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.”

Play

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.”

Play

Show 451, November 13, 2021: John Shaw and Lisa Cuevas Shaw, Alma Sol Winery, Paso Robles Part One

John Shaw of Alma Sol Winery

Alma Sol is a family-owned and operated, micro-boutique winery, sourcing premium fruit from both Estate and other top vineyard sites in the beautiful Paso Robles appellation. From the very beginning, the mission has been to craft exceptional Bordeaux wines, both single varietals and special blends – though they will occasionally be inspired to produce limited releases of non-Bordeaux varietals as well. Alma Sol hand-picks their grapes in small lots, respects the fruit, guide its natural potential, and simply focus on hands-on, artisan winemaking.”

“It all began in 2002, during weekend trips to the family’s vineyard in Paso Robles and spending more time with the family business. In Paso Robles, they found the winemakers and winery owners highly accessible and approachable – so much so, that they came to know the area and the industry extremely well in little time. It started with learning about vineyard practices, the kinds of varietals that grow well in the area, and then gradually extended into learning about the entire winemaking operation.”

“John and Lisa became officially licensed in 2009 under the name of Alma Sol, which brings together two critical elements needed to craft exceptional wines – “soul” and “sun”. While Paso is well-known for its Zinfandel – and more recently, award-winning Rhone varietals and blends – John and Lisa decided that they wanted to make the best Cabernet Sauvignon they could by using Paso Robles fruit, to prove that a great Bordeaux could be realized in the Central Coast. Their first commercial vintage was in 2009. The inaugural releases received numerous accolades, including 90 Pts from Wine Enthusiast.”

“John and Lisa run the entire operation on their own. On the operations side, this includes overseeing the Alma Sol estate vineyard, scouting and selecting fruit sources beyond the estate vineyard, harvesting and processing the fruit, selecting and managing the barrel program to draw out distinctive flavor profiles, designing and creating the wine label and packaging, bottling, warehousing, and marketing and selling. All of this is done with a primary goal of sharing and distributing these hand-crafted wines among local communities in Southern California and beyond.”

Proprietors John and Lisa Shaw are our guests to uncork all that is Alma Sol Winery. They are joining us from the 10th Anniversary Garagiste Wine Festival in Paso Robles.

Play

Show 451, November 13, 2021: John Shaw and Lisa Cuevas Shaw, Alma Sol Winery, Paso Robles Part Two

John Shaw of Alma Sol Winery

Alma Sol is a family-owned and operated, micro-boutique winery, sourcing premium fruit from both Estate and other top vineyard sites in the beautiful Paso Robles appellation. From the very beginning, the mission has been to craft exceptional Bordeaux wines, both single varietals and special blends – though they will occasionally be inspired to produce limited releases of non-Bordeaux varietals as well. Alma Sol hand-picks their grapes in small lots, respects the fruit, guide its natural potential, and simply focus on hands-on, artisan winemaking.”

“It all began in 2002, during weekend trips to the family’s vineyard in Paso Robles and spending more time with the family business. In Paso Robles, they found the winemakers and winery owners highly accessible and approachable – so much so, that they came to know the area and the industry extremely well in little time. It started with learning about vineyard practices, the kinds of varietals that grow well in the area, and then gradually extended into learning about the entire winemaking operation.”

“John and Lisa became officially licensed in 2009 under the name of Alma Sol, which brings together two critical elements needed to craft exceptional wines – “soul” and “sun”. While Paso is well-known for its Zinfandel – and more recently, award-winning Rhone varietals and blends – John and Lisa decided that they wanted to make the best Cabernet Sauvignon they could by using Paso Robles fruit, to prove that a great Bordeaux could be realized in the Central Coast. Their first commercial vintage was in 2009. The inaugural releases received numerous accolades, including 90 Pts from Wine Enthusiast.”

“John and Lisa run the entire operation on their own. On the operations side, this includes overseeing the Alma Sol estate vineyard, scouting and selecting fruit sources beyond the estate vineyard, harvesting and processing the fruit, selecting and managing the barrel program to draw out distinctive flavor profiles, designing and creating the wine label and packaging, bottling, warehousing, and marketing and selling. All of this is done with a primary goal of sharing and distributing these hand-crafted wines among local communities in Southern California and beyond.”

