Category Archives: Paso Robles

Two Talented Expat Winemakers in California: Ernst Storm and Guillaume Fabre

Ernst and Guillaume have at least a few things in common. They’re the same age–34. Both are drawn as much to farming and viticulture as they are to making wine. Both have “day jobs” at large wineries and make only small quantities of wine under their own labels as a side project. Both impress one as very grounded, and quite serious about their work. Nonetheless, the two are also undeniably charismatic. Ernst has even been the subject of a couple of mini-documentaries to date. Both also have a penchant for wearing shorts. Continue reading

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Grand Daddy of California Wine Events: Family Winemakers San Francisco

The major stars of the tasting for me, with strong lineups overall and one or more wines rating 93 points or higher, were Bien Nacido, Benovia, Chateau Montelena, Grgich Hills, Herb Lamb, Kaena, Keenan, Ladera, Lagier Meredith, Lamborn Family, L’Aventure, Ottimino, Paloma, Saxon Brown, Seavey, Thomas Fogarty and Vino Noceto. Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Chardonnay, Napa, Paso Robles, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Rosé, Russian River, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Sonoma Coast, Syrah, Zinfandel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Smells Like Rhone Spirit: Tablas Creek’s Esprit

To commemorate the release of the 10th vintage of the Esprits, the 2010, Tablas Creek general manager Jason Haas convened vertical tastings of both the red and white Esprit for invited journalists and wine buyers in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles. I attended the tasting in San Francisco, and was delighted to have a chance to compare the vintages and to look back at these wines which have been so inspirational to California-based fans and producers of Rhone wines. Continue reading

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California Wines Showing More Balance: SF Family Winemakers Tasting

What was noteworthy for me among the wines I tasted was a decline in the overripe versions of these wines that had come to dominate production over the last two decades. Due, I’m sure, to the relative coolness of the last few vintages in California, as well as to a conscious aim for higher acid, more balanced wines by an increasing number of winemakers here, I tasted many more balanced, lower alcohol Cabernets this year. Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Chardonnay, Napa, Paso Robles, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Russian River, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz Mountains, Sonoma, Sonoma Coast, Syrah, Zinfandel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Best of Hospice du Rhône 2012

Report on 172 wines tasted at the two Hospice du Rhône grand tastings this year, including new finds (for me): Kale Wines, Keplinger, Paul Lato and Torrin. Also some great Chateauneuf-du-Papes and Northern Rhônes. Continue reading

Posted in California Wine, Chateauneuf du Pape, Languedoc, Northern Rhone, Paso Robles, Rhône, South African Wine, Syrah | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Checking in on Paso Robles: Old Favorites and New Producers

The reference points I did check in with were L’Aventure, Justin, Adelaida Cellars and Clayhouse. The ones that were new to me (and, in a few cases, are brand new generally) were Hearst Ranch Winery, kukkula, Opolo, RiverStar, Roxo Port Cellars, Steinbeck Vineyards and Terry Hoage Vineyards. The best of the latter were kukkula, Hearst Ranch, Steinbeck and Terry Hoage. Continue reading

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