Winemaker Theresa Heredia Joins Gary Farrell Winery Theresa Heredia, the long time
winemaker at Freestone Vineyards, brought considerable critical acclaim to Freestone Vineyards Pinot Noirs
and Chardonnays. She made the first vintage of Freestone wines in 2002 when Freestone Vineyards was still
an experimental project at Joseph Phelps and later moved to the Sonoma Coast to open the new Freestone
Vineyards winery in 2007. Theresa has experience in Burgundy where she worked at Domaine de Montille and
trained with renowned winemaker Craig Williams at Joseph Phelps Vineyards in the Napa Valley after starting
her career as an enologist for Saintsbury. Theresa replaces Susan Reed as winemaker for Gary Farrell Winery
which was founded by Gary Farrell in 1982. Today, Gary Farrell Winery is owned by The Vincraft Group, a fine
wine investment company run by wine industry veterans Pete Scott, Walt Klenz and Bill Price. I was very
impressed by the wines Theresa crafted at Freestone Vineyards and I anticipate her success will continue.
Additional information on the winery is available at www.garyfarrellwinery.com.
Monterey Wine Festival Celebrates 36 Years Now in its 36th year, the Monterey Wine Festival
has new additions to its program. Held at the Custom House Plaza in Monterey, CA., the festival kicks off on
Friday, June 8, 2012, with a tasting of wines, spirits and beers along with seafood from the Central Bering Sea
Fisherman’s Association, arrays of cheeses, and charcuterie. On Saturday, June 9, 2012, the celebration
continues with The Bartenders Fedora Professional Cocktail Competition Throw Down and more wineries will
be pouring along with artisan foods and live music. The finale is a Chowdah Throw Down known as The West
Coast Chowder Competition, now in its third year. Chefs from Seattle, San Francisco, Portland and other
known chowder destinations will compete against Monterey’s local titans of chowder. Wines that pair with
chowders will be offered. Pinot Noir winery participants include Alexander Valley Vineyards, Calcareous, Clos
La Chance, Irony, Lockwood Vineyard, Michaud Vineyard, Opolo Vineyards, and Summerland Winery. For
more information and tickets, visit www.montereywine.com. Check out Facebook pages: Monterey Wine
Festival Company and West Coast Chowder Competition.
Twomey Cellars Release Day Party The annual event will be held Saturday, April 28, 2012, at both
Healdsburg and Calistoga facilities. The 2010 Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, and Anderson Valley Pinot
Noirs and 2011 Sauvignon Blanc will be released. The wines will be matched to wood fired oven pizza by the
winery’s in house chefs. Cost is $25. The 2009 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir was named “Runner Up” out
of 60 Pinot Noirs entered in the recent Pigs & Pinot Pinot Cup blind tasting competition held in Healdsburg.
Contact www.twomeycellars.com for tickets.
Arista Winery Buys Famed Martinelli Road Vineyard The McWilliams family has announced
that Arista Winery has acquired the historic 74-acre Martinelli Road Vineyard near Forestville in the Russian
River Valley. The acquisition adds to the winery’s existing 36-acre Westside Road Estate. The Martinelli Road
Vineyard is planted to 5 acres of 130-year-old Zinfandel vines, 10 acres of 30+-year-old Chardonnay vines, and
3 acres of 20+-year-old Pinot Noir vines. The site lies in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley. Ulises
Valdez oversees the day-to-day vineyard operations. Arista will begin producing estate-designated Zinfandel,
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Martinelli Road Vineyard beginning with the 2012 harvest. Visit the
website at www.aristawinery.com for pictures and more information.
