Eagle Eye has deep Western Pennsylvania roots — co-owner Bill Wolf was born in Clairton, where his grandfather was a pre-Prohibition liquor wholesaler. With wife Roxanne (whose distinctive artwork adorns their labels) he founded Eagle Eye in 1999 and released their first vintage in 2004. All Eagle Eye fruit is sourced from their alphaWOLF vineyard on 9 acres of sustainably farmed loam and sandy loam soils in eastern Napa’s Gordon Valley.
Born of a shared passion for the nuances of Central Coast Pinot, winemaker Coby Parker-Garcia (Claiborne & Churchill) and wife Katie Noonan bottled their first vintage under the El Lugar name in 2013. Their Pinot Noir Blanc is pressed off the skins immediately so that no pigment is extracted, then fermented in stainless steel and neutral oak. 107 cases produced.
Hungarian-born, fourth-generation winemaker Czaba Szakál left his tech sector job to found En Garde in the Russian River Valley in 2007. For his Petite Sirah, Szakál sources fruit from Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard in the Livermore Valley situated on 64 acres of well-drained alluvial bench and shaley loam soils. The 2013 vintage was a Wine Enthusiast top 100 wine of 2016.
Winemakers Micah Joseph Wirth and Adrian Jewell Manspeaker are Sonoma garagistes in a very literal sense — their first vintage as Joseph Jewell was made with one ton of grapes and a used basket press in a Windsor garage in 2006. Success has led to an upgrade in equipment and digs, but the pair remain focused on capturing the essence of rigorously selected and managed vineyard sites in the Russian River and Dry Creek Valleys, as well as farther north in Humboldt County.
Lynn & Anisya Fritzr purchased the Quail Hill vineyards in 1980, over the next 35 years he would purchase the properties around the Quail Hill to comprise a single stunning estate bordered by the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed. Over the years the winemaking was overseen by Shane Finley and now Pete Soergel (Soergel orchards). Lynmar believes in sustainability in its vineyards.
For years, Fred Peterson’s Bradford Mountain estate vineyard produced premium quality fruit for Paul Draper of Ridge and others until he finally decided to put his own name on the label in 1987. With son Jamie as head winemaker, Peterson stresses sustainable farming methods and a “low tech / high touch” approach in the cellar to allow site, varietal, and vintage to speak resonantly for themselves, and actively seeks growers like Alvin Tollini in Mendocino who share his philosophy.
For those not as accustomed to leaning against the rail, Post Parade refers to the moment when thoroughbred horses walk on to the racetrack, minutes before stepping into the starting gate. In our eyes, a rare moment of perfection. Three fellows from Louisville teamed up with Thomas Brown formerly of Turly and Schrader to bring us this cult Napa cab.
Shane Finley charted an unlikely course to becoming a Sonoma winemaker that started with an English degree at the Virginia Military Institute, a budding career in global corporate insurance, and finally — after the wine bug bit — apprenticeships with Copain, Torbreck and Domaine Pierre Gaillard in Côte Rôtie. California stops included Kosta Browne, Paul Hobbs and Lynmar Estates. He launched Shane Wines in 2006. Finley’s wines favor tension, nuance, and structure, and he works hard to cultivate relationships with growers whose grapes can deliver the same.
Knights Valley AVA, Sonoma County
Dave and Kathy Burton’s sustainably-farmed 22-acre estate vineyard lies about 10 miles south of Mt. St. Helena in Knight’s Valley, Sonoma’s warmest AVA, on steep slopes of light, acidic tuffa — a site that recalls Tuscany in topography and climate, as well as in its ability to yield generous, full-bodied reds. Their Zinfandel clone, a favorite of Robert Mondavi, is the only known planting of the grape in Knights Valley. Annual production is under 1500 cases.
Thirty Seven Wines
Count the interlocking circles that comprise the Thirty Seven label, and you’ll soon figure out the riddle of their name — it’s the number of circles needed to create the Flower of Life, a geometric form which has shown up in sacred art in Phoenician, Egyptian, Islamic, Indian and Medieval Christian cultures. As such a name suggests, these are wines that find beauty in tension, balance, structure, and harmony, traits that winemaker Shane Finley (Shane, Lynmar) imparts wherever he works.
Over the past 40 years, the inimitable and irrepressible Tor Kenward has made a lasting mark on winemaking in Napa, as well as the culture that’s grown to surround it — first as winemaker at Beringer for 27 years, and now at his culminating personal project, TOR. Leveraging grower relationships that he’s nurtured for decades has given him access to some of the Valley’s truly outstanding sites — the source for these extraordinary single vineyard wines.
Commanding jaw-dropping views of nearby Mt. Hood, Phelps Creek’s sustainably farmed, 30-acre estate vineyard is planted on deep volcanic soils and enjoys higher elevations than the Willamette Valley, as well as a rain shadow that extends the growing season well into autumn. Flying winemaker Alexandrine Roy (based in Gevrey-Chambertin) insists on native-yeast fermentations for the development of complex flavors and a 100% French oak regimen in the cellar. Annual production is under 5000 cases.
