The Foley Family winery created El Pino Club for their love of Pinot Noir- and the fact that they produce this most beautiful juice in many of the new world’s top viticultural areas. Producing brilliant Pinot Noir in a humorous and quirky way, welcome to El Pino Club!
Each “member” of the El Pino Club is an homage to its terroir and the hands that produced it. Clones are artfully blended from some of the best estate vineyard blocks, and these site-specific Pinot Noirs allow you to explore the signature style of each region.
The winemakers in “the club” are given poetic license to create a perfect expression of their land and winemaking style. Curated by the founders of Foley Family Vineyards of California’s Central Coast, the Foley’s have grown to holdings in France, Argentina, and New Zealand, as well as California, Oregon and Washington State. They continue their commitment to the land through sustainability at all of their properties.
El Pino Club is a whimsical expression of the fickle and funky grape Pinot Noir. There are three current “members” available here at Ed’s.
Sea Floored Is a Sta. Rita Hills appellation Pinot from the Pommard clone. The fruit was sourced exclusively from two sites that are influenced by the cooling Pacific Ocean. The Rancho Santa Rosa Vineyard is planted on steep south facing slopes of heavy limestone. Rancho Las Hermanas is the westernmost property in the AVA, with vines growing in six different soil types, all of ancient marine origin. Sea Floored is an ode to the ancient sea floor in which our vineyards are planted. Concentrated fruit, balanced acidity, and fascinating minerality. On the palate, deep flavors of Chambord, red pomegranate, and cranberry with mild earthy tannins. Finishes with hints of tobacco and oak roasted coffee bean. Wine Enthusiast gave the 2019 vintage 94 points. We give it three bones!
High Haven Is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from Anderson Valley, with ten months in French oak aging. Drought conditions in 2021 made for less production, as summer temperatures were above average with less cooling fog at night. Middle Ridge Ranch sits at over 1,100 feet elevation where warm winds and open hills produce fruit driven wines. From the shadows of the giant Red Wood Trees, High Haven opens with aromas of black mission figs, raspberry bramble, fresh tapped maple tree sap, and vanilla bean accents. The medium bodied wine is bright and lush with harmonious flavors of rose hip, dried cranberries, cola, and graham cracker. We give it three bones.
Funky Jory Pinot Noir was born of Pommard clones grown in the Dundee Hills Appellation of Oregon. Aged for 16 months in French oak, the 2021 vintage in Willamette Valley was also one of record setting heat and dry conditions. Mild rain during bloom reduced the yield further. All the grapes are sourced from our vineyard sites that are, not surprisingly, red Jory soils; rich in nutrients, high in clay content- this basalt volcanic soil produces Pinot Noir with high acidity, soft tannins, and a red fruit flavor profile. The wine opens with aromatics of black cherry, mulberry, sandalwood, and a touch of baking spice, which comes from light use of new French oak barrels. The finish is long and silky. The Funky Jory is a love letter to the deep, red Jory soils of the Dundee Hills. A classic Oregon style Pinot Noir reminiscent of the Old World. We give it three bones.
Foley Family was established by Bill Foley in 1996 – a portfolio of highly acclaimed wineries from California, Oregon, and New Zealand. Bill and his wife Carol purchased 1,000 acres of lush farmland in the Santa Barbara region, Sta Rita Hills. Their plan was to produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reflecting the best of California’s Central Coast, named after their daughters, Lindsey, and Courtney. Lincourt Vineyards was born. In the 25 years that followed, the company expanded to include other world-famous wineries including Chalk Hill, Chalone, Silverado, Ferrari Carano and Clifford Bay, to name a few. They recently diversified into the world of spirits- re opening a distillery in Nevada, and they just re-released a New Zealand gin called Lighthouse.
We hope to see our Pinot fanatics come by and check out El Pino Club and these truly amazing wines.
By Carolyn R Brown
The man, the myth, the legend! Joseph Carr came from humble beginnings and is arguably building an empire of quality brands- his own namesake wines, and a line of Josh Cellars wines inspired by his hard-working father, to a new collaboration inspired by his grit as a wrestler in school, later turned dancer!
Joe Carr likes to mention he wasn’t born into a winemaking family, he didn’t even taste wine until he was 18 years old! His roots began in rural Upstate New York in the restaurant industry, from busboy, server, bar tender to Sommelier. Joe then turned to the distributor world where he became an executive, working with suppliers and experiencing some of the best wines all over the globe.
Before he went off to college, Joe hitchhiked his way across the country and experienced his first wine tasting in the Napa area. It was love at first taste and he didn’t forget it. He attended a State University of New York College on a wrestling scholarship. However, the school cut the wrestling program shortly after he began (Joe was planning on becoming a gym teacher) so he had to switch his major. He decided to study Fine Arts (and yes, did Modern Dance and Ballet). Needing to pay for that Fine Arts degree, he got a job as a bus boy at a local fine dining restaurant. The manager took Joe under his wing, and a fine wine ambassador was born. Twenty years later, Joseph Carr was back in Napa, California. In 2004 Joe and his wife Dee decided to work with the many associates they had met over the years in the industry, including his longtime associate, winemaker Tom Larson, and started making Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was so successful a second tier of wines was created as an homage to Joe’s father, Josh. His Dad was a lumber mill worker and Joe, and his twin sister grew up without a lot. Josh wines are dedicated to his family’s blue-collar history, offering quality and affordability. Joe says, “The values my dad instilled in me are reflected in every bottle of Josh Cellars that we painstakingly make”. Just 15 years ago, Joe was selling his wines out of the back of his car. In 2021 the Josh tier of his wines became so popular and successful he was named Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s American Winery of the Year. Joe’s wines are crafted with his love of Bordeaux and Burgundy influences, but remain uniquely California.
