October 31, 2010
Wine Advocate Issue #191
2008 Ata Rangi Mccrone, Martinborough, NZ - 92 Limited
2008 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir, Martinborough, NZ - 92
2009 Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanc, Martinborough, NZ - 90
2008 Antica Terra Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon - 93
2008 Antica Terra Pinot Noir Botanica, Willamette Valley, Oregon - 95 (sold out, April 2011)
2008 Brooks Pinot Noir Rastaban, Willamette Valley, Oregon - 90 (sold out, May 2011)
2008 Budini Chardonnay - 90
2008 Budini Malbec - 87
2009 Crios Malbec - 90
2008 Crios Syrah/Bonarda - 88
2010 Crios Torrontes - 91
2008 Mendel Lunta - 90
2009 La Posta Cocina Malbec -89
2009 La Posta Malbec Angel Paulucci Vineyard - 88
2009 La Posta Malbec Pizzella Vineyard - 88
2009 La Posta Pinot Noir - 88
2010 La Posta Blancos de Blanco - 88
2009 La Posta Cocina Blend - 90
2008 Podere Forte Petruccino, Tuscany, Italy - 92
2007 Podere Forte Petrucci, Tuscany, Italy- 95 (2006 in stock 94 WA)
2007 Podere Forte Guardiavigna, Tuscan, Italy - 93 (2006 in stock 96 WA)
2007 Frankland Estate Olmo's Reward, Western Australia - 92 (2004 in stock)
2009 Frankland Estate Riesling Isolation Ridge, Western Australia - 91 (2007 in stock 90 IWC)
2007 Frankland Estate Shiraz Isolation Ridge, Western Australia - 91 (2004 in stock 92 WS)
2008 Maysara Winery Pinot Noir Estate Cuvee, Willamette Valley, OR - 91
2008 Maysara Winery Pinot Noir Jamsheed, Willamette Valley, OR - 90 (2007 in stock 90 WS)
2007 Montepeloso Eneo, Tuscany, Italy - 93
2007 Montepeloso Gabbro IGT, Tuscany, Italy - 96 (sold out)
2007 Montepeloso Nardo IGT, Tuscany, Italy - 95 (sold out)
2008 Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir, Nelson, NZ - 91 (on order)
2008 Neudorf Pinot Noir, Tom's Block, Nelson, NZ - 90
2009 Neudorf Moutere Riesling, Nelson, NZ - 91 (on order)
2008 Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay, Nelson, NZ - 91 (2007 on order)
2009 Neudorf Sauvignon Blanc, Nelson, NZ - 89
2008 Owen Roe Pinot Noir Kalita Vineyard, Yamhill Carlton, Oregon - 91
2008 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Hominis Fides, Gigondas, Southern Rhone - 912008 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas le Claux, Gigondas, Southern Rhone - 90
2008 Chateau de Saint Cosme Chateauneuf du Pape, - 90 (2007 in stock 94 WS/93 IWC)2009 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas le Poste - (92-94)
2009 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Cuvee Valbelle -(91-94)
2009 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Hominis Fides - (90-93)
2009 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas le Claux - (88-90)
2008 Sineann Cellars Pinot Noir Resonance Vineyard, Willamette Valley, OR - 89
2008 Sineann Cellars Pinot Noir Schindler Vineyard, Willamette Valley, OR - 90
2008 Sineann Cellars Pinot Noir Wyeast Vineyard, Willamette Valley, OR - 89
2008 Torbreck Woodcutters Red, Barossa Valley, Australia - 91
2009 Torbreck Woodcutters Red, Barossa Valley, Australia - 90
October 20, 2010
Thomas Brown's Road Map to Napa
In 1997, a restless young Thomas Rivers Brown arrived in Napa. He had no winemaking experience, but felt at home in Northern California and knew it was where he wanted to be. Now, after a decade of winemaking for a dozen clients and a starring role in the rise of the brilliant Schrader Cabernets, the self-taught winemaker and owner of Rivers-Marie wines has established himself as one of California's great new talents.
