Images from a week of tastings and winery visits for the Slow Wine guide to the wines of California 2019. Thanks to everyone for taking time out to meet with me!
Sam Coturri of Sixteen600. Love that guy and love the wines. Favorite “new old school” Zinfandel. His family has grown organically since the 1970s. Great wines, all around.
Meeting and tasting with Hank Beckmeyer at his house in Fair Play was a genuine dream come true. I love everything he releases at La Clarine Farm.
“Winemaking is all about timing,” said Gideon Beinstock of Clos Saron. Tasting and chatting with him was one of the most inspiring winery visits of my whole career. “It’s actually very simple,” he told me. “The grapes tell you when to pick them. The wine tells you when it’s done fermenting. The wine tells you when to bottle it.” His wines are simply astounding.
The vineyards at Volker Eisele, producer of my favorite Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, have been organically farmed since the 1970s. It’s one of the most beautiful growing sites I’ve visited in California and I love Alex and Catherine, the owners and winemakers. Such cool people, such gorgeous wines.
The delicious burger at Compline, the super cool newish wine bar in downtown Napa.
The “hard press” Pinot Gris from Donkey & Goat, tasted yesterday at their wine club release party in Berkeley where they make their wines. Jared Brandt’s wines have always been great and we’ve always enjoyed drinking and sharing them. But man, he is on fire right now. His new Linda Vista Vineyard Chardonnay was one of my favorite wines from this trip.
It’s hard to describe how cool Ordinaire natural wine bar in Oakland is. By the end of my night, I had made all kinds of new friends and tasted a ton of compelling wines. Isabelle Legeron just happened to stop by! I was completely starstruck. She is super cool. I loved this place. I hugged all of the sommeliers before I left. It was such an awesome experience.
Just had to drink Gideon’s 2011 Texas Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir. What a wine and what a great coda to my trip.
No trip to California is complete without a Double-Double. I am a native Californian, after all!
Thank you, California, for an unforgettable experience. And thanks yall for tagging along. I’m on a plane back to Texas where I belong. Can’t wait to get back to Tra and the girls. L’shanah tovah, yall!