Robert Biale Vineyards has submitted a plan to the city for a single family home subdivision on the land that now hosts one of its vineyards, co-owner Bob Biale confirmed.
The land, which runs along El Centro Avenue and is bordered by residential housing in Napa, has been in Biale’s family since 1937. Biale and his siblings, Sandra Rossomando and Mark Biale, who each own equal shares of the vineyard, began discussing the fate of the property a few years after the death of their father, Aldo, almost a decade ago.
Biale said the planned development and sale of the land is part of a larger effort to settle the family’s estate, which gained traction after the death of their mother, Clementina, in April of 2017.
“The simple truth is in order to save some land, we had to sell some land. It’s not an easy decision by any means,” Biale said, adding that Aldo’s Vineyard, Biale’s vineyard on Jefferson Street, will remain. “The fact is it was my grandmother’s home site, and to give that up – you can’t replace that. In our mind, it’s priceless.”
Randy Gularte, the real estate broker who is working with Biale on developing the project, said the lot would encompass “approximately 53 single family homes”. Gularte’s team, which includes designer architect Kirk Geyer and civil engineering firm RSA+, is currently reworking the submission based on comments from the city of Napa, he said.
“We’re looking forward to making it work for the city, because we definitely need housing,” he added.
Ali Shull, whose home on El Centro Avenue directly faces the vineyard land in question – which Biale and his family call the “Home Ranch” – said she’d first heard “rumblings” about the land’s future about two and a half years ago.
“What we’ve heard is that they’re trying to be cognizant of the style (of the development),” Shull said, adding she perceives the family as respectful toward their neighbors. “I think it’s a sign of the times. They’re the people that are left from a family that has owned the land forever… it’s just progress.”
One neighbor, who declined to give their name because they said they had hired a lawyer to discuss seeking concessions from the developers, said they’d first learned of the proposed development about a year and a half ago, when Biale sent out a notice. They described themselves as resigned to the fact that the changes were “coming no matter what,” aware that the land is already zoned for housing. Their property backs up to vineyard land.
Home Ranch Vineyard and Aldo’s Vineyard, a registered historic vineyard, are two of a dwindling number of vineyards that still exist within Napa city limits. Aldo’s Vineyard is one of 11 registered historic vineyards in Napa Valley.
Gularte has worked on one other development built on existing vineyard land inside city limits, he said. That project, just off of Orchard Avenue in Napa, was purchased and is being built out by Lafferty Communities, a San Ramon based-firm.
Nothing will change from a wine-making standpoint, Biale said, since the timeline of the family’s decision to develop the land provided time to find new grape growing sites. The grapes from Home Ranch currently go into Biale’s Black Chicken Zinfandel, but the new vineyards should “come online” in time to replace any loss of fruit, according to Biale.
“It’s a personal loss, but like all things, goodness can come from it,” Biale said. “From a winery perspective, we’re gaining incredible new vineyard sites, and from the city point of view, they’re gaining a beautiful project. We think it’s the right call.”
There’s still much to be done for the project before any building begins, according to Gularte: he and his team are hoping to complete a second submission to the city in the next couple of weeks. The ensuing timeline will be dependent on whether or not the city’s comments are approving, he said. From there, the submission must go before the planning commission, and then before city council. If approved, the project must be purchased by a developer before any ground is broken, Gularte said, adding that “another growing year” could come and go for Biale before they sell the property.
Shull, who has lived in her home on El Centro for eight years, reminisced about the vineyard at harvest time – its absence will be a loss, she said, but one she added ultimately wouldn’t impact her quality of life.
“It’s sad – Napa changes, and it’s sad, but it’s life,” Shull added.
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Welcome to Forcett, Tasmania’s newest vineyard area, which is destined to become a big name in the Australian wine scene.
Bereft of vineyards just a couple of years ago, Forcett in south-east Tasmania, will soon have more than 200 hectares of wine grapes in the ground.
The arrival of stage three of the South East Irrigation Scheme from the Coal River has this small area of southern Tasmania buzzing about wine.
Major West Australian company the Fogarty Wine Group and sparkling wine producer Jansz are leading the charge to develop Forcett as a force for wine.
