After tasting Big Sur Vineyards flagship red blend, BSV Red Wine, it was clear to me that this little winery has a passion for big, bold flavors. So I will preface this post with a bit of a warning: when it comes to their Chardonnay, there’s no exception to that passion. Certainly, this is a white wine one must be in the mood for. For me, that mood came along on a crisp Fall evening when I wanted to warm myself from the inside out with a glass of wine — but was in the mood for a white wine. Enter a warm hug from Big Sur Vineyards 2015 Chardonnay. (more…)
Tag: new world wine
I’ve come to love anything Grgich Hills produces: from their bodacious Zinfandel to their textural Chardonnay; their light and lively Fumé Blanc, and even their seemingly ‘crazy’ rosé. But nothing says “Napa love” like a glass of their Cabernet Sauvignon. I was first introduced to this wine almost one year ago, and was taken aback by how simultaneously rugged and voluptuous their 2013 vintage was — all the while maintaining a certain lightness from start to finish. While the 2014 seems to kick it up a notch, Grgich Hills reputation for friendly Cabernet, expressive of its Napa estate fruit, is absolutely in tact.
A few months ago I did a story for the paper featuring the under-appreciated Lake County. For much of its grape-growing history, this not-so-little wine region simply sold off its produce to its well-known neighbors, Napa and Sonoma Counties. But just within the last few years, there’s been somewhat of a boom in Lake County boutique wineries. The land here is more affordable — as are the grapes; the terroir and climate markedly different; and the people — well you’ll have to visit yourself to experience just how open and inviting they are to the few tourists who, admittedly, just seem to drive through on their way to Clear Lake camping.
One such pop-up is Gregory Graham, who’s probably best known for his years as head winemaker for Rombauer. Though he calls his decision to establish his vineyard and winery in Lake County “a lark” (indeed, he was one of the many who only visited Lake County on his way toward somewhere else), he now enjoys the land’s volcanic, rocky soils and Mediterranean-dry climate. Perfect conditions for growing one of the county’s heritage grapes, Sauvignon Blanc.
Being a California native, a graduate of UC Santa Cruz, and a regular ground-stomper of Monterey County, I’m amazed I’m only now learning about Big Sur Vineyards. But, to be fair, though the winery takes the name of a famous stretch of California coast, it’s a boutique, family-run operation.
Husband and wife duo Lenora Carey and Richard Gebhardt moved to the area back in 1983 becoming purveyors of lavender, olive and citrus trees, crafting essential oils and soaps in addition to selling their fresh produce. But it wasn’t long until they became enthused about what kind of grape varieties grew well in the area. Lovers of Rhone varietals, they picked and pressed the grapes of neighbors for many years — namely Grenache, Syrah, and Petit Sirah. And so it was, when they blended these three together, the “Big Sur Red” was born.
¡Feliz Dia de los Muertos!
Flora Springs creates beautifully balanced red blends that could knock the socks off of even the most discerning wine drinker. But the winery also knows how to have some fun. Each year, the winemaking team creates a unique Halloween-themed wine in honor of their “Ghost Winery” in St. Helena. Apparently the historic stone cellar, built in 1885, has a few — shall we say — lingering guests.
The Flora Springs 2013 Ghost Winery Red Blend, available through the winery’s website, comes in three different labels, designed by Virginia-based artist Wes Freed. While technically “Halloween-themed,” something about Freed’s artwork this year just said “Dia de los Muertos” to me so…
¡Feliz Dia de los Muertos!