After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1995, the Sumter, VA native waited tables. But a trip to Europe inspired another 16 trips abroad over 12 months to explore the likes of Burgundy and the Rhone Valley. Brown didn't plan to work in wine back then, and the wines he drank weren't especially good, but the exchange rate was.
Another winter spent shoveling snow from his East Coast doorstep led to a road trip west, where he discovered Napa. "Driving up and seeing the wineries, I was kind of starstruck," recalls the soft-spoken Brown, 38, revealing a Southern accent. "Once in California I felt like this is where I should be. There's something agreeable about the personalities and mindsets of people in Northern California.
Brown first sold wine at All Seasons, in the northern Napa Valley town of Calistoga, before working at Rasmussen, followed by stints at Turley and Tor before joining Schrader. He also worked for Nicholson Ranch from 2003 to 2007, and still makes wine for restaurateur Michael Chiarello, Outpost, Casa Piena, Tom Seaver, Maybach, Harris Estate, Black Sears and a new Howell Mountain project for the Charles Krug owners.
In 2000, when Fred Schrader hired the then 28-year-old Brown, he was taking a chance on someone who had never made Cabernet. "I'm not sure why Fred thought I could make Cabernet, but he figured I worked at Turley and Helen (Turley) was still associated with (that winery), and with his affinity for Helen he just figured I could do it."
"I took a major gamble when I hired (him)," says Schrader. "But I was not worried that my bet would pay off." The pair soon settled on a winemaking protocol based on a gentle touch with grapes from a top vineyard, whole-berry fermentation, pushing the limits of ripeness, and using new oak every vintage.
Brown's baptism came in 2000. "I was a nervous wreck," he recalls. “It was a huge crop stretched to the max. I was way too young for that responsibility.” But he gained experience. After 2001, he understood that the vineyard was the key and he spent more time walking To Kalon. He remembers thinking: “We can (make better wine) and save ourselves a lot of time if we get it right in the vineyard.”
In 2005, Brown, and his wife, Genevieve Marie Welsh, who grew up in a Calistoga farming family, launched Rivers-Marie, focusing on Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir along with Napa Cabernet. He’s the winemaker; she has the green thumb.
The cool-climate Occidental Ridge is their flagship, tight and firm, with high acidity, tilting toward the herbal-rhubarb flavor spectrum. “It’s the ripest site we deal with, but also has high acids; (it’s) one wine that’s a constant,” says Brown. “We want the vineyard to shine through.” With each vintage, “you get a pretty good idea of what happened that year.” The couple has also made Pinot from Summa Vineyard and Sonoma Coast and now a new vineyard, Silver Eagle, owned by Ulises Valdez.
The Rivers-Marie Cabernet has shifted sources, but starting with the 2007 comprises grapes from Corona vineyard in Oakville, Howell Mountain and Panek, in St. Helena. It is intense and vibrant, with chunky currant, fresh earth, mineral and cedary oak.
No one individual has influenced Brown’s thinking on winemaking. “It’s been more a combination of wines I’ve consumed and loved, styles I’ve come to appreciate personally and what resonates with other wine drinkers whose palates I respect,” he says. “That means there have been many winemakers who’ve shaped what I do, since I like to drink wine from all over the world. Wine drinking has definitely been my biggest guiding force, something that still remains exciting and fresh today.” Last year he spent $90,000 on wines to taste, drink and cellar.
Article found in the Wine Spectator November 15, 2010 issue.
October 18, 2010
Gin Revolution: Wine & Spirits October 2010 Issue Praises Four New Gins Including Ransom Old Tom and Small's!
October 07, 2010
W&S Top 100 Wineries of the Year
October 03, 2010
The 100 Wine Bottles to Drink Right Now
Ray Isle writes in the October issue of Food & Wine Magazine reviews for "The 100 Wine Bottles to Drink Right Now." The review for wine #47 is the 2009 Yellow + Blue Torrontes! This wine is the ONLY non-bottle (tetra pak) wine in the group!
Enjoy Torrontes while being environmentally conscious with Y+B.