Lo-Fi Wines Cinsault 2014 Santa Barbara County, California

I was really taken by this. And especially by the label. It’s from Mike Roth, who was winemaker with Martian Ranch until 2014, and then launched his own label, Lo-Fi. I really like Mike’s mission statement, particularly about making wines that aren’t too expensive, so normal people can drink them. Some of the wines from [...]

Broc Cellars Vine Starr Zinfandel 2013 Sonoma County, California

This is a remarkable wine. It’s made from Zinfandel, which I admit to be a grape variety that I normally avoid. But this is a Zinfandel like no other. Weighing in at just 12.5% alcohol, it has the most amazing perfume and freshness. It’s truly beautiful, and I drank this happily over a couple of [...]

Video: harvesting and pressing Chardonnay in the Napa Valley, California

Here’s a video from last week’s trip to Napa. We got to take part in vintage, and this short clip shows harvesting and pressing Chardonnay grapes at Truchard Vineyards, Carneros. It’s really interesting to see the process first hand: just look at the colour of the juice that comes out of the press!

In Napa, the final day

Unbelievably, I am now at San Francisco International on my way home, and the Napa trip is over. It went in the blink of an eye, at warp speed. I think the limited sleep time and three strong shifts at Ana’s Cantina (the two were correlated) probably helped move things on so fast.


We were split [...]

Some wine highlights so far from Napa

Over the last few days we’ve tasted quite a few wines. It seems a bit unfair to pick favourites, but here are is a personal selection of some highlights.

Antica Townsend Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Atlas Peak, Napa
This is from the Foss Valley, which is a valley in the Atlas Peak AVA above Napa Valley, at [...]

In Napa

So, I’m in the Napa Valley. This is actually day 3 (we arrived on Monday afternoon): I would have posted something earlier, but it has been full on with barely a moment to spare. So just some pictures and captions will have to suffice for now. Our first appointment took us into the hills out [...]

The incredible Stolpman Vineyards Combe Trousseau 2014

This wine blew me away today at Sager & Wilde. It’s a varietal Trousseau (aka Bastardo) from the Stolpman Vineyards in Santa Barbara County. The soils here have a feature that’s quite rare in California: limestone. The Stolpman property is 220 acres and 153 are under vine. In 2013 they grafted across just one acre [...]

Randall's grand plan: 10 000 new grape varieties

Randall Grahm is at it again. The Willy Wonka of the wine world has a new plan. No, it’s not global domination. Rather, it’s the creation of 10 000 new vine varieties as his legacy to the wine world. To this end, he has today launched an indiegogo crowd-funding initiative to raise some cash.

The idea [...]

Gamay focus 1, RPM, a serious Gamay from California

Gamay is happening. Officially. Here’s a really interesting one from California. RPM is a collaboration between Nathan Roberts and Duncan Arnot Meyers of Arnot-Roberts, and Raj Parr of Sandhi Wines/Domaine de la Cote. The concept is to make Gamay from granitic soils in the sierra foothils. Two vineyards are involved, both in El Dorado County. There’s [...]

The stunning 2013 releases from Kutch

These were very smart indeed. Jamie Kutch has a good story, and I reckon his 2013s are his best wines yet. My feeling is that they’re a bit more elegant and pure than previous releases (even though previous releases were pretty smart wines). I don’t know whether this is because of a stylistic evolution, or [...]