It hasn’t been all sunshine and wine and roses for the Carr family though. In 2018 Joe lost his wife and partner after a 15-month battle with brain cancer. Deirdre Carr was the President of the company, and she was behind many things, including his expansion. Joseph Carr started out with just one wine, a Napa Cabernet, and Dee liked Burgundy and pleaded with him to make a Chardonnay. He joked with his friend Tom, “Can you help me a make a Chardonnay so I can get my wife off my back!” Turns out, it was wildly successful, and Dee would say “You should have listened to the president of the company in the first place”. Joe lives in Cape Cod with his Pit Bull rescue, Molly, when he is not in Napa. He tirelessly gives back to the community, firefighters, veterans, and brain cancer research, among others. In 2005 Joe sold 1200 cases of wine. Today his labels top 2 million in sales and new wine is coming! Stay tuned for Force & Grace, from the wrestler to the dancer. For now, let’s look at what we have on feature here at Ed’s Fine Wines.
Josh Cellars North Coast Reserve Chardonnay Sourced mostly from Sonoma and Lake Counties in the North Coast American Viticultural Area, this Chardonnay is elegant, crisp, and well balanced. Bright citrus, lemon, and peach on the nose, with a lingering vanilla finish. We give it two bones.
Josh Cellars North Coast Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Fruit forward and well balanced with flavors of rich dark cherries, mocha, and toasted hazelnuts. We give it three bones.
Josh Cellars Reserve Buttery Chardonnay Juicy ripe fruit on the nose with marshmallow and crème brulee’ tease the palate, hints of butterscotch on the finish. We give it two bones.
Josh Cellars Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon The award-winning Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon is aged for two months in rustic bourbon barrels, imparting notes of cedar and caramel with a touch of bourbon hint on the finish. We give it two bones.
Josh Cellars Reserve Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon Cool morning fog and intense midday sun abound in the AVA of Paso Robles. Aromas of red fruits are backed by powerful scents of black peppercorn. The wine features flavors of raspberry, coffee, and vanilla with bold tannins at the finish, three bones for Paso!
Stop by or call in and we will help you choose one of the many wonderful wines from Joesph Carr.
It’s Summer, it’s hot, and other than a cold beer after just a short time outdoors, we can only appreciate light, white, refreshing wines at this time. Let’s explore the Pinot Gris/Grigio varietal, which is virtually the same, thought to be a mutant clone of the Pinot Noir grape. Pinot Noir, you ask? Isn’t that a red wine grape? Indeed, it is, but Pinot Gris and Grigio are white wines born out of a grayish color grape, not really red, but not green, either. Researchers determined that Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir have very similar DNA, with literally the color of the grape being the only distinction.
Pinot Gris was known in Burgundy, France since around the Middle Ages, and has been grown in Switzerland, Germany, and Austria, and then became known as Pinot Grigio in Italy. Pinot Grigio flourishes in regions of Northern Italy like Lombardy, Alto Adige, Friuli and the Veneto. The varietal Pinot Gris, as mentioned, originated by the French is also referred to as Pinot Gris in some parts of the New World- Oregon uses Pinot Gris, as do some California, New Zealand and South African wineries on their labels. The varietal shows great variety based on terroir, where the grapes come from, as well as the winemaker’s style.
Alsatian style Pinot Gris can be spicy and more full bodied, where Italian Pinot Grigio tends to be lighter and more acidic. Flavors can range from tropical fruit and melon to citrus, lemon and carry a nutty finish.
In Switzerland in the 1300’s Emperor Charles IV reportedly took a liking to the grape variety, and had cuttings sent to Hungary via the Cistercian Monks. They referred to the wine as “Szurkebarat” which translates to “grey monk”. Gris and Grigio loosely translate to “grey” an apt description of the color of the grape. Today there are a few Pinot Grigio producers that are bottling the wine after a small amount of maceration with the skins- literally a pink Pinot Grigio, called Ramato.
Pinot Gris/Grigio is grown in nearly every wine producing country in the world, however, Alsatian Pinot Gris is where it began. Alsace is located in Northeastern France, and is an AOC, Appellation d’Origine Controlee for wines specific to a region, governed by the French. It was declared an AOC in 1962, however, grape growing and wine making date back to the 600’s in this area. Known for the terroir that is graphite and slate, and the famous Vosges Mountains that shield the vineyards from wind and rain. Alsace is one of the most famous wine regions in the world for its white wine varieties.
Gustave Lorentz Reserve Pinot Gris Alsace, France The House of Lorentz is still family operated since 1836. The grapes are sourced from a tiny village, Begheim from calcerous hillsides. The juice is free run, fermentation is with natural and selected yeasts, and separated from the lees. A nose of fresh melon and hints of dried apricot, medium bodied with balanced acidity. This wine will age up to 8 years. We give it three bones.
In Italy the Pinot Grigio grape is usually picked much earlier than Pinot Gris in France, so the wines are more tart and acidic. Over 150 million bottles of Pinot Grigio are exported annually, and more than half of Pinot Grigio produced globally is grown in Italy. The Italians have been producing the wine since the late 1300’s.
