Holus Bolus Blanc Roussanne 2014 Santa Maria Valley, California

This is a lovely Roussanne from California’s Santa Maria Valley.

It’s made by Peter Hunken and Amy Christine, the duo behind Black Sheep Finds, based in Lompoc’s famous wine ghetto. Peter was previously with Stolpman Vineyards, working with winemaker Sashi Moorman. Along with Sashi, he started Piedrasassi and Holus Bolus, in 2003. In 2008 Sashi and [...]

Stolpman Vineyards: Syrah and Roussanne from limestone soils in California

Pete Stolpman

Website: Stolpman Vineyards

Back in the 1970s, Tom Stolpman, who was then in his late teens, was running a valet car parking service in the Hollywood Hills to help him through his studies at UCLA. This is when he caught the wine bug. He got married, and took his wife Marilyn to Napa for [...]

Kutch-Dury: the inaugural Chardonnay from Jamie Kutch is a stunner

I’m quite a fan of the wines of Jamie Kutch. This is the first release of his Chardonnay and he has completely nailed it. It will be hard to find, but it’s worth seeking out.

Kutch Chardonnay 2014 Santa Cruz Mountains, California
12.75% alcohol. This is the debut Chardonnay from Jamie Kutch and it is fabulous. Complex, [...]

Some treats at 67 Pall Mall: Pignan, Montebello, Villard, Vazart Coquart

Had a lovely evening last night with a small group at 67 Pall Mall, the wine-friendly club that opened last year. It was my first time at 67 Pall Mall, and they seem to get most things right: the space is beautiful, the wine list excellent, the food spot on and the Zalto glassware just [...]

California, day 5, in Napa

The final full day of our California trip was a little less frantic than the rest of the itinerary, with just one lunch visit and one dinner visit. This left some time for important things like catching up on emails, sleep, and beer at Ana’s Cantina in St Helena (somewhere I’d spent quite a bit [...]

In California, day 4 - Napa Valley with Peter Michael, Corison, Trinchero, Silverado and Chimney Rock

Les Pavots, Kinghts Valley

Day four of the California trip. By now, the group was certainly performing, and this was to be one of our strongest days in terms of banter and general foolery. Of course, we were utterly professional. But bus banter is so important for a trip like this, and everyone played their [...]

In California day 3, Sonoma with Iron Horse, Wind Gap and Arnot Roberts

Day 3, Sonoma County. This is one of the most important and diverse of California’s wine regions. We headed over to David Ramey’s cellar in Healdsburg for a regional overview tasting. In addition to David Ramey himself, the other winemakers present were Nate Weis (Silver Oak), Mike Sullivan (Benovia) and Andy Robinson (Seghesio). They took [...]

In California, day 2 - Paso Robles, and an amazing visit at Tablas Creek

Day 2. On the bus nice and early, and a drive up the coast to Paso Robles, a large wine region that’s half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and one that is struggling to find its identity, a bit like an angst-ridden teenager.

We began with an overview, and a tasting of eight wines [...]

California, day 1, in Santa Barbara County

Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills

I’m in California again. This time for a press trip, with some fellow UK journos: Oz Clarke, Anne Krebhiel, Jane Parkinson and Erin Smith. We arrived on Tuesday evening, and so yesterday, Wednesday, was our first full day. We spent it in Santa Barbara County, which is the [...]

Wine Country Causal, it's a thing

I’m off to California today. To Napa, for the Wine Writers’ Symposium, which is held at the rather grand Meadowood resort. There’s a dress code which I haven’t come across before: wine country casual (WCC). On the website, the organizers spell out what this entails:

Casual attire is appropriate during the Symposium, however, we would request [...]