Scott Paul Releases 2010 Audrey Pinot Noir Much of this iconic wine was sold as futures, but
the winery still has about 60 cases available for purchase now. A Release Party will be held in Scott Paul’s
Tasting Room in Carlton on Saturday, April 21, 2012. Audrey is the winery’s selection of the best-of-the-best
each year, the favorite seven barrels of the vintage. Audrey is named after and inspired by the timeless icon of
natural beauty, elegance, and grace - the late Ms. Hepburn. This is consistently one of Oregon’s most sought after
and highest scoring wines every year since its debut. The 2010 Audrey is entirely from old vine vineyards
in the Dundee Hills: 6 barrels from Maresh Vineyard and 1 barrel from Nysa Vineyard. The wine was
fermented in a custom-made Taransaud French Oak open top tank, and no yeasts or other additions were
made. The wine was aged in French oak for 11 months (two new oak barrels) and bottled unfined and
unfiltered at 13.1% alcohol on September 7, 2011. Price is $69 (5% discount for 6). Scott Paul is the only
winery in the states also offering a full line of imported red and white Burgundies for sale. To purchase, visit
Talbott Vineyards Wins Charlie Palmer’s Pigs & Pinot Ultimate Pinot Smackdown
16 of the world’s best Pinot Noirs were entered into this smackdown held March 24, 2012, at Charlie Palmer’s
Seventh Annual Pigs & Pinot Celebration. The 2012 Smackdown was hosted by master sommeliers Keith
Goldston, Fred Dame, Drew Hendricks and William Sherer, with each selecting four of their favorite Pinot Noirs
from around the globe for the competition. The 2009 Talbott Cuvée RFT Diamond T Vineyard Pinot Noir was
entered by Fred Dame, and survived four rounds of head-to-head, audience-judged tastings, beating out the
other 15 entrants. The wine was crafted by winemaker Dan Karlsen, a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay specialist
with over 30 years of winemaking experience. Like all the Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in the Talbott portfolio
(Talbott, Logan and Kali Hart labels), the Talbott Cuvée RFT Pinot Noir was made exclusively from Talbott’s
estate grapes. Talbott Vineyards was established in 1982, when founder Robb Talbott planted the Diamond T
Vineyard in Monterey. The Talbott Vineyards estate program also includes the framed Sleepy Hollow Vineyard
in the Santa Lucia Highlands. For more information, visit www.talbottvineyards.com.
Anderson Valley Winegrowers Host 15th Annual Pinot Noir Festival Tickets are now
on sale for the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival to be held May 18-20, 2012. Friday’s day-long Technical
Conference is aimed at members of the trade and avid Pinot Noir consumers. The Conference will include a
Boonville versus “Deep-End” Pinot Noir tasting moderated by Rajat Parr of the Michael Mina Group, a Cerise
Vineyard focus tasting, and more. The Technical Conference will be followed by an outdoor barbecue at
Husch Vineyards accompanied by plenty of Pinot Noir. The Grand Tasting at Goldeneye Winery in Philo on
Saturday will highlight 40 producers pouring Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. Pinot Noirs will be paired with classic
Mexican dishes like fig mole chicken and a group of local women will be making fresh salsas and tortillas
during the event. There will also be live music and a silent auction to benefit the Anderson Valley Health
Center and Hendy Woods State Park. The list of participating wineries is impressive including a number of my
favorites such as Balo Vineyards, Baxter Winery, Black Kite Cellars, Champ de Reves, Claudia Springs,
Copain Wines, Couloir Wines, Drew Family Wines, Elke Vineyards, Esterlina Vineyards, Foursight Wines,
Fulcrum Wines, Goldeneye Winery, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards, Handley Cellars, Harmonique Wines, Husch
Vineyards, Littorai, Londer Vineyards, MacPhail Family Wines, Maggy Hawk Vineyard, Navarro Vineyards, and
Twomey Cellars. On Saturday evening, local wineries will host four winemaker dinners in Anderson Valley and
on the Mendocino Coast. The weekend will conclude on Sunday with open houses at Anderson Valley
wineries, many of which are not open to the public. For additional information and tickets, visit
www.avwines.com. This event sells out every year: you have been warned not to procrastinate!
Storyteller Wine Company Michael Alberty is the owner of this small wine retailer in Portland,
Oregon. What sets this store apart is the small production wines that Michael carefully and personally selects.
