Discover “Undiscovered California” at Ventura County’s Clos des Amis VeroTalk

With brown hills above Santa Paula and local snow capped mountains in the background, winemaker Bruce Freeman cradles three of his wines to be featured in the Feb. 11 Verotalk.

Following high winds with two brief yet intense rainstorms which left inches of hail on the ground and snow dusting the local mountains including several inches in Malibu canyon, I dropped by Clos des Amis yesterday  afternoon to taste how the 2020 vintage is progressing, and help a bit with clean up.

These 3 Clos des Amis wines will be featured in a Facebook live talk on Feb. 11; details on how to order them below. (Unfiltered, unedited photo!)

In a difficult year with COVID, fires, and sudden record-breaking high temperatures, the 2020 harvest overall was a bright spot for Clos Des Amis winemaker Bruce Freeman who predicted the vintage would be exceptional: “We had beautiful weather, beautiful fruit, and I’m excited about the potential for these wines.” Soon after harvested, he told me that the wines were “already showing elegance and power.”

Read more about the 2020 harvest and vintage here.  

This elegance and power is already showing up in the glass from barrel samples Gretel pulled and they shared with me. With the local snow capped mountains in the background, we tasted and discussed five of the 2020 red wines as well as the 2019 Rich Vineyard Grenache:

All of the 2020’s I found to be very powerful and expressive, and look forward to sharing them when they are bottled sometime next year. In the meantime, I’ll be helping them bottle more of the 2017 “white” (orange or extended skin contact wine) which is one of my favorite white wines, the 2019 rose, and a few other wines.


While the cellar is busy with cleaning and prepping for bottling, in winter, the vines slumber, and while dormant, they get pruned by bud beak to be in shape for the coming year.  I joined Gretel and Sandy to check out the South Mountain estate vineyard on my birthday, and to figure out how to irrigate the young albarino because of the ongoing severe drought the region is experiencing; the lines will be connected to theones for the orchards and get watered when they do. Yesterday Sandy told me he’s lost most of his avocado crop due to the intense winds we’ve had recently. The vineyards are surrounded by citrus– avocado, tangerines, and lemons– and between the high summer heats that required sunscreen, winter winds and drought, it’s a tough time to be a farmer. Fortunately there’s plenty of good wine!

Later in the month I joined Gretel and Bruce to work the young head trained vines in Fillmore, with hopes there will be more of a crop this year for vineyard designate wines or a blend– there’s quite a hodge lodge of grapes including cabernet sauvignon, Grenache, and zinfandel.


Join us Thursday February 11th at 7 pm ET / 4 pm PT for the next VeroTalk with Bruce Freeman and Gretel Compton of the Southern California Ventura County winery Clos des Amis.  The conversation will be led by Sommelier Ruth Ryberg; Verovino’s Sheila Donahue is organizing and attending the event and I plan to be on it as well.

Using French varietals, professional artists Bruce and Gretel create artistic new world wines in an old world style. With their deep yet light hearted outlook on wine and life, this VeroTalk promises to be an interesting and fun with two of my favorite people!

Buy your Clos des Amis “Undiscovered California” Wine Tasting Kit with Shipping Included for a Sale Price of $93.99 (Original Price: $116.96). Order your tasting kit by Tuesday February 2  to ensure on time delivery, and get on Zoom on February 11th at 7pm ET / 4pm PT or check the stream on Facebook Live

Zoom Meeting details:

ID: 850 0049 4266
Passcode: 552485

For more wines for this “Undiscovered California” region, check out Local Love: 6 Ventura County Wines from Local Vines Paired with Watkins Ranch Beef.” 


Bruce Freeman– unfiltered!! Such a pretty day!

2 thoughts on “Discover “Undiscovered California” at Ventura County’s Clos des Amis VeroTalk

Please Comment! I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s