Our Favorite Wine Bloggers
We searched. We read. We interviewed. And as a new service to our members and customers we have and are constantly adding to a group of wine bloggers who we think get it…..Get it in the sense of what wine should be about and practice that "about" in their approach to wine. Enjoy some of our interviews with these quality bloggers.
Transcription:Paul: This is quite an honor to present to you guys some really, really fun wine, a fun wine, and go back a little history. My brother was the president of the Sons of the Desert Club in high school where we watched old movies in his room as a young 9, 10 year old, 11 to do that, all the black and whites. And when I found out that, and everybody says Bela Lugosi.
Bela: It’s Bela.
Paul: Bela Lugosi.
Paul: Introduced a wine, Bela Lugosi. Did he call himself Jr.?.
Paul: You’re not really a Jr., no?
Paul: Okay. But junior’s here anyway.
Bela: I am. When senior person deceased.
Paul: Right. He became junior.
Bela: Then have the junior name. [Inaudible 0:54] did when he was alive.
Paul: Oh, I see. I get it now.
Paul: But your middle name is the same?
Bela: No, no middle name.
Paul: So the bottom line is we have Bela Lugosi Jr. here, the son of Dracula. I don’t think that’s a movie, is it?
Bela: It is.
Paul: Oh, there is a movie Son of Dracula. And they’ve introduced a wine from Argentina which is absolutely gorgeous. It’s from the highlands of Argentina. And we’re here to talk a little bit about old movies and we’re here to talk about wine making. The first question I have, I know that you are not in the film business.
Paul: You’re an attorney.
Bela: Yes, I am. I took my dad’s good advice. He thought that on the talent side of the entertainment business, actors are too dependent upon producers and agents. And he thought that I should go into some profession. Sadly, he didn’t live long enough to know that I actually made it.
Paul: That you made it? Oh boy! But you worked for [inaudible 1:45]. You’ve got couple of landmark cases that you’ve been involved in, one of them in the movie industry, right?
Bela: Oh yes, yeah. The landmark [inaudible 1:53] publicity case which has to do with ownership of the name and likeness for commercial purposes of deceased individuals.
Bela: Yeah, that’s my case, Lugosi versus Universal.
Paul: Wow. That’s great stuff. So like if I wanted to take this piece and broadcast it all over the place, I don’t have the rights to this do I?
Bela: Well you have to have a license because it has the name.
Paul: But I know the guy, Jr., anyway, right?
Bela: Jr., yeah. I’ll make a special deal for you.
Paul: You’re a Trojan. I’m a Trojan. My wife’s a Trojan. My kids are Trojan. My dad’s a Trojan. He came here in ’49, graduated ’52, and you were there for..?
Bela: Yeah, I was there. I graduated undergrad at 1960. I was on the swimming and water polo teams.
Bela: And I graduated from law school at ’64.
Paul: You know they’ve just honored at the SC game the [inaudible 2:36] the swimming and diving team from was it ’62?
Paul: Was it National Championship?
Paul: Wow! That’s interesting. Are you swimming still or not much?
Bela: Not much.
Paul: Not as much before.
Bela: Just in the ocean.
Paul: So here we have some fun things. Here’s a whole picture of dad.
Bela: That’s dad in his Dracula costume, his cape and full dress.
Paul: Now when he came to this country, what year?
Bela: In the early 20’s.
Bela: Well, he was from Hungary.
Bela: From a town that’s now in Romania. But he fled from Hungary, went into Germany, and got involved in the film business in Germany, hopped a steamer bound for New Orleans.
Bela: Got off the ship.
Paul: New Orleans. Wow! That’s interesting.
Bela: Yeah. Came to New York and then went through Ellis Island.
Paul: Oh, he went through Ellis Isle?
Bela: Yes, he did.
Paul: So you tracked that through the documents?
Bela: Oh yes. I’ve been to Ellis Island where the historians have shown me all the records.
Paul: Wow! That’s really exciting.
Paul: So he came here as an actor already. At the 50’s, what was the last movie he made? What year?
Bela: Well, he died in 56 so surely, he…
Paul: He was still making movies at that point?
Bela: Yeah. He was still making movies.
Paul: So did he feel typecast at that point or was he happy with that moniker, Dracula?
Bela: Well, he always used to say that it’s a blessing and a curse.
Bela: Of course it typecast him on the one hand that it kept him employed for those kind of parts.
Paul: Right. All the time.
Bela: He was sad that he didn’t have the ability to offer, he was a very famous stage actor in Europe, and he couldn’t bring all these other character parts to the screen.
Paul: And it’s sad actually because he probably had some great things to bring.
Bela: He was a very talented guy.
Paul: And I had to ask this question earlier. But did Boris Karloff hang around the house or where they friends or..?
Bela: Well, Boris and dad came from such different backgrounds.
Bela: Boris drank tea and was from England and like gardening.
Paul: Oh, really?
Bela: My dad liked food, music, cigars, good wine.
Paul: Now that’s interesting.
Bela: His social friends were primarily people in the Hungarian community, artists, dancers.
Paul: And Hungarian community in LA, in Hollywood, was usually prominent?
Bela: Yeah, well there’s a lot of people in the entertainment industry that are Hungarian.
Paul: Wow! That’s interesting. So Boris did not hang around.
Paul: But they were on screen about the same time, weren’t they?
Bela: Yes. Not only that, they were in movies together.
Bela: Oh yeah. We have a lot of pictures of them together.
Paul: Well, I had a ton of fun looking for pieces of film to do this video with us, and you’ll see the intro, everybody’s going to see the intro that I put together, but I had a lot of fun going through that because I remember the day in my brother’s room watching these old movies, and they would study them as a group. They had to write little papers on the things. So this is a 2007 Malbec. It’s from a region of Argentina. It’s way up high like with the highest elevation in the world, right?
Bela: Yes. It’s from Salta so it’s on the eastern foot of the Andes. The vineyards go between where this wine came from, from 6500 to 7500 feet elevation.
Paul: That’s amazing.
Bela: Yeah. And what happens is the mold doesn’t grow because of the lack of oxygen so you can pick these grapes when they’re ready, not when you need to get rid of the mold.
Paul: Oh, interesting, yeah.
Paul: So it’s cool. And I see you made 1200 bottles this first vintage.
Bela: Only 1200. They’re all numbered.
