Monday, December 5, 2016

12/05 ERIC JOHANNSEN, CHAMP DE REVES, ALEX GUARACHI, GUARACHI FAMILY WINES

ERIC JOHANNSEN – WINEMAKER, CHAMP DE REVES

Since its founding in 2010, Champ de Rêves has become one of the premier producers of high altitude Pinot Noir in the Anderson Valley — a remote, mountainous, cold-climate AVA in Mendocino County. The centerpiece of Champ de Rêves is the 85-acre estate Boone Ridge Vineyard. Located just 18 miles from the jagged, weather-beaten Pacific coastline, this beautiful property climbs from 1,400 to 2,000 feet and features a myriad of aspects, soils, exposures and mesoclimates.

To take full advantage of the site’s complex topography, the Boone Ridge Vineyard is divided into a patchwork of small blocks planted to seven different clones of Pinot Noir. Decomposed sandstone provides superb drainage and mineral uptake while naturally restricting vine vigor and yields. Winemaker Eric Johannsen knows his way around Pinot Noir, having previously worked at La Crema, Cuvaison and Williams Selyem prior to Champ de Rêves. His goal is to showcase the incredible personality of this high-elevation, maritime-influenced site. To that end, the yields are kept low, the grapes are harvested ripe (not overripe), the lots are kept separate until final blending and the influence of new oak is judicious. Champ de Rêves’ Pinot Noir is a deep, aromatically-charged wine that showcases the high altitude and cold climate of its site.

ANDERSON VALLEY
Terroir and Culture
As a winegrowing region, there is no other Pinot Noir AVA in America that has more potential. The features of the valley are a Mecca for the cultivation of Pinot: here one finds daily, cooling maritime influence, dramatic geological contours with high mountains on either side of the valley, rocky soils and a mix of classic California flora and trees. The ensuing range of Pinot Noir flavor profiles and firm structural elements leave no doubt that the Anderson Valley is qualitatively superb.
Culturally, Anderson Valley is entirely unique. Isolated, eccentric, rugged and populated by artists, winegrowers, orchardists and long-time residents, it has its own flavor and a colorful, much-beloved history.

CHAMP DE RÊVES
Inspired focus on a single wine. We make only one wine—Pinot Noir. Characterized by aromas and flavors of blue/black fruit, floral and spice elements, earth and a distinct minerality, Champ de Rêves’ calling card is its mouthfeel, which exhibits both a silky textural trait and a firm, gravelly structure that's a testament to its high altitude origins.

BOONE RIDGE VINEYARD
Situated at a lofty elevation (1,300-2,000 feet) above Boonville, the Champ de Rêves vineyard site features a patchwork of small blocks planted to seven different Pinot Noir clones. Decomposed sandstone provides superb drainage and mineral uptake while naturally restricting vine vigor and yields. A dream of a Pinot Noir vineyard, its continued evolution will confer greater complexity to the wines with each new vintage.

OUR WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY
Practice minimal intervention.
Strive for balanced wines.
Avoid over-ripeness.
Encourage desirable indigenous flora.
Use gentle handling to preserve the delicate nuances of the fruit.
Be judicious in the use of new oak.
Showcase the best of the site/region.
Enjoy the wine with good food and good company.

WWW.CHAMPDEREVESVINEYARDS.COM


ALEX GUARACHI- OWNER AND WINEMAKER, GUARACHI FAMILY WINES

Alex Guarachi is owner and winemaker of Guarachi Family Wines and founder of Guarachi Wine Partners (formally TGIC Global Fine Wine Company).

Alex came to the United States over 31 years ago on a soccer scholarship from his native country, Chile. However when an injury shattered his athletic dreams, he went back to his roots to find a new aspirations. While living in the backyard of Napa Valley and Sonoma County – where South American wines had previously been unknown – Alex saw opportunity. He endeavored, against all odds, to carve out a share of the American wine market for the extraordinary wines from his home country. As a result, he began the uphill journey of entrepreneurship and started importing Chilean wines into Napa and Sonoma. Behind every successful business is struggle and this was no exception. Alex worked from a garage and performed every single task himself. He was the order taker, the warehouse manager, the salesman and even the truck driver in an attempt to gain recognition and put his foot in the door. Despite the challenges that he faced, Alex forged his company into a leading importer, marketer, and producer of fine wines.

