My story is “Not Unique” and I was not born with a silver spoon. My first images when discussing wine always go back to my Sicilian roots and small water glasses half full of vino, around a huge table that folded away. Yes they are seared into me as if I could awake tomorrow and see those dear departed again. Although this is my story, it really is an American story, a second generation American who made good on the back of his immigrant Grandfather and Grandmother and the huge sacrifices of his Mother and Father.
If truth be known I have never been comfortable being served by others and talking about one’s self can be selfish. I much rather discuss the wines and there presence in this world. Why they are important and where they fit in with so many other choices. It’s a simple formula, wisdom, a big word for getting old, throw in a little luck, some good choices and your making something that you would never have believed possible.
So I made a little money started collecting wine and went through the progression, Cabernet then Bordeaux and then Burgundy. It had occurred to me while working harvest in France and the U.S. that things were incredibly different. The Old Worlds attitude VS. our enthusiasm. I have never been one to criticize another’s efforts and style. I’m guessing there’s a place for all well made wine. But I do have opinions that are rooted in my palate honed over years of drinking the greatest of the greatest labels. Our wines are just that my palate, my interpretation, my word, my inspiration. An accumulation if you will of all that I am from the beginning. Simply put if you don’t like the wines then you don’t like my palate. I can live with that, but I am sure if you live as long as I and taste as much as I have, you will arrive at the same place. From simple beginnings in New Jersey to the World’s greatest stages, a success story if you will.
To talk of “Place”, or “Terroir” you must accept the differences. So to start you must accept the obvious we are not Burgundy and my wines are not Burgundian! No we’re proud to be California and we’re proud to make wines of Place. Our philosophy is leave no stone unturned, to use the greatest barrels, clusters and indeed berries. Our yields are as low as anyone making wine. Our effort is only surpassed by our passion and the results will be determined when you taste. We make wines of the vineyard, that’s where all great wines are made. If we do our job there then we should be minimalist, in that we get out of the fruits way. It’s akin to trying to reinvent the wheel, if the wines already great in the form of fruit why are you screwing it up?? So we add NOTHING, And we subtract NOTHING! That means we add no Yeast, Food, Water, Acid, Enzymes, Potassium, or Anything Else! We take away nothing, like STEMS, yes our reds are Whole Cluster, no de-stemer at the winery. We leave the natural yeast, the Natural acid and we are rewarded with wines of depth, length, and complexity. Long lived wines, but enjoyable while in their youth. No grape cluster is safe from be dropped, not all “Must” is squeezed and pressing is very light. Then no barrel is safe from being rejected! In this way we assure our customers of consistency and warrant the additional price. It is also important to note we pick very early allowing us to produce wines with low alcohol levels. Our wines are some of the greatest made in California and our place is assured.
I close this by saying Great Wine is knowledge and experience. That knowledge is not a God given right it is to be shared freely not locked away in someone’s mind and kept because you think you earned it and others have not. That attitude only reinforces the worlds over all interpretation, that we’re snobs. It bolsters our fellow brethren in the spirits world. It’s much easier to order a Vodka Tonic than a Grand Cru Burgundy. I suggest alienating our potential future is not in keeping with self preservation.
If I show up at your door and show you my wines I will show you twice the respect you show me. I will answer all inquiries and I will hope that you join the journey that only ends when you pass. If however you have become encompassed in self serving ideals and turned into the elitist I despise then don’t make the appointment. It would be better for both of us and there is so little time.