The uniquely American true story is about a multi-millionaire, transgender winemaker on an obsessive quest to redeem the legacy of a brilliant antebellum doctor and restore a little-known American grape — which rocked the fine-wine world of the 19th century — to its former glory.
An Irishman, an Israeli and a Korean walk into a tasting room.
While this may sound like the opening line of a bad joke it is actually how I found out about Zialena.
The Irishman and his Israeli wife are friends of ours. They were visiting Sonoma County with their friend, the Korean gentleman, when their driver suggested they go to a fairly new winery that they had not yet heard of.
They enjoyed their experience so much that they gave me the Tasting Room Manager’s business card. When we were planning our trip a few months later, I reached out to Reece Channell to schedule a visit.
When we drove up the long winding driveway to the modernistic winery and tasting room in Alexander Valley, I thought at first I was at the winery of some wealthy dabbler with a vanity winery project; the place looks that cool.
It turns out I was totally wrong, as the owners of Zialena have deep roots in the area, being one of those “becoming-rare-like-a-unicorn” families that Scot Bilbro alluded to in my previous article.
In fact, the Mazzoni family’s story in Geyserville goes back to the early 1900s when Giuseppe Mazzoni emigrated from Italy. He became a grape farmer and winemaker with Italian Swiss Colony. Giuseppe’s sons produced wine commercially until the 1970s (look for the old barn off the 101 with the Dr. Pierce’s sign on it) after which grandson Mike established Mazzoni Vineyards.
As often happens, Mike’s kids Lisa and Mark wanted to get the family back into the winemaking business, and Zialena (with Mark as winemaker and Lisa as General Manager) was born, naming it after their aunt (“Zia” in Italian) Lena. The winery and tasting room buildings that I found to be so cool were designed to showcase the family property as well as highlight the modern aspects of the winery itself. The centerpiece of the winery are several open-top concrete fermentation tanks which are emblazoned with what I had initially thought to be a starburst pattern but turned out to be the pattern of Zia Lena’s ravioli stamp, which is the logo of the winery.
Tasting is available in the tasting room or on the patio. As the weather was great, we opted for the patio and tasted through some of the current releases:
2016 Sauvignon Blanc
2017 Rose of Sangiovese
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
This was a very tasty selection. The Sauvignon Blanc and the Rose of Sangiovese were both very refreshing, the Sangio in particular picking up that grape’s complexity. The 2013 Cabernet showcases the fruit that makes Sonoma County my favorite destination for Cab. The 2014 Cappela is a true Zinfandel-based field blend that is an homage to the family history and is delicious.
Speaking of Zins, those for me were the shining stars, not to mention having an interesting story behind them.
It wasn’t until Mark and Lisa had already started making wine at Zialena that their father Mike happened to mention the Mazzoni clone of Zinfandel.
This is how Reece explained it:
In the drafting process of the vineyard map with varietals and acreage breakdown Mike mentions very nonchalantly “….. and this is planted with Mazzoni clone Zinfandel.” Both Mark and Lisa immediately ask, “Wait what? Mazzoni clone Zinfandel? What is that?” Mike then tells the story of how Duff Bevill of Bevill Vineyard Management came across Giuseppe’s original vineyard at the location of the Doctor Pierce’s barn. Eventually Duff came over to talk to Mike about it because he was the only family member who knew about the old home ranch. They decided to find out more about the Zinfandel on the property by taking bud wood to UC Davis for analysis. Sure enough Davis had not seen this Zinfandel before! It was then registered by Davis as the Bevill/Mazzoni clone of Zinfandel. It is a heritage pre-prohibition clone. Mark and Lisa are very proud to be the fourth generation to grow the clone and to make a 100% single vineyard, single clone Zinfandel out of it.
This story was especially meaningful to us, as we are deeply interested in California’s heritage grapes and vineyards.
Zialena has a bright future ahead. The current winery was only completed a couple of years ago (previous vintages were made at a custom crush), so one has to feel that as good as the wines are now, the best is yet to come.