Proprietors John and Lisa Shaw continue with us to uncork all that is Alma Sol Winery. They are joining us from the 10th Anniversary Garagiste Wine Festival in Paso Robles.

Play

Show 448, October 23, 2021: Dennis Murphy, Winemaker & Proprietor, Caprio Cellars, Walla Walla, Washington Part One

Dennis Murphy of Caprio Cellars

Caprio Cellars is a small producer of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Sauvignon Blanc located in the heart of Walla Walla Valley, WA., one of the premier wine-growing regions in the world.”

“Winemaker/Owner Dennis Murphy purchased the land where Caprio Cellars stands in 2003. Previously wheat fields, Dennis set out to make it the site of his first vineyard. This dream came to fruition in 2005 when the first plantings went in. Dennis named this vineyard “Eleanor” in homage to his late grandmother Eleanor Caprio. The first harvest took place in 2008, and once the first wines were bottled, the operation was given the name Caprio Cellars. Inspired by Dennis’ Italian ancestors’ connection to wine as an essential part of daily life, Caprio Cellars aims to carry on the tradition of establishing a culture of wine like that of Dennis’ Italian heritage while also contributing to the emerging tradition of Walla Walla winemaking.”

“The team at Caprio Cellars believes in the transformative power of hospitality and a shared spirit of generosity. Their aim is to cultivate a wine culture that brings together fellowship, the senses, and discernment – creating a space for the social experience of sharing wine and learning how to appreciate it over time while always serving great food and wines in the European tradition.”

Proprietor Dennis Murphy joins us to uncork all that is Caprio Cellars.

Play

Show 448, October 23, 2021: Dennis Murphy, Winemaker & Proprietor, Caprio Cellars, Walla Walla, Washington Part Two

Dennis Murphy of Caprio Cellars

Caprio Cellars is a small producer of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Sauvignon Blanc located in the heart of Walla Walla Valley, WA., one of the premier wine-growing regions in the world.”

“Winemaker/Owner Dennis Murphy purchased the land where Caprio Cellars stands in 2003. Previously wheat fields, Dennis set out to make it the site of his first vineyard. This dream came to fruition in 2005 when the first plantings went in. Dennis named this vineyard “Eleanor” in homage to his late grandmother Eleanor Caprio. The first harvest took place in 2008, and once the first wines were bottled, the operation was given the name Caprio Cellars. Inspired by Dennis’ Italian ancestors’ connection to wine as an essential part of daily life, Caprio Cellars aims to carry on the tradition of establishing a culture of wine like that of Dennis’ Italian heritage while also contributing to the emerging tradition of Walla Walla winemaking.”

“Few Walla Walla wineries own estate vineyards. Caprio Cellars is one of them. The Caprio Estate is comprised of three sites: Eleanor’s, Octave and Sanitella. These sites are in the heart of the Walla Walla Valley and enjoy ideal sun exposure and vine-loving soil, yielding grapes of the highest quality and complexity for their estate wines. The Eleanor site consists of two acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and one of Merlot. Octave’s 22-acre hillside vineyard was planted in 2007 and consists of 16 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, two acres of Merlot, two acres of Cabernet Franc, and one acre of Malbec. The newest, high elevation vineyard, Sanitella, in the SeVein, has Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.”

“Caprio Cellars is known in the Walla Walla Valley for their state-of-the-art tasting room and unparalleled hospitality. The entire Caprio team has a background in hospitality, and their ongoing commitment to the relational aspect of their business only adds to the experience of Caprio Cellars wines.”

“In addition to an always complimentary tasting fee, the Caprio Cellars Kitchen offers seasonally inspired plates to accompany every wine tasting. Executive Chef and Walla Walla local Ian Williams strives to source local, organic, and sustainable ingredients for every delicious plate. The Caprio Cellars Tasting Room is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. by reservation only. Caprio Cellars also hosts special events and regular winemaker dinners.”

Proprietor Dennis Murphy continues with us while enjoying a glass of his 2018 Eleanor Estate Red Blend.

