Show 426, May 22, 2021: Winemaker Mark Cargasacchi, Jalama Wines, Lompoc

Mark Cargasacchi of Jalama Wines

“The Jalama Wines Tasting Room located in the historic La Plaza building in downtown Palm Springs offers a truly authentic tasting opportunity where guests experience the casual and inviting atmosphere of California’s Central Coast wine country. The Jalama Wines vineyards are located in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County.”

“Jalama Wines’ artisan winery produces less than 1,000 cases of wine yearly, including estate Pinot Noir, sourced Syrah, Grenache, and Petite Sirah, and several Rhone blends.” The two estate vineyards are Cargasacchi Vineyard – Sta. Rita Hills and Jalama Vineyard – Santa Barbara County.

“The Palm Springs Tasting Room is the first and only one of its kind in the area. It’s a welcoming spot for anyone who enjoys exceptional wine. You’re likely to meet winemaker Mark Cargasacchi there and get a chance to learn what makes Jalama Wines so special.” The Tasting Room is open Friday through Sunday from 12 Noon to 5:00 p.m.

Winemaker Mark Cargasacchi joins us to pull the cork on Jalama Wines.

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Show 415, March 6, 2021: Belden Barns Winery and Farmstead with Nate and Lauren Belden Part One

Lauren and Nate Belden

“Perched atop Sonoma Mountain, Belden Barns celebrates the totality of farmstead agriculture with a surprising range of exceptional, cool-climate estate bottlings for such a boutique property.  In addition to delicious, terroir-driven wines, they rely on resident farmers Vince and Jenny Trotter for their sustainably grown estate fruit and produce.” 

“Tastings normally take place in a charming old barn — a throwback to an earlier time in Sonoma County farm life. (Currently, all tastings are conducted outside due to COVID 19 restrictions).  Visitors to the (kid-friendly) winery are encouraged to meander around the vines or head downhill to the orchards/produce where they can also hang a wish on the “wishing tree.””

Belden Barns has a program of Spring Virtual Tastings including the launch of their Apple Cider. Nate and Lauren also offer custom virtual tastings for special friends and family celebrations and business gatherings.

“Belden Barns was recently voted one of USA Today’s Top Ten Winery Tours.  Proprietors Nate and Lauren Belden are an amiable couple and their wines (including some highly regarded Pinots, Sparkling Wine, Grenache and what may be the only commercially available Gruner Veltliner in Sonoma County, among other bottlings) are noteworthy.”

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Show 415, March 6, 2021: Belden Barns Winery and Farmstead with Nate and Lauren Belden Part Two

Lauren and Nate Belden

“Perched atop Sonoma Mountain, Belden Barns celebrates the totality of farmstead agriculture with a surprising range of exceptional, cool-climate estate bottlings for such a boutique property.  In addition to delicious, terroir-driven wines, they rely on resident farmers Vince and Jenny Trotter for their sustainably grown estate fruit and produce.” 

“Tastings normally take place in a charming old barn — a throwback to an earlier time in Sonoma County farm life. (Currently, all tastings are conducted outside due to COVID 19 restrictions).  Visitors to the (kid-friendly) winery are encouraged to meander around the vines or head downhill to the orchards/produce where they can also hang a wish on the “wishing tree.””

Belden Barns has a diverse program of Spring Virtual Tastings including the launch of their Apple Cider. Nate and Lauren also offer customizable virtual tastings for special friends and family celebrations and business gatherings.

“Belden Barns was recently voted one of USA Today’s Top Ten Winery Tours.  Proprietors Nate and Lauren Belden are an amiable couple and their wines (including some highly regarded Pinots, Sparkling Wine, Grenache and what may be the only commercially available Gruner Veltliner in Sonoma County, among other bottlings) are noteworthy.”

