Art in Wine,Wine,Wine Country,Wine Culture,Wines of Portugal

My Neighborhood Series ~ Sculpture from Geyserville to Cloverdale ~ #1

Last fall, we moved to Geyserville. We hadn’t thought of it as moving to a senior community; but, in some ways, it really is conducive to a more mature living location. I have gray hair coming in, so that qualifies, right?

Before living here full time, Geyserville was a place to visit for a few restaurants. (Sh…. Best kept secret… where the locals go. Geyserville Inn, also known as the Hoffman House) has a great restaurant, and there’s no waiting to be seated, no lines out the door. I seem to see the Pedroncelli family most times we’re there, for instance. It’s a great, relaxed atmosphere with generous, delicious dishes.

I’ll be writing abut the wines in this area; but first, I’d like to write about the town’s culture… Art is really important to the locals, so much so that there’s a Sculpture Trail from Geyserville to Cloverdale. As you enter Geyserville from the south, and you make that left-hand turn into town, an open field begins the trail. Many of the objects have come from past Burning Man events, for instance.

[FOREGROUND ARTWORK: Tulip by Adrian Litman ~ Sponsor: Joel & Kathy Zunino]

The field of large, metal sculpture is a stopping point for most new people arriving. It sort of reminds me of Napa Valley from both the north and the southern ends of the valley, when we see visitors gather under the welcome signs. We don’t have a welcome sign in the field, but we do have art that makes you want to just stop and have a closer look.

From the Sculpture Trail from Geyserville to Cloverdale Website:

3,000 American adults over the age of 18 in December 2016 participated in an Americans for Arts’ Public Opinion Poll.

  • 63 percent of the people polled believe the arts “lift me up beyond everyday experiences”
  • 64 percent feel the arts give them “pure pleasure to experience and participate in”
  • 73 percent say the arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world.”

[ARTWORK: Shimmer by Phillip Lynch ~ Sponsor: Bryce Jones]

We’re very fortunate to the have the Sculpture Trail in both Geyserville and into Cloverdale. Again, from the site:

The Geyserville Community Foundation, with support from Geyserville Chamber, and the Cloverdale Historical Society produce the Sculpture Trail. The Trail is an outdoor art exhibit of sculptures in the Northern Sonoma County communities of Geyserville and Cloverdale in the Sonoma County Wine Country. The Sculpture Trail is a year-round exhibit with sculptures changing every 12 months.

When I was hired to work as a publicist for Enoforum wines from Portugal, and visited this amazing country, I began not by focusing on the wines. Instead, I focused on the the history, the arts, the businesses, and then the wines. The Wines of Portugal ~ First you must understand the people.

This project will be driven by the first three above (history, the arts, the businesses). I need to begin, in our own community, to better understand where I am at this point in my life and career in Geyserville. The wines will follow. For now, I’m beginning with the arts and it’s supporters.

This link to the artwork is a fun place to start, anyway. Please do take a quick look. It’s really fun art. I’ll be adding my own images, as I go along. For now, this is just an introduction to my on-going series. The sculptures are for sale, by the way. Check out the Sculpture Trail from Geyserville to Cloverdale Website (link above).

There’s a giant pig at Soda Rock Winery, which was purchased from the field. I miss it. However, when we take 128 to get to Napa, there it is in Healdsburg on CA Route 128.

Burning Man: Sonoma man’s art is nothing to ‘snort’ at by DAVID TEMPLETON, INDEX-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER | August 22, 2016

“All by myself,” says artist-sculptor Bryan Tedrick, of Glen Ellen. “That’s how I like to work. Just me and the metal – and the idea.” Built out of steel, standing 20-feet tall and 30-feet wide, the massive sculpture resembles a gigantic mechanical boar. Tedrick has whimsically dubbed his creation Lord Snort.

My connection to all of the artwork is Victoria Heiges, who lives in my neighborhood. This is my introduction. Stay tuned for more details!

I’m going to end with this one, because in a slight wind, it’s very magical.


Cabernet Sauvignon,Holiday,Israel,Merlot,Wine

Rosh Hashanah ~ Wine of the Week ~ Psagot Edom

Shana Tova, to all of my Jewish family and friends!

Raised as a Catholic child, religion was a great comfort to me; as an adult, the dogma became difficult. So, like many people during the 60s and 70s, the Beatles and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi were so intriguing that that culture introduced me to a new way through transcendental meditation. I also studied Tibetan Buddhism (for a few years) and  life’s philosophies began anew. That’s all the religious studies that I’ve had. The Jewish religion is only vaguely known to me.

I was asked if I’d like a sample of the Psagot Edom, a Kosher wine from the Judean Hills (just north of Jerusalem, and overlooking the Edom mountains to the east). This sounded very tempting, so I said yes. I was up for some Jewish culture… and in that process, I had to finally focus on understanding one of the culture’s holidays… Rosh Hashanah…

What is Rosh Hashanah, I thought, and what does it celebrate?

From Chadbad.org:

The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah actually means “Head of the Year.” Just like the head controls the body, our actions on Rosh Hashanah have a tremendous impact on the rest of the year.

As we read in the Rosh Hashanah prayers, each year on this day “all inhabitants of the world pass before G‑d like a flock of sheep,” and it is decreed in the heavenly court “who shall live, and who shall die … who shall be impoverished and who shall be enriched; who shall fall and who shall rise.”

