We opened the session learning about Beaulieu Vineyard’s long and extensive history. It was founded in 1900 after Georges de Latour sold his cream of tartar business. BV eventually being a leading producer of sacramental wines for the Catholic church in the early days even before prohibition. They actually grew fourfold in the 1920s, while other producers had to close their doors. By the repeal of prohibition in 1933, production had grown to about one million gallons of wine per year.
Then we moved on to Trevor and learned that he grew up in Sonoma County and that wine was a staple at his family’s dinner table. That said, when Trevor went to UC Davis, his original plan was not focused on wine or winemaking. That came about after he enrolled in an introduction to winemaking class. It was after that course he decided that this was the career he wanted to pursue. Trevor interned and worked at Sonoma-Cutrer, Gloria Ferrer, and Moon Mountain Vineyard early in his career. In the spring of 2010, Trevor joined Provenance Vineyards and Hewitt Vineyard as assistant winemaker. In early 2015, Trevor succeeded founding winemaker Tom Rinaldi and previous winemaker Chris Cooney in his appointment to lead winemaker. Trevor worked closely with Tom and Chris, crafting highly regarded wines that continued until June 2017, when he took the mantel of chief winemaker at Beaulieu Vineyard. We also learned that the 1968 Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was his “ah ha” wine. A family friend shared this wine with him, and it left such an impression on him that it was the inspiration for his career and the wines he wanted to make.
At BV, Trevor presides as only the fifth chief winemaker in the winery’s 120-year history. We learned a lot about André Tchelistcheff, “The Maestro” winemaker and his influence and impact on the early days of the winery. We also learned about BV’s current and former historic vineyards. Two of the vineyards that were sold in 1988 (BV 3) and 1993 (BV 4) have become famous in their own right. Beaulieu Vineyard Number 3 (BV 3) is now Georges III Vineyard owned by Andy Beckstoffer. Beaulieu Vineyard Number 4 (BV 4) is Andy’s portion of To Kalon Vineyard. I bet Trevor wishes those two were still part of their vineyard portfolio. That said, BV still has more than 1,100 acres of Estate vineyards and as you will see shortly, they make some incredible wines from the current vineyard portfolio.
We also learned about BV’s Clonal Trials and its origins. In 1980, BV began a 14-year series of trials in conjunction with UC Davis to identify the best Cabernet Sauvignon clones to be planted in the Rutherford Bench. Clones 4 and 6 were ultimately selected for grafting to rootstocks planted in their estate vineyards. Beyond the history of the trials, we also learned a little bit about each clone we were trying and what they bring to the table for Trevor when he is crafting his blends.
Lastly, before we get to the wines, I thought I would share some other interesting tidbits about BV and Hewitt that we learned.
• 2019 is the 83rd consecutive vintage of Georges de Latour Private Reserve.
• A large % of the grapes used in Georges de Latour Private Reserve come from the original Beaulieu Vineyard Ranch No. 1 or BV 1 Vineyard.
• The 2019 vintage has the largest % of Petit Verdot ever used in the Georges de Latour Private Reserve.
• We learned that the worse time of the growing season for smoke taint is during veraison.
• Hewitt never had a winery.
• Bill Hewitt who was the head of Deere & Company (John Deere) from 1955 to 1982 bought the vineyard in 1962
• Originally Hewitt was a grower only vineyard and sold grapes to BV.
• Like what he did at BV 1, Andre was hired to replant Hewitt to Cabernet Sauvignon.
• Some of the Hewitt Cab today makes its way into the Georges de Latour Private Reserve.
Below is a summary of the seven Beaulieu Vineyard wines and the single Hewitt wine that we covered with Trevor. The links below are to our full reviews. If you are interested in ordering and trying these wines, you will find many of these wines via your favorite fine wine shop or on top quality wines lists. You can also purchase the BV wines directly from the Wineshop.com website after they are released. As for the Hewitt wines you can purchase them on the Hewitt website. If you want first dibs on all their wines, you could consider joining their clubs.