21112 River Road
Geyserville, CA 95441
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) http://evebushmanconsulting.com/ and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
(PRWEB) – Italy is in pole position for organic, natural and biodynamic wine-growing. The country also has the largest surface area of vines under certified organic management worldwide, ahead of both Spain in second place and France in third. In light of this important reality, Vinitaly International added the “Wine Without Walls” section to its annual wine selection 5StarWines. Held April 11th to the 13th 2018 in Verona, the third edition of 5StarWines welcomed over 2,700 wines from around the world and showcased 45 bottles in Wine Without Walls. Chaired by biodynamic wine expert Monty Waldin, Wine Without Walls gives recognition to the ever-present growing importance and relevance of natural wines. The section is solely dedicated to wines either without added sulphites or wines with total quantity of sulphites (naturally produced and added ones) not higher than 50mg/l. During the last edition, 24 Italian wines made it through the selection, once again proving Italy as prime location for organic wine growing. The selected organic wines will be published on the 5StarWines – the Book, which will be available from July 2018.
During the first two editions of Wine Without Walls former Chairperson Alice Feiring devised criteria for judging to include the descriptors: ‘liveliness’, ‘evolution’, ‘balance’, ‘drinkability’, ‘savoriness’, ‘sense of place’, ‘emotional impact’, and ‘transparency’. Based off these editions, Monty Waldin decided to use and adapt six of the descriptors, changing ‘emotional impact’ with ‘individuality’ and ‘transparency’ with ‘clarity.’
Waldin chose ‘individuality’ to represent the individuality of a wine that can only come from vineyards and each individual vine transmitted from its particular piece of terroir: the exact type of soil and sub-soil it is on, the exact part of the slope, the exact amount of sun, rain, and wind that it gets. Individuality also stems from the human factor, i.e. how the vines were planted, picked, and pruned. These aspects, combined, affect how each berry will taste and how they are measured; whereas descriptors such as ‘emotional impact’ are less measurable and therefore more subjective.
Substituting ‘transparency’ with ‘clarity’, Waldin sees that clarity in wine not only comes from the winemaker, but also from the grapes themselves. A wine embodying clarity shows that the winemaker has a clear vision of how the wine will be made. Winemakers whose aim is to make wine as naturally as possible, must guide every step of the winemaking process with their mastery, skills and knowledge to include—date of harvest, choice of fermentation vessel, choice of bottling date—in such a way that the wine clearly expresses the terroir, grape and human touch. A wine with clarity will always be transparent, from the beginning to the end.
On the the experience, Monty Waldin commented “One of the delights of judging wines made by people working in tune with nature, rather than working against it, is that the wines show a brightness and levity which makes wine tasting a joy rather than a chore. We all felt refreshed at the end of the day’s judging as these natural, organic and Biodynamic wines tend to have lower levels of alcohol compared to conventional wines because the vines are in balance.”
Accompanying Monty Waldin in this year’s tasting, Wine Without Walls included 4 natural wine connoisseurs. Regine Lee, Christopher Barnes, Richard Kershaw MW and Gill Gordon Smith, all coming from various countries around the world, joined together at wine2digital. The panel agreed, at the end of the selection, that the wines far exceeded their expectations in terms of quality, complexity and, most importantly, value. Furthermore, the judges were pleased to see that the wines came from not only from small, artisan producers but also from medium to large scale producers. Despite their size, they showed that they are well organised and fully capable of bringing grapes into the winery at optimal ripeness and with diverting flavours.