Paul: They’re hand numbered.
Paul: And I noticed because I tasted this a couple days ago. What I noticed was it changed in the glass because it’s a pretty tight wine. And I think it’s from the cool climate. And Malbec it means some ripening but, boy, jus the ten minutes we spent together last week.
Paul: It started to change in the glass rather dramatically.
Paul: I love the [inaudible 6:27] sort of dried cranberry and there’s some fruit there but it’s a little tight.
Bela: So usually, before breakfast, I never drink wine.
Paul: Oh. I’m sorry because your pallet is best between 9 and 11 in the morning. That’s the deal. You know it’s got great mouth feel and it’s not that overly spicy Malbec. It’s got a lot of wonderful tangs in the finish but at mid pallet, it’s going to change. It just, it sits here.
Bela: Well, Paul, what we set out to do purposely is to not have a novelty wine. We wanted this to honor dad. He was a classy guy. We wanted a good wine and so we tasted a lot of tasting, we did focus groups, and they made this special blend for me at the winery at Argentina.
Paul: So he was [inaudible 7:21] then?
Bela: Oh, yes. He was. He used to taste wine and buy wines.
Paul: Now did he care for Hungarian wines?
Bela: Oh, sure.
Paul: Yeah. There are some good ones.
Paul: I think I told you earlier, we have a…
Bela: Egri Bikavér.
Paul: Yeah. Egri, yeah, Bull’s blood.
Bela: Bull’s blood, right.
Paul: I don’t see that around much.
Bela: No. Maybe I’ll import.
Paul: Yeah, you should because it used to be very popular. We featured some in the club years and years ago.
Bela: If I find a good one, because our intent is to go to the famous wine regions of the world and select wine. So we started here in Argentina starts with an A but we’ll be around Hungary.
Paul: You’ll do alphabetical?
Paul: You’ll go Bulgarian accent. Well it’s great to have you here. If you wouldn’t mind autographing this bottle as we wrap this up.
Paul: And what I’m offering to the membership, we have 48 signed bottles from Bella Lugosi Jr. He’s going to sign right above his father’s signature. And it’s going to be first come first served. Get them [inaudible 8:19]. There’s a very eerie feeling around here right now. I don’t know. Maybe the thunder will start or rain or something.
Bela: It’s sort of hard to sign on a curved bottle but that’s…
Paul: That looks pretty good.
Bela: But it looks very good.
Paul: It is. And that’s what you’ll be getting. It’s just a pleasure having you here, Bela. And thank you so much.
Bela: Thank you, Paul.
For full transcription, visit: Our Blog
Transcription:Paul: It is my great pleasure to have today in the continuing Winemakers Series of the Wine of the Month Club, Morgan Norman here from the Greg Norman Estates. That’s correct, the professional golfer who turned wine enthusiast, but not just turned wine enthusiast. Many years, he’s been a wine enthusiast.
Morgan: Many years. It’s going to be our 15th year of winemaking.
Paul: 15th year. Some people still don’t know that Greg Norman wines.
Morgan: Yup. And some people still don’t know he was a golfer.
Morgan: They just think he’s a winer.
Paul: Well that’s you know. I actually was going to out and get a Greg Norman shirt today but Golfsmith wasn’t open.
Morgan: Oh, sorry.
Paul: Anyway, so I’m enthused by the wine and we’re featuring one of the wines this month with is the Petite Sirah. But I thought it’d be fun to have you in and talk about some of the things that go on behind the scenes at Greg Norman Estates.
Paul: And how you went from Australian wines to California things. But a little history about what you do. You’re a chef.
Morgan: I am. Yeah. So after university, I just decided to follow my passion I guess and find what I wanted to do, and went to Culinary School and it led me to Italy and Australia, and then eventually, Napa, and then eventually Greg Norman Estates.
Paul: That’s a pretty good path. What university was it?
Morgan: Boston College.
Paul: Oh, BC. My daughter, we went to BC. And she desperately wanted to go.
Paul: There was snow on the ground and it was pretty cool but she still like “I want to go” and she got in the waiting list and then they finally told her. She was so disappointed.
Morgan: Weather was brutal and so bad.
Paul: It’s tough.
Morgan: Four years, I was there is the worst winter in 80 years.
Paul: Really? That’s really cold.
Paul: It was a beautiful campus.
Morgan: Yeah. It’s gorgeous.
Paul: So she ended up with SC which is fine.
Morgan: It’s good.
Paul: So you went to Culinary School, became a chef, and you were not working with the family business.
Morgan: I wasn’t. I mean I would have been associated with it and just kind of knowing about this interactions my father was having, the business deals going on. But I never thought I would work with him. And after about three years working in wineries as a chef, I learned how to make wine, and being in the industry, my father said I’d earned my stripes and that I was ready to come onboard.
Paul: Ain’t it nice? Ain’t it great?
Morgan: I definitely had to work my way.
Paul: Did you golf?
Morgan: I can golf. I don’t like to golf.
Paul: You don’t really golf.
Morgan: Yeah. I’ve spent my entire life growing up on a golf course. So going golf on my free time is not the best.
Paul: You know it’s kind of interesting. I’ve loved golf. Golfed all my life but not country club style golf. I just like golfing.
Morgan: Fun. Fun, yeah.
Paul: Like I want to go golf. I don’t want to worry about playing cards after I’m done.
Morgan: Yeah. Well, it’s a sport. You should have fun with friends and be outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather.
Paul: And golf and wine are pretty synergistic.
Paul: I mean I think that’s a pretty good group of things. And there are so many professional golfers that have wine. There’s like I think 17.
Morgan: God! Everyone’s coming up with wine now.
Paul: I know. And we talked about this off cam a little bit. You do great volumes and one of the reasons is, and we just discussed this, was we want people to open the wine and say, “This is really good.”
Morgan: Absolutely. I would rather have a bag around it. They wouldn’t know the name of it, just take the quality, and then know that it’s a good quality in a bottle.
Morgan: And they want to continue opening it up.
Paul: And then they go, “Oh, this is really cool. It’s Greg Norman’s wine.”
Morgan: Amazing shock and then confident that the quality in the bottle really represents and is represented by the name on the bottle.
Paul: And he has some creative control, I understand.
Morgan: Absolutely. Every single bottle does not get finished until he’s tasted the blends and then the final product. And unless it meets his wine profile, wine style, is not going to go anyway.
