Winemaker Pam Starr has been a great supporter of Life Between the Vines almost since the beginning and for that we are very grateful. Pam has a fantastic sense of humor but as a winemaker she takes the subject of wine very seriously. Just spending a bit of time with Pam can provide you with a pretty full wine education. We met with Pam back in June just before Auction Napa Valley….looking toward a brand new winery.
Learn more by visiting www.crockerstarr.com
Our third video in a series of four featuring glimpses of the goings on at Premiere Napa Valley 2015. Watch for winemakers such as Elizabeth Vianna of Chimney Rock, Pam Starr of Crocker & Starr, Stephanie Putnam of Raymond Vineyards, Henrik Poulsen of Release Winery, Todd Graff of Frank Family, Sue Bartolucci of Madonna Estate, David Arthur Long of David Arthur and more.
A simple guide to hosting a tasting. Tools, time and fun….never forget the fun! Hosted by WUWM’s Stephanie Lecci, Ray talks plain talk about doing a simple tasting. Paste the link below and take a listen….cheers.
Every winery has its very own personality. Many make you feel welcome and at home while some are interested in selling wine and that’s that. Harpersfield Winery in Madison, Ohio equates to the former and in many special ways. In summer, Harpersfield features live entertainment on the front lawn next to the vineyard. In winter….well, winter is special. Gathering around the fireplace in the very cozy tasting room makes for a special time spent with friends. While the many wines offered by Harpersfield are quite good, so in their menu. The flat bread pizza’s are exceptional and are the perfect comfort food. The cheese plate, bread tray and sandwiches are all worth a try. This is a family run operation and you will likely be talking to the owners or a family member when you belly up to order. Not to mention the winery terriers …..friendly and very cute, they are professional greeters and likely to pull up your lap for a brief nap.
It is a fact that information is power and without a doubt, wine lovers are constantly seeking information. New labels, interesting growers, up and coming areas. When it comes to California we commonly stick with Napa Valley, Sonoma and Santa Barbara. Of course, many other locations are growing excellent grapes and making fantastic wine. One way to get the jump on where to look, is to follow the winemakers.
David Galzignado, formerly of Paraduxx (podcast #5, October, 2008) and Scott Shirley, formerly of The Hess Collection (podcast #8-Napa Valley Barrel Auction-July, 2008) have moved to Paso Robles to work with Jada & Justin respectfully. Think that may tell you something?
By each podcast we grow a little more….around the world! Our followers are found in Thailand, Taiwan, Norway, Netherlands, South Korea, Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium, Vietnam. Sweden, Philippines, New Zealand, China, Ukraine, Italy, Denmark (Yo Kenneth!), Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, France and the good old USA! Cheers!!
Our newsletter features the brief ‘Ray’s Picks’ section pointing out wines well worth giving a try. From time to time we will blog here on the website to further that effort in turning our wine loving friends on to labels they should investigate. This week we offer a tip of the hat to three lovely reds, 2008 Chateau La Tour Carnet coming in around $40, 2007 Terlato Cardinal’s Peak which is closer to $50 and 2008 Rubicon (Inglenook-Francis Ford Coppola) Cask. All three of these wines were deep red with full body and an excellent finish. Watch for more wine picks in the coming weeks….cheers.
ANDERSON VALEY TRIP OCTOBER 2-7TH, 2011
On time flight out of Milwaukee, lands a few minutes early, luggage popped out on the carousel in the first three minutes, car rental was ready….I hardly knew what to do with myself. The immediate need was to get to Hopland, California for my first interview and a rare Sunday one at that. But this is harvest and harvest means there is no day of the week only the siren song of the fruit in the vineyard calling the winemaker to come and get it. This was another day of the siren for Mark & Donnis Topel of Topel Wines.
