Kristina Sazama of T. Edward Wines
We are thrilled to welcome Kristina Sazama to our family at T. Edward Wines. Starting this month, Kristina will manage our book of Billecart-Salmon, while supporting our French Portfolio in the market. Welcome Kristina!
“Billecart-Salmon farms a large chunk of the vineyards that make up their wines,” said Kristina Sazama, our new Billecart-Salmon Director at T. Edward Wines. “And even as a marques house, they are family owned, not owned by a giant luxury goods company or the like. The Billecart family is involved – I’ve spoken to Antoine Billecart and he knows the wines, he knows the technical details. He doesn’t just happen to have his last name on the label,” she added. Read more
Phoebe & Phil Devenish
It was some 15 years ago that Phil and Phoebe Devenish first visited our office here at T. Edward Wines. “At that point,” said Phil, “TEW was a pretty small operation; it was basically just Tom and Nick, and maybe a couple of other guys, Patrick and Jorge.” Devenish Wines had not yet been established and Phil was looking to Tom to learn about the business of distribution. “I liked the way Tom obviously had long-term connections with people. He was very conservative in that sense,” added Phil. “There was a lot of civility.” Soon thereafter, Phil returned to Hancock, Maine with a book that favored French selections from T. Edward Wines. Read more
David Jeffrey of Calluna Vineyards
Calluna, by Bonney Rowley
On the last day of our T. Edward West Coast Tour, the bus wound its way up to Calluna Vineyards to meet with winemaker David Jeffrey. In 2001, David left behind his career on the East Coast and began to pursue his passion for wine, enrolling in Fresno State’s Enology program. Shortly thereafter he lived and worked in Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux with Dr. Alain Raynaud, whose own family has been making wine on the Right Bank since the 15th century. Through his work abroad at Chateau Quinault, David began to draw comparisons between the climate in California and Bordeaux and was compelled to plant Bordelaise grapes back home. David’s experience working with Dr. Raynaud was hugely formative and would come to influence his winemaking style. In 2004, David purchased 80 acres in Chalk Hill and Calluna Vineyards was formed. Read more
Heron Lake Vineyard, Enfield Wines
This week’s post features a continuance of reportage from our sales team who took part in our TEW Tour of California!
Enfield Wines, by Ryan Looper
Heading up to the Heron Lake vineyard in the Wild Horse AVA of Napa our bus got stuck and couldn’t continue up the hill, so we had to jump in the back of John Lockwood’s pick up truck to make it up to the vineyard. This is not the Napa that most think of. There are not vineyards and tasting rooms everywhere. This is decidedly off the paved road—the undiscovered Napa. There are only a few vineyards in the AVA, and the high elevation topography is framed by sweeping vistas of mountains and hills. The light here is brilliant and clear, and the wind is cool and persistent. It feels a lot like the set of an old cowboy movie, minus the tumbleweeds. The Heron Lake Vineyard originates with the first planting in 1980, and has been bottled as a single vineyard by John Lockwood of Enfield Wine Co. since 2011. John was working as a woodworker when he serendipitously met winemaker David McCaffrey at a woodworking shop. John then worked with David and was soon bit by the wine bug. Read more
Matthew Rorick of Forlorn Hope
The T. Edward team is recently back from a whirlwind tour of our winegrowers in California. Here’s a few excerpts from our team, beginning with Forlorn Hope by Danielle Hilty.
