club in San Francisco, showcasing wines from twelve different firmly-established wine-making families of Australia.
As a history major, I love First Families.They get things started, they blaze trails and begin an era. They create “tradition.”
And Australia has tradition. In an effort to highlight this tradition and history as it relates to Australian wine, and put to rest any idea that Australian wine might be a “fad,” Australia’s First Families of Wine are going global!
Continue reading The future of Australia… it’s bright indeed!
It’s always exciting to meet the actual human who bears the name of a winery, particularly one that has become a household name. In this case, it was Gérard Bertrand. This may not be a household name in every house, but it is in mine. Our affinity for Rhone wines certainly extends to the rest of Southern France, where there is a unique style and value to be found. Gérard Bertrand wines combine just that: style & value.
Continue reading Gérard Bertrand: Story behind the Wine