Play

Show 441, September 4, 2021: Winemaker and Chef Pietro Buttitta, Prima Materia, Lake County, CA Part One

Pietro Buttitta of Prima Materia

“Winemaker Pietro Buttitta of Prima Materia makes American-Italian wines from his 12-acre vineyard in Lake County, CA. His is a quest to not just get it right, but simply to get to making good, balanced wines. In his effort, he knows he’s up against perceptions borne 20 years ago about Italian varietals made in California. His is, fortunately, not those wines.”

“Prima Materia doesn’t use herbicides or pesticides, and they naturally craft unfined and unfiltered wines using traditional methods that produce ageable bottles that respect classical styles interpreted through their vineyard.”

“Prima Materia is the product of two decades spent working in vineyards, wineries, and cooking in restaurant kitchens that ranged from Michelin starred to hamburger (and fried chicken) consulting. This culinary background is part of the winemaking approach, and every bottle hopes to capture a distinctive, Old-World inflected voice in harmony with California’s vast and evolving wine history.”

“The wines are crafted in small batches of two to ten barrels each, producing 1,200 to 1,500 cases per year. The winemaking and grape-growing are intensively hands-on, using stems and time, gravity and buckets, rather than fancy, impersonal machinery or mechanized processes. Prima Materia’s wines are unsulfured for much of their lives, allowing them to evolve as living things and new oak is rarely used. The wines are unfined, unfiltered, hand harvested, and hand bottled, and they are clean, stable and ready for long aging.”

Pietro Buttitta joins us to uncork all that is Prima Materia.

Play

Show 441, September 4, 2021: Winemaker and Chef Pietro Buttitta, Prima Materia, Lake County, CA Part Two

Pietro Buttitta of Prima Materia

Winemaker Pietro Buttitta of Prima Materia makes American-Italian wines from his 12-acre vineyard in Lake County, CA. His is a quest to not just get it right, but simply to get to making good, balanced wines. In his effort, he knows he’s up against perceptions borne 20 years ago about Italian varietals made in California. His is, fortunately, not those wines.”

“Prima Materia doesn’t use herbicides or pesticides, and they naturally craft unfined and unfiltered wines using traditional methods that produce ageable bottles that respect classical styles interpreted through their vineyard.”

“Prima Materia is the product of two decades spent working in vineyards, wineries, and cooking in restaurant kitchens that ranged from Michelin starred to hamburger (and fried chicken) consulting. This culinary background is part of the winemaking approach, and every bottle hopes to capture a distinctive, Old-World inflected voice in harmony with California’s vast and evolving wine history.”

“The wines are crafted in small batches of two to ten barrels each, producing 1,200 to 1,500 cases per year. The winemaking and grape-growing are intensively hands-on, using stems and time, gravity and buckets, rather than fancy, impersonal machinery or mechanized processes. Prima Materia’s wines are unsulfured for much of their lives, allowing them to evolve as living things and new oak is rarely used. The wines are unfined, unfiltered, hand harvested, and hand bottled, and they are clean, stable and ready for long aging.”

Prima Materia’s main tasting room is located at 49th & Telegraph Avenue in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, Ca., and you can also try the wines at Riggers Loft in Richmond, California.

Pietro Buttitta pours a glass of his 2017 Estate Bottled Sangiovese (Kelsey Bench) and continues with us.

Play

Show 437, August 7, 2021: Hany Ali, Executive Chef, Europa Village Wineries and Resort Part One

Hany Ali of Europa Village

The well-traveled Hany Ali is the executive chef of Europa Village Wineries and Resort in the heart of the Temecula Valley wine country. His current primary area of responsibility (as the Resort expands with Italian and French winery estates in development) is overseeing the Spanish-accented cuisine at Bolero Restaurante & Cantina at Bolero at Europa Village as well as all the on-site catering and special events. Bolero Restaurante serves Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner daily as well as Sunday Brunch.

“Bolero Restaurante takes the guest on a culinary journey throughout the country of Spain—from the humble farm-to-table cuisines of Asturia, to the majesty of modern interpretations coming from San Sebastian or Barcelona. The menus celebrate the centuries-old tradition of dining and drinking together in Tapas style. Whether it is seafood, steak, roasted vegetables, olives, or the finest cheeses and charcuteries in Europe, the meal is shared by all.”

