May 142012

“A single, great vineyard sight can express itself and be transparent through to a bottle of wine.  You can actually taste the vineyard’s character in the glass.” Jamie Kutch – Kutch Wines Pinot Noir

Wine BlogI’ll admit it; I love single-vineyard wines. There is something about the nuance and singularity that speaks volumes me. When drinking a single-vineyard wine, I like to imagine the vineyard, its rows of vibrant vines offering abundant fruit. Sometimes I’ll even go techie and try to find pictures of the vineyard on Google so I can be even more anchored to the very spot that produced the wine in my glass. If I’ve personally walked amongst the vines of a particular vineyard, I can return with just a tip of my glass and a bit of imagination.

I wanted to learn more about these special wines. But not from the perspective of the wine drinker, I wanted to learn from winemakers themselves. So with the help of a few talented single-vineyard winemakers, here’s what I learned in a nutshell. The winemaker’s ultimate duty to single-vineyard wines compels him/her to draw on the incalculable variations of each vintage to bring forth the true voice and personality of the vineyard. When made well, a single-vineyard wine will convey a very specific sense of place, nuance and art. Obviously not all vineyards produce fruit with enough unique characteristics to be worthy of vineyard designation. Vineyards, like people, all have something to say, but not everything said is worth your attention. Continue reading »

Feb 112011
Joel Peterson Ravenswood

Joel Peterson Photo by Peter Griffith

This week I had the opportunity to interview one of the most interesting and thought provoking winemakers around. On February 21st, Joel Peterson, founder and winemaker at Ravenswood Winery, will be inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame in Napa Valley. There, he will take his place beside many of the great American vintners including one of Joel’s early mentors, Andre Tchelistcheff. While Joel seemed genuinely surprised by the honor, many who know him are more surprised it had not happened sooner. Continue reading »