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The Enduring Power of California’s Old-Vine Field Blends

featured, Fellowship, United States: California

Caitlin Miller, Aug 2021

My discovery of Zinfandel, and more specifically its role in California’s old-vine field blends, came late in my wine education. The word ‘discovery,’ of course, is an overstatement; I had tasted Zinfandel before and associated a very specific set of characteristics with it: big, high-octane, low to medium quality - or sweet and pink. I thought this description was also well-supported by my own research; I had sampled many of the grape’s defining wines and found those views to be fairly accurate. But this was different...

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California Vineyard Series: Kamen Vineyard

California Vineyard Series, featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, May 2021

With its undulating hills and striking contours, Kamen is one of the most evocative estates in Sonoma. The vineyard is just a short drive from the town square, yet it feels very remote. Screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen bought his property in 1980, mostly for the views, as he tells it. “I had just sold the screenplay for The Karate Kid and I wanted to celebrate,” Kamen told me recently.

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Cellar Favorite: 2011 Saintsbury Pinot Noir Brown Ranch (magnum)

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2021

Saintsbury was the first winery I visited in Napa Valley. Tasting the wines always brings back so many memories; both of that trip and the time I spent selling the Saintsbury Pinots in my restaurant days just after college.

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Vinous Santa Lucia Highlands Map: Behind the Scenes

California Vineyard Series, featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2021

For the last two years Alessandro Masnaghetti and I have been hard at work on a map of the Santa Lucia Highlands. Our first edition is nearly complete. Formal approval of a change in the AVA’s southern boundary is all we are waiting for to wrap things up. In the meantime, we are going take you behind the scenes in this article, which represents a summary of our work so far. It will surely be updated and refined in the coming months.

Sonoma 2021 bottles

Sonoma: 2021 New Releases

featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2021

January always means a stream of new releases from Sonoma and neighboring appellations. As we have done in the past, this year we present our Sonoma coverage in a series of installments.

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San Luis Obispo: Excellence Hiding in Plain Sight

featured, United States: California

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2021

It’s an ongoing mystery to me that, aside from a small handful of producers, San Luis Obispo hasn’t received the attention it deserves for its almost universally high quality wines. In the excellent 2018 vintage, SLO’s wineries outdid themselves.

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Napa Valley’s Thrilling 2018s & 2019s, Parts 1 & 2

featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2021

Napa Valley experienced two stunning back-to-back vintages in 2018 and 2019 the likes of which I have never seen. Both vintages produced a bevy of breathtaking wines that will thrill Napa Valley fans. The 2018s are refined and vibrant, while the young 2019s have a bit more depth and energy.

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California Vineyard Series: Bedrock Vineyard

California Vineyard Series, featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2020

First planted in 1854, Bedrock is one of the most historically significant vineyards in Sonoma Valley’s Central Corridor, a stretch of land that runs northwest from the town of Sonoma and includes a number of notable sites, including Serres Ranch, Old Hill, Pagani Ranch, Beltane Ranch, Wildwood, Kunde and others. In my view, these are among the most pedigreed vineyard sites anywhere in the world.

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Cellar Favorite: 1997 Marcassin Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2020

Marcassin’s 1997 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast is without a doubt one of the most compelling wines I tasted in 2020. At 23 years of age, it has aged exquisitely.

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California Vineyard Series: Monte Rosso

featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2020

Few vineyards in California are as evocative as Monte Rosso. Known for producing wines of extraordinary character and longevity, Monte Rosso (‘red mountain’) is every bit as magical as its name suggests.