This July 4th holiday has us reflecting on the depth and breadth of American wine icons that we are so proud to represent, and so today we’re focusing on those growers who we define as visionaries.
Hirsch is the pioneer vineyard on the ‘true’ Sonoma Coast. Planted in 1980 two miles from the ocean at Ft. Ross (AVA) in Sonoma County by David Hirsch, the vineyard first gained recognition on the labels of Williams Selyem, Kistler, and Littorai, among others.
Now producing wine under its own label, the eponymous Hirsch family makes every effort integrate winemaking and farming practices to produce wines that have site typicity: rich pinot fruit married to a profound acidic complexity finished with deep, evolved natural tannins.
The San Andreas Fault is Hirsch Vineyards’ signature Pinot Noir and is crafted to represent the entirety of this multifaceted vineyard.
With less than four acres of Chardonnay vines, production is very limited, and 100% of the fruit is kept for the estate.
KEN WRIGHT CELLARS
Located in rural Carlton, Oregon, Ken Wright Cellars is devoted to showcasing the inherent quality of selected vineyard sites. With a clarity and breadth that is unequaled by other varieties, the people at Ken Wright cellars believe Pinot Noir best expresses the character of these sites.
Rather than stamping wine with a varietal trademark, they see Pinot noir as a vehicle for conveying the aroma, flavor, and texture of the location in which it is grown.
The Bryce vineayard is located in the Ribbon Ridge AVA and was planted in 1999 to its current size of 5.04 acres. The vineyard sits on ancient marine sediment made up of mainly Willakenzie soils.
This organically-farmed vineyard in Yamhill-Carlton produces a floral and spice-focused Pinot Noir.
Founded in 1889, Mayacamas stands as one of the most storied vineyard and winery operations in the history of American wine. Through its more than 125 years of production, Mayacamas has earned its place as a standard-bearer of traditional winemaking, and the source of some of California’s most iconic and longest-lived bottles.
Exclusively sourced from Mt. Veeder – harvested from 40-year old dry-farmed vines between 1,800 and 2,000 feet in elevation.
Mayacamas Merlot remains one of the purest expressions of the varietal produced in America today—always made with restraint to express the more serious side of the grape.
Husband and wife team, Sashi and Melissa Moorman began making a small amount of wine in Lompoc, CA in 2003 under the Piedrasassi label. The focus of Piedrasassi’s wine program is cool-climate Syrah as they believe these sites to be the most compelling, producing the most complex aromas and the most savory textures. The vineyard sites for Piedrasassi range from Ballard Canyon in the east to the Santa Rita Hills and Arroyo Grande in the west.
The Santa Ynez Valley bottling comes from the Sebastiano Vineyard, which is on the north side of Highway 246. Piedrasassi has five acres at Sebastiano, characterized by Linne clay over limestone.
NORTH VALLEY BY SOTER VINEYARDS
North Valley Vineyards is a partnership between Tony & Michelle Soter. Along with VP of Grower relations James Cahill, they represent a combination of deep, collective experience, and genuine passion. North Valley Vineyards holds a diverse breadth of great vineyard sites located throughout the Northern Willamette Valley. Where the estate wines of Soter Vineyards are focused on the unique qualities of a single vineyard, the North Valley wines represent the collective vineyards of the region – mostly blends from a handful of the best sites we access, occasionally single vineyard wines – made with the same focus on quality and artisan traditions as the estate wines.
Sourced from the finest ‘cru’ sites in the region to offer one of the best expressions of Willamette Valley and now more affordable than ever.
Mineral Springs Ranch is a 240-acre oak savanna in the heart of Oregon wine country. It is the home of Soter Vineyards‘ biodynamic estate vineyard, planted to 15 acres of Pinot Noir in 2002 and 2003, and an additional 15 acres in 2006.
Two acres of Chardonnay were included in the 2006 plantings and are devoted entirely to our sparkling wine production. Small extension blocks have been added over the years to grow their total production to 40 acres.
This is a privileged location in the world for Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. The right elevation, aspect, row orientation, ventilation, and uniquely well-drained soils derived from marine sedimentary sandstone all contribute to consistently great results.
JOSEPH SWAN VINEYARDS
Joseph Swan Vineyards is a small family-owned winery located in the heart of Sonoma County in California’s famed Russian River Valley. Although they specialize in vineyard designated Pinot Noir and old vine Zinfandel, Joseph Swan also produces small lots of other wines, including Rhône style wine, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. For the past 40 years, Joseph Swan has strived to make interesting wines that reflect their unique origins.
Always blend of Swan’s vineyard designated Pinot Noir. Every Pinot Noir is made to be the best possible expression with a barrel-by-barrel selection process just before bottling.
Located in the Riebli Valley, just a few miles east of Highway 101, this site has been farmed by the Bastoni family since 1906.
WHITE ROCK VINEYARDS
White Rock Vineyards produces elegant and balanced Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Claret, and Chardonnay, using only the fruit from the estate vineyard. This 36-acre family run estate is situated in its own small valley in the southern foothills of the Stag’s Leap Range on the eastern side of the Napa Valley at the historic site of White Rock Vineyards, which dates back to 1870. Situated approximately 300 feet above the valley floor, White Rock Vineyards is defined by its volcanic soils and bedrock. A 64-acre valley shaped over millennia to form a natural bowl, the soil substructure is compressed volcanic ash, holding little nutrients, and yielding small berries which produce deep, intense, and rich concentrated flavors.