“Born and raised in Egypt, Chef Hany Ali had a passion for the culinary arts at an early age. While Chef Hany was born in Cairo, Egypt, he was raised in a coastal resort city named Hurghada. Hurghada, is best known for its beautiful white sand beaches, fresh seafood, and one of the most popular vacation spots with Europeans. It was an inspiration to a young Hany.”

“After graduation from the International Culinary Institute in Egypt, Chef Hany decided to travel through Europe and Asia exposing his palate to as many different types of cuisines as possible. This allowed him to broaden his talents as a chef and gave him the experience and knowledge needed to begin his career.”

“After over 13 years in the most highly regarded hotels and restaurants in the U.S. Hany found a home in the Temecula Valley Wine Country as the Executive Chef leading the culinary team at Ponte Winery. With a love for the valley, a deep appreciation for each ingredient, and a thirst for unique and thoughtful wine, he hoped his passion was palpable in every plate, sip and bite.”

“With all his many accomplishments, experiences, and rave reviews, Europa Village Wineries and Resort are pleased to have Chef Hany Ali as their Executive Chef and being part of a “food culture that respects local produce, farmers and ranchers.” He showcases that back-to-the-land reverence with farm-fresh valley produce — with some vegetables and herbs harvested just moments beforehand in the kitchen garden out back. But while the sourcing may be local, Chef Hany’s influences are global, resulting in flavorful, inventive border-crossing cuisine. He provides guests with the exceptional service, dedication, and immense love and passion for food that they have come to expect from Europa Village.”

We entice Chef Hany away from his busy kitchens for a chat.

Play

Show 437, August 7, 2021: Hany Ali, Executive Chef, Europa Village Wineries and Resort Part Two

Hany Ali of Europa Village

The well-traveled Hany Ali is the executive chef of Europa Village Wineries and Resort in the heart of the Temecula Valley wine country. His current primary area of responsibility (as the Resort expands with Italian and French winery estates in development) is overseeing the Spanish-accented cuisine at Bolero Restaurante & Cantina at Bolero at Europa Village as well as all the on-site catering and special events. Bolero Restaurante serves Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner daily as well as Sunday Brunch.

“Bolero Restaurante takes the guest on a culinary journey throughout the country of Spain—from the humble farm-to-table cuisines of Asturia, to the majesty of modern interpretations coming from San Sebastian or Barcelona. The menus celebrate the centuries-old tradition of dining and drinking together in Tapas style. Whether it is seafood, steak, roasted vegetables, olives, or the finest cheeses and charcuteries in Europe, the meal is shared by all.”

“Born and raised in Egypt, Chef Hany Ali had a passion for the culinary arts at an early age. While Chef Hany was born in Cairo, Egypt, he was raised in a coastal resort city named Hurghada. Hurghada, is best known for its beautiful white sand beaches, fresh seafood, and one of the most popular vacation spots with Europeans. It was an inspiration to a young Hany.”

“After graduation from the International Culinary Institute in Egypt, Chef Hany decided to travel through Europe and Asia exposing his palate to as many different types of cuisines as possible. This allowed him to broaden his talents as a chef and gave him the experience and knowledge needed to begin his career.”

“After over 13 years in the most highly regarded hotels and restaurants in the U.S. Hany found a home in the Temecula Valley Wine Country as the Executive Chef leading the culinary team at Ponte Winery. With a love for the valley, a deep appreciation for each ingredient, and a thirst for unique and thoughtful wine, he hoped his passion was palpable in every plate, sip and bite.”

“With all his many accomplishments, experiences, and rave reviews, Europa Village Wineries and Resort are pleased to have Chef Hany Ali as their Executive Chef and being part of a “food culture that respects local produce, farmers and ranchers.” He showcases that back-to-the-land reverence with farm-fresh valley produce — with some vegetables and herbs harvested just moments beforehand in the kitchen garden out back. But while the sourcing may be local, Chef Hany’s influences are global, resulting in flavorful, inventive border-crossing cuisine. He provides guests with the exceptional service, dedication, and immense love and passion for food that they have come to expect from Europa Village.”

Chef Hany takes a break from his busy kitchens and rejoins us.

Play