Jermann Pinot Grigio Friuli, Italy This winery’s roots go back to a tiny village in between Austria and Slovenia, where Stefanus Jermann grew grapes. Eventually, Anton Jermann settled in Friuli in 1881, and today Silvio Jermann is producing some of the most adored and critically acclaimed Italian Pinot Grigio in the world. Friuli borders Austria, Slovenia and the Adriatic Sea, the region was once an important stop along the Mediterranean Spice Route. The climate is ideal for crisp white grape growing, with the sharp Dolomite Mountains, and most vineyards facing south along the foothills of the Alps. Most appellations in the region require 100% of the varietal to be in the bottle. The bouquet on this Jermann Pinot Grigio is fruity and elegant with just a touch of almonds, and a hint of citrus and spice, honey, peach, and apple blossoms. We give it three bones.
David Lett from Eyrie Vineyards was the first American to plant Pinot Gris in Oregon in 1965. The wine was a slow mover until the 1990’s when the King family started marketing their Willamette Pinot Gris. There are approximately 1600 acres of Pinot Gris planted in Central and South Coastal regions of California, where it is often called Pinot Grigio, as the style is more closely associated with the Italian style; more acidic. Pinot Gris is also grown in Ohio where it is considered part of the American “Pinot Trail”.
King Estate Domaine Pinot Gris Willamette Valley, Oregon Founded in 1991 by the King family, with a commitment to sustainability, King Estate is the largest certified Biodynamic winery in North America. Set on nearly 300 acres, the wines are handcrafted with “Domaine” wines representing the best of the best from the prestigious Willamette Valley. Aromas of lemon, white peach, and ripe pear; there is honeysuckle, damp slate and crème brulee’. The wine is aged for 6 months on the lees after stainless steel fermentation. We give it two bones.
Sun Goddess by Mary J Blige Pinot Grigio Ramato, Friuli, Italy The word Ramato means auburn or copper in Italian, the wine is produced with the skins, and the hue can range from pale pink to copper depending on the maceration time. Mary J Blige partnered with the Fantinel Winery to create this exceptional Sun Goddess Pinot Grigio, hints of melon and berries with a soft, mineral finish. We give it two bones.
In the “New World” Pinot Gris/Grigio comprises almost 100,000 acres according to a 2018 poll. South Africa is the 9th largest wine producing market in the world. Known mostly for their signature red varietal Pinotage, the country has been producing wines of exceptional quality since the 17th century.
Craven Pinot Gris Stellenbosch, South Africa The “Newlands Vineyard” was planted in Stellenbosch by Mick and Jeanine Craven. The couple, originally from Australia, met while working in Sonoma, CA. They started Craven in 2014 where the Pinot Gris grape grows well.
Showing a lovely copper tone to the color after six days on the skins; also aged in neutral oak barrels after five months concrete tank aging. There is a lively strawberry, cherry and herb flavor with a savory characteristic. We give it two bones.
Whether it’s Italian or California Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris from Oregon, France or South America or South Africa, each wine will reflect both the terroir where it was grown and the individual winemaker’s touch. Stop by and we’ll help you make some selections to try.
If you remember the movie Sideways, you know the greatest irony of the movie was at the end, Miles drank a beautiful French Merlot. Throughout the entire story, one of the main characters’ themes was hating the varietal, and touting the virtues of Pinot Noir, instead. The cultural change that this one movie made on the wine industry had ripple effects for decades. This is a fine example of how powerful Hollywood is. History books have already been written describing, based on the success of a movie with a silly story, that thousands of Merlot grape vines were ripped up throughout California (and consequently, the temperamental and higher priced Pinot Noir grape became forever more popular). Sideways became an historic wine industry movie.
Merlot, an original “Right Bank” varietal of Bordeaux – meaning it is most widely grown on the banks of the Dordogne River on the north side. Home to sub regions famous since before the 1855 French Classification- only Saint Emillion is a “classified growth” since 1955. The other sub regions include Blaye, Cotes de Bourg, Fronsac, Graves de Vayres, and Lalande de Pomerol. Look for these regions on a label to find a French Merlot based wine. Limestone and clay dominate the soil of the Right Bank, where Merlot thrives on the extra moisture held by the clay soil. The wines are smooth and supple in their youth with up front raspberry, black cherry, blueberry, blackberry, spice, chocolate and herbal notes. Right Bank wines show lower acid and tannins than those of Cabernet based wines just a stone’s throw away in the Left Bank.
Here in the US Cabernet is king, and Merlot faced a battle after the “Sideways Effect”, though prices were falling prior to the release of the movie in October of 2004, as growers had somewhat over produced the varietal. Today, nearly 20 years later, Merlot is generating a comeback, with the USDA reporting increased plantings and prices of the varietal. France still accounts for the majority of Merlot production, followed by Italy, then the US, Spain and Chile.
Speaking of Chile- a “fun fact” about Merlot was the case of mistaken identity! The grape was believed to have flourished from the 1970’s to the 1990’s. Post Phylloxera plantings were confused in many vineyards. The Merlot was ripening differently and had a distinctly different flavor than Merlot grown elsewhere. Alas, a French researcher in 1994 discovered Carmenere grapes growing in a vineyard marked Merlot, which DNA sampling later confirmed. Carmenere (another approved Bordeaux original varietal) had been thought to be extinct in Chile, when it was indeed being marketed as Merlot. Today Merlot is doing well in Chile, along with Carmenere. Here a few great bottles of Merlot you can find at Ed’s.
Mate’ Mantus Merlot Tuscany This 100% Merlot spends 18 months in French oak barrels. A Roman vineyard over 2,000 years ago, the Mate family settled in this village near Montalcino in 1990. Ferenc Mate is an international best-selling author and his wife, Candace, a painter. They fulfilled their dream of renovating an ancient abandon farm in the hills of Tuscany where their neighbors are the famous Gaja wine making family. The mineral and white stone of the terroir show through in the finish with soft acidity, plush fruit, black cherry and velvety tannins. Production is limited with about 4,000 cases made. We give it three bones.
Meeker Merlot Handprint, Alexander Valley, CA Charles and Molly Meeker bought their first vineyard at the end of West Dry Creek Road in Sonoma in 1977. In 1984 with Charles as a part time winemaker, Meeker produced some well-regarded wines. In the meantime, Charlie’s career as a Hollywood executive took off, and they hired a full-time winemaker while he was running Metro Goldwyn Mayer. By 1999 Charlie had returned to Sonoma full time and the winery expanded. Today, Charlie’s son Lucas has assumed the role, as Charlie passed away in 2021. The winery is still family run and produces several varietals. This 100% Merlot sourced from both Dry Creek and Alexander Valley regions offers a well-balanced and elegant nose of cherry pie, with a deep core structure of blackberry and red earth, toasted vanilla bean and a long finish. The package is beautiful as well with the artist painted handprint. We give it two bones.
La Playa Estate Merlot Chile The Estate operates in Valle Central of Chile, with property in many of the country’s growing regions. La Playa offers some incredible value wines with a heavy commitment to the land. This Merlot is cheerful and boasts great dark cherry and rich blueberry flavors, with hints of vanilla and oak. The estate wines are certified Vegan and 1% of sales goes to help with Coastal Water resources. The winery uses no chemical weed control, and only uses native yeasts and no GMO’s. They use cover crops and recycled organic matter and have been estate grown and bottled since 1980. We give this Merlot two bones.
Chateau Yon St Emillion In the heart of Libournais district lies St Emillion, this vineyard overlooks an iconic Romanesque Church and 13th Century Tower. Sustainable in practice since 2011, the estate is flanked by limestone vineyards. An appealing nose aromatic of pepper and black cherry. 90% Merlot with 10% Cabernet Franc aged in French oak for 12 to 14 months. We give it two bones.
Whether Merlot from Europe, the US or any wine growing area of the New World, today’s Merlot is very different than that of 20 or 30 years ago. We hope you’ll come by and check out the Global selection of this no longer estranged varietal. If Cab is reigning King, Merlot is surely the Queen.
“Voo vray” is a wine region in France’s Loire Valley mainly growing Pineau de la Loire- or the varietal known as Chenin Blanc. Chenin Blanc from Loire can be made in several ways from dry to sweet, both still and sparkling. Vouvray is located in the village of Touraine, in about the middle of the Loire Valley. The AOC or Appellation d’Origine Controlle’ of Vouvray is almost exclusively dedicated to Chenin Blanc grapes. Located along the Right bank of the river Loire east of the city of Tours, the region is surrounded by streams and tributaries. The climate can change from year to year, making the wines change from vintage to vintage. A cooler year would yield drier styles and more Sparkling wine, while a warmer year can produce more moisture and the fungus known as Botrytis Cinerea or “Noble Rot” produces sweeter dessert style wines. The area of Vouvray produces over a million cases of wine a year, most using little to no oak and neutral fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Naturally high in acidity, these wines show a breathy floral characteristic with stone fruit flavors and can often be aged for several years.
Clos Palet Vouvray 100% Chenin Blanc grapes that underwent a long pressing and strict juice selection, aged on the lees- a fresh almond flavor lingers on the finish. Notes of Acacia flower and melon. We give it two bones.
Mille Reeves Vouvray A single vineyard in the heart of the appellation, planted mid slope, facing west for afternoon sun produces great ripeness. Mille Reeves means a thousand dreams – representing the dreams of the generations of growers who have farmed the site. Fleshy peach, white flower and beeswax with subtle viscosity and slight phenolic touch. Grown without pesticides. We give it three bones.
South Africa “Steen”
Dutch explorers were the first to land in the Cape of South Africa in the 1600’s, bringing with them cuttings of Chenin Blanc; it grew and flourished. The climate and terroir, bush and dry farmed can produce a rich, lush, crisp wine with very high yields. Chenin Blanc is also referred to as “Steen” and is the most widely planted varietal in the country of South Africa. Production is centered around Cape Town, with Paarl and Stellenbosch the largest growing regions. Governed by the KWV (Kooperatieve Wijnbouwers Verenigin van Zuid-Afrika Bpkt) since 1918 the cooperative has set policies, restricted yields, and set minimum pricing for the entire country’s wine industry. During most of the 20th Century South Africa’s products were boycotted because of Apartheid. In 1990 when Apartheid ended the grape growing industry experienced a renaissance where quality of wine production became more important than quantity. The WO (Wine of Origin) program was developed in 1973 and South Africa continues to experience a hybridization of Old-World techniques and modern technology, from farming and conservation of lands, to quality yields and wines that achieve international acclaim.
Rustenburg Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc
The Rustenburg estate was founded in the Stellenbosch region in1682 and boasts over 2,000 acres. Rustenburg has been through a series of ownerships, most recently by one family for over 70 years. Chenin Blanc was planted in the 1980’s, though wine has been produced and sold off the property since the early 1700’s. The winery is modernized and features traditional Cape Dutch style historic buildings, farmland- cattle, beekeeping, and conservation. 100% Chenin Blanc stainless steel aged, offers aromas of pineapple and yellow pear, with a citrus acidity on the finish. We give it three bones.
Babylonstoren Chenin Blanc
One of the oldest Cape Dutch farms, offering gardens, farms and a luxury hotel, restaurants and winery. This Chenin Blanc from the Western Cape of South Africa is dry and crisp with an intriguing nose of white peaches and ripe pineapple with an undercurrent of lemon curd. We give it two bones.
Chenin Blanc, or Steen, whether from Loire, France, or South Africa, offers a wonderful experience for your palate. Stop in and explore our selection from different vintages to places of origin. A wonderful aperitif, summer sipper, or pair with citrus laced seafood or light fare. Cheers!
Regenerative farming is a practice that is becoming more popular in vineyards and winery properties. Before you can be “regenerative” you must first be “Certified Organic”. Produce can be called organic if it is certified to have grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest, by a third party inspector. USDA certified foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances, physical, mechanical and biological based farming methods. Traditionally European winemakers have been following the guidelines of their ancestors for centuries; making wines with very little intervention, including that of fertilizers, pesticides and other additives. However, most of these wineries have not gone so far as to pay their government to come in and inspect them and make sure they are following the guidelines (though that movement is changing as public demand calls for such labeling). Therefore they are not considered certified, they are simply using organic practices.
Before wine can be sold (and labeled) as organic, both the growing of the grapes and their conversion to wine must be certified. All the grapes must be grown without synthetic fertilizers, fungicides and herbicides, and in a manner that protects the environment and soil.
The legal definition of “organic wine” does vary from country to country, with the main difference being the use of preservatives such as sulfur dioxide, or SO2, sulfites during the winemaking process, and certain yeast strains. In the US if a wine is labeled “made with certified organic grapes” it can still contain up to 100 ppm of sulfites or use nonnative yeast. Traditional wine can use anywhere from 250 to 400 parts per million of sulfites. The use of added sulfites is a hot debate within the organic winemaking community. Organic certification also does not guarantee the use of renewable energy, responsible water use, or environmentally sustainable packaging.
Regenerative agriculture is a conservation and rehabilitation approach to the farming system, focusing on regenerating the topsoil, increasing bio diversity, and improving the water cycle. Wineries use composting and cover crops in an attempt to armor the earth, increasing soil health.
Sustainable agriculture is a practice defined by the US Code as an integrated system of practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term, satisfy human food and fiber needs. Environmental conservation, reduced water consumption, and a self-supporting system of productivity and usefulness to maintain and improve soil fertility. You will often see SIP Certified (Sustainable In Practice) on a wine label.
While Natural wine and natural farm practices do not use any “approved” substances, neither chemical nor organic fertilizers are added to the soil, there is no official or regulated definition of “natural wine”. The natural movement in winemaking stems from a group of growers and farmers using simple, traditional methods (as our European forefathers mentioned earlier). Natural wines are often produced using no pesticides, herbicides, chemical additives and few to no, or only native sulfur and yeast.
Biodynamic farming principals as they pertain to winemaking, involve using a similar concept to above, however all components of the vineyard are considered one solid organism where the eco system of the farm functions as sustainable, using natural materials, soils and composts and no chemicals. Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner started the idea of biodynamics in the 1920’s- predating organics, based on the lunar calendar and astrological influences. There are root days, flower days, fruit days and leaf days, as well as the famous Cow Horn. It is believed that to bury a cow horn near the end of a vineyard site row will stimulate microbial soil, regulate PH, and dissolve minerals while stimulating seed germination.
All of these principles are unique yet still similar in their goal of maintaining and sustaining the vineyard land. Do any of them taste “different”. There is no straight answer. Natural wines will always taste slightly different than “regular wine” as most every day wine is made with genetically modified yeast strains whether it is used to correct the color, or balance a slightly off flavor. Sulfites are the number one preservative of wine, keeping fruit flavors fresh. Sulfites release sulfur dioxide gas, which is an active component in preservation of many foods, drinks and medications. Everything from baked goods to canned foods, dried fruits and soups and condiments carry trace amounts of sulfites. Winemakers are scientists and chemists before they are artists. The following wines are some of our favorites utilizing the above practices here at Ed’s.
Hedges CMS Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley, WA
Hedges Family is certified both Biodynamic and Organic with their famous Red Mountain AVA (American Viticultural Area) in Washington State. The CMS stands for Chardonnay, Marsanne and Sauvignon Blanc, and the blend, though mostly Sauvignon Blanc, offers aromas of grapefruit, lemon zest and baked apples, with bright citrus flavors and touch of herbaceousness. We give it two bones.
Lamura Grillo Sicilia DOCG
Completely organic with vineyards resting on the coast of Sicily in the Valley de Bellice, a hilly land where the air is filled with the scents of the Mediterranean Sea. These lovely white grapes are hand harvested and soft pressed before aging on the lees. Crisp refreshing citrus notes and hints of salinity, perfect with fresh seafood. We give it two bones.
Montinore Pinot Noir “Red Cap” Willamette Valley, OR
Montinore uses insect-promoting and nutrient infusing cover crops, and aligns with regenerative farming practices. Horn Manure 500 – where the cow horn is packed with cow manure and buried near the vineyards for 6 to 8 months, imparts a rich soil characteristic. This Pinot Noir expresses the beautiful terroir that is the Willamette Valley; red fruit, ripe currant, soft white pepper and a touch of leather. We give it three bones.
Benziger Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon
Mike and Mary Benziger have been farming on Sonoma Mountain for over 30 years. They introduced biodynamic and organic farming practices to their land in the mid 1990’s. All of Benziger’s production facilities are certified sustainable and organic with the CSWA – California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. This Cab shows charred oak aromas and flavors with black fruit notes and spicy peppercorn. We give it three bones.
Castoro Reserve Petite Sirah Paso Robles, CA
This wine is from CCOF – Certified Organic Blind Faith Vineyard that is nestled on the east side of the Paso Robles AVA and the Estrella District Vineyards. Established in 1983 with the goal of producing world class wines, the winery production has grown from just a few barrels back then to over 40,000 cases today. 100% Petite Sirah, dry fermented to small American oak barrels, the wine shows big bold fruit, but balance with firm tannins and hints of blackberry, pepper and black tea. We give it two bones.
Breaking Bread Zinfandel by Kokomo CA
Old Heritage vines that have been in the ground for over a hundred years, are dry farmed to express the essence of American Zinfandel, using Carbonic Maceration, whole cluster fermentation and no chemical yeasts or additives. The winery is committed to the Natural Wine movement. This Dry Creek Valley Zin is lower in alcohol, well balanced and fruit forward. Fig and plum, blackberry and a touch of spice. Enjoy slightly chilled, we give it two bones.
Winemaking is at the total discretion of the winemaker and their team, it is subjective and there are thousands of choices for the connoisseur. Come see us or give us a call or order on line and we can help you select.
By Carolyn R Brow
There is so much history in American winemaking including the legendary region of Paso Robles, California, and it began with the icon Gary Eberle. Paso Robles in the 1970’s was an agricultural town, growing almonds and barley. Gary went on to purchase land in Paso Robles, and put the area on the American Viticultural Area map. It became the 6th AVA in the US.
Gary grew up in a small Pennsylvania town and through scholarships was a Penn State alum and a member of their football team. He credits coach Joe Paterno for his role in helping form him not just as a great football player, but also as a human being. Gary also credits Robert Mondavi, another mentor of his, for teaching him marketing. Gary often jokes as he was writing college papers on cellular genetics at LSU, he had this great appreciation for Bordeaux, and inevitably changed his career path. He decided he wanted to be a “Professional Alcoholic” and not a geneticist! Gary was the pioneer who planted Syrah in Paso Robles, which grew prolifically in the area. Paso has also become a well-known terroir for Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. Eberle Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1979 was Gary’s first award winning vintage. The iconic boar on the label depicts the German origin of the name “small boar”. The winery grows several varietals and all are winners in our book.
Eberle Viognier A Rhone varietal that grows well in Paso Robles, and is the most accoladed white wine they produce. Winemaker Chris Eberle (no relation) picks fruit at varying degrees of ripeness to help control alcohol levels and maintain a balance between fruit and acid. Half of this wine is aged in neutral oak barrels and the other half stainless steel, then it is blended and filtered before bottling. Flavors of honeydew, tangerine, kiwi and jasmine. We give it three bones.
Eberle Zinfandel Sourced from six different districts in the Paso Robles appellation, the grapes are hand picked and sorted before aging in American oak barrels. Well structured with up front tannins and juicy flavors of blackberry, strawberry and spiced plum. Traditional hearty American Zinfandel whose elegant style sets it apart from other zins. We give it two bones. Wine Spectator gave it 92 points.
Eberle Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Aged in a mix of French and American oak this 100% Cabernet shows nuanced varietal character representing each of its Paso vineyards it is sourced from. Medium bodied with flavors of black currant, dark chocolate cherry, plum and vanilla, finishing with green peppercorn and cedar. We give it two bones.
Eberle Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Gary earned his Ph. D in Enology from UC Davis in 1971 after working on his Master’s to become a geneticist at Louisiana State University. His 1980 Cabernet was the first to bear the Paso Robles appellation he helped establish. Well balanced and elegant, aromas and palate coating flavors of black cherry, cassis, tobacco leaf and cocoa. We give this wine three bones. 2019 Vintage received 91 points from Wine Enthusiast.
Eberle Syrah Steinbeck Vineyard The first winery to produce a 100% Syrah varietal in the United States. Gary secured a planting from UC Davis, originally propagated from Chapoutier’s Rhone plantings. This single vineyard Syrahs is one of the oldest vineyards in the US, and is aged in American, Hungarian, and French oak. Blueberry, blackberry red raspberry and plum balanced with hints of white pepper and violets. We give this wine three bones, the Enthusiast gave it 93 points. Less than 1500 cases produced.
Eberle Muscat Canelli Originally grown for the winery – production has grown to just over 1500 cases and is a favorite at wine dinners to pair with cantaloupe with prosciutto or goat cheese. We get a small amount of the wine in Florida, and it’s a wonderful start to a light meal, or finish with a panna cotta or grilled peaches…aromas of jasmine blossom and mandarin zest intermingle with flavors of white peach, Myer Lemon, ginger and bursts of guava. We give it three bones.
All of these hand crafted, small p production wines from Eberle are available here at Ed’s, stop by or order on line. Cheers!
By CR Brown
The history of Valentine’s Day is a bit muddled (and bloody) dating back to ancient Romans feasting (with much drunkenness) and well, getting couples together with rituals including sacrificing animals. Yikes! Two saints were also executed on February 14, both named Valentine, who were later honored by the Catholic church with the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day. In the fifth century, Romans were still celebrating the date while the Normans were celebrating Galatins- which literally means “lover of women” both around February 14. Poets Shakespeare and Chaucer also wrote of the holiday, which featured handmade paper cards with hearts. It was finally in 1913 in America, Hallmark began mass producing and marketing what we now regard as Valentine’s. A day for love and indulgences. Valentine’s Day has become a social holiday celebrated around the world, from Argentina to Canada, Great Britain, Australia, France, Mexico and Korea. In the Philippines it is a day for mass weddings and anniversary celebrations, and the day has expanded to include all kinds of expressions of affection.
The kind of affection we love here at Ed’s is fermented grape juice! So if you’re planning to celebrate this Valentine’s Day, let’s break out the bubbles! And if sparkling wine isn’t breaking out the romance for you, we have some lovely still wines to try. Read on.
Champagne Lombardi is located in the Aube region of Champagne, France where Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes flourish between the hillside vineyards and forests that dot the area. Stephane’ Lombardi released his first cuvee in 2011, the birth year of his daughter. Champagne Lombardi Axiome is made from 100% first run juice, 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay aged for 24 months on the lees and then 12 more months after disgorgement. Notes of green and red apple, as well as pear and yeasty biscuit, the champagne is approachable, crisp and refreshing. Wine Spectator awarded 90 points, we give it three bones on the Brunello scale.
Champagne Palmer Brut Reserve was created by a group of seven grower families whose Premier Cru and Grand Cru vineyards of the Montagne express harmony and balance. Palmer and Co established in 1947 distinguishes itself through the grand terroir of Cote de Bar and the Marne Valley. These classified vineyards present a unique palate for the master Champagne blender Xavier Berdin and the work of his team of enologists. Palmer Brut Reserve is based on a selection of wines from the best vineyards in the Champagne region. The Premiers and Grand Crus of the Montagne de Reims area lend their distinctive personality to these wines. The nose is clean citrus, pear and apricot, with subtle notes of hazelnut and flavors of buttery brioche. A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier with a minimum of 4 years aging. Perfectly balanced and seductive – three bones on the Brunello scale.
If bubbles are not really your thing for Valentine’s, then how about a little fun?!
Send Nudes Rose’ could be the perfect message for your love! SLO Down wines owner Brandon Allen (who we will be cruising with this April) knows a thing or two about being fun! And he makes great wines. This 100% California Pinot Noir is like a beautiful glass of pale, pink sherbet. The nose is bursting with apricot and strawberry with just a touch of white pepper on the tongue on the finish. We give it two bones.
Born from a bootlegging operation in his garage, Brandon Allen’s wine Sexual Chocolate Red Blend is hedonism at its best. A blend of Syrah, Zinfandel and Malbec, no chocolate was used to make this wine- but there are hints of cocoa in the finish. Packed with ripe, dark fruit and exotic spices, and a lingering, silky finish. We give it three bones.
We hope you get to indulge whether with friends, a special someone, or maybe that four legged friend curled up on the couch with a movie and great bottle of wine this Valentine’s. Salute’
By Carolyn R Brown
The Wines of Collefrisio
Ed, Perry and a wonderful group of customers recently toured Italy on a wine journey, and we were fortunate to tour Collefrisio in Abruzzo. We were also fortunate enough to bring back some of their hand-crafted wines just in time to celebrate the New Year.
Third generation winemakers Amedeo De Luca and Antonio Patricelli joined forces in 2004 to fulfill a passion for the land and the vines of their forefathers. They acquired an existing hilltop estate once owned by the Frisio family. They set out to create a winery that embraces modernity while honoring the long tradition of winemaking in the extraordinary terroir that is Abruzzo. The area is known for the Montepulciano variety, where three of their estates share an 86-acre vineyard site. The grapes are organically grown, not to make organic wine, but to provide gentle and noninvasive care to the integrity of the grapes.
Abruzzo is the “middle of the boot” on the east side of the Italian peninsula. A rugged, mountainous region with a lengthy coastline, abundant sunshine, generous rainfall, and cool, mountain air currents. Situated between the Adriatic Sea to the east and the Apennines and Majella Mountain ranges to the west. Chieti is a hilly province in Southern Abruzzi where 75% of the regions wine is produced. The Collefrisio vineyards thrive between the sea breezes and the mountain peaks, a territory that preserves evidence of pre-Roman civilization, dedicated to the cultivation of vine and wine. These wines are a modern interpretation of complex terrain, soils rich in clay and limestone, hot summers and cold winters. The wines are deep in flavor and unlike the earthy, traditional old Italian style.
Collefrisio Terre Di Chieti Bianco IGT The Terre Di Chieti region uses grapes like Pecorino, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Moscato. This white blend shows aromas of white flowers, white peppercorn, peach and lemon.
Cerasuolo D’ Abruzzo Rose’ DOCG Made from 100% Montepulciano this wine shows ripe cherry fruit with hints of plum. The Cerasuolo is a recent DOC approved in the Abruzzo region. The grapes spend a short time fermenting on the skins, so tannins are light but the bright fruit shines through.
Salento Primativo IGT Primativo, the wine varietal, known as Italian “Zinfandel” is rich with flavors of dark, ripe, red cherry. The famous area of Salento is where these grapes are sourced, dominated by limestone clay, gravel and sand.
Limited Edition “Ten Vintages” Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo DOCG
Production was limited to 6,000 bottles. Seductive and silky with flavors of black plum, smoke and leather. Rich tannins and subtle acidity with a creamy finish of dark fruit.
These wines are limited and only available through our store, because we visited the winery and were able to secure a great buy! Stop in and get yours, or order on line before they are gone!
We love the holidays here at Ed’s Fine Wines, any reason to celebrate with a bottle of bubbly or a special wine to share or even consume “just because”, it’s the holiday season! Let’s take a look at some of the great holiday selections we have that pair with your holiday table.
Any celebration is made more fun with the pop of a cork and the flow of some effervescence! Whether it’s Prosecco from Italy or real Champagne from France, or some extraordinary, carbonated wine from right here in the good old US, bubbles make it a party!
We love Mionetto Prosecco to start off any gathering. Since 1887 the Mionetto family has been making wine in the heart of the Valdobbiadene, a famous region for the Glera grape used to make Prosecco, in Italy. They use the Charmat method; the second fermentation takes place in large autoclaves to help maintain freshness and aroma. Apple, mineral, and vanilla nuances, brut style finishes dry and clean. We give it two bones.
Champagne Lombardi is a boutique house from Lyon that began in 2011- Stephane Lombardi, a relative outsider as a grower, but a veteran to the beverage industry, surrounded himself with the best winemakers and enologists and his cuvee’ consistently garners over 90 point ratings. A nose of peaches and pears with a touch of lemony fruit. Toasty notes and refined spices. We give it two bones.
Chateau Palmer Brut Reserve was founded in 1947. Premier and Grand Cru from the Montagne de Reims which gives the Champagne its elegance and refinement. The clean nose of apricot, citrus and pear with subtle hints of hazelnut gives way to a succulent palate that finishes with flavors of buttery brioche’. We give it three bones.
These selections would make fine hostess gifts as well should you be heading to a party or celebration. Rose’ is a wonderful aperitif or accompaniment to many dishes, whether you are serving a shrimp cocktail appetizer or crab cakes, or simple fish spread.
Send Nudes Rose’ is a well-crafted 100% North Coast Pinot Noir with just a few hours of skin contact to give it the lovely pink sherbet hue. Winery founder and marketing guru Brandon Allen founded this label for SLO DOWN wines as a fun way to enjoy wine without pretention. Bursting with strawberries and ripe peach flavors, candied watermelon and white grapefruit, we give it three bones.
There is almost always a Chardonnay lover at every house party, so why not make your selection an icon of Napa with one of the best expressions of the grape, Newton Unfiltered Napa Valley Chardonnay doesn’t disappoint. Peter Newton first produced wines from Spring Mountain in 1977. Naturally fermented using native yeasts to preserve the natural fruit essence, aged in French oak barrels and crafted with intense procedures to ensure the unique quality of the terroir shines, the wines are famously “unfiltered” and can be enjoyed upon release or for many years of cellaring. 100% Chardonnay sourced from Rutherford and Carneros, aromas of tangerine and wet stone, with a full body and pleasant crisp finish. We give it two bones.
If you have a true Francophile coming to your table, then a white Burgundy is a fun offering. Caroline Parent Saint Romain is 100% Chardonnay from Cote de Beaune and Cote de Nuits. Caroline’s style favors elegance and finesse anchored in the timeless tradition of Burgundy. The wine exudes brilliant honey and almond and hazelnuts on the nose with a touch of floral, stone fruit and crisp apple flavors, the finish is long and elegant. We give it two bones.
Traditional American Pinot Noir foots the bill if you are serving a dinner with pork or turkey, the wine is subtle enough to pair well with both lighter and heavier meats and fish, and all the accoutrements. Ken Wright Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from Oregon is an old favorite of ours here at Ed’s. Ken makes multiple bottlings from single vineyard sites on his property, but we also carry the entry level that is a culmination of several vineyards in one bottle at an affordable price point. Ripe, Rainier Cherry, red plum, and blackberry are nestled between notes of cedar, rose petal and turned earth. This wine comes alive with cranberry sauce and sweet potato sides. We give it two bones.
The big reds and meat lovers, we haven’t forgotten you! Open up a delicious red blend to pair with your Standing Rib Roast or Leg of Lamb. Red Zinfandel grapes are considered to be the most indigenous, as the grape originated from Primitivo cuttings brought to California from Italy in the early 1800’s. Today, American Red Zinfandel is recognized as one of the biggest, boldest, most flavorful of grapes to put on your table. Klinker Brick Old Vines Zinfandel is a favorite as we have visited the winery with our friends several times over the years. The Felton family was one of the first to start growing grapes in Lodi, which was once home to mostly potato farmers. Over 16 different vineyards come together for the Old Vines Zin. Dark cherry and spice give great acidity and barrel aging adds robust oak flavor to the rhubarb and cranberry fruit notes, with just a hint of black pepper on the finish. We give it three bones.
Another option for the red meat lovers is Muga Reserva a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano grapes from the Rioja region of Spain. Raspberry and blackberry fruit on the nose, with secondary aromas of vanilla and licorice. The finish is long and fruity. This wine will hold for many years, so a great gift for a collector, or enjoy it now with your traditional roast beef. The wine is made so meticulously, it is even hand filtered using a candle. We give it three bones.
There are ports and sherries and plenty of late harvest wines to share on your dessert table as well. Whatever you do this holiday season, whether you’re cooking for a crowd, partying around the town, or just laying low and taking a break from it all, we hope you have a peaceful, joyous wine filled season, and it starts right here in our store.