Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Chardonnay Collective highlights Livermore Valley Chardonnay

The Chardonnay Collective
Chardonnay has a long extensive history in Livermore Valley. In 1912 Ernest Wente persuaded his father C.H. Wente to import Chardonnay cuttings from France to plant in Livermore Valley. Over the next 30-40 years Wente established the Wente Clone of Chardonnay and now nearly 80% of California’s Chardonnay vines trace their genetic roots to the Livermore Valley Wente clone and Chardonnay is the top selling white wine varietal in the USA.
So what is Chardonnay like now here in the home of Chardonnay in the USA? On July 25, as part of the Taste Our Terroir events, the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association hosted The Chardonnay Collective at the Darcie Kent Winery in Livermore. Four winemakers from small wineries in the area formed a panel group to discuss the Terroir for Chardonnay in Livermore. The winemakers included:
Each of these winemakers sources their Chardonnay grapes from different vineyards in Livermore Valley, reflecting the unique Terroir of that vineyard but also showing a constant factor of Livermore Valley quality Chardonnay. Dane Stark sources his grapes from Chandler Vineyard on the west end of Livermore in the area around Kalthoff Common. This particular vineyard warms slowly during the growing season, slowly producing the sugars leading to harvest. Dane states, “The Chardonnay from this vineyard possesses a unique focus of character within the appellation. While being in a warmer climate, the west end is separated by the Bay influence by a double, low lying ridge line and warms the most slowly during the growing season. This vineyard shows great potential for producing well structured, complex Chardonnays.”

Fraser-Howard Vineyard is a small 1.2 acre vineyard with Wente Clone 4 vines that is consistently the first Chardonnay vineyard to get ripe. It is located in the heart of Livermore Valley along Tesla Road. Collin Cranor of Nottingham Cellars utilizes the grapes from Fraser-Howard Vineyard to their Livermore Valley Chardonnay. As stated by Collin, “The goal is to find the right vineyard and then honing in on their specific attributes.” This Chardonnay is noted for its round firm body with undertones of baked apple and tropical fruit, plus a nice acidity and long finish.

Steve Burman, one of the three Steves who formed 3 Steves Winery is a fan and user of grapes from Del Arroyo Vineyard, a large 150 acre vineyard that happens to be near the 3 Steves Winery on Greenville Road. Five acres of this vineyard are planted with the Wente Clone Chardonnay. He let the audience sample two versions of this wine, one of which was filtered and fined and one that was not. It was interesting to note that the audience was split fairly equally between which they liked. Some appreciated the raw flavors and aromas of the unfiltered wine while others enjoyed the wine that reflected more manipulation by the winemaker.

DeMayo Vineyard on the hills above Greenville Road is a 14 acre vineyard of Chardonnay with two blocks used by Darcie Kent Vineyards, the De Mayo block and the Hoffman block. It has warm days and a nightly cooling breeze with seasonal cooling fog. This wine has nice tropical aromas and flavors and a full mouthfeel leading to a long mineral finish. Winemaker Julian Halasz gave the audience a chance to taste Chardonnay that had different exposures to oak including one with Stainless Steel and some neutral oak, one with American oak and one with French oak
.
The audience at the Chardonnay Collective was impressed with the Chardonnay from Livermore and has seen a dramatic improvement over the years from the many wineries in the appellation.

Franciscan Estate wines for the summer

Long days, warm temperatures, fresco dinners, picnics, friends and the outdoors are all symbolic of summers in California. Be prepared with some nice fresh crisp summer white wines chilled waiting for friends coming over, or just for some me-time at the end of a long day. Franciscan Estate Winery in the heart of Napa Valley has two nice white wines for such occasions, the 2014 Equilibrium Blend and the 2014 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

Franciscan Estate has one of the longest histories of Napa Valley wineries. It was founded in over 35 years ago when Justin Meyer and Raymond Duncan planted the vineyard in what is now the Oakville region of Napa Valley. Over the years this historic winery has not only introduced many premium award winning wines to its portfolio but has also worked hard to be a good neighbor in the valley. The new visitors center was opened in 2001 to reflect the status of this winery in one of the premium winegrowing regions of the world. In 2009 Franciscan was awarded the Napa Green Certification reflecting on its care for the soil. 