Guarachi Wine Partners became one of the first importers of Chilean and Argentine wines and has grown exponentially to represent wines from around the world. It is now the second largest importer of South American wines and in 2010 was honored as Importer of the Year.

In 2007, after 25 years of serving as the founder and president of GWP, Alex Guarachi poured his passion for building wine brands into his own high end & boutique label, Guarachi Family Wines, with well-crafted and limited bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley and Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast. It has since expanded with the acquisition of prestigious estate vineyards, such as Meadowrock in the Atlas Peak appellation of Napa Valley and Sun Case overlooking Gap’s Crown in the Sonoma Coast Petaluma Wind Gap.

Alex serves as a testament to the American dream. The living embodiment of what one person can accomplish with an idea and the will to create something for himself and a legacy for his family.

GUARACHI FAMILY WINES FOCUSES ON TWO KEY VARIETALS:
Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley
Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast in California.

As we are obsessed with quality, all of the grapes we select for our wines are from some of the most expensive vineyards in America.
Meadowrock
Sun Chase
Las Piedras
Brokenrock,
To Kalon,
Gap’s Crown

WWW.GUARACHIFAMILYWINES.COM


Monday, November 28, 2016

11/28 ELLIOTT DOLIN, DOLIN MALIBU ESTATE VINEYARDS, ROBIN KELLEY O'CONNOR, HOLIDAY WINE TRENDS

ELLIOTT DOLIN – PROPRIETOR, DOLIN MALIBU ESTATE VINEYARDS  

Inspired by a Chardonnay vineyard that Elliott and Lynn Dolin planted behind their Malibu home in 2006, Dolin Estate quickly emerged as one of the leading producers of estate Chardonnay in the Malibu Coast. Today its Malibu production has grown to include a second Chardonnay from Malibu Newton Canyon and two proprietary Malibu Coast red blends.

With the 2012 vintage, Dolin Estate broadened its scope beyond the boundaries of Malibu with a line of Central Coast Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. The lineup includes a range of regional blends and single-vineyard designated bottles from revered sites such as Bien Nacido Vineyard, Solomon Hills Vineyard and John Sebastiano Vineyard.

The Dolin Malibu Coast Estate
The Dolin property sits at 400-ft. elevation just off Point Dume State Beach, where it benefits from a coastal microclimate with cool foggy mornings and large diurnal shifts. The site is laid out at a 45-degree eastward facing angle on the property’s sharply grated, south-oriented slope. The blend of Zuma volcanic soils and sandy loam has proven to be a perfect fit for Chardonnay.

Malibu Coast AVA
In 2011, wanting to offer a greater “sense of place” to the region, Elliott helped spearhead the establishment of the Malibu Coast American Viticultural Area (AVA) alongside other Malibu vintners. The Malibu Coast AVA is 46 miles long and eight miles wide, with the majority situated within the Santa Monica National Recreational Area.

Winemaking:
Respected Central Coast winemaker Kirby Anderson brings decades of experience and takes a mindful approach to winemaking at every stage of production, from harvest to bottling, to make balanced wines with rich fruit, bright acidity and voluptuous texture. He makes monthly visits to Malibu during the growing season to meet with Elliott and monitor the development of the fruit. Elliott in turn frequently travels to the winery and vineyards in the Central Coast to offer direction and feedback on the winemaking.

Current Releases:
Current releases include the Dolin Malibu Estate Chardonnay ($39), the Dolin Newton Canyon Chardonnay ($39) and the Dolin Bien Nacido Chardonnay ($39). The Pinot Noir releases include a Sta. Rita Hills designate Pinot Noir ($32), and single-vineyard Pinot Noirs from such vineyards as Bien Nacido ($45), Talley ‘Rincon’ ($45) and Solomon Hills ($45). Wines may be purchased directly at www.dolinestate.com.

