A Chefs Journey Through Alexander Valley
World-Class Food & Wine Tasting Adventure

Our Six Virtual Tasting Videos Will Be Posted Here Shortly!

A six-episode virtual tasting series exploring food and wine in the Alexander Valley hosted by wine journalist moderators.

Join Alexander Valley winemakers, local chefs, and wine journalist moderators for a weekly one-hour virtual tasting of premium wines from our unique Cabernet-driven appellation.

Explore the diversity of Alexander Valley through the eyes of 6 local chefs over a series of virtual tastings moderated by wine-writer celebrities. One chef is challenged to focus on one varietal per episode and dive into its nuances depending on where it comes from in Alexander Valley to make the perfect pairing. Travel through the valley, from north to south, valley floor to mountain top to discover how microclimate and winemaking style can affect one varietal. Our winemakers and grape growers themselves will be at the session to guide you on terroir differences and winemaking techniques and discuss the pairings with the chef.

Time to take notes for your next visit to Alexander Valley! This series is the ultimate insider’s guide to Cab Country, just 90 minutes North of San Francisco.

Cabernet Sauvignon

WINERY + FEATURED WINE:

Hawkes Wine – 2016 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Trione Vineyards & Winery – 2015 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Block 21

PRESENTING:

Winemaker: Jake Hawkes, Hawkes
Winemaker: Scot Covington, Trione
Grower: Kris Hicks, Vimark Vineyards
Chef: Dino Bugica (Diavola)
Guest Moderator: Amanda McCrossin, CMS Certified Sommelier

TO PURCHASE WINE FOR THIS EPISODE:

Hawkes: Order Here
No Minimum required. Featured wine retails for $70 per bottle.
Shipping Special: Purchase 6+ bottles of 2016 Alexander Valley Cabernet and receive complimentary 1-day shipping. Purchase 12+ bottles of 2016 Alexander Valley Cabernet and receive a 20% discount + complimentary 1-day shipping
To Pick-up Wine: info@hawkeswine.com / 707-433-4295

Trione: Order Here
No Minimum required. Featured wine retails for $69 per bottle.
Shipping Special: Purchase 6+ bottles of 2016 Alexander Valley Cabernet and receive complimentary shipping. Purchase 3 bottles and shipping is $25.
To Pick-up Wine: jessie@trionewinery.com

The Wines

Hawkes Wine – 2016 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Our 2016 Alexander Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, blended from all three of our estate vineyards- Stone, Red Winery, and Pyramid. 2016 is a dark, luscious vintage in Cabernet and this wine shows that – purple-hued and laced with dark fruit on the nose and palate, most notably blackberry and plum. It has a brambly, herbaceous character, too – a touch of thyme and save and violet to balance the dark fruit. Today, this is an exciting, tumultuous wine that demands food. Give it a year or two, and watch it get broader in every direction. Drink now through 2035.

Tech Sheet

Trione Vineyards & Winery – 2015 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Block 21

The Trione 2015 Block 21 Cabernet Sauvignon is reminiscent of a classic left bank Bordeaux. Silky and Cab dominant but balanced, textured and lingering on the palate. Aromas and flavors of currants and black raspberry pie are in the mind and on the nose. This wine is age worthy and will continue to develop for the next 5-10 years.

Tech Sheet

The Speakers

Jake Hawkes
Winemaker/Owner, Hawkes Winery

Jacob Hawkes is a bald man in his early forties. He wears glasses and a beard and has a sort of athlete-gone-to-seed figure. He was born and raised on the farm on Chalk Hill Road, where his mother and father still live.

Jake never thought he would make wine for a living. His greatest aspiration was the same as every other child in America: to live anywhere but here. To that end, he left home and bumped around from place to place starting at the age of seventeen. His occupations were various. A construction worker in Rodarte, New Mexico, nightclub doorman in New York, woodchopper in California, grape-picker in Australia, alcoholic in Mexico, metal worker in Oakland, English teacher in San Marcos, Texas, but one common thread ran through all of this: wherever Jake went, he failed. And, when he failed, he came home and worked in the vineyard.

Scot Covington
Winemaker, Trione Winery

The Trione family appointed Scot Covington winemaker in 2005, in time for him to collaborate closely on the design of their new winery, Trione Vineyards & Winery. Scot brought years of relevant experience to the project. After graduating from California State University, Fresno in 1990 with a B. S. degree in Agricultural Science, Enology, Scot worked in Sonoma County and abroad. His mentors are legendary; his winemaking is influenced by years of training under such icons as Bill Bonnetti and Merry Edwards.

Living a winemaker’s dream, Scot has his choice of the finest grapes grown on the Trione family’s vineyards in the Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Coast AVAs. He selects the top three percent of grapes from just close to 700 acres of vineyard. His goal: make wines that express the highest level of quality across all varieties produced from estate grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Zinfandel.

