This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Halter Ranch Vineyard Head Winemaker Kevin Sass


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast with Halter Ranch head winemaker, Kevin Sass; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/08/19/wine-guy-mike-for-august-19/

Last week’s podcast with Author Becky Sue Epstein; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/08/12/wine-guy-mike-for-august-12/

YouTube preview of last week’s show with Becky Sue Epstein; http://youtu.be/ZrIZX-k9pHc

Recent Podcast with head winemaker of Balletto Vineyards & Winery, Mr. Anthony Beckman; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/29/wine-guy-mike-for-july-29/

Recent week’s podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Recent week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment; Perfect Patio Wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana

Hansjörg Wyss

Hansjörg Wyss

Successful Swiss-born businessman Hansjörg Wyss is a man with vision, and a man on a mission, of sustainability that is.  Wyss is a devoted philanthropist and land conservationist, he is also the founder of Halter Ranch Vineyard in Paso Robles, California.

Halter Ranch Vineyard

Halter Ranch Vineyard

Paso Robles AVA is located in the Central Coast Region of California along U.S. Highway 101, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.  This area supports the growth of more than 40 grape varietals. Bordeaux, Rhone, and a handful of other grape varietals produce the outstanding wines this area is noted for.

The Paso Robles AVA has the greatest daily temperature variant of any viticulture area in California.  There are many distinct microclimates, diverse soil composition, and a long growing season.  Halter Ranch Vineyard is located West of Highway 101 near the western boundary of the Paso Robles AVA.  The Halter Ranch vineyards are influenced by cool ocean breezes from the Pacific Ocean to the west, and elevation from the Santa Lucia Mountain Range to the east.  The vineyards of Halter Ranch are planted to south facing slopes rising to 1800ft. of elevation, thus creating nearly perfect terroir producing grapes of intense varietal character.

Halter Ranch Vineyard dates back to 1880’s and was part of a 3600 acre holding owned by San Francisco businessman Edwin Smith.  Smith built a grand house on the property and began dealing in farm produce and livestock; he also invested heavily in silver mining.  Smith had been an avid horse racing enthusiast, keeping a private box at Tanforan Race Track and a stable of thoroughbreds on his estate.

The estate was broken up in the early 1990’s and in 1943 the MacGillivray family purchased 1200 acres.   The family farmed the land for the next 50 years and began planting grapes in 1996.  In 2000, Hansjörg Wyss purchased 900 acres of the ranch, renovated Smith’s historic farmhouse, and enlarged the vineyard to its present 250 acres, leaving nearly 750 acres unfarmed supporting the ranches natural habitat and old growth oak groves.

New state of the art facilities have been built to complement the world class grapes grown by Halter Ranch.  The new winery is multi-level and utilizes a gravity flow system; this allows the winemaker to handle the fruit in the gentlest way possible with no pumping from the de-stemmer, to the tanks, and ultimately the barrels.   

Halter Ranch adheres to the Sustainability in Practice (SIP™) Vineyard Certification Program.  

SIP™ certification assures that a vineyard practices integrated farming and is committed to environmental stewardship, equitable treatment of employees, and economic viability.  Incorporating all Organic farming techniques and nearly all aspects of Biodynamic farming, SIP™ requires more stringent farming practices in many other key areas as seen in the chart below.

Topic of Interest

Sustainability in Practice (SIP)TM

USDA-National Organic Program

Biodynamics®

Annual Certification

X

X

X

Biodiversity

X

X

X

Vineyard Management

X

X

X

Soil Conservation

X

X

X

Pest Management

X

X

X

Water Quality

X

X

X

Organic Approved Pesticides

X

X

X

Reduced Risk Synthetic Pesticides*

X

 

 

Water Conservation

X

 

 

Energy Conservation

X

 

 

Air Quality

X

 

 

Social Equity

 

 

 

Continuing Education

X

 

 

Fruit Quality

X

 

 

Economic Viability

X

 

 

GMO Prohibition

n/a for winegrapes

X

X

Homepathic Remedies

 

 

X

Incorporate Forces of Nature

 

 

X

Lead by Kevin Sass, head winemaker for Halter Ranch Vineyard, the philosophy is simple; grow premium grapes, incorporate Old World technique and New world technologies, handle fruit gently, and produce elegant Bordeaux and Rhone style wines.  Mission sustainable, mission accomplished.