ABOUT ELLIOTT DOLIN, PROPRIETOR
There’s an ethereal halo of positivity surrounding Elliott Dolin that immediately sets one at ease. It’s clear that this energy has fueled much of his journey through life. He works hard and stays true to himself and, in return, fate has guided him through the successful pursuit of his passions.”

Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Northern New Jersey, Elliott spent much of his childhood in and around metropolitan Manhattan. Most Saturdays and school vacations found him working at his father’s electronics store in Lower Manhattan. By the age of 13, Elliott had developed a passion for the music of The Beach Boys, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and like many of his peers, he dreamed of playing in a band. He “picked up” the electric bass guitar to round out the lineup in a fledgling local band developing his talent to the point where he was getting hired for paid working gigs.

He actively sought out varied and diverse opportunities to hone his skills and develop connections. By In the early 1970’s, he played bass for the original Manhattan Transfer prior to their signing with Columbia Records. After a stint with a Jersey Shore band by the name of “Lazarus,” Elliott was also approached to join the band of then-unknown local musician Bruce Springsteen. Instead, he opted for an opportunity to volunteer to go to Israel for six months. He considers this a fortunate choice because, as he says, “I have no regrets. My choices led me here, and there is no other place that I would rather be.”

When Elliott returned to the U.S. in 1974, he sought a change of pace from the urban lifestyle of Manhattan. He packed up his red Peugeot and drove to Nashville, which had become “the” scene and a place to actually make a living playing music. There, Elliott spent several years on tour as the band leader and bassist for Grammy-award winning country music artist Donna Fargo, and he later played with legends like Ray Price and Brenda Lee. His most memorable experience was working as a staff musician for Country Music Hall of Fame producer Jack Clement, playing on recording sessions alongside Nashville’s top session players and often getting to jam with legends such as Johnny Cash, John Prine and Don Everly.

Elliott’s success as a working musician enabled him to save enough money to invest in two duplexes. His first was bought with the intention of renting out half the property, knowing it would cover much of his mortgage and help to offset the unpredictability of life as a musician. By the time he purchased the second he had caught the real estate bug, a passion that would soon develop into a career. In 1983, he decided to make the move to California, Elliott looked to the future. He attained his real estate license and studied real estate investment analysis at UCLA, transitioning into a career in commercial real estate investment.

Shortly after meeting his wife, Lynn, in the early 1990’s, a passion for wine developed alongside his other lifelong passion for cars. He fell in with the legendary ‘Sauvage’ tasting group in Los Angeles where he tasted many of the great wines of the world. This inspired him to start his collection and to begin studying about wine. At the same time Elliott and Lynn pursued a passion for restoring vintage cars, and displayed their automobiles at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on multiple occasions. Elliott has also participated in numerous road touring events, including Italy’s world renowned Mille Miglia. As Elliott describes it, “Driving through medieval villages in a caravan of rare and exotic vintage sports cars, with crowds lining the streets and cheering you on, is an experience of a lifetime!”

Much like the winding roads of the Mille Miglia, Elliott’s life has been unpredictable, characterized by twists and turns, but always guided by purpose and the desire to execute at the highest level. It should be no surprise then that in 2006, while Elliott and Lynn were restoring their recently purchased Malibu home, he recognized the opportunity to indulge his passion for wine and grow Chardonnay vines. “The idea to grow grapes came to me, like a light bulb went off in my head,” he says. “It just made sense.” To that end, he sought out the services of local vineyard consultant Bob Tobias, and three years later the maiden vintage of Dolin Estate Chardonnay was born. “The idea has always been for us to make the best possible wine from the best possible fruit,” Elliott emphasizes.

WWW.DOLINESTATE.COM


ROBIN KELLEY O'CONNOR - WINE SPECIALIST, BLOGGER AND SOMMELIER – HOLIDAY WINE TRENDS

A leading wine educator, international wine judge, wine writer, and sommelier, Robin Kelley O’Connor is a leading wine expert. His thirty years of experience, authority and passion enable  captivating  seminars, dinner events and wine education and allows him to offer an unparalleled suite of services to corporations and individuals from around the world.

Robin serves as a guest wine instructor and examiner for the Intensive Sommelier Training program at the International Culinary Center. ICC is one of the leading culinary educational institutions in the U.S., with campuses in New York and Napa Valley. It is a world class institution dedicated to the culinary arts and vinous education.