Here’s the list of the Wine Without Walls selected wines:
ADRIANO GRASSO with BARBERA D’ASTI DOCG
CANTINA ALDENO S.C.A. with TRENTINO DOC GEWURZTRAMINER VINO BIOLOGICO
AZIENDA VINICOLA ATTILIO CONTINI S.P.A. with CANNONAU DI SARDEGNA DOC VINO BIOLOGICO
SOCIETÀ AGRICOLA TENUTA MARA SRL with RUBICONE IGP SANGIOVESE VINO BIOLOGICO
AZIENDA AGRICOLA LUSENTI DI LODOVICA LUSENTI with COLLI PIACENTINI DOC MALVASIA
BORTOLIN F.LLI SRL with VALDOBBIADENE PROSECCO DOCG SUPERIORE SPUMANTE BRUT
TENUTE DEL GARDA SRL with VINO SPUMANTE EXTRA BRUT
PIEVALTA SOC. AGR.R.L. with VERDICCHIO DEI CASTELLI DI JESI DOC CLASSICO SUPERIORE VINO BIOLOGICO and CASTELLI DI JESI VERDICCHIO RISERVA DOCG CLASSICO VINO BIOLOGICO
OLIS SOCIETÀ AGRICOLA SRL (FATTORIA LA MALIOSA) with TOSCANA IGT BIANCO VINO BIOLOGICO
AZ. AGR. LE CARLINE DI PICCININ DANIELE with VENEZIA DOC PINOT GRIGIO VINO BIOLOGICO and LISON PRAMAGGIORE DOC REFOSCO DAL PEDUNCOLO ROSSO VINO BIOLOGICO
AZ. AGR. CARLO TABARRINI “CANTINA MARGÒ” with UMBRIA IGT BIANCO
CASCINA DEL COLLE DI D’ONOFRIO A. & C. S.S. with ABRUZZO DOC BIANCO VINO BIOLOGICO and ABRUZZO DOC ROSSO VINO BIOLOGICO
LA CAPPUCCINA SOCIETÀ AGRICOLA S.S. with SOAVE DOC VINO BIOLOGICO
POSSENTE SOCIETÀ COOPERATIVA AGRICOLA with SICILIA DOC GRILLO VINO BIOLOGICO and TERRE SICILIANE IGP CATARRATTO VINO BIOLOGICO
FOLICELLO SOCIETÀ AGRICOLA S.S. with PIGNOLETTO DOC FRIZZANTE VINO BIOLOGICO
MARCHISIO FAMILY ORGANIC ESTATE S.S.A. with ROERO DOCG ARNEIS VINO BIOLOGICO and LANGHE DOC NEBBIOLO VINO BIOLOGICO
AVIGNONESI SRL with ROSSO DI MONTEPULCIANO DOC VINO BIOLOGICO and TOSCANA IGT ROSSO VINO BIOLOGICO
ERNST TRIEBAUMER with BURGENLAND QUALITÄTSWEIN BLAUFRÄNKISCH
LAS VEGAS (PRWEB) – The Mob Museum, The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, today announces the opening of The Underground, its new Prohibition history exhibition featuring a working distillery and speakeasy. Zappos.com serves as The Underground’s signature sponsor.
Entirely re-envisioning the typical museum exhibition experience, The Underground takes visitors on an uncommonly vivid journey back in time: Situated discreetly in the basement of the Museum, The Underground encompasses 2,814 square feet appointed with luxurious, Art Deco design motifs. Guests of The Underground are encouraged to ponder the time when consuming alcohol was not only a criminal act, but also bred secret watering holes–some of which became the most glamorous places to be.
“We are extremely proud of this addition to the Museum, which was developed to tell the story of this pivotal period of American history in the most dynamic way possible,” said Jonathan Ullman, president and chief executive officer, The Mob Museum. “To our many supporters whose contributions made The Underground possible, we extend enormous gratitude.”
The Museum’s project team for The Underground included LG Architects, design firm Gallagher and Associates, historic consultant Robert Chattel of Chattel, Inc., custom fabricator CREO Industrial Arts, the City of Las Vegas and Core Construction.
Numerous exhibits and artifacts found in the distillery and speakeasy add depth and context to the experience. Exhibits and artifacts on display bring to life the essence of a time that saw organized crime syndicates grow richer and more powerful than ever before, while giving rise to great cultural and societal change.
Artifacts on display include:
- Five-gallon whiskey still, an example of one of the smaller home stills used to make alcohol during Prohibition.
- Valise with hidden flasks produced by Abercrombie & Fitch, with a brass stud on its base that, when swiveled, reveals a tiny keyhole. Once unlocked, the false bottom opens to reveal three silver flasks.
- One-gallon “alky cooker” like those used by impoverished families employed by Chicago’s Genna brothers to make small batches of liquor in their homes.
- Grape brick sign, which advertised the blocks of grape concentrate sold in grocery stores. These blocks could be combined with water to make grape juice. Of course, yeast could be added, the mixture poured into a bottle, the bottle corked and, three weeks later—voila!—home-made wine.
- Budweiser frozen eggs, which along with more than 25 other non-alcoholic products, carried Anheuser Busch’s most popular brand name during Prohibition. Other products included soft drinks, malt extract, corn syrup and truck bodies. The frozen eggs were sold in 30-pound canisters and stabilized with sugar and salt.