It is a day of prayer, a time to ask the Almighty to grant us a year of peace, prosperity and blessing. But it is also a joyous day when we proclaim G‑d King of the Universe. The Kabbalists teach that the continued existence of the universe depends on G‑d’s desire for a world, a desire that is renewed when we accept His kingship anew each year on Rosh Hashanah.

Rosh Hashanah Typical Food Dishes

  • Honey (Apples and Honey)
  • Challah (braided egg bread shaped into spirals or rounds symbolizing the continuity of Creation)
  • Honey Cake
  • New Fruit (second night)
  • Fish
  • Brisket

A perfect Wine for Rosh Hashanah ~ Psagot Edom

For a Jewish New Year celebration, this really tasty Kosher 2013 Psagot Edom has all of the attributes of a delicious Cabernet Sauvignon… dry, black Marionberry fruit flavors, with vanilla lingering, long after the sip has been enjoyed. It sounds to me that serving this wine with brisket, since it’s a Cab blend, would be a perfect combination.

If you’re not going with traditional holiday fare, because you’re not Jewish, but can appreciate celebrating a new year cycle – like we also do with Chinese New Year – this very special wine will take you to a new culture (perhaps) and broaden your palate for Cabernet Sauvignon. I did find it reflecting the desert a bit. It’s dryness, for instance, didn’t remind me of a French wine, which reflects a more humid terroir. It also didn’t remind me of other Cabernet’s from around the globe. It’s distinctively lean flavors seemed more of a desert expression.

Psagot Edom Winery

The Psagot Winery is located in the Judean Hills, just north of Jerusalem, overlooking the Edom mountains to the east. Psagot’s Edom is the winery’s premier red wine. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (75 percent) and Merlot (25 percent). It’s definitely full-bodied, and aged for 14 months in French and American oak barrels.



Bubbly Wine,California,Canned Wines,Chardonnay,Importer,Italy,Rosé,Sauvignon Blanc,Wine

Wine Cans Continue To Come On Strong ~ And So Are the Tailgate Parties

Tailgate parties, the rage in parking lots… All I know is… when people are all drinking from cans and it’s all about beer, just hand over the equal packaging opportunity in wine, thank you very much. And convenient: no wine openers needed or glass to lug around. And, according to Nielsen ratings

  • 2016: U.S. sales of wine in cans totaled $14.5 million during 2016. This was a surge of 125 percent over 2015.
  • 2017, May 2: “U.S. canned wine sales keep growing and is up 155 percent in dollar sales, and 190 percent in volume.”

I’m NOT a beer person. Never have been, and never will be. It smells like skunk and tastes like it too, on my palate. The scourge of a super palate. Some think I’m being elitist, when I say I have one. Quite the contrary. It’s no blessing to have an overabundance of taste buds. Everything gets amplified… It’s like going to a Motley Cru concert, when you’d prefer to be at ELO.

So, if I’m at a sporting event – like a tailgate…

Hand me the canned wine, si vous plait

And, I have some great suggestions for you. First, size matters: Cans have a couple of convenient sizes.

  • The small ones are equivalent to a one and a half glass of wine at 187 ml.
  • The larger ones are good for two and a half glasses; a half bottle of wine at 375 ml, where a bottle of wine is 750 ml (five glasses).

Cans on my radar screen


Tangent Wines from Edna Valley

Fresh. Crisp. Vibrant. Yes, they are.

Owned by the Niven Family Wine Estates, they took on “one of the world’s greatest explorations of cool climate (Edna Valley), alternative white wines from a single vineyard.” And they’ve focused on creating refreshing, easy-drinking wines that are also complex. Their wines are all made with estate fruit grown on their family’s Paragon Vineyard in Edna Valley. Tangent is now selling a Rosé and a Sauvignon Blanc in cans, and they’re totally delicious. I only had to go as far as the pool to enjoy them this summer. I do foresee how cool they’d be at tailgate parties… Wine gone sports is easy when the wine is in a convenient can.

2016 Tangent Sauvignon Blanc

  • 375 ml
  • Clean, crisp, and so refreshing, who knew this could translate over so well into a wine can? I loved this Sauvignon Blanc’s green apple flavors, with hints of lemon… It was very easy to enjoy. If you like Saugivnon Blanc on the lean side, this one is for you. I like the care that this family has devoted to their wine brands. They’re located in Edna Valley, a very cool AVA in California; so, the wines are going to have more acidity. I prefer acidity over alcohol, so they fit right into what’s going to make me happy to taste. They’re more delicate, less rich…

2016 Tangent Rosé Wine

  • 375 ml
  • A medium bodied Rosé, it has delicious floral notes, with restrained plum-fruit flavors. The 2016 Rosé is made with Albariño, Viognier, with a bit of Pinot Noir, Grenache, and Syrah. This blend wasn’t easy for me to decipher, because of red and white grapes all coming together in one blend… A true concoction that worked really well, still left a lot of mystery in the process of “guess the varieties used;” except to say, yummy!


Tìamo Wines

Winesellers, Ltd. has introduced two varieties of Tìamo organic wines in a can. Perfect for tailgates and fall camping trips, consumers can sip organic white and rosé wines from the Italian producer. And, they’re available as individual cans or packs of four. “Tìamo is an innovative and modern brand produced sustainably from organic grapes, a perfect match for the canned wine format that promotes common sustainable attributes, like lightweight packaging and efficiency in recycling,” explained Todd Nelson, Marketing and Communication Manager for Winesellers.  “Tìamo organic White and Rosé are ideal for this application and entry into the emerging canned wine category.”