Mr. O’Connor was previously Lead Specialist & Head of Wine,
Americas for Christie’s Auction House. He is a Christie’s trained charity auctioneer. Prior to Christie’s, he was Director of Sales and Education for Manhattan wine and spirits retailer Sherry-Lehmann, winner of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s 2010 Wine Retailer of the Year Award. Preceding Sherry-Lehmann, he was Trade Liaison and director of trade and consumer education in the Americas for the Bordeaux Wine Bureau (Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux) for 20 years. He remains intimately involved with the Bordeaux wine community and was the first American to be certified as an International Bordeaux Wine Educator.

Robin also has worked with Italian Wine Merchants (IWM), where he was the Director of Education, resident Bordeaux expert, weekly contributor to the IWM blog and "Expert Picks," as well as a member of the editorial team for the daily IWM e-Newsletter.

Robin holds Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and Certified Wine Educator (CWE) certifications from the Society of Wine Educatorsand passed the Court of Master Sommeliers Certified Sommelier exam. O'Connor served as president of the Society of Wine Educators from 2003-2007, is on the board of directors of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Wine & Food and has been a regular panelist at the Food and Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen for over 25 years. He speaks annually at  Pebble Beach Food and Wine, the premiere epicurean lifestyle event on the West Coast.

As a popular wine educator and spokesperson, he has conducted over 2,500 seminars; written for the Trenton Times, Santé Magazine, Wine & Spirit; and served as senior editor for Kevin Zraly’s Complete Wine Course 25th Anniversary Edition. For over a year during 2008-2009 he traveled around the world with Kevin visiting over 20 Countries, 80 wine regions, 500 appellations and tasted more than 7,000 wines.

Among his many professional honors, Mr. O’Connor bears the distinction of induction into the wine world’s most prestigious institutions, including the Commanderie du Bontemps de Médoc- des Graves et de Sauternes-Barsac, the Jurade de Saint-Emilion and Les Hospitaliers de Pomerol.

WWW.RKOVINE.COM  

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

11/21 DAVID HUNT, HUNT CELLARS, FRED DEXHEIMER, CARMENERE´S DAY DAVID HUNT – OWNER & WINEMAKER, HUNT CELLARS

DAVID HUNT – OWNER & WINEMAKER, HUNT CELLARS

Our Story
It started over 20 years ago as a fantasy: living on a lush beautiful vineyard, producing your own style of favorite premium varietal wines that are well received and appreciated by those who have discovered the wines and shared them amongst friends.

Now, drive along the scenic Highway 46 West, about three miles west of the 101 Fwy at Oakdale Road, you will find this dream has become reality for David Hunt, Winemaker and owner of Hunt Cellars, a winery committed to producing “Memorable Wines”. We believe that great wines leave indelible impressions when poured with wonderful meals and great friends and scintillating conversations. Hunt Cellars was founded on the philosophy of producing wines that you will look forward to simply sipping by a cozy fireplace or pairing with your favorite meals to enhance that special event or moment in time.

How It Began
When The Hunt Family decided to pursue their dream they were uncertain where they would choose to build their vineyard. The Hunts spent exhaustive days and weekends traveling to various premium wine regions from Oregon, Washington, and throughout the State of California. They finally narrowed their decision down to the Central coast to San Luis Obispo County. Paso Robles was selected because of its rich diversity in soils, superb growing climate and unique styles of wine making along with the spirit of graciousness and traditional American values.

Eventually after looking at numerous parcels of vineyard potential property, they settled on uniquely beautiful property containing over 550 acres on Highway 41 in Creston. This unique property met their criteria in topography, soil composition and unparralled beauty. Within the 550 acres there are four terrior’s with varying elevations containing soil composites that mirror the great wine regions of the world. They were convinced that they could grow wonderful exciting intense fruit here on this property.

Destiny Hunt
The Hunt Family decided to name their vineyard, “Destiny Vineyards,” in honor of their new baby girl they named Destiny who was born in 1996. Just ask Destiny who has the best wines today and she will certainly tell you.