Halter Ranch Winemaker Kevin Sass

Halter Ranch Winemaker Kevin Sass

Today’s podcast with Kevin Sass, head winemaker for Halter Ranch Vineyard; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/08/19/wine-guy-mike-for-august-19/

Last year Halter Ranch founder Hansjörg Wyss contributed $35 million toward the protection of 1 million acres of grasslands in Montana.  Governor Schweitzer of Montana celebrated the Halter Ranch owner,(huff.to/NU4fsd), and enjoys Halter Ranch wines at various events.  Halter Ranch wines will be available in the Montana market in the near term future.

WineGuyMike™ reviewed three of the Southern Rhône Valley style wines from  Halter Ranch Vineyard, all three were beautifully made and true to the Old World style in which they were crafted by winemaker Sass.

I have two inexpensive Rhône Valley wines that I’m recommending for you this week.  Both are available especially priced at Liquid Planet, Missoula’s “Best of Beverage”, located in the Heart of Downtown Missoula.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

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This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Wine Cellar Craftsman and Designer Philippe Leiritz


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

This week’s podcast; Philippe Leiritz and Your Custom Cellar http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/08/05/wine-guy-mike-for-august-5/

Recent podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Last week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

WineGuyMike with Perfect Patio Wines on KECI NBC Montana Today; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Philippe Leiritz

Philippe Leiritz from YourCustomCellar.com

Philippe Leiritz was this week’s featured guest on the WineGuyMike Radio Show.  Leiritz is a native of Alsace, France and by professional trade worked as a mechanical engineer.  Leiritz and his wife Frederique worked together in Geneva, Switzerland prior to moving to and settling in Michigan.  Leiritz continued working in the engineering field but had no time to spend with his family. Frederique and Philippe made a decision to move to Missoula, Montana in pursuit of their dreams.

Collectively the Leiritz family is owner and proprietor of the Missoula Winery and Event Center.  Frederique who is from Champagne, France grew up and worked in a winery.  She is now the winemaker for her family winery and Philippe designs and builds wine cellars. 

Leiritz truly is a master craftsman with the mechanical engineering background.  A functional combination that comes together in the form of beautiful wine cellars custom built for all types of homes and businesses.

Learning how light, humidity and temperature are crucial for the finest wine storage.  There are four things that affect wines as they are stored; Temperature, Humidity, Light, and bottles need be stored horizontally on their side.

  1. Temperature 55°F – 59°F
  2. Humidity 50-70%
  3. Light – wines that are stored in areas with ample light often time indicates incorrect storage temperature.  Constant direct light is another factor to consider as it will begin breaking down wine.

In today’s world 90% of wines are made to be drunk within one year.  If you are a collector of vintage wines you already know how and where you should be storing your wines.  The bottom line; temperature is far more critical than a dark wine cellar.

  1. Lying the bottle down is critical, especially if you intend to store the wine for any length of time. The purpose of this is to keep the cork moist, if your bottle is setting upright there is no liquid to keep the cork wet and swollen thus sealing the bottle correctly and keeping the oxygen out until you are ready to drink the wine.

With synthetic corks do not need contact with the wine to protect the bottle but then you should still be laying the bottle down.  This is important for unfiltered wines with sediment being spread out evenly through a horizontally stored bottle rather than collecting on the bottom of one that is stored upright.  Remember the wine in the bottle is alive and changing every day and the sediment in the bottle plays its part in this too, but that is another story for another day…

Commercial wine rack at a local tasting room

Commercial wine rack at a local tasting room

Master craftsman Leiritz also points out the choice of wood used in a cellar is critical for your cellar.  Redwood, mahogany, oak and alder are a few of the recommended choices for cellars.  Price, relative humidity, home décor, and personal preference all become a part of making the right choice for your wine cellar, Leiritz’s expertise is crucial when it comes to assisting you in these decisions.  

It is important to note that Leiritz builds cellars for all types of homes from modest to elegant custom homes.  There are even nice small racks that allow for proper wine storage for common guys like me.

This was a fun and informative radio show this week and Philippe Leiritz craftsmanship is extraordinary, having a nice cellar makes collecting and drinking wine just that much more enjoyable.  For more information please visit the website at; http://www.yourcustomcellar.com/home   

Here are two WineGuyMike wines that I recommend for your wine rack, pick them up at Missoula’s finest wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet located in the Heart of Downtown Missoula.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Simply What You Need To Know About Wine


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Last week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

What’s Important to Know about Wine

This is WineGuyMike, good Sunday morning and welcome back to this week’s show.  Before I delve into this week’s topic I wanted to let you know that next week my featured guest will be Scott Morrison from the Russian River Valley.  Scott is winemaker the Paul Hobbs label, Crossbarn.  You will not want to miss this interesting show.

This week I’m sharing with you what I believe is really important to know about wine.  I have developed the WineGuyMike Wine Template©, a 10 point simple look that allows you to understand any wine easily.  This is important to know for many reasons, it empowers you if you are shopping for wine, tasting wine, or helping someone else to better understand wine. 