Paul: Is that right?
Paul: So as we in the business know, you have blending samples, you have finished samples, you have tank samples.
Paul: You need to get those to him. He lives in Florida. How do you do that?
Morgan: Well, I mean he comes out to California once or twice a year. I go back to Florida every single month for meetings and with that, I just bring down samples, and we’ll set up a whole little, he’s got a wine cellar in his house in Florida so we set up a whole little winery setting and make sure that we have everything appropriate and we taste through.
Paul: That’s great. And you get to cook.
Morgan: I cook all the time. And then we do a lot of blind samples actually with our competitors and try to see what he likes in the competition out there on the market and just know if everything’s evolving year in and year out, and making sure that we’re staying where we need to.
Paul: I may put you on the spot but you’ve gotten now Australian property.
Paul: And you have Paso Robles, right?
Morgan: Paso Robles.
Paul: Which is great for rhone varietals and those kinds of things but where do your allegiance lie?
Morgan: Depends on my mood.
Paul: Just say both.
Morgan: I’m a dual citizen so I grew up in US but I have lived in Australia and my whole family lives in Australia still. So both is a good answer.
Paul: Are there other siblings?
Morgan: I have a younger brother.
Paul: Is he involved?
Morgan: Not in the industry or the businesses whatsoever.
Morgan: Yeah. He’s a professional kiteboarder. He likes to drink the wine a lot.
Morgan: He likes me to send the wine a lot but…
Paul: Wow! That’s pretty interesting.
Paul: So this is your non-vintage [inaudible 4:42].
Morgan: Yes. This is sparkling from Southeastern Australia. It is made up of Pinot Noir dominant grape chardonnay and a bit of Pinot Mineure in here.
Paul: I love champagne for one, though Mrs. K doesn’t care for them much. But Pinot Noir, people don’t realize that Pinot Noir is mainstay of champagne all over the world.
Morgan: Absolutely. Yup.
Paul: But it’s yellow.
Morgan: People ask me that all the time that how can we have Pinot Noir in our bottle and say that this is the grape in there and then the juice is not red. But if you actually extract the skins from the Pinot Noir grape, you press the grapes, the juice actually comes out white. And so that’s what we do. We just extract the skins form it right away.
Paul: Right. When you peel the grape, they’re all the same color inside.
Morgan: All the same.
Morgan: Yup. The tenens and the color come from the skin.
Paul: I love the bright acidity of this wine. I love the green apples and the minerality of it. And the bubbles are very fine, kind of creamy.
Morgan: Traditional style so it is really elegant. It’s not overly yeasty like some champagnes, you can taste but just very elegant, easy to drink. And I like to say that it’s not a good day without a glass of sparklings. So this is a drink that a glass of wine that you can have every day.
Paul: And I would never put orange juice in this.
Morgan: Never. No. Sacrilegious.
Paul: No, right? This is too good for that.
Morgan: Absolutely. And this I love pairing with appetizers at the beginning of the meal but I also really love pairing this with chocolate desserts at the end of the meal, or ice cream, or something creamy. It’s a great way to end the meal to kind of like cleanse your palette.
Paul: Yes, clean the palette. Really good.
Morgan: Yeah. Thank you. This is one of our little hidden gems in the portfolio I find.
Paul: Yeah. I remember seeing it even on the shelf much.
Morgan: No. It actually doesn’t have a lot of distribution. For off premise accounts, you can go into your retail store and pick it up but it’s more of a specialty order that you can get online or certain place of where you can order.
Paul: And I don’t really like the yeasty “Oh, Don Perignon.” “Inaudible 6:33] and all that. I think they’re too bready.
Morgan: It’s hard to have anything with them.
Morgan: They overwhelm the palette too much.
Paul: As a chef, that’s a really good point.
Morgan: It’s funny. I always taste wines and think first and foremost what I would eat with it because I need my wine to be very food friendly.
Morgan: And that is really an important factor for me. So whenever I’m tasting a wine, it needs to be able to be food friendly.
Paul: That’s used to be in the old days, the excuse for a wine that was too acidic, “Food friendly.” But now people say they mean it. But it used to be, the sales guy come and “By itself, it’s not that great but you put it with food, it’s really good wine.”
Paul: What does that mean?
Morgan: You should be able to drink it by yourself or with food whenever you want.
Paul: So this is the Chardonnay from Eden Valley which I asked you earlier describe where it’s from but I had not heard Eden Valley. And so that’s near…
Morgan: Eden Valley is a Southeastern Australia appellation. It’s a small little appellation around the Yarra Valley area. It’s actually a high altitude mountain fruit and this appellation is predominantly planted to [inaudible 7:31]. There’s small plots I there with chardonnay. And because of the cooler climates and the higher altitude, you really get a lot of that bright crisp flavor.
Morgan: But this wine sees a little bit of two to three year old French oak, and then it also sees Malolactic fermentation so you get a little bit of that balance and that creaminess. But the coolness of that higher altitude fruit balances it out.
Paul: Still crisp. Lots of green apples but you did a vanilla undertone from the…
Morgan: From the oak.
Paul: And the oak kind of subtle because of the oak was older.
Morgan: Very subtle.
Paul: Yarra Valley. Is it the Yalumba, isn’t it in the Yarra Valley?
Morgan: I think so. Yeah.
Paul: They make great chardonnay as well.
Morgan: We have two chardonnays in our portfolio, one from Australia and one from California. So this one has to be very unique from our California Chardonnay which is appellate from Santa Barbara because you can’t have two chardonnays in a portfolio and really have them have the same wine style. And it’s really a great opportunity for us to have two of the same varietals because then you can compare and contrast the winemaking styles and how different they can be and how they can really work with one grape varietal and create so much.
Paul: Gorgeous wine and a great example of where it’s from. And you’ve mentioned that off camera too that you deliberately have priced your wines from both region of the world in the same range.
Paul: So that people can do that.
Morgan: From the beginning, ’96, we decided to make our wines and my father said that he wanted to make the wine that was approachable and accessible to everyone. If he was going to drink it every single night, he wanted everyone else to drink it every single night. So we have from the beginning, always stayed true to our price point. And then when we launched California, we came out with that same price point. And we’ve always wanted to stay the same across the board.
Paul: Great idea. Let’s try the Pinot Noir.
