• Hommage to Saint Joseph

    Hommage to Saint Joseph

    Syrah shows many different sides in California, but no producer in the state has a passion for the variety quite like Pax Mahle. For many years, Pax has worked with a wide range of Syrah vineyards in California bottled under his namesake label, formerly under Wind Gap. He's obsessed with tapping vineyards on the extreme to prove this grape can flourish in conditions that other winemakers thought were too marginal.

    Pax's love for this variety traces back to the birthplace of Syrah. Starting in 2016, he wanted to pay tribute to Saint Joseph's Raymond Trollat, a legend of the old guard. As one would imagine, Sonoma-Hillsides is 100% whole cluster fermented. Sourcing comes from three vineyards that capture the essence of cool-climate, California Syrah: Castelli-Knight Ranch and Walker Vine Hill from Russian River Valley, and the iconic Griffin's Lair Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. Through Pax's illustrious career, sites like these have best expressed the fresh, vibrant personality that Syrah is capable of.

    At 12.5% alcohol, the Sonoma-Hillsides cuvée exemplifies everything thrilling about the more savory, spicy, and mineral-inflected qualities of Syrah. Pax is a benchmark for what other producers in California aspire to craft and serves as a mentor to much of the younger generation. He has a long history with Syrah, but it's this hommage to Raymond Trollat that hits the sweet spot for me more so than any other bottling.

    Shop California Syrah


    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Russian River Block by Block: Rochioli Back-Vintage Pinot Noir

    Russian River Block by Block: Rochioli Back-Vintage Pinot Noir

    Yesterday we quickly sold out of our back-vintage Spottswoode collection, today we travel west over the Mayacamas crossing from Napa Valley into Sonoma's Russian River Valley. Here Pinot Noir is king. And there's no name that's demanded more attention through the grape's rapid rise in attention last decade quite like J. Rochioli. Today's offer includes limited quantities of Rochioli's best parcels spanning 2004 to 2009.

    As great as the demand was for Rochioli upon release, today's enthusiasm for these vintages has increased tenfold. The upfront pleasure these initially provided meant that very few have been left to age, and those that do become available are quickly snatched up by collectors. Many featured today are the only offers in the country.

    Rochioli Pinot Noir from this era marks an important shift at the winery where the power and extraction was dialed back, giving way to a more nuanced and energetic style. Although the micro-batch, non-interventionist approach draws inspiration from a Burgundian model, the wines are Russian River Valley through and through. The sun-kissed element of Pinot Noir from this section of Sonoma is the centerpiece of the wines. However, it was Rochioli that was a leader in the region's focus toward extreme site-specific winemaking. The unique alluvial and sandy "Yolo" loam soil along the Russian River gave an opportunity to vinify each parcel separately, offering wild distinctions between plots.

    2006 Rochioli East Block Pinot Noir
    $149 per bottle.

    2007 Rochioli East Block Pinot Noir
    $149 per bottle.

    2009 Rochioli Little Hill Pinot Noir
    $119 per bottle.

    2008 Rochioli River Block Pinot Noir
    $149 per bottle.

    2009 Rochioli River Block Pinot Noir
    $149 per bottle.

    2009 Rochioli Sweetwater Pinot Noir 
    $119 per bottle.

    2009 Rochioli Three Corner Pinot Noir
    $149 per bottle.

    2004 Rochioli West Block Pinot Noir
    $149 per bottle.

    2005 Rochioli West Block Pinot Noir
    $149 per bottle.

    2006 Rochioli West Block Pinot Noir
    $149 per bottle.

    2007 Rochioli West Block Pinot Noir
    $149 per bottle.

    2008 Rochioli West Block Pinot Noir
    $149 per bottle.

    2009 Rochioli West Block Pinot Noir
    $149 per bottle.

    Joe Rochioli Sr. settled on this land in 1934, originally planting Cabernet Sauvingon in 1959. His son, Joe Rochioli Jr., realized Pinot Noir was better suited and was a pioneer in bringing clones in from Burgundy in 1968. At this time very little was known in Sonoma about the grape. But, when Williams-Selyem began purchasing the fruit in the early 80's everything began to change, and the successes convinced the Rochioli family to begin to estate-bottle.

