Collection: A YEAR ABROAD

 We all have some preconceived notions of which wines a country is “supposed” to make. Some think of sipping Sauvignon Blanc while visiting the set of Lord of the Rings in New Zealand, others dream of bouncing around Napa tasting rooms, swirling velvety Cabernets.  

What if we were to tell you there is more to each wine region than just a single grape or style. Every country has its own unique terroirs, an abundance of microclimates that are suited to a variety of different grapes. Even Germany, the land of Riesling, is a veritable cornucopia of other varietals (like Elbling!).  To say any country is only fit for only one thing, keeps you from a world of possibilities. This months’ selections will show you some of our favorite varieties grown in unexpected places, spending time away from their heritage soils, and becoming something new!

 Chardonnay when placed in the silty/clay rich soils of Marlborough will be an entirely different wine than when it’s placed in almost any CA vineyard. The rich buttery textures become softer, lemongrass and lime blossom start to come through, along with hints of flint on the nose. It can show a ton of depth, and adapts beautifully to multiple climates. It’s your friend who realized they can live anywhere, and is now flourishing as a translator.

 Sangiovese has graced most wine drinkers' tables at one point or another, usually in the form of a fine Chianti. When allowed to shine in Santa Barbara you lose a bit of the earthiness, but gain more fresh red fruit, and flowers. It is a bit softer, taking away some of the rough edges. If it was a person, it's your New York friend who went to Italy to finally learn that you don’t pronounce ricotta with a “gg”. 

Pinot Noir is extremely versatile just like chardonnay, and is outstanding when given a chance to grow in Argentina. While most people know it for big steak house worthy malbecs, they can produce soft elegant wines for any occasion. If it were a person it would be your friend who used to do keg stands at Toga Parties, but came back reading Sartre & watching experimental films.  

 Please let go of any preconceptions or prejudices as you sip these wines,  and begin to view areas & grapes you think you know in a whole new light. 

  • Jeff

Dog Point Chardonnay

Varietal: Chardonnay

Country of Origin: New Zealand

Region: Marlborough

Soil: Clay, Silt, Loam

Suggested Pairings:  Oysters, Chop Salad, Roast Chicken

A versatile variety found in nearly all wine growing regions around the world, Chardonnay is barely uttered in the same breath as New Zealand, yet it makes up 6% of total wine production for the country. In the hands of James Healy & Ivan Sutherland, you wonder why even more isn’t planted.

  Winemaking is distinctly Burgundian with hand harvests, direct press into barrels (15% new), and fermentations with native yeast only, with  elevage of 18 months. Dog Point is both wild and refined. 

Hints of flint come off on the nose, with bright lemon and other citrus, evoking nostalgic thoughts of fireworks, cap guns, and lemonade. The palate follows the nose with hints of grilled lemon, salted grapefruit, and a touch of vanilla cream. A late summer BBQ in a glass!

Stolpman Love You Bunches

 Varietal: Sangiovese

Country of Origin: USA

Region: Ballard Canyon

Soil: Limestone

Suggested Pairings: Lasagna, Roasted Trout / Branzino

While known for making some of the best Syrah in CA, Stolpman produces a Sangiovese to rival its spiritual ancestors in Italy. Kyle Napp & Matt Nocas craft the wine using native yeasts & carbonic maceration, much like Beaujolais, which retains fresh acidity & gives it generous, crunchy fruit on the palate.

While more classic wines were their start it’s clear their natural So Fresh series has all of the complexity of their other wines. They are able to take new varietals in the region, and produce elegant wines that are “natural” but not flawed. 

  This carbonic maceration leads to a much softer wine than most people would expect.Maraschino cherry notes give way to rose water, raspberry, and lychee aromas. This Sangiovese comes to America, with a fresh new identity while still respecting its roots. The Baked Ziti of wine!


Bodega Chacra Sin Azufre

Varietal: Pinot Noir

 Country of Origin: Argentina

Region: Rio Negro Valley

Soil: Pebbles / River Stones Suggested Pairings: Steak w/ Chimmi Churi, Fried Chicken, Ratatouille

A wine with a blue blood pedigree, Bodegas Chacra is produced by Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, grandson of Mario, the creator of Sassicaia alongside Jean-Marc Roulot, of Burgundy fame.  They began this project after a blind tasting of Pinot Noir from around the world. Impressed by the Argentinian examples, they took off to explore the high elevation, nascent vineyards of Patagonia. This is a partnership of wine royalty, a supergroup on the scale of The Highwaymen.

  These grapes were planted in 1955, and farmed organically and under biodynamic principles, Chacra is a pioneer of Patagonian winemaking. 100% Pinot Noir is fermented with native yeast, and aged in 30% concrete, 60% neutral french oak, and 10% stone vessels for 11 months. It is bottled with no additional sulfites added, an utter rarity anywhere, especially in an emerging region like Patagonia! 

Flavors reminiscent of roasted beets, raspberry bramble, and fresh soil come through on the palate, uniting  traditional & natural wine components.