Kris Hicks,
Grower, Vimark Vineyards

As a young man, Kris worked in the construction industry with his father, a concrete mason. Focused on his vocational interests, he obtained an Associate Degree and Union Carpenter Apprenticeship. He became a certified EMT with dreams of becoming a fireman or policeman; however, Kris’ carpentry career took center stage with large bridge and construction projects. Kris and Denise met in Sacramento. In 2008, they relocated to Sonoma County where the Trione winery was set to open. As Denise developed the winery hospitality, sales and marketing programs, Vimark Vineyards put Kris to work on the Trione’s five ranches, supervising building and repair projects. And he worked in the vineyards, learning pruning and harvesting. Recognizing Kris’ exceptional management skills and work ethic, Mark Trione appointed him Operations Manager and put him to work with John Tankersley, Vimark’s Vineyard Manager for forty years. John took Kris under his wing, mentoring him for three seasons. Kris enhanced his field experience with viticulture classes at Santa Rosa Junior College. When John retired in 2011, the Trione family appointed Kris Vineyard Manager.

Dino Bugica,
Chef, Diavola

Chef and owner Dino Bugica spent over ten years in Italy learning the art of butchery and cucina povera: keeping time honored Italian tradition alive by using the most basic, locally available ingredients combined with recipes that have been proven through the centuries. Diavola Pizzeria is set in the historic Oddfellow’s landmark, in the heart of downtown Geyserville, along with their sister bar, the Geyserville Gun Club. These unique eateries celebrate the seasons of California with a Sonoma County flair. The rustic, daily changing menu features carefully sourced meats, fish, and product from local farms, ranches, and fisheries guided by the principles of sustainability.

Amanda McCrossin
Guest Moderator, CMS Certified Sommelier

Amanda McCrossin is a sommelier, media personality, wine educator, & creator/host of the Instagram and YouTube channel “SOMMVIVANT.” As the former Wine Director at PRESS Restaurant in Napa Valley, Amanda worked with the world’s largest, deepest restaurant collection of all Napa Valley wines in the world. Prior to being named Wine Director in 2018, Amanda worked as a sommelier with her mentors and predecessors Kelli White (author, Napa Valley Then & Now) and Scott Brenner to become one of the world’s leading experts in California wine. Today, Amanda focuses her efforts on producing wine “edutainment” and digital media content for her social media platforms geared toward both consumers and professionals alike. A frequent speaker, personality, and contributing writer, in 2018 she was named a Wine Enthusiast ‘Wine Star’ Nominee for Sommelier of the Year and has been featured by numerous publications and media outlets including SOMM TV, Food Network, Wine Enthusiast, Somm Journal, Food & Wine, World of Fine Wine, & Wine Spectator. Current Project: Podcast, Wine Access Unfiltered http://www.amandamccrossin.com/

Rosé

WINERY + FEATURED WINE:

Carpenter Wine – 2019 White Zin aka rosé of Zinfandel
Medlock Ames Winery – 2019 Rosé, Bell Mountain Estate, Alexander Valley

PRESENTING:

Winemaker: Laura Carpenter Hawkes, Carpenter Wine
Winemaker: Ames Morison, Medlock Ames
Grower: Jake Hawkes,
Chef: Douglas Keane (Cyrus) Featuring: Chilled Cucumber Avocado & Buttermilk Soup with Mint and Gentle Poached King Salmon with Lemon Verbena & Heirloom Tomato Puree
Guest Moderator: Allison Levine, owner of Please the Palate

TO PURCHASE WINE FOR THIS EPISODE:

Carpenter: Order Here
No minimum required. Featured wine retails for $24 per bottle. Shipping depends on location. $15-25 for 1-2 bottles.
Shipping Special: Two complimentary Carpenter GoVinos + $30 Summer Overnight Shipping for 6 bottles. Four complimentary Carpenter GoVinos + free Summer Overnight Shipping for 12 bottles.
To Pick-up Wine: laura@carpenterwine.com

Medlock Ames: Order Here
No minimum required. Featured wine retails for $30 per bottle.
Shipping Special: Purchase 6+ bottles and receive $5 flat-rate shipping. Use code: SIPMEDLOCKAMES at checkout.
To Pick-up Wine: info@medlockames.com / 707-431-8845

The Wines

Carpenter – 2019 White Zin aka rosé of Zinfandel

We made the Carpenter rosé from a couple tons of old head pruned Zinfandel grown on Alexander Valley Road midway between Healdsburg and Geyserville. We picked the grapes at the 22 brix and made the wine quickly to preserve the freshness, using whole clusters, racking after 48 hours, then cold-fermenting, racking again after fermentation completed. The wine settled for about 3 months and was bottled in February, 2020. Fresh, bright, and like spring in a glass. It reminds me a little of biting into the season’s first giant, salted wedge of watermelon. Or a just-ripe nectarine with a whisper of white pepper.

