Ventura County Vineyards: May Gray


Ventura’s Arroyo Verde Park 31 May Gray 2019

Today is the last day of May Gray here in the city of Ventura in Southern California, one county north of LA and one county south of Santa Barbara.

After May Gray, we have June Gloom, followed by No Sky July and then Fogust.

I’m not a fan.

Like a wine grape, I need daily sunshine. I need hot days and cold nights — aka an extreme diurnal shift.

Let me soak in the sun, and cool off under the stars and the moon. Continue reading

Defining Biodynamic: Rudy Marchesi and Three Montinore Pinot Noir #OregonWineMonth


“Biodynamic® agriculture is a philosophy and methodology that views a farm as a self-sustaining ecosystem entirely responsible for creating and maintaining its individual health and vitality without any external and unnatural additions. It is one of the most sustainable forms of agriculture, creating healthier food for healthier people and a healthier planet.”

This is how Demeter defines biodynamics, and this is how Rudy Marchesi and Montinore has practiced their farming since before 2002 when they were first certified. Today, Rudy Marchesi and Montinore are definitive leaders in biodynamic practices in the wine industry  Continue reading

Two Day Wines from Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley AVA #OregonWineMonth

While these could be 2 Day Wines — in that you could easily enjoy them for two or three or even more days if you could have the patience to wait that long — what I mean is that these are two wines made by Brianne Day of Day wines.

Day has made a name for herself with her Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, and I am a huge fan of Day’s dry farmed Chardonnay. While Day has worked in vineyards, and in just about every aspect of the wine business as described here, she grows no grapes herself (at least not right now!). Instead, she collects grapes from special parcels from throughout Oregon to make her handcrafted wines.

Recently, we focused on two of her biodynamic wines from the northern Willamette Valley, a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir; today we focus on two blends, one red and one white, from a lesser known region of Oregon, southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley. Continue reading

Comparing 6 Chardonnay from Chehalem, Stoller, Stangeland for Summertime Sipping #OregonWineMonth #ChardonnayDay

A selection of Oregon Chardonnay that arrived fallowing my call to review them.

Pinot noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley is understandably famous, and everyone wants to talk about it, myself included! And with this being Oregon Wine Month, I have! See my May posts on two biodynamic ones from Cooper Mountain, two from Willamette Valley Vineyards, one from Day Wines, and coming up soon, three from biodynamic Montinore, then sustainable Left Coast, then more including Beckham, Brooks, and Hammacker!

But today, Chardonnay Day, I want to talk about what’s special about one of Oregon’s white wines, specifically,  Willamette Valley dry farmed Chardonnay, and a few pairings to go with them for summertime sipping.

Continue reading

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Biodynamic, Organic Absinthia

“We’re no longer citizens, we’re consumers,” pointed out Patagonia founder and owner Yvon Chouinard at Ventura College on Earth Day, April 22, 2019. “Webster’s says someone who’s a consumer is someone who destroys.”

Chouinard’s agenda these days has less to do with selling fleece and making money and more to do with saving the planet.

To do so, Chouinard’s passionate about regenerative agriculture which shares many of the same goals and techniques as biodynamic agriculture which I’ve written about many times this year.

Continue reading

Bertrand’s Biodynamic Cigalus Paired with French Sausage for #Winophiles

“Revealing a message is what wine can do best in the pyramid of the senses, starting from pleasure, taste, emotion, and from time to time a kind of message in a bottle, ” says Gerard Bertrand, winemaker of Gerard Bertrand wines. “The message is the soul of the wine, the imprint of time, it is recalling 20, 30, or 40 years later that something very special happened in a certain vintage.” Continue reading

Day’s Biodynamic Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for #OregonWineMonth

When I put out a call for dry farmed Chardonnay from Oregon, I was surprised by the number of wines that arrived at my doorstep. We chose a selection which I wrote about here for Chardonnay Day 2018 and we will do more for this Chardonnay Day.

But the wine kept coming, including a bottle that really wowed me as soon as I saw it:

  •  One, the label was flat out gorgeous, depicting a bee amongst dandelions. You may not know this, but dandelions, while a weed, are critically important fro bees because the dandelions bloom early in the season providing an important food source for bees. This said to me that these people are Paying Attention!
  • Two, I recognized the Belle Pente vineyard on the label as one that is farmed biodynamically
  • Three,  I knew that Brian O’Donnell, Belle Pente’s farmer as well as a winemaker who I met at the Oregon Wine Road event in LA, is a legitimate dry farm fanatic! (In this post, I discuss how some dry farms are drier than others).
  • Four, because it’s a biodynamic wine, I can continue my biodynamic wine experiment where I open and then periodically taste the wine to see how long it lasts! (OK partly my problem — I can only wait so long… in this case 14 days!).

The Day Chardonnay from the Bell Pente Vineyard in the Yamhill Carlton (AVA 12.75%  SRP $38) with only 150 cases produced delivered on its promises and intrigued me enough to pursue learning more about the wines, the label, and the winemaker, Brianne Day. Continue reading