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!

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 [...]

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 [...]

Lunch at Mission E2 with some nice Californian wines

On Thursday I had lunch at one of London’s most exciting new wine destinations: Mission E2, the second venue from Sager & Wilde. It’s a beautiful space in a nicely converted railway arch near Bethnal Green tube station. Lots of dark wood, good natural light and a palm tree! The food was really good. I [...]

Wind Gap Syrah and Grenache - class from California

I’ve written recently about Pax Mahle’s Wind Gap, giving his Trousseau Gris a positive review. Now it’s the turn of two Rhone varieties, Syrah and Grenache. They’re both beautiful, but my preference is for the remarkable Syrah.

Wind Gap Old Vine Grenache 2012 Sonoma County, California
13.75% alcohol. 420 cases made in two concrete eggs. Sweetly [...]

Broc Cellars Valdiguié 2012

This is a lovely wine. It’s made from the Valdiguié grape variety, a rather unremarkable variety from southern France that once was popular in California because of its disease resistance, where it was known as California Gamay. However, it was judged to make rather ordinary wine, and now only 300 acres or so are left. [...]

Wind Gap Trousseau Gris

This is a really interesting wine from Wind Gap, an exciting Californian winery making elegant, balanced wines.

It’s from Trousseau Gris, a rare colour mutation of the red Trousseau, which is the same as Portugal’s Bastardo. The red version makes pale-coloured, fragrant, sappy reds (in Portugal it is one of the Port varieties, and is rarely [...]