The story we heard was that Robert Ampeau once turned away a swaggering Michelin three-star chef who arrived unannounced to taste wine. But I’d also heard stories of the five incredible cellars under the rue du Cromin, and that Robert’s son Michel was funny and smart. Meeting the Ampeaus was an epiphany, and the the stories about Robert and Michel Ampeau “holding back the wines until they was ready to drink” weren’t true at all. They simply didn’t care whether […]
We first learned of Ry Richards from his boss Phil Titus, the brilliant veteran winemaker at Chappellet on Pritchard Hill. Phil told me that his young assistant’s star was on the rise, and that the two and three barrel lots of Cabernet Sauvignon he was making under his own label were proof of his keen eye for fantastic grapes. Still quite young, Ry produces tiny lots of Cabernet drawn from coveted vineyards in the Napa Valley AVAs of Howell […]
When Bruno Lafon bought this old estate in the village of Magalas with his sister-in-law, Sylvie Legros, the property was a collection of run down vineyards planted with a wide variety of grapes. Lafon has transformed the vineyards, bringing his experience as an established grower in Burgundy, and now cultivates 13 varieties of vines that are best matched to the local conditions (and traditions).
This area of southern France, just north of Béziers, has been inhabited by humans since Neolithic times, […]
George Unti bought his first vineyards in Dry Creek in 1990, and for seven years sold fruit to large producers of “varietal” wines. His son Mick joined his father in 1999 after many years of working with large wineries where he learned winemaking and marketing. Currently, Mick manages the operation which covers 35 acres of vines, some of which are planted to some interesting old French and Italian varieties. Sébastian Pochan, a French ex-patriate joined Mick and George in 2001 […]
As the technical director and head enologist at “Avignon Oenologie Conseil,” Xavier oversees winemaking at more than 300 estates, including most of the best-known domaines in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In lieu of payment for his laboratory’s service, he sometimes accepts wine, which “Xavier Vins,” the micro-négociant company he established in 2002, assembles into some of the most expressive wines in the southern Rhône Valley.
Originally a physical chemist, Xavier is particularly interested in how the spectrum of dissolved mineral salts in the groundwater […]