Franciscan Estate Napa Valley 2014 Equilibrium White Blend starts with a base of Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc for a crisp and citrusy core. Then Napa Valley Chardonnay is added for body and a creamy mouthfeel and Napa Valley Muscat for lovely aromatics and floral notes. The result is a beautiful crisp and clean wine with aromas and flavors of jasmine, orange blossom and honeysuckle with notes of passion fruit and lychee, leading to a nice long finish. Janet Myers, winemaker, states, “Our Equilibrium white blend is a rich, fun, and unique wine that’s easy to enjoy. The name Equilibrium means ‘to come together in a state of harmonic balance.’ With this in mind our winemakers crafted a unique expression of artisanal blending. The perception of sweetness enables it to pair beautifully with a range of foods, from spicy barbeque to Thai and other Asian cuisines.” The price is $23 per bottle.

The Franciscan Estate 2014 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is carefully crafted to marry the minerality and steeliness found in Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc with the opulence and fruit intensity of New Zealand, but still bringing out the bright fruit of California wines. The result is a refreshing summer wine that delivers aromas of lime, grapefruit and lychee coupled with the flavors of fresh fruit, juicy lime, Meyer lemon and lychee, leading to a long finish with crisp minerality. Janet Myers, the winemaker, states, “In our quest to produce a rich, supple, and vibrantly acidic Sauvignon Blanc, we took this wine on a little trip: the Loire meets New Zealand by way of Napa Valley.” The price is $17 per bottle.

For more information: Franciscan Estate

Lion Ranch Vineyards opens tasting room in San Martin

Kim and Todd Engelhardt are following their dream of owning a winery. On July 18-19 they opened their new Lion Ranch Vineyards and Winery tasting room at 645 W. San Martin Avenue in San Martin. Club members, family and friends came by to celebrate this major step, wish them luck and enjoy their fine wines.

Lion Ranch started as a dream when they were living in San Francisco. A trip to France took them to the Rhone River valley where they fell in love with Viognier and other white Rhone varietals. They then realized that their dream would focus on the delicious wines made from Rhone varietals. 

Moving to a property along Santa Teresa Road in San Martin, they planted 3.5 acres in white Rhone varietals, including Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Marsanne. Their 4000 grape vines were treated with hands-on care and they learned that vineyards are definitely hard, hot,
dusty, dirty work for them and some family and friends they convinced to give them a hand. 

While tending to their new vineyard, Todd continued his career as an Emergency Room doctor at night as he read up on viticulture and winemaking information, getting his hands on blogs, textbooks and articles. In the meanwhile Kim went to work for a local winery to pick up hand-on skills in both grape growing and winemaking. 

By 2013 another property just down the road from their home became available and they moved the winery operation into their new home in this location, while Todd’s sister moved to the older home to watch over their white grape vineyard. This new site was once part of the large land tract known as Lion Ranch so they had a name for their new winery. The year 2013 also marked their first vintage from their white wine vineyard and they were introducing this remarkable wine throughout the valley at wine festivals and events. 

After negotiating the winding path of building regulations and permits, they were able to open their new tasting pavilion this past weekend. If El Nino and the weather permits, they will be planting 4000 red wine grapes in this location later this year.

Kim and Todd focus on producing high quality wines. Since Rhone varietals tend to be susceptible to oxidation, they have invested in a screw cap bottling capability. They believe that screw caps provide superior oxidation protection and will enable their wines to maintain their quality over the years. They are the only winery in the valley that only uses screw-cap bottles.

Their current release consists of three wines. The 2013 Grenache Blanc is a unique wine that is relatively rare in California with only about 330 acres planted in the state. This white version of the traditional red Grenache has been aged in stainless steel tanks with a mile mixing of the fine lees to give it a nice round body and refreshing acidity. On the nose you will detect bright green apple and mandarin orange. On the palate the apple and mandarin orange continue with a nice touch of minerality leading to a medium plus finish. Here in the South Bay Asian foods are enjoyed in homes and restaurants and this wine pairs particularly well with Asian foods. The price is $27 per bottle.

Kim and Todd are great admirers of Viognier and their 2013 Viognier shows their love of this grape. They try to emulate the Viognier found in the premium Condrieu region of France. This grape has only been grown in California since the 1980s. It is a very floral wine known for its aromas and flavors of violets, apricots and peaches. Lion Ranch allows the wine to undergo malolactic fermentation and aged sur lie with mild mixing of fine lees in new French oak barrels giving the wine a nice texture, long finish and great mouthfeel. The price is $25 per bottle.

