Show 328, June 15, 2019: Irvine & Roberts Vineyards with Doug & Dionne Irvine Part One

Doug and Dionne Irvine of Irvine and Roberts VineyardsAt Irvine & Roberts Vineyards they grow Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in the distinctive Rogue Valley AVA. The Rogue Valley is the region where the first Oregon vineyard was planted in the 19th Century.

Irvine & Roberts employs site specific, small block plantings that are farmed and fermented individually. This approach underscores their commitment to search wines that best express the unique character of the vineyard.

Principals Doug & Dionne Irvine uncork the details for us.

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Show 328, June 15, 2019: Irvine & Roberts Vineyards with Doug & Dionne Irvine Part Two

Doug and Dionne Irvine of Irvine and Roberts VineyardsAt Irvine & Roberts Vineyards they grow Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in the distinctive Rogue Valley AVA. The Rogue Valley is the region where the first Oregon vineyard was planted in the 19th Century.

“Irvine & Roberts Family Vineyards is an alluring family winery in Ashland, Oregon, where we practice sustainable farming and produce ultra-premium Pinot noir and Chardonnay. Our high altitude vineyard is adorned with distinctive soils, climate, and east facing slopes that produce wines with extraordinary balance, flavor and intensity. We believe great wines come from great soil, so we strive to be conscientious stewards of the land, protecting our vineyard soils through practices that are certified sustainable by LIVE and Salmon Safe. We admit to being obsessive with our grape growing practices to ensure quality in the vineyard, keeping grape yields low and production limited to ensure the optimal health of the vine; allowing us to produce exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with elegance and balance.”

“In 1997, Doug & Dionne Irvine returned to their roots in Oregon with the desire to raise their daughters in the same place that they had such fond childhood memories. Choosing Ashland, they soon discovered that the 80- acre ranch they would call home turned out to be an incredibly unique vineyard site. The first vines were planted in 2007, and the journey continued from there when Doug’s sister and brother in law, Kelly and Duane Roberts, joined Doug and Dionne and created Irvine and Roberts Vineyards.”

Principals Doug & Dionne Irvine continue the conversation…

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Show 316, March 23, 2019: Winemaker Jeff Pisoni, Pisoni Vineyards, Lucia and Lucy Part One

Jeff PisoniThe Pisoni family’s goal: grow exceptional grapes to make exceptional wine. Wines made by the Pisoni family are bottled under the Pisoni Estate and Lucia labels. Gary and his two sons, Mark and Jeff, farm and produce Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah from their three vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands: Pisoni, Garys’ and Soberanes vineyards. These vineyards and wines represent an extreme commitment to farming and classical winemaking.

“Lucia wines are created using classic, gentle and thoughtful winemaking techniques. Hand-picked and sorted grapes are fermented with native yeasts and aged in carefully selected French oak barrels. Our state-of-the-art winemaking facility uses gravity flow as part of a custom design conceived to merge the estate vineyards and winery. This affords us complete control of the farming and winemaking process, ensuring consistently superior quality.”

“First planted by Gary Pisoni in 1982, and now managed by his son Mark, Pisoni Vineyards consists of small vineyard blocks arranged on and around the ridges of the mountainous landscape. Ranging in size from one-half to 17 acres, the vineyard blocks perch at an altitude of 1,300 feet in granite-laced mountains of the costal Santa Lucia Range. Each wine is a blend of several blocks on the Estate and handcrafted to best represent the vineyard and spirit of the Pisoni Family. Jeff Pisoni, Gary’s other son, is the winemaker for the Pisoni Estate wines.

Winemaker Jeff Pisoni gently pulls the cork for us.

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Show 303, December 22, 2018: Kyle Meyer, Wine Exchange, Introduction to the premium wines of South Africa

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeKyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange encores for a 2nd segment.

Kyle was an early adapter to the joys of wines from South Africa. fortunately, a new age there in winemaking post-apartheid.

While known for their whites there is more depth to the premium wines of South Africa than the familiar Chenin Blanc.

Kyle advises to try their Pinotage. It’s a grape that’s a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut.