Destiny Vineyard’s first planting consisted of: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Syrah, Cab Franc, Viognier and Zinfandel. The Hunts decided to build a tasting room for their premium wines, which opened in October of 1999.

In 1997 they began producing their first releases of memorable wines… Experience has taught Hunts that in order to make great wines you must simply have the best fruit. At Hunt Cellars, we believe passion, hard work and never giving up until we have put together all the components and structure that will give our wine the varietal character, flavor and velvet finish that will become a trademark of our wines.

View of Destiny Vineyards
As you enter The Hunt Cellars Tasting room, the fun wine experience begins, as you are greeted with either live music or our white grand player piano, which can play any song. Stroll up to our Cabernet Bar, where our warm and friendly staff are eager to lead you through a light hearted and fun sampling of our wines. You may also choose to sip your wines on our spacious 1200 foot veranda, smoke your favorite cigar under our pavilion or simply stroll through our lush inviting landscaped lawns. We want you and your guest to simply have a wonderful time at Hunt Cellars and bring your friends and family back on your next visit to the Paso Robles Wine Country.

How Hunt Cellars Wines Differ from Others
There are many different wineries in the Paso Robles area; few compare to the quality of Hunt Cellars. Hunt uses only the best and rarest mountain grown fruit to produce the best harvest of grapes. Their vineyard’s location has been specifically chosen for its composition and diversity – every step of the production process is designed so Hunt Cellars produces the highest caliber of wine for you to enjoy.

HUNTCELLARS.COM


MASTER SOMMELIER, FRED DEXHEIMER - CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING AND CARMENERE´S DAY ON NOVEMBER 24TH

CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING AND CARMENERE´S DAY ON NOVEMBER 24TH

The story of Carmenère: November’s wine

The warming spice and berry notes of Carmenère couldn’t be more appropriate for a November wine. Not only does it match the autumnal month in style, but Carmenère Day also falls on November 24th. Carmenère Day commemorates the day that Carmenère was first discovered in Chile, and rediscovered in the world, in 1994.

Originally a Bordeaux variety, Carmenere came to Chile’s shores in the mid 1800s with other more popular Bordeaux varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Although when it arrived it was mistakenly labelled as Merlot, and so Chilean winemakers began planting the so-called ‘Merlot’ in their vineyards.

Meanwhile in Europe the phylloxera epidemic was hitting hard, and by the 1870s every plantation of Carmenere was completely wiped out. The variety was presumed extinct.

Little did anyone know, that Carmenere was living a secret life in Chile - and it was thriving. Plantations of this ‘Merlot’ spread all over the country and Chilean winemakers soon began to identify special characteristics of these vines compared to the other, newer Merlot cuttings that were being planted. It earned the nickname ‘Merlot Chileno’.

In 1994, a French ampelographer Jean Michel Boursiquot was visiting the vineyards at Viña Carmen in Maipo and he spotted a curiosity in among the Merlot vines. Much to his surprise, it was a vine he knew to be Carmenere.

And so the mistaken identity of Carmenere was revealed, and all of a sudden Chile had the world’s largest plantings of a variety that was considered extinct. Chilean winemakers have been making Carmenere for centuries, but it is only in the last 20 years that they have been able to perfect their winemaking now that the variety was correctly identified.

The reputation of Chile’s Carmenere has given the variety a new lease of life around the world and seen new plantings of Carmenere in the US, Argentina, Brazil, New Zealand, France and in Italy (where it was actually mistaken for Cabernet Franc!)

While we celebrate the international success of Carmenere on Carmenere Day too, it is in Chile where you can find the greatest diversity of Carmenere. From the spicy Carmenere found in the coastal regions, through to plush and rich Carmenere in the Central Valley, down to the bright fruits of Maule’s Carmenere.

The versatility of Carmenere with its medium tannins and good acidity makes it very food friendly. It pairs well with a range of dishes from more complex preparations like richly spiced curries and aromatic barbecued lamb, through to lighter dishes including stuffed peppers and roast turkey (perfect for Thanksgiving!)

Whatever your menu, November is the perfect excuse to drink Carmenere!

FREDDEXMS.COM