All posts filed under: California

Trinchero Family Estates: What I Learned From This Napa Valley Success Story

Do you believe in the American dream? I want to believe in the idea of it, at least. Whether it is still possible to achieve massive success from hard work alone, you would have to ask a young American. What I do know is most dreams reanimate after a few glasses of excellent wine. In reality, few of us have time to actively search for life-affirming, life-changing wines, let alone indulge in a few moments for our dreams, even when we decide to open a special bottle. How often do we allow ourselves to be inspired by the Californian sunshine in a Chardonnay from the Napa Valley, for example? It’s easier to stick to the tried and tested, even if trying new wines and tasting new flavors might do you a world of good. Despite tasting many Californian wines over the past few years, I am sad to say I had not tasted one of the legends of the Napa Valley, the Trinchero Family Estate. They are the second biggest family-owned winery in the United …

Cook with California Competition

Attention sommeliers! If you work in the UK on-trade, would you like to win a trip to California? It’s a fantastic prize. If you are a sommelier or chef friend, here are the details from the California Wine Institute in the UK.   It’s called Cook with California. Open to those working in the on-trade (chefs, restauranteur, and sommeliers), it is a food and wine matching competition to show off your flair with flavor. Each team will have two participants; one chef and one sommelier.   The ultimate goal is to show how British food matched with Californian wine. In the same vein as Masterchef, a panel of industry experts in UK wine and food judge the results.   The first prize is a trip to California. You will visit producers and wineries, and experience a stage at a top restaurant kitchen. There are also four prizes for finalists. Each wins a 12-bottle case of super-premium California wine.   Each entry will propose three courses from the following five options:   First course   Second …

Heat Spikes, Smoke Taint, Quality Wines: The Top 3 Things To Know Before You Buy 2020 Californian Wine

Record heat spikes, uncontrollable fires, and shuttered tasting rooms: 2020 was tough. Like most of the world, Californian vintners want to move on.   The Californian wine industry has been through many disasters over the century. From fires to earthquakes to the Prohibition. Yet winemakers are stoic, if not optimistic, about the quality in the first pandemic year. As a wine lover, you will need to know what to look for when these 2020 wines reach the market.   The impact of the Glass Fire on the 2020 vintage   The Glass Fire began in Northern California on September 27, 2020, at 3:48 AM (PDT) from an unknown cause. It lasted 23 days. 11 of Napa Valley’s 475 member wineries reported large or total structural damage. Napa Valley Vintners report fewer than 20 of Napa Valley’s winemaking facilities affected.   The fire started near Glass Mountain Road in Deer Park, Napa County. It then spread into Sonoma County. It began as a single 20-acre brush fire, then grew and merged with two smaller fires. By …

We Talk Wine Here in California

When it comes to California Wine, news can be hard to come by unless you listen to other people talking about their opinions on what they have heard and tasted. All wine lovers should be able to read all about the topics from around the planet. Free of charge. And I aim to make sure you get more than enough on the Newsbreak app that interests you from every angle of the winemaking world. Here you’ll find out what’s happening in California’s wine, grapes, and insider stories. If you have ever had a glass of fantastic wine in the U.S., the odds are that it was a grape juice from California. Eighty-five percent of all wine in the United States is grown in California. It is an area that has a fascinating history of winemaking and viticulture with so much to explore. With all the new areas being planted in today’s market and all the nuances and complex flavors of terroir – it is a great time to be alive if you love wine. The …

New California Wine Collection from Penfolds – A Multi-Continent Blend

Who says you can not blend fine wines from two continents? Aussie winemakers have always cast aside unwritten stuffy traditions in wine. Penfolds have combined the outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley with Australian Shiraz to create an international blend called Penfolds with a wine designation they call “Wine of the World.” The latest project is called the Penfolds California Wine Collection: four California-based wines from vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, and Paso Robles, with prices ranging from $50 to $700. “This is not us marching into California to show people how to make wine,” Penfolds Winemaker Peter Gago told Wine Spectator. “It’s made with respect.” According to their AVA, fine California wines tend to be strictly produced—not to mention consumed and collected—but the Penfolds philosophy does not work this way. It’s a radical approach to blending wine, but cross-regional blending is a perfectly normal way of doing things in Australia. Particularly for Penfolds. Founded in 1844, Penfolds is a historical treasure in Australia. Penfolds Grange holds almost mythical wine status in the country. Considered …

