Archive for Wine Friends
The winery is state of the art & I would say….truly a dream come true for most winemakers. These vessels can be programmed to do pump overs by themselves & as many times & when you want. No more late nights?
As I have noted many times before, especially recently after a tasting with Bruce Neyers, he is truly one of the most brilliant ”wine minds” I have run across in my years of doing wine. He is able to combine theory with practicality. Furthermore, because of his dual “hats” of acting as the National Sales Manager for Kermit Lynch Wine merchants in addition to having his own Napa Valley winery, the insight he speaks about is very comprehensive & worldly. It is for these kinds of reasons, I truly relish my conversations with him over the years.
Cheryle & I stopped by Saxum & the James Berry Vineyard recently. It was great to spend some time with winemaker Justin Smith again. He certainly has evolved into quite the superstar through his incredible Saxum wines.
It starts with the soil.
I must say, tasting through his 2011′s, they are really some of the best I have ever had from this winery. His 2011 “Bone Rock” was the single most memorable wine from Justin Smith I have had in all these years. The 2011′s are LONG….have great length with amazing minerality & buoyancy.
My wife Cheryle (& a friend) & I had the chance to walk some vineyards in Paso Robles recently. It was a good time, as there was “taste” to the grapes & it was therefore an incredibly learning opportunity.
Our first stop was at Linne Calodo & superstar winemaker Matt Trevisan. It had been years since I last visited Matt at the winery. We were excited & anxious to visit eventhough we were not sure how much time Matt would actually have with us, given the looming harvest, the fact that both noted wine writers–Robert Parker & Josh Reynolds were in town around the same time.
Giorgio reminded me it was 9 years ago that he last came for the “Grand Opening” of VINO in Honolulu, alongside Chiara Boschis (Pira Boschis), Pio Boffa (Pio Cesare); superstar chefs Celestino Drago (Drago’s in Santa Monica) & Suzette Gresham (Acquarello in San Francisco), as well as Master Sommeliers Nunzio Alioto (who also did his grandmother’s recipe of Ciopino), Doug Frost, Fred Dame & Larry Stone. Yes, it was quite the night!
La Spinetta was the rage then. People clamored to get their wines & deservedly so. Things haven’t changed.
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