2017 Meeting Notes

2017 December: Holiday Party 


A good time was had by all.  The bubbles flowed and so did the music.  The Silver Gate Yacht Club provided a delicious buffet of Prime Rib and Barramundi with all the sides and dessert. 


A big “Thank You” to those who organized and put this event together - Jan Tierney, Eileen & Terry Van Winkle, Linda & Andy Nicholas, and Carol & Jim Swelgin. 

October 2018: CASTELLO BANFI presented by Lars Leicht


Few know Banfi Vintners and its wines better than Lars Leicht, its Director of Trade Development, and a man passionate about the relationship between food and wine. A 31-year Banfi veteran, Lars has served this family concern in various sales, marketing and communications roles in the US, Europe, Caribbean, Asia and Canada. When Castello Banfi was founded 40 years ago, the Mariani family turned to abundant research from around the world on the best clones to use for planting Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc in its unique microclimate of Montalcino, in southern Tuscany, even though many of these varietals were new to the territory. 


A family-owned vineyard estate in Tuscany’s Brunello region, Castello Banfi’s dedication to excellence captures honor after prestigious honor. A constellation of single vineyards, Castello Banfi weaves noble grape varieties with optimal terroir. Three decades of unprecedented research on Sangiovese yields consistently outstanding Brunello and Super Tuscans. Our meticulously restored medieval castle hosts visitors at an informal Enoteca-Wine Bar as well as the Taverna Banfi for lunches and dinners of traditional local dishes, offering winery tours and visits to its balsameria and glass museum. “Castello Banfi – Il Borgo,” a boutique luxury hotel nestled alongside the medieval castle, nurtures guests with 14 rooms and suites, swimming pool, cloistered garden and reading room. Castello Banfi is the first winery in the world to be awarded international recognition for exceptional environmental, ethical and social responsibility (ISO 14001 and SA8000) as well as an international leader in customer satisfaction (ISO 9001:2000). Please visit www.castellobanfi.com. 


Wines poured: 

  • Biadaioli Single Vineyard Sangiovese for Brunello
  • Sorrena Single Vineyard Sangiovese for Brunello 
  • Mandrielle Single Vineyard Sangiovese for Brunello
  • Poggioni Single Vineyard Sangiovese for Brunello
  • Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino Classico $59
  • Poggio alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino 2011 $65
  • Poggio alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2008 $105 

September 2018: Heike Unkel, Sommelier from Ferrari-Carano.  


Since 1985, Ferrari-Carano has been a leading producer of world-class, nationally-acclaimed wines. Vintage after vintage, the wines exhibit a remarkable consistency of style and elegance. Don and Rhonda Carano’s uncompromising commitment to quality and excellence is a reflection of their desire to produce memorable wines that enhance the pleasures of gracious entertaining.  


Ferrari-Carano has five California vineyards (Alexander Valley, Russian RIver Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Napa Carneros and Mendocino Ridge).  The company has two women winemakers, Sarah Quider (whites) and Rebecka Deike (reds).  The website is: www.ferrari-carano.com


Wines poured were:

  • 2015 Chardonnay, Sonoma County $23
  • 2014 Reserve Chardonnay, Carneros Napa $34
  • 2014 Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley $31
  • 2014 Siena (Sangiovese Blend), Sonoma County $21
  • 5 2015 UNA (GSM Blend), Alexander Valley $39
  • 2015 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley $28
  • 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley $34
  • 2013 Tresor (Bordeaux Blend), Sonoma County $55

2017 Summer Wine Party


Summer Wine Party was held at Scripps Ranch library courtyard.  There were about 60 people enjoying perfect weather, great wines and wonderful conversation. We had Seaside Market "Cardiff Crack" tri tip for main course and of course it was spectacular.  Wines were mostly from previous presentations and we bought some wines as well.  Someone guessed Brad's mystery wine (Tempranillo).  Andy had his pick and choose which Sav Blancs won which awards.  

July 2017: Tertulia Cellars with Ryan Raber, Winemaker


An Evening with Winemaker Ryan Raber from Tertulia Cellars (Walla Walla, WA)


Born and raised in Washington State by a family with a rich history in the culinary arts, Ryan was devoted to great food and drink from an early age. A self-described hedonist, Ryan loves to cook and eat and claims to always be thinking about his next meal. Ryan’s first experiences with wine came in his early teens, when he began making wine at home with his family. As he matured his interest in wines continued to grow Ryan pursued an education that would help provide him with a wine career.  Tertulia Cellars was founded in 2005 with the idea to make terroir driven wines.. The winery is nestled in the heart of the Walla Walla wine country surrounded by our Whistling Hills vineyard with a beautiful view of the Blue Mountains. The state of the art winery and cellar were constructed in 2007-2008, with a focus on sustainability, functionality and beauty reflecting the core values of Tertulia Cellars.

Ryan’s winemaking philosophy is to treat wine as art. “It is an intuitive process from the vine to the bottle each step determines the next. Science and winemaking technology are great tools but nothing can replace experience and your palate. The best wines have a sense of place or exhibit terrior. Terrior is the summation of the geology, geography, climate, and to a large extent the culture of the people who work the land and influence the wines.”



