I don’t have much to say about Corner 103 other than I’ve always wanted to try it! Ok, I guess that is kind of a big deal. Walking through the rural-tastic downtown Sonoma, I’ve passed by the “the Corner” more times than I can count — yet I’ve never had the opportunity to actually taste and experience what the winery is all about. So I received a few bottles to taste at home and decided there’s no better way to dive into the Corner 103 portfolio than with their signature blend, the Corner Cuvée.
When Cindy Cosco of Passaggio Wines first started on her winemaking adventure, her initial intention was to create a white wine house because, well, those were the wines she enjoyed most. With her cool, crisp Clarksburg Chenin Blanc; her fun, almost funky Rosé of Tempranillo; and her all-to-rare-for-California single varietal Roussanne, I do believe that Cindy does justice to the wider wine category that is “white wine.” But, just wait until you see what this woman can do with red…
Speaking with Bill, Andy, and David — the trio behind Ammunition Wine — one thing became immediately clear to me: Their main goal is to produce focused, refined, small-batch wines — for the average punter. “Wine doesn’t have to be a luxury item,” says David Dees, Director of Sales for Ammunition Wine. Beyond an affordable price point, what Dees means, and what Whal (head winemaker) produces, are approachable wines of notable quality that any wine lover — whether novice or expert — will enjoy. Not just for special occasions, not only in front of your wine-snobby friends, but on any day of the week during any time of day — as long as the mood suits you.
So I asked Adobe Roads winemaker Garrett Martin what method he uses to create sparkling wine and his answer was just too good not to share verbatim:
“This is a good story! My production space is right next to Lagunitas brewery. The folks over there are fantastic and good friends. When I got the creative inspiration to make a sparkling rosé I walked next door and chatted with them about the process – I mean, they make beverages sparkle every day! With some of their advice, I began running small scale experiments adding CO2 to kegs of rosé and eventually bottling in swing-top bottles. We had enough positive feedback that we took it from that ‘proof of concept’ phase to full production. I bottled the full-package bottling with another friend who has a sparkling wine bottling line. The short answer is that I use the Charmat method, but I like the full story more!”
Next I have to ask him about the time he put the sparkling rosé into a keg-tapping system designed for beer’s low-level carbonation. “Boom! Rosé mess everywhere…”
“There isn’t always a need for speed in my life,” says Kevin Buckler, professional race car driver and owner and founder of Adobe Road Wines. Often when we hear about professional athletes starting a winery business, we assume that their involvement is fairly hands-off, providing the financial backing and maybe some creative influences. Not so with Buckler, who since opening Adobe Road in 2002 has insisted on having “uncompromising access and control” to every wine produced. As such, he, along with his team, stomp the vineyard grounds, taste test every barrel, and collectively decide when perfection has been met. Yes, a slow, steady, meticulous process that slows the racer down. The result is that Adobe Roads crafts quite hearty, structural wines that act as a steady journey, lasting the length of a meal and well into the night beyond.