- Beaded chiffon dress, circa 1926, which provides an example of the new and bolder fashions that became popular during the Prohibition era due to the rise of flapper culture.
A unique aquarium exhibit, produced in conjunction with The Animal Planet series “Tanked,” tells the story of the 1922 sinking of the Lizzie D, a tug boat believed to have moonlighted as a rum runner, off the coast of Fire Island, New York. The 440-gallon tank memorializes the discovery of the sunken vessel in 1977, which was indeed found to be carrying crates containing hundreds of bottles of Kentucky bourbon, Scotch whisky and Canadian rye whisky.
Master Distiller in Residence George Racz, oversees the initial production of corn-mash moonshine in The Underground’s 60-gallon, custom-made copper-pot still. Capable of producing 250 750 ml jars of moonshine per week, the gleaming still forms the focal point of the distillery.
In the speakeasy, The Underground’s moonshine provides the centerpiece of the cocktail collection, while a full bar is also available. The speakeasy cocktail menu includes typical Prohibition cocktails such as Bee’s Knees, Underground Old Fashioned, Ginger Jake and Giggle Water. A variety of coffee cocktails, draft beer, bottled beer, wines by the glass and non-alcoholic cocktails are also available.
Finally, for private groups and intimate events, a VIP hideaway called “The Fitting Room,” concealed by a secret entrance off the speakeasy, can accommodate up to 12 guests.
Entrance to The Underground at The Mob Museum is free with general Museum admission until 5 p.m.; guests who wish to visit just The Underground after 5 p.m. may enter via its exterior side entrance free of charge until closing. The new hours of the Museum, including The Underground, are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Wednesday, and 9 a.m. until midnight, Thursday through Saturday.
ABOUT THE MOB MUSEUM
The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, provides a world-class, interactive journey through true stories—from the birth of the Mob to today’s headlines. The Mob Museum offers a provocative, contemporary look at these topics through hundreds of artifacts and immersive storylines. Whether you like it or not, this is American history. It debuted a major renovation in 2018, including a Crime Lab, Use of Force Training Experience, and Organized Crime Today exhibit as well as The Underground, a basement-level Prohibition history exhibition featuring a working speakeasy and distillery and sponsored by Zappos. Since opening in 2012, The Mob Museum has accumulated numerous accolades, including being named one of TripAdvisor’s “Top 25 U.S. Museums,” one of Las Vegas Weekly’s “Twenty Greatest Attractions in Las Vegas History,” one of Hotel.com’s Top 7 “Travel Brag Landmarks,” one of USA Today’s “12 Can’t Miss U.S. Museum Exhibits,” “A Must for Travelers” by The New York Times, one of “20 Places Every American Should See” by Fox News and Budget Travel magazine, “Best Museum” by Nevada Magazine and is a multi-year winner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s “Best of Las Vegas” rankings. The Mob Museum has been awarded accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition afforded U.S. museums. General admission is $26.95 for adults ages 18 and over with special pricing for online purchase, children, seniors, military, law enforcement, Nevada residents, and teachers. The Museum is open daily; visit the website for up-to-date operating hours. For more information, call (702) 229-2734 or visit https://themobmuseum.org. Connect on Facebook at facebook.com/themobmuseum or Twitter @themobmuseum.
MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. (PRWEB) – The 23rd Annual Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza in Mammoth Lakes, California is gearing up for its High Sierra summer party with four days of music and two days of craft beer tasting, August 2nd-5th, outdoors among the pines at The Woods at Mammoth Lakes.
More than 15 internationally known bands will perform on two stages. On the Bluesapalooza Main Stage, the Beyond Blues Thursday Night (5:30pm-9:30pm) kicks off with Harper and Midwest Kind with Lazer Lloyd. Friday Night Rock ‘N Blues (5:00pm-10:00pm) features headlining performances from TajMo: The Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’ Band, Revered Peyton’s Big Damn Band, and Alicia Michilli, and Saturday’s Bluesapalooza (12:15pm-9:30pm) features Ozomatli, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Eric Gales, Danielle Nicole and Wee Willie Walker and The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra. Festivalgoers can unwind, kick back and relax on Soulful Sunday (12:15pm-5:15pm) with ZZ Ward, The Reverend Shawn Amos, and Vanessa Collier. On the Minaret Stage, Dennis Johnson and The Mississippi Ramblers, Dirty Cello, and The Bald Eagles will perform throughout the weekend, and during late night sets after the Main Stage performances.
