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WineRelease.com's September 15, 2005 Monthly Newsletter


Greetings from WineRelease.com, now 1,062 winery listings strong!


It has been a busy and exciting month filled with wine tasting events, work, and celebrations. My 40th birthday celebration, in fact. Last weekend, my girlfriend arranged for a special bottle of champagne and great dinner at Gary Danko (as always) on the eve of my birthday, and then she had me up at dawn for a surprise trip to Las Vegas the following day. I didnít even find out where we were going until we were actually in the car on the way to the airport! We managed to gamble at nearly every hotel along the strip, and fortunately, some birthday luck was on my side because I headed home with a fat (and happy) wallet at the end of the day. If that wasnít great enough, I had a BBQ with friends on Saturday, a family celebration on Sunday, and some funny 40th birthday practical jokes played on me by my coworkers this week. I can tell you that it really makes you really appreciate the people in your life.


And now, on to the show...


October 2005 Wine Releases


WineRelease.com's Winery Newsletters and Mailing Lists Sign Up Page: Click here.


The following 25 winery information pages have been updated since 7/15/2005:
  • A Donkey and Goat; United States: California
  • Castle Rock Winery; United States: Washington State: Columbia Valley
  • Core; United States: California: Santa Barbara County
  • Davis Family Vineyards; United States: California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
  • Grgich Hills Cellar; United States: California: Napa Valley: Rutherford
  • Herb Lamb Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley: St. Helena
  • Hop Kiln Winery; United States: California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
  • J Vineyards & Winery; United States: California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
  • Jarvis Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Kesner Wines; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • La Filice Winery; United States: California: San Luis Obispo
  • Morgan Winery ; United States: California: Monterey County
  • Mount Eden Vineyards ; United States: California: Santa Cruz Mountains
  • Ophir Wines; United States: California: Sierra Foothills
  • Paradigm Winery; United States: California: Napa Valley: Oakville
  • Patit Creek Cellars; United States: Washington State
  • Peter Michael Winery; United States: California: Sonoma County: Knight's Valley
  • Robert Biale Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Robert Sinskey Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Rocca Family Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery; United States: California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Valley
  • Tor Kenward Family Vineyard; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • TR Elliott; United States: California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
  • Viansa Winery; United States: California: Sonoma County: Carneros
  • Wolf Family Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley



  • By The Barrel Winemaker profile with Craig MacLean of MacLean Wines

    Craigís connection to the world of wine began after attending a series of wine tastings organized by a client in 1982-83. At that time Craig was operating a landscaping business after receiving his B.S. in Plant Science from U.C. Davis. This new interest coupled with the desire to earn a post graduate degree culminated in Craigís return to U.C. Davis to get a Masterís Degree in Enology. In 1986, during his last year in the Enology program, Craig worked the harvest at Chappellet Vineyard. Upon graduation he was hired as Assistant Winemaker for Markham Vineyards where he stayed for 2 years. In 1989 he accepted the Assistant Winemaker position at Cain Cellars and the following year he was promoted to Winemaker and continued the Cain Five tradition for four vintages. In 1994, Craig moved down the hill to Spring Mountain Vineyard for four vintages. Early in1998 Craig and some friends decided to create a small wine brand together. What started out as a 500 case project soon grew to 3000 cases and Craig left Spring Mountain to found the Kelham MacLean project. After three vintages, Craig and his partners sold the company, and in 2001, Craig crushed the first grapes for MacLean Wines (this time, solo).

    What was the first wine you remember tasting and where were you?
    The year was 1984 at a wine shop in Davis. I was with three new friends who were fellow graduate students in the enology program. We ordered a bottle of Ridge 1980 York Creek Cabernet Sauvignon. We were blown away; none of us had tasted a wine that good yet. We all agreed that if we could make wine that good, we would be very happy.

    What is your most memorable food and wine experience?
    The restaurant was the Anaheim Marriott by Disneyland. A friend of mine was a good friend with the chef and 8 of us assembled for a four-course meal. However, each person received a different course. Everyone tasted each amazing dish and on cue, passed their plate. At the end of the meal, we had each tasted 32 different concoctions and every single one was delicious. I remember two of the wines: a 1994 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay and a 1990 Cain Five.

    What food and wine paring is perfect?
    Currently, our favorite is a complex Sauvignon Blanc with the smoked salmon appetizer at the Rutherford Grill. However, to state the obvious, a grilled rib-eye steak with a big Napa Valley Cab is hard to beat.

    What do you wish you could say on your wine label that you canít?
    Wine is the best drug available to mankind. It helps maintain a healthy heart and mind.

    What do you want to tell the beer drinkers of America?
    Support the microbreweries.

    If you werenít a winemaker, what would your occupation be?
    Probably an architect or building contractor, I love re-modeling old homes. The home we live in now was built in about 1898 and we refer to it as "the project". We discovered recently that it is the first home built in Alta Heights, which is the neighborhood to the east of downtown Napa.

    Which words or phrases are overused in the wine world?
    "What style is your cabernet?" Red wines should be about the terroir not a particular style.

    What childhood talent did you have that came in handy in your wine life?
    I donít know about childhood talent, but as a young guy I used to ride around wild on my bike. As a winemaker, I am still running around wild. Now itís in a truck.

    What bits of advice do you have for an aspiring winemaker?
    Make wine with your heart and gut as much as with your head. Keep your chin up because you will mostly likely have to pay some dues. Be true to yourself.

    What part of your job do you most enjoy? Least enjoy?
    I enjoy tasting the fruit leading up to harvest and seeing the amazing change of flavors and tannins. I least enjoy sales.

    How do you want to be remembered as a winemaker?
    MacLean stuck to his goal of making wines that were a reflection of the vineyard and vintage and did not make wines to follow the latest trend.

    What is your greatest winemaking fear?
    Stuck fermentations donít scare me anymore, but they sure cause a degree of sleep loss.

    What is your wine motto?
    I canít stay sober.

    This is a line from Calamity Jane on the HBO Deadwood series: (The whole line was: "I canít stay drunk where he is buried, and I canít stay sober." She was distraught after the death of Wild Bill Hickock and was leaving town).



    First Crush New winery profile of Kesner Wines

    Kesner Wines was formed in 2003 and focuses on small production, naturally made, hand-crafted, vineyard-driven wines. Jason Steven Kesner, owner and winemaker, has lived in the Napa Valley since 1979, and both he and his family have been involved in various aspects of the wine industry for over 20 years. Currently the vineyard manager of Hudson Vineyards, he chose his first wine to be Chardonnay from Hudson Vineyards.


    Please forward this email newsletter to your wine friends so they can enjoy it as well.

    Till next month!


    Neil Monnens



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