Is That a Whole Cluster in Your Pinot or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

Whole cluster ready to go

When you’re a tasting a glass of pinot noir, how do you know — can you even tell and does it matter — whether or not the wine was made with the whole clusters and not just the grapes? Percentage of stem inclusion doesn’t exactly make for the sexiest or most sparkling label copy, but [...]

It’s a Jungle Out There

junglejungle

“The foremost important decisions about winemaking happen before a single berry even makes it into the winery,” says Greg La Follette of La Follette Wines. Right now, during the time of “berry cell division and berry cell expansion,” (or the first phase of berry development, which immediately follows bloom and lasts for about 4 weeks), decisions [...]

The Profound and the Profane: Winemaking on the Edge of What’s Possible

The view to the Pacific from the vineyard

Greg LaFollette can remember wanting to be a winemaker since he was 17-years-old. But it didn’t seem practical, so… he became a professional bagpipe player instead. And while he still carries his bagpipes in the back seat of his Dodge pickup truck, having worked harvest for 60 vintages from Australia to Chile to Sonoma, it [...]

A Tale of Three Pinots

Breggo pinots

Let’s pretend for a moment that you are standing on the lawn of Breggo Cellars in the heart of Anderson Valley — an 18-mile-long American Viticultural Area that has managed to hold tourism at bay thanks to a dauntingly winding 46-mile drive from the wine country hub of Healdsburg. Take a second to look around. [...]

Cline Cellars’ Burnt-Honey Ricotta Gnocchi

BurntHoneyRicottaGnocchi

Cline Cellars, a Sonoma producer most known for its zinfandel and its Rhone blends has quietly produced small quantities of a very food-friendly Sonoma Coast pinot noir since 2007, though up until very recently in amounts so small that they didn’t make it far from the tasting room. To celebrate the release of its Cool [...]