1. Beaulieu Vineyard 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon “Napa Valley” $33 (KWGTP 92)
2. Beaulieu Vineyard 2019 “Tapestry Reserve Red Wine” (Napa Valley) $65 (KWGTP 92.5)
3. Beaulieu Vineyard 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon “Rutherford Reserve” $85 (KWGTP 94.5)
4. Beaulieu Vineyard 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon “Clone 4” $190 (KWGTP 94)
5. Beaulieu Vineyard 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon “Clone 6” $190 (KWGTP 95)
6. Beaulieu Vineyard 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon “Clone 169” $190 (KWGTP 94.5)
7. Beaulieu Vineyard 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon “Georges de Latour Private Reserve” $150 (KWGTP 97)
8. Hewitt Vineyard 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon “Rutherford” $150 (KWGTP 95)
You can find reviews of past and future Beaulieu & Hewitt Vineyard wines that we cover on the KWG Beaulieu Vineyard and the KWG Hewitt Vineyard winery pages on our website. We hope you enjoy these terrific wines as much as we did. Cheers! – Ken
During our Zoom interview on September 14th, we had a chance to meet Andrew Baldwin who is one of the many winemakers at Penfolds winery. Andrew has been in the business for 38 years. 33 of those years have been with Penfolds. So, he is quite a veteran and knows all things Penfolds. He shared a lot about their long history with us. Andrew is one of Penfolds red winemakers. There are currently 10 winemakers. It is quite an operation.
We learned a bunch of interesting tidbits during the interview. We learned that China has 220% tariff on Aussie wines, so they no longer sell into China. We learned that Penfolds has a Champagne project with Thiénot and they have a French Bordeaux project that recently doubled in size with the purchasing of Château Lanessan. We asked about corks vs. screw caps. Andrew felt corks are for wines with more complexity. All the wines sent to the US are under corks except for the white wines which are under screw caps. We asked about the Bin numbers and their origins. We learned that Napa’s 704 is just the reverse of the 407 from South Australia. We learned that RWT stands for Red Wine Trial. We also learned that Kalimna was the original vineyard for Penfolds. We learned so much about their history, that it was hard to jot it all down. But the best tidbit that I did note, was that the kangaroo’s like to eat the ripe berries, so when they are feasting you know the grapes are ready to be picked. That is old school!
Below is a summary of the nine Penfolds wines that we covered with Andrew. The first two are white wines that were made by Kym Schroeter. Kym’s father, uncle and brother were all Penfolds winemakers, so it was almost inevitable he would join the Penfolds family as a winemaker. As you will see, his white wines also shined, especially the Riesling! The remaining six were very impressive red wines from the California and Australian portfolios.
The links below are to our full reviews. If you are interested in ordering and trying these wines, you will find many of these wines via your favorite fine wine shop or on top quality wines lists.
- Penfolds 2022 Riesling “Bin 51” (Eden Valley) $40 (KWGTP 93.5)
- Penfolds 2021 Chardonnay “Bin 311” (Adelaide Hills/Tasmania) $40 (KWGTP 91)
- Penfolds 2020 Shiraz “Bin 28” (South Australia) $40 (KWGTP 92)
- Penfolds 2020 Red Blend “Bin 389” (South Australia) $80 (KWGTP 94)
- Penfolds 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon “Bin 407” (South Australia) $80 (KWGTP 95)
- Penfolds 2019 Shiraz “St. Henri” (South Australia) $150 (KWGTP 95)
- Penfolds 2020 Shiraz “RWT Bin 798” (Barossa Valley) $150 (KWGTP 96)
- Penfolds 2019 Red Blend “Bin 600” (CA) $50 (KWGTP 93)
- Penfolds 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon “Bin 704” (Napa Valley, CA) $70 (KWGTP 94.5)
You can find reviews of past and future Penfolds wines that we cover on the KWG Penfolds winery page on our website. The Penfolds line-up is so big these days, there is something for everyone. We encourage you to explore their very large range of wines. Enjoy!
