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The Winemakers of A Long Pour {photo essay}

June 22, 2011 The Press Comments Off on The Winemakers of A Long Pour {photo essay}
The Winemakers of A Long Pour {photo essay}

For a second year in a row, A Long Pour is a finalist for the Wine Blog Awards, this time for Best Graphics, Photography, and Presentation (you can vote here). A Long Pour is a lot of hard work and it is nice to get some recognition. But really, all of this made me think of the many great winemakers who have invited me into their wineries and homes, told me their stories, shared their wines, and in some cases let me take their picture.

This is to them…thank you. … Continue Reading

Changes: Linne Calodo & Tablas Creek

April 6, 2011 The Press 2 Comments
Changes: Linne Calodo & Tablas Creek

Paso Robles, finally! Not since last July had I spent any reasonable amount of time in the Central Coast land of Syrah and Roussanne.

A few Sundays ago, in some of the worse rain Central California saw all season (and it has seen a lot), we braved the wind and water and headed north. The storms were no joke. We passed flooded farmlands and barns, tempest swollen rivers, and a number of micro-mudslides (not a good sign) along the way. But the wine was good, the conversation lively, and with my wife and our Beagle along for the ride, it was a perfect day. As it turns out, the timing as it was perfect too. … Continue Reading

“Pneumonia’s Last Syrah” By: Jason Haas

“Pneumonia’s Last Syrah” By: Jason Haas

Most of you are probably aware that Syrah faces a challenging marketplace. Even articles complimentary about Syrahs (as nearly all of them are) feel compelled to begin with a story about how hard they are to sell. A recent article by Eric Asimov in the New York Times began “There’s a joke going around West Coast wine circles: What’s the difference between a case of syrah and a case of pneumonia? You can get rid of the pneumonia.”

How did we get here?  The theories are many, but my own opinion is that there was such a rapid increase in planting that it was inevitable that demand would lag compared to supply.  In the 1990’s, California Syrah acreage saw an enormous leap, based on guesses that Syrah was going to be the next big thing.  In 1992, there were 867 acres of Syrah planted in California, 0.7% of the total red grape acreage.  By 2000, that had increased to 12,699 acres, of which nearly half we non-bearing because they’d been planted in the last three years.  In 2000, Syrah accounted for 4.6% of red grape acreage, an absolute increase of over 1400% and a percentage increase of 657%.  … Continue Reading

“Why Limestone Matters for Wine Grape Growing” By: Jason Haas

July 19, 2010 Jason Hass - Blog Tablas Creek, The Cru Comments Off on “Why Limestone Matters for Wine Grape Growing” By: Jason Haas
“Why Limestone Matters for Wine Grape Growing”  By: Jason Haas

It has long been cognized that great wine regions such as Champagne, Burgundy, Chablis, the Loire and southern Rhône valleys, and Saint-Emilion in Bordeaux are rich with limestone.  Or, more precisely, these soils are rich in plant-accessible calcium carbonate, the principal chemical component of limestone, typically from decayed limestone outcroppings.  (Limestone itself is too hard for plants’ roots to penetrate.)

Limestone is rare in California except in a crescent of land in the Central Coast between the Santa Cruz Mountains to the north and Lompoc to the south.  When we were searching for a site on which to plant our vineyard, finding calcium-rich soil similar to that of Château de Beaucastel was a primary criterion. That calcium-rich soils were only found in the Central Coast focused our search in this area.  The west side of Paso Robles and Templeton is the state’s largest exposed limestone layer, and in 1989 we bought our property here.

For all the anecdotal evidence of the superior qualities of calcium-rich soils, the science behind how calcareous soil influences grapevine health and the wines that come from them is still being explored.  It turns out that there are four principal reasons why these soils improve wine quality. … Continue Reading

Tablas Creek, The Long Road to Success

Tablas Creek, The Long Road to Success

“Would you like to try it?” Jason asked.

“Sure.” I replied.

We were in a large green house at Tablas Creek Winery. At full capacity, as many as 200,000 grape vines call it a temporary home, before moving into shade-houses, and then finally their permanent homes in vineyards all across the west coast. However, at this time of year, the vast space is all but empty, other than the gray plant racks and the lone grafting table that we stood before.

The grafting tool, one of the originals at Tablas Creek, allows a varietal, such Grenache, to be grafted onto a specific rootstock. This process is known as bench grafting. Jason Haas, General Manger, and son of Robert Haas (Owner of Tablas Creek), walked my friend Jordan and I through the steps. … Continue Reading


Bonny Doon: Day of the Doon IX {Photo Essay}

September 22, 2011

Bonny Doon: Day of the Doon IX {Photo Essay}

We have grown rather accustomed to long trips for short stays, so much so that a 500 mile weekend is not such a big deal anymore. There are a lot of events we are invited to and we can only attend a few of them. But when Randall Graham asks you to attend, you attend. […]

Secret Project {the reveal}

August 17, 2011

Secret Project {the reveal}

A few weeks ago I posted the “Secret Project” with some shots of  a friend’s new winery taking shape. At the time, the space was still in a raw state, holes in the ground, bare walls, cut concrete. In terms of photographing a new winery, one might say there was not much to see, no […]

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