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Hospice du Rhône {Blackberry Farm}

May 22, 2012 The Press Comments Off on Hospice du Rhône {Blackberry Farm}
Hospice du Rhône {Blackberry Farm}

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

Hospice du Rhône {John Alban}

May 22, 2012 The Press 1 Comment
Hospice du Rhône {John Alban}

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

Hospice du Rhône {The Girl + The Fig}

May 9, 2012 The Press Comments Off on Hospice du Rhône {The Girl + The Fig}
Hospice du Rhône {The Girl + The Fig}

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 Paso

May 1, 2012 The Press Comments Off on This is Paso
This is Paso

I just wanted to share this… … Continue Reading

Linne Calodo – Names Will Never Hurt Me

October 19, 2011 Fifty-Two Weeks 7 Comments
Linne Calodo – Names Will Never Hurt Me

T H E   L I S T

It was the end of 2009 and the beginning of an ambitious project, to write about 52 California wineries in 52 weeks. I had no idea where to start.

I bought a subscription to Wine Spectator and scoured it for interesting producers to work with; highlighting the ones that caught my attention. Tablas Creek, Barrel 27, Foxen, Kosta Brown. I added them to an ever-growing list of “wineries to work with.” I knew almost nothing about the California wine industry, but if this big glossy publication liked them, that had to be worth something, right?

As my knowledge grew in early 2010, I began adding names to an “if by a miracle” list, wineries I thought it would be next to impossible to work with, legends like Ridge, The Ojai Vineyard, Sine Qua Non, and Harlan. A boy could dream.

In the months that followed, as A Long Pour took shape and I began to regularly cross off names from the “hope to work with” and add them to the “worked with” list, I was amazed at how well it was all going. Tablas Creek, check! The Ojai Vineyard, a very excited check! Barrel 27, Foxen, Jordan, check, check, and check!

I studied, I learned, I listened, and I drank. I stopped highlighting names in Wine Spectator and began working with wineries based on my own taste and interests.  I made the acquaintance of numerous winemakers who in turn gave me suggestions of their own. I took note of who inspired them, names like Randall Grahm, Richard Sanford, Paul Draper, John Alban, Helen Turley, Manfred Krankl, Justin Smith, and Matt Trevisan. … 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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