“This greenfield vineyard site is former cropping and wool country,” agricultural consultant, Marty Smith, said.
Mr Smith is overseeing the vineyard development for the Fogarty group.
“We’ve got around 36 hectares of vineyard to be planted over the next few months and are in the process of doing soil preparation before the first of 25,000 posts go into the ground,” he said.
“There’s a lot of local contractors and service providers involved from the soil works contractors to the irrigation and installation workers.
“The first vines here will be planted mid to late November and in total 115,000 vines will be in the ground by the end of the year.
The Fogarty vineyard is next door to the Jansz vineyard and both developments got the go ahead because of stage three of the South East Irrigation Scheme.
“The Fogarty group has vineyard assets across the country and their focus is high quality premium wine, and this new vineyard will also have that focus,” Mr Smith said.
“Pinot noir, chardonnay and riesling grapes will feature strongly but the vineyard will also contain some shiraz grapes as that variety becomes more and more popular in cool climate wines.
Area is changing
Beef farmer Brad Grattidge lives just up the road from the new winery and was a former Chair of the Irrigation Scheme, which he said was a struggle to get up and running.
“Initially we wanted the scheme to supply 20,000 megalitres but a number of local farmers decided not to purchase water, and the final scheme now supplies 3,000 megalitres,” Mr Grattidge said.
“The area is changing drastically and the land values have risen since the scheme was constructed, but the demand for water has also risen dramatically.”
The Fogarty group has also purchased land at Richmond where a 100-hectare vineyard will be developed and is now half-owner of the former Winemaking Tasmania building at Cambridge.
The company, which makes wine for around 30 Tasmanian growers, went into voluntary administration earlier this year before being sold to the Fogarty Group and entrepreneur Rod Roberts.
At Penna, just outside Richmond, the new Brinktop Vineyard is starting to take shape as the owners jump into their second time at constructing a new vineyard and winery.
Hampered by a lack of land
Todd Goebel and partner Gillian Christian developed the Coal Valley Winery at Cambridge back in the 90s and spent 18 years at the property before selling up.
“Back when we started at the Coal Valley there were only a couple of vineyards of around one hectare and you wouldn’t see Tasmanian wines on the menu at Salamanca restaurants,” Ms Christian said.
“At the Coal Valley Winery we were hampered by the lack of land, and we’ve been lucky enough to find this new site at Penna which will allow us to have an eight-hectare vineyard.”
“The vines have been planted and it’s going to take a few years to get up and running, but we do expect a small harvest in 2020,” Mr Goebell said.
And like the Forcett vineyard, the pair for the first time have planted some shiraz vines at Penna and expect the variety will go well.
Wine Tasmania said over the past five years new plantings have grown by 25 per cent and that growth means more than 2,000 hectares are under vine in the state.
While the total plantings are small when comparing to mainland Australia, the value of the industry is high because of the quality of the product in bottle.
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The owners of a vineyard east of Calistoga claim they lost their entire 2019 crop due to the alleged negligence of their vineyard management contractor, according to a complaint filed this week in Napa.
Bellisimo A Family Vineyard LLC, alleges Renteria Vineyard Management LLC, caused more than $1.5 million worth of damages by neglecting to properly supervise the application of chemicals on its 67-acre property, according to the complaint filed in Napa County Superior Court.
Dale and Beth Golden own the Bellisimo property off Franz Valley Road near the Sonoma/Napa county line, according to public records. They could not be reached to comment on the lawsuit. An attorney declined to comment on the case.
Bellisimo alleges a Renteria Vineyard Management employee led a worker to apply an herbicide on the entire vineyard instead of only 2 acres, according to the complaint.
The worker sprayed the vineyard over a period of three days with a mixture that included Lifeline; the man, who only speaks and reads little English, did not realize Lifeline is an herbicide used for suckers that grow at the base of grape vines, according to the court filing.
Renteria, which had ordered the chemicals, provided no supervision, the complaint alleges.
The plaintiff started noticing the damage a few days after the application when “leaves of the grapevines began curling,” according to the court filing. Renteria was fired about a week later, according to the lawsuit.