You may have noticed the last few weeks on my blog that I have been displaying the wines I’m sharing with you by utilizing the wine templates.  I feel very strongly that keeping wine as simple as possible is ultimately important.  As you may know we don’t encourage any wine snobbery here on the WineGuyMike show.

The templates generally include ten different points that is necessary for you to understand what a wines personality and a wines physical attributes.  The new templates also help you to better understand your palate and the taste profile of a wine that are appealing to you.

Here is the list and a description of 10 points I cover on each WineGuyMike Wine Template©.

  1. Style – New World or Old World

–         The style of wines can be significant depending on the winemaker’s philosophy and whether they make their wines in an Old World or New World Style.  Remember Old World wines from the Old World are made to complement foods that are grown or raised in that particular area or region.  The Old World wines often are restrained, simple and lower in alcohol content.  Wine from the New World typically has been made to drink; pairing foods with a New World wine is a bit more complicated for the average wine drinker, unlike the Old World you know what to pair the wine with if you understand what the common foods from a particular region are. 

  1. Region or Area – Where is the wine from?

–         In the Old World viticulturists and winemakers have let the land and weather, also known as terroir, dictate what grapes are grown where.  The New World now is also acutely focused on terroir, it is critical to growing grapes that reflect a true expression of the grapes varietal and tha sense of place.  Grapes that are grown in areas that are not best suited for the varietal may produce wines that are not pleasing.

  1. Grapes – What is the grape type?

–         What is your grape style?  Do you like light, medium, or full bodied wines?  Do you like wines that are dry or have a subtle sweetness to them?  Do you like wines that are lush or may have a bit of zing to them?  Knowing the grape varietals and their particular characteristics is vital to your enjoyment of wine.

  1. Designation – Old World Laws vs. New World Regions

–         In the Old World there are wines laws that dictate where a grape is grown, and how much can be produced, how grapes are pruned, harvested, and in some cases how the wines are made.  The New World is now beginning to implement some of these requirements although not nearly to the degree of the Old World.  In France you will notice on a label A.O.C., in Italy you have the D.O.C. or D.O.C.G and Spain you have the D.O.  The New World now typically identifies the origin, AVA or American Viticulture Area, of a wine.  These areas are geographically defined.  American wine law identifies on the label whether a wine is Estate produced and bottled, there are also requirements about how much of a varietal must be in a bottle of wine in order to be identified as such.

  1. Vintage – What year was the wine produced?

–         This is important to know as wines from the same vineyards vary mainly depending on weather.  Each year, just like vegetables crops, the harvest will be different. 

  1. Color – Colors vary and tell part of a wines story

–         In white wines this varies from Pale Yellow Green at one end of the spectrum to Brown. This is due to age, varietal, and influence from oak barrels.  Red wines vary from Purple to Brown, white wines gain color as they age and red wines lose color with age.

  1. Nose – This is what we sense when we put our nose to the glass

–         Aroma; a generally positive term describing the smell of a wine, for example, fruity, earthy, or even spicy.

–         Bouquet; this refers to the scent that a wine develops with age.  This is not to be confused with the wines aroma.

  1. Palate – That’s right what do we taste, what is the flavor?

–         We can sense four different tastes and possible five but that is still debatable, and they are;  sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and perhaps an ability to sense MSG otherwise known as umami

  1. Finish – What’s left behind?

–         The aftertaste of the wine, flavor and sensation.  How long does it last and what are the subtle nuances?

  1.  Vinification– What do you need to know about how the wine was made?

–         There are techniques that are used by winemakers that greatly affect a wines style, this is important to know.

Here are the wines that I’m recommending for you this week, yes in the WineGuyMike Wine Template© format.  Please let me know what you think.  The wines I’m sharing are great inexpensive food friendly wines that are available at Liquid Planet. 

Pair this wine with; Oysters on the half shell, Salmon, Tuna, Tenderloin of Pork.

Sale Price until 7/20/2012  $13.99

Pair this wine with; Barbeque, Pork Chop with herbs, Fowl.

Sale Price until 7/20/2012  $9.99

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

The wine selections from today’s show are available today, all especially priced until 7/20, at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

“Wine Just for the Health of It” part 2 this week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

Each week WineGuyMike™ will be giving away gift certificates from our sponsors.  If your question is selected as WineGuyMike’s™ topic of discussion you will win one of the $20.00 – $25.00 gift certificates.  Good luck and send your questions to WineGuyMike™ on his Facebook fan page.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/10/30/wine-guy-mike-for-october-30th/

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors

      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula www.sleepcity.com

 W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Welcome to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this Sunday morning.  This week I had the pleasure of sitting down with a man who enjoys great wines from around the world.  Dr.Stan Wilson from Missoula, Montana is a world renowned Cardiologist and inventor.