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Show 401, November 28, 2020: Winemaker & Proprietor Adrian Manspeaker, Joseph Jewell Wines, Forestville Part Two

Adrain Jewell Manspeaker of Joseph Jewell Wines“From a small garagiste operation Joseph Jewell Wines, under the direction of Winemaker & Proprietor Adrian Manspeaker, has morphed into one of Humboldt & Sonoma County’s leading Pinot Noir producers. Joseph Jewell began in 2006 with two barrels of wine. Today, they make roughly 15% of the total wine production from Humboldt County’s 150 acres of vineyards. The wines produced three 90-plus scores and their history is just starting to be written.”

Joseph Jewell Wines sources exceptional fruit from independently owned vineyard properties in Sonoma and Humboldt counties, selecting sites with unique soil profiles and weather conditions. As part of their commitment to the future, they seek out growers who implement sustainable farming practices. Working closely with the property owners throughout the year allows Joseph Jewell to monitor the grapes’ progress and cultivate fruit that delivers the distinctive character of the site. Their goal is a finished wine that celebrates the singularity of the vineyard from which it came—the optimal expression of place captured vintage after vintage.”

Outdoor wine tasting (under the current regulations) is available at the Forestville Tasting Room. The tasting can also be enjoyed at the nearby “home” vineyard, Starscape Vineyard. Also a vineyard picnic and tasting option are available.

Winemaker & Proprietor Adrian Manspeaker continues with us and artfully pulls the cork on Joseph Jewell 2018 Pinot Noir, Alderpoint Vineyard.

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Show 398, November 7, 2020: Ian McCall, Brewmaster for Riip Beer Co. Part One

Ian McCall of Riip Beer CompanyRiip Beer Co. is located in Sunset Beach, a historic sub-district of Huntington Beach, California directly on Pacific Coast Highway across the street from the Beach & the Bolsa Chica Wetlands. Riip Beer Company started modestly as a Home Brew Operation on a 20 Gallon Brew Sculpture by More Beer in a small garage in Downtown Huntington Beach, California.

“Founded by two Brother-in-Laws in 2014, Riip Beer became one of Southern California’s first Nano Breweries to hit the rapid growing craft beer scene producing some of the best small batch, hand crafted ales in Orange County. Riip Beer was built organically from the ground up, the same way they craft their beers.”

In 2016 Riip Beer Company for the first time ever entered the prestigious GABF (Great American Beer Festival) competition and received a Silver Medal for it’s Super Cali IPA in the uber competitive American IPA category. Brewed on their 3bbl system Riip Beer became the smallest brewery to ever win a GABF in the American IPA category with over 400 entries from around the globe.

The winning tradition has continued under the direction of Brewmaster and Director of Brewing Operations, Ian McCall who is a Huntington Beach resident. Ian joined Riip Beer Co. (a bit over 2 years ago) from Beachwood Brewing where he was lead brewer of their Long Beach facility.

At this year’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Riip was in the highly exclusive category of most medaled breweries. They were awarded Gold for their Belgian-Style Ale – Category 82 (Tangible Passion,) A Silver for Coffee Stout or Porter – Category 10 (The Riizzo,) and a Silver for American-Style Black Ale or American-Style – Category 69 (Black the Ripper.)

We’re tapping the newly released keg of Tangible Passion with Brewmaster Ian McCall.

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Show 396, October 24, 2020: Dan Kessler, Kessler-Haak Vineyard and Wines, Lompoc Part One

Dan Kessler of Kessler-Hawk Vineyard and WinesThe Kessler-Haak Vineyard and Wines vineyard is located on Hwy 246, 11 miles west of Buellton in the cooler northwestern section of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Fog graces the vineyard most mornings; followed by cool Pacific ocean breezes and bright sunny afternoons. These conditions nurture gentle ripening of Kessler-Haak’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at lower sugars with crisp acidity and the higher levels of spice commonly seen in cool climate viticulture. There is also a sparkling wine program.

At Kessler-Haak the approach is that “great wine is produced in the vineyard.” Consequently, they feel “the best winemaking approach is a minimalistic one, relying on traditional methods and techniques.”

“The quality of the fruit directly impacts the quality of the wine produced from it. At Kessler-Haak, they believe winemaking begins in the vineyard and that they are wine growers first and foremost and winemakers second. Winegrower & Winemaker Dan and Owner/Partner Ellen Haak-Kessler live on and work in the vineyard. Coaxing the best fruit from each vine requires an integral involvement with the grape growing process; being there each day, touching the vines and soil and being hands-on in all aspects of the farming.”