Morgan: Yeah. Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County.
Paul: Which is one of my favorite districts for Pinot Noir.
Morgan: They make amazing wines. And I think because of the [inaudible 9:15] because of the climate, it really brings everything together. You know, the fog rolling in it at night, the hot days, the sandstone and limestone soils. It just imparts so many flavors to this wine that Pinot Noir is known very well across the industry as being one of the harder grapes to make because it’s very delicate and they kind of call it the feminine grape because it is difficult to make into a wine, a very good wine. And Santa Barbara County or Santa Barbara Appellation makes it just very easy for winemakers.
Paul: This is great. Both of these wines actually, the chardonnay as well, we opened up since we opened them a few minutes earlier, and [inaudible 9:51] different flavors in here and I get a little whole berry fermentation. Is there any cluster fermentation to this?
Morgan: Whole berry and then pump overs daily, couple times a day. So we have the fruit, have the stems, and then the leaves altogether.
Paul: It can get that depth. That complexity’s really there because of that.
Morgan: Yeah. And our wines, even though most of them, all of them come from New World regions, it’s really made in an old world style so they really open up as you pour them, as you drink them. They really come to life on their own overtime and that’s the unique quality about them because they’re kind of always developing and maturing.
Paul: Gorgeous. Really, super wines.
Morgan: Thank you.
Paul: Now we chose the Petite Sirah. And I did that for a couple reasons. One, I like the grape. It’s a fun grape. And you discussed how it’s one of your favorites, but also it’s a wine that you don’t have as much on the shelf so that like customers will see what else you can make.
Paul: And they go to a market and they see one of these varietals and they get the chance to say, “I really like the Shiraz, the Petite Sirah. Maybe the Pinot Noir would be something we’d be interested in.”
Morgan: This is another one like our sparkling, very limited distribution, very small production in comparison to our other varietals. And this is one that I think is really another hidden gem because it’s not a varietal that you really expect. It’s not a varietal that you’d really expect in our portfolio. But because we are making wine in Paso Robles, Paso Robles makes an unbelievable Petite Sirah. And this just really embodies the region, the varietal.
Paul: And I know I taste the way I bought it.
Morgan: So good.
Paul: This is really good.
Morgan: Look at the color.
Paul: You can’t even see your hand through the glass.
Morgan: No. It’s amazing.
Paul: It’s really good.
Morgan: I would say to that, this is a really great beginner’s Petite Sirah because lots of Petite Sirahs on the market tend to be very high in alcohol, very jammy. It’s almost like getting punched in the face when you put that in your mouth for the first time. This is very elegant. It’s a little bit softer, and again, it’s very food friendly so it’s not going to overwhelm the food.
Paul: I love the berries and there’s a spice in there. It’s hard to identify here but I can’t get it. It’s something very unique about this. You’re right. Most Petite Sirahs, they’re kind of hot weather, they get too juicy, and then they’re almost unapproachable because of the so much acid.
Morgan: Yup. I get a little white pepper in here. I even got a little vanilla in the background which is hard to find in a Petite Sirah because normally, every other flavor overwhelms that subtleness of the vanilla.
Paul: It’s the white pepper that you found. I get that now. Thank you for figuring that out for me.
Morgan: It just coats the glass too.
Paul: I know. Look at that. Look at that color.
Morgan: I love it.
Paul: Just leave it like that. It’s like stained glass windows.
Morgan: I have to say this, the Petite Sirah, and our reserve Shiraz, one of my favorite things to eat it with and everyone’s always surprised because they think I’m a chef so I’m going to cook some amazing elaborate dish, it’s just a simple pepperoni pizza.
Paul: Really? I can see that.
Morgan: Yup. It’s the best.
Paul: It doesn’t have to be fancy dish. It doesn’t have to be Biff Wellington or all kinds of different flavors. They can be simple and let the wine do some of the work as well. Sometimes when you taste a wine here, and I’ll taste a vintage and I’ll come back to it years later sometimes if it’s in the warehouse, and I remember the wine. It’s so different from everything else that I’ve tasted. It just has that unique character, whatever it was about that wine.
Paul: And it brings back memories. It just always brings back memories.
Paul: That’s really cool.
Morgan: This wine is really close to our family too because like I said earlier, we received number 8 wine in the world for our 99 vintage with and a [inaudible 24:02]. And my father was honored to go to New York as sit on the panel with Chateau Lafite and Mouton, I mean and Rothschild, all these amazing first groves.
Paul: Oh, wow!
Morgan: And he was sitting up there, this blonde haired golfer at the time.
Morgan: And just really enjoyed sitting in front of thousands of people and tasting this wine. And I sat in the audience. I was so in awe of my father to be talking about wine.
Paul: That’s pretty cool.
Morgan: And not in a sense that like a winemaker would but just in a sense that he loved it and he was so passionate. You could hear him talking about it and I think that is really when he knew that he had made it in the wine industry.
Paul: With that stellar crowd that you were with.
Morgan: I know.
Paul: I mean that’s pretty good company to be in.
Paul: Well, all the wines are great. And I congratulate the success of the brand.
Morgan: Thank you.
Paul: And it had a lot to do with your efforts. And we’ll look for you at the beach.
Morgan: Yes, absolutely!
Paul: Down there?
Morgan: Absolutely. I’m always there.
Morgan: Cheers. Thank you.
For full transcription, visit: Our Blog
Paul: Welcome to the Wine of the Month Club continuing winemakers series. It’s a pleasure to have Morgan Twain-Peterson here from Bedrock Wines. And I know we have some family history in the wine business.
Paul: That would be..?
Morgan: My father who founded the Ravenswood Winery back in 1976 was Joel Peterson.
Paul: Oh, another 70’s winery.
Morgan: Another 70’s winery. Yeah. He started in ’74 with Joe Swan and then started his own winery in ’76.
Paul: That’s very interesting. So a lot happened in the wine business in the 70’s.
Morgan: A lot, yeah. I mean you see the foundation that the founding wineries really taking shape in the 70’s. You see Ridge started actually in ’68 but then you see Swan’s first vintages, you see the early sort of great vintages of [inaudible 0:51]. Mondovi was around before that but there’s wines that they really sort of started to hit were ’72, ’74, so it sort of when the first sort of inklings of momentum sort of occurred in the wine industry.