He sends out an online newsletter that relates a colorful story about the wines offered and is a compelling read
for wine enthusiasts. Be careful, however, as Michael is a convincing wine pimp with a way with words, and
after reading the newsletter, you are at risk of developing a strong urge to purchase the featured wine(s) by the
case. If you happen to live in Portland, regular wine tastings are also offered with wines from all over the world
as well as Oregon. One thing is for certain: Michael only recommends wines that he himself would be happy to
drink. Sign up for the newsletter at www.storytellerwine.com.
Wine & Spirits 23rd Annual Restaurant Poll The list of restaurant’s top 50 wineries was
compiled by asking restaurateurs to list the ten wines that sold best during the last three months of 2011. The
top four were Cakebread Cellars, Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards, Jordan Vineyard & Winery, and Duckhorn
Vineyards. The top Pinot Noir producer was Belle Glos which shot from #50 last year to #15 this year. Other
Pinot Noir wineries making the list were Emeritus Winery (#22), Flowers Winery (#23), Merry Edwards (#24),
Adelsheim Vineyard (#28), Au Bon Climat (#32), Patz & Hall (#41), Westrey (#48), Fess Parker (#49), and
Kistler Vineyards (#50). Top Pinot Noirs served by the glass were Hahn Monterey Pinot Noir (#3), Belle Glos
Meiomi Pinot Noir (#8), Copain Tours Ensemble Anderson Valley Pinot Noir (#9), A to Z Oregon Pinot Noir
(#12), Evening Land Vineyards Oregon Pinot Noir (#17), and Ken Wright Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
(#23). Pinot Noir remains very popular in restaurants and only Cabernet Sauvignon outsells it. The ten most
popular Pinot Noirs include Belle Glos Meiomi Sonoma Coast and Santa Maria Valley Clark & Telephone (#1),
La Crema Sonoma Coast, Emeritus Russian River Valley, Evening Land Vineyards Willamette Valley Blue
Label and Eola-Amity Hills Seven Springs Vineyard, Ponzi Vineyards Willamette Valley Tavola and Willamette
Valley, Four Graces Willamette Valley, Westrey Willamette Valley and Dundee Hills Oracle Vineyard, Domaine
Serene Evenstad Reserve and Yamhill Cuvee, Adelsheim Vineyard Willamette Valley, and Domaine Drouhin
Willamette Valley. It is interesting that of the 23 most popular restaurant Pinot Noirs, 15 came from Oregon, a
significant disproportion in light of the large disparity in number of Pinot Noir producers between Oregon and
California. To view the entire report, visit www.wineandspiritsmagazine. I believe Wine & Spirits consistently
offers very credible, coherent, well-researched and relevant wine articles that are among the best currently
offered by wine magazine publishers.
Decanter Weighs in on Pinot Noir The latest issue of Decanter is devoted largely to Pinot Noir.
Benjamin Lewin MW, the author ofIn Search of Pinot Noir, listed 12 Pinot Noirs to challenge Burgundy. The
list included Calera Jensen Vineyard, Williams Selyem Rochioli Riverblock, and Domaine Drouhin Cuvée
Laurène from the United States. Linda Murphy writes on the wonderful 2009 vintage California Pinot Noirs,
naming wines from Williams Selyem, Copain, Kutch Wines, Dutton-Goldfield, Littorai, La Crema, La Follette,
Sebastiani, Kenwood Vineyards, Cuvaison, Saintsbury, Frank Family Vineyards, DeLoach, Mount Eden
Vineyards, Morgan Vineyards, Sequana, Calera, Alta Maria Vineyards, Brewer-Clifton, and Melville Vineyards.
No surprises there. The issue includes a very good profile of Domaine Dujac. Visit www.decanter.com.
The Finest Wines of Burgundy This new book by Bill Nanson is published by the acclaimed
quarterly magazine The World of Fine Wine. Nanson is a highly respected independent commentator on
Burgundy who publishes the Burgundy-Report online (www.burgundy-report.com). The book profiles 90 of the
most notable Cote d’Or producers and their wines, including relatively unknown producers as well as
established stars. To order, visit www.ucpress.edu or www.amazon.com.
