Show 407, January 9, 2021: Christopher Buchanan, Winemaker & Proprietor at Terragena Vineyard, Humboldt County Part One

Chris Buchanan of Terragena Vineyard“Are you fascinated by the margin between art and science? That wild edge where creativity and beauty sprout? That’s what wine is for Winemaker and Proprietor Christopher Buchanan at Terragena Vineyards (Craft Wine certified) in Northern California. He believes both creating and enjoying wine is an intrinsically personal and complex experience.”

“Chris explores and strives to understand the complex components, step by step, while building Terragena, a completely off-grid, sustainable vineyard and winery located in the rugged hills of Humboldt County. Terragena partners with small, family-owned vineyards to produce wine that has been tenderly loved from start to finish.”

“Terragena is dedicated to building a strong network of small producers committed to eco-friendly methods who will succeed as they have, while also nurturing an experimental Pinot Noir vineyard in a unique, viticulturally unexplored location.” The winery is completely solar powered and the water source for irrigation is rainwater stored in an on-site pond.

Terragena Vineyards produces small lots of hand-crafted Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, Rose of Pinot Noir, single vineyard Pinot Noirs, Barbera and Nebbiolo. Craft wineries operate on thin margins. Best to source their fine wines directly from the Winery so more of the purchase price stays with Terragena.

Chris Buchanan pulls the cork on Terragena Vineyard for us.

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Show 407, January 9, 2021: Christopher Buchanan, Winemaker & Proprietor at Terragena Vineyard, Humboldt County Part Two

Chris Buchanan of Terragena Vineyard“Are you fascinated by the margin between art and science? That wild edge where creativity and beauty sprout? That’s what wine is for Winemaker and Proprietor Christopher Buchanan at Terragena Vineyards (Craft Wine certified) in Northern California. He believes both creating and enjoying wine is an intrinsically personal and complex experience.”

“Chris explores and strives to understand the complex components, step by step, while building Terragena, a completely off-grid, sustainable vineyard and winery located in the rugged hills of Humboldt County. Terragena partners with small, family-owned vineyards to produce wine that has been tenderly loved from start to finish.”

“Terragena is dedicated to building a strong network of small producers committed to eco-friendly methods who will succeed as they have, while also nurturing an experimental Pinot Noir vineyard in a unique, viticulturally unexplored location.” The winery is completely solar powered and the water source for irrigation is rainwater stored in an on-site pond.

Terragena Vineyards produces small lots of hand-crafted Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, Rose of Pinot Noir, single vineyard Pinot Noirs, Barbera and Nebbiolo. Craft wineries operate on thin margins. Best to source their fine wines directly from the Winery so more of the purchase price stays with Terragena.

“The Terragena Vineyard team, headed by winemaker and vineyard proprietor Chris Buchanan, crafts limited production wines with the same spirit of adventure that first led them to build their off-grid vineyard in Humboldt County. Chris was inspired by the ruggedly beautiful hills, forests, and meadows around area to create wine that expresses these characteristics of the land without any added fluff or distraction. Terragena is a latin word meaning “born of the earth.” Terragena is dedicated to sustainably expressing the unique characteristics of their estate vineyard as well as their diverse partner vineyards by nurturing the wine from the earth to the bottle.”

Chris Buchanan rejoins us as he pulls the cork on Terragena Vineyard’s Nebbiolo from Lost Coast’s Dragon Vineyard for us.

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Show 395, October 17, 2020: Doug Margerum of Margerum Wine Company, Santa Barbara Part One

Douglas Barden MargerumDoug Margerum (Margerum Wine Company) has been involved in the Santa Barbara food and wine scene for over 35 years. Upon graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1981, his family purchased WINE CASK. In 1994 the WINE CASK became one of 74 restaurants in the world to earn the Wine Spectator Grand Award. Doug sold the WINE CASK in 2007.”