2016 Tìamo White Wine

  • 375 ml
  • Tìamo White Wine ~ Grillo ~ How’s that for a white variety? It’s not the happy, every day-every way grill out back. (Pronounced GREE-lo) It sounds firm, and it’s refreshingly all that. Riddu and/or Rossese bianco (other names) is a white Italian wine grape variety, which withstands high temperatures.It’s also widely used in Sicilian wines.

2016 Tìamo Rosé Wine

  • 375 ml
  • Tìamo Rose Wine ~ Montepulciano ~ And, what about this red wine gone rogue? I just love saying it.. Mon-te-pul-ci-AN-o… This is the primary grape in the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita wine Offida Rosso. It makes a really lovely rosé, whether you’re headed to the beach, around a pool – a lot safer than glass picnic lunches in a quiet meadow.


Bollicini Brut and Rose  – These single serving cans of Italian sparkling wine are light, crisp, and refreshing! Combine that with the convenient and attractive packaging – and you’re the true star at the next tailgate! The parent company is Mionetto USA. I’m going to have more of their wines to talk about at a later date. For now, it’s their oh-so-cute cans.

From their site: Mionetto USA, the United States subsidiary of Henkell & Co. Gruppe, was founded in 1997. Mionetto USA began with the introduction of the Mionetto family’s portfolio of fine sparkling wines to the United States, with the mission of establishing the prosecco category. Mionetto USA has grown to become the importer for one of the leading prosecco brands and ranks among the fastest growing premier wine importing companies in the United States.

NV Bollicini Sparkling Cuveé

  • 187 ml
  • A blend of Trebbiano, Pinot Bianco, and Chardonnay, this wine has stone fruit flavors of peach and apricot, that were really refreshing in a Southern Belle sort of way. Honestly, this was my first sparkling wine in a can experience. Not knowing what to expect, it was actually a lot of fun. A cold can, a hot, hot 100 degree day, and a sparkling wine. What could go wrong? Well, nothing did. It was totally fun, completely delicious, and left me craving more. So, I opened the Sparkling Rosé

NV Bollicini Sparkling Rosé

  • 187 ml
  • Trebbiano, Pinot Nero, and Lambrusco~ More typical with strawberry flavors. Trebbiano is an Italian wine grape, one of the most widely planted grape varieties in the world, and yet most people don’t even know it exists in the US. Pinot Nero is Italian for Pinot Noir… Got this one, right? Lambrusco is a grape variety, and many of us know it as “Lambrusco, the bubbly red wine.” Added to this Rosé and it’s right at home. The melange of this wine is superb. As refreshing as the Cuveé, both of these wines are delightful and will bring endless fun at any party.
  • As I was ending my photo shoot a friend appeared. I showed him both cans and asked if he’d like to have some bubbly with his dinner. He said, “I’m headed to my mom’s 83rd birthday dinner.” I said, “Oh, take them to your mother. She’ll love them.” He said, “Yes, she will and the blue one will match her hair.” We both had a great giggle… It was fun to share. I’m sure she also got a great giggle for the tiny cans that contain so much fun in them.

Rubin Family of Wines

I’ve been working with Ron Rubin of the Ron Rubin Winery for five years, as of this coming October. Ron is also involved in The Republic of Tea. If you know the quality of that line of beverages, it gives you some insight into his wines, too. Ron is exacting, not for the sake of perfection, but for the sake of quality assurance. He’s traveled the world to learn about teas. He’s also doing the same with wine. And if there’s a window open for any innovation, what -so-ever, he’s going to find it… Heck, he’ll invent it if it’s not already in the works. He dares to dream, and does it in a very measured way.

So, when he got the bug for canned wines, the first thing he did was create “We Are California” wines. Cathy name, easy to enjoy. Convenient to carry, headed to outside events. Safety was also a critical factor, so his cans have a protective lining. I’m not going to create tasting notes for these wines, just know that I approve them all, and they are for you to discover the flavors. Get back to me with your thoughts. YOU can write the tasting notes.


Easy to remember names?

NV We Are California Chardonnay

  • 187 ml
  • Everyone can identify with California. This is an off-dry wine, for the record.

NV We Are California Red

  • 187 ml
  • Everyone can identify with California. Chill it and enjoy!

Family legacy

NV Pam’s Un-Oaked Chardonnay

  • 187 ml
  • Next, he named one after his charming wife, calling the cans Pam’s Cuties. How could he not? These little cans are really adorable. He already had a Pam’s Un-Oaked Chardonnay, and that wine was the inspiration for also having Chardonnay in a can.

NV Ron’s Red (Blend)

  • 187 ml
  • Followed by… Ron’s Red ~ For the record: This wine is a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, and Merlot.

Disclosure: all canned wines were samples. I’ve also included our client Ron Rubin Winery’s canned wines. If it’s a client, I’ve not only endorsed the wines in order for the company to be a client, but I’ve also tasted the wines and approved of the quality.




Heringer Estates Family Vineyard & Winery ~ Harvest 2017 ~ Looking for Grapes?

This is not a paid advertisement. It’s the result of an incoming Email from Heringer Estates. I find this particularly useful, for seeing brix’s rising levels in only one week, and what brix levels go with which varieties.

Ready or not here they go! Whites, rosés, and reds are all briskly moving along. With last week’s heat, they did apply some water to varieties that were particularly thirsty, so they saw some things move forward, while others remained the same. They’re expecting moderate and warm temperatures for the next week.

