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California Vineyard Series: Bedrock Vineyard

California Vineyard Series, United States: California, featured

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

United States: California, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

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

United States: California, featured

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.

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Paso Robles 2018 & 2017: Grace and Power

United States: California, featured

Josh Raynolds, Dec 2020

Following the hot 2017 vintage, growers and winemakers in Paso Robles were relieved to have a cooler vintage in 2018. The long growing season and moderate conditions led to an unhurried harvest and a larger-than-normal crop of healthy fruit. The results are outstanding.

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California Vineyard Series: Pagani Ranch

California Vineyard Series, United States: California, featured

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2020

Since 2015 we have been working on a large-scale project to map the vineyards of California. To date, we have published seven regional Napa Valley maps and have several more in the works, including a five-map set of Sonoma Valley and map of the Santa Lucia Highlands, both of which are nearly finished. Although travel restrictions related to COVID-19 have delayed final, on-the-ground checks that are such an essential part of the quality control process, we are eager to share our work and show you a little bit of what we have been up to through this series of excerpts that kicks off with a look at Pagani Ranch.

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Cellar Favorite: 1999 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

United States: California, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Eric Guido, Nov 2020

The 1999 Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon has earned a highly respected place in the cellars of collectors in the know, and we’re not talking about the more popular Howell Mountain bottling.

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2018 Santa Lucia Highlands: What a Difference a Year Makes

United States: California, featured

Josh Raynolds, Oct 2020

Following the epically hot 2017 vintage, Mother Nature paid Santa Lucia Highlands growers and winemakers back, with interest, by delivering a picture perfect season and an abundant crop of healthy grapes in 2018. The wines feature distinct energy and fine definition, with expressive fruit, well-integrated tannins for the red wines and relatively uncommon nerviness for the whites.

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Penultimate: A New Chapter at Promontory

United States: California, featured

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2020

About ten years ago I met Bill Harlan at a small winery a stone’s throw from Meadowood and The Napa Valley Reserve. Harlan took a set of maps and spread them out over a coffee table. “This is our latest project,” he told me as his eyes lit up. Harlan explained that he had chanced upon the property while hiking back in the 1980s and used evocative phrases like “the land” and “the territory” to describe a place that sounded like something out of the Wild West or a fairy tale, possibly both. That sort of mysticism is not often associated with Napa Valley, but Napa Valley can be that way once you move away from the well-known areas. That place was Promontory. I recently had a chance to taste the first three vintages of Penultimate, the newest wine from the property, with Will Harlan and Winemakers Cory Empting and David Cilli.

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The Sta. Rita Hills: Wine & People of the Wild West

United States: California, featured

Brenna Ritchey, Sep 2020

Better understanding the Sta. Rita Hills appellation has been a project of mine for a while now (before a certain global pandemic threw a very heavy, very rusted wrench in those plans). My postgrad job working at a local tasting room in Santa Barbara had convinced me that I knew next to nothing about the wheres and whens and whos of the wines I was selling. Names like Brewer-Clifton, Sanford and Au Bon Climat that I grew up seeing my parents enjoy in the 1990s and early 2000s, my 9-year-old eyes level with the kitchen countertop, were an early inspiration and pointed me towards the Sta. Rita Hills as a great place to start.

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Santa Cruz Mountains: Wines of Breathtaking Pedigree

United States: California, featured

Antonio Galloni, Sep 2020

I tasted more truly exceptional wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains this year than at any time over the past decade. The 2018 Pinots are utterly breathtaking, while the 2017 and 2016 Bordeaux reds and 2016 Rhônes aren’t too far behind. I have long believed that the Santa Cruz Mountains is one of the world's preeminent regions for fine whites and reds that speak of place. These new releases certainly make a statement.