Paul: Now, I’m going to embarrass you a little bit because looking at your biography, I don’t know when this picture but there’s a picture I think when you were 5, standing on a barrel with your boots.
Morgan: Yup, with my [inaudible 1:16] up to my knees.
Paul: You had a glass. Is that wine on your hand or something?
Morgan: Yeah. I think that’s actually my first vintage of Pinot Noir.
Paul: You’re kidding.
Morgan: Yeah, back in 1986. That was fruit from the Sangiacomo vineyard.
Paul: So now we know. See, ’86, he was probably 5 years old. Now, we got it figured out.
Morgan: Yeah, exactly. So I didn’t have any of it. I swear, I didn’t drink it.
Paul: Okay, sure, right.
Morgan: I wasn’t allowed to taste.
Paul: Well I got trouble out in Facebook because I posted my daughter’s 20th birthday and my daughter and her friends were getting into the wine. We do a little tasting in my house. And somebody wrote, “Well she’s only 20.” I’m like, “Well.” You’re only 5.
Morgan: Right. So you got to start really and teach responsibility early at the same time.
Paul: That’s right. We’re going to taste a Bedrock wine today. I just flipped over these wines. We tasted them about six or seven wines. They’re all gorgeous.
Paul: We picked three for this video. And we start with this Sauvignon Blanc. And this is the 2009.
Paul: And [inaudible 2:06] and I just love it because it was so atypical. There are just so many things going on in this wine. Tell me about it.
Morgan: Well, I think that all good wine starts in the vineyard and I think that adage is very, very true. With this vineyard, [inaudible 2:20] is on the back side of Spring Mountain and it’s basically planted in pure block. Sauvignon Blanc has a tendency to be really high vigor varietal. Also, it’s really easy typically to get six or seven tons per acre. It makes sort of innocuous wine with it. But when you plant it in these really, really, really sparse soils like this crop are under two tons per acre.
Morgan: So you get this really great fruit concentration. And then on top of it, I think that Sauvignon Blanc benefits from a little bit of wood, a little bit of oxygen so a barrel from [inaudible 2:49] from 1, 2, and 3 year old [inaudible 2:51] barrels and a little bit of stainless steel barrel as well. I stir the least but then I also don’t put it through [inaudible 2:59].
Morgan: So I want to retain all that brightness and freshness and exuberance, but I also want to have a little bit more fat, a little spice, a little bit of those sort of vanilla notes that you get from the wood.
Paul: It’s gorgeous. And the layers, the flavor layers in the mid pallet is gorgeous. Unplug that phone.
Paul: Just unplug the back of it.
Morgan: It’s the BAT calling about the underage drinking.
Paul: Yes. There you go. Okay, that’s [inaudible 3:25]. Now I see this slight cloud. You barrel feed this. Filtering, refining, what do you do with it?
Morgan: So basically, before I came down here, to LA on Monday, I’ve racked all these wines up, put them in tank, and then pulled tank samples off. So these are the blends that are there. Right now, it’s just cold settling. It’ll get sterile filtration because since it doesn’t go through [inaudible 3:47], you need to prevent it from going through ML so you have to give it sterile filtration at that point. But before that, the wine is fermented with native yeast in it so you know, try to keep sulfur levels to a minimum and sort of be as hands off as I can.
Morgan: But fortunately, any wine that you don’t put through ML, you have to sterile filter.
Paul: It’s a gorgeous wine and looking forward to have this in stock. I need a case of that too. Okay, now this one really blew me away.
Morgan: Yeah, it’s the Rebecca’s Vineyard Pinot Noir. This is a really, really cool vineyard, and there’s a great story attached to it. This is a 14-year-old Pinot vineyard from DRC suitcase close in [inaudible 4:25]. And the vineyard is right across the street from Joe Swan, where, as I mentioned earlier, my dad learned how to make wine. And back in 1974 when he was 27, he made his first wine with Swan. And in ’07 which was my first vintage, I was 27 and it was the first fruit to come in. And it was like I was looking at the winery that my dad and Joe basically built back in 1974-75.
Paul: Great story.
Morgan: So it’s very cool. The vineyard is essentially dry farmed so I mean you just get tiny clusters, really concentrated fruit, came in at 0.9 tons per acre so I mean just obscenely low crop levels. I have a very unhappy grower about that.
Paul: Yeah, of course, yeah.
Morgan: And like all of my wines, very small production under 200 cases. And all the wines are handmade essentially by me so I manually pitchfork the fruit into the destemmer, manually punch it down in open top redwood fermenters, manually basket press it a little bit at a time in old Italian basket press.
Paul: So chief bottle washer, the whole thing.
Morgan: Everything, toiler cleaner, the whole thing.
Paul: Wow! That’s great.
Morgan: Everything, floor scrubber.
Paul: Well the extraction of this is what jumped out of the glass for me but it’s all Pinot. I mean it’s really fun because sometimes, you get Pinot Noir nowadays.
Paul: You can’t really tell it’s Pinot Noir.
Morgan: Yeah. It’s a little too like [inaudible 5:37]. And what’s cool about this thing too is I don’t really believe in cold soaking because I use all native yeast and takes four or five days for those yeast to build up in the fermenter so I sort of get this natural cold soak period anyways. But you know, this Pinot is notoriously fast in fermentation. And so this is actually off of its skins in 9 days.
Morgan: And it still has this type of color.
Paul: And typically, what would happen?
Morgan: Typically, it would be closer to 15 to 18 days.
Paul: Wow. Gorgeous wine. You were saying earlier you send some of this wines in for evaluation. And the post of your cell phone number. Can we give your cell phone number out now or..?
Morgan: You can get my email address now. Yes, that was one of those [inaudible 6:19] and I was like “Oh! The score’s great!” and I’m like “Wow! They put my cell phone number down there.”
Paul: That’s very funny.
Morgan: That’s a rookie mistake right there.
Paul: Well here’s one of your heirloom wines. This is the Sonoma Valley Bedrock.
Paul: Heirloom. And you said Zinfandel and some other things?
Morgan: Zinfandel. It’s 120 year old vine field one so this vineyard was planted in 1888 by Senator George Hearst who is the father of William Randolph Hearst. And it’s actually in these old, old vineyards you see all these varietals inter-planted because back before you had these modern winemaking facilities where you could say [inaudible 6:55] right here, the [inaudible 6:55] right here, the Zinfandel finder blend.