It would suffice to say that the team was extremely excited to get off our 80s-era school bus after a bumpy 2 hour drive from Sacramento into the foothills of Calaveras County, farther east than most wine tourists ever tread. The property was purchased in 2013 by Matthew Rorick and his family as the new home of Forlorn Hope Wines. And it is massive. With 80 acres planted to about 20 varieties, Matthew has plenty to do, as he is a one-man show all but during harvest. And even then, he explained to us at the top of the property, a red mountain of volcanic clay soil hiding gray schist and quartzite deposits, he works around the clock. It’s this element (pun intended) that makes the undertaking worth it to him, a rare deposit of limestone in northern California. For winemakers looking for good grape soil, limestone is as good as gold, that soft yellow medal discovered only 20 miles north a California-lifetime ago. Read more
Peter, Orenda & Luca Hale at Maine & Loire
When Peter and Orenda Hale of Maine & Loire decided to move to Portland, Maine, neither one of them had been to the city. But then again, they also met while working at Reynard and “married on a whim in the downtown Brooklyn courthouse, on the coldest day in January last year,” said Orenda, after dating for just seven months. And though they intended to wait to start a business until their son Luca was born, the universe had other plans. “We hadn’t yet figured out the pieces to the puzzle [here] to look at real estate,” said Orenda, “but, we met up with the landlord and luckily he wanted a wine store in this community complex that he’s building here, and he was really instrumental in helping us get into the space and getting it started.” Read more
“I think I’d sort of been faking it for a little while when I first got into wine,” said Lee Campbell of the Andrew Tarlow group. “I knew I was fascinated by it but I wasn’t quite sure why. I think I thought it was because I thought it was like taking an interdisciplinary course in a liberal arts college, where you have to study everything.” But when she went to a winemaker’s luncheon while working at City Hall Restaurant, a single sight synched her past with her future. “We were sitting in the Garden Room at this restaurant Provence in Soho,” she continued, “which is no longer there. And at one point, I looked at the winemaker’s hands and I think I really wanted to see hands that looked like they worked and his hands had callouses on them, his nails were a little fucked up and it made me happy! I thought, here’s this guy [Michel Chapoutier], he’s a very well known winemaker, with some of the top buyers in New York; but he’s still a working man. He’s still a laborer. And that was very important to me. To know there was a farm connection. Once I knew there was a farm connection, I felt much more at home in the wine industry. Because before that point, all I knew was the hoity-toity New York side: the buyers, the somms. They were often European, they were mostly men. It was a lot of dudes with accents, so it was nice to see that there was another side to it. Read more
Agave Fire Pit at Wahaka Mezcal
This week, we hosted a luncheon to toast the arrival of Wahaka Mezcal to our spirits portfolio. An artisanal distiller from the Central Valley of Oaxaca, the Mendez family tended agave fields five generations ago, and now Alberto “Beto” Morales Mendez is the maestro mezcalero at Wahaka Mezcal. Farmers who organically grow Espadin agave alongside fava beans, barley and tomatoes, they also forage Madre-Cuishe and Tobala, two additional species that grow wild in the forests near their farm.
André Tamers with Thierry Tissot in Bugey
Named for his grandfather, whose father who had a general store in old Savoie on the Annecy Lake, De Maison Selections is returning to its French roots. “A long time ago,” said André Tamers, “we had quite a bit of French wines. But then I realized I had to let it all go and focus on Spain, because Spain, for obvious reasons, was just red hot. And since I’d lived there for three years, I thought I’d take the opportunity and run with it.” Read more
Will Elliott of Maison Premiere
In the less than five years since they’ve opened, Maison Premiere has been nominated twice for a James Beard Award, for their Outstanding Bar Program. The result of a symbiotic relationship between their guests and the changes that have occurred since 2011, Maison Premiere exemplifies the qualities that the Foundation seeks in a nominee. And while it was an honor and an acknowledgement for the team to be short listed, their time in Chicago at the Awards demonstrated just what the nomination means. “It was fantastic to be surrounded by that degree of talent,” said Will Elliott of Maison Premiere. “You realize all of a sudden, that it’s not a competition at all, it’s an accolade. For many people, it’s a culmination of a lifetime. So to be four years and change old here, it was spectacular. It was a heady experience to be surrounded by all of those people. There’s no hierarchical thing of oh, you’re just a bar. It doesn’t matter. Nominees are nominees and everybody treated each other with the highest degree of hospitality. It’s the best hospitality people in the world, rising even higher above the occasion and treating each other with even more hospitality,” he continued. “It’s not about who made the best drinks of the year. It’s about so much more than that. It’s a combination of all of these factors that offer people a great day in and day our experience.” Which is exactly what you’ll experience when you cross through the threshold on Bedford Street.