The 2013 Lion’s Share is their blend of white Rhone varietals including 50% Viognier, an equal mixture of Roussanne and Marsanne and 5% Grenache Blanc. The Viognier provides that floral aromatics, Marsanne for the minerality and elegance, Roussanne for the rich complexity and texture and Grenache Blanc for acidity. This is an excellent food wine that can enhance many different dishes. The price is $23 per bottle.

Lion Ranch is a welcome addition to the Santa Clara Valley winery family. Their focus on Rhone varietals makes them a pleasant addition to the Valley of the Heart’s Delight.

For more information: Lion Ranch Vineyards and Winery

Dante Robere Vineyards opens new tasting room in Livermore

Dante Robere Vineyards opened their new tasting room at 1200 Wetmore Road in Livermore over the weekend of July 18-19. This, the newest tasting room in Livermore, is a beautiful structure along the Livermore Valley wine trail, across from the entrance to the Sycamore Grove Park on one side and surrounded by Syrah vineyards on the other. There is plenty of room around the U-shaped wine bar in the center of the building plus an expansive outdoor patio facing the park. There is also a quiet patio behind the building exclusively for Cellar Dwellers Wine Club Members.

Dan Rosenberg and Bob Bossi have been friends for over three decades as well as fans of great wine. After Dan moved to Livermore Valley in 2003 the passion for wine grew with visits to small family-run wineries. Soon this passion took the next step as Dan planted a small Zinfandel vineyard in his backyard and they became home winemakers. As the passion developed the worked with other local winemakers to expand their skills in winemaking and began to consider turning this passion into a second career. In 2012 they purchased a six acre Syrah vineyard on Wetmore Road where the tasting room is now located and started their own bonded winery. Dante Robere Vineyards came from their names, Dan and Bob. For several years they shared space at Eagle Ridge Vineyard on Tesla Road developing their wine portfolio while facing the daunting task of constructing their winery and weaving through the labyrinth of city and county regulations.

This weekend marks a peak in their long term plans to turn their wine passion into a successful wine business. Bob Bossi states, "This is a great location and a great structure," Their goal is to make wine from Livermore Valley grapes when possible but also seek quality grapes from other areas to produce wines that fit into their wine portfolio. Today they produce a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Estate Syrah, Estate Zinfandel, Grenache, Barbera, Mourvedre and more. 

The 2013 Syrah Rose is produced from grapes grown just outside the doors of the new winery/tasting room. While it delivers the fresh, light acidity of a Rose, you also will enjoy the distinctive Syrah flavors of fresh strawberry and a touch of spice and pepper. This is a perfect wine for a relaxing summer afternoon.

Two Cellar Rats II is a blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Zinfandel and Albarino. This is another tasty refreshing summer wine with jammy red fruit flavors and aromas, yet a creamy long finish.

Dante Robere 2012 Syrah uses grapes from their estate vineyard and aged in 100% Hungarian oak barrels for 18 months. It is a distinctive Syrah with a rich purple color and aromas of red and black fruit, smoke and vanilla. As you taste the wine you will enjoy the Syrah flavors of blackberry, black cherry and vanilla with nice spicy overtones.

The 2012 Estate Reserve Syrah takes it to the higher level with aging in French oak barrels for 22 months. The aromas and flavors are dark fruit such as blackberry and plum with a nice overlay of smoke and various spices coming together to a wonderful balance finish with great tannin, fruit and spice.

Stop by the new Dante Robere Vineyards tasting room and meet Dan and Bob and enjoy their wines in their relaxing cool tasting room at 1200 Wetmore Road. 

For more information: Dante Robere Vineyards

Santa Clara Valley wineries bring home awards from the California State Fair

The California State Fair 2015 Commercial Wine Competition saw over 2800 wine entries received from almost 750 participating winery brands. Seventy-two judges on 18 panels awarded 57 Double Golds and 254 Golds, and the top winners showed the diversity of California wine, coming from around the state and from wineries of every size.

The first State Fair Wine Competition was held in 1855. The competition is the oldest and one of the most prestigious wine events in the country. Top wines including Best of Region and Best of California winners will be featured at the State Fair in the Save Mart Supermarkets Wine Garden for visitors to enjoy July 10-26.