“In 2014, Margerum released BARDEN wines – an exploration of cold climate grapes grown in and around the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. BARDEN is Doug’s middle name and its English meaning is “Lives near the boar’s den”… thusly they have adorned the label with an image of the wild boar that is pervasive in the area’s vineyards.”

BARDEN Wines Mission Statement: BARDEN is the dream to make the ultimate expression of grapes grown in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Our access to the top vineyards along with the philosophy and knowledge gained over thirty years in the wine business allows us to make world-class wines. BARDEN’s English meaning is “Lives near the boar’s den” … thusly we have adorned the label with an image of the wild boar that is pervasive in the Sta. Rita Hills.”

Doug recently hosted at his handsome Santa Barbara Tasting Room a comprehensive sampling of both Margerum and Barden wines for a small group of wine journalists from the L.A. Wine Writers. Barden Sta. Rita Hills varietals sampled included Barden Viognier, Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, Sta, Rita Hills (2018); Barden Fonte, White Blend, Sta. Rita Hills (2018); and Barden Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills (2017.)

Doug Margerum pours a glass of Barden Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills and continues with us explaining all that is BARDEN wines.

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Show 395, October 17, 2020: Doug Margerum of Margerum Wine Company, Santa Barbara Part Two

Douglas Barden MargerumDoug Margerum (Margerum Wine Company) has been involved in the Santa Barbara food and wine scene for over 35 years. Upon graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1981, his family purchased WINE CASK. In 1994 the WINE CASK became one of 74 restaurants in the world to earn the Wine Spectator Grand Award. Doug sold the WINE CASK in 2007.”

“In 2014, Margerum released BARDEN wines – an exploration of cold climate grapes grown in and around the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. BARDEN is Doug’s middle name and its English meaning is “Lives near the boar’s den”… thusly they have adorned the label with an image of the wild boar that is pervasive in the area’s vineyards.”

BARDEN Wines Mission Statement: BARDEN is the dream to make the ultimate expression of grapes grown in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Our access to the top vineyards along with the philosophy and knowledge gained over thirty years in the wine business allows us to make world-class wines. BARDEN’s English meaning is “Lives near the boar’s den” … thusly we have adorned the label with an image of the wild boar that is pervasive in the Sta. Rita Hills.”

“Barden white wines (Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris) are barrel fermented in our 55 degree winery and battonaged for an average of 3 months. We allow malolactic fermentation to occur naturally in each individual barrel. The wines are aged in mostly new Ermitage and Françoise Frères 225 liter barrels and 600 liter demi-muids for ten months prior to bottling.”

“Our Pinot Noir (BARDEN) is hand sorted and a percentage (depending on the vintage) is whole cluster fermented. We do a 6-10 day cold soak, with natural (wild) fermentation, and use only free-run wine. We use minimal sulfur during maturation on full lees in mostly new Ermitage and François Frères French oak 225 liter barriques and 300 liter barrels. We bottle a very precise selection of the wine un-fined and unfiltered.”

Doug Margerum pours a glass of Barden Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills and continues with us explaining all that is BARDEN wines.

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Show 384, August 1, 2020: Anchor Valley Wine, Rogue Valley with Partner Ashley Cates

Ashley Cates of Anchor ValleyAlways up for an adventure and full of entrepreneurial spirit, Joe Moxley and Mike Herrera entered into the wine world with the hopes of blazing a new trail, of merging their two business worlds in a way that hadn’t been done before. Their first partnership focused on the rock & roll world and lifestyle, bringing a signature clothing brand to fans of music.

Now, after eleven years partnering together, they’ve broadened their horizons and brought their love of wine to the forefront. The adventure began when the two went wine tasting together in Southern Oregon where they were introduced to acclaimed winemaker, Matthew Cates. It didn’t take long for the trio to form a bond which resulted in the launch of a new limited production, boutique winery they created together named Anchor Valley, based in the Rogue Valley.

Anchor Valley selections include Pinot Rose, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Sirah.

Grapes are all sourced from local vineyards that Winemaker Matthew knows well. The inviting tasting room is in the historic town of Jacksonville, Oregon.