Tech Sheet

Medlock Ames – 2019 Rosé

Our 2019 Rosé continues our tradition of utilizing the direct-to-press method which results in a lighter, fresher style than the saignée method we used to use. In this vintage, we added a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon for the first time to enhance the palate weight and add a floral dimension. This Merlot-based rosé offers beautiful up-front aromas of rose petals, cotton candy, and fresh, ripe strawberries, with a faint note of cinnamon and orange peel. On the palate we find rich berry and rose-water flavors, with a juicy acidity and round mouthfeel to balance the freshness.

Tech Sheet

The Speakers

Laura Carpenter Hawkes
Winemaker/Principal, Carpenter Wine

Laura Carpenter Hawkes credits her peripatetic upbringing for her love of travel, people, and accents. Raised a brat mainly in the East and South, she has called the Bay Area home since 1993, and has been in food, beverage, and hospitality almost as long. Once the wine bug really took hold, she made a serendipitous series of decisions to make her passion a career. Typically late to the party, she recently got her Level 2 Certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers, and plans to continue exploring wine and spirits and practicing stellar service in her adopted hometown of Healdsburg.

Ames Morison
Winemaker/Principal, Medlock Ames

Ames Morison is the winemaker and founding partner of Medlock Ames Winery. A Virginia native, Ames graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans with a degree in Ancient History before working as a teacher in New York. His agricultural career began with the Peace Corps in Guatemala as an agricultural educator. During this three-year period, he was tasked with encouraging local people to use traditional, but often forgotten, modes of farming. This role nurtured a strong belief within Ames that modern intensive farming was a poor replacement for diversified agriculture and a more balanced and sustainable approach to growing crops was critical to the land’s overall health, as well as ours.

Jake Hawkes
Grower, Carpenter Wine

Jacob Hawkes is a bald man in his early forties. He wears glasses and a beard and has a sort of athlete-gone-to-seed figure. He was born and raised on the farm on Chalk Hill Road, where his mother and father still live. Jake never thought he would make wine for a living. His greatest aspiration was the same as every other child in America: to live anywhere but here. To that end, he left home and bumped around from place to place starting at the age of seventeen. His occupations were various. A construction worker in Rodarte, New Mexico, nightclub doorman in New York, woodchopper in California, grape-picker in Australia, alcoholic in Mexico, metal worker in Oakland, English teacher in San Marcos, Texas, but one common thread ran through all of this: wherever Jake went, he failed. And, when he failed, he came home and worked in the vineyard.

Douglas Keane
Chef, Cyrus

Douglas Keane brought his Midwest, (Dearborn Mi) work ethic to San Francisco in 1998 with previous stops at Cornell University for a degree in Hotel Management and NYC where he obtained his self-described “Masters Degree” in cooking in some of the finest restaurants in the world.  A few years after landing in San Francisco he moved north to Sonoma County and quickly realized he had found his new home. He describes Sonoma County as the best place in the world to live and work. He values the honor of taking arguably the world’s greatest agricultural products grown in Sonoma and transforming them into a feast to be enjoyed by his guests. Douglas is currently working on reopening Cyrus in a vineyard setting, surrounded by the farms he features on his menu. He is hoping to open the doors by 2020. He currently owns and manages Healdsburg Bar and Grill and Roadhouse 29 as well as consults on numerous hospitality projects.

Allison Levine
Guest Moderator, Owner of Please The Palate

Allison Levine is owner of Please The Palate, a boutique agency specializing in marketing and event planning for the wine and spirits industry. With over 15 years of experience in communications, marketing and event planning, Allison is passionate about the world around her and the diverse people in it. Allison holds a Master’s Degree in International Communications with a focus on cross-cultural training from the American University School of International Service. She also holds a WSET Level 3 Certificate from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), an Italian Wine Specialist Diploma from the North American Sommelier Association, a Certified Meeting Professional Certificate (CMP), and is BarSmarts Wired certified.

Sauvignon Blanc

WINERY + FEATURED WINE:

J. Rickards Winery – 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Croft Vineyard
Mercury Wine Geyserville – 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, Alexander Valley

PRESENTING:

Winemaker: Jim Rickards, J. Rickards
Winemaker: Brad Beard, Mercury
Grower: Dan Rotlisberger, Croft Vineyard
Chef: Liza Hinman (Spinster Sisters) Featuring: Summer Salad of Cucumber, Watermelon, Pistachio and Feta with Lemon Fennel Vinaigrette and Wild King Salmon with Summer Vegetable Ragout and Tarragon-Basil Sauce Verte
Guest Moderator: Tina Caputo, freelance writer

TO PURCHASE WINE FOR THIS EPISODE:

J. Rickards Winery: Order Here – info@jrwinery.com / 707-758-3441
2018 Sauvignon Blanc. Retails for $26. Minimum purchase of 3 bottles required. Shipping $18-$20 (state-by-state exceptions apply). Wine Club Members receive their usual discounts.
Summer Special: 12-bottle Case of the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc only $156 + tax. Pick up at winery, free local delivery, or standard shipping.
To Pick-up Wine: info@jrwinery.com / 707-758-3441