During our Zoom interview on August 24th, we had a chance to meet McPrice “Mac” Myers who is the winemaker and founder at McPrice Myers winery. This interview came about after I heard Mac and Billy Grant on Adam Montiel’s Paso Robles based podcast “Where Wine Takes You.” The Episode was “Paso Wine’s Person of the Year” Billy Grant and McPrice Myers. I had covered some of Mac’s wines in the past, but after that podcast episode, I had to reach out to Billy to set up the interview. I had to showcase his wines to the Tasting Panel.
We learned a ton about Mac in the interview and grew huge respect for Mac’s accomplishments. Mac’s path the winemaking was not your traditional path. He was first introduced to wine in 1994 at his first job at Trader Joe’s. They did weekly wine tastings and that was the trigger point for Mac. From there he visited wine country every two weeks to learn more and more about the wine industry. He learned his future craft by volunteering on his time off from his real job. Once again, this was not the traditional path for sure. Eventually, Mac, Russell From (Herman Story) and their cellar master is Edgar Torres created Barrel 27 wines. There motto was “We work hard to make good wine. You work. You work hard and need good wine.” Given their roots, they made Barrel 27 wines for people like them! Affordable and very good “Hard Working Wines” for hard working folks! Long after that project, Mac is still dedicated to making these wines. He puts as much effort into those wines as he does his premium McPrice Myers offerings. He really gives back!
Below is a summary of the seven premium McPrice Myers wines that we covered with Mac. As you will see, they were all very well done and impressive.
The links below are to our full reviews. If you are interested in ordering and trying these wines, you will find many of these wines via your favorite fine wine shop or on top quality wines lists. You can also order them all via the McPrice Myers website.
1. McPrice Myers 2021 “Beautiful Earth White” (Paso) $35 (KWGTP 91.5)
2. McPrice Myers 2021 “Beautiful Earth Rosé” (Paso) $35 (KWGTP 90.5)
3. McPrice Myers 2020 “Beautiful Earth Red” (Paso) $45 (KWGTP 92)
4. McPrice Myers 2020 “Paper Street Cuvée” (Willow Creek) $65 (KWGTP 94)
5. McPrice Myers 2020 “Brave Fortune” (Santa Barbara County) $55 (KWGTP 92.5)
6. McPrice Myers 2020 “Cuvée Kristina” (CA) $85 (KWGTP 94)
7. McPrice Myers 2020 “Fait Accompli” (Paso) $55 (KWGTP 94)
You can find reviews of past and future McPrice Myers wines that we cover on the KWG McPrice Myers winery page on our website. You can and should also explore his very affordable and very good Hard Working Wines series. As mentioned above, The Hard Working Wines series are value-driven wines from Paso Robles and the Central Coast. From these value driven wines to the Excellent premium we covered, there is something for everyone at MacPrice Myers. Enjoy!
During our Zoom interview on August 17th, we had a chance meet Renée Ary who is the winemaker at Duckhorn Vineyards. We learned that Renée went to Saint Mary’s College and earned a degree in chemistry and art, before entering the wine world. We joked that both those majors are very important in the winemaking world these days. Renée then went on to start her career in the lab at Robert Mondavi Winery. From there she made her way over to Duckhorn. Over the next 11 years, she working her way up from the lab to eventually becoming the assistant winemaker. In 2014, she was named the fourth winemaker at Duckhorn Vineyards. She followed Tom Rinaldi, Mark Beringer, and Bill Nancarrow. Those winemakers put Duckhorn on the map and Renée was charged with keeping the train rolling. Well as you will she from our reviews below, she is doing a terrific job keeping up with that tradition and even more!
Below is a summary of the eight wines that we covered with Renée. As you will see, they were all very good. I was even a little shocked by the winner.
The links below are to our full reviews. If you are interested in ordering and trying these wines, you will find many of these wines via your favorite fine wine shop or on top quality wines lists. You can also order them all via the Duckhorn website.
