Research Trip: Justin Smith of Saxum


If we could only meet one winemaker in Paso Robles, it would have to be Justin Smith. Yes, there is Saxum’s allure: the waiting list and the 100 point score. But there is more to Saxum than the winery’s reputation – owner winemaker Justin Smith’s discoveries and innovations – and his willingness to share them – have shaped the methodologies of the Central Coast’s highest Read More →



Tom Stolpman’s Mandate from Day One: “Hide at least 10 cases of every wine we bottle deep inside the cold room and don’t let me touch them!” Just as Tom predicted: tannins integrated, flavors blossomed, textures fleshed. Luxurious, revelatory wines flourished the only way possible, via patience. We hoarded these wines to a tipping point. Eventually we ran out of space, and I opened flights Read More →

Australia Dispatch No. 2 Pat Sullivan: Victoria’s Poster Boy of a Revolution‏


“Two types of people drink my wine, either Sommeliers in their twenties, or Women in their sixties” – Pat Sullivan, approx. 36 hours into tasting appointment. With a well-worn coral pink quicksilver hoodie, a disheveled pile of curly hair, and a youthful 29 Year Old’s welcoming smile; Pat Sullivan is Victoria’s poster-boy for the Australian wine revolution. A day and a half earlier, we arrived Read More →

Australia Dispatch No 1. Savagnin: Mistaken Identity with Great Potential‏


M I S T A K E N  I D E N T I T Y Similar to the California’s Viognier scandal, Australia suffered through a mistaken identity crises of its own. What was assumed to be Albarino turned out to be the obscure Jura grape, Savagnin. Genetic test results went public just 5 years ago. Today, most producers continue to make light, crisp wines, Read More →

Making ‘Sense’ of Wine


There isn’t a day at the tasting room that goes by that I don’t overhear conversations ranging from deep tannin expression analysis to down home declarations of – ‘I like it!’  Our folks behind the bar are quick to shout out fundamentals of how each wine is produced – from the history of a varietal to specific barrel selection, aging, concrete fermenters – every choice Read More →

Gracias from La Cuadrilla


On Friday November 7th, we gathered under the oak tree for our annual Cuadrilla profit sharing party. It’s a day I look forward to all year. Early in the morning, Ruben and his chef buddies broke down a whole pig and slow cooked big hunks in the animal’s own fat. The smell of Carnitas wafted through the dormant vineyard. The crew members requested goat cooked Read More →

Because of Wine, I Walk the Line


With harvest finished, Grenache barreled, and the first rainfall since March penetrating into our Limestone; November gives us a chance to take stock of our recent journeys and give thanks for the amazing opportunities we have. R E C E N T  J O U R N I E S The past three vintages enabled phenomenal wine quality and Sashi pushed the envelope in ways Read More →

Roussanne Opulence in 2014


R E D  R E C A P No doubt the 2014 red vintage will go down as a supple, voluptuous one. Sashi and the team started picking Syrah early to retain acid and ensure alcohols didn’t get out of control. By the time we finished Syrah, the fruit tasted very ripe, and the cuvees now finished with primary fermentation smack of rich fruit. Cuadrilla Read More →

The New Era: Oak Versus Whole-Cluster


2012 marks the first of three evenly hot, perfect growing seasons. The timing of these vintages coincides both with the launch of new winemaking methods, and with the culmination of long-term projects. We have the luxury of embarking on new journeys under ideal conditions. Prior to the 2014 Syrah harvest, I sat down with Sashi Moorman to learn more about the changes afoot. W H Read More →

Experience Harvest


V I E W  F R O M  T H E  B A R N Around 9pm, the still night air is broken by headlights as the first of the crew arrives. A cloud of dust follows the cars as they park under the giant oak tree. Memories of the calm darkness become distant as the diesel tractor engines fire up. The harvesting lights, hung Read More →