Harvest in Clarksburg… Tuesday, 9/5

This is a bird’s eye view of stats that cause a vineyard to begin harvesting of grapes.

They’re asking for a minimum of two business days of lead time, to schedule a machine harvest; and four days, to schedule a hand harvest. “Any additional lead time is most appreciated, so we can best fit you into the calendar.”

Review last week’s numbers as a comparison

If you’re interested in bulk wines email or call Lucy at grapes@heringerestates.com or call (916)744-1094 opt 202.



Atlas Peak,Event,Leslie Caccamese,Terroir,Vineyards,VIT 101,Viticulture,Wine,Wine Country

Golf Ball Terroir ~ Welcome to Karibu

Karibu in Swahili means welcome; so Welcome to Welcome…

This is part of my current learning curve, as I prepare stories for Karibu Vineyard’s new Web site. It’s in the process of being developed:

  • Lyla Moore has created the logo.
  • Jose’s creating the website, coding it, adding pictures, you know… You’ve all either built sites or had them built for you.
  • I’m in the background, on the other side of Jose’s construction, proving the story content.


This website is very unique, as compared to others we’ve worked. It’s a grower’s site, not a winery one. Most growers can’t be bothered to create a website, as only their grapes are for sale, and they’re probably already under contracts with long-standing partners.

Location, location, location ~ Atlas Peak Area

Karibu is across the street from the Silverado Resort Golf Club’s driving range. If you look at the image above, you’ll see the huge net in the upper left of this photo.

The net is supposed to catch incoming slices that have gone awry, in some 90 degree hook to the left. How they make it over that net really leaves me wondering if I could hit a ball better, and I don’t even play golf. How high must the balls must go, and what on earth had them taking that unusual angle is more of my wondering.

In PR and in writing, we’re always looking for a “hook,” and in this case it’s literally a golf ball hook.

But wait, there’s more

I just interviewed Doug Hill Vineyard Management’s colleague, Leslie Caccamese. We were in Karibu Vineyard together. She’s been working this vineyard since it began and I wanted to know everything I could about its terroir. Unfortunately… used very loosely as you’ll see… it’s got this golf ball terroir thing going on. The club is willing to pay for any damages that might happen, as a result of someone’s unusual hook; BUT, it also offers an unusual hook for Karibu…

Leslie told me that she will see golf balls in other vineyards, but it’s always a rogue one. She said, “You have to wonder if someone was just out taking a shot, and there it went… all by itself.” In Karibu’s case, it can happen at any time. Leslie said she’s never seen one coming in, but I have.

SIDEBAR: I’ve always wanted to photograph a woman viticulturist’s hands. Thanks, Leslie for being my model! Girls seem to clean up better than men, but she did tell me that the night before would have been more rough and tumble.

Nana Gramp Camp

We had Jonathan and Nate (our grandsons) visiting for their annual #NanaGrampCamp visit, early in August. (I’m Nana, Jose’s Gramp, and our home is Camp.) As we were driving them back to the airport, we segued to the Atlas Peak area, where David and Vasi Thathiah’s vineyard is located. I had asked permission to go to their vineyard for the 2017 Inaugural Golf Ball Harvest. (It sounded like a fun plan, huh? Who else has ever done that?)

At one point in gathering, I heard a swishing in the air, stood up and watched a golf ball land 18 inches from my feet.

Ah, the former Androscoggin Day Camp for Girl Scouts’ director kicked in… “This needs a solution, beyond the golf course’s netting.” Since David’s day job is operating a construction company, hard hats are an easy to get and easy to fix solution. If you drive by Atlas Peak Road and see hard hats in a vineyard, yeah… you’ve arrived.

So, the inaugural harvest went well, as you can see. But… Jose and I returned to have this meeting with Leslie Caccamese. While waiting for her, I had a second harvest by myself, getting as many balls, in only a 20 day period. Leslie said that the vineyard team also has removed golf balls, because they’re annoying while working. Imagine having them underfoot… They do go into the soil, but they’re not ideal.

If they had small kids, they could sell them roadside, the way kids sell lemonade. Just a little soaking and they’re almost like new.

Golf Ball Terroir… Now you know how and why…



Celebrating Cabernet Sauvignon with Concannon Vineyard’s Major Cab Contributions

During this month of September, Concannon Vineyard will be celebrating for the entire month, due to their important Cabernet Sauvignon contributions, as it relates to California’s wine history.

It all began in the Livermore Valley, ladies and gentlemen. Cabernet Sauvignon Clones #7 and #8 originated in the United States at Concannon Vineyard…

From the Concannon Vineyard Website:

Over 130 years ago, our founder, James Concannon, began importing extraordinary Cabernet Sauvignon vines directly from the renowned Château Margaux in Bordeaux. Years later, in 1965, his grandson, Jim, collaborated with UC Davis in selecting cuttings from one of those vines for heat treatment. These dynamic, virus-resistant vines later became known as Concannon Cabernet Clones #7, #8 and #11 and played a key role in helping California Cabernet achieve international recognition. Today, we are proud that an estimated 80% of California’s Cabernet Sauvignon is planted with our Concannon Clones.