1. Duckhorn Vineyards 2021 Sauvignon Blanc “North Coast” $32 (KWGTP 91)
2. Duckhorn Vineyards 2020 Chardonnay “Napa Valley” $36 (KWGTP 91)
3. Duckhorn Vineyards 2019 Merlot “Napa Valley” $58 (KWGTP 92)
4. Duckhorn Vineyards 2019 Merlot “Three Palms Vineyard” (Napa) $115 (KWGTP 95)
5. Duckhorn Vineyards 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon “Napa Valley” $80 (KWGTP 92.5)
6. Duckhorn Vineyards 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon “Rutherford” $105 (KWGTP 94)
7. Duckhorn Vineyards 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon “Three Palms Vineyard” (Napa) $105 (KWGTP 93.5)
8. Duckhorn Vineyards 2018 Red Blend “The Discussion” (Napa Valley) $155 (KWGTP 94)
You can find reviews of past and future Duckhorn wines that we cover on the KWG Duckhorn winery page on our website. If you love Cabernet and Merlot, then seeking out and trying Renée’s wines is a must. She told us she makes 7 different Merlots and 11 different Cabernets. That’s a lot! You certainly will not be disappointed when exploring her work! Enjoy – Ken
During our Zoom interview on August 10th, we had a chance catch up with Joel Peterson who is the winemaker at Once and Future Wines. This is the second year in a row we have had Joel on with the Tasting Panel. This year, we covered 7 of his new-release 2020 vintage wines. This was a couple less than last year as he was unable to be produced a few wines because of the fires. As you will come to see, Joel has really knocked it out of the park with his 2019 and 2020 vintages. If you don’t know anything about his Once and Future project, get ready to explore some Zins. If you his loved his old Ravenswood Zinfandels, then you are in for a treat when you get a chance to explore his Once & Future offerings.
I am not going to share all of Joel’s background and how he got into winemaking. There is very nice outline about Joel’s background on his website.
That said, here are a few nuggets that link his Ravenswood history to today. Joel started Ravenswood in 1976. He wanted to focus on Zinfandel. He made “Single Vineyard” Zin’s in a somewhat gothic, Old-World style. He thought the winery, if he was lucky, would grow to 6 or 7 thousand cases. In 1983, seven years after the first vintage, Ravenswood began to grow. The popularity of Ravenswood “Vintners Blend” took center stage. Over the following three decades Ravenswood’s annual production grew to early one million cases. At one point it became the world’s bestselling red Zinfandel brand.
Joel is very proud of the wines he made at Ravenswood. I have even linked to some of my favorites from the vineyards listed here. Old Hill Ranch, Dickerson, Belloni, Barricia, Teldeschi are all fantastic vineyards and produced some stellar Zinfandel’s over the years. However, after nearly 45 years in the wine business, he felt it was time to look backwards and get back to his roots and the original plans.
So, Joel started Once and Future to return to the original vision that he had for Ravenswood from the beginning. A project that specializes in wines from special vineyards made with a sensitivity to place and in a style that he personally loved and believe in. His goal was to make wines that forced him to dust off his old redwood vats and get out a new punch down tool. (His original tool is in the Smithsonian) Wines that dye his hands black/purple and preserve and reflect the greatness of the vineyards that he works with. In short, he makes wines that he loves to make, and you will also love and enjoy!
So, what are these wines? The links below are to our full reviews of all 7 wines that we covered. If you are interested in ordering and trying these wines, you can find a few online, but the best bet is to call or e-mail winery for information.