Mercury: Order Here – Contact Grady directly to order at info@mercurywine.com
Three bottle minimum for shipping. Featured wine retails for $29.  Shipping cost for 3 bottles in CA is $23.
Shipping Special: TBD
To Pick-up Wine: Contact Grady directly to order at info@mercurywine.com

The Wines

Rickards Winery – 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Croft Vineyard

Our Sauvignon Blanc is produced from the Croft Vineyard, a unique parcel located at the southern end of Alexander Valley. Planted at an elevation 700 feet above the valley floor in a saddle that connects with the Russian River AVA, this location allows the fog from the coast to penetrate early in the morning, cooling the vines, and extending the hang time for the grapes. This develops intense aromatics of melon and exotic fruit flavors, while still preserving the crisp acidity that Sauvignon Blanc is known for. Outstanding fruit makes this wine a truly special Sauvignon Blanc. Powerful aromatics with clean and crisp notes of citrus and melon, and just a hint of flint.

Tech Sheet

Mercury Wine Geyserville – 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, Alexander Valley

My Sauvignon Blanc has a beautiful pale lemon color, with an intense tropical and melon nose. Both translate to the palate where it picks up a nice bit of citrus in the mid-palate.

Tech Sheet

The Speakers

Jim Rickards
Principal & Winemaker, J.Rickards

Jim Rickards has been growing some darn fine grapes in northern Alexander Valley since 1976. With a bit of know-how and a lot of gumption, he started J. Rickards Vineyards by bringing back an ancient Zinfandel vineyard that others had left for dead. A full-time ICU nurse at the time (a job he still works half-time today), Jim built his vineyard operation from the ground up, growing his own food, building his own house, and making sure his tractor always had working headlights for farming at night.

Jim was old-school before old-school became hip. He’s used environmentally sustainable vineyard practices from the get-go, and he and his highly skilled, small vineyard crew have hand-grafted every one of the 54,000+ vines on his property. Together, they grow some of Sonoma County’s most outstanding crops of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petite Sirah – to name just a few.

Brad Beard
Co-owner & Winemaker, Mercury

Brad is an Arizona native who has had a storied career in both sales and wine, so it was a natural fit for him to make wine and run his own wine label some day. With the help of local friends who grow and make wine, and his brother in the tasting room, Brad employs his preternaturally sensitive palate to design wines that reflect the best aspects of old-world winemaking traditions and the demands of contemporary tastes.  Brad lives in Geyserville with his husband Danny and winery pooch Freddie.

Dan Rotlisberger
Grower, Croft Vineyard

Croft Vineyard has 20 farmed vineyard acres. Dan is the third generation to farm the Croft Vineyard in Alexander Valley.  A neighboring vineyard to his family’s Rotlisberger Ranch, the two have been farmed together since the first vines were planted. Daniel (Dan) Rotlisberger grew up on the family vineyard and participated in all aspects of farming at an early age. He attended Fresno State University for Viticulture and Enology and later Sonoma State University for an MBA. Dan Lives on the ranch with his wife Jacqueline and his two daughters Ava and Ella.

Liza Hinman
Chef, Spinster Sisters

Liza Hinman is the Chef and Owner of The Spinster Sisters, and a part of the Sonoma County restaurant community since 2004. Chef Hinman got her start in restaurants during her summers in college- sparking her interest in the food world, and the young “Farm to Table” movement.  Upon graduating Middlebury College, Liza took a job as a member of the editorial staff of Gourmet Magazine, working under the Executive Food Editor.  This job launched her into the culinary world, and, she departed Gourmet in 2001 to attend the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After receiving her culinary degree, Liza trained in San Francisco under Chefs Dana Tomasino of Woodward’s Garden, Loretta Keller of Bizou and Craig Stoll of Delfina. In 2005, she migrated north to Sonoma County- and began work at the renowned Santi Restaurant in Geyserville. The Spinster Sisters is Chef Hinman’s current project.  Located in the SOFA district of Santa Rosa, CA, she opened the restaurant in 2012.  The menu focuses on “Sonoma County Cuisine” – bringing a fresh example of New American dining to Santa Rosa.

Tina Caputo
Guest Moderator, freelance writer

Tina Caputo is a Northern California-based freelance writer and editor who covers wine, beer, food, and travel. Formerly the editor-in-chief of Vineyard & Winery Management, Tina now writes for Visit California, Eating Well, VinePair, Sonoma, Spirited, and more. She also runs a content marketing and writing services business, Caputo Content Creation.