The welcoming Lompoc Tasting Room is open Thursday through Sunday. No appointment needed. Check Website for hours.

Grower and Winemaker Dan Kessler pulls the cork on Kessler-Haak Vineyard and Wines for us.

 

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Show 396, October 24, 2020: Dan Kessler, Kessler-Haak Vineyard and Wines, Lompoc Part Two

Dan Kessler of Kessler-Hawk Vineyard and WinesThe Kessler-Haak Vineyard and Wines vineyard is located on Hwy 246, 11 miles west of Buellton in the cooler northwestern section of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Fog graces the vineyard most mornings; followed by cool Pacific ocean breezes and bright sunny afternoons. These conditions nurture gentle ripening of Kessler-Haak’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at lower sugars with crisp acidity and the higher levels of spice commonly seen in cool climate viticulture. There is also a sparkling wine program.

At Kessler-Haak the approach is that “great wine is produced in the vineyard.” Consequently, they feel “the best winemaking approach is a minimalistic one, relying on traditional methods and techniques.”

“As winemakers, the goal at Kessler-Haak is to craft great food friendly wines that speak of place and time. The single most important factor influencing this goal is the decision of when to harvest. They base this decision on a combination of factors including: sugar levels, pH, flavors, visual appearance of the fruit and vines, seed ripeness and the style of wine we are striving to create. Ripeness in a given year, which ultimately reflects time and place, is the optimal confluence of these factors.”

The welcoming Lompoc Tasting Room is open Thursday through Sunday. No appointment needed. Check Website for hours.

Grower and Winemaker Dan Kessler of Kessler-Haak Vineyard and Wines in Lompoc continues with us.

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Show 388, August 29, 2020: Jeff Nelson, Founder & CEO, Liquid Farm, Lompoc

Jeff Nelson of Liquid FarmJeff Nelson is the Founder and CEO of Liquid Farm with their distinctive Tasting Room in Los Olivos and the Winery in Lompoc.

“We seek to support local viticulture and honor our palates’ love for old world wines that have naturally high acidity and are not masked by many of the modern-day manipulations.”

“To do so, we selfishly decided to make what we most love to drink: Chardonnay that is earth and mineral driven from cool climates with little or no new oak. To achieve these qualities we were drawn to one of the coolest of all California AVA’s, Sta. Rita Hills. Located in Santa Barbara County, it is home to some of the most Chardonnay-suited, unique, ancient soils in North America.”

“From the climate and soil, to the people and their wines, the Santa Ynez Valley is certainly one of the most special regions we have ever come across.”

“Often said, but very true, all great wine starts in the vineyard. Our project’s name reflects our strong belief in that philosophy. It is truly all about place in combination with the highest quality fruit and letting the varietal and regional TYPICITY of the wine shine through from vineyard to glass…Liquid from Farming.”

“We allow the wines to develop on their own with little intervention, minimal or no new oak and use no additives or machines to manipulate the wines inherent personality. The project is also committed to blending from the handful of special vineyards we work with in the small AVA of Sta. Rita Hills to produce a collection of Chardonnays that are markedly different expressions, but with the same thread of intense minerality and salinity they started with in the vineyard.”

The Liquid Farm collection also includes a Rose of Mourvedre and “SBC” Pinot Noir. James Sparks is the Winemaker.

“Jeff Nelson has been in the wine business for the past 20+ years, working for some of the top Champagne and Burgundy houses. With the name Liquid Farm on Jeff’s mind for many years, it was the catalyst in 2009 for starting the project with the helping guidance of Brandon Sparks-Gillis of Dragonette Cellars.”

Jeff Nelson gently pulls the cork for us on all things Liquid Farm.

