In the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley there are 600 hundred amazing acres. They are at the center of a story you think you know, but you don’t. They are more than words, more than images, they are Jonata.
In time, more will follow, more words, more pictures, more story. For now, I share a small piece of why I have come to love this place.
Jonata, in pictures. … Continue Reading
On the Saturday of Hospice du Rhône, as lunch wraps up, the auction kicks into full swing. After introductions from John Alban and comments from Chris Cherry of Villa Creek, Jesse Ventura, a Central Coast Auctioneer, and his gang of cowboy side-kicks get down to business.
We mistakenly got a paddle, thinking there would be one or two items we could bid on. We were wrong. The first item up, a sea urchin excursion with the Rhône Prophet himself, John Alban…it went for $6,500. It was clear right away, this auction was way out of our league.
From private tours and tastings at estates from all over the world, to a magnum of Manfred Krankl’s newest joint venture with Philippe Cambie and Vincent Maurel that went for $5,000, the bidding was intense and fast. As Jesse Ventura sang his auctioneer song and his cowboys screamed in a flurry of bidding, the items came and the items went, for impressive sums of money.
Out of all the items, from seven magnums of Saxum, to a dinner for twelve at The Girl + The Fig, there was one item that blew the others away. As Sam Beall, Owner and visionary behind Blackberry Farm in Eastern Tennessee, sat watching, a weekend trip to his Blackberry Farm climbed to five-thousand, and then ten, and fifteen, then climbing past twenty thousand. In the end, a chance to experience one of the Country’s most prestigious resorts and diverse Rhône cellars went for $25,000. … Continue Reading
I was surprised to learn just how involved John Alban is with Hospice du Rhône. From moderating panel discussions, to acting as the MC, John is a central part of the organization.
We had our first Alban that weekend, although not at the event. Thursday, on the eve of Hospice, while at dinner with friends, we came across a bottle of 2002 Alban Grenache. It was stunning.
The truth is, I wanted to meet and interview John for a long time. So when I ran into him while talking to Jason Carter of McPrice Myers, I thought, “what the heck, I might as well ask.”
John was gracious enough to chat for a few moments about the importance Hospice du Rhône for him and where he hopes to see it go. … Continue Reading
Doon on the Clos was a huge success! At the end of all the planning and phone calls, emails and tweets, people showed up, people drank, they ate, they listened, and they bought wine.
A highlight of the evening was an open discussion on biodynamics as well as the philosophies of Bonny Doon’s Randall Grahm and Clos Pepe’s Wes Hagen. It was spirited, let’s put it that way. As I get some time, we will post some of that content.
We were thrilled to have our friend Jeremy Ball in attendance. Jeremy is one of the most talented wine and food photographers on the Central Coast and his company, Bottle Branding, works with the best producers in Santa Barbara County. We have gotten to know Jeremy over the last few years and are big fans of his work.
There were many stand-out moments at this year’s Hospice du Rhône. For Damaris and I, our first Hospice, the entire weekend was special, with many opportunities to try new things.
Of course, the wine was fantastic, but we start our Hospice coverage with a focus on another aspect of the event, the food. Good wine exists for good food, not the other way around. After all, we can live without wine (sort of), but not without food.
This year, we were thrilled to learn that Sondra Bernstein of The Girl and the Fig, in Sonoma, and Sam Beall of Blackberry Farm, outside of Maryville in Eastern Tennessee, would be showcasing their cuisine. We were fans of the simple rustic style of The Girl and the Fig already and are now equally enthusiastic fans of the terroir driven cuisine of Blackberry Farm. … Continue Reading
This is arguably the biggest week of the year for Paso Robles, Hospice du Rhône, a weekend-long celebration of all things Rhône; a week that will see the World’s best Rhône producers flock to the sleepy Central Coast town. Thousands of their disciples will descend from all over the Country to this Mecca of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre.
We are looking forward to covering our first Hospice du Rhône for A Long Pour. Even more meaningful, this week’s activities mark the 20th anniversary of the event.
Few regions of California have done more to champion Rhône wines than Paso Robles. From this part of the State came John Alban’s Alban Vineyards and the Haas and Perrin families’ Tablas Creek. Even Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon operated a tasting room in Paso for some time, before it sadly burnt doon.
In attendance this weekend, will be two young winemakers who have soared to the top of California’s most revered Rhône producers over the past decade, Matt Trevisan of Linne Calodo and Justin Smith of SAXUM. Those who have followed their rise will know that Linne Calodo was founded by the two winemakers in the late 90′s when they were in their twenties. Justin eventually left to start SAXUM and Matt Continued with Linne Calodo, later building one of the most iconic wineries on the Central Coast. … Continue Reading
I am a daydreamer. I often spend too much time pondering what could be and playing out scenarios in my head over and over.
Today, we are thrilled to announce that one of those scenarios is coming to fruition.
Over the course of our voyages, we have met many fine and wonderful winemakers, but few more so than Mr. Randall Grahm, the Great Pontificator and President for Life of Bonny Doon Vineyard in Santa Cruz, California. We’ve had the grand privilege of sharing some wonderful moments with him, such as the dedication of Popelouchum, his new organic (bio-dynamic, bio-charred, bio-charged) vineyard in San Juan Bautista.
But Randall is still a son of Santa Barbara in a way, sourcing fruit for some of his Rhone (Ranger) wines from some of the County’s best vineyards. Around these parts, like anywhere in California you find honest people laboring at Rhone based wines, you will find many who say, “oh Randall Grahm? I like that guy!” … Continue Reading
This was a lot harder than we thought it would be, but the response was amazing.
First, let me say how happy we were to receive so many great images and from all over the World! In total, we had over 160 entries with participants from Guadalajara- Mexico, Mexico City, Cleveland Ohio, Santa Cruz California (go Slugs!), Philly PA, Chicago Illinois, Seattle Washington, Buellton California, Davis California, Lompoc California, San Luis Obispo California, Brooklyn New York, Malvern PA, Bel Air Maryland, Wellington New Zealand, Rocky Hill Connecticut, Tucson Arizona, Naaldwijk Netherlands, Baltimore Maryland, Milano Italy, Brescia Italy, Montevideo Uruguay, Ventura California, Santa Barbara California, and others. … Continue Reading