“Bellisimo’s entire 2019 crop was destroyed and it is likely that the damage to the vineyard will impact at least the next two crop years. Some vines may need to be replaced,” according to the court filing.
Bellisimo hired Napa-based Renteria because it lacks the expertise in cultivating and managing the vineyard, according to the complaint filed with the court. The employee who applied the herbicide lives on the property and works the land at the direction of the vineyard management company hired to farm the vineyard, according to the complaint.
The employee is under “the sole control and supervision of the vineyard management company,” according to the court filing.
Bellisimo also alleges Renteria failed to obtain the necessary permits to replant a 4.3-acre vineyard block even though the company had purchased the rootstock for the replanting, according to the lawsuit.
A representative for Renteria Vineyard declined to comment on the pending litigation.
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The owner of a Napa Valley high-end label has purchased a property near Calistoga that includes a 5.1-acre vineyard for about $4 million, according to public records.
A company named WWCD LLC, a St. Helena-based company run by Patrice Breton, producer of the Vice Versa label, purchased the 10.9-acre lot near Calistoga in late August from Aril LLC, according to county records. The deed was recorded on Aug. 23. Aril is owned by Harmon and Joanne Brown.
The Tubbs fire in October 2017 started a month before construction on a new 25,000-gallon winery was scheduled to start on the property, according to Aril former manager Eric Stiefeling. The vineyard was spared but the area was scorched. “The whole ambience had changed,” Stiefeling said Thursday. The decision to sell the property was made in December, he said.
The Tubbs fire roared through the area before scorching entire neighborhoods in Santa Rosa.
County records indicate Aril purchased the property in 2016.
Previous owners in 2010 received the green light from the Napa County Planning Commission to build the winery on the land. The two-story structure included a 2,000-square-foot production area, a tasting room as well as office and meeting space, according to county records.
Breton on Friday said he plans to build the winery and open a tasting room on the property. He has yet to re-name the vineyard. He now produces his wines at Wheeler Farms on Zinfandel Lane.
Wines sold under the Vice Versa label include Cabernet Sauvignon produced with fruit from Beckstoffer Dr. Crane and To Kalon vineyards as well as Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast.
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Atascadero, Calif.—Each year the Vineyard Team Scholarship Program awards high school seniors and college students scholarships towards higher education. All of the students awarded scholarships are children of farmworkers on the Central Coast. This year, Vineyard Team awarded $26,000 in scholarships; the largest amount since its inception in 2015. Additionally, four first generation college students are entering their senior year after receiving the Vineyard Team scholarship multiple times. The impact the program has had on these young people is shown through their successful college careers.
“We’re thrilled to be able to offer these scholarships to these amazing young adults. For these vineyard employees who have spent their lives contributing to our industry, supporting their children’s educational pursuits is the least we can do,” says Vineyard Team Executive Director, Kris Beal. “It represents a fulfillment of the American Dream for these families, which is so evident with the pride and gratitude expressed on their faces.”
Sandy Garcia was born in King City, California where she was the valedictorian of her high school class. Garcia is currently enrolled at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and hopes to study marketing or public relations. Her marketing internship at startup Chippin Snacks and role as supervisor at UCLA’s Competitive Sports Program are helping her work towards this goal. She also participates in the Bruin Women for Business Club, Undergraduate Association of Communication and Student Accounting Society.
Leonardo Ruiz is one of four children to parents who work in agriculture. Now in his final year at University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), Ruiz has always had his sight set on graduating from a four-year college; he will be the first of his family to do so. “I want to prove to my parents that all of their sacrifices are worth it,” says the senior. After graduating with a mechanical engineering degree and attending graduate school, Ruiz hopes to have a career in robotics or bioengineering.
Evelyn Alvarez recently sent the Vineyard Team a heartfelt letter expressing her “sincere and immense” gratitude for the support provided by the scholarship program:
“When I share this extraordinary experience with other people I always refer to the Vineyard Team as a member of my family because that is what you mean to me; a family that is there to support me every step of the way and help guide me towards finding my place in this world and fulfilling my purpose.”