“At 8,000 feet, we’re the highest elevation beer and music festival on the West Coast,” says Sean Turner of Mammoth Brewing Company, host brewery of the event. “In 23 years, we’ve built a solid reputation of mixing legendary blues performers, exciting new acts, and the best craft breweries from around the west so we’re the best festival to find your new favorite band and your new favorite beer and meet some of the brewers.”
And when it comes to craft beer, attendees have a mammoth supply to choose from and taste. The Mammoth Festival of Beers features two days of beer tasting, both Saturday (12pm-5:00pm) and Sunday (12pm-4:00pm), showcasing more than 60 plus breweries pouring over 200 craft beers, such as Mammoth Brewing Company, Bear Republic, Figueroa Mountain Brewing, Firestone Walker, Pizza Port Brewing, Russian River Brewing, San Diego, Sierra Nevada, Stone, and many more. The event benefits the California Craft Brewers Association, Infinite Music Foundation and many local nonprofit organizations. Along with the beer and blues, plenty of tasty food from some of Mammoth’s best restaurants will be served in the Blues Food Court satisfying the heartiest of appetites. And for those that prefer grapes to hops, Paso Robles winery Castoro Cellars will offer their signature wines.
Multi-day tickets are the festival’s best buy and those that purchase the Blues/Brews Ultimate Pass receive early festival entry to the festival and beer tastings each day in addition to complimentary food vouchers.
Advance tickets are on sale now and this year’s event is again expected to sell out. Tickets are available online at http://www.MammothBluesBrewsFest.com/tickets; and locally at the Mammoth Brewing Company Tasting Room. For festival updates and additional information, visit the event’s responsive website, http://www.MammothBluesBrewsFest.com which features music videos; links to bands, breweries and ticketing; a photo gallery; email signup; live social media updates; FAQ section; an informative blog on festival happenings; and more. According to the event producers, this is the best place to obtain up-to-the-minute information about the festival. Or, contact the event hotline, 888-99-BREWS (992-7397).
The event venue, The Woods at Mammoth Lakes, is located at 5701 Minaret Road between Main Street and Meridian Boulevard. Mammoth Lakes is a mountain resort located near Yosemite National Park in the Eastern High Sierra off Highway 395, offering world-class golf courses, mountain biking, fishing, hiking, and resort facilities. For additional information about camping or local accommodations, call 800-GO MAMMOTH or visit http://www.visitmammoth.com or http://www.mammothbluesbrewsfest.com/lodging.
Where does one begin after their first dining experiences at Celestino Ristorante and Bar? The seasonal mushroom menu that included my first experience tasting truffles? Meeting Partner and Executive Chef Calogero Drago? Tasting “only three percent of the menu” but possibly the best as recommended by our server? Pairing Italian Cabernet Sauvignon and Italian Syrah with a meal that began with Sicilian rice croquet and ended with Panna Cotta vanilla custard and strawberries…wait, that dessert was served with a small glass of chilled Italian Moscato dessert wine. Egads, lets just get started!
The Dishes and Wine Pairing
As is our custom in a restaurant that is new to us, we asked our server for advice on their best dishes and wines (in this case he offered them to us by the glass) for each. We began with an item not on the menu: Sicilian Rice Croquet paired with a 2011 Vitiano Cabernet Sauvignon. Our waiter said not to “judge at first page, like a book” and see how the wine worked with the food (as we all know Italian wines are made for food).
The wine was not as big and bold as a domestic Cabernet and paired with the soft, warm and inviting creamiest of provolone cheese in the croquet – it subtly complemented it. My husband Eddie said the wine opened up more with the oil and fat in the dish, I found it to be a pleasant palate cleanser.