Cabernet Sauvignon

WINERY + FEATURED WINE:

Jordan Vineyard & Winery – 2016 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Zialena Winery – 2016 Estate Grown, Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

PRESENTING:

Director of Marketing & Communications: Lisa Mattson, Jordan Vineyard & Winery
Winemaker: Mark Mazzoni, Zialena Winery
Grower: Bret Munselle, Munselle Vineyards
Chef: Jean Pierre Moullé (former chef of Chez Panisse) Recipes listed below each wine.
Guest Moderator: Jess Lander, wine writer

TO PURCHASE WINE FOR THIS EPISODE:

Jordan Vineyard & Winery: Order Here
Shipping Special: A special tasting kit of the featured 2016 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon with a bottle of our 2018 Jordan Chardonnay. Available for $100 with shipping included exclusively for you.
To Pick-up Wine: Order online at: orders@jordanwinery.com / 707-431-5250

Zialena: Order Here
No Minimum required. 2016 Zialena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, $58 per bottle.
To Pick-up Wine: laura.stafford@zialena.com / 707.955.5992

The Wines

Jordan Vineyard & Winery – 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley

Aromas of black cherries wrapped in a spice box of nutmeg, clove, and allspice jump from the glass. The palate is filled with flavors of black currants and plum that lead seamlessley to silky tannins and black cherry notes. Blackberry, Mission fig, and black cherry notes linger on the finish. The combination of elegance and intensity make it a fitting vintage to celebrate 40 years of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon. Enjoy now after decanting for 30 minutes or cellar through 2035.

Tech Sheet

Recommended Recipe Pairings from Chef Jean Pierre Moullé: Ratatouille tart, Grilled duck breast with fried potatoes, Pears poached in red wine with lemon verbena ice cream

Zialena Winery – 2016 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley

With the first deep intake of breath you are met with the nostalgia of childhood and the aroma of fresh pencil shavings and blue berry pie. As the nose builds sweet tobacco and your favorite leather chair entice you to take your first sip. Your taste buds are greeted by cardamom and dried cherry rounded out with vanilla bean and toasted walnut in a long rich lingering flavor at the back of your mouth. You will notice a distinct minerality on the mid-palate of graphite coming from the concrete fermentation.

Tech Sheet

Recommended Recipe Pairings from Chef Jean Pierre Moullé: Onion tart with stilton, Pan fried bass with leeks in cabernet sauce, Hazelnut cakeLemon Verbena Ice Cream

The Speakers

Lisa Mattson
Director of Marketing & Communications, Jordan Vineyard & Winery

Lisa Mattson has worked in the wine industry for more than twenty years, honing her skills in writing, event planning, public relations, marketing, blogging, social media and creative strategy. She is considered a thought leader in video storytelling, social media and digital marketing for luxury wines and is the creator and curator behind Jordan Winery’s award-winning videos and dynamic blogs, The Journey of Jordan and Wine Country Table.

Prior to joining Jordan, she worked in public relations and event marketing for a wine importer, a corporate wine company and two wine distributors. She graduated magna cum laude from Florida International University in 1997 and served as a new editor of a wine magazine for four years after college.

Mark Mazzoni
Winemaker, Zialena Winery

Mark returned to Sonoma County in 2000 with the intention of learning the family trade.  Hired by Mike Lee of Kenwood Vineyards, Mark spent two vintages learning all aspects of winemaking. After a vintage abroad, he joined the team at Vineyard 29 and started making Cabernets under Philippe Melka.  Recognizing Mark’s wine making talent, Philippe tapped Mark to help him with a new venture in Sonoma County, Flanagan Wines in Bennett Valley where he oversaw planting of new vineyards, construction of the production facility, and the successful release of six vintages. He has been making wine exclusively for Zialena since 2014.

Bret Munselle
Grower, Munselle Vineyards

I was born and raised on my family’s ranch in the Alexander Valley of Sonoma County. After graduating from UC Davis with a B.S. in Agricultural & Managerial Economics, I began my professional career as an appraiser with American AgCredit.  Three years later I joined my father to farm our family vineyards (Wasson Vineyards). We formed our partnership, Munselle Vineyards, in 2003.

Today, we farm approximately 600 acres within the Alexander Valley.  In 2006, we began a small-production wine label, also titled Munselle Vineyards. We produce approximately 600-750 cases of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Sauvignon Blanc annually.

Jean Pierre Moullé
Chef, former chef of Chez Panisse

Executive chef until 2013 of the celebrated restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California , Jean-Pierre Moullé has built his reputation on his culinary precision and delicacy of palate. At the helm as executive chef for over two decades, working closely with owner Alice Waters, Jean-Pierre led his team of chefs in creating the freshest and purest seasonal dishes possible, and in winning continued acclaim for Chez Panisse as one of the nation’s most prominent restaurants.

After retiring in 2013, he and his wife Denise Lurton Moullé wrote a book French Roots: Two cooks, Two Countries, and the beautiful food along the way (Ten speed Press 2014). A cookbook filled with stories and recipes about their lives in both California and France.

Today, Jean-Pierre continues his 30-year connection with Chez Panisse . He divides his time between France and California and continues to lead extraordinary and personalized culinary and walking tours in France, including truffle tours in the Dordogne and a newly offered tour in Normandy.

Jess Lander
Guest Moderator, Wine Writer

Jess Lander is a wine, booze, food, and travel writer based in Napa Valley. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, including Decanter, Wine Enthusiast, VinePair, SevenFifty Daily, Napa Sonoma Magazine, Wine Business Monthly, Lonely Planet, Afar, 7×7, and more. You can follow her indulgences on Instagram at @willwrite4wine.

