Posts in California
A New Set of Gloria Ferrer Bubblies for the Holidays

Gloria Ferrer is one Sonoma’s most consistent producers of finessed bubbles. That’s not just due to its 35-plus years in California and steady application of know-how and TLC to its 340 acres of estate-grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Ferrer family has been growing grapes in Catalonia for over 600 years and launched its first Cava under the Freixenet label in 1914!

Read More
The Latest Releases of FEL and Cliff Lede

One of the most impressive attributes of the FEL wines is their consistency at a high quality level. The Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay are especially notable. I always appreciate the FEL wines’ terrific balance and clearly defined varietal character. Year over year, I am entirely confident of what I will get in a bottle of wine from FEL. So, I was excited to taste the Pinot Gris for the first time.

Read More
A Surprise Arrival from Rodney Strong Vineyards

I was surprised and delighted to see a set of wines from Rodney Strong arrive the other day. I used to buy this family-owned winery’s juice in considerable volumes as the National Wine Director of Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, and I have always felt the wines represented good value for the money.

Read More
Joseph Wagner’s New Projects: Böen and Elouan

Joseph Wagner grew up in a Napa Valley family legend in-the-making, Caymus Vineyards. In establishing his own brands, he has impressively translated his understanding of “what the consumer wants” into a series of “must haves” that have largely been based on Pinot Noir rather than Caymus’ Cabernet Sauvignon. Staking out on his own, Joseph previously created the much-loved Belle Glos Pinot Noir line-up as well as Meiomi, the latter now under the ownership of Constellation Brands.)

Read More
sidebar: David Ramey Navigates a New Course

David Ramey launched sidebar Cellars in 2014 to push boundaries. He and the next generation of Rameys, Claire and Alan, are exploring new grape varieties and wine styles. They are making not only Sauvignon Blanc but also Zinfandel, rosé and…Kerner! From the taste of things, sidebar will be much more than its diminuitive name suggests.

Read More
A Trip Down Memory (Star) Lane

I recall putting the 2006 Star Lane Sauvignon Blanc Dierberg on the wine list at JG Steakhouse in Scottsdale, Arizona, when I was the Director of Culinary Concepts by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. I had tasted the Sauvignon Blancs of Star Lane plenty of times, so I can’t fathom today why I have no recollection of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Read More
Priest Ranch Winery New Releases

As the #NapaFires and #SonomaFires are burning, it has been a poignant time to turn to some wines from the region to think about how exciting their multi-faceted expressions can be. With this tasting, I'm delighted yet again to be tasting a something totally off-the-radar for Napa: Grenache Blanc.

Read More
FEL Wines

FEL Wines is the newborn of the Cliff Lede duo of wine estates. Lede began his wine adventures in Napa in 2002, making Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. I distinctly remembering visiting in 2006 and tasting those first wines. They were good, so it isn’t too surprising the company’s expansion into the Anderson Valley is making good juice.

Read More