Partner Ashley Cates pulls the cork on Anchor Valley for us.

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Show 349, November 30, 2019: Winemaker and Ceramicist Andrew Beckham, Beckham Estate Vineyard, Sherwood, OR

Andrew Beckham of Backham Estate VIneyards“Andrew and Annedria Beckham arrived in the Chehalem Mountains, Oregon in 2005 with the dream of purchasing land to build a studio for Andrew’s art. Immersed in the contagious passion of their pioneering neighbors and fascinated by the incredible potential beneath the surface of their high-elevation site, they started a vineyard row by row, coming home from their day jobs to plant vines all night, raising three children all the while. In 2009 they made their first wine.”

“In 2012 their winemaking truly found its voice with the introduction of Andrew’s handmade amphora (clay pot) as unique aging vessels, used in conjunction with organic farming and low-intervention practices that they believe reflect their vineyard best.”

Beckham Estate Vineyards’ traditional, barrel aged wines carry the Beckham Estate label. Andrew’s amphora wines are under the moniker of A.D. Beckham (“creta” pinot noir, “50/50” noir/gris and pinot gris.)

Winemaker Andrew Beckham joins us to pull the cork on Beckham Estate Vineyard for us.

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Show 148, November 28, 2015: Holman Ranch Vineyards & Will’s Fargo Steakhouse + Bar

Nick Elliott of Holman Ranch and VineyardsThe historic 400-acre Holman Ranch and Vineyards dates back to 1928. Located at the north eastern tip of the Carmel Valley Appellation, the family-owned Holman Ranch resides approximately 12 miles inland from the Pacific Coast.

Immersed in history and romance, the ranch has not only proven to be an excellent growing location for their vineyards but also for the Tuscan varietal olive trees which have flourished under the temperate climate. It’s also a one-of-a-kind executive retreat and special events venue.

The Holman Ranch estate grown wine varietals are planted on approximately 19 acres of undulating terrain. The wines produced are unfiltered and crafted to deliver the true varietal of the grape from harvest to bottle. The estate wines include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Rose of Pinot Noir. The winery itself is located in an environmentally-friendly underground cave.

The Holman Ranch Vineyards Tasting Room is located near the Ranch at 19 E. E. Carmel Valley Road in Carmel Valley. In addition to the Holman Ranch Estate varietals their new label is Jarman. It’s strictly limited release, estate-grown Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Grand Estate Wine Club members have access to hosted two-night stays at the Ranch’s Hospitality Cottages. Each comfortable Cottage is decorated with rare movie posters of a Hollywood notable who stayed on the Ranch in earlier years.

The Holman Ranch also owns the nearby Wills Fargo Steakhouse + Bar on W. Carmel Valley Road. It’s been a local tradition since 1959. An evening at Will’s Fargo brings back a bygone era and offers some of the finest food on the Monterey Peninsula under the direction of long-time Executive Chef Jerome Viel.

Guest Services Manager and Partner, Nick Elliott, joins us.

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Show 147, November 21, 2015: Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor, Wine Exchange, Santa Ana

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeWine selections for the Thanksgiving turkey can always be a source of great anxiety. To the rescue is our resident wine expert, Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor of Wine Exchange in Santa Ana. As you’ll hear he makes Thanksgiving wine pairings a simple pull of the cork! Also his suggestions are happily affordable.

“We have no agenda for what you choose, only that you buy it from us. Pursuant to that, we’d like to toss out a few guidelines and ideas for you to evaluate to make your selections for that Thanksgiving turkey, the idea being that you are comfortable with the reasons for making the selections. We’ll start by saying the politically correct thing which is whatever you choose will be fine, you should serve what you like. Nothing wrong with that in theory, except that we don’t honestly believe it ourselves.

We would shy away from big, powerful, tannic wines that would overwhelm the turkey meat and not be versatile enough to play with the variety of other things that can appear on the holiday table. Things like big Cabs, Zins, and Syrahs are great with red meats.  Such wines would bludgeon the delicate bird and be further complicated in the wake of stuffing, yams, and other such themed delicacies. They might play alright if you are doing more exotic preparations like smoking or deep frying your bird, but even that’s a little bit of a stretch.

