Category: Wine

wine reviews, wine events, and all things wine related

Interview and Tasting with Ehlers Estate Winemaker Laura Diaz

In this video interview, I talk with Ehler’s Estate winemaker Laura Diaz. We discuss her career, her viticultural and winemaking practices, and taste through some of Ehler’s newest releases. Laura provides insight into what makes this piece of Napa Valley so special in terms of terroir, history, and the loving family behind the wine brand.

If you have follow up questions for Laura, please leave them in the comments below and we’ll get answers for you in a follow up article.

Interested in tasting the wines discussed?

Ehler’s Estate 2019 Sauvignon Blanc

Varietal: 100% Sauvignon Blanc

Harvest: August 24th and 26th 2019
Wine Analysis: 13.2% alcohol ● 3.18 pH

Appellation: St. Helena, Napa Valley

Bottling Date: February 11, 2020

Cases Produced: 845 cases

MSRP: $32

Purchase here.

Ehler’s Estate 2018 Cabernet Franc

Varietal: 100% Cabernet Franc

Wine Analysis: 15 % alcohol ● 3.87 pH
Oak Ageing: 58% New French Oak, 42% used French oak for 22 months
Appellation: St. Helena, Napa Valley

Cases Produced: 756 cases

MSRP: $65

Purchase here.

Ehler’s Estate 2018 Jean Leducq Cabernet Sauvignon

Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Wine Analysis: 14.5 % alcohol ● 3.6 pH ● 6.6 TA
Appellation: St. Helena, Napa Valley
Cases Produced: 525 cases

MSRP: $90

Purchase here.

For more information about Ehlers Estate, their wines, and to purchase wine directly or make an appointment for an in-person or virtual tasting, please visit the Ehlers Estate website.

BriscoeBites officially accepts samples as well as conducts on-site and online interviews. Want to have your wine, winery or tasting room featured? Please visit the Sample Policy page where you can contact me directly. Cheers!

Educational posts are in no way intended as official WSET study materials. I am not an official WSET educator nor do I work for a WSET Approved Program Provider. Study at your own risk. Read the full disclaimer.
**Please note: all reviews and opinions are my own and are not associated with any of my places of business. I will always state when a wine has been sent as a sample for review. Sending samples for review on my personal website in no way guarantees coverage in any other media outlet I may be currently associated with.**


This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: November 15—November 20

Here’s my weekly roundup of wine and food—and this week travel—news. Though not all articles included are about the pandemic, I have to admit that, regardless of what’s on this list, the biggest news going into this weekend is certainly how the COVID pandemic continues to affect our lives.

This week is Thanksgiving in the US. I implore you, whatever you decide to do—be safe, take care of yourself, take care of your families and friends, take care of your fellow humans.

Thank you.



Southern Rhone

The Southern Rhone. “This region is renowned for warming, ripely welcoming, and rarely expensive wines of all three colors.” The World Atlas of Wine (Eighth Edition).

Southern Rhone, France; Fernando Beteta
Southern Rhone, France; Fernando Beteta

Larger and more spread out than the Northern Rhone, there’s no denying that we’re going to cover a good bit of detail here. With its varied terroir, the Southern Rhone comes with a larger variety of grapes grown and wine produced—good news if you want a diversified tasting experience. Indeed, most wines here are blends—red, white, and rosé, though red undeniably dominates. And, as The Oxford Companion to Wine (Fourth Edition) notes, though some winemakers do experiment with Syrah (the dominant grape of the Northern Rhone), here in the south, it’s far too warm for the grape to “ripen gracefully.” Thus, it is Grenache—at over double the planting—that is the Southern Rhone‘s most planted red wine grape.


Northern Rhone

Welcome to the Northern Rhone. If you’ve not yet read through the Rhone Overview, please do so as there are quite a few key terms—not to mention grape varieties—you’ll want to learn before moving forward.

Northern Rhone Valley, France; Fernando Beteta
Northern Rhone Valley, France; Fernando Beteta

Here we’re diving into the Northern Rhone. Located further inland and away from the influence of the Mediterranean, it has an overall continental climate. Winters are cold, summers are warm, and rain falls predominantly in the autumn and winter months.

It’s noted that the Mistral wind, which flows throughout the Rhone Valley, both north and south, is a bit more fierce in these parts due to the fact that the valley is quite narrow and sandwiched between steep slopes, acting like a funnel for the cold wind current. The good news is that this decreases fungal disease pressure as well as reduces vine vigor and, thus, yields, resulting in the highly concentrated red wines for which the Northern Rhone is most famous. The bad news is that the Northern Rhone‘s claim-to-fame grape, Syrah, is quite susceptible to wind, so you’ll find most of these vines tied to poles for extra protection.

INTERESTING GEOGRAPHICAL NOTE: the distance between the most northern and most southern vineyards of the Northern Rhone is about 40 miles, which means there is a bit better ripening in the warmer, southern regions.

Of course, just like almost anywhere else, the best vineyards are those located on the steep, here often terraced, slopes overlooking the Rhone River. The altitude and aspect increase sunlight exposure, influence (like light reflection and heat retention) from the river water and better drainage. But this also means that most vineyards are worked by hand—a contributing factor to the overall pricey prices of the wines produced. “Their produce is aimed in the main at the fine wine connoisseur rather than at the mass market.” (The Oxford Companion to Wine [4th Edition])