1. Once and Future 2020 Mataro “Oakley Road Vineyard” (Contra Costa) $40 (KWGTP 91)
2. Once and Future 2020 Zinfandel “Oakley Road Vineyard” (Contra Costa) $49 (KWGTP 91)
3. Once and Future 2020 Zinfandel “Dickerson Vineyard” (Napa Valley) $49 (KWGTP 92)
4. Once and Future 2020 Zinfandel “Teldeschi Frank’s Block” (Dry Creek) $49 (KWGTP 94.5)
5. Once and Future 2020 Zinfandel “Old Hill Ranch” (Sonoma Valley) $55 (KWGTP 93.5)
6. Once and Future 2020 Zinfandel “Bedrock Vineyard Old Vine” (Sonoma Valley) $49 (KWGTP 94.5)
7. Once and Future 2020 Merlot “Sangiacomo Vineyard” (Carneros) 100% $65 (KWGTP 92)
You can find reviews of past and future Once & Future wines that we cover on the KWG Once & Future winery page on our website. If you love Zinfandel, then seeking out and trying Joel’s wines is a must. You certainly will not be disappointed! Enjoy – Ken
During our Zoom interview on July 27th, we had a chance to get to know Rebekah Wineburg who is the Winemaker at both Quintessa & Post & Vine. Rebekah’s passion for winemaking began when she visited Napa Valley with her parents at just 16. It is fascinating that her visit made such a lasting impression on her. She went on to pursue a dual degree in chemistry and biology at Macalester college with the dream of becoming a winemaker.
Her background is full of interesting experiences that have led to her current winemaker responsibilities at Quintessa and her partnership in owning Post and Vine with her friend Erica Kincaid, whom she had met back in the Rudd days.
Her wine background includes a fortuitous internship at Ornellaia. She also worked at Spy Valley in New Zealand, Rudd, and Buccella prior to her two current winemaker projects. I first discovered Rebekah’s talent when I covered the excellent Buccella 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon.
In 2012, Post & Vine was launched. That project puts Old Vine Vineyards at center stage. One of the reasons for starting this project was to save classic Old Vine vineyards by displaying the impressive wines they can produce. It started with a field blend of mixed black varieties from Testa Vineyard. As you will see in our tasting notes, she has spread her wings to include a terrific offering from the Mule Plane Vineyard in Lodi. That wine really caught our attention in this tasting session.
Rebekah has also been the winemaker at Quintessa since 2015. She is a great ambassador of the brand and is doing a terrific job as winemaker at this historic winery.
If you are interested in more information about Quintessa’s history, this video is a brief summary.
If you are interested in more information on Rebekah and her projects. Here is the link to a terrific Q&A session she did with The Wine Write that goes into a lot more details.
Now onto the wines. We covered seven of Rebekah’s new release wines. We also added the 2019 Faust from the Huneeus collection. We wanted to cover this wine even though she didn’t make it. Then lastly for fun, we added a 2011 Quintessa which was from one of our Panel member’s collection. Even though this wine was made by Rebekah’s predecessor, it was fun to cover it with her knowledge and insight on the wine. We have been huge fans of the 2018 wines from Rutherford, so we fully expected it to beat out the 2019. Well, we were wrong. The 2019 edged out the 2018 with the Panel. Here is a video from Quintessa on their impressive 2019 wine.
The links below are to our full reviews. If you are interested in ordering and trying these wines, you will find the Quintessa wines via your favorite fine wine shop or on top quality wines lists. The Sauvignon Blancs are also available for order via the Quintessa website. The 2019 Quintessa is currently allocated. If your are interested, you should give the winery a call. As for the Post & Vine wines, you can purchase these wines directly from their website.
1. Quintessa 2020 Sauvignon Blanc “Illumination” (Napa/Sonoma) $55 (KWGTP 93)
2. Quintessa 2021 Sauvignon Blanc “Illumination” (Napa/Sonoma) $55 (KWGTP 94)
3. Post & Vine 2021 “Rose of Carignane” (Contra Costa County) $19 (KWGTP 91)
4. Post & Vine 2019 “Old Vine Field Blend” (Mendocino) $36 (KWGTP 91)
5. Post & Vine 2020 Carignane “Mule Plane Vineyard” (Lodi) $28 (KWGTP 92.5)
6. Faust 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon “Napa Valley” (CA) $65 (KWGTP 93)
7. Quintessa 2018 US Red “Red Wine” (Rutherford) $240 (KWGTP 96)
8. Quintessa 2019 US Red “Red Wine” (Rutherford) $250 (KWGTP 98)
9. Quintessa 2011 US Red “Red Wine” (Rutherford) $145 (KWGTP 93.5)
You can find reviews of past and future Quintessa wines that we cover on the KWG Quintessa winery page on our website. The Post & Vine reviews that we cover on the KWG Post & Vine winery page on our website. Rebekah’s wines are awesome, and you should definitely try these wines. There is something for everyone at all price points. You certainly will not be disappointed! Enjoy – Ken
During our Zoom interview on June 29th, we had a chance to catch-up with Phillip Corallo-Titus who is the winemaker at Chappellet. Phillip has been the winemaker there since 1990. Phillip is also involved with his family winery Titus. He owns that winery with his brother Eric.