[This image from Châteaux Margaux comes from their Website ~ Title: 07/17/2016 Magnificent vines]

Pour yourself a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon from Concannon, your favorite winery in the Napa Valley, or any other valley in California, and it’s likely you’ll be sipping wine born from Concannon’s Clones #7 and/or #8. It was Concannon Vineyard that offered the wine industry their famous Cabernet Sauvignon #7 and #8 Clones, during the California wine industry’s twentieth-century renaissance, which all began in the 1970s.

Clones #7 and #8 are widely recognized as prolific planting material within the U.S. wine industry. Dr. Harold Olmo, celebrated viticulturist from the University of California, worked with Joseph Concannon to catalogue what would become the most favored Cabernet Sauvignon plant material for viticulturist and winemakers from the early 1970s, Clone #7 and #8.

Dr. Harold Olmo’s efforts to improve California’s grape planting materials began in 1931. He was hired by Albert Winkler to succeed F.T. Bioletti’s ampelographic expertise. Dr. Olmo began his grape breeding program at the University of California at Davis. Most famous worldwide for his grape breeding program and his ampelographic proficiency, he also worked tirelessly to improve several rootstocks, until his retirement in 1979. Many grape species were acquired from not only worldwide sources, but Olmo also collected many species from the United States, including Concannon’s famous Clones #7 and #8.

According M. Andrew Walker “He began his clonal work by selecting variants in vineyards across the State emphasizing good cluster formation, high yields, fruit quality, and disease-free status with varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot noir, Burger, Semillon, and Riesling…”[i]

Noted California Wine Historian Tim Patterson had conducted extensive research on the widely regarded impact of Concannon’s Clones #7 and #8 saying,

“People in the industry are well aware that the ‘Concannon clones’ — Cabernet Sauvignon clones #7 and #8–have been the backbone of the great California Cabernet vineyards for decades. For wine drinkers who assume that Napa was Napa since the beginning of time, this probably comes as a great surprise. For me, it’s a perfect example of the important, often behind-the-scenes role Concannon played in the growth of the industry for more than a century.”

To better determine the performance of California’s most significant clones, UC Davis’s Foundation Plant Materials Service conducted three clonal trials in 1981 in order to understand their performance[ii]. Started in Napa Valley at Beaulieu Vineyards, it included the following:

  • Concannon Clones #7-#8
  • Concannon Clone #11
  • Oakville 11V
  • Jackson, CA G8V10
  • Californian Vineyard 22-23
  • Mendoza, Argentina 04
  • Mendoza, Argentina 05
  • Neustadt, W. Germany 10
  • Chile 12
  • Chile 13-14-15
  • Chile 16-17-18
  • Chile 19
  • Chile 21

From three trials, the rating of FPMS clones was established, and it was concluded that Concannon’s Clones #7, #8, and #11 were the highest producing.

In a search for more information about the use of Concannon’s clones, Jim Concannon personally wrote the following to Dr. James Wolpert, UC Davis’s Department Chair for Viticulture & Enology. “Dear Dr. Wolpert: Many years ago my late brother Joe worked very closely with the viticulture department at Davis. Unfortunately most records on the background of the Cabernet Sauvignon Clones #7 and #8 were not kept at the winery. Since these clones are so widely used and were developed with the help of my brother Joe, I would be interested in obtaining information on them.”

In response, Dr. Wolpert wrote back to Jim, “It is good to hear from someone with the last name of Concannon. That selection of Cabernet Sauvignon is not only one of the most widely planted, but one of the most highly regarded. It comprises most of our plantings at our department’s (UC Davis) Oakville vineyard, where it makes exceptional wines.”[iii]

According to former Senior Writer Lynn Alley, and Deborah A. Golino (Director of the FPMS at Davis), many of the clonal selections Dr. Harold Olmo developed enriched the FPMS collection and are the industry standards today, such as FPMS Chardonnay Selection 04 (Wente Vineyards) and Cabernet Sauvignon Selection 08 (Concannon Vineyard).[iv]

Michael Silacci and his staff conducted most of the research, studying the vines for six years. Beginning in 1991, at Gristina Vineyards in Cuthogue, NY, another six years of data was collected in which all but a few of the Chile clones were again used. The final research was performed by J. Wolpert, A.N. Kasimatis, and P.S. Verdegaal. From these three trials, the rating of FPMS clones was established, and it was concluded that Concannon’s Clones 7, 8, and 11 were the highest producing.

It is with great pride that Concannon Vineyard Clones #7 and #8 have been widely recognized, by these industry leaders, for having set the standard of excellence for Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Power of [Concannon] Clone 7 in Napa Valley Hands

Robert Keenan Winery (Spring Mountain, Napa Valley) – The 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is composed primarily of fruit grown on Keenan’s Spring Mountain District Estate. Ninety-five percent of this wine is composed of estate grown [Concannon] Clone 7 Cabernet Sauvignon. Of the five different estate clones to choose from, we chose [Concannon] Clone 7, feeling it best showcased the “soul” of the 2002 vintage. The [Concannon] Clone 7 shows the most dynamic expression; beautifully described red berry fruit coupled with elegant, understated mountain power.