    Today, Rochioli is very much to Sonoma Pinot Noir what Mondavi is to Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Unfortunately, the scale of production has continued to be very small. Today's perfectly stored, back-vintage releases of their top parcels is a rare collection not to be missed!

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • The Heritage of Bedrock Wine Co.

    The Heritage of Bedrock Wine Co.

    Embracing the heritage of ancient vineyards and ensuring they continue to prosper is the most noble duty of today's California vigneron. Bedrock Wine Co. has used this concept as the foundation of their winery, farming vineyards themselves and continuing to support other growers who work with historic sites. There's no winery in the state that sees such a diverse range of revered vineyards like the guys at Bedrock. The story of place is undoubtedly where it all starts, but the quality of wines from this duo represent the very best that California old vines have to offer. 

    Morgan Twain-Peterson grew up in the vineyards working closely with his father, Joel Peterson of Ravenswood fame. The child prodigy began making his own wine, Vino Bambino, at age five and starting with the 1986 vintage it was poured at top restaurants in New York City. In 2007, after countless experiences home and abroad, Morgan founded Bedrock Wine Co. using a converted chicken coop on the outskirts of Sonoma. 

    Chris Cotrell had worked with Morgan at a small boutique wine shop in New York City's upper east side. A strong friendship grew, and after a decade selling fine wine in NYC and many harvests with Morgan he received a call from his buddy telling him it was time the two made wine together. Upon his move cross country Chris and Morgan founded Under the Wire, a superb sparkling wine project focusing on single vineyard designate bottlings.

    It's common today that old vineyards are torn up each year as producers look to re-plant with varieties like Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon that can demand the very highest prices, regardless if the terroir is ideally suited. Bedrock's commitment to these heritage sites is a huge reason why we're able to drink the most storied history that California can offer.

    Of the long list of terrific wines the duo produces, it's without a doubt that the Old Vine Zinfandel and North Coast Syrah offer the most startling value, as they're sourced from some of the states oldest vines and top sites.

    Antonio Galloni of Vinous sums up these two wines perfectly,

    "The Old Vine Zinfandel and North Coast Syrah are among the best wines readers will come across for the money."

    The wines of Bedrock are allocated each year and quantities are painfully low. I always take as much as I can. Seeing each of the wines evolve over time is one of the highlights, but being connected to vineyards planted in the 1800's is a unique and significant experience that deserves our attention regularly.

    2015 Bedrock Wine Co. Old Vine Zinfandel 
    $27 per bottle.
    The 1905-planted Sodini Ranch in Russian River Valley is the base of this blend.

    2015 Bedrock Wine Co. North Coast Syrah
    $29 per bottle.
    From Weill Vineyard, Hudson Vineyard, Griffin’s Lair, Rossi Ranch, and Alder Springs Vineyard. Fermented 50% whole cluster.

    Also available

    2016 Bedrock Wine Co. Ode to Lulu Rosé
    $25 per bottle.

    2013 Bedrock Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Wine
    $45 per bottle.
    Planted in 1890's. A field-blend of Zinfandel, Carignane, Mourvedre, and others.

    2014 Bedrock Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Wine
    $45 per bottle.
    Planted in 1890's. A field-blend of Zinfandel, Carignane, Mourvedre, and others.

    2013 Bedrock Monte Rosso Zinfandel
    $49 per bottle.
    18990-planted, 2000 ft. up on Mount Veeder. The name derives from the red, iron-rich soils.

    2015 Bedrock Wine Co. Papera Ranch Heritage Red
    $51 per bottle.
    1934-planted in the Russian River Valley. A field blend of Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah, Valdigue, Cabernet Sauvignon, Trousseau Gris, Mission, and others.

    2012 Under the Wire Alder Springs Vineyard Sparkling Wine
    $76 per bottle.
    Chardonnay from Mendocino.

    2012 Under the Wire Brosseau Vineyard Sparkling Wine
    $76 per bottle.
    Chardonnay from Chalone AVA.

    Posted by Max Kogod