Show 486, August 6, 2022: Steven Kent Mirassou, Steven Kent Winery, Livermore Part One

Steven Kent Mirassou of the Lineage Collection

The Steven Kent Winery was started in 1996 with one mission: to make Cabernet in the Livermore Valley that rivals in quality the greatest red wines made anywhere in the world.”

“By the turn of the last century, Livermore Valley was already far ahead of its Napa Valley neighbor in specializing in the Bordeaux varieties. The goal at Steven Kent is to carry on that tradition.” Steven Kent Mirassou joins us to pull the cork on all that is The Steven Kent Winery.

“Steven Kent Mirassou is the 6th-generation winemaker for The Lineage Collection located in the Livermore Valley. Steven has been making wine for his four separate brands since 1996 and regards his growing area as one of the finest in the world for Bordeaux varieties. Though Steven started out making Cabernet Sauvignon, he fell in love with the Loire Valley version of Cabernet Franc in the early 2000s. He regards this grape to be the sexiest, most alluring, most complex in the world.”

“The fact that the Livermore Valley is one of the finest areas in California to grow this grape makes the marriage between variety and obsession much more likely to succeed at a world-class quality level. L’Autre Côte is a Cabernet Franc brand whose mission is to make single-vineyard wines from great sites that create emotional connections between the winemaker and the wine drinker and that highlight the unequaled elegance and complexity of this grape.”

The best wines are balanced wines that reveal the site, the variety, and the winemaking vision in a way that makes our wines memorable. We create wines that celebrate the lushness of California while maintaining a more acid-driven, tannic style that speaks of the Old World.”

“Steven Kent Winery wines are aged in 100% French oak barrels. The percentage of new oak to once or second-used barrel is dependent upon how much organoleptic contribution they think the wines need from wood. Generally, they use only 50-60% new barrel, believing that the aromas and flavors of fruit are much more delicious than those derived from wood.”

“Steven Kent Winery blends are often elaborate, and they are made as early in the aging process as possible. They have found that the best, most complex and delicious blends are those that have ample time for each individual variety to marry harmoniously with its mates.”

Show 486, August 6, 2022: Steven Kent Mirassou, Steven Kent Winery, Livermore Part Two

Steven Kent Mirassou of the Lineage Collection

The Steven Kent Winery was started in 1996 with one mission: to make Cabernet in the Livermore Valley that rivals in quality the greatest red wines made anywhere in the world.”

“By the turn of the last century, Livermore Valley was already far ahead of its Napa Valley neighbor in specializing in the Bordeaux varieties. The goal at Steven Kent is to carry on that tradition.” Steven Kent Mirassou joins us to pull the cork on all that is The Steven Kent Winery.

“Steven Kent Mirassou is the 6th-generation winemaker for The Lineage Collection located in the Livermore Valley. Steven has been making wine for his four separate brands since 1996 and regards his growing area as one of the finest in the world for Bordeaux varieties. Though Steven started out making Cabernet Sauvignon, he fell in love with the Loire Valley version of Cabernet Franc in the early 2000s. He regards this grape to be the sexiest, most alluring, most complex in the world.”

“The fact that the Livermore Valley is one of the finest areas in California to grow this grape makes the marriage between variety and obsession much more likely to succeed at a world-class quality level. L’Autre Côte is a Cabernet Franc brand whose mission is to make single-vineyard wines from great sites that create emotional connections between the winemaker and the wine drinker and that highlight the unequaled elegance and complexity of this grape.”

The best wines are balanced wines that reveal the site, the variety, and the winemaking vision in a way that makes our wines memorable. We create wines that celebrate the lushness of California while maintaining a more acid-driven, tannic style that speaks of the Old World.”

“Steven Kent Winery wines are aged in 100% French oak barrels. The percentage of new oak to once or second-used barrel is dependent upon how much organoleptic contribution they think the wines need from wood. Generally, they use only 50-60% new barrel, believing that the aromas and flavors of fruit are much more delicious than those derived from wood.”

Show 480, June 25, 2022: Iris Vineyards, Springfield, OR with Winemaker Aaron Lieberman and Carl Giavanti Part One

Aaron Lieberman of Iris Vineyards

Iris Vineyards perches in the iris-dotted hills at the southern edge of the Willamette Valley, an 870-acre, high-elevation preserve dedicated to the ancient Greek concept of areté – the tireless striving to achieve one’s fullest potential. Areté guides the proprietors Richard Boyles and Pamela Frye, and winemaker Aaron Lieberman to create fresh, fruit-forward wines that truly honor their source.”