This was our second Zoom interview with Phillip. The first time was in the summer of 2021. We covered the Chappellet winery story during that session. This time, in addition to covering the wines, we talked about a variety of topics. We briefly talked about the Titus wines that we covered this winter and spring. We also discussed how we hoped to cover some of his Acumen wines next year since we have tried one of his older offerings and we liked it. He mentioned that there are not going to be any reds from Chappellet in 2020, so this is the plan for next year along with Chappellet whites. For fun, we also discussed a 2013 Nellcôte Cab that he made. We recently had a chance to try that wine and it was still showing really well. As for Chappellet, this year we talked a bit about how Phillip and long time vineyard manager Dave Pirio have used their experiences to guide the winery through COVID, the 2020 fires and the lack of water due to drought conditions in California. As a matter of fact, Prichard Hill was almost lost to fires in 2020. If it were not for the High Demand Earth Work bulldozing crew that was clearing land for a vineyard at Ovid when the Hennessey fire broke out, we might not be having this interview. Using their bulldozers, the crew cleared chaparral, brush, and other vegetation to create a nearly 4-mile firebreak across Pritchard Hill. It saved the wineries in this area. While it certainly takes a very experienced team to deal with fires, COVID and water shortages, it also takes some luck to deal with the last few years. We are very glad that Phillip and his team had a few strokes of luck along with their experience.
Now onto the wines. While most people know Chappellet for their Cabernets. Some of us geeks also know the history behind their exceptional Chenin Blanc. But the Chappellet portfolio includes much more, like terrific Cabernet Franc and Merlot which we covered last year. They have also expanded their reach in 2019, by unveiling their new Grower Collection of wines, which focuses on cool-climate Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from the finest Sonoma County vineyards. We covered one of each of those wines with Phillip this year .
Below is a summary of the five wines that we covered with Phillip. As you will see, they were all very good. But my favorite over the years has always been his Cabs. This vintage was no different. As matter of fact, the “Signature” Cab took an even bigger step up this vintage!
The links below are to our full reviews. If you are interested in ordering and trying these wines, you will find the “Signature” Cab and the “Pritchard Hill” Cab via your favorite fine wine shop or on top quality wines lists. The Cab and the first three wines are also available for order via the Chappellet website. The 2019 Pritchard Hill currently has a waitlist. If interested, you should join the list.
1. Chappellet 2020 Chardonnay “Grower Collection El Novillero” (Carneros) $55 (KWGTP 91.5)
2. Chappellet 2019 Pinot Noir “Grower Collection Apple Lane” (RRV) $60 (KWGTP 93)
3. Chappellet 2019 Red Blend “Las Piedras” (Napa Valley) $85 (KWGTP 93)
4. Chappellet 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon “Signature” (Napa Valley) $90 (KWGTP 95)
5. Chappellet 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon “Pritchard Hill” (Napa Valley) $325 (KWGTP 98)
You can find reviews of past and future Chappellet wines that we cover on the KWG Chappellet winery page on our website. Phillip’s wines continue to impress us. You should definitely try these wines and many more past options from the Chappellet portfolio. You will not be disappointed! Enjoy – Ken
During our Zoom interview on June 15th, we had a chance to catch-up with Randy Ullom who is the Winemaster for Kendall Jackson. In his Winemaster capacity, Randy oversees the entire Kendall-Jackson portfolio. During the interview we covered four of his new-release Chardonnays. We also talked about how I have been covering Randy’s Chardonnays and his other wines since the launch of KensWineGuide.com. It was great to catch up with him and share the story about how he and George Rose were very instrumental in the successful start of Ken’s Wine Guide.