You might ask why such an accomplished doctor lives in a small city like Missoula?  Missoula is host to the International Heart Institute at St. Patrick Hospital which is the number one program for heart surgical procedures and research in the world.  The other reason Missoula may be one of the coolest places to live is The University of Montana.  Culture, art, wine, excellent medical care, and great restaurants just make this university centered city a great place to live and work.  In Dr. Wilson’s case, practice his cardiology specialty.

About The International Heart Institute of Montana http://ihimontana.org/

The International Heart Institute of Montana (IHI) brings together a recognized team of cardiologists, heart surgeons, nurses and researchers to perform advanced cardiac procedures and to search for new and improved ways to treat heart disease. Founded in 1995, IHI involves physicians and staff of St. Patrick Hospital and Health Sciences Center and The University of Montana.

What is The Women’s Heart Health Program offered at the IHI?

Many of us are surprised to learn that one in three women will die from cardiovascular disease.  Heart disease and stroke kill more women than all cancers combined, including breast cancer.  It remains an underappreciated fact that more women than men die of cardiovascular disease every year.

The Women’s Heart Health Program is a comprehensive way to prevent, diagnose and treat heart disease in women.  Heart disease may be especially difficult to diagnose in women as they may have different symptoms than men.  This program helps women to identify and reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy.  The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of “good” cholesterol and protecting against artery damage.

“Wine Just for the Health of It” is part 2 of an ongoing series on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©.  This mission of my show is to share great wine and food in a moderate healthful way.  Sometimes we forget about the wonderful and natural health benefits that both red and white wine provide as part of a daily lifestyle that we enjoy.

The American Heart Association recommends a daily glass of wine to keep the heart doctors away.  Woman should drink one 5oz. glass and for men 10oz. is the recommended amount.  They medical community is quick to say if you don’t drink alcohol now do not start.  The recommendation here is over consumption may could lead to alcoholism, while increased caloric intake could contribute to obesity which increases the risk of diabetic complications.

As Doctor Wilson points out there is plenty of science to back up the health benefits of the daily recommended amount of wine.  In fact studies show that drinking the recommended amount of wine may reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 50%.  Medical associations now recommend white wine for those that have respiratory issues. 

The right diet to complement the recommended moderate consumption of wine is a way that we can still enjoy all that we love about wine and food.  It is very important to examine our lifestyle and think about how we can live in a healthier way.  Remember the old saying, “you are what you eat”, it still holds true.  WineGuyMike™ would like to recommend this website for great information on healty eating, recipes, and exercise recommendations.  www.Heart.org is a site that I found to be outstanding.

Dr. Wilson, the inventor, developed what is known as Bifurcated Stent.  The stent is a stainless steel tube that looks like a microscopic piece of chain-link fence.  An incision in the patient’s groin is the point of entry for the physician to snake the stent up to the damaged artery.  A balloon opens up a path way to insert on the end of the wire.  A patient’s own tissue will grow around the stent in four to six weeks.  Stents act as reinforcement for arteries.

20 percent of the time a blockage is at a junction, or bifurcation.  Stents on each branch would leave a junction unprotected and a stent placed at a junction could block one of the arteries.

The bifurcated stent goes in on the end of one wire while the cardiologist snakes it to the site, imagine a Y-shaped device with its legs tied together.  Once the bifurcated stent reaches the site the wire releases and then the stent opens up and is guided into the bifurcation.

The bifurcated stent is in use in Europe and is nearing FDA approval in the United States.  This magical device should begin to be used in cardiology procedures in the United States next year.   Dr. Wilson gets to be the magician.

As a result of Dr. Wilsons Bifurcated Stent invention he is invited as key note speaker for heart conferences around the world.  Many of these conferences take place in finest wine regions of the world.  This week I’m sharing Dr. Wilson’s favorite wine, the E Guigal Gigondas.  I invite you to listen to the entire conversation between Dr. Wilson and I.  the podcast is available at; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/10/30/wine-guy-mike-for-october-30th/

E. Guigal wine from the Rhone Valley of France

the domaine of E. Guigal is located at Ampuis, and was founded in 1946 by Etienne Guigal, who had apprenticed at the negociant Vidal Fleury starting in 1924.  Etienne’s son Marcel has been the winemaker of the family firm since 1962.  He has preserved the tradition of the Rhône region and the scrupulous methods of his father, without hesitating to modernize and update his methods in ways that improve the traditional style without violating the spirit of the appellation.  Philippe Guigal, Marcel’s son, is poised to carry on these traditions of innovation and quality well into the 21st century.