RUTHERFORD, CA (April 11, 2011) – Francis Ford Coppola announced today that he has acquired the iconic Inglenook trademark and that henceforth, his celebrated Rubicon Estate in Rutherford, Napa Valley will be known by its historic original name, Inglenook, which he has acquired from The Wine Group. In addition, beginning this summer renowned Bordeaux winemaker Philippe Bascaules will assume the position of Estate Manager and Winemaker at the newly renamed Inglenook.
PREMIERE NAPA VALLEY TRIP-FEBRUARY 21ST, 2011
Day One-February 21st.
Escaping Wisconsin looked to be a trick after getting hit on Sunday night with a snow storm turned rain storm turned ice storm back to snow again. Mother Nature is not confused, she’s just angry.
Arriving in San Francisco to cloudy skies and 52 degrees I was pleased to be away from snow. Then I arrive in Napa to see snow on Mt. St. Helena. Of course, why not?
After checking in I head up to St. Helena for my interview with Land & Reed co owner John Skupny.
I love Merlot. In fact Merlot was the grape that started me on the road to fine wine.
I still seek out labels I’ve never sampled and end up finding another great one.
Sadly, people sometimes forget just how great Merlot can really be (guess that leaves more for me!)
It’s been long lamented that the movie Sideways seems to have given the grape a bad rap. But the simple truth is in the tasting. Like any underrated grape, Merlot can be genius.
Example? ….Petrus from France.
Napa Valley trip, November 2010
DAY ONE-November 1st.
Just about perfect flight—on time departure—arrival 1/2hour early—no major bumps—luggage made it—should I play the lottery?
First tasting was at Elizabeth-Spencer. I was greeted by the newest addition to the tasting room…..a lovely woman who was experiencing her first day on the job. In Napa Valley, that takes some knowledge and guts. She did a nice job walking through the wines and was very helpful. Also spent time talking with a young man named John…he knew his stuff and talked extensively about the library wines. Purchased a 2007 Syrah….one of my favorites.
Napa Trip-May 17th 2010
Amazing! Cold and Rain….lots of rain….in Napa….yes rain.
Somehow I’ve managed to pick the worst week of weather this year to be in wine country (although even lousy weather in wine country is better then great weather at home!) Of course, the AirTran flight was 2 hours late due to the great weather in SF.
Checked in and had dinner at one my big favorites, Mustards Grill.
I enjoyed the pulled pork sandwich plus some onion straws making it a great roadside meal. Barnett Vineyards Cabernet complimented the dish.
PREMIERE NAPA VALLEY TRIP
February 17th, 2010
Day One-Wednesday Feb 16th.
Heading through San Francisco for the Premiere Napa Valley auction event which takes place Saturday and offers a multitude of parties for media and trade on the two days before.
But first, two interviews today, both in Napa. Tor Kenward owner of Tor Kenward Family Wines and Linda Neal owner of Tierra Roja, a 4 acre, 250 case property located on Silverado Trail.
TIARRA ROJA VINEYARD-Interview with Linda Neal-owner.
Tiarra Roja will be making their first appearance at the Premiere event this year. I met Linda via the Napa Valley Vintners, the source of many leads.
Day One-November 7th
Arrived early after a very pleasant flight….in stark contrast to the United flight from last June which was a disaster from the beginning….but I digress.
Met with Alpha Omega National Sales Manager, Chelsea Bellows at the house where I will be staying during my visit this week. Chelsea is an amazing person….perfect for Alpha Omega as she has boundless enthusiasium along with a great attitude. We were very lucky to meet her!
WINE COUNTRY VISIT JUNE 2009
This visit included several interviews for the podcast plus press passes to “Taste Napa Valley Barrel Auction”. I recorded brief interviews with over 20 winemakers, attendees and vendors at the auction. We arrived in San Francisco in Sunday, May 30th and Returned Sunday June 7th.
Rubicon Estate tasting- Excellent tasting featuring Blancaneaux, 2000 and 2005 Rubicon.
2005 took the win. Classy and fun, purchased RC x2 bottles. As usual the hospitality was fantastic!