Randy talked about his background and how he got into wine and came to Kendall Jackson. Randy’s bio goes into great details about that. But what is not is his bio, is his link to the start of KensWineGuide.com. One of my first memories from the beginning was covering his wines with George Rose at the old Palm Restaurant in the Back Bay in Boston. They gave me the opportunity to cover their best wines. Because of this opportunity, it led to me covering many other prominent wines from other highly regarded wineries. Down the road, I made a trip to California to cover more of their wines. It was at a dinner with Randy while enjoying a Hartford Court Chardonnay (Keep it in the family) that we would discover that I used to vacation at a tiny little lake in Vermont that Randy grew up on. My buddy Matt had a camp on Lake Hortonia. After this discovery, I would go there each year for a long weekend and cover at least one of Randy’s wines while I was there. I carried on this tradition until my friend recently sold the camp. It was fun to share stories with Randy about the lake.
Below is a summary of the four Chardonnay’s that we covered with Randy. As you will see, they were all very good. But my favorite over the years has always been his Camelot Highlands. This vintage was no different. But if you ask my wife Theresa, I should just stop covering all these other wines and just drink Randy’s “Vintners Reserve” Chardonnay. If you ask Randy, he might agree. His bio states that when he’s off the clock, he enjoys his favorite dish, Dungeness crab, with Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay. So those two have always been on the same page!
The links below are to our full reviews. If you are interested in ordering and trying these wines, you will find the Vintners and Grand Reserve Chards via your favorite wine shop. The second two Chards are available for order via the Kendall Jackson website.
Kendall Jackson 2020 Chardonnay “Vintners Reserve” (CA) $17 (KWGTP 90)
Kendall Jackson 2020 Chardonnay “Grand Reserve” (Santa Barbara County) $22 (KWGTP 91)
Kendall Jackson 2020 Chardonnay “Seco Highlands” (Arroyo Seco) $45 (KWGTP 91)
Kendall Jackson 2020 Chardonnay “Camelot Highlands” (Santa Maria Valley) $50 (KWGTP 92.5)
You can find reviews of past and future Kendall Jackson wines that we cover on the KWG Kendall Jackson winery page on our website. Randy has always been a master with Chardonnay and based on what we tasted; he is still going strong. You should try these wines and many more options from the Kendall Jackson portfolio. You will not be disappointed! Enjoy – Ken
During our Zoom interview on June 7th, we had a chance to meet with Theresa Heredia who is the winemaker for Gary Farrell Wines. During the interview we covered four of her new-release Chardonnays and five of her new-release Pinot Noirs. We have been covering Theresa’s wines for the last few years and we are always looking forward to the next batch that we receive.
Theresa has been the winemaker at the Gary Farrell Winery since 2012. Prior to that she was the winemaker for the Joseph Phelps’ Freestone Vineyards project on the Sonoma Coast. Her Pinot Noir and Chardonnay’s brought that winery significant critical acclaim. As you will read below, similar accolades have followed her to Gary Farrell.
While at Gary Farrell, Theresa gets fruit and makes wines from some of them most sought out vineyards in California. Some of those vineyards include Rochioli, Bacigalupi, Hallberg, Ritchie, Martaella, Durell and Gap’s Crown.
Below is a summary of the 9 impressive wines that we covered with Theresa. As you will see, many of them come from these impressive vineyards. The links are to our full reviews. If you are interested in ordering and trying these wines, you will find the Russian River Selection wines via your favorite wine shop. The rest are available for order via the Gary Farrell Winery website.