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Show 379, June 27, 2020: Doug Margerum, Margerum Wine Company, Santa Barbara

Douglas Barden MargerumLeading the Margerum Wine Company team (with a new tasting room at Hotel Californian in the State Building) is creator and namesake, Douglas Barden Margerum, a long- term Santa Barbara resident who has been a fixture in the Santa Barbara food and wine scene for over 35 years. The Margerum Wine Company Tasting Room additionally now features the wines of sister label, Barden Wines (fruit from the Santa Rita Hills AVA.)  Doug is also is a member of the (rescheduled for 2021) Santa Barbara Culinary Experience Advisory Committee.

“Margerum Wine Company produces limited quantities of wines made from grapes grown both on their estate vineyard and grapes purchased from other top vineyards from in and around Santa Barbara County. The 18-acre estate vineyard is planted exclusively to Rhône grape varietals. The acreage is divided between limestone hillsides and gravelly alluvial flatlands along Alamo Pintado Creek. The wines are made at their state-of-the-art winery located on Industrial Way in Buellton.”

“Owner and Director of Winemaking, Douglas Barden Margerum, works with the top vineyards from the cool, eastern end of the valley in Happy Canyon to the western end’s cold vineyards of Sta. Rita Hills. Doug carefully selects the vineyards with meticulous attention to detail in all factors influencing the ultimate quality of the wines, including pruning, soil, climate, and farming methods.”

“Margerum Wine Company is committed to creating hand-crafted wines using only the highest quality grapes in order to make wines that are indicative of the place where they are grown. They strive to make wines naturally, to make wines that have individual characteristics and to make wines with personality. The scale of production is kept at a level where they can touch and know the wine as it is raised to the bottle – the antithesis of mass production. The standards of quality are measured by their own rigid criteria – not by external sources. They make wines they personally enjoy – some to drink young, others for long aging in cool cellars for future generations to enjoy, but mostly to share at the table with family and friends.”

“Doug’s multi-faceted background as the Sommelier/Owner of The Wine Cask, a Wine Spectator Grand Award restaurant recipient, and as a highly respected winemaker made him sought out by a variety of wineries to assist in the formation of their brands. Doug has consulted for Chêne Bleu super Rhône wines in France, and continues to consult for La Encantada Vineyards, Rancho Boa Vista and Happy Canyon Vineyards, all in Santa Barbara County, as well as the Santa Barbara wines of Paradise Springs Winery based in Virginia.”

Doug is our guest to pull the cork for us on the reopening of the Margerum Wine Company Tasting Room which now also includes the Barden Wines Tasting Room.

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Show 375, May 30, 2020: Chef Frank Ostini of Hitching Post 2 Restaurant & Hitching Post Wines

Frank Ostini of Hitching Post IIIt’s hard to believe but until fairly recently Hitching Post Wines (made famous in the Oscar-winning 2004 feature motion picture, “Sideways,”) never had a tasting room. That all changed for the better in August of 2018 when acclaimed winemakers Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini debuted a mid-century farmhouse, destination Tasting Room (with the bonus of lunch service delivered from Hitching Post 2) adjacent to Chef Ostini’s prominent Hitching Post 2 Restaurant in Buellton.

The Tasting Room is still on temporary hiatus but Hitching Post 2 has reopened for pick-up and delivery. Hitching Post Wine packages available, too. Lunch service with wine available by the glass has returned outside under a covered canopy in the picnic area adjacent to the Tasting Room. (Closed on Monday & Tuesday.)

“The Hitching Post 2 blends traditional Santa Maria Barbecue with eclectic local ingredients and award -winning wines for an exciting cuisine that is uniquely its own.”

Chef Frank has put together an impressive Take Home Dinner for Four (Hitching Post BBQ Box) that is delivered to Los Angeles (pick-up at Mar Vista Restaurant every other Tuesday) via Los Alamos Delivers. It includes 1 lb. Prime Top Sirloin Steak, 1 lb. Natural Pork Back Ribs, ½ BBQ’d Fresh Natural Chicken and sides of BBQ’d Baked Potatoes, Rice Pilaf, Assorted Vegetables, Roots Farm Green Salad, Garlic Bread and Salsa. Comes chilled and ready to re-warm at home.

We nudge Chef Frank away from his Santa Maria style BBQ grill to share the details.

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