Santa Clara Valley brought home several awards from the California State Fair including several Best of Class of Region awards.
  • Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards – Best of Class of Region for the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains Estate and a Silver for the 2010 Syrah and Bronze award for the 2012 Chardonnay
  • Fortino Winery – won the Best of Class of Region for the 2012 Charbono from Santa Clara Valley plus a Bronze for the 2013 Sangiovese.
  • Guglielmo Winery – captured a Bronze for the 2012 Barbera and Silver for the 2012 Petite Sirah
  • J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines – picked up Best of Class of Region awards for the 2011 St. E Paso Robles Bordeaux blend, 2013 Los Osos Merlot and 2012 Fog’s Reach Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir, plus other Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for a total of 19 awards
  • Martin Ranch Vineyards – brought home the Best of Class of Region award for the 2012 Therese Vineyards Dos Ninas Vineyards Malbec, plus five other Silver and 3 Bronze awards.
 Top wines including Best of Region and Best of California winners will be featured at the State Fair in the Save Mart Supermarkets Wine Garden for visitors to enjoy July 10-26. 

A complete listing of award-winning wines can be found at castatefair.org.

Livermore Valley wineries score big at California State Fair

The California State Fair 2015 Commercial Wine Competition saw over 2800 wine entries received from almost 750 participating winery brands. Seventy-two judges on 18 panels awarded 57 Double Golds and 254 Golds, and the top winners showed the diversity of California wine, coming from around the state and from wineries of every size.

The first State Fair Wine Competition was held in 1855. The competition is the oldest and one of the most prestigious wine events in the country. Top wines including Best of Region and Best of California winners will be featured at the State Fair in the Save Mart Supermarkets Wine Garden for visitors to enjoy July 10-26.

“California's 78,000 farms and ranches produce roughly half of all the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the United States; and our grape industry accounts for 90 percent of all wine consumed in America. As one of the oldest professional wine competitions in the nation, we are extremely pleased that for the second year in a row the State Fair has seen increased participation in our prestigious wine competition,” said Rick Pickering, CEO of the California State Fair. “The State Fair continues to be an enormous showcase of the Best of California."
Livermore Valley took home several awards from the California State Fair including several top awards.

Best of Greater Bay Red
Gold 94 points, Mitchell Katz Winery 2012 Crackerbox Vineyard Sangiovese, Livermore Valley

Best of Greater Bay White
Double Gold 98 points, Murrieta’s Well 2013 “The Whip”, Livermore Valley

Best of North Central Coast White
Gold 94 points, Wente Vineyards 2013 Riva Ranch Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco

Best Other Dry White Varietal Blend
Double Gold 98 points, Murrieta’s Well 2013 The Whip, Livermore Valley

Best Sangiovese
Gold 94 points, Mitchell Katz Winery 2012 Crackerbox Vineyard Sangiovese, Livermore Valley

Best Tempranillo
Double Gold 98 points, Fenestra Winery 2010 Tempranillo, Lodi


Many Livermore Valley wineries brought home individual awards showcasing the quality of their wines.
  • Bent Creek Wines – captured 3 Bronze and 1 Silver award
  • Concannon Vineyard – brought home 2 Bronze and 5 Silver awards, including Best of Class of the Region for the 2012 Livermore Valley Reserve Petite Sirah and Best of Class of Region for the 2013 Chardonnay Reserve.
  • Crooked Vine Winery – enjoyed two Bronze and two Silver awards, including Best of Class of the Region for the 2012 Moxie.
  • Eagle Ridge Vineyard – earned two Silver awards for their Petite Sirah and Raptor
  • Ehrenberg Cellars – captured four Silver awards including Best of Class of Region for the 2012 Contra Costa County Favalora Vineyards Zinfandel
  • Fenestra Winery– in addition to the Best of California award for the 2010 Tempranillo, Fenestra also got a Double Gold, Silver and four Bronze awards
  • Las Positas Vineyards - got 7 Silver and one Gold award in addition to Best of Class of Region awards for the 2012 Barbera, 2012 Coccineous, 2014 Syrah and 2012 Tempranillo
  • Longevity Wines – won two Silver awards plus Best of Class of Region for the 2011 Mourvedre
  • Mitchell Katz Winery– in addition to the top awards for Best of Region Red and Best of California for the 2012 Crackerbox Vineyard Sangiovese, they also got Gold and two Silver awards
  • Murrieta’s Well– with the Best of Region White and Best of California special awards for the 2013 The Whip, they also got a Double Gold and a Silver award
  • Wente Vineyards– along with the Best of Region White for the 2013 Riva Ranch Chardonnay from Arroyo Seco, they also brought back Gold, two Silver and four Bronze awards
Top wines including Best of Region and Best of California winners will be featured at the State Fair in the Save Mart Supermarkets Wine Garden for visitors to enjoy July 10-26. 
A complete listing of award-winning wines can be found at castatefair.org.

