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.
We sat with Brendan Tracey to discuss his red wine vinifications and the designing of his labels. Here’s Brendan in his own words:
“Entre deux chaises. It’s like sitting on two chairs at the same time. It’s like the best of both worlds or the worst of two worlds. It’s a blend of rosé, direct press with the carbonic maceration. The idea is to get the excitement, the energy and the thirst wine of the rosé and the carbonic maceration, which is just one-third. It structures and it gives it the color so it won’t be a rosé. Yeah it’s the best of both worlds. A mix between carbonic maceration, which will get the flavors, with the skin contact, and enzymatic extraction of the flavors and the taste. It’s for three of the red wines. I don’t have any left because it gets sold out right away. It’s called Pour Une Poignee de Bouteilles, A Handle for Bottles, and so the label is like the poster for the Sergio Leone film, but I replaced the gun with Capitalisme Rouge. It’s made from Pinot Noir, and that always gets bought directly by the Japanese. Read more
Scott Heath of Tilted Shed panking at Lost Orchard
“We’d been trying to connect culture and agriculture, and getting back to the land without jumping out,” said Ellen Cavalli of Tilded Shed Ciderworks. “We’re really into localization of agriculture and learning how to grow our own food, and by way of that, you also start to grow your own drink. Scott [Heath] has done a lot of beer making, wine making; what ever you can make booze with, he will.” And so when living on a small farm in northern New Mexico, where there were apple orchids all around, Ellen and Scott decided to try their hands at cider.
Sean Sant Amour at Blue Ribbon Bakery
“Everybody always wonders what’s up with Blue Ribbon and T. Edward Wines,” said Sean Sant Amour. “We started at the same time. The TEW evolution has gone hand in hand with ours. As your book grew, our list grew as well. One of my pivotal wine moments was when Tom invited me on my first wine trip. I was bunking with this guy who wanted to be a photographer and got duped into the wine business by his dad. His name is Rob Sinskey. He tried to explain to me why Pinot Noir is the most noble grape. It was kind of crazy,” he added and laughed.