“Richard Boyles and Pamela Frye spent several years searching for a site with the potential to create great Pinot Noir. In 1992, they found a property in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Mountain Range at the south end of the Willamette Valley. It had been clear-cut, exposing sloping hillsides, promising soils, and site’s immense potential for the Burgundian and Alsatian varietals Richard and Pamela loved most. Richard and Pamela committed to replanting 500 acres of the estate to Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine for timber harvesting, and to restoring a diverse forest habitat with multiple native tree and understory species represented.”

Winemaker Aaron Lieberman joined Iris as the head of winemaking in 2008, and has spearheaded the winery’s significant quality advances over the last decade. Like Richard, Aaron has always approached his life and work with areté in mind – striving each day to improve and achieve the best possible result.”

“Iris Vineyards’ winemaking program empowers Aaron to apply areté in every aspect of the work. He describes himself as a shepherd, guiding rather than forcing nature in the direction he wants it to go. This work begins, of course, with growing the best possible grapes. Aaron collaborates with vineyard manager Nathan Sparrow to optimize the growth, health, and maturity of each block of the Chalice Vineyard estate. He also works closely with other Willamette Valley growers and Rogue Valley growers who produce the warm-climate varieties for some of Iris Vineyards’ wine club selections.”

“Aaron’s goal: bright, fruit-forward wines with crisp acidity and low alcohol that honor their origins and deliver exceptional value.”

“Under the Iris Vineyards name, the winery produces a wide range of red, white, and rosé wines from the Chalice Vineyard, as well as from selected vineyards around the state. The Areté label represents the reserve, or premium level of wines – truly the best of the estate.” The Areté label also represents Iris Vineyards’ premium sparkling wine program all done in-house on the Estate.

Earlier this month Iris Vineyards opened a new Wine Bar in Downtown Springfield, Oregon on historic Main Street. Winemaker Aaron has created a selection of wine-based cocktails for the Wine Bar.

Winemaker Aaron Lieberman joins us to pull the cork on all that is Iris Vineyards joined by Oregon-based wine marketing and public relations authority Carl Giavanti.

Show 480, June 25, 2022: Iris Vineyards, Springfield, OR with Winemaker Aaron Lieberman and Carl Giavanti Part Two

Aaron Lieberman of Iris Vineyards

“Areté (AIR-it-tay) is a concept with deep roots in ancient Greek mythology, literature and philosophy. In simple terms, it is the moral imperative to achieve your full potential – the obligation to strive every day to do better, and be the best you can be. At Iris Vineyards, areté means constant attention to their vineyard practices, the wine quality, and Iris’ hospitality.”

Winemaker Aaron Lieberman joined Iris as the head of winemaking in 2008, and has spearheaded the winery’s significant quality advances over the last decade. Like Richard, Aaron has always approached his life and work with areté in mind – striving each day to improve and achieve the best possible result.”

“Iris Vineyards’ winemaking program empowers Aaron to apply areté in every aspect of the work. He describes himself as a shepherd, guiding rather than forcing nature in the direction he wants it to go. This work begins, of course, with growing the best possible grapes. Aaron collaborates with vineyard manager Nathan Sparrow to optimize the growth, health, and maturity of each block of the Chalice Vineyard estate. He also works closely with other Willamette Valley growers and Rogue Valley growers who produce the warm-climate varieties for some of Iris Vineyards’ wine club selections.”

“Aaron’s goal: bright, fruit-forward wines with crisp acidity and low alcohol that honor their origins and deliver exceptional value.”

“Under the Iris Vineyards name, the winery produces a wide range of red, white, and rosé wines from the Chalice Vineyard, as well as from selected vineyards around the state. The Areté label represents the reserve, or premium level of wines – truly the best of the estate.” The Areté label also represents Iris Vineyards’ premium sparkling wine program all unusually done in-house on the Estate.

Earlier this month Iris Vineyards opened a new Wine Bar in Downtown Springfield, Oregon on historic Main Street. Winemaker Aaron has created a selection of wine-based cocktails for the Wine Bar.

Winemaker Aaron Lieberman continues with us to further pull the cork on all that is Iris Vineyards and also joined by Oregon-based wine marketing and public relations authority, Carl Giavanti.

Show 474, May 14, 2022: Center of Effort Wines, Edna Valley AVA, CA Part One

Nathan Carlson of Center of Effort

“The rising star of California’s central coast AVA is the Edna Valley, and in these foothills lies a landmark estate vineyard, its roots spanning four decades. Center of Effort is a crown jewel of this trending wine region, famed for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Edna Valley is notable for the state’s coolest wine conditions and long growing season, brought about by the breezes and morning fog from the Pacific Ocean. Center of Effort harnesses the area’s unique and valuable properties to produce wines that are well balanced and complex.”