Morgan: You had to do the blending out in the field. So this is a field blend, a co-fermentation of 19 different varietals. It’s about 40% Zinfandel, 30% Carignan, the rest is all of those other really, really cool stuff that’s out there like Serra, Mont Du, and [inaudible 7:13].
Paul: It’s such an opulent wine. And I get raspberries and blueberries and a field blend is that whatever’s in the vineyard, you pick it and you put them altogether and you ferment them that way.
Morgan: Exactly. And I think that what these wines, I think that these are sort of the truly Californian wines in a way because these are unique combination of varietals that you only find in California. Zinfandel’s sort of California’s great. It’s not really grown any place else in the world. This sort of collection of blending grapes is very much Californian in the same way that Grenache and Morvet and Sirah is [inaudible 7:47]. These are sort of our sort of Californian [inaudible 7:52].
Paul: That’s right. Its gorgeous extraction and color and character, and how many months did you say?
Morgan: 13 months and 35% new French oak and a variety of punch in so larger barrels and smaller barrels were used.
Paul: Really fun.
Morgan: And yeah, and I’m really pleased. [Inaudible 8:12] here and so you really get this, we got 1.1 tons per acre and so it’s just like you just got these massively big black.
Paul: It’s good.
Morgan: Quite fun actually.
Paul: I need a case of this too, gents. [Inaudible 8:26].
Paul: Well it’s such a pleasure having you here.
Morgan: Oh, it’s my pleasure. It’s great.
Paul: And if you’re really serious, we’ll come up, we’ll pick some grapes for you, we’ll pitchfork for you. What else can we do?
Morgan: Punch down press [inaudible 8:35].
Paul: Punch down press [inaudible 8:35]. Okay.
Morgan: Yeah. The best is when you’re waist deep inside the redwood fermenters bucketing stuff out.
Paul: Boy! That sounds like a ton of fun!
Morgan: It’s fun for the first two times.
Paul: That’s right. It’s becomes work, right?
Morgan: It becomes work by November when it’s about 30 degrees.
Paul: Pleasure having you, Morgan.
Morgan: Thanks so much. Yeah, it’s great.Bela: Thank you, Paul.
For full transcription, visit: Our Blog
You’re watching Good Morning San Diego.
Male: Time to start thinking about ringing in the New Year.
Female: Already! Up next, we got some tips on how you can make an inexpensive wine taste like a million bucks.
Male: Wow! We have one of those, right?
Female: We do!
Male: Well, with New Year’s Eve just days away, now’s the time to find that perfect wine to toast in the New Year.
Female: That’s right. [Inaudible 0:24] Alexis DelChiaro spoke with the president of the original Wine Club of the Month, gives us a few suggestions.
Male: Listen in.
Alexis: Welcome back! And if you’re looking for some great ideas for host gifts or ways to toast the New Year, then we’ve got something for all you wine lovers. Paul Kalemkiarian, the president of the original Wine of the Month Club is here to show us some great ideas for all the winos in our lives. Good morning, Paul.
Paul: Good morning! It’s great to be here. It was great job with my name. It’s so long, 12 letters, you did it.
Alexis: I’m DelChiaro so I feel your pain.
Paul: Right. Yeah, that’s right.
Alexis: So wine is actually a great gift to give someone if you know them well or if you don’t really know them that well, right?
Paul: It’s a great gift because it just means life, and it means fun, and it means energy so everybody that gets a bottle of wine or champagne for the holidays.
Alexis: So what kind of fun stuff do you have to show us today?
Paul: We’ve got some really cool stuff today. I brought some gadgets that are becoming quite popular in the wine business and they’re used to sort of advance the age. One of the things that we used to do in the old days, we would decant the wine and we would separate the sediment from the wines so we have nice clear wine but now we have devices to do that automatically. And one of them is Vinturi which is sort of a cone shaped carbureted device.
Alexis: So does that go on top of the bottle?
Paul: Well let me show you how to do it. You hold it up there over the glass.
Paul: Just right over there.
Alexis: Over here?
Paul: And then we’re going to pour some wine, hoping we don’t spill it all over you.
Alexis: It’s okay.
Paul: And if you hear it…
Alexis: Oh, yeah.
Paul: It’s slurping. And what that’s doing is aerating the wine so it allows us to drink it sooner.
Alexis: So it decants right before you drink it.
Alexis: Oh that’s cool!
Paul: It decants before you drink it so the Vinturi is a very popular item, it actually became famous around town. Now the one I use in my office all the time to change the wine is the Bevwesser.
Alexis: I’ve never seen that.
Paul: Unfortunately, it’s not very attractive.
Alexis: What is that?
Paul: It’s magnetic. It’s got a little aeration device. And what you do is you stick it at the end of the bottle, and then you pour it into the glass from there.
Paul: And it actually does a lot. It changes the wine quite a bit. And that’s why I use it in my office because it allows you to…
Alexis: What’s that?
Paul: That’s also an aerational.
Alexis: Okay, I see.
Paul: What’s kind of cool is if you take this, put it against the bells down there…
Alexis: Next to the bell. Oh! Whoa!
Paul: Hey! Okay.
Alexis: Okay, so it’s basically like a big magnet.
Paul: That’s what it is. It changes it.
Alexis: Can I ask you about this OMG wine?
Paul: Well I heard you say on set OMG a few times.
Alexis: Well I got to keep it real.
Paul: Exactly! There’s a whole text speak brand of wines that we carry. We have OMG, Too Good to be True, and all kinds of things.
Alexis: Oh, I love it! This one’s fun too. Okay, what’s this gadget down here?
Paul: Now this one, this is for the 60s throwback guys.
Alexis: Oh no.
Paul: I don’t know if you’d smoke this.
Alexis: Yeah, oh no.
Paul: Or you pour wine. I won’t demonstrate it but what it does is it goes at the end of the bottle like this.
Paul: And then you pour it into a bowl first.
Paul: And you pour it into your glass.
Alexis: So basically, we’ve got another decanter.
Paul: It’s a decanter but it’s like a single glass decanter.
Paul: Now this one again, so this is the gumball machine, I call it.
Alexis: Oh, yeah.
Paul: You put this here in your decanter, you pour the wine through this, it spirals it down.
Alexis: Let’s see.
Paul: You want to try it?
Paul: Okay, here we go.