Then we made a selection from the Seasonal Mushroom and Truffle Menu: Veal Carpaccio with Shave Fresh Truffle and Pecorino Cheese, paired with the same Vitiano Cabernet. Neither of us had had Veal Carpaccio or Truffle before. This was a treat! I picked up the aromas of the dish from at least a foot away, though no one item overpowered the other in flavor once I dived in – except the capers of course! Having no point of reference on what truffle tastes like (and no, for my food 101ers, it’s not chocolate) this root, this mushroom, had the strength of flavor of the finest cured meat, and against the firm cheese and delicate veal it was simply a wonderful discovery.
Next we moved over to main dishes, that we had split so we could try each other’s dishes. We ordered the Ossobuco all Milanese with Saffron Risotto and Risotto with Fresh Porcini Mushroom (our waiter exchanged the Risotto with Homemade Wide Pappardelle noodle so we didn’t have too much Risotto) both paired with a 2012 Adesso, made from the Nero d’avolo grape our waiter said was “an ancestor” to the Syrah grape.
Trying the wine on its own I noted great spice and dark fruit, yet very balanced with low acid and good tannin structure.
(This is where I must take a breath. When you look over the photo album on Facebook, you will see a shot of tricolored drying pasta. The Pappardelle noodle was cooked perfectly al dente, I had to wonder how they could do this. Eddie figured it’s because the noodles don’t need to be rehydrated, and cooks faster. But still, 90 seconds or 100 seconds, they have it down to a science.)
Now, back to noodle nirvana. Starting with the Pappardelle I thought it was comfort food at its finest: creamy, milky, buttery and meaty too, courtesy the flavorful mushrooms. Yet we were told that the only liquid in the sauce was white wine. There was NO cream in the dish. What made it taste like this? Our waiter came to our aid again and said that when made with fresh Porcini mushrooms it’s the mushrooms alone that makes the dish creamy.
Now, if you’re keeping up we have one more – and incredible – main dish and then dessert. Try to hold on because here comes Ossobuco alla Milanese with Saffron Risotto paired with 2003 Cersus 100% Sangiovese. Our waiter had asked if we wanted a domestic wine or a big Italian, we chose the big Italian because we had enjoyed the others so much before this. On its own I got aromas of dirt, blackberry, cigar…and dare I say mushroom? The taste was all blue and black fruit, balanced pepper, firm tannins and a staggeringly long finish.
Now, onto the tenderest of veal framed by an equally tender risotto. Both were creamy, and both gave into the wine cutting right through them, making you want to dive back into the dish over and over again even if…you are getting a tad full.
So here it is, dessert: Panna Cotta Vanilla Custard Over Strawberries paired with a chilled Italian Moscato dessert wine. Our waiter said there was a great selection of desserts, but this one, the Panna Cotta, would not be found anywhere else. Reminded me of a vanilla bean in fresh whipped cream though denser, custard though softer, a crème Brûlée without the hard shell. The flavor of the vanilla and strawberries against the orange in the Moscato was something to relish and linger over. And that we did.
We were early diners so we could select a booth or table, and we chose a spot close to the kitchen to watch things. At one point we were quietly serenaded in Italian as workers went about their business. Nice.
I took a tour around and was pleased to fine more than one dining room and a beautiful outdoor patio complete with an arbor, lights and a young boy that wanted to be in my photos.
At one point our waiter announced, “The Capitan, Senior Drago is here” and we watched as Partner and Executive Chef Calogero Drago went from table to table to greet his guests, making the evening that much more special for all. And yes, we got another photo.
We want to try more Italian Cabernets, we want to try the other 97% of the menu, and we want to go back for my birthday.
Celestino Ristorante & Bar – 141 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101 – 626.795.4006 –
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a guest judge for the L.A. International Wine Competition. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com
NEW YORK (PRWEB) – John Szabo, Master Sommelier and award-winning author, has announced the inaugural ‘International Volcanic Wines Conference (IVWC)’ to be held in New York City on March 27, 2018. The event follows the global success of his definitive book on the subject, ‘Volcanic Wines: Salt, Grit and Power,’ published in 2016.
The IVWC aims to establish a volcanic wine movement, and to provide educational and promotional opportunities for volcanic wine producers internationally. The conference will act as a catalyst and facilitator to eventually bring together all of the world’s volcanic regions and create a “volcanic wine brand,” defined as a unique category of wines produced under some of the most extreme viticultural conditions on the planet. The IVWC will also help establish the volcanic wine brand as a premium category of high quality wines with a true sense of place, thereby increasing their perceived value.