Chardonnay

WINERY + FEATURED WINE:

Hafner Vineyard – 2017 Chardonnay Reserve & 2015 Chardonnay Reserve (Library Release)
Robert Young Estate Winery
– 2018 Alexander Valley Chardonnay & 2016 Alexander Valley Chardonnay (Library Release)

PRESENTING:

Winemaker: Parke Hafner, Hafner Vineyard (2nd Generation)
Sales & Marketing: Kate Hafner, Hafner Vineyard (3rd Generation)
Winemaker: Matt Michael, Robert Young Estate
Hospitality Lead: Robert Young, Robert Young Estate (5th Generation)
Grower: Jim Young, Robert Young Estate Vineyards (4th Generation)
Chef: Kyle Connaughton (Single Thread)
Guest Moderator: Steve Heimoff, Director of Wine Communications and Education at Jackson Family Wines

TO PURCHASE WINE FOR THIS EPISODE:

Hafner Vineyard: Order Here or contact Kate Hafner to make your purchase and ask any questions you might have. kate@hafnervineyard.com
There is no minimum required. We are offering a Wine Library Reserve Chardonnay Collection with a bottle of each 2015 and 2017 for $66.
Shipping Special: Shipping is included in CA, $3 to most other states, and up to $10 to ship to a few states.
To Pick-up Wine: kate@hafnervineyard.com

Robert Young: Order Here
Minimum purchase required, 2 Bottles. 1 bottle 2018 RYEW Chardonnay (no limit) + 1 bottle 2016 RYEW Chardonnay (limit 1 bottle). Retail $49 per bottle. Enter code RYChefVirtual at checkout
Shipping Special: 10% off the price of the wines and complimentary shipping.
Robert Young Club Members: Receive your normal discount + complimentary 2-day shipping. Order Here and enter code RYChefMembers at checkout.
To Pick-up Wine: tastings@ryew.com / 707-395-3550

The Wines

Hafner Vineyard – 2017 Reserve Chardonnay

The 2017 Reserve Chardonnay is young and fruit-forward with aromas of pink grapefruit, lemon blossom, and Charentais melon. Bright fruit notes on the entry, it has flavors of pear tart and sweet cream. The vanilla toastiness from barrel-fermentation and extended barrel-aging enhance its bouquet.

Tech Sheet

Hafner Vineyard – 2015 Reserve Chardonnay (Library Release)

Here are our notes on the 2015: Youthful. Floral notes of jasmine and oranges. Charentais melon, Comice pear and pink grapefruit aromas. Nice bottle bouquet. Soft, supple on the palate with lemon cream and sweet vanilla flavors. Will continue to develop well for at least another year or two.

Tech Sheet

Robert Young Estate Winery – 2018 Alexander Valley Chardonnay

Aromas of butterscotch, pineapple, and vanilla bean. Medium to full bodied, beautifully balanced with a fine acid finish. Rich tropical notes of ripe pineapple and banana, with vanilla bean, and creamy butterscotch.

Tech Sheet

Robert Young Estate Winery – 2016 Alexander Valley Chardonnay (Library Release)

Aromas of butterscotch, caramel, honeysuckle, and white peach. Mouth-coating and supple, medium bodied with a long finish and lingering acidity. Aromas are echoed in the flavor profile as well as yellow apple and roasted pear.

Tech Sheet

The Speakers

Matt Michael
Winemaker, Robert Young Estate Winery

Matt has over 20 years’ experience as a winemaker in California and has helmed the Robert Young Estate wines since 2016.  UC Davis trained; Matt is known as a “Growers Winemaker” using a deep understanding of the soils and microclimates in the vineyard to grow the best quality wine possible.  Wines which express a sense of place. Matt works hand in hand with vineyard Manager Jim Young to select the very best 5% vineyard blocks and then micro-farms them through the growing season to optimize the flavor profiles for the Robert Young Estate Wines.  Matt oversees a broad range of varietals from the Estate, our hallmark Cabernets, Bordeaux blends and Chardonnay.

“Wine is a beverage, but it is also an experience that inspires a sense of community, bonding, family.  All the things that are important in life often transpire over a glass of good wine.”

Robert Young II
Hospitality Lead, Robert Young Estate Winery

Named for his grandfather, “Robbie” is the 5th generation working in the family business and reflects the family’s desire to continue to pass their way of life down from generation to generation.  Robbie grew up on the ranch, working for his father driving tractors and back hoe’s and for his Uncle Jim in the vineyards.  Through it all, he has inherited his family’s love of the land, and appreciation for hard work.  Robbie recently graduated with a Wine Business degree from Sonoma State University and is now our lead in Hospitality in the new Scion House Tasting room. 

“We built the new tasting room on the family’s favorite overlook, with incredible views of the Alexander Valley – all the kids have been married here.  We hope people can come out and enjoy this special place.  We like to share our way of life, because we know most people never have a chance to experience it.”