Pinot Noir Glasses Evaluated The latest issue of The World of Fine Wine features an article titled,
“Pinot Noir Glasses A Rounder Whole.” Andrew Jefford reports on a tasting of five different wines using 16
different stems designed for Pinot Noir. Each of the three tasters had individual preferences with Andreas
Larsson preferring the Riedel Pinot Noir/Nebbiolo glass, Stephen Reinhardt the Zalto Denk’Art Mundgeblasen
Burgunder glass, and Andrew Jefford the Riedel Vinum Pinot Noir and Zalto glasses. Jefford commented, “In
sum, the best glasses favored appreciation rather than analysis. Our panel, too, felt that among the two top
Riedel glasses, the Vinum Pinot Noir was better suited to the classicism of Burgundy, while the Riedel Pinot
Noir/Nebbiolo glass was a better glass for varietal Pinot Noir in general.” The thinner glass stems had more
aesthetic appeal, but the thicker glass stems are more durable. Visit www.finewinemag.com.
Pinot Leaf Curl A curling of Pinot Noir leaves known as Pinot Leaf Curl (PLC) often appears after a cool
spell and has been observed with increasing frequency among Pinot Noir vineyards in Sonoma County. The
affected leaves may die and fall off or persist curled under, and death of a shoot may ensue. Botryitis may be
associated, but is not the cause and fungicides have no treatment value.Wines & Vines (April 2012) reports
that researchers are attempting to analyze this curious sickness. The disease has been found in every Pinot
Noir growing region in California and is more common during cool springs. A panel at Sonoma County Grape
Day on February 16, 2012, said that research is aimed at measuring levels of nitrogen compounds in Pinot
Noir vineyards, concerned that putrescine, a toxic compound produced during nitrogen metabolism in the vine,
may be elevated in affected vines. Visit www.winesandvines.com.
Memorial Day Wine Tasting in Willamette Valley Home to more than 190 wineries and tasting
rooms and surrounded by beautiful vistas and views of the Cascade Mountains, the Willamette Valley is a pinot
geeks' Disneyland. Many small, family owned wineries are only open to the public on Memorial Day and
Thanksgiving weekends making these weekends very popular. The 22nd Memorial Weekend in the Wine
Country will be held May 26-28, 2012. For a touring map and guide and a list of activities at each winery, email
the Willamette Valley Wineries Association at email@example.com.
Santa Lucia Highlands Gala VI The winegrowers of the Santa Lucia Highlands are sponsoring a
tasting a Mer Soleil Winery, 1290 River Road, Salinas, on Saturday, May 19, from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. The setting
will be the Barrel Cellar at Mer Soleil, a dramatic venue not normally open to the public. Food, music and a
unique silent auction with many rare, large format bottles will also be offered. The pouring roster of thirty
wineries include Santa Lucia Highlands releases of August West, Belle Glos, Bernardus, Boekenoogen, Hahn,
J. Lohr, Kori, La Rochelle, Lucienne, Mansfield-Dunne, Manzoni, McIntyre, Mer Soleil, Mooney, Morgan, Novy,
Paraiso, Pelerin, Pessagno, Pisoni, Poppy, Puma Road, Roar, Sequana, Siduri, Talbott, Testarossa, Tondre,
Tudor and Wrath. This is the only Santa Lucia Highlands public event of the year. For information and tickets,
Littorai Debuts New Website To be honest, for many years Littorai’s website lacked information and
interest and did not do justice to the superb Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays of Ted Lemon. Littorai has now
launched a completely new website at www.littorai.com. Current mailing list members can order wines directly
on the website which includes vineyard maps, winemaking philosophy, farm and environmental stewardship
information and more. As part of this year’s West of West Wine Festival in Occidental, CA, on August 3-5,
2012, Littorai will again host a wine dinner paired with Littorai wines on Friday, August 3 at the Littorai Estate
property in Sebastopol. The comments I received about last year’s Littorai wine dinner were overwhelmingly
positive, with Ted pulling out a number of aged wines from his library as the evening evolved. To buy tickets or
learn more, visit www.westsonomacoast.com.
