A former photographer for the SF Chronicle, Eric Luse, founder and winemaker of Eric Ross Winery, stumbled into his passion on his way to a Wine Country photoshoot in the 1980s. Since that time, he’s dedicated the same kind of care and attention to detail in his winemaking as he does with his photography. “Photo-journalism insisted a respect for the people that allowed me into their lives,” Luse says. Similarly, he prides himself in “respecting the growers, their fruit and making the wine based on the uniqueness,” and making wines that showcase his “respect for the quality fruit and (his) desire for you, the consumer, to ‘Taste The Vineyard.'” The journalist in Luse makes him crave realism and, as such, we’ll only find “real” fruit qualities in his wines — no filters or photoshop; no heavy-handed oak or excessive, forceful fermentation. Respect. Honesty. Realism. Quality.
“My mom always wore rose colored glasses. Life does look good through rose colored glasses. This is to you.”
– Cindy Cosco, Passaggio Wines.
I actually didn’t see that quote on the bottle the day I decided to drink Passaggio Tempranillo Rosé. What I did know was that I was in for a long hard day and when I got home, I was going to want something cool and refreshing, but something out of the ordinary. Something that could simultaneously comfort and stimulate me. So, before I left for work, I put this out-of-the-ordinary rosé into the cellar to chill. And, yes, it was the perfect “welcome home” gift to myself. This is to you, Cindy. Cheers.
Robert Sinskey is my kind of winemaker — a native Californian who has his BA in Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design in New York City. He’s not science-y, or mathematical, or calculating; he doesn’t have a degree or certificate in horticulture, enology or even biology. In fact he’s never received a “traditional” winemaking “degree” of any kind. He’s an artist who brings his artistic abilities to his craft as a vintner.
Sinskey’s goal is to create “pure wines of character that pair well with cuisine,” and believes that good wines are the wines that “sneak up on you, seduce you, and evolve in the glass and in the bottle.” I told you, he’s my kind of winemaker.
I’ve been lucky to have worked alongside some very talented Rhône-style rockstar winemakers. And Cindy Cosco, owner and winemaker of Passaggio, is one such lady. Though I wouldn’t say she has a specific ‘niche,’ she does amazing things with those Rhône grapes and her 2016 expression of Grenache Blanc is a perfect example.
Whereas less refined expressions of the grape seem to be overly dramatic with the fruit flavors, downplaying the textural components, Cindy has crafted a well-rounded Grenache Blanc drinking experience that taps all the senses.
Aberration: A departure from what is normal or expected…
Usually one for Rhône varietals, it certainly is a “departure from what is normal” to see a Cabernet Franc from Larry of Tercero Wines. But, as is his nature, if something is interesting to him, he’ll experiment with it, not letting a “reputation” or a “theme” hold him back.
“This is my first year with Cab Franc,” says Larry, “a variety that I’ve been intrigued with for quite some time, especially those coming out of Chinon.” Chinon, is another “unexpected” when it comes to influencing New World wines. It’s a small town just outside of the Loire valley whose red-centric wines are marked by a gritty rusticity due to the mountainous terrain. And that’s just what Larry loved when he tasted those wines and what he’s re-created — California-style.