Parke Hafner
Winemaker, Hafner Vineyard

Spending weekends as a child working in the vineyards and learning to drive tractor gave Winemaker Parke Hafner a deep appreciation for the land. After graduating from the enology department at the University of California in Davis, Parke worked at wineries in the Napa Valley and Burgundy region of France. These experiences, particularly his time in Meursault, shaped his winemaking philosophy to craft wines that age well and pair well with food. In 1981, he directed the building of our winery and since then has made all vintages of Hafner Vineyard wines. Parke works closely with vineyard manager, David Huebel, to grow premier grapes on our 96-acre vineyard.

Kate Hafner
Sales & Marketing, Hafner Vineyard

After growing up at Hafner Vineyard, Kate Hafner decided to explore the East Coast, graduating from Boston College and living in New York while working as a manager for Ralph Lauren. Then after grape harvests in France and Argentina, Kate returned to Hafner Vineyard, joining the sales/business team and earned an MBA from Sonoma State University. She works closely with her uncle, Scott Hafner, and guides our website and social media presence (@hafnervineyard).

Jim Young
Grower, Robert Young Estate Vineyards

Jim is a member of the 4th generation of the Young Family, who have been farming their 448-acre ranch in Alexander Valley since 1858.  Jim is the CEO of Robert Young, and oversees the family’s 317-acre sustainable vineyards.  As the largest family-owned grower in Alexander Valley, Jim grows premium grapes for a long list of prestigious wineries in California, and works with Winemaker Matt Michael to hand pick the very best 5% of the vineyard blocks for the family’s Robert Young Estate wines.  Jim grew up on the ranch, and worked alongside his father, Robert Young, before getting his degree from UC Davis.  In the early 1980’s, Jim worked with UC Davis to develop the proprietary Robert Young Clone 17 Chardonnay, planted throughout California, and still one of the highest rated UC Davis Chardonnay clones ever developed.

“Growing grapes in an extension of our family; it’s our life, it’s what we do.  Growing wine is not doing just one big thing in the vineyard, it’s putting in the extra time to do a hundred little things to make the best wine possible.  My Dad used to say that the best fertilizer is the farmer’s footprints in the vineyard.”

Kyle Connaughton
Chef, Single Thread

Kyle Connaughton is a chef, culinary educator, and cookbook author. He and Katina Connaughton, his wife, opened SingleThread Farm-Restaurant-Inn in Healdsburg, California in December 2016. The restaurant received a perfect 4 stars from The San Francisco Chronicle in March 2017 and a James Beard Foundation Restaurant Design Award in May 2017. It was awarded Two Stars in the 2018 Michelin Red Guide, one of only a few restaurants to earn the rating in its’ first year. The restaurant then received Three Stars just a year later in the 2019 Michelin Red Guide. SingleThread is also a member of Relais & Chateaux, an international organization of the world’s top restaurants and hotels. In 2018 SingleThread received the Miele “One to Watch” award from Worlds 50 Best Restaurants .

Steve Heimoff
Guest Moderator, Director of Wine Communications & Education at Jackson Family Wines

Steve Heimoff was born and raised in The Bronx. After graduation in the late 1970s, Steve moved to San Francisco where he went on to receive his Master’s Degree in educational technology from San Francisco State University. After three years of working within the corporate environment, Steve realized that he yearned for something more creative and fulfilling. Starting in the early 1980s, Steve immersed himself in a serious course of self-education in all aspects of wine appreciation. In 1989, Steve began stringing for Wine Spectator, writing small articles. Leaving Wine Spectator by 1994, Steve took on the assignment of West Coast Editor of Wine Enthusiast magazine. www.winemag.com. He has written two books: “A Wine Journey along the Russian River” and “New Classic Winemakers of California: Conversations with Steve Heimoff”. In March, 2014, Steve left Wine Enthusiast and became Director of Wine Communications and Education at Jackson Family Wines. He continues to work out of his home in Oakland, where he lives with his little dog, Gus.

Merlot

WINERY + FEATURED WINE:

SUTRO – 2017 Merlot, Warnecke Ranch, Alexander Valley
Alexander Valley Vineyards – 2018 Alexander Valley Vineyards Estate Merlot

PRESENTING:

Winemaker: Alice Warnecke Sutro, SUTRO
Winemaker: Kevin Hall, Alexander Valley Vineyards
Grower: Harry Wetzel IV, Alexander Valley Vineyards
Chef: Mateo Granados (Mateo’s Cocina Latina) Featuring: Corn Salad, Beet Salad, Duck Breast, and Guajillo Chili Sauce
Guest Moderator: Kelly Mitchell, The Wine Siren: Insiders Guide to Wine & Travel

TO PURCHASE WINE FOR THIS EPISODE:

SUTRO: Order Here
Offering a 2-bottle box. $40 per bottle.
Shipping Special: $10 Shipping Special.
To Pick-up Wine: alice@sutrowine.com

Alexander Valley Vineyards: Order Here
No minimum required. Featured Merlot $23 per bottle. Purchase two bottles and we ship UPS ground for $3.
Shipping Special: Purchase $45 of Merlot, Rose, Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon and save 20%, use code Virtual20 at checkout. (valid Aug 1 thru Aug 31, 2020) plus save on shipping with our Home Delivery Shipping Special min 2 bottles and wine ships UPS ground for $1 per bottle plus $1 order processing fee.
To Pick-up Wine: TR@avvwine.com / 707-433-7209

The Wines

SUTRO – 2017 Merlot, Warnecke Ranch

Grapes sourced from steep, naturally low yielding terraces overlooking the Russian River at the historic Warnecke Ranch and Vineyard.