“Center of Effort’s respect for the vineyard and its unique environment is reflected with emphasis on sustainable viticulture, natural fermentation and other non-invasive, progressive winemaking practices. The opening of their beautiful, state of the art hospitality center has enabled them to share the vineyard experience with style and comfort both indoors and out. Center of Effort’s estate wines represent the intersection of care taking, skill and commitment, and according to Forbes, “the results are pure and elegant expressions of Edna Valley terroir.””

“The winemaking operations at Center of Effort are led by Nathan Carlson, a veteran Edna Valley winemaker, who has worked with Center of Effort estate vineyards since 2008. His experience over this time with the soil, climate, and character of each parcel of the vines has led to a quiet confidence in the ultimate results of their winemaking actions or restraint.”

The striking and elegant Center of Effort Hospitality Center (with an exhibition kitchen) is available for a variety of tastings, tours and culinary experiences.

Winemaker & General Manager Nathan Carlson and Culinary Manager Lindsey Morin join us to pull the cork on all that is Center of Effort.

Show 474, May 14, 2022: Center of Effort Wines, Edna Valley AVA, CA Part Two

Lindsey Morin of Center of Effort

“The rising star of California’s central coast AVA is the Edna Valley, and in these foothills lies a landmark estate vineyard, its roots spanning four decades. Center of Effort is a crown jewel of this trending wine region, famed for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Edna Valley is notable for the state’s coolest wine conditions and long growing season, brought about by the breezes and morning fog from the Pacific Ocean. Center of Effort harnesses the area’s unique and valuable properties to produce wines that are well balanced and complex.”

“Center of Effort’s respect for the vineyard and its unique environment is reflected with emphasis on sustainable viticulture, natural fermentation and other non-invasive, progressive winemaking practices. The opening of their beautiful, state of the art hospitality center has enabled them to share the vineyard experience with style and comfort both indoors and out. Center of Effort’s estate wines represent the intersection of care taking, skill and commitment, and according to Forbes, “the results are pure and elegant expressions of Edna Valley terroir.””

“The winemaking operations at Center of Effort are led by Nathan Carlson, a veteran Edna Valley winemaker, who has worked with Center of Effort estate vineyards since 2008. His experience over this time with the soil, climate, and character of each parcel of the vines has led to a quiet confidence in the ultimate results of their winemaking actions or restraint.”

The striking and tastefully elegant Center of Effort Hospitality Center (with an exhibition kitchen) is available for a variety of tastings, tours and culinary experiences.

Winemaker & General Manager Nathan Carlson and Culinary Manager Lindsey Morin continue with us pulling the cork on all that is Center of Effort.

Show 471, April 23, 2022: Patricia Toth, Winemaker, Planeta, Sicily, Italy Part One

Patricia Toth of Planeta

Planeta’s (Sicily, Italy) journey began at Sambuca di Sicilia, on the estate owned by the family since the 1600s. Here, three enthusiastic young Sicilians, Alessio, Francesca and Santi Planeta, under the guidance of Diego Planeta, began their winemaking venture in the mid-1980s. Subsequent years were spent matching the extraordinarily diverse Sicilian soils with both indigenous and international varieties. Planeta today encompasses six distinct wine estates in five regions across Sicily; Ulmo at Sambuca di Sicilia, Dispensa at Menfi, Dorilli at Vittoria, Buonivini at Noto, Sciara Nuova on Etna at Castiglione di Sicilia, and the newest addition, La Baronia at Capo Milazzo. Each vineyard site is carefully cultivated with grapes that best compliment the local terroir.”

“Planeta as a family and an organization is at the forefront of sustainability initiatives within Sicily.”

“Born in Hungary, Planeta Winemaker Patricia Toth grew up in the countryside. In 2004, she graduated from the University of Corvinus in Budapest with a degree in Food Science specializing in wine, beer and spirits.”

“Patricia first collaborated with Planeta during the 2005 harvest and in 2008, she officially joined the winemaking team in a full-time role as Winemaker. Today, she is responsible for the Buonivini and Dorilli Cellars, and has successfully coordinated startup for the estates on Mount Etna and Capo Milazzo. Patricia is an active a member of Planeta’s Business Intelligence Team and is also responsible for Planeta’s SOStain program, which supports regional sustainable agriculture.”

Patricia joins us from Sicily to pull the cork on all that is Planeta.

Show 471, April 23, 2022: Patricia Toth, Winemaker, Planeta, Sicily, Italy Part Two

Patricia Toth of Planeta

Planeta’s (Sicily, Italy) journey began at Sambuca di Sicilia, on the estate owned by the family since the 1600s. Here, three enthusiastic young Sicilians, Alessio, Francesca and Santi Planeta, under the guidance of Diego Planeta, began their winemaking venture in the mid-1980s. Subsequent years were spent matching the extraordinarily diverse Sicilian soils with both indigenous and international varieties. Planeta today encompasses six distinct wine estates in five regions across Sicily; Ulmo at Sambuca di Sicilia, Dispensa at Menfi, Dorilli at Vittoria, Buonivini at Noto, Sciara Nuova on Etna at Castiglione di Sicilia, and the newest addition, La Baronia at Capo Milazzo. Each vineyard site is carefully cultivated with grapes that best compliment the local terroir.”