Wines to be poured:

  • Viognier 2016 - $22 (90 pt and gold medal Tastings.com)
  • Rose tempranillo 2016 - $18 
  • GSM 2013 -- $55  (94 Points Tastings.com) 
  • Syrah - Whistling Hills 2014 - $40  (Gold Medal 2017 Seattle Wine Awards)
  • Syrah, Riviere Galets 2014 - $40  
  • Sobra 2012 (Merlot/Cab) - $30
  • Carmenere 2013 - $40 (Double gold medal 2017 Toast of the Coast 95 Points)

June 2017: An Evening with Winemaker Amy Jean Butler of Ranchero Cellars
For 20 years, Amy Butler has produced wine in every kind of cellar, from the venerable and classic houses of Napa to enthusiastic Paso Robles upstarts. A UC Davis graduate with a slightly quirky vision, she works with both time-tested and cutting-edge techniques, always making wines that are carefully balanced, elegantly restrained, and classically varietal in character. Driven by her quest for knowledge in winemaking, she founded Ranchero Cellars in 2008, and she continues to consult for several other small Paso Robles brands.
With her passion for variation in whites and her skills in red blends and Carignan (93 and 94 point wines might we add!) this is sure to be one heck of an educational evening from one heck of a fantastic and creative winemaker!  And, did we mention she's in the upcoming Winemakers of Paso Robles book.  www.rancherocellars.com

Wines to be poured:

  • 2016 Galaxie Rose
  • 2015 Chrome
  • 2013 Viognier 
  • 2014 Viognier
  • 2013 The Hive
  • 2012 Carignan - 94 points Wine Advocate
  • 2013 Carginan - 93 points Wine Enthusiast
  • 2011 Revolver  -  Library collection

May 2017: presentation J. Wilkes Wines by Wes Hagan, Winemaker
J. Wilkes Wines produce handcrafted wines from the Santa Maria Valley, Sta. Rita Hills, and the Paso Robles Highlands AVAs --- “Wines of Character, Wines of Place.”   
In 2013, Michael Cervin (Wall Street Journal, Decanter) rated Wes as one of the 100 Most Influential Winemakers in the United States.  
Wes researched, wrote and had approved the last three AVA’s in Santa Barbara County:   Sta. Rita Hills, Happy Canyon and Ballard Canyon.   www.jwilkes.com
Wes will present some of his current release wines, which include Pinot Blanc, Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, Cabernet, and late harvest Pinot Blanc.

April 2017: Boony Doon Wines presented by Randall Graham, Founder


Randall Graham was born in Los Angeles in 1953 and attended Uncle Charlie’s Summer Camp, what he calls the prestigious University of California at Santa Cruz where he was a permanent Liberal Arts major. By dint of exceptionally good karma he was given the opportunity to taste an ungodly number of great French wines and this singular experience turned him into a complete and insufferable wine fanatic. He returned to the University of California at Davis to complete a degree in Plant Sciences in 1979, where owing to his single-minded obsession with Pinot Noir he was regarded as a bit of a holy terroir in the hallowed halls of the sober and sedate Department of Viticulture and Enology.


Randall purchased property in the Santa Cruz Mountains in a magically quaint eponymous hamlet known as Bonny Doon, intent on producing the Great American Pinot Noir. It proved to be systematically elusive but he was greatly encouraged by experimental batches of Rhône varieties, and he has been a tireless champion of the grapes of the Rhône since the inaugural vintage of Le Cigare Volant. In 1989 Randall appeared on the cover of the Wine Spectator, clad in blue polyester, as “The Rhône Ranger”. 


In 2010 the Culinary Institute of America inducted him into the Vintner’s Hall of Fame. He lives in Santa Cruz with his muse Chinshu, their daughter, Amélie and his thesaurus.  (I bet you he reads the thesaurus for fun and will be evident when you hear him speak!).


Randall Graham lives for the possibility of someday creating a wine that is also a reflection of the place from whence it derives, and has a number of interesting ideas (some possibly brilliant, others more likely hare-brained) about how this most worthy aspiration might be achieved. He believes that in the world of wine, it is uniquely vins de terroir that matter, enriching our lives and inspiring us with the breath-taking order of Nature herself. While the production of such wines is definitively the number #1 priority on Randall’s “bucket list,” in the interim, he has changed the Bonny Doon Vineyard practice to become far more focused on vineyard or more specifically, soil health, the real cornerstone of vitality in wines. Bonny Doon wines may be said to be “acoustic,” or “uninflected,” at the very least lacking in the garish maquillage of many of their New World vinous confrères. (See what I mean). 


He makes Le Cigare Volant Réserve “en bonbonne".  It earned 93 points - “Round, sultry and savory with notes of blackberry, boysenberry, cherry, dried herbs, leather and mushroom."  To make something truly unique his fourth vintage in the ongoing experimental protocol he use anaerobic élevage of Cigare in 5-gallon glass bottles.  (Who does that?)


