Ruben Solorzano, Pete and Tom Stolpman Pete Stolpman’s unique estate, founded in 1990 by his father, Tom Stolpman, is located on a rare limestone outcropping in the heart of Ballard Canyon, and has provided grapes to such extraordinary producers as Manfred Krankl at Sine Qua Non, and Adam Tolmach at the Ojai Vineyard. In 2001, Tolmach’s protégé Sashi Moorman joined Stolpman as winemaker, and continues as a working consultant. Today, the entire production is estate-bottled. With ten-year Ballard Canyon veteran winemaker Kyle Knapp in charge of winemaking, and Ruben Solorzano, called “the vine whisperer” by the Santa Barbara Independent overseeing viticulture, Stolpman Vineyards is producing some of the most profoundly beautiful estate-bottled wines in California.
It only took years, but we've finally figured out how to make our maps available. You'll find us referring to these maps all the time when we tell the stories and histories of the evolution of wine in the “Old World.” For ten years we’d been asked to make them available to our customers for purchase, but they were too expensive to print at the custom sizes seen in our stores. With the advent of print-on-demand services that could print and even frame these maps, I re-designed them to print at two sizes: Large (36" X 24"), and Small (16" X 24") in partnership with FineArtsAmerica. You'll find the maps here at FineArtsAmerica.
I had the pleasure of spending a day with this lovely family in Asolo. This video was shot for an Italian television series on “artisans” throughout that country. It is subtitled for those of us challenged by the language. This video tells the story of three generations doing the hard work necessary to make a success of their dreams at what became Bele Casel, the lone producer of Prosecco here at Moore Brothers. By the way, the “American importer” to whom they refer near the end, is none other than our own Frank Splane, who found them for us in 2000. We’re delighted and proud to be a part of this famliy’s story. -DM
Aurélien Palthey in the cellar at Domaine André Bonhomme When André Bonhomme took over the family vineyards in 1956, he immediately quit selling the grapes in bulk to the local cooperative, exasperating his father, and alienating his neighbors. Setting out to bottle his own wine meant investing in winery equipment, buying bottles and corks, and finding his own customers. But being the first estate-bottler in the Mâconnais had a long-term advantage: he was able to get a good, first-hand look at individual wines from unique vineyard sites, and by experiment to learn which vineyards produced the best grapes. By selling his wine in bottle rather than in bulk he was able to earn enough to quietly assemble a patchwork of the best vineyards in the region. Aurélien Palthey, André Bonhomme’s grandson, is only in his early thirties, yet as the current director of the domaine, he holds the reins of a cultural monument–one of the greatest estates in Burgundy.
Roberto and Marco FerrarisThe Ferraris family estate was established in 1923, when Stefano Ferraris planted vines in a steep hillside vineyard in Agliano Terme. Today, the entire twelve-hectare estate produces just five thousand cases annually (almost 25% of which are sold by Moore Brothers). Like Gianni Doglia in nearby Castagnole delle Lanze, Roberto’s commitment to rigorous farming, low yields, and a sensitive approach in the cellar, has cemented his family’s reputation as one of the finest producers in Asti. Roberto’s wines are regularly awarded the prestigious “Tre Bicchieri” from Italy’s premier food and wine publication, Gambero Rosso.
Elio and Gianluca Grasso If there is any Barolo producer who perfectly embodies the idea of stewardship of his heritage, it is Elio Grasso. He was working in a bank in Torino in 1978 when his grandfather died, leaving him a small cascina and a few giornate of vines on the Gavarini and Ginestra hills of Monforte. Elio promptly quit the bank to become a wine grower. Today he still works every day in the vineyard, preferring to leave the cellar and business to his son Gianluca, The estate is one of the top producers of Barolo.
In the tiny village of Serralunga (just about a kilometer from Sergio Germano's tiny winery,) is one of my favorite stops, Vinoteca Centro Storico. This wonderful little restaurant/wine bar is a favorite of winegrowers throughout Europe, noted for it's wonderful collection of Champagnes and local wines, as well as for its food.Alessio Cighetti is the proprietor, and I had a number of really good meals and conversations with him. I can't wait to get back to this beautiful small town, and this wonderful little restaurant. –DM
Jean-François Meynard Château Roque Le Mayne has been in the Meynard family for three generations. The property is on gently rolling hills of Castillon, a “satellite” of Saint-Emilion. Jean-François Meynard is the current proprietor, managing his 14 hectares with in “lutte raisonée,” and harvesting manually with (some would say) obsessive sorting when the fruit arrives at the winery. The vines grow on the clay-limestone plateau above the right bank of the Dordogne, on the same ridge, and only a few kilometers away from vineyards that produce the most expensive wines in Saint-Émilion.
Diego and his daughter The Northern Italian region of Trentino, beckoning skiers to the Dolomites and introducing the Alps, is home to self-effacing master oenologist Diego Bolognani. His father purchased the old buildings and winery in 1952.The whole Bolognani family is involved in the operations of this small winery. In addition to their “estate” vineyards, the family oversees the viticulture from a number of growers in the area.
Xavier in his laboratory in Avignon 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 of each vineyard, which varies from parcel to parcel, influences the expression of terroir in the grapes. “I’m a trained enologist,” he says. “I’ve examined wine down to the molecular level. Which, in the end, convinces me that what is most important are the vines, the depth of the roots, and the health and balance of the vineyard.”