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot from the White Rock estate vineyard aged in French oak.
100% estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon aged 23 months in French oak.
The Martinelli family has been growing grapes in the Russian River Valley since 1887. At the ages of 19 and 16, Giuseppe Martinelli and Luisa Vellutini left their small village in the Tuscany region of Italy and made their way to California looking for land to farm and start a winery. Giuseppe had been a winemaker in Italy and with his viticultural knowledge he was hired to plant a vineyard for a farmer in Forestville. 100 years later, the historic Martinelli Estate vineyards are farmed by Lee Martinelli, Sr., and sons Lee, Jr. and George Martinelli.
Named after Tony Bondi, Lee Martinelli Sr.’s uncle, who was a large apple rancher in Sonoma County. This property is in the heart of the Russian River Valley, and it produces some of Martinelli’s most voluptuous, full-bodied wines.
Bella Vigna is a curated blend of Pinot Noir from all of Martinelli’s estate vineyards in the Sonoma Coast appellation.
This wine is a barrel-blend from select Martinelli single vineyard Zinfandel sites: Jackass, Vellutini, Lolita, and Giuseppe & Luisa. These vineyards are grown in cool regions of the Russian River Valley, allowing the deeper, dark flavors to develop in the grapes.
Lieu Dit is a partnership of longtime friends Eric Railsback and Justin Willett. The two met in Santa Barbara while Eric was finishing college and Justin was just beginning his career in winemaking. The two were among a small group of young winemakers and restaurateurs in Santa Barbara unified by a common interest in wine and all its mysteries. After countless bottles shared together and many trips to France, Railsback and Willett decided to found Lieu Dit in 2011 and focus it solely in the varieties indigenous to the Loire Valley, now grown in Santa Barbara County.
The varied micro-climates and marine based soils of Santa Barbara County are ideally suited to this set of grapes. In each vintage, the quest for purity, elegance, and balance in every wine is paramount.
From Bien Nacido in Santa Maria, this is a crisp, mineral-driven wine with captivating brininess. Made for shucking oysters and popping bottles on a fresh spring day.
This wine is sourced from proprietary rooted vines planted at the Happy Canyon Vineyard in the east side of the Santa Ynez Valley.
Sandhi is a small-production California winery focusing on select vineyards from the Sta. Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County and was founded in 2010 by Rajat Parr, the wine director for Michael Mina Restaurants, and esteemed winemaker, Sashi Moorman.
Sandhi represents a union essential to the production of wine: the collaboration between man, earth, and vine. The willing participation of all three elements is necessary to make great wine, and the winegrower must make this collaboration rich and nourishing for all involved. An understanding of these joint efforts informs Sandhi’s exploration of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines throughout the Santa Barbara County terroir.
Santa Barbara County Chardonnay is a blend from different vineyards located in Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, and Sta. Rita Hills.
Sandhi’s ‘village’ Pinot Noir is vinified with the same level of detail as the single vineyard wines. The wine is a blend of six different vineyards from the southwestern part of the Sta. Rita Hills including Bentrock, Rita’s Crown, Rinconada, and Mt. Carmel. This wine showcases the freshness, finesse, and exuberance of the appellation.
THE PINOT PROJECT
The Pinot Project began in 2009 with a vision: a wine for the palate, the pocket, and the people. Renowned wine importer Michael Skurnik called on his experiences in the vineyards and cellars of Northern California to craft a silky, fruit-forward, and harmonious Pinot Noir. Since then, The Pinot Project has taken the wine world by storm.
Mission accomplished! The Pinot Project has accomplished its goal of being one of the greatest wine values in the world; with delicious numbers coming out of California and Italy. After the success of the Pinot Noir, the brand has added a California Chardonnay called “The Chard Project,” a Pinot Project Pinot Grigio from Italy, and the latest addition, a delicious Rosé!
The newest addition to The Pinot Project family, this Pinot Grigio was harvested entirely from the Ancient Lakes AVA within the Columbia Valley of Washington. As one of the cooler growing regions in the state, the conditions are ideal for growing Pinot Grigio with a perfect balance of natural acidity and juicy notes of tropical fruit. Available in 250ml can, make this wine a go-to for your on-the-go activities.
The grapes for The Chard Project are harvested from high quality vineyards in California’s Central Coast and North Coast regions. A portion of the wine sees just enough second use oak to add texture and a hint of toast. While it is the smallest production of The Pinot Project lineup, this wine is often a favorite at consumer events and can even be spotted onboard Virgin Cruises.
The Pinot Project began in 2009 with a vision: a wine for the palate, the pocket, and the people. Renowned wine importer Michael Skurnik called on friends in California’s Coastal Regions to help him craft a silky, fruit-forward, and well-balanced Pinot Noir. Since then, the line-up has seen meteoric growth led by the Pinot Noir which has also earned numerous Best Buy awards. The brand was recently named a “Hot Prospect,” by M. Shanken’s Impact for the second consecutive year.