His website is www.bonnydoonvineyard.com.  When you say that you are under 21 to access the site it sends you to Welch's Grape Juice website!  A bit of his humor.


Wines poured:

  • 2013 Vin Gris Tuilé
  • 2016 Vin Gris de Cigare
  • 2013 Le Cigare Blanc
  • 2013 Le Cigare Blanc Réserve
  • 2012 Le Cigare Volant
  • 2012 Le Cigare Volant Réserve
  • 2013 Syrah "Le Pousseur"
  • 2011 Sparkling Syrah

March 2017: Duncan Williams


Duncan Williams, winemaker from Williams & Heim presented at the March 8th meeting.  In 1982, Duncan started in wine production: an entry-level harvest job for Robert Mondavi and has never looked back. It is his love and respect for the vine that has kept him in the industry so long. He continues testing his palate by judging at International Wine Competitions and writes a wine column for the San Diego Union Tribune,


Duncan’s background and experience includes fourteen years as Cellar Master for the Sobon Family of Shenandoah Vineyards and Sobon Estate and the development of his own vineyard, which produced the first commercial Merlot in Amador County garnering numerous accolades. His career in Northern California was followed by his position as Senior Winemaker for one of the largest wineries in Southern California.


Williams & Heim is a continuation of that love and respect for the vine; one born of passion, experience and relationships. It encompasses an appreciation for the fine art of wine making and the opportunity to share the experience with others.


An enduring belief that grape growing and winemaking are inseparable continues to guide Williams’ winemaking philosophy. The prospect of every harvest still excites me. Duncan believes his as a winemaker is to let the wines convey the essence of the vineyard because fine wine starts from the ground up.


Wines poured:

  • 2013 Chardonnay SLH
  • 2014 Chardonnay SLH Unfiltered,
  • 2012 Triple Entendre 50% Cab Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 17% Cab Franc 2013 Triple Entendre 50% Cab Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 25% Cab Franc
  • 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Coombsville  
  • 2013 Merlot, Coombsville  
  • 2013 Cabernet Franc, Dry Creek Valley 




February 2017 meeting by Vino Noceto Wines with Rusty Folena, Winemaker (L-R Brad Bruce, Rusty Folena & Alan Albery)
February 2017 meeting by Vino Noceto Wines with Rusty Folena, Winemaker (L-R Brad Bruce, Rusty Folena & Alan Albery)

February 2017: Vino Noceto Wines with Rusty Folena, Winemaker 


Suzy and Jim Gullett have established Vino Noceto as “California’s Sangiovese Specialist” following a pathway considerably different than other Sangiovese producers, yet similar to many small, "boutique" operations.  With the September 1984 purchase of this 21acre property and the subsequent 1987 acquisition of the neighboring 18.5 acre original homestead, the "passion" became "reality." 


Rusty Folena started his career in winemaking as a teenager, sweeping floors at Santino winery and pruning vines in the Original Grandpere Vineyard. Rusty joined Vino Noceto as Assistant Winemaker in early 1999. In 2001 he became Winemaker. Due to his early vineyard work and the direction of his tutors, Scott Harvey & Gordon Binz, Rusty understands and naturally pursues fruit-driven, varietally-accurate wines. This makes him ideal for Vino Noceto’s style and approach to winemaking.. www.noceto.com


Wines poured:  

  • 2016 Frivolo 2013 Sangiovese
  • 2013 Riserva Sangiovese
  • 2013 Hillside Sangiovese single vineyard  
  • 2013 Marmellata Sangiovese single vineyard
  • 2013 Dos Oakies Sangiovese single vineyard
  • 2012 Original Grandpere Zinfandel 


January 11, 2017: Brian Loring


Let’s start with the name: Loring Wine Company. What? Not ‘Winery’ or ‘Vineyards’? Last name Loring, therefore Loring Wine Company. Ahhh, but what about the "Wine Company" part? That is an homage to Josh Jensen at Calera whiich is actually Calera Wine Company. Since he was the guy who showed Brian that great Pinot Noir could be made in California, Brian decided to name his winery Loring Wine Company to "honor” Josh.  


Brian’s first experiences with Pinot Noir were from Domaine Dujac, Henri Jayer, and DRC. Needless to say, he found domestic Pinot Noir jungle less than satisfying. It wasn't until he literally stumbled into Calera that he found a California Pinot Noir that he could love. Eventually Brian met Norm Beko from Cottonwood Canyon at an Orange County Wine Society tasting and his career as a wine maker was launched! 


Brian's philosophy on making wine is that the fruit is EVERYTHING. What happens in the vineyard determines the quality of the wine. 


Wines poured: 

  • 2014 Durell Vineyard Chardonnay
  • 2015 Sierra Mar Vineyard Chardonnay
  • 2015 Rosella's Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • 2015 Garys' Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • 2015 Clos Pepe Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • 2015 Kessler-Haak Vineyard Pinot Noir 
  • 2015 Keefer Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • 2015 Rancho La Vina Vineyard Pinot Noir 



Be sure to check out the LWC website. It is an interesting read with a lot more information than we can put here.  www.loringwinecompany.com