Excerpt from Robert M. Parker, Jr.’s,
The Wine Advocate,
Issue 157, February 28, 2005
93+ Points

Literature cited:

[i]  Walker, M. Andrew, UC Davis’ Role in Improving California’s Grape Planting Materials, © 2000 by the American Society of Enology and Viticulture
[ii]  Caldwell, John, A Concise Guide to Wine Grape Clones for Professionals, John Caldwell Viticultural Services, Second Edition
[iii] Used with the permission of Dr. James Wolpert and Jim Concannon, August 19, 2004
[iv] Alley, Lynn and Golino, Deborah A., The Originals of the Grape Program at Foundation Plant Materials Service, © 2000 by the American Society of Enology and Viticulture


Argentina,Importer,Imports,Malbec,Mendoza,Wine,Wine Making,Winemaker,Winemaking

Wine of the Week ~ 2016 Santa Julia Tintillo, Mendoza Argentina

What a delicious wine blend of Malbec and Bonarda is this 2016 Santa Julia Tintillo. But then you might ask, “Isn’t a lot of Malbec wine coming from Argentina?” To which I’d say, “Sure, but how many of them are also blended with Bonarda?” For the most part, gotcha, because you hear “Malbec” and not think very much about the Bonarda, after you heard (or read) “Malbec.”

For me, it’s the Bonarda that makes this wine so special; this unusual twist to a usual Malbec is what’s so intriguing. Bonarda in Argentina, much like Petite Sirah in the US, is an underdog variety, so we haven’t heard very much about it, unless you’re a SOMM. That said, I know extremely well what a joy Petite is, and I’ve now tasted a Bonarda, blended with Malbec. The 2016 Santa Julia Tintillo is a very opulent red wine, just right for any foods calling for a red wine. Its fun, contemporary label will draw you in; the wine’s flavors will keep you in-volved.

Santa Julia has called this blend Tintillo. Its dark violet color, with rich, blackberry flavors, and soft, supple tannins have created a wine that’s solid for many more years to come, but who is storing much wine these days? I’d go with a scrumptious beef dish, and call it a day.

Imported by Winesellers, Ltd., they’ve recommend that this wine is ideally served chilled between 46 – 56 degrees. This something that I like to do with reds, when I take the time to think about it. I like my wines served as if we’ve pulled them from a wine barrel, being aged in wine caves. Most wine caves are naturally 55 degrees. That’s a perfect storage condition yielding perfect tasting wines.

There seems to be a difference of opinion out there about where Bonarda originated. (Is it France, is it Italy?) Bottom line is that  it’s doing really well in Argentina, so that’s enough for me right now. Both grapes varieties have beautifully adapted to their South American plantings. Winemaker Sebastian Zuccardi struggles to tend to them. Simply put, Bonarda’s a bit more high maintenance than its happy-go-lucky counterpart.

About Santa Julie Winery ~ From Winesellers, Ltd

Julia exists; she is real. Julia is the only daughter of José Zuccardi, current director of Familia Zuccardi winery. Created in her honor, Santa Julia represents the Zuccardi Family’s commitment to achieve the highest quality levels through sustainable practices, contributing to protect the environment and to develop the community.

Founded in the early 1990s, Santa Julia is one of the emblematic Argentine wine brands, both in Argentina and around the world. Santa Julia is a combination of the quality and diversity of the Mendoza land, which produces modern wines. Santa Julia produces a diverse range of grape varieties : the classics include Malbec, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but also other rather unique varieties such as such as Viognier, Pinot Grigio and Tempranillo.



John Caldwell Viticultural Services presents ~ The Guide to Wine Grape Clones

This book has been in my library ever since I was working with Concannon Vineyard. I was hired, because of my expertise with Petite Sirah. At that time, Concannon wanted the world to know that Concannon Vineyard was the first – ever – to varietally label Petite Sirah. I expanded my services to include everything that makes Concannon a US winery treasure. One of the items listed by Lynn Kirimli, my marketing contact, was their involvement with Cabernet Sauvignon, in the US’s viticultural history. They brought over clones from France, and I wanted to know as much as I could about their Cab Clones. I had already purchased John Caldwell’s book, A concise Guide to Wine Grape Clones for Professionals, because of my work with Petite Sriah and my “need to know” drive. So, I then opened it to Cab clones, and I hit pay-dirt, literally and figuratively.

If you’re a serious and curious wine pro, at any level in your development, I highly recommend this book.

It will both excite and delight you. I just had it on a table, while waiting for our client Ron Rubin (Ron Rubin Winery) to arrive. I’m doing some research on Pinot Noir for Ron. Winemaker Joe Freeman walked into the room, saw the book, and immediately took an image of it with his phone. He wants it, like yesterday.  He got the “excite.” And, as he reads it, he’ll get the “delight.” I asked him what clones are in the Ron Rubin Vineyard. It turns out that the best of the best Pinot Noir clones are in his vineyard, which were first planted to France’s Clones #115, #667, and #777, as well as California’s #04. Talk about excellence, with a slight caveat warning, from John Caldwell, as it regards terroir credentials.

According to John Caldwell:

“Because complexity is such an important component of wine quality, growers should plant their fields with a number of different clones and their own clonal selections. Furthermore, the use of clonal material in no way obscures the importance of ‘terroir’ which is the basis of wine style diversity within every region.”

While we can add clones to discussions of terroir, it isn’t “the” major, defining factor; but, it certainly holds hints of a strong or weak thread in the overall tapestry.

When Used John Caldwell’s Quintessential Wine Clone Book for Concannon

Which now greatly benefits Concannon’s storylines, as regards Cabernet Sauvignon

[Image borrowed from the Concannon site, as it is so timely to this story.]