Gary Farrell 2019 Chardonnay “Olivet Lane Vineyard” (Russian River) $50 (KWGTP 92)
Gary Farrell 2019 Chardonnay “Durell Vineyard” (Sonoma Valley) $65 (KWGTP 93)
Gary Farrell 2019 Chardonnay “Ritchie Vineyard” (Russian River) $65 (KWGTP 92.5)
Gary Farrell 2019 Chardonnay “Rochioli Vineyard” (Russian River) $65 (KWGTP 93)
Gary Farrell 2019 Pinot Noir “Russian River Selection” (Russian River) $45 (KWGTP 92.5)
Gary Farrell 2018 Pinot Noir “Martaella Vineyard” (Russian River) $65 (KWGTP 93.5)
Gary Farrell 2018 Pinot Noir “Gap’s Crown Vineyard” (Petaluma Gap) $80 (KWGTP 94)
Gary Farrell 2018 Pinot Noir “Fort Ross Vineyard” (Fort Ross-Seaview) $75 (KWGTP 92)
Gary Farrell 2018 Pinot Noir “Rochioli Vineyard” (Russian River) $80 (KWGTP 92.5)
You can find reviews of past and future Gary Farrell wines that we cover on the KWG Gary Farrell winery page on our website. We will close with the quote from Theresa’s bio page that I liked. “My approach to winemaking is very much about taking advantage of specific vineyard and fruit qualities.” says Theresa. Based on what we tasted, Theresa certainly has done a terrific job showing off the characteristics and qualities of each vineyard she works with. Enjoy – Ken
During our interview on May 25, we had a chance to meet with Todd Graff who is the winemaker and general manager for Frank Family Vineyards. We had covered Frank Family wines over the years, but really did not know much about Todd or the details behind the winery. It was fun to learn about Todd’s background. Having worked at Schramsberg Vineyards (A KWG favorite) we are looking forward to covering one or two of his sparkling wines this fall. He has been leading the effort here for 19 years and has built a very strong team that was clearly reflected in the wines that we covered. They have a very good short video on their winemaking process. It is worth checking out.
We also discussed that Frank Family Vineyards was acquired by Treasury Americas last fall. The good news for us and fans of the winery and its wines, is that Todd Graff, will remain with Frank Family Vineyards after closing. We also have a nice relationship with the folks at Treasury and look forward to continuing to cover the wines made by Todd and his team. Rich and Leslie Frank will maintain the ownership of Winston Hill Vineyard in Rutherford and the Lewis Vineyard in Napa. That said, those vineyards will continue to source grapes for the Frank Family reserve tier after the closing. That is also very good news, as you will see those vineyards sourced the grapes for some very good wines. Overall, the future looks bright for Todd and Frank Family Vineyards. Below is a summary of the impressive wines that we covered with Todd. The links are to our full reviews. If you are interested in ordering and trying these wines, you will find the Carneros and Napa Valley wines via your favorite wine shop. The rest are available for order via the Frank Family Vineyards website.
Frank Family 2020 Chardonnay “Carneros” $38 (KWGTP 92)
Frank Family 2019 Chardonnay “Lewis Vineyard” (Carneros) $75 (KWGTP 93)
Frank Family 2019 Pinot Noir “Lewis Vineyard” (Carneros) $85 (KWGTP 92.5)
Frank Family 2019 Zinfandel “Reserve” (Chiles Valley) $70 (KWGTP 93)
Frank Family 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon “Napa Valley” $60 (KWGTP 92.5)
Frank Family 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon “RHF” (Rutherford) $110 (KWGTP 94)
Frank Family 2018 Red Wine “Winston Hill” (Rutherford) $175 (KWGTP 96)
You can find reviews of past and future Frank Family wines that we cover on the KWG Frank Family winery page on our website. We will close with the quote from Todd’s bio page that I liked. “As soon as we think we know what we’re doing, we’re rookies again. But winemakers don’t have erasers. We have to do it right the first time.” Based on what we tasted, Todd and his team are certainly doing it right! Enjoy – Ken
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