E. Guigal is both a domaine and negociant, vinifying grapes from its estate vineyards in Côte Rôtie, Condrieu, Crozes Hermitage, Hermitage, and St. Joseph.  Guigal buys grapes from other growers in Côte Rôtie and Condrieu to supplement his estate production, and buys wines from other AOCs, including all of his southern Rhône production.  All wines are aged, finished and bottled in the firm’s own cellars, which have undergone several renovations and expansions since 1995.  A new cellar completed in 2006 has allowed the Guigals to store all of their production under their own roof for the first time.

The Rhone Valley is one of France’s most important wine growing regions covering a long strip of land from Avignon in the south to Vienne in the north.  This area produces more appellation wine than any other part of France, except that of the Bordeaux region.  This very diverse region is split into two sections.  The two main red grapes grown in the Rhone are Syrah and Grenache.  The north which is a semi-continental environment is dominated by the Syrah grape and prestigious appellations which include Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage and St Joseph.  The south has a Mediterranean climate and produces mainly blended wines from varieties such as Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Carignan.  

Syrah is a grape that is a big powerful full bodied red that is supple, smooth, and rich with well mannered mellow tannins.  Flavor wise a Syrah can be slightly spicy, fruity like black cherries, or some may have a deep nutty flavoring.  Grenache is a grape that is famous for use as a blending grape in both France and Spain. Grenache is also full bodied with berry flavors.  It lends itself well to nice full reds or roses that produce fruity or berry like flavor.  The Mourvedreplays a strong supporting role as a blending grape that is fruity with berry flavor and tannin that help provide structure in the red wines I’m recommending today.

E Guigal Gigondas

The vineyards of Gigondas are planted on hillsides at the foot of Mont Ventoux, a region directly north-east of the town of Orange in the southern Rhône Valley.  The Rhone Valley is home to very rocky soils that collect heat from the abundant sunshine that is common in the Rhone.  The grape varieties are similar to Chateauneuf-du-Pape; Grenache (60%), Mourvèdre (30%), and Syrah (10%) predominate. The dry, stony slopes produce substantial wines that are deep in color, with flavors of ripe summer fruits and savory herbs.  This E Guigal Gigondas is polished, refined, and drinks well now or can be laid down for many years.

E Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge

This is a beautiful wine that is inexpensive. This blend from the well known Guigal family is 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, and 10% Mourvèdre.  The grapes are grown in pebbles and alluvia soil matter, sediment, limestone, granite.  This provides great drainage for the grape vines.

The grapes for this wine spend a great deal of time with the skins are fermented in a cool temperature controlled environment.  Aged 1 ½ years in oak but this wine presents with only a minimal oak influence. Visually this wine is dark red with great depth, and a beautiful shimmer. On the nose this wine has an aroma of red berries, fresh fruit, and just a hint of spice.  The palate is ample, not to full, really a great example of an affordable Cotes du Rhone.  This wine is balanced and very well made.  Nice tannin and spice that is enticing with a long rich finish.  This wine is very aromatic in a very pleasing way.

The Guigal Cotes du Rhone Red will pair nicely with cold cuts, cheese, wild game birds, pheasant and quail in particular.

E Guigal Cotes du Rhone Blanc

Marcel Guigal has strayed from his Father’s blanc blend of Clairette, Grenache Blanc, and Bourboulenc. This delicious blanc blend now includes significant proportions of Viognier (now 50%), Marsanne (from St.-Péray), and Roussanne.  Fermentation at cool temperatures in stainless steel tanks produces a wine that is fresh, rich, and complex.  The beautiful nose of this wine has aromas of honeysuckle, pear, kiwi, and minerals.  This dry white from E Guigal pairs well with appetizers, grilled fish, or spicy Asian preparations.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

Grape Farming the South Central Coast Wine Country of California with Nicholas Miller on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

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This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© is 5th generation farmer Nicholas Miller.  The Miller family began farming in California growing lemons and avocados, but in the late 1960’s Nicholas’s Late Uncle and Father purchased land in the Santa Maria Valley AVA in the South Central Coast of California.

Originally Franciscan Missionaries from Mexico traveled North to what is now California in the late 18th century.  Wine was a daily staple and was part of a daily ritual with each of the missions.  The Padres planted vineyards that supported the mission’s use of wine.  Between 1848 – 1855 the California Gold Rush brought many Europeans to California and the focus on wine became even more important.