Tasting Notes: Aromas of dark cherry, rosemary, coffee, and a soy-like umami note. Palate of raspberry and toasted coconut. Spot-on acid, juicy fruit, smooth tannins, and a long finish.

Tech Sheet

Alexander Valley Vineyards – 2018 Estate Merlot

This wine always impresses red wine lovers, and refer to it as a Merlot for Cabernet lovers. There are spicy aromas of cassis, black cherry, plum, vanilla, oak, and mild chocolate in the glass. This wine has broad mouth-feel with flavors of juicy red cherry, cassis, blackberry, plum, and chocolate. This is a nicely balanced wine with a long juicy finish.

Tech Sheet

The Speakers

Alice Warnecke Sutro
Winemaker, SUTRO

Alice Warnecke Sutro is an artist, writer, and wine producer. She founded the wine label SUTRO in 2012 and manages all aspects of the business. She is also proud to work in agriculture for her family business: Warnecke Ranch & Vineyard, the inspiration for her wine label and where she sources premium Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. When she wears that hat, she is assisting her aunt, Margo Warnecke Merck, to manage the family’s 80-acre vineyard growing premium grapes for winery clients. In 2020 Alice joined the Alexander Valley Grapegrowers Association Board and their marketing committee. Despite being busy as a wine entrepreneur, contributing to her family business and raising two kids, Alice has never let go of drawing and writing as important ways to explore and enhance our understanding of the world. Her background is in art, she holds a BA in Art History from Stanford University and an MFA in Painting and Drawing from California College of the Arts.

Kevin Hall
Winemaker, Alexander Valley Vineyards

Kevin Hall has studied wine and winemaking techniques across the globe, but the AVV winemaker says his philosophy has always been to respect the inherent qualities of the estate grapes right at his doorstep. “I get beautiful fruit from here on the property,” he says, “and my main focus is to preserve the flavor of the varietal and the terroir.” He has a unique knowledge gained from working with each lot over the past 22 harvests. “We get our flavors in the vineyard,” Kevin says. “I focus on preserving those varietal flavors as our wines progress.”

Harry Wetzel IV
Grower, Alexander Valley Vineyards

When you are born into a family business and the “office” is just outside your back door, the chances are pretty good you will be put to work at a very early age. And so it was for Harry Wetzel IV, whose grandparents started Alexander Valley Vineyards and whose parents, Hank and Linda Wetzel, founded the winery.

Today, Harry is one of the third generation working at the family owned winery. “For me, being part of a family business means continuing the traditions my grandfather and father start- ed at the winery and in the community,” Harry says. “It’s also a matter of preserving the integrity of the Wetzel family name. It’s a lot to live up to given the work the rest of my family has done, but I see it as a fun challenge.”

Mateo Granados
Chef, Mateo’s Cocina Latina

In a delicious mix of cultures, Yucatan-born chef Mateo Granados has created a unique signature that celebrates rigorously sourced local and sustainable ingredients infused with the vibrant regional flavors of his homeland, crafted with classic French finesse.

Kelly Mitchell
Guest Moderator, The Wine Siren: Insiders Guide to Wine & Travel

After living in Hawaii since a teen, Kelly Mitchell took the plunge after 36 years and realized her dream of living in wine country. Now residing in Napa Valley, she is on a mission: To share and demystify the complex processes in making world-class food and wine and the people behind them. From the stove to the table, farming, pairing, pouring and creating the very best travel experiences. Her favorite tastes? Champagne, a delicious Rosé, or bottle of 1965 Chateaux Margaux. Kelly Mitchell relishes a good bottle of wine and has become indiscriminate about the grape but more intrigued by the quality of the nectar. She explores scores of wine varietals traveling across the globe.  The Wine Siren creates stories of people who make life a little more enjoyable for all of us.”  It’s her business acumen and natural curiosity that make her writing and videos a winning combination.

Time to take notes for your next visit to Alexander Valley! This series is the ultimate insider’s guide to Cab Country, just 90 minutes North of San Francisco.

Background

This Virtual Tasting Event Sponsored by the Alexander Valley Winegrowers

The Alexander Valley Winegrowers is a community of winegrowers and winemakers sharing generations of family, history, and traditions dedicated to world-class grape growing in the Alexander Valley.