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Hidden Ridge – Art in Wine

July 6, 2011 Fifty-Two Weeks 1 Comment
Hidden Ridge – Art in Wine

I was late. I had just left the outskirts of Napa headed south on the 29 when my phone rang. I lingered too long at a lunch in Calistoga and was late for my next appointment. Winemaker Timothy Milos was on the other end.

“Just wanted to check in and see where you were at,” he asked. In addition to being late, I was also lost. After another phone call to clarify the directions, I finally arrived at the custom crush facility we had agreed to meet at. But this wasn’t where we were supposed to be.

We were supposed to be atop one of the most rugged and hard to access vineyard sites in California. Hidden Ridge Vineyard, as its name implies, it’s off the beaten path. It is in fact so far off the path that it is only accessible with vehicles much more all wheel drive than my Mazda3. In the rainy weather of this past December, when I visited the Napa Valley, the normally difficult roads became impossible roads and so we settled on the civilized streets of the custom crush facility where the wine is made.

I am, “all about the vineyards,” or so I tell people, and so I was disappointed to not be atop the peak of what is no doubt a breathtaking site. There was however, an unexpected windfall to my letdown.

… Continue Reading

The Winter Vineyard – Jordan Winery

February 8, 2011 The Press 3 Comments
The Winter Vineyard – Jordan Winery

Jordan Vineyard remains one of the most breathtaking places I have ever visited. I was privileged to spend some time at the winery with my new wife two weeks ago. It was spectacular to watch this beautiful piece of land change over the course of a season. Each season has its own character and its own romance.  Vineyards too have special moments throughout the seasons that can inspire and even move us. None more so that the vineyard in Winter. … Continue Reading

Merlot, A Fall From Grace

July 21, 2010 Merlot, The Press 9 Comments
Merlot, A Fall From Grace

“It’s all crap you know, the things they say about me. It’s all crap.” Merlot took a long drag from his cigarette. A glass of half drunk scotch sat on the bar before him. It was his fourth.

“It’s bad enough that I had to grow up under the shadow of that pompous jerk Cabernet my whole life. I suffered a lot of abuse because of him. Then that movie came out.” The movie was of course Sideways, the cult classic starring Paul Giamatti. Paul’s character, Miles, at one point bluntly refuses to drink “any EXPLETIVE Merlot.” The film, which centered around two best friends’ misadventures in Santa Barbara wine country is said to have given a huge boost to Pinot Noir sales, a varietal Paul’s character was particularly fond of. The opposite was said to be the case for Merlot, with sales reportedly dipping after the damning statement. … Continue Reading

Brian Wing – NorCal Wing Man

July 18, 2010 The Press 4 Comments
Brian Wing – NorCal Wing Man

In our continued effort to support those who support wine, we arrive at Brian Wing. Brian writes Norcalwingman.com, where he pairs food with wine, predominately from his Sonoma backyard. One of the things that caught my attention was his generally pleasant demeanor. He is a nice guy and it is evident in his writing. He does not claim to be a master critic but takes his writing seriously.

But, one questions remains. Is he hecka, or hella bad? … Continue Reading

Steve Paulo – Notes From The Cellar

July 11, 2010 The Press 3 Comments
Steve Paulo – Notes From The Cellar

As the three people who read my blog already know, I was a finalist for best new wine blog. Even though I did not win(the better blog did: Swirl, Smell, Slurp), the experience exposed me to some new and in some cases impressive people.

Steve Paulo is such a person. Steve writes Notes From The Cellar amongst other blogs. He has a cool white guy beard, was jumped into the Bloods and the Crips on the same day, and invented Twizzlers. With his awesome white guy beard and can recite verse for verse almost half of the Full House episodes he has ever watched.

Because he is a nice guy, because he is a solid writer and handy with wine descriptors, because he was also a finalist for best new wine blog, and because I just like him, Steve is ALP’s featured wine blogger this week. … Continue Reading

Landmark Vineyards – The Third Flag That Flies

Landmark Vineyards – The Third Flag That Flies

1776: The Founding Fathers sign the declaration of independence. 1805: Lewis and Clark “discover” the Pacific Ocean. 1838: John Deere invents the steel plow. 1865: The Civil War ends. 1914: Henry Ford revolutionizes automobile production. 1929: The stock market collapses. May 22nd, 2010: Mike Colhoun, Owner of Landmark Vineyards meets me, Wayne Kelterer.

While each of the above events had massive implications for American culture, none were as earth shattering as Mike Colhoun having the opportunity to meet me. I am the Barbara Walters of wine interviewers. The Ernest Hemingway of wine writing. When people say, “it is a pleasure to meet you,” I usually say, “yes! you are right. It IS a pleasure to meet me.” … Continue Reading

Kokomo Winery – There’s A Place Called…

Kokomo Winery – There’s A Place Called…

A city sign that reads: “Kokomo First into the Twenty-First Century – Hometown of Erik Miller” sits high and proud on the tasting room wall of Kokomo Winery.

Erik Miller is the energetic thirty-three year old behind Kokomo Winery, based in the Dry Creek Valley AVA of Sonoma County outside of Healdsburg. The sign was a gift from the Mayor of his birth town in Indiana, the town that was the inspiration for his brand name, Kokomo. Eric wears a goatee that contrasts with his buzzed hair. His intense and dramatic eyes match his absolute zeal for sharing his wines and the land they are made from. He wears a Kokomo T-shirt and jeans and speaks quickly.

Kokomo sits on the Dry Creek Canyon “bench” that runs a long the east side of the valley. Once the site of an orchard and dried fruit processing center (Timber Crest Farms), the series of old farm buildings now house a half dozen independent wine brands. Behind the facilities, a junkyard of the rotting decrepit remains of old Sterling trucks lead up to the base of the vineyard. The farmer who owns the land has an intense passion for these forgotten relics and expends huge efforts to bring them back to their former glory. Erik too speaks of them with enough focus and exuberance that suggests he finds inspiration in their transformation and in the possibility of what can be, with some time, and a lot of hard work. … Continue Reading

Harvesting the Wind, Anaba Wines

Harvesting the Wind, Anaba Wines

Green isn’t always a bad thing as it relates to wine. While a “green” or young wine, maybe unappealing to the palate, a “GREEN” or Eco-friendly wine may even taste better according to some enthusiasts. But what does it mean to be “GREEN” in the wine industry today? The sustainability movement in vineyard management is it’s self a green or young development. Regulators are still wrestling with “organic” and “sustainable” classifications. What makes a vineyard “organic” or “sustainable”? The movement is still in barrel, waiting to be bottled, and consumed by the masses so to speak. Yet, winery after winery marches forward into the green frontier. But, are they not really marching backwards, rediscovering the roots of their trade?

Wine is one of man’s oldest carnal pleasures and passions. From Bible times until present, a good glass of wine has brought joy to the soul and even health benefits. In comparison to the centuries of wine cultivation by organic means, modern farming techniques such as tractors, the use of chemicals to control pests, and even bioengineering, have played a small role. The Israelites of ye’ olde were not exactly rolling around in a King David 4000 (patent pending) spraying for mealy bugs. They were by default “organic” and therefore “green” operations. So it should be no surprise that wine can be made and in fact very good wine, with a much smaller impact on the environment around it. … Continue Reading

{Archives}

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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