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Show 300, December 1, 2018: Founding Winemaker Dieter Cronje, Presqu’ile Winery, Santa Maria

Dieter CronjeLocated in the heart of Santa Barbara County’s Santa Maria Valley, Presqu’ile (pronounced press-KEEL) is a small, family-run winery dedicated to crafting exceptional cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Made using grapes from their own sustainably certified Presqu’ile Vineyard, and from a handful of the finest winegrowing sites in the valley, Presqu’ile wines capture the essence of their vineyards and vintage, and have earned acclaim for their elegance and balance.

Situated high atop a hill, with stunning ocean and vineyard views, Presqu’ile offers one of California’s most memorable wine tasting experiences. Join the Murphy Family, and enjoy a taste of southern hospitality on California’s beautiful Central Coast.

“A cool-climate Pinot Noir specialist, and one of the Central Coast’s rising star winemakers, Dieter Cronje brings a unique perspective, gained in two hemispheres, to Presqu’ile. As the winery’s founding winemaker, Dieter had the rare opportunity to contribute his insights to the original planting of Presqu’ile’s 73-acre estate vineyard, an experience that gave him an intimate knowledge of the vineyard’s rich diversity.”

“He also collaborated with Presqu’ile’s founders, the Murphy family, during the design of Presqu’ile’s purpose-built winery. In this gravity-flow winery, Dieter preserves the vineyard’s diversity by working in small lots, and applying a gentle, minimalist approach that accentuates the character of the vineyards. The resulting wines offer the purity, elegance and signature spice that have made Santa Maria Valley famous among connoisseurs of great cool-climate Pinot Noir.”

Founding Winemaker Dieter Cronje pulls the cork for us.

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Show 298, November 17, 2018: Kyle Meyer, Proprietor, Wine Exchange, Part 2 – Best Holiday Wine Picks for Value

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeIt’s the best in premium wines priced at a value for your Holiday Table and gifting with our resident wine authority Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange. This is Part 2 of his special Holiday 2018 report.

First it’s a recap of what varietals really work on the Thanksgiving table. Unfortunately it’s just not the time for rich, buttery California Chardonnays or tannic Cabernet Sauvignons. Bubbly works surprisingly well throughout the feast as well as Oregon Pinot Noirs.

There is more depth to Italian Lambrusco from Emily-Romagna than you probably are aware of.

Kyle’s pick is Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Sobrara Vecchia Modena Premium Secco 2016. It’s a drier style. Priced at a surprising $15.00!

“93 Points! Very fine texture to this Lambrusco with sliced watermelon, apple and hints of raspberry. Medium body, dry and delicious fruit. Bright acidity. Goes with everything. Served chilled. Drink now. – James Suckling

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Show 277, June 16, 2018: Jay Boberg, Co-Founder, Nicolas-Jay, Dundee, Oregon

Jay BobergNicolas-Jay is a pinot noir venture located in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Celebrated Burgundian winemaker, Jean-Nicolas Meo of Domaine Meo-Camuzet, and music and media entrepreneur, Jay Boberg, lend their individual talents and shared dedication to the winery, where traditional French winemaking meets quintessential Oregon terroir.

Fruit for the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is sourced from almost every AVA in the Willamette Valley, ensuring optimal blending potential and representation of the diversity of pinot noir in the appellation. Unique sites include vineyards located in the high-elevation Eola-Amity Hills, the foothills of the cool coastal range in the McMinnville AVA, the warm red-soiled vineyards of the Dundee Hills and our expressive Bishop Creek Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. This wine is sourced almost exclusively from biodynamic, organic and LIVE certified vineyards.

“Pinot Noir is my desert island wine,” says Jay Boberg, “and I love the Pinots from Oregon. I’ve been drinking wines from Willamette Valley since 1983. People used to talk about their potential, but now you can taste what that potential has become—earth and elegance.”

In 2012, as Jay was winding down his fulltime role in the music industry, he approached his friend, Jean-Nicolas, with the idea of starting a winery together in Willamette Valley. “Jean-Nicolas and I have been friends since 1988. We share very similar philosophies about life, business, wine and friendship. Nicolas-Jay is about making the very best Pinot Noir we can possibly make.

It is also about building something together that one day we hope our kids will be a part of. When you look at the great domaines of the world, these two ideas go hand in hand.