Some of what my press release for Concannon contained that surprised more than a few people:

Livermore: It all Began in the Livermore Valley… Cabernet Sauvignon Clones 07 and 08 Originated at Concannon Vineyard:

“Pour yourself a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon from Concannon, or your favorite winery in the Napa Valley, and it’s likely you’ll be sipping wine born from Concannon’s Clones 07 and/or 08. It was Concannon Vineyard that offered the wine industry their famous Cabernet Sauvignon 07 and 08 Clones, during the California wine industry’s twentieth-century renaissance, which all began in the 1970s.

“Clones 07 and 08 are widely recognized as prolific planting material within the U.S. wine industry. Dr. Harold Olmo, celebrated viticulturist from the University of California, worked with Joseph Concannon to catalogue what would become the most favored Cabernet Sauvignon plant material for viticulturist and winemakers from the early 1970s, Clone 07 and 08.

“Noted California Wine Historian Tim Patterson has conducted extensive research on the widely regarded impact of Concannon’s Clones 07 and 08 saying, ‘People in the industry are well aware that the ‘Concannon clones’ — Cabernet Sauvignon clones 07 and 08–have been the backbone of the great California Cabernet vineyards for decades. For wine drinkers who assume that Napa was Napa since the beginning of time, this probably comes as a great surprise. For me, it’s a perfect example of the important, often behind-the-scenes role Concannon played in the growth of the industry for more than a century.'”

I got much deeper into it, with additional research from UC Davis’ Foundation Plant Management Services, by working with Dr. James “Jim” Wolpert. Now, I’m off on a similar mission with Pinot Noir, and loving what I initially found, but I’m not surprised. Ron Rubin is gifted, exacting, and surrounds himself with the best quality resources. It’s no surprise to me that what he has is what I would have only imagined, but now I know for sure. It makes for great stories.

John Caldwell’s book is available for purchase here: www.caldwellvineyard.com/product/Clone-Book.



Movie,Sommelier,Wine,Wine Business,Wine Ed,Wine Education,Wine Etiquette,Wine Hospitality

SOMM: Into the Bottle ~ This one is a hit for wine lovers

In all fairness, I watched he original SOMM, and reviewed it as “navel gazing?” Here’s the deal, I’ve been in the wine business since 1993. Combine that with me reading the book Cork Dork Bianca Bosker’s,  A Wine-Fueled Adventure,” which hit a home run, IMHO. I wasn’t alone in my assessment, of a few guys sitting around, holier than thou in their recent wine knowledge, pontificating. I remember thinking, “Boy, are you guys narrow in your views.”

I felt like The Little Red Hen, who said to the other farm animals:

  • You have not worked in a winery tasting room, interfacing with the public that way.
  • Not segued into a marketing department.
  • Not made day to day decisions on what to create for a new wine, what to call it, how to price it, how to get it into the three tiered system, working in a car for days with sales reps.
  • Not worked wine events behind the table
  • Not rounded up all of the winemakers, while also filled a panel, coached them, made sure all of the wines arrived, made sure the paper work followed it all, checked that all of the glasses work.
  • Not interacted with wine media, written provocative press releases and sent samples with tech data – oh, yeah, you created the tech data sheets, too.
  • Not traveled about 70,000 miles a year, year after year, doing wine and trade events.
  • Not created a national food and wine event, including finding enough food vendors.
  • Not started a wine advocacy group, built it, sustained it, put on wine events, and managed the staff to help you make it all come together, setting up, tearing down, and putting it into storage for another year.

What you on this panel have done – here is where I’m giving credit to you – is learned about:

  • Who’s top of the line in each region
  • What varieties exist and their flavor profiles
  • When the regions were first started ~History
  • Where wine region are located
  • What foods pair well with which wines

You’re a walking text book, and no one can take that from you. So, the movie SOMM accomplished that in your area of expertise.

For me, I wanted – nay needed more.

So, I’ve now updated my first review to give you some credit, that states,

“From SOMM: Into the Bottle, an additional opinion ~ “This initial SOMM is a great introduction into the behaviors of Master Sommeliers. You’re a fly on the wall, and you might even be intimidated, but you now have the second movie as a follow-up. You’ll find a few more than one woman in the movie, and they’ll be more wine proficient than just that one server of wine for the guys. They’re important women in the wine business, with a cadre of wine careers; from a grower, to winemaker, to a wine writer, to a wine educator. Then, there are plenty of guys on the other side of it. But, it is a good progression.”

Fred Dame, MS – What a treasure, and now there is a range of ages, too. And, I found he was playing a character as a hard to please consumer. He’s charming in real life. (Missing in SOMM is that clarity.) This movie is much more complete, much more interesting, as well as entertaining. I was taking copious notes. I learned a lot. That’s what anyone coming away from a movie should have, n’est ce pas?

[PHOTO: Dr. Carole Meredith, as seen in the film]

There are 10 sections, covering wine aspects.