ROCO Winery Opens Cellar Beginning April 5, 2012, ROCO Winery welcomes visitors to the cellar to
taste and purchase wines direct, 11:00 to 5:00, Thursday through Saturday. Additional days will be added as
the weather warms during the summer in the Willamette Valley. ROCO Winery, Ponzi Vineyards and Argyle
Winery are hosting the 1st Annual Oregon Cult Pinot Noir Wine Cruise, a 10-night Mediterranean cruise June
25 to July 5, 2012. The cruise will be personally escorted by Dick and Nancy Ponzi and Rollin and Corby
Soles. The Oceania cruise line has been voted “Best in the World” by Travel + Leisure magazine. For pricing
and availability, visit www.foodandwinetrails.com. Other wine related cruises are also listed on this site.
New Zealand Red Wine of the Year Curtis Marsh, writing in The Wandering Palate
(www.thewanderingpalate.com) is an authority on New Zealand wine. He grew up in New Zealand and is
currently a sommelier and wine importer and merchant in Australia. The three regionally defined single
vineyard Pinot Noirs of Mount Edward in Central Otago, produced by winemaker Duncan Forsyth, were
pronounced “New Zealand Red Wine of the Year” in 2011 by Marsh. The Pinot Noirs included vineyard
designates from Morrison Vineyard (Lowburn), Muirkirk Vineyard (Bannockburn) and Stevens Vineyard
(Gibbston). Mount Edward was established in 1997 in the Gibbston Valley by a partnership that included Alan
Brady, the founding father of Central Otago, John Buchanan, an Otago native, and Forsyth. Mount Edward
Pinot Noirs are available at a number of restaurants in the United States including The French Laundry in
Napa, Gary Danko in San Francisco, Aureole in Las Vegas, Boulevard in San Francisco, and The Martini
House in St. Helena. The wines are distributed in California and New York by Tasman Wine Selections, San
Timber-To-Vineyard Conversion Appears Will Be Approved California State officials are
close to officially approving the large timber-to-vineyard projects in coastal northwest Sonoma County by
Artesa Vineyards and CalPERS. According to the Press Democrat (April 6, 2012), several environmental
groups plan to challenge the proposal in court.
Scientist Discuss Terroir in Oregon Geologist Scott Burns will present "The Mystery of Terroir in Oregon: The Relationship of Geology, Soil and Climate to Wine" on Tuesday, May 1, at 7:30 PM in T.J. Day Hall at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. Burns is a professor of geology at Portland State University whose research has included terroir, that is the relationship of climate, geology, soils and wine grapes. He is lecturing across the country this year after being named the 2012 Jahns Distinguished Lecturer by the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologist (AEG) and the Geological Society of America (GSA). Burns will discuss the terroir of the Willamette Valley whose soils come from the Columbia River Basalts, which originated in Oregon, and the marine sedimentary rocks found in the foothills of the Coast Range. For more information, call (503) 883-2409.
When to Drink That Pinot Noir? I often get asked, “When is the right time to drink a Pinot Noir?”
You cannot drink the wine right after it is bottled because of “bottle shock.” If you order the wine from a winery
and it is shipped to you, you cannot drink it for at least 6 to 8 weeks because of “shipping shock.” After you buy
the wine, you may not be able to drink it because of “sticker shock.” You need to have a special celebration to
drink such an expensive wine. When a special occasion does arise, you may not be able to drink it because it
is in a “dumb phase.” When you finally find a time worthy to drink the wine, it may have already peaked, and
is now on the downslope or in the “senility phase.” Best advice? Cellar the wine properly for 2-3 years after
buying it, and keep your fingers crossed.