Archive for Wine Friends
We were treated to a very invigorating dinner recently at DK Steakhouse, which featured the foods of Chef Jason Miyasaki…..& the wines from TWO visitng, female French winemakers, Catherine Breton & Christine Campadieu. What a treat it was!
Catherine & Pierre own & run an 11 hectare domaine in France’s Loire Valley, with holdings in Vouvray, Chinon & Bourgueil. Amongst a myriad of soil types–gravel, clay, limestone, schist & yellow tufeau, they grow Chenin Blanc & Cabernet Franc. They were certified organic in 1991 & started down the road towards biodynamic in 1994.
As VINO regulars well know by now, we are HUGE fans of winemaker Fred Scherrer & his wines. Fred epitomizes the concept of artisan, handcrafted & boutique, as he is essentially a one man show.
Interestingly, we have found over the years, it is hard to find a winemaker/winery who excels at 1 grape variety…..much less Fred excelling at 5 or 6! Yes, his are wines to search out for…..AND they do get better with age…..even his Zinfandels.
Ric Forman is one of the long time, superstar winemakers out of the Napa Valley. I believe his career has now spanned 6 decades. I first tasted his work when he was making the wines at Sterling, starting in 1969. I can tell you first hand his Cabernet based wines were standouts even then.
After a stint at Newton & many different consulting projects, Ric decide to make his own wines under his own label.
Being a highly revered winemaker in the Napa Valley, Ric finally chose his site atop a knoll, just below & contiguous with Howell Mountain.
From Emme’s Island Moments TV Special–”Local Grinds”
Chefs Russell Siu, Jean Marie Josselin, Alan Wong, Emme Tomimbang & Roy Yamaguchi
Renato Ratti (Barolo)
Chef Celestino Drago
Chef Norman Van Aken
Superstar Farmer, Richard Ha & Chef Alan Wong
Winemaker Fred Scherrer & Superstar Master Sommelier Larry Stone
Gary Burk (Costa de Oro), Nunzio Alioto (Master Sommelier & my best friend), Justin Willett (Tyler/Lieu Dit); Chef DK Kodama, Rich Molino & James Ontiveros (Native9/Alta Maria/Autonom)
Isn’t it always a great feeling to see long time friends! here are 3 I ran across over the past few days.
I first met Tawfig back in the late 70′s/early 80′s. Over the years he & his wife Richel would come to whatever restaurant I was at, to say hello, dine & share a bottle of wine. Being a wine collector, the wines they opened over the years & shared was amazing…the oldest dating as farback as an 1809 Madeira! Theyencouraged a young boy to “dream” …….much mahalo!!!!!!
Chef Jean Marie Josselin
Why was I so excited about James being here & doing a tasting with him?
First of all, James works for several top caliber sites in the Central Coast of California….such as Bien Nacido, Solomon Hills, & French Camp vineyards, as well as overseeing his very own vineyard—Rancho Ontiveros. He is therefore a wealth of knowledge on what’s happening in vineyards & with clones & farming.
Secondly, James & his winemaking partner, Paul Wilkins, have THREE top caliber wine labels together….Alta Maria, Native9 & Autonom. Each is some of the very best out of California today.
Carol seeks out some VERY interesting vineyards & crafts some amazing RED Zins which have character, vinosity (old vine-ness), generosity coupled with wonderful texture, balance & surprising delicious-ness. In addition she deftly “frames” each of her wines with a complex matrix of French, Hungarian & American oak barrels, new to old. Her wines are therefore never over oaked. Such an artist…..and a true champion of RED Zinfandel.
Without a doubt, winemaker extraordinaire Paul Fuerst is producing some of the finest DRY wines out of Germany. His wines deftly showcase amazing purity, class, terroir, nuance with breathtaking elegance, precision, refinement & balance whether he is working with Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Muller Thurgau or Pinot Noir.
My wife Cheryle & I recently went to visit Paul at his home & winery on the western most edge of Franconia, Germany.
It was an added bonus that they had started harvesting grapes.
from left to right
Nunzio Alioto M.S., Justin Smith (Saxum) & Dave Jelinek (former winemaker at Epoch) Yes, we were barrel tasting at the Denner winemaking facility. Quite the teeth staining day! Terrific wines & great guys!!!!