“Planeta as a family and an organization is at the forefront of sustainability initiatives within Sicily.”

“Born in Hungary, Planeta Winemaker Patricia Toth grew up in the countryside. In 2004, she graduated from the University of Corvinus in Budapest with a degree in Food Science specializing in wine, beer and spirits.”

“Patricia first collaborated with Planeta during the 2005 harvest and in 2008, she officially joined the winemaking team in a full-time role as Winemaker. Today, she is responsible for the Buonivini and Dorilli Cellars, and has successfully coordinated startup for the estates on Mount Etna and Capo Milazzo. Patricia is an active a member of Planeta’s Business Intelligence Team and is also responsible for Planeta’s SOStain program, which supports regional sustainable agriculture.”

A few weeks ago Patricia was on a visit to Los Angeles to present a selection of the current Planeta releases to food and wine journalists at a special lunch at Drago Centro in Downtown Los Angeles with the cuisine prepared by Chef Celestino Drago himself and with service supervised by Managing Partner (and acclaimed restaurateur) Piero Selvaggio. The Short Rib with Mushrooms and Barley course was tastefully paired with Planeta Eruzione 1614 Nerello Mascalese Sicilia 2018. This 100 per cent Nerello Mascalese is a person favorite Planeta selection of Piero himself.

Patricia continues with us long-distance from Sicily to pull the cork on all that is Planeta.

Show 469, April 9, 2022: Winemaker Joshua Klapper, Founder, Timbre Winery, Arroyo Grande, CA

Joshua Klapper of Timbre Winery

Timbre Winery is a Santa Barbara County winery crafting balanced wines of distinction.” TIMBRE (pronounced TAM·ber or TIM·ber) is the “color” of music. It is what makes two voices sound different, even when singing the same song. It is why two winemakers, working with the same vineyards, make unique wine. As a terroir-driven winery, Timbre makes wines expressive of the places and times from which they came. As winemakers, they channel those sites through their experience, adding their own mark- their Timbre- to the resulting wines.” Founder and Winemaker Josh Klapper (a former restaurant Sommelier) is our guest to pull the cork on all that is Timbre Winery.

“Founded by Joshua Klapper, Timbre Winery is the culmination of years of hard work, and dedication to his craft. It is winemaking expressed through the universal language of musical sound.”

““Timbre Winery is committed to sustainable practices in its vineyard and product sourcing, as well as its production.” They are particularly known for their Pinot Noir but also produce a range of varietals and blends. Timbre also crafts a Hard Apple Cider.

Timbre has a new winery facility in San Luis Obispo and April marks the 5-Year Anniversary of Timbre’s Arroyo Grande Tasting Room.

Show 464, March 5, 2022: Winemaker Keith Emerson, Vinoce, Napa

Keith Emerson of Vinoce

Twenty-five years after naming his wine brand Vinoce, Proprietor Brian Nuss (Napa Valley based) finds himself in a revitalization mode as he and the rest of the world emerges from the pandemic. Which leads him to proclaim, “I don’t want this winery to go away. It’s been part of my life since 1996. But this reinvention is not for me; it’s for my sons Tim and Tyler.””

“Nuss called his winery Vinoce (pronounced veen-O-chay), which he translates as “wine nut.” He coined the word in tribute to his German-Italian heritage; “nuss” means nut in German, and “noce” is nut in Italian. Brian’s mom was Italian-Spanish, while his dad was German-English.”

“Over the last three decades, Vinoce has developed an intimate knowledge of growing Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc on the rugged, hillside slopes. Vinoce is devoted to creating wines that reflect the true expressions of Mount Veeder with balance, power, and uniqueness.”

“In 2013, Keith Emerson initially came on as associate winemaker to make the Vinoce wines. Emerson, the winemaker at Vineyard 29, is now Vinoce’s winemaker as well. The wine is made in St. Helena at Emerson’s Vineyard 29 and Ballentine Vineyards. Vinoce’s Mount Veeder fruit comes from an 8-acre estate vineyard near PymRae Nuss purchased and planted in ‘13. Vinoce produces about 2,000 cases a year.”

In 2019 Vinoce opened their tasting room at the historic Tannery building in Napa on the Napa River.

Winemaker Keith Emerson joins us to uncork all that is Vinoce Vineyards.