• The Guaranteed Razor's Edge:   Enfield Wine Co. 2015 Haynes Chardonnay

    The Guaranteed Razor's Edge: Enfield Wine Co. 2015 Haynes Chardonnay

    Today's magnum-only offer is a first. But, I cannot think of a wine better suited to the format than Enfield Wine Co's 2015 Haynes Vineyard Chardonnay. While 750ml's disappeared in a flash, I made sure to go deep on magnums of this personal favorite, from the growing legend that is, John Lockwood.

    When John Lockwood's 2015 Haynes Vineyard Chardonnay floored me, his initial reaction was to point to a "perfect storm" of growing conditions. Knowing John, this modesty is key to the success in all his wines. But actually, it's his relentless curiosity and ever-questioning approach that's responsible for one of the greatest wines from California I've yet to drink.

    Sommeliers have blinded it as Pierre Yves Colin-Morey. Descriptors like laser-focused and weightless flood the mind when tasting. Lockwood has produced some terrific wines, but for me the 2015 Haynes Chardonnay is his most thrilling achievement to date. This month, Eric Asimov of the New York Times gave us a close look into Lockwood's steady rise in becoming a household name in the wine world.

    Today, I'm happy to offer John's 2015 Enfield Wine Co. Haynes Vineyard Chardonnay 1.5L for $100 per bottle. Also featured is a wide range of additional wines from Lockwood.

    John and I met while working at Failla Wines in 2011. From a solar-powered cabin on the extreme Sonoma Coast, four of us in total organically-farmed the Failla Estate Vineyard, home to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. In retrospect, taking the leap to that plot of vines was perhaps the single most important professional choice I've made.

    Getting to know John in tight quarters and amongst vine rows was a never-ending exploration into all things wine. Early mornings, late nights, the discussions never ceased. It was clear immediately that his thirst for discovery would be the root of all accomplishments to come. It was that summer of 2011 that John bottled his very first wine for his Enfield Wine Co. label, from Haynes Vineyard.

    Haynes, located in Napa's coolest AVA Coombsville, is home to a special parcel of 51-yr-old Chardonnay vines. These same vines were the source of John Kongsgaard's early work with the seminal Newton "Unfiltered" Chardonnay of the 70's. Lockwood had sourced from Haynes since 2010, but it wasn't until 2015 that he was given the opportunity to work with this prized, old vine parcel.

    The magic of these old vines isn't just in the obvious concentration, but rather it's a story of soil. Haynes is famous for a very high pH powdery white volcanic ash subsoil, endowing wines with wild levels of acidity that are rare to find in this region where ripeness is never too shy. The younger vines John had previously worked with here had shallower root systems that only tapped into the alluvial gravel topsoil. When the change was made to the old vine parcel in 2015 the real magic of this fascinating subsoil came to fruition in bottle.

    The 2015 growing season saw a heat spike toward the end where sugars rapidly rose, outpacing the expected drop in natural acidity. Lockwood was given substantially ripe Chardonnay with wildly high acidity levels - an easy comparison would be 2010 in the Mosel. The wine was gently and directly-pressed to avoid any unwanted phenolic character. And the wine was aged in large 500L neutral French oak barrels and did not see sulphur until after 1 year in barrel.

    For me, finding white wines in California that are built upon their focus and agility is the ultimate rarity. There's a head-spinning level of refinement and incisiveness to this wine that will appeal to every single white Burgundy lover. There are no bones thrown when it comes to selections for the shop. I buy what I love to drink, it's that simple.

    And, I'm so confident this wine will appeal to lovers of finely-tuned styled white Burgundy and Chenin Blanc that I will give a full credit to the shop for anyone who isn't pleased with what they find in their glass. That's a guarantee.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Dry Riesling Wizardry:  Drops of Gold from Koehler-Ruprecht

    Dry Riesling Wizardry: Drops of Gold from Koehler-Ruprecht

    Magical is a word that adequately sums up the Koehler-Ruprecht estate in Germany's Pfalz region. The wines bear little resemblance to those of neighboring producers, nor to those next door in France's Alsace. Though Riesling is the focus here, a super-natural element exists within all of their wines that make them stand out among their contemporaries.

    These are some of the very most fascinating wines on earth, and it's the extreme hands-off approach here that's largely responsible for that singular quality. Today we take a look at the new release of the shimmering and crystalline 2016 vintage, as well as the beautifully balanced 2012 and the nervy and energetic 2008 vintage, each from the estate's top vineyards, Saumagen.


    The winemaking has remained about the same since the early 18th century when the domaine was established. Ferments occur completely naturally. Aging takes place in larger old German oak barrels. The vineyards are worked without herbicides, pesticides, or irrigation. The sweet spot of the holdings comes from Kallstadter's famed Saumagen vineyard, which translates to "pig's stomach" due to its shape. The Pfalz is home to an amalgamation of soils. But, here in Saumagen, it's limestone that takes center stage and bears the most responsibility for this site's crystalline nature, and peerless transformative abilities in bottle.

    Koehler-Ruprecht produces Rieslings dry, off-dry, and sweet, but it's their trocken (dry) bottlings that really hit the mark for me. With age these begin to convert into absolutely mystical wines. Their calling card is a cotton candy note that slowly develops. The protective influence of the Vosges mountains to the west gives the Pfalz the lowest amount of rainfall in Germany. This abundance of sunlight gives ample texture and full-throttle ripeness. Finding wines from the Pfalz that avoid getting a little chunky can be challenging. Koehler-Ruprecht's dry versions always carry a flashy mineral streak that brilliantly juxtaposes with the golden apple, sweet corn, ginger, and quintessential cotton candy note. 

    I was thrilled to receive this trio of Saumagen bottlings direct from the domaine. Each vintage offers a perfect illustration into how all these elements balance together, unfolding slowly over time. The wines are pure, textured, with a laser-cut focus to them - Riesling at its most enchanting.

    The different designations like Kabinett and Auslese refer to the ripeness level at picking. Auslese, picked later, will show more weight, and power. While Kabinett will show more delicate and agile. Both wines are fermented completely dry.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Start Your Engines: Thanksgiving Mixed Packs!

    There are many reasons to give thanks this year, and on the 22nd (15 days away!!) we get to revel in a smorgasbord of food and wine. Emphasis today on the latter. I'm fortunate that Thanksgiving brings a couple added elements of excitement. Firstly, I love introducing family to my favorite wines, many off-the-beaten-path. And secondly, the variety of food matches with an incredibly diverse range of wines, making the selection process akin to a kid in a candy shop. Excluding overtly tannic and acidic wines is my first priority. After that it's just a hunt for the most downright drinkable and delicious. 

    Today, I'm happy to offer mixed 6-packs covering my favorite names from France, Italy, California, Spain, and Austria. I've created special discounted pricing here and I've been sure to include some serious rarities like Cornelissen's Mt. Etna zero-sulphur Nerello Mascalese (clean as a whistle), Jean-Marc Roulot's Bourgogne Blanc (all sourced from Meursault vines), and the most anticipated new arrival, not listed on the website, Raj Parr's inaugural Amador County Pais (planted in 1854!!).


    * Additionally, should you desire to craft your own mixed pack please let me know and I'd be happy to work with you on selections that suit you and yours the very best!
    Posted by Alexander Rosen