Best of California Wines selected by California State Fair

In addition to the Best of Show and Best of Region awards, the California State Fair also selects the Best of California wines awarded for the best of specific varietals throughout California. With wine entries coming from around the state and from wineries of every size, the judges had to select the best wines of each of 26 varietals.

“California's 78,000 farms and ranches produce roughly half of all the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the United States; and our grape industry accounts for 90 percent of all wine consumed in America. As one of the oldest professional wine competitions in the nation, we are extremely pleased that for the second year in a row the State Fair has seen increased participation in our prestigious wine competition,” said Rick Pickering, CEO of the California State Fair. “With more than 2,800 wine entries from 700 plus wineries, the State Fair continues to be an enormous showcase of the Best of California." 

For more than 160 years, the California State Fair has showcased the best of the Golden State. During the 2014 State Fair at Cal Expo more than 750,000 people experienced the best and made memories that will last a lifetime. Cal Expo was dedicated as a place to celebrate California’s achievements, industries, agriculture, diversity of its people, traditions and trends that shape the Golden State’s future. The 2015 California State Fair will take place July 10 - 26, 2015.

Best of California Wines
Best Chardonnay
Double Gold 98 points, Sean Minor Four Bears 2013 Chardonnay, Central Coast

Best Pinot Grigio
Gold 94 points, Wine Cube 2014 Pinot Grigio, California

Best Riesling
Double Gold 98 points, Mirassou Sun Winery 2013 Riesling California

Best Sauvignon Blanc
Double Gold 98 points, Fancy Pants 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, California

Best Viognier
Double Gold 98 points, Robert Hall Winery 2014 Viognier, Paso Robles

Best Other White Varietal
Gold 94, Wise Villa Winery 2014 Torrontes, Alta Mesa

Best Other Dry White Varietal Blend
Double Gold 98 points, Murrieta’s Well 2013 The Whip, Livermore Valley

Best Cabernet Sauvignon
Double Gold 98 points, Lewis Grace 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, El Dorado County

Best Cabernet Franc
Gold 95 points, Michael David Inkblot 2013 Cabernet Franc, Lodi

Best Pinot Noir
Double Gold 98 points, Woodenhead 2012 Clone 115 Pinot Noir Buena Tierra Vineyard, E Block, Russian River Valley

Best Merlot
Double Gold 98 points, Solis Winery 2011 Merlot, Santa Clara Valley

Best Malbec
Gold 94 points, Wise Villa Winery 2013 Malbec Alta Mesa

Best Sangiovese
Gold 94 points, Mitchell Katz Winery 2012 Crackerbox Vineyard Sangiovese, Livermore Valley

Best Syrah
Double Gold 98 points, Cinquain Cellars 2011 Syrah, Paso Robles

Best Tempranillo
Double Gold 98 points, Fenestra Winery 2010 Tempranillo, Lodi

Best Barbera
Double Gold 98 points, McManis Family Vineyards 2013 Jamie Lynn Vineyards Barbera, California

Best Petite Sirah
Double Gold 98, Trentadue Winery 2013 La Storia Petite Sirah, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County

Best Zinfandel
Double Gold 98 points, Torn Winery 2013 Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi

Best Muscat
Gold 94 points, Robert Hall Winery 2014 Orange Muscat Margaret’s Vineyard, Paso Robles

Best Bordeaux Red Varietal Blend
Gold 94 points, Stonehedge Winery 2014 Meritage Reserve, Napa Valley

Best Italian Red Varietal Blend
Gold 94 points, Nello Olivo 2012 Toscanello, El Dorado County

