Just over a year ago, I visited the Ashes & Diamonds Winery when they completed construction on their new production and hospitality buildings. Beautiful architecture molds together a kind of mid-century modern aesthetic with a Millennium-modern flare. What I found so intriguing about the wines is that they perfectly mimc that theme. Predominantly based on Bordeaux varieties, the A&D portfolio is a nod to OG Napa—rustic, hearty red wines that boast broadly of aging potential. Yet, the wines produced at A&D are completely approachable—and most importantly enjoyable—now. I know that sounds like an old moniker, but in the case of A&D’s red wines…it’s actually true.
Now, I know this review is a rosé—a rosé that has no business living life past one year on earth. But here it is. Something fun, light-hearted, and just joyous for the sake of being joyous. Why is that important? Because it shows not just the range of talent for the winemaking team to create wines at two ends of the age-ability spectrum (we all know Steve Matthiasson is a boss), but the range of the Napa terroir. Care for that fruit in the vineyard, pay attention to the picking times, treat the grapes with respect in the winery—and here you have something so light, so delicate, so not OG.
As some of you may (or may not) know, I’m currently studying for my WSET Diploma. As part of the program, I’m conducting regular tastings that coincide with the program requirements for each unit. This is was the motivation behind tasting this wine—because it’s certainly a wine that I personally would reach for on a normal day. That being said, I was excited to see Rosé d’Anjou on the list because I’ve never actually tasted one before. Anjou is a region of the middle Loire Valley and this style of rosé is unique to the region. So, let’s have a taste…
The world is sick right now. In multiple meanings of the word. And the wine industry is not immune. While wineries and tasting rooms long to welcome back guests—and many are, indeed, reopening their doors—the coronavirus continues to spread amongst winery employees.
Concurrently, a whole segment of our industry—our black colleagues—are fighting against racial injustice, discrimination they experience within our industry, and fighting for their right to be seen and heard for who they are and what they contribute as black wine professionals.
I’ve compiled a list of wine-newsy items as I usually do, but I want to call out a few specific articles that, for me, provided a ray of hope amidst all the other feels I am feeling at the moment.
Shakera T. Jones‘ first person account, published in SevenFifty Daily of being an under-represented black professional also dives into how the wine industry can step up and truly be an ally their black colleagues—action, influence, inclusion.
My piece for Wine Enthusiast looks at how wineries—all around the world—worked to keep their hospitality staff members working during tasting room closures by training them to work in the vineyards, rather than temporarily (or permanently) suspending their employment.
And if you only read one blog post this week, please let it be Amber LeBeau‘s “Why the Wine Industry Shouldn’t be Color Blind.” I’ll just leave that there.
Please, be kind to one another. Please take care of yourselves. And please please please
To put it mildly, there is a lot going on in our industry right now. Whoever said that wine and food wasn’t political, well, was just wrong. Scroll through these headlines to see what I mean.
A few specific pieces I want to call out—Dorothy Gaiter’s first-person perspective on what it’s like to be a black woman in a predominantly white wine industry; Eric Asimov on why wine is worth exploring and enjoying during the height of these global crises; and Amber LeBeau’s well-written blog post on why may not be the right time for tasting room re-openings, but—if your business is insistent on doing so—what kind of experience is mostly likely to draw us back.
Of course I’ve included the Bon Appétit and AAWE “scandals.” Curious what my fellow wine industry colleagues are thinking/feeling on that latter issue. (Check out what Tom Wark’s economic investigation uncovered.)
I hope you’re all doing well, staying safe and healthy—whether you’re still sipping at home or re-entering the wine world—we’re all in this together. Cheers.