Three from Melville, Santa Barbara County, California

Tried these three from Melville, in Sta Rita Hills (It’s no longer allowed to be Santa Rita Hills on the label, because of a complaint by a well known Chilean brand). Ron Melville was one of the first winegrowers in the region and farms 120 acres here.

Melville Estate Chardonnay 2014 Sta Rita Hills, California
14% alcohol. [...]

Gamay 34, Edmunds St John Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir 2015

This Californian Gamay comes from Barsotti Ranch, a high-altitude (1000 m) vineyard in El Dorado County, with decomposed granite soils. Vines were planted in 2005, but there are also some newer plantings here too. It’s made by one of California’s authentic wine heroes, Steve Edmunds, and it’s really delicious. The wine is fermented in open [...]

IPNC: the non-Oregon Pinot Noirs

One of the great things about the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) is the chance to taste a wide range of Pinot Noirs from around the world. I’ve already written up my notes on the Oregon wines; here are my notes on some of the other Pinots on show. I apologise for the fact that [...]

New releases from Kutch: truly elegant Californian Pinot Noir

The new releases from Jamie Kutch are out. You can read more about him here: he’s making particularly elegant expressions of Pinot Noir from northern California, and also a lovely Chardonnay.

Kutch Chardonnay 2016 Sonoma Coast, California
12.5% alcohol. Beautiful stuff, combining sweet ripe pear and apple fruit with some lively grapefruit freshness, and also a subtly [...]

Gamay Focus 29: B Kosuge Wines Gamay Noir 2015 Carneros, Napa, California

I’m in the Napa Valley for a few days, and on my first morning here I found myself at Oxbow Public market for some Ritual coffee. I couldn’t help browsing the wine selection and coming away with an interesting-looking bottle.

It’s made by Byron Kosuge, who worked for 15 years at Carneros winery Saintsbury, leaving in [...]

Video: Alternative America - three producers from the USA doing something a bit differently

 

At the Real Wine Fair I caught up with three producers from the USA who are doing something a bit different, and making excellent wines in the process.

Scott Frank is an Oregon producer with a winery in downtown Portland called Bow & Arrow. He’s fallen for the Loire, and makes a compelling Melon (the grape [...]

A couple of lovely Chardonnays: Kutch and Bachelet-Monnot

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 [...]

Wines of the year (7) top wines from California and Oregon

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, [...]

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 [...]