Best Other Red Varietal Blend
Double Gold 98 points, Gen 7 2011 Road to Singapore, Knights Valley

Best Other Red Varietal
Double Gold 98 points, Bokisch Vineyards 2012 Graciano, Lodi

Best Red Generic
Double Gold 98 points, Zucca Mountain Vineyards 2013 Sorprendere, Sierra Foothills

Best Rhone Red Varietal Blend
Gold 94 points, Hearst Ranch Winery 2012 Three Sisters Cuvée, Paso Robles

Best Traditional Vintage Port
Double Gold 98 points, St. Amant Winery 2013 Bootleg Port, Amador County


The first State Fair Wine Competition was held in 1855. The competition is the oldest and one of the most prestigious wine events in the country. Top wines including Best of Region and Best of California winners will be featured at the State Fair in the Save Mart Supermarkets Wine Garden for visitors to enjoy July 10-26.

A complete listing of award-winning wines can be found at castatefair.org.

Local wineries brought visitors to Japantown for first Wine Walk

Local wineries brought visitors to Japantown for first Wine Walk
The Japantown Business Association (JBA) sponsored the First Season Wine Walk in June to attract visitors to this unique area of San Jose enabling visitors to check out the various shops and boutiques in Japantown while sampling some fine local wines.
Participants strolled along the charming streets of Taylor and Jackson Streets in the intimate downtown area with their own complimentary wine glass and sample wines from multiple local wineries set up inside delightful downtown retail shops and restaurants. Guests of the Wine Walk were able to chat with the actual winemakers about their wine making process, check out which of their wines they recommend, and learned how to place orders for your favorite wines!

Participating shops were open late for shopping. A few of the interesting shops included Nichi Bei Bussan which has been the premier Asian goods store for over 100 years, providing martial arts wear, fabrics, home décor, crafts and more. Tank House Winery was in the shop serving their 2010 Syrah, 2011 Zinfandel, 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2010 Barrel 24, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Syrah.


Zonkey is an amazing toy store in Japantown offering a variety of toys that you will not easily find elsewhere. MJA Vineyards was serving their 2013 Serene Sauvignon Blanc and the 2011 DaVine Melage de Rouge Bordeaux blend. 

Kogura Company is the place to go for a wide selection of Japanese goods, including home décor, kitchenware, dinnerware, art and more. Villa del Monte Winery, an award-winning, family-owned boutique winery in Los Gatos, set up their tasting table at Kogura serving a wide variety of wines.

Island Moves brings a bit of Hawaii to San Jose offering Aloha wear, collectables, Hula classes and more. As many watched a Hula class, the visitors also sampled wines from Roudon Smith Winery in Santa Cruz Mountains. 

Other wineries participating include:
Japantown is home to the San Jose Beerwalks and the past Sake San Jose and now the Japantown Wine Walk will be bringing a nice sophisticated summer event where guests can participate by trying the local flavors of wineries in the area. Paid guests will have a commemorative glass and wristband to participate in the tasting.

Cloudy Bay 2013 Pinot Noir from Central Otago

Cloudy Bay 2013 Pinot NoirCloudy Bay, the iconic New Zealand winery that put Sauvignon Blanc on the map celebrates its 30th anniversary this year as it continues to grow, expand and innovate – now turning their focus towards reinventing the Pinot Noir category. The winery is expanding into the famous Central Otago region on the southern end of the South Island of New Zealand (it was formerly only based in the Marlborough region) – to utilize terroir that it most amenable to producing the highest quality Pinot.
Central Otago is the southernmost winegrowing region in New Zealand and one of the southernmost wine regions in the world. This area has abundant sunshine during the growing season with hot, dry summers and higher elevation than anywhere else in New Zealand. These hot days, cool nights mineral soils give Central Otago wines a complex structure that stands out in the world of Pinot Noir. Cloudy Bay has always been committed to producing “wines of region” and that is the reason for selecting the Central Otago region for its Pinot Noir.

The 2013 growing season was ideal with good winter rains followed by desired spring conditions. Flowering was warm and sunny leading to average crops with great vine balance. In the winery, the grapes were de-stemmed and placed in stainless steel tanks and after a cold soak of several days, the fermentation commenced with naturally occurring yeasts at a maximum temperature of 90oF. After three weeks on the skins, each batch was transferred to French oak barrels (about 40% new) for 12 months of maturation. 