Winemaker Peter Rosback sources grapes from premier vineyards throughout the Pacific Northwest and even acts as a flying winemaker in New Zealand in the spring to bring back Marlborough Sauv Blanc and Central Otago Pinot Noir under the Sineann imprimatur. Exacting site selection, low yields, and a minimalist philosophy in the cellar give these wines a focus and purity of fruit that’s both intense and nuanced. Fun fact: Rosback’s former partner, David O’Reilly, left Sineanne to start Owen Roe.
Four miles from Epernay, the village of Hautvilliers can claim at least one famous historical resident — Don Perignon himself — but the mother-daughter team of Bernadette and Elodie Marion of Marion-Bosser may soon add their names to the list. Daughter Bernadette learned her craft in Volnay and Chablis, where she was mentored by Patrick Piuze, before returning to the family estate, run by Elodie, in the Grande Vallée de Marne. Their south/southeast facing vineyards, planted on chalk and marine fossil soils, are textbook examples of the conditions you seek for making subtle, refined, elegant Premier Cru Champagne.
After five generations of Dozon family ownership, their namesake Domaine was sold in 2013. Fortunately, it remains in good hands: new proprietor Eric Santier has instituted a program of sod replacement aimed at gradually getting the vineyards back to natural tilling. Cab Franc for the Domaine’s Chinon rouge comes from the Saut au Loup vineyard on the left bank of the AOC, planted on a mix of clay-limestone and yellow tufa soils. The grapes are cold macerated and the wines bottled the following spring to retain a vibrant, fruity profile — a quaffable and quintessential bistro wine.
Situated in the heart of the Fronton AOC, Château Flotis enjoys some of the highest elevations and most complex soils (silt, gravel, and the acidic sandy-clay known locally as boulbenes) in the appellation. Here, winemaker Katia Garrouste focuses on coaxing expressions from 45+ year old, organically farmed Negrette vines, a local varietal capable of producing wines sometimes described as ‘the Beaujolais of Toulouse.’ Her’s are fermented with native yeasts, aged two years on lees in cement, and are bottled unfined and unfiltered to retain lively fruit and floral notes and a structure this grape sometimes lacks.
Located near the medieval walled city of Carcassonne, Château Torril’s history extends at least as far back as the Gallo-Roman tower from which it takes its name. Viticulture here may not be quite that ancient, but the château does boast 100-year-old Grenache, Carignan, and Roussanne vines that form the core of its red and white Minervois AOC blends (with younger plantings of Syrah and Cinsault as well). In the cellar, Château Torril is thoroughly modern, thanks to considerable investment by owners Ortwin Kandler and Philippe Espeluque.
This highly regarded 30-acre estate in the Pyrenees foothills is owned and operated by Jonathan Hesford and Rachel Treloar, who purchased it in 2006 after studying viticulture and winemaking in New Zealand. Their vineyards, planted on stony clay-limestone soils, are sustainably farmed and 100% hand-harvested. In the winery, they keep sulfur, fining, and filtration inputs to a minimum and bottle in lightweight glass to reduce their carbon footprint.
It’s always a good sign when a philosopher is on the winemaking team: it’s a great indicator that what’s gone into the bottle is the product of some serious thought and intention. At Maison Ughetto-Audoin, that duty falls to Lionel Audoin, professor of philosophy at the nearby Lycée Carpentras. With his friend Eric Ughetto, he founded their eponymous Maison in 2010. Together, they source field-selected, organic grapes from both the northern and southern Rhône and use minimalist techniques in the cellar, including native yeast fermentations, to achieve wines that are lively and complex, with a hint of rusticity —wines that reward the sort of deep thoughts and earnest reflection that went into making them.
Cellier de la Baraterie
The Savoie region is virtually unknown outside France, even though it is famous for fantastic skiing and the Mont Blanc mountain. Extremely mountainous, the area is home to some small producers making bright, elegant and delicious wines. Julien Vana started his domaine Cellier de la Baraterie at the tender age of 22. The Paroxysme Rouge Vin de Savoie comes from steep, densely-planted 40-year old vineyards on clay and limestone soils. Hand-harvested, the wines are fermented with wild yeasts in stainless steel, then bottled unfined, lightly filtered.
Jean Pascal Aubron
Since 1843, Jean Pascal Aubron’s family has been tending their vineyards around the town of Vallet, outside of Nantes, near the Atlantic Coast. They own 11 hectares (about 27.19 acres) of the acclaimed Grand Fief de l’Audigère, a lieux-dit which sits on gabbro deposits, allowing the full expression of the Melon de Bourgogne grape while maintaining its legendary acidity. This results in a beautiful, almost ethereal and very refreshing Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine sur Lie.
Azienda Baroni Pianogrillo
For centuries the manor has towered above the “Pianogrillo” hill. These days in Pianogrillo they keep an ancient oil mill in lava stone, dating from the third century A.D. and inside the farm there is even an ancient early Christian necropolis in an area known as “San Nicola”, close to the oil mill. Located over 1500 feet above sea level, in soilof marl (calcareous clay based soil) with a total cultivated area over 80 hectares. The new winery’s cellar was built in 2014 and it is equipped with state-of-the-art eco-friendly systems.