Napa Valley’s Duckhorn To Raise $100 Million in First Public Offer

Duckhorn Wine Company, a Napa Valley-based portfolio of wineries headed by Duckhorn Vineyards, filed a notice with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on February 23, announcing its intention to go public and raise $100 million in an initial public offering. However, Renaissance Capital estimates it could increase up to $300 million. Based in Napa Valley, Duckhorn has been operated by TSG Consumer Partners since 2016, a private equity company headquartered in San Francisco that controls $9 billion in assets. On February 23, they have listed under the symbol NAPA to trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Duckhorn Vineyards, Decoy, Kosta Browne, Goldeneye, Paraduxx, Calera, Migration, Canvasback, Greenwing (in Washington State), and Postmark, are among the premium wines Duckhorn Vineyards manufactures and offers in all 50 states and over 50 countries at rates varying from $20 to $200 a glass. The organization still manages and maintains eight state-of-the-art wineries and 22 sustainably farmed Estate vineyards spanning 843 acres. For the twelve months ending October 4, 2020, The Duckhorn Portfolio was the biggest premium …

Kinero Cellars and The Royal Nonesuch Farm

Kinero Cellars and Royal Nonesuch Farm is what happens when a talented and original winemaker (Anthony Yount) has access to high quality vineyards around the Paso Robles area, allowing for high quality wine that are devoid of macho posturing or inflated ego. People At 25 years old, Anthony began his journey as a “cellar rat” at Denner Vineyards on the western side of the Paso Robles AVA. A cellar rat does all the odd jobs in the winery. Cleaning, working the tasting room with customers, or whatever is needed during vintage. It’s hard graft. A real education in more ways than one. Since 2008, Anthony’s side hustle is producing his own single-vineyard white wines at Kinero Cellars; and, since 2011, his Estate red, The Royal Nonesuch Farm.  Place Paso Robles AVA is a part of the San Luis Obispo wine county on the Central Coast in California. It lies between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Here is Anthony pointing to where they are on a map of California. Imagine California as an outstretched arm… Established in …

Fine Disregard “Lost Row” Stags Leap District Syrah

Fine Disregard “Lost Row” Stags Leap District Syrah Grape: Syrah Region: Stags Leap District AVA, Napa Valley, California Year: 2016 Price: £30 approx And this is what happens when two winemakers find an abandoned plot of Syrah up a side of a hill in Napa Valley. One fateful sunny day they decide to make a small batch of a slightly unfashionable wine style in an expensive area of the Napa Valley – Stags Leap district (you may know its most famous inhabitant, Shafer Vineyards Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon). Napa Valley Syrah Syrah is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about wines from the Napa Valley. Big bold Cabernet Bordeaux redux, yes. Rhone Valley, no. You’ll find that in more experimental region further south than the Napa Valley. That’s why a Napa Valley Syrah is considered a bit of a unicorn wine. Sourced from one row of Syrah vines grafted from Shiraz cuttings from the Barossa Valley in the late 1990s. Not incidentally, this was a peak time for the Barossa Valley …

Schramsberg Vineyards at 67 Pall Mall

One of the joys of reviewing Californian sparkling wine is that I very rarely taste them and so have zero expectations. Only small quantities of the top Californian sparkling wines are sent to London and can be found at select restaurants such as The Vineyard, which recently hosted a dinner at 67 Pall Mall with vintner Hugh Davies of Schramsberg Vineyards, Napa Valley. Schramsberg Vineyards is a part of the history of Californian sparkling wine. Robert Louis Stevenson first mentioned Schramsberg in his 1883 novel, the Silverado Squatters. In fact, he visited Jacob Schram at the Schramsberg winery in Calistoga on his honeymoon. A strange kind of honeymoon; to get there, he had to spend his time hacking through the thick undergrowth on the lower slopes of Diamond Mountain. About this time, in a moment of inspiration, he penned the romantic line, that “wine is bottled poetry”.  On the plane over to London this time, vintner Hugh Davies said, he thought about the Schramsberg Vineyards featured on the wine list at the exclusive London’s Carlton …

Pride and Prejudice: Hyde de Villaine Belle Cousine Napa Valley

When my friend Will Hargrove from Corney & Barrow said to try this, I said YES OF COURSE THANK YOU. But really I had been around the whole room and purposely skipped Hyde de Villaine Belle Cousine because it was from Napa. Why so perverse? (I get asked this a lot). It’s a £50 bottle of wine! I don’t know. There’s just too much talk about Californian wines, sorry. I’ve tuned out. It’s like at school when it was popular to see Dirty Dancing, and everyone pretended to do the sexy dance with Patrick Swayze, and I would not see it on principle. Then I saw it about twenty years later, and I really liked it. Up there with some of the best 80s films: Dirty Dancing, Ferris Bueller and Ghostbusters. My teenage self says, I don’t want to pay for a heavy bottle or a brand name and I don’t understand their system of allocation based on being on a mailing list that hikes up prices. If I want a drink to have with a cigar then I’ll have a dark rum. Too much, already. …