  1. The Winemaker
    1. Dr. Carole Meredith says it best: “Can there be any other business where there’s so much bullshit?
    2. She’s not only a grower and winemaker, but her credentials include wine education at UC Davis.
  2. The Vintage
    1. I have never seen mushrooms growing on a cork, and I have been to Europe, but not seen that.
  3. The History
    1. Said by Carole Meredith: The history of wine is the history of Europe.
    2. I was reminded of my travels there, and it’s so true
  4. The Wars
    1. As you travel around Europe, you’re constantly reminded by the artifacts that remain.
    2. The US has none of that history.
    3. Prohibition wiped away what little we had.
  5. The New World
    1. Madeline Puckett – today – represents the US’s spirit of telling it like it is.
    2. She’s very funny, and definitely is the other side of wine, know as a Millennial.
  6. The Cost
    1. Lower cost of grapes equals commodity, huge production wines that are mechanized.
    2. Higher cost takes in everything that is painstakingly managed by hand/people to craft the product.
  7. The Barrels
    1. The Etruscan people were the people to use barrels as a vessel for wine – 700 BC.
  8. The Point Scores
    1. For consumers, it gives them a guide.
    2. For wholesalers, points don’t matter anymore.
    3. SIDEBAR: I can tell you this, for wine shops where commodity brands exist, Scores are still paid attention to
  9. The Sommelier
    1. Wine goes with food.
    2. They guide those decisions in restaurants, where people aren’t confident – or want to impress their own guests by having that relationship with the SOMM.
  10. The Memory
    1. Fred Dame is perhaps the most important SOMM in the US.
    2. For over the last 40 years, he’s perhaps trained over 40 SOMMs.
    3. The 1870 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, France is one of the worlds most important vintages.
      1. Magnum cost in US: $23,995
      2. None of us can afford it, but it’s fun to know, when someone asks “What wine would you love to taste?”


Chile,Imports,Wine,Wine Astrology,Wine Business,Wine of the Week

Wines of the Week ~ For The Solar Eclipse ~ Concha y Toro Frontera After Midnight and Moonlight

[Image from Navicore]

On August 12, my husband and I went outside, pulled up the lawn chairs, got under our blankets, and watched the night sky. We were hoping that the meteor shower would be spectacular. It didn’t disappoint, with one brilliant, gigantic streak that had entered our atmosphere and shot across the sky in a major way. We both gasped, it was so incredible and scary at the same time. If that one had landed anywhere, it would have left an enormous hole. But, it did taper off, and left us with a once in a lifetime, united memory of star gazing… Seriously, it looked just like this, minus the colors. It literally took our breath away.

Adventure, looking into the skies, versus staring at mobile devices

Astrology, before astronomy, was the work of sage beings. Astronomy is now the other side of those who interpreted… Go back 3,000 years: planet alignments were the only evening entertainment. The predictability of the stars and planets aligned within about 360 days, a complete circle and the consequences were predictable. Hence, began history. If I didn’t know what was happening on the twelfth, and I had never seen anything like that before (and I haven’t) I would have been scared to death. What was the sky sending us, I would have wondered. Today, we have recorded events, so the momentary fright of the night dissipated as quickly as the comet.

[Wikipedia image]

Now, we have the next exciting celestial happening… the Solar Eclipse on August 21. I’ve been hearing people getting ready for it by having eclipse parties, traveling to the West Coast of Oregon that would help them to see it better (with protection, of course). It’s got people stirred up and that’s always fun, right?

USA Today: “Starting on the West Coast in Oregon, the USA’s total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 will trace a 67-mile wide path east across the country, finally exiting the East Coast in South Carolina.”

When Concha y Toro Frontera After Midnight Red Blend and Moonlight White Blend arrived more than a month ago, I knew I wanted to wait until we got a lot closer to the solar eclipse on August 21, instead of reviewing them right away. Not easy to wait, but they’re so specific. Why waste good marketing? So clever, in fact that really black glasses for viewing the eclipse also accompanied the wines. That one I have to think about. Lately I’ve been having eye strain. I’m on too many devices and my eyes are burningly telling me so.

Frontera Night Harvested wine blends are part of an innovative winemaking concept: wine grapes are harvested in the cool of the night, because they create wines that have bolder flavors and aromas. Both the Frontera Midnight red and Frontera’s Moonlight white were inspired by the moon. They like to say, “Made by the night – enjoy the nocturnal side of Frontera!”

So, let’s get to our Wines for the Week (and event)

2015 Concha y Toro Frontera After Midnight Red Blend ~ Itata Valley, Chile

The varietal composition of Frontera’s After Midnight is 55 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 40 percent Syrah, and 5 percent Merlot. Big from the Cab’s rich, black currant flavors, earthy notes are from the Syrah, and plummy black juice comes from the Merlot, this wine is drippingly good, without being complex and brooding. Remember the price for this wine is under $10, so as a house wine, it’s great for everyday… And, if you’re having a huge eclipse party, this one won’t hit your pocketbook hard. Have a group BBQ, put a bit of it in your sauce for a seamless experience, and get ready to be wowed in the middle of the day.

(For vegans, make sure they have Portobella mushrooms for you. This wine and Portobella… As Meridith May would say, enjoying deliciousness, kiss kiss.)

2015 Concha y Toro Frontera Moonlight White Blend ~ Itata Valley

This one is 85 percent Moscatel de Alejandría and 15 percent white (undisclosed) wine variety. Moscatel, like the Symphony grape, is more of a semi sweet wine. So, expect some sweetness to this one. Let me tell you, after having worked with the Symphony grape for so many years, when a wine has a sweetness to it, it makes for a great SALAD wine. Yeah, wine with a salad. Also great with fruits, BTW, but let me tell you how this works with a salad.

    • Butter leaf lettuce
    • Mandarin oranges
    • Pine nuts
    • One lemon, squeezed
    • 1/4 cup Frontera’s Moonlight blend
    • Whisk, adding enough light virgin olive oil to make it creamy
    • Add a bit of turbinado sugar, as needed

Whatever you do for the upcoming Solar Eclipse, get ready for a good time! It’s going to be heightened energy; and I, for on, intend to cash in on the sun fun!