Our ‘keys to the game’, as they would say in a sport pregame show, are as follows:

  1. Turkey is a more delicate meat. There is a wide range of things that will work well, from moderate weight reds, to demi-sec whites, to crisp, dry whites.  Heavy reds and oaky whites would definitely not be our first choice, and acidity is key to mixing it up with such a wide range of foods.
  2. Your choices have as much to do with the type of accompanying dishes as they do with the bird itself. A sweet or savory bent as to a majority of dishes should definitely be a factor in the decisions. For example if its yams, corn soufflé, cranberry, etc, a lighter, slightly fruity choice (Demi Sec Vouvray, German Kabinett) would make a better ‘match’. If the leanings are more earthy (mushrooms, brussel sprouts, spinach/gizzard stuffing), lighter reds like Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Blaufrankish, and Rioja make a whole lot of sense.
  3. The crowd. Yeah, there, we said it. Probably not politically correct, but it’s true.  Who’s coming to your house? A bunch of your friends that are serious wine drinkers?  A bunch of marginal relatives that will drink up anything you put out there and maybe drop ice cubes in it? While it sounds snobby, these are common issues that some of you face.  A lot of people end up spending the holidays with folks they wouldn’t necessarily choose to. So the key is to put something on the table that you can enjoy, but also plays to the level of the folks you are with.
  4. The weather. Choices for a ‘feast’ might well be different if the outside temperature is 35 degrees and rainy or 75 and sunny.

All of that out of the way, let’s get a little more specific. We’ve laid out some basic ground rules, so let’s make a few varietal and genre suggestions. If we’re looking for a hint of sweetness and some bright acidity, to us one of the easy calls especially for a mixed group, our personal choices would be German Riesling, either Kabinett or Spatlese, a Vouvray demi sec, and a Pinot Gris from Alsace.

Yeah, we know there are folks that will serve Chardonnay no matter what. Our problem with Chardonnay from California is the lack of sufficient acidity to play with the varied dishes. French versions play better with the food, but can have trouble with certain dishes.  Same with Sauvignon Blanc in general, because, while it might work superbly with certain dishes, it could be terrible with others. In other words, you’ll have a lot of stuff on your plate (literally), so our thinking is to choose wines that can work with the widest variety of flavors.  In the dry category we like Pinot Blanc, white Rhones, northern Italian whites (Pinot Grigio, Soave, Friulano, etc.), white Bordeaux, and Spanish whites from the northwest (Albarino, Godello). Dry pinks are beautiful foils as well, though there will be those that think rose is like white shoes, only for the summer.

As to reds, the key is good acidity and no heavy tannins. Gamay (Beaujolais, Cru Beaujolais, not nouveau necessarily), Burgundy (Kiwi or American Pinot Noir, as well), Rioja, Chinon, and Austrian reds. If you want to kick it up a notch weight-wise, Grenache-centric wines from the Rhone or Spain have more punch but still fit the lower tannin profile

And the last rule of thumb is, if all else fails choose…sparkling! Yes you read that right. The market is swelling with amazing producers of everything from grower Champagne to humble Pétillant Naturel (or as the kids call ‘em ‘Pet-Nats’). We know it seems a bit avant–garde to adorn your holiday table with bubbles, but the key is to remember that sparkling wines and Champagne in particular pair tremendously well with just about anything you can throw at it (that includes the big clashing flavors on the Thanksgiving table). When making your choice of sparkling, consider going pink. The pink color in sparkling rosé comes from red grapes and more often than not it’s Pinot Noir. This will lend a slightly more vinous texture and weight to the wine and will help stand up to the mix of dishes much better than say your Chardonnay based Blanc de Blancs.

So there it is, our cheat sheet for Thanksgiving wine pairing.“

Thanks, Wine Exchange!

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