“I’ve seen that wines made from volcanic soils around the world share common characteristics,” says Szabo, “yet maintain their own personalities, considering variations in not just climate, grape varieties and winemaking traditions, but also in volcanic soils themselves. It’s a fascinating world to discover.”
Wine professionals are continually discussing and debating the role of soils on wine profile, and volcanic soils have been recognized in recent years as having one of the strongest signatures. At the Volcanic Wine Conference, the first of its kind, Szabo aims to explore the unique characteristics that make volcanic wines special, drawing on experts from all related fields and wine producers from across the globe to delve deeply into the topic.
“The conference seminars will explore what differentiates volcanic wines in the world of wine, and what unites them. It will also give participants an unprecedented opportunity to taste a vast collection of volcanic wines under a single roof, with producers at hand to further explain their unique attributes,” says Szabo.
Producers from regions as diverse as Basilicata, Sicily, Soave, Campania, Santorini, Tokaj, Badacsony, Somló, Washington State and more will be participating in the inaugural conference. Winemakers, academics and journalists will be presenting educational seminars during breakout tasting sessions on various aspects of volcanic wines.
About John Szabo
John Szabo is a Toronto-based author and wine critic, and in 2004 was the first Canadian to add the Master Sommelier credential to his name. He was named ‘Canada’s best-known sommelier’ in Meininger’s Wine Business International, and he is a partner and a wine critic for WineAlign.com and freelances widely. In addition to Volcanic Wines, Salt, Grit and Power, his book titles include Pairing Food and Wine for Dummies and Sommelier Management. John also works as a restaurant consultant, and speaks and judges internationally, when he’s not making a few dozen bottles of wine from his vineyard in Eger, Hungary.
New York, NY (PRWEB) – Concha y Toro has been named a 2017 “Top 100 Winery of the Year” by Wine & Spirits according to a feature on the magazine website. For Concha y Toro, it marks a record 23rd year that Chile’s foremost wine producer and the preeminent name in South American wines has made it into Wine & Spirits’ annual list of Top 100 Wineries.
Wine & Spirits’ Top-100 status recognizes 100 wineries around the world who have delivered best overall performances in the magazine’s tastings over the previous 12 months. Six estate-bottled wines account for Concha y Toro’s presence in this year’s Top 100 list:
- Marques de Casa Concha Carmenere 2014: 92 points / Year’s Best (02/17)
- Marques de Casa Concha Pinot Noir 2015: 90 points (06/17)
- Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay 2015: 92 points (06/17)
- Terrunyo Carmenere 2014: 94 points / Year’s Best (02/17)
- Terrunyo Sauvignon Blanc 2016: 95 points / Wine of the Month (06/17)
- Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2013: 93 points / Year’s Best (02/17)
All Top 100 Wineries are profiled in Wine & Spirits’ 31st Annual Buying Guide out now. Commenting on the top-scoring Concha y Toro Terrunyo Sauvignon Blanc 2016, the editors note: “The 2016 vintage was challenging, with a lot of humidity that threatened rot in the grapes, but [winemaker] Recabarren overcame the difficulties, obtaining a linear sauvignon, one that shares the tension of his best releases, a wine with a clear sense of place that crowns this year’s lineup from Concha y Toro.”
Concha y Toro: Concha y Toro is an international ambassador for world-class Chilean wines. Founded in 1883 by Don Melchor Concha y Toro, it was among the first Chilean producers to champion wines made from French grape varieties. Today Concha y Toro comprises vineyards, wineries and brands ranging over multiple estates located throughout the premier wine regions of Chile.
About Wine & Spirits: Founded in 1982, Wine & Spirits is published eight times a year and read by over 200,000 members of America’s wine community. Consumers and wine professionals read the magazine for information on established and up-and-coming regions and producers, the art and science of viticulture, industry happenings and food and wine pairing. Wine & Spirits, the only wine publication to win the James Beard award five times for excellence in wine writing, evaluates more than 15,000 bottlings every year.