Alexis: I mean this is just kind of to wow your guests.
Paul: Yeah, but this here, I don’t think this does anything extra.
Alexis: But it’s really cool looking.
Paul: It’s kind of fun, ain’t it? And if you get the plastic gumball, you get a free gumball next time. It’s really great.
Alexis: What’s this guy? Is this for..?
Paul: This is kind [inaudible 3:27]. I used to get in trouble for doing this as a kid but…
Paul: Go ahead. Put it in the, stick it in the glass.
Alexis: This way? Okay.
Paul: And then squeeze the bowl.
Alexis: Oh, we’re doing one of these things. What is that?
Paul: Okay. See all these little bubbles that come out, it’s aerating the wine but isn’t that kind of strange?
Alexis: It’s kind of strange but actually, it’s kind of cool. And actually, you can really smell the wine when you do that.
Paul: It does open it up quite a bit.
Alexis: It’s pretty. Okay, so I know that you’ve brought some champagne for us because couldn’t go through the holidays without the champagne, huh?
Paul: No. This is called Placere from [inaudible 3:56]. It’s a wonder champagne, traditional blend of Pinot Noir chardonnay. And this is French made bottle of champagne. You’re a pro at this right?
Alexis: Yeah. Here we go. Watch this. Here we go.
Alexis: Whoa! Alright.
Paul: Nicely done.
Alexis: Toasting to a beautiful New Year. And Paul, thank you so much for joining us today.
Paul: It’s my pleasure.
Alexis: Where can we find out more info about you?
Paul: Well if you go to Wineofthemonthclub.com, and if you use KUSI as a promotion code, you get 15% out of all items and the champagne we saw today.
Alexis: Cheers to you!
Paul: Cheers to you!
Alexis: Happy New Year!
Female: I heard she almost [inaudible 4:25]
Male: We want to wish our cameraman well who’s in the hospital today.
Female: Black and blue.
Male: No, no, not really. I love the guy.
Female: Great tips.
Male: I mean how many people get to use that device in their office?
Female: I know!
Male: He says, “I use this in my office.”
Female: I giggled at first and then remember what he does for a living. Not many people can say that. I use this at work.
Male: I use this at work.
Female: Yeah.For full transcription, visit: Our Blog
Paul: [Inaudible 0:02].
Adam: Antonio Banderas and I love you all.
Paul: No, I’m kidding. Welcome to the Wine of the Month Club Winemaker series, very excited to have Adam LaZarre, rhymes with bazaar, right?
Adam: Rhymes with bazaar.
Paul: Isn’t that what you tell everybody like you told me?
Adam: Well, if you can’t pronounce it the first time.
Paul: I had a hard time the first time. We first met at Galleano Winery, in Cucamonga.
Adam: Do you mind telling me what Donald Galleano was doing?
Paul: No, I don’t want to get into that.
Paul: Villa San-Juliette which is in Paso Robles.
Paul: Now, I’m a huge fan and my kids are too. And I’ll admit this on camera of American Idol.
Paul: And you just mentioned something. Part of the ownership is…
Adam: You didn’t know that?
Paul: No, I did not know that.
Adam: Yeah. Actually, Villa San-Juliette is owned by Ken Warwick, Nigel Lythgoe. Ken Warwich is the executive producer of American Idol. And Nigel Lythgoe is the producer and host of So You Think You Can Dance and a couple of really nice Brits [inaudible 1:00].
Paul: I can’t do either but I’m wondering that’s why I got [inaudible 1:02]. Maybe you’ll give me an audition or something.
Paul: Maybe buy some wine with that.
Adam: Yeah. Figure the odds. No kidding. I actually haven’t been down to see the show taping although I understand I have tickets available to me.
Paul: Good stuff. Well, we’re going to taste some wines today. This was fun. Fat Monk, now this is not referring to, and I’ve worked with Xerox for five years, and [inaudible 1:25] the monk that do the copies. This is not that guy, is it?
Adam: No, no. Actually, if you look, I don’t know if you can see with the camera. Angle it. This guy here was actually a design by Nigel. And we are just literally a Frisbee throw away from one of the original California missions, Mission San Miguel. The Franciscan monks and friars are still there doing their thing. And so this was kind of a little tip of the hat to them. This is actually a pewter statue that we have sitting on top of the winery.
Paul: That’s great.
Paul: It’s a fun story.
Adam: It’s a fun story. We have two labels that we create out of Villa San-Juliette. Obviously, Villa San-Juliette main line, but when I left my last winery that I have worked at, a number of growers, friends of mine that had grapes wanted to come with me because they’ve just liked the work that I had done with their grapes.
Adam: And they stretched from Monterey down to Santa Barbara so I created a special label just for them. It’s [inaudible 2:25] fruit but these are all friends.
Paul: These are friends? Friend’s vineyards.
Adam: Yeah, friends vineyards.
Paul: It’s nice to have friends in good places like that.
Adam: It’s nice to have friends period.
Paul: Well I enjoyed the wine. This is Central Coast Chardonnay.
Paul: And what I like about it, it was the balance was great, gorgeous for one but it was not overdone.
Paul: Not overoaked.
Paul: And you get Chardonnay flavors. How about that?
Adam: I used to get beaten up for pretty heavy handed oak treatment.
Paul: Did you really?
Adam: I used to subscribe to the theory that you can never overoak a wine. Right. You know the world has changed to fill up my palette and the palette in the world’s palette is changed. And I’m hitting my microphone here.
Paul: Oh, that’s great. Everyone will love this on the camera.
Adam: So we have such great intense fruits. The reason I’m on the Central Coast and not working in any other area is because of the intensity of the fruit that we have. The flavors, when it’s grown correctly, gives some really pungent beautiful flowers and fruits. And this is a blend of couple of vineyards. A friend of mine up in Santa Lucia Highlands so you get the stone fruit, the peaches, nectarines.
Paul: I get the peaches for sure.
Adam: And then you get some of the pretty apple, green apple you get from Paso Robles vineyard, a friend that I worked with there. So it’s a combination. [Inaudible 3:37] way off, there is some oaky-ness, not totally and oak Chardonnay but there is some oak in there, but just enough to help liberate some of the flavors and aromatics that only can…
Paul: The balance is great, the oak balance. I get the green apples. I get the pieces of nectarines all kind of melts together.
Adam: Can we drink on the camera and internet?