Alvarez is currently a senior at Cal Poly where she is completing a fungicide resistance project with Dr. Shunping Ding. Her hope is to pursue a post-graduate career in viticulture with a focus on vineyard management. She explains that the Vineyard Team’s impact on promoting sustainable winegrowing practices along with her father’s “honorable work in vineyards” inspired her to study viticulture.
Michelle Aguilar received the Vineyard Team scholarship two years during her college career at Fresno State where she is working to obtain a Bachelor’s in Speech Pathology with an emphasis on communicative disorders. Growing up, she learned English while attending school in the Salinas Valley; a difficult challenge given her inability to communicate when she first arrived. She plans to return to her community as a bilingual speech pathologist and offer much needed support to first generation students like herself.
Students like Garcia, Ruiz, Alvarez and Aguilar are able to receive these scholarships thanks to support from a collective of Vineyard Team members. Scholarships are offered each spring. Interested applicants can visit www.VineyardTeam.org/scholarship for more information.
About Vineyard Team
Arising from growers’ interest to educate and guide themselves towards sustainable winegrowing practices, the Vineyard Team has become an internationally recognized leader in the sustainability movement since 1994.
Not only has the organization influenced sustainability initiatives within the winegrowing community, Vineyard Team programs have influenced efforts in other crops as well. Recognized by governmental, environmental, and community organizations, the Vineyard Team’s sustainable winegrowing programs are always leading the way in innovation.
Visit www.VineyardTeam.org for more information.
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A worker hangs lights at Summer Crush Vineyard and Winery on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. (Photo: JON SANTUCCI/TCPALM)
FORT PIERCE — Much like the rest of the Treasure Coast, Gary Roberts was breathing a huge sigh of relief Wednesday.
“Compared to 60, 80 miles away, we are selfishly relieved,” said Roberts, referencing the Bahamas, which were devastated by Hurricane Dorian. “Although we’re not completely relieved because of what’s going on over there. But we’re trying to get everything ready to go so we can be up an at ‘em here.”
Heavy rain From Hurricane Irma flooded the grounds of Summer Crush Vineyard and Winery in Fort Pierce. “A lot of our Facebook friends, our winery customer friends, they have been reaching out offering to help,” said Gary Roberts, winery owner, as they work Sept. 12, 2017, on clearing the water and getting the power restored. (Photo: ERIC HASERT/TCPALM)
Unlike Hurricane Matthew, which knocked down vines, and Hurricane Irma, which left the vineyard under 20 inches of water, Hurricane Dorian stayed offshore and didn’t do any damage to the grapes.
“(In previous storms), we had winds from the north and west and then Irma brought all that saltwater and just dumped it on us,” Roberts said. “I would be surprised if we got any salt burn, which is what we had with Irma and Matthew.”
Summer Crush staff spent six days preparing for Dorian.
It was all hands on deck Wednesday trying to get things back to normal.
“We’ll be back up later (Wednesday) or Thursday at the latest,” Roberts said.
Read or Share this story: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/weather/hurricanes/2019/09/04/no-issues-hurricane-dorian-summer-crush-vineyard-winery/2208426001/
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NAPA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Beaulieu Vineyard has celebrated numerous milestones since founder, Georges de Latour and his wife Fernande, landed in Rutherford in 1900. This week, Beaulieu Vineyard will mark another significant milestone with the official celebration of the winery’s 80th anniversary of its first bottling of the notable Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. In honor of the momentous occasion, the 2016 vintage will be sold at the winery and at retailers across the country in a commemorative 80th Anniversary gift box. On Saturday, August 24th Beaulieu Vineyard will host a celebratory dinner aboard the famed Napa Valley Wine train, followed by a year-long consumer experience at the winery tasting room themed around the 80th Georges de Latour Private Reserve Anniversary.
Legendary Beaulieu Vineyard winemaker André Tchelistcheff was certainly on to something in 1938 when he insisted the de Latour family bottle its “private reserve” wine as the winery’s flagship offering. Today, it is a gold standard for Napa Valley Cabernet. Upholding the heritage and spirit of innovation of those who came before him, Beaulieu Vineyard’s chief winemaker Trevor Durling is confident that sommeliers and Beaulieu Vineyard fans alike will delight in the new 2016 vintage.