Halter Ranch Vineyard, a historic property on the west side of Paso Robles, draws on both innovation and rich tradition in crafting world-class wines. Located in the heart of California’s Central Coast, the winery specializes in estate-grown Bordeaux and Rhône Valley varietals and blends. It has earned California’s prestigious SIP certification (Sustainability in Practice) for its environmentally responsible viticulture and winemaking practices. Their primary wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, CDP (a Rhône style blend), Grenache Blanc, Rosé and the Estate Reserve, Ancestor (Bordeaux-style blend). To learn more about the winery and vineyard, please visit www.halterranch.com.
A Continuation of Abe Schoener’s [The Scholium Project]…
A NEW LESSON IN THE MORAL NATURE OF WINEMAKING: LES JARDINS DES ESMÉRALDINS
Questions of Technique: the Beginning of Thinking
The first bottle is a white wine from 2004. He makes only two wines, one red, one white. The white, 100% Chenin. Six years in barrel before bottling, then, in the case of this wine, four more years before release. Robert asks about skin contact (Xavier speaks no English, I translate as best as I can). No skin contact. We discuss the press regime and fermentation for 30 minutes. In great detail. He uses an old champagne press with a capacity of about 500 liters– very small, and exactly the same capacity as our presses at Tenbrink. A typical day during the white harvest has the following rhythm: wake up, harvest as much fruit as the press will hold, bring it back to the winery (“where do you do the work?” I ask, pointing to the overgrown yard and the complete absence of what we would call a crush pad. “Where you can,” he says with a smile). Load the press. Begin pressing. Go past midnight. Adjust the pressure. Assess. If all seems good, go home. Sleep, wake, return to the winery, release the pressure, break up the grapes (“Whole cluster?” “Yes. We do not crush or destem anything”), re-apply pressure, go harvest fruit, return, unload the press, begin the cycle again. They work with about 3 vineyards typically but make 3-4 passes in each vineyard. There could be a dozen days of pressing; sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. They break up the cake of compressed grapes only once and gently. He wants as little friction and trituration as possible. There is no breaking up of the fruit on the way into the press or in the press as we do (“makes the fermentation too fast,” he explains. “Oh yes, how fast? What counts as a rapid fermentation for you?” “Three weeks.” Ah, that is rapid. What is the optimal time for you?” “A few months . . . . A year.” “Ah yes, we call those ‘French Fermentations.'” He smiles.)
They do not protect the juice at any stage from oxygen; they do not settle. They do not make press fractions. In general, they consolidate fermentations; there is no multiplication of differences. At the beginning of his winemaking, he used a little SO2. Now, no sulfur is used at any point.
Xavier has the aim of extracting what he calls “matière” from the grapes. He means something like a complex of tannins, phenolics, and aromatic compounds. More on this below. But he does not want sensible tannins, or roughness, or what he calls “rusticité.”
The wine ferments and ages in neutral oak vessels of various sizes. Originally all 220 liter, now many 400 liter. There is no stirring ever, no racking until bottling, topping only every few months if at all. I get the impression that he tops from other lots of younger wines, but I am not sure. Nothing is ever inoculated; the winery in which he has made most of his wine was originally created in the 11th century. As far as he knows, commercial yeasts have never been used in it; nonetheless he has no illusions about the source of his microbiology. He does everything he can to cultivate the microbiology of his vineyard, and to translate as much of it as possible to the winery– but, if I understand him correctly, he thinks that this comes in in the composition of the grapes, not as microbial passengers on the skin of the grapes. There is no hot water or soap or other disinfectants in the winery. Originally, he burnt sulfur mined from the earth in the barrels but he does this no longer.
This discussion, as I said, took about 30 minutes and was easy and casual. It was much more a discussion than an interview. Xavier listened carefully to my account of how we work at Scholium and I took pains to draw precise distinctions between his methods and ours. None of this meant anything to him. He clearly has his own paths (“The wine must reflect the ‘mentalité’ — the thinking– of the winemaker”; but more on this too) and, as far I could tell, was only interested to hear how we worked because he likes other human beings, not because he cares how anyone else makes wine. When I quoted him above on the “thinking of the winemaker,” he clearly did not mean something like it was his job to impose his thinking on the grapes– rather, there is no way for the thinking– the whole thinking, metaphysical, physical, religious, sentimental– no way for this NOT to affect the wine– so better to be clear and conscious about it.
To be continued…