The result was a nice balanced Pinot Noir with a nose of black cherry, plum and a touch of smoke. On the palate you will enjoy flavors of black fruit, plum, spice and a touch of leather. This leads to a long intense finish that will result in a very enjoyable wine that will pair well with foods.

For more information: Cloudy Bay Wines

Truvee Wines inspired by a story of discovery and sisterhood

Every wine is a product of a variety of factors. In some cases it is the terroir, a French term indicating the influence of geography, geology and climate of a certain place on the wine. In other cases it can be the product of the style of the winemaker, where they learned their craft and how they put those skills into practice. And in some situations it is a complex history of growth, discovery and ambition that winemakers call upon to create a unique and exciting wine.

This is the case of Truvée Wine, two sisters, Robin and Andrea McBride, with the same father but raised separately by different mothers, growing up on two continents, separated by the Pacific Ocean, yet drawn together later in life by a desire to learn about each other and to follow their father’s wish to become a family. They were unknown to each other for most of their lives. 

Robin grew up in Monterey, in the heart of this Central Coast wine growing region. Andrea grew up in her mother’s homeland in Marlborough, New Zealand, where she learned firsthand about the art of grape farming from her uncle. After their father passed away a relative helped the sisters unite for the first time in 1999 at the ages of 16 and 25. After connecting the McBride sisters formed a deep and lasting friendship and discovered their mutual interest in the wine business.

This mutual passion drove them into the negociant business in 2008. Traditionally a negociant is a French term for merchants who purchase grapes, bulk wine or juice from small farmers. The negociant then produces, bottles and markets the wine on a larger scale under the negociant’s label. Robin and Andrea McBride first efforts lead to the creation of “eco.love” wines in 2010 from Andrea’s home area of Marlborough New Zealand. The sisters were the first African American sisters to found a wine company and to launch on a digital platform, and the wines were made in the first CarbonNZero certified winery in the world.

In 2015 the McBride Sisters opened their new wine adventure in California, Truvée Winery. The name is derived from the French verb “To Find”, bringing together their story of finding each other after their years of separation and now they wanted a wine that matters.

Truvée bridges the old world and new world, showcasing the terroir of the area where Robin grew up, the California Central Coast. “Truvée embodies the spirit of our story, while naturally reflecting our signature winemaking style. We’ve created a high-quality wine that is approachable and sophisticated,” said Robin McBride. “Truvée stylistically combines old world and new world winemaking philosophies to bring affordable luxury to contemporary wine drinkers, and creates the foundation of our wine company.”

They have selected grapes from some other premium winegrowing regions in the Central Coast including Chalone, Monterey, Edna Valley, San Benito and Paso Robles regions. “We believe our story of empowerment will resonate with women worldwide as they discover the delicious flavors of the Central Coast grapes in their glass of wine. Truvée appeals to the wine lover intrigued by undiscovered and high quality wine, “ stated Andrea McBride. “We’re excited to share our story and amazing wines with wine lovers across the country. And we hope you’ll share a bottle with those who matter to you most.”

With this first release the McBride sisters are partnering with Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines. They have already won silver awards from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the San Diego International Wine Competition.

The 2013 Central Coast Chardonnay is produced from grapes grown in Edna Ranch, Bien Nacido and Chalone winegrowing regions. It is lightly oaked to let the aromas and the flavors of the grapes shine through. You will enjoy the aromas and flavors with a tropical touch of pineapple, pear, citrus and green apple that leads to a long crisp finish with excellent acidity. The price is $15.99 per bottle.

The Truvée 2013 Red Blend is also from the Central Coast and is a blend of Grenache and Syrah. The grapes are from sustainably farmed vineyards in the San Benito, Chalone, Monterey and Paso Robles regions. This is a beautiful, complex with aromas and flavors of dark fruit including blackberry, blueberry, and red cherry with a nice touch of spice and cocoa. The wine has a nice full body and light soft tannins leading to a long, smooth finish. The price is $15.99 per bottle.
These wines can be found in many wine stores throughout California.

Ten percent of those in the wine industry are female winemakers and less than one percent are people of color, two percent of those are women of color. There aren’t a lot women of color, which makes the McBride’s Sisters story even more exceptional.

For more information: Truvée Wines