“We are at a pivotal moment and a very important time in the history of Beaulieu Vineyard,” notes Durling. “The first vintage of Georges de Latour was 1936 and we are now building on that legacy with the release of the 80th vintage. I’m honored to have my name on this label and I believe this is one of the best vintages I’ve had the pleasure to craft in the Napa Valley. Everything we’ve learned in eight decades of winemaking history has allowed us to capture the glorious spirit of this wine, while refining and investing in the vineyards and winemaking technology that contribute so much to its history. It is an honor to be writing the next chapter for such an important wine, and an incredible responsibility that I don’t take lightly.”
Beaulieu Vineyard is also offering a special 80th Anniversary Georges de Latour Experience for a limited time at the winery, which tells the story of Napa Valley trailblazer Georges de Latour and his ensuing namesake wine, recounting details from the winery’s historical past, to present-day innovations and what’s next for the future. Guests will savor a retrospective array of rare library vintages as well as current releases and a future selection patiently ageing in barrel. Guests will take home a complimentary custom Georges de Latour 80th Anniversary Riedel glass ($50 value) as part of the experience.
For more information on the 2016 vintage or to make a reservation for the 80th Anniversary Georges de Latour Experience, please visit www.bvwines.com.
About the 80th Anniversary 2016 Vintage:
The 2016 Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $150) is bursting with a bouquet of cassis, blueberry, blackberry, violet and wild sage, exhibiting the extraordinary concentration, depth and elegance of this superior vintage. Full-bodied and rich on the palate are lingering flavors of dark blackberry, root spice, chocolate and molasses supported by perfectly balanced acidity which adds length, juiciness and freshness to an everlasting finish. Plush, “Rutherford Dust” tannins support the ever-expansive palate, while seamlessly integrating with the full-bodied texture, crafting a wine that shows grace, ease and approachability now, but with underlying power and structure that will keep this wine alive for decades to come. Well integrated notes of vanilla and toasted oak spices – from aging in new French oak barrels – heighten the aromas and dance on the lengthy finish. To enjoy this wine at its full potential, we recommend at least five years of bottle aging; however, if you can’t wait, decant before serving.
About Beaulieu Vineyard:
Beaulieu Vineyard Reserve wines are handcrafted from the finest grapes of the vintage, focusing on premier estates in Rutherford, Carneros and other Napa Valley appellations. For more than 100 years, Beaulieu Vineyard has set the benchmark for rich, classic Napa Valley wines. This legacy honors the marriage between state-of-the-art technology and gentle, traditional winemaking methods, a combination that enhances the expression of our remarkable vineyard terroir.
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Prominent Sonoma County wine executive Hugh Reimers, who last month abruptly left as president of Foley Family Wines, faces allegations that his grape growing company has violated regional, state and federal water quality laws for improperly clearing land near Cloverdale to build a vineyard.
The North Coast Regional Water Quality Board accused his Santa Rosa vineyard management company, Krasilsa Pacific Farms, of violations of the water board’s local water rules, the California Water Code and the federal Clean Water Act for clearing and grading 140 acres. The water quality board concluded the work on a section of Krasilsa Pacific’s more than 2,000-acre property was done without applying or obtaining the necessary permits required by the county to operate a vineyard.
The board filed a notice of its violations on June 6 to Reimers, as manager of Krasilsa, listing 28 different locations on the property three miles east of Cloverdale where infractions were found by investigators with the board and Sonoma County Department of Agriculture. Many of those spots had multiple violations within the cleared land: a steep, grassy ridge featuring oak woodland between the Russian River and Big Sulfur Creek.
The water quality agency’s findings have not been linked to Reimers’ sudden resignation from Foley’s Santa Rosa wine company he joined in 2017 and he led as president since January 2018.
The water agency is in the process of determining what sanctions to levy against Krasilsa, said Josh Curtis, assistant executive for the agency. The penalties could range from a cleanup of the property in an attempt to return it as close as possible to its condition before Krasilsa’s work started in late 2017 or early 2018, to the assessment of fines.
Investigators with the water board and county ