Much is written about the celebrated wines and terroir of Napa Valley and Sonoma County. Travel southeast from California’s “wine country” through the Central Valley and you will find a unique gem of a winery nestled in Madera County. Quady Winery has spent the past 30 years refining the art of dessert wines. IntoWine.com caught up with co-founder Andrew Quady (his wife Laurel is the other brain behind it) to talk about Quady’s California style dessert wines.
In the U.S. and abroad, the movement towards embracing organic foods is evolving rapidly. It seems a day can not pass without new information emerging concerning the health benefits of organic foods. Major grocers such as Whole Foods and Molly Stone’s are popping up in cities across the U.S. as consumers embrace the health benefits –and better taste – of organic foods. IntoWine.com recently chatted with Celine Guillou and Chris Tavelli, the owners of Yield , San Francisco’s first and only “green” wine bar, about “green” wine and the Yield Wine Bar experience.
April in Carneros is an annual event held in the Wine Country north of San Francisco, hosted by wineries associated with Hospitality de Los Carneros. Regional events like this one are a bit like a pub crawl, as you tend to see and bond with other patrons following the same itinerary among the wineries. But you drive, not crawl between the wineries, and the collective deportment is more like you’d see at an art gallery than a pub. It’s a weekend worldly winery wheel, provisioned with food, music, and (of course) the proud presentation of the wines.
In the winter, they stretch above the ground like old crows’ claws reaching for the sky. Amid the bright green of the groundcover and vivid yellows, reds and oranges of the flowering cover crops, one could easily mistake these black stumps for dead. But they are just dormant for now, mustering the energy to push out yet another year’s worth of fruit that will produce the liquid gold that old vine zinfandel can be.
The drive to the Spring Mountain district from downtown St. Helena is not for the faint of heart. Climbing ever higher through narrow winding roads, my backseat driver averts her eyes from the unfenced drop-offs, while I apologize silently to the locals in the rear-view mirror. They are clearly irritated to be stuck behind a visitor abiding by the posted speed limits. It is hard to fathom that such a challenging vertical natural piece of land has been developed into one of the most respected Californian appellations. Upon arriving at the inconspicuous entrance to Paloma, there is a precipitous climb to a series of three gates
You know you’ve thought about it. Or maybe not, but since you’ve already read the title of this piece, you’re thinking about it now. If you’re a wine lover and you work a regular, nine to five type job, you’ve probably spent at least one wistful moment staring at your computer screen, or into your glass (or maybe both at the same time), muttering about how nice it would be to pick up and drop everything and move to the vineyard. Well guess what, some people actually do it.
Driving on Highway 101, between the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria in Santa Barbara wine country, you pass by rolling hills punctuated by oak trees, sedate cattle and a sea of vineyards, like the ones off Cat Canyon and Kendall Jackson's 1,600 acres. You also pass by Los Alamos, an old western town founded in 1876 that still doesn't have its own grocery store.
While no match for the fickle flip of fashion rags like Vogue, nevertheless, wine publications have a tendency to declare a new “wine darling” seemingly every year. From Gruner Veltliner to the rebirth of Riesling, or the rise of Spain to the fall of Australia, wine fashions ebb and flow with the tide of sommelier fancy and corporate marketing. For the last few months, I’ve been noting that more and more publications have been talking about Greece. So, when the “All About Greek Wines” tour (sponsored by thirty-one producers to promote Greek wines in North America) came to San Francisco in April, the time seemed ripe to check out what the latest media starlet had to offer.
One of the great varietals in the world is undoubtedly Sauvignon Blanc. With a history dating back centuries, wines made from this very special grape have played major roles in establishing some of the world’s finest wine regions. When fermented dry, Sauvignon makes some of the easiest-to-appreciate, crisp, expressions of green apple, wild grasses, and citrus. Sweet wines made from the grape are typically profound expressions of honey and spice. However, making memorable Sauvignon is not a process lacking in challenges.
As a young girl, I had always dreamed about being a princess inside a castle full of beautiful surroundings and lovely wines. Well, okay….maybe not the wines so much, but you get the point. At Castle Vineyards in Sonoma, California, their small, quaint tasting room gives meaning to the word “royalty”. Why, you ask? It’s simple: The folks at Castle really know what they are making and selling and it shows. From the employees to the tasting room and of course, the wine itself, Castle knows how to make one feel like royalty.