Adam: Okay, good. This isn’t network TV, huh?
Paul: I did a TV show in 1981. You wouldn’t believe this. There was a beer chugging contest on NBC. It was USC versus Alabama. You can watch it on YouTube. And the producer said, “Are you supposed to drink? You’re not supposed to drink,” right, on the national TV so he was up with apple juice in these mugs for these guys. And he said, “You know what? Forget it. This is s beer chugging contest. We’re going to chug beer. These guys drink 3 16 ounces beers in like three minutes.
Adam: [Inaudible 4:26].
Paul: Anyway, this is the Villa San-Juliet Petite Sirah, and we’ve tasted this a couple times but this one, it’s done very well on the bottle it seems like.
Adam: Yeah. I’ve worked with Petite Sirah. I’ve been making wine for nearly 20 years in California. Virtually every appellation, I’ve worked with the fruit. And Petite Sirah is one of my favorite varietals to work with because it’s a great blender in Sirah blends. It’s just nice to have around in the wine. If you need a little color, couple percentage or something, darkens it right out. And over the last couple of years, Petite Sirah has become really en vogue. It’s become the rage especially in the east coast United States. And I spend probably between 35 and 40 weeks a year around the road supporting, selling, marketing wine along with Jamie Glenn standing behind the camera who [inaudible 5:18] by the way. Off camera. And one thing we’ve noticed is people are asking for Petite Sirah, restaurateurs, wine chefs.
Adam: So I think Paso Robles has that really nice combination. I call it like blueberry and stinky feet, that kind of gamey, earthy component to it. So this is a vineyard, this comes from our estate vineyard as well as the vineyard just down the road of a very good friend of mine who has it. I’ve been working with this fruit for a long time and I thought, “What an amazing time to start a Petite Sirah Program.”
Adam: And so I’ve had it in barrels for a year, not this particular wine, but I’ve been working with Petite Sirah so I selected the very best barrels I could. And for me, it can be very one dimensional. Petite Sirah could be over the top like blueberry jam.
Paul: Tons of blueberries in this on for sure.
Adam: I actually blended a little Cabernet in behind it.
Paul: For a little structure.
Adam: It’s be a little structure and rough up the edges a little bit so it makes a little fruit friendly.
Paul: Look at the leg too. It’s gorgeous. The color’s gorgeous.
Adam: I’ve got some stuff in here, that’s for sure.
Paul: I love it when you pour the wine and the bubbles are purple. I just love that.
Adam: That’s a good sign, I think.
Paul: It is. The extraction’s gorgeous, the color’s gorgeous, the bounce is great. And Petite Sirah needs to be a little opulent. That’s kind of the nature of the grape, right?
Adam: Yeah. I mean it’s definitely a wine for fans of like big Zinfandels or if somebody Spanish [inaudible 6:43] that’s like so over the top.
Paul: Yeah. That’s right. I get that right there.
Adam: It’s kind of like what I was shooting for, a great [inaudible 6:50].
Paul: Really good. Okay, the next one is Villa San-Juliette ’08 Merlot which you said you just bottled.
Adam: I just bottled.
Paul: And you’re licking the glass. You don’t see that every day. It must be really good. You must really like that Petite Sirah.
Adam: Actually, I’ve got to get behind the wheels so I want to get as much of alcohol as possible.
Paul: Really? You didn’t hear that here, folks. So if you just bottle this, we actually put it through our aerator when we’re down with the thing but I don’t think it’d need it. It’s just really doing well actually.
Adam: I had an opportunity early in my career to study in one of the greatest Australian Winemakers, maybe Peter Douglas, and two things he talked to me about were oak and chardonnay and sirahs as a back blender. And I think that the fruit particularly the east side Paso Robles lends itself more to Australian style winemaking. The grapes ripen at a higher, I mean the physiological ripeness, the flavors don’t develop until you get a higher sugar so it’s going to give more alcohol, they’re going to be a little more structured.
Adam: And a few people like [inaudible 7:55] for example can do old world style winemaking off the east side but I think most of the vineyards really lend itself more to [inaudible 8:02] style winemaking. And so that’s what I was shooting for with this. I used some Sirahs in behind it, a little temper neo. I actually haven’t finished the blend sheet yet. They’re still new. So I have to go back and figure out what the hell I actually did.
Paul: That’s something. I taste a lot of wine in here. I don’t get a lot of Merlots that are blend back with temper neo. That’s really interesting.
Adam: It’s just is big meaty wine that there’s a little hole in the back of the mid-palette. Merlot can sometimes have that. And with just a few percent but I think that’s all it needed.
Paul: Gorgeous. And I can see this aging gracefully. It’s got the layers in the middle, still a little tight of course, you just bottled it.
Adam: Oh, yeah.
Paul: But there’s still a ton going on in the wine. It’s gorgeous.
Adam: Yeah. But it’s got a lot of structure and depth. And for me, I’m very, very passionate about Merlot. It’s got such a bad rap and after that damn movie just always Merlot sales says you know.
Paul: And why, you know, not making any sense.
Adam: It shut everything down in around the country.
Paul: It’s been good for us though, actually.
Adam: I mean I believe that probably 95% of the Merlot is planted in California. It shouldn’t be planted there. In fact, I think that far fewer places grow good Merlot than Pinot Noir in California.
Adam: There’s a fine line between being too cold and too warm.
Adam: And when you have the right combination of soil climate, it’s a cool climate grape, you need to get that black cherry cola, often have a little tea leaf, a little green streak over the top, and that’s fine. For me, the benchmarks are the wines in [inaudible 9:23] in Northern Italy, [inaudible 9:25] in South Africa. And these wines are voluptuous, they’ve got that cherry.
Adam: And I think the great fruit wine is very, very versatile once it’s made. It’s not this little bitter jolly [inaudible 9:37] candy than a lot of Merlots.
Paul: No. It’s clearly not that.
Adam: No, no.
Paul: It’s excellent. Well it’s gorgeous wine. All of them are great. And I look forward to having these in the inventory. Buy you two. And it’s a pleasure having you here, Adam.
Adam: My pleasure.
Paul: Hope to see you one day on the road again.
Adam: I hope so. Come up and visit.For full transcription, visit: Our Blog
Eve Bushman from evewine101.com was a hoot to talk wine with...and she does lots of wine charity events...such fun.