Had a couple of lovely Chardonnays side by side: one from Burgundy, the other from the cool Sonoma Coast.
Bachelet-Monnot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts 2011 Burgundy, France
Lemony and taut, this has a lovely bright mineral quality to the crystalline citrus fruit. It’s beautifully expressive with crisp lemon fruit with well integrated acidity. Very pure and [...]
Arnot Roberts Peter Martin Ray Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 Santa Cruz Mountains, California
This vineyard was planted in the 1940s by Rusty Ray, and the vines that make this wine were planted in 1979. It’s a three-acre block and they get three tons from it, and it’s described as organic by neglect (it’s disced, dry farmed, [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]