Nicolas-Jay has recently opened a rustic farm house tasting room in Dundee near their Bishop Creek Vineyard. Tasting by appointment only, please.

Jay Boberg is our guest.

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Show 265, March 17, 2018: Gray Hartley, Founder & Co-Winemaker, Hitching Post Wines, Buellton

Gray HartleyHartley-Ostini Hitching Post Wines are made by Buellton Hitching Post owner / chef Frank Ostini (made famous in in the Oscar-winning feature “Sideways”) and his good friend, former fisherman Gray Hartley. Frank and Gray first made wine at home in 1979. They found their first Pinot Noir in 1981. The project moved to a winery in 1984 to make wines exclusively for the Hitching Post Restaurant.

Their passioned focus has been to work with the California Central Coast’s best vineyards producing many Pinot Noirs, a couple Syrahs and a red blend of Merlot named Gen Red. They also produce a dry barrel fermented rose named Pinks.

Hitching Post Wines strives to create handcrafted, flavorful wines that possess poise and balance so that they may complement the food at Chef Frank Ostini’s wildly popular Hitching Post Restaurant.

Co-Winemaker & Partner, Gray Hartley pulls the cork for us.

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Show 265, March 17, 2018: Gray Hartley, Founder & Co-Winemaker, Hitching Post Wines, Buellton Continues..

Gray HartleyFrank Ostini and Gray Hartley of Hitching Post Wines believe that great wines are made in the vineyard. Their winemaking philosophy is that they are caretakers who guide the wine into the bottle. As the wine matures it is simply left to gently age in the barrel. This minimalist approach allows Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post Wines to reflect the character of the vineyard and the vintage, preserving the essence of the grape for you to enjoy when you open the bottle.

Hitching Post Wines are admired by those who appreciate Santa Barbara wines for their fresh fruit, spice, earthy complexities, and refreshing acidity. Their goal is to put a “slice of Santa Barbara County in each bottle and a piece of their soul in every glass of Hitching Post Wine.”

“Highliner is the “Best fisherman in the fleet” and our flagship Santa Barbara Pinot Noir. Each vintage is crafted from our best vineyards and best barrels.” Highliner was featured in the 2014 Oscar-winning film, “Sideways” that brought international attention to the Hitching Post brand.

“Sideways” was based on a (then unpublished) novel by author Rex Pickett who really enjoyed hanging out at Hitching Post restaurant and savoring ample glasses of pinot noir. Gray shares the unlikely story of what happened thereafter.

“We shaped this cuvee to include mostly Bien Nacido, Sanford & Benedict, and Fiddlestix Vineyards grapes. Delicious today with flavors of red cherry, plum, mint, white pepper sand blood orange, this Highliner (2014) is destined to give pleasure for many years.”

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Show 239, September 2, 2017: Restaurateur & Chef Michael McCarty, Michael’s Santa Monica & Michael’s New York Part Two

Michael McCartyWhen Chef & Restaurateur Michael McCarty opened the landmark Michael’s in Santa Monica back in 1979 I’m not sure he even suspected that he would become one of the pioneers of what is known as California cuisine along with Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck. He pioneered having museum quality art on the restaurant’s wall with not a hint of pretention.

Michael is also known for mentoring rising, young culinary talent that have gone on to open their own successful restaurants. This distinguished alumni club includes Jonathan Waxman, Nancy Silverton, Brooke Williamson, Mark Peel, Ken Frank and Sang Yoon.

Just about a year ago Michael (working with his son, Chas) totally rejuvenated Michael’s Santa Monica by bringing-in a 28-year old rising-star chef with avant-garde ideas. Chef Miles Thompson is already earning deserved accolades from food critics and bringing in a younger crowd of new guests. Michael shares the entertaining story of how he and Chas came to select Chef Thompson.

Dining in the lush, shaded garden patio at Michael’s all these years later remains a uniquely L.A. experience.

Michael, usually, has a hillside vineyard on his residential property in Malibu. Just now he’s harvesting his Pinot Noir grapes for the 2017 vintage of The Malibu Vineyard.

If you’d like to see what Chef Miles Thompson is like away from Michael’s (and where he eats) take a look at his Chef’s Night Out video from Vice.

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