Farming grapes in the South Central Coast wine country region of California began in earnest in the early 1960’s when William De Mattie and Uriel J. Nielson bought 100 acres of cattle ranch followed by Bill Collins who planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Sylvaner.  These vineyards were the first commercial operations in the Santa Maria Valley.

The Santa Maria Valley AVA is the Nothernmost area of Santa Barbara County, not to mention that it is one of the most unique viticulture areas in the world.  The Miller Families Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills vineyards are located in this unique Santa Maria Valley AVA.  What makes this area so unusual are the way the mountains run perpendicular to the coast as opposed to  all other mountain ranges in California that run parallel to the coast line.  This is the only occurrence of transverse mountain ranges on the coast of North or South America. The San Rafael mountains on the North and Solomon Hills on the South literally create a natural funnel of cool air and moisture that is like a pipeline to the Santa Maria Valley AVA.  This is a Region 1 zone with 1 being the coolest and Region 5 being the warmest.

The cool northwest maritime breezes and the Santa Maria pipeline push this cool moist air directly into the Bien Nacido Vineyards while Solomon hills is situated in the western most area on the Santa Maria Valley AVA and enjoys the constant cool breeze from the Pacific Ocean.  Being located in this Region 1 zone provides the grapes in this area the longest possible growing season or as its known, hang time, of any grapes in California.  What does this translate to in the bottle of wine you and I will enjoy; wines that are complex, nice acidity and a balance of fruit with intense flavor due to a naturally low yield.

The vineyards in this Santa Maria Valley AVA are planted mid-slope and plentiful with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varietals.  The Eastern area of this AVA supports Bordeaux and Rhone type varietals.

In 1969 the Miller family decided to get into the business of growing grapes and with their expertise of citrus and avocado orchards they had a good idea about where to grow grapes, in some of the best grape terrior in the world, the Santa Maria Valley AVA.  The Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills vineyards are known and respected world wide.

It was an honor to have grape farming expert and Thornhill Companies spokesperson(Miller Family Companies), Nicholas Miller, on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this week.  Nicholas was kind enough to walk me through the family operations. 

Let’s start with the Bien Nacido Vineyard; this vineyard is planted primarily with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, and Syrah. The original plantings came from stock grown by the University of California at Davis and grow on their own rootstock. Bien Nacido also has the distinction of being the first vineyard in California to grow cool climate Syrah.

Solomon Hills Vineyards is the most recently developed vineyard by the Miller family.  Soils in the Solomon Hills Vineyards are composed primarily of ocean floor sandy loams.  The maritime influence results in wines that are crisp, bright, and an elegant balance.  Two of the highest rated Pinot Noirs by Robert Parker Jr. have come from this vineyard in the Santa Maria valley AVA.

What I really took away from this story besides the fact that the Miller family produces world class grapes in their vineyards from the South Central Coast wine region is their level of commitment to the wine industry.

Thornhill companies which is the parent company umbrella of not only the vineyards but other Miller family companies that provide a complete array of  support facilities and services.   These facilities and services have been   made available to small boutique labels and larger winemakers alike.

Central Coast Wine Services supports the Wine Industry by providing a full Wine Service business.  This operation assists both grape growers and wineries by expanding their alternatives for fermenting, aging, storing, finishing, bottling, tasting with their clients, and storing their case goods production. In addition, the Miller family provides a quality wine laboratory, a retail delivery service, local consolidation, less expensive nationwide shipping, direct shipping to reciprocal states, and wine club operations that now can operate under a single roof.

Central Coast Wine Services has a truck size scale, a crusher-destemmer, multiple presses, almost 2,000,000 gallons of stainless steel tanks, space to store more than 10,000 barrels, two bottling lines, room for approximately 485,00 cases of wine, a small producers crush pad, a rail siding, numerous truck docks, a conference room with an attached kitchen for wine tasting, and space rented both to other wineries and wine related, services businesses, including one of the foremost wine labs in California, currently comprises over 250,000 square feet.

The remarkable growth of the Central Coast Wine Services has paralleled the growth and recognition of Central Coast wine production.  The Central Coast Wine Services has recently started a sister organization; The Paso Robles Wine Services, which is located in Paso Robles, to serve small and moderate size wineries in that area.

When I asked Nicholas to suggest a few great winemakers that you and I should watch for he had these recommendations to share:

Qupé; is dedicated to producing handcrafted Rhône varietals and Chardonnay from California’s Central Coast. They employ traditional winemaking techniques to make wines that are true to type and exhibit terrior. Their goal is to make wines with impeccable balance that can be enjoyed in their youth, yet because of the good acidity from cool vineyard sites can also benefit from ageing.  http://qupe.com/

Au Bon Climat; The winery has cultivated an international reputation for its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. Jim Clendenen, the “Mind Behind” Au Bon Climat, is recognized worldwide for his classically-styled wines (in addition to his Burgundian-focused ABC wines, Jim is also highly regarded for his Italian and other French varietals). In 1989 and 1990 Au Bon Climat was on Robert Parker’s short list of Best Wineries in the World.  http://www.aubonclimat.com/about.html

Tantara; Since 1997, Tantara has been dedicated to producing the very finest Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah.  Located on the beautiful Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley (Santa Barbara County), our wines are sourced from top Central Coast growers and vineyard designate from vineyards such as Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills.  http://tantarawinery.com/

J Wilkes; They are dedicated to producing only small lots of handcrafted wines from the Santa Maria Valley while maintaining the natural delicacy of the grapes. Over the past two decades, J. Wilkes wines have been made by sourcing high quality fruit from Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Vineyards.  http://jwilkes.com/

I would like to thank Nicholas Miller for joining me on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this week and sharing the rich history and story from 5 generations of the Miller Family.  Congratulations Nicholas to you and your wife on the birth of your new baby, the next generation.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

Cotes du Ventoux, “Rhone done Right” with WineGuyMike™, and Domaine De Fondreche


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM. The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”. The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© on both radio stations on Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

Each week WineGuyMike™ will be giving away gift certificates from our sponsors. If your question is selected as WineGuyMike’s™ topic of discussion you will win one of the $20.00 – $25.00 gift certificates. Good luck and send your questions to WineGuyMike™ on his Facebook fan page.

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Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip. Enjoy lunch or dinner with a glass or bottle of wine, they have an amazing wine menu.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

The Cotes du Ventoux is a great place to take a bicycle ride and a great place to think about the next time you want to venture out and try a wine that is different than what you normally drink. Mont Ventoux is visited annually by a peloton of bike riders in a race known as the Tour de France, a race near and dear to my heart, a race that I can’t wait to watch every year. Yes I am a bike rider and commuter so I find myself jonesin’ for the Tour every year. Let me share a little secret with you, the two wine I’m going to share with you today will have the same effect on you as the Tour de France has on me. These two wines are so good they are just downright wicked. That’s right they are that good and that interesting, so are a couple of people that I going to tell you about as well.

Let’s start by talking about the place, Cotes du Ventoux a region in the Rhone Valley in southeastern France. The Rhone Valley is home to very rocky soils that collect heat from the abundant sunshine that is common in the Rhone. The rocky soils thus stay warm at night, the vines in the southern Rhone love this. The southern Rhone receives 30% more sunshine hours per year than the regions of Bordeaux or Burgundy. The wines of the southern Rhone are vastly different then wine produced in northern Rhone.  The reason for this is the soil, location, and the grapes that are allowed to be used by the AOC, the French governing body that oversees winemaking in France.

The two main red grapes grown in the Rhone are Syrah and Grenache.  Syrah is a grape that is a big powerful full bodied red that is supple, smooth, and rich with well mannered mellow tannins.  Flavor wise a Syrah can be slightly spicy, fruity like black cherries, or some may have a deep nutty flavoring.  Grenache is a grape that is famous for use as a blending grape in both France and Spain. Grenache is also full bodied with berry flavors.  It lends itself well to nice full reds or roses that produce fruity or berry like flavor.  I’m also going to mention Mourvedre which is used in both wines that I’m sharing with you today.  Spain loves this grape and its popularity is on the rise as a varietal produced wine in that country.  Fruity with berry flavor and tannins that are strong give this grape a strong supporting roll with the wines we are talking about today.

Wines from France are numerous and confusing to most and my focus on the WineGuyMike™ radio show and my accompanying blog post each week is to demystify wine.  One piece of information that I always look for on my bottle of French wine is the producer.  Why is this important? In France and in the many regions of France wines are not always estate produced and bottled, many times grapes are purchased by suppliers and exporters and the wine is then made by their respective winemakers under the stringent French winemaking laws.  So the focus is to know the suppliers and exporters as you wouldn’t know the winemaker(s) in many cases.

Robert Kacher Selections

Robert Kacher Selections

Now it’s time to talk about Bobby Kacher.  When you see imported by Robert Kacher Selections I promise you these wines at all price points are going to be very good wines, that is all Bobby deals with.  Bobby has been in this business for decades and has been in it with dogged determination and tenacity, in other words this man has passion for wine.  He bleeds red wine that’s just how committed to you the consumer he is.  He is only a handful of importers to ever receive the prestigious honor of Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole.  Bobby has very personal relationships with every wine producer whose wine he imports.  Not only that he interacts with every aspect of the grape growing all the way through the winemaking process.  This truly speaks to the level of respect he has garnered over decades by winery owners and winemakers of the wines he imports from France, not many people ever get to interact in this way or at this level in the vineyards of France as you can perhaps imagine.

Bobby’s focus on wine is typically estate-grown wines that exude authenticity, earthiness, and suit the individual lifestyles, cuisines and palates of American wine drinkers.  Recently Robert Parker, a well known wine expert named Bobby as “one of the 20 most influential wine personalities of the past 20 years,” and I agree.

Now I would like to introduce you to the wine, the winemaker, and his piece of terrior in the southern Rhone Valley.  This winery the Domaine De Fondreche is located in the Ventoux at the base of Mont Ventoux.  Because of its location the grapes receive a lot of sun and heat and to balance that the vineyards have a constant breeze that allows the grapes not to get scorched by the sun.  The grapes come from two different vineyards, one that is comprised of clay and limestone gravel.  The second vineyard has soils made up of sand and silt which produce wines of finesse, freshness with moderate alcohol levels. The alluvial soil matter from the ancient dice and stony surface-textured, and sandy clay soils that are situated on this plateau where air currents and high temperatures occur allow the grapes from these two vineyards to flourish and produce wines of amazing quality.

Sebastien Vincenti is the winemaker who produced these two incredible wines, Domaine De Fondreche Nadal and Persia.  Sebastien worked for Andre Brunel in the famed Chateauneuf-du-pape region which is where Bobby Kacher discovered him.  Sebastien is a young upstart winemaker that is intensely devoted to land, grape, and winemaking.  This viticulturist and winemaker cares about this process in a way that sets him apart from many that farm and practice the craft of winemaking.  This is his passion and if Bobby Kacher has red wine in his veins, Sebastien bleeds wine and dirt from his.  The grapes that Domaine De Fondreche produces are organically and bio-dynamically grown and produced. These wines are made in a way that you instantly understand that they are not overdone, not underdone, not over manipulated, they actually approach perfection.  Sebastien has let the process take care of itself through employing farming and winemaking techniques that smack of incredible hands off approach.  But boy you understand completely that this is all about love of land and love of his craft.  Sebastien I applaud you in your efforts, these wines are simple, elegant, and adventurous.  Really can it get any better?  Not so much for me, these wines absolutely leave me wanting and needing more.  Thank you Bobby and Sebastien!

On to the wines:

Domaine De Fonreche "Persia"

Domaine De Fonreche "Persia"

“Persia” is a wine made from 30-40 year-old Syrah vines with a splash of Mourvèdre.  The wine is aged completely in barrels, varying from 300 liters to 228 liters.  Persia requires 2-3 years aging from its release and can be kept for more than a decade.  The wine is inky and displays brawny black fruit and earth with tremendous depth, complexity and length.  Only about 800 cases are ever made.  This wine is a blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre, this is an absolutely stunning wine.  The nose of this wine is big and so very interesting, it hits you right up front with smoke, earth, wodd, bacon, and a dry beef jerky.  then this wine transitions to  the palate  and you experience  beautifully defined wine with silky smooth tannins, touches of raspberry, liquorices, blackberry and minerals; the finish is delightful, elegant, and long.  This wine fills the mouth like no other; it will absolutely rock your world.

Domaine De Fondreche "Nadal"

Domaine De Fondreche "Nadal"

The cuvée Nadal is a wine produced from equal parts old vine Syrah and Grenache.  The Syrah finishes alcoholic fermentation and goes through malolactic fermentation in 300 liter casks, while the Grenache is finished in tank.  Nadal requires 1-2 years aging from its release and can be kept for more than a decade.  This wine is inky and displays fresh and juicy red fruits with tremendous depth, complexity and length.

The 2005 was a great vintage from the Rhone and is one of the best I have ever tasted from  Domaine De Fondreche.  The 2005 Nadal is comprised of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre, all from vines that are over 70 years old.  The nose of this wine initially produces an aroma of smoke and dust which is wonderful and then once it immerses on the palate the Nadel exhibits nuances of kirsch, licorice, and black raspberries, and subtly displays an bouguet of early spring floral notes.   The wine is purple in color and appears very dense to the eye.  This wine has been aged in small oak barrels but typical of well made French wine does not taste nor have aromas from the wood, it is its own juice crafted by the amazing Sebastien Vincenti.  The Nadal has a great balance of fruit and acid and will drink well for the next 5 years.

I highly recommend these wines, they are a must try.  Even if these wines fall within a weekend special occasion category price wise you need to taste them.  If it’s not a special occasion it will be once you taste these two gems.

Both of these wines overwhelmingly receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval®

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"