Author Archive | Laura Ness

Tasting the Future with Randall Grahm

May 16, 2017 – It’s no secret that wine industry legend and counter-terroirist Randall Grahm has little interest in chasing current trends. He’d much rather set them. And so, he finds himself at a rather interesting crossroads.

After a successful funding campaign to get an irrigation pond built so he could launch his grand grape-breeding experiment at Popelouchum in San Juan Bautista, he is trying to bring some focus to the project. Planting a little bit of everything to see what does well is a fine strategy, but it doesn’t necessarily result in good wine. So he wants to make sure he is planting viable varieties that his posse will find relevant. Which means he wants to plant everything. Focus. It’s harder than it sounds.

Grahm happens to be infatuated … Read More

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Big Basin Vineyards Now Open to the Public

April 11, 2017 – Sure, the road is beat to heck, your GPS will probably be useless, your cell phone might drain its battery trying to find a signal and it will seem like a million miles from nowhere, but this splendid piece of grape-growing paradise on Memory Lane, off China Grade in Boulder Creek, is a destination very much worth the investment in time and potential loss of connectivity. Proprietor and winemaker Bradley Brown has thought so since 1998, when he purchased this parcel, built a magnificent house atop the highest hill and began to plant the vines that have been given birth to some exceedingly popular and highly rated wines.

Although Big Basin Vineyards has a tasting room in downtown Saratoga, until now they have only invited their … Read More

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Sabrine Rodems on Exhibit: Scratch Coming to Carmel

March 28, 2017 – Sabrine Rodems is a well-known name to wine club members at Wrath: the winemaker has been the tour de force in the cellar and in the vineyards since what used to be San Saba was reborn and renamed. Owner Michael Thomas has kept Rodems plenty busy with his many often unconventional winemaking ideas, and has given her the latitude to chase different styles, like unoaked Pinot and fiercely oaked Sauvignon Blanc.

When they ripped out a block of underperforming Muscat (I’m still crying over that), Michael, an archeologist, decided to plant Falanghina, an ancient Roman grape that was vinified in amphora. So, Rodems acquired a modern day replica of the ancient clay vessel from Italy (called a dolio) and tried her hand at Falanghina in … Read More

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A Covey of Changes at Quail Lodge

0011_Outdoor_FoodAs Quail Lodge’s charming GM Max Schroeder likes to say, this place offers the most value for your money of any resort in the county. “It’s the most friendly atmosphere in town. We’re down to earth and we always welcome new members.”

Members can take advantage of “Quail’s Kitchen,” highly popular 12-person cooking classes with executive chef Brian Kearns. They also benefit with private lounges, discounts on lodging and at the golf shop, and special tournaments are held monthly, including the popular couples tournament called Mars and Venus.

Even if you’re not lucky enough to be a member yet, you can still enjoy so much of what this spacious and welcoming spot in Carmel Valley has to offer. Come for some golf, a cocktail, lunch on the patio with friends … Read More

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Outlook for Monterey Wines and 12 to Try Now

a6365ebe-c398-4058-a6de-794cae9ea9ebFebruary 14, 2017 – Yes, we have a few more weeks of winter ahead, but when you live in the Monterey Bay are, you’re surrounded by an endless season of things that bloom. And you’re surrounded by wine—that just keeps getting better. 

Having the opportunity to taste a variety of the latest wine releases from the local vintners at a trade tasting is always a treat. It’s made all the more intriguing when you can actually talk to the winemakers about what they’re doing, what they’re excited about and what they’re planning for the future.

For example, it was awesome to see the wines from Ian and Heather Brand taking a new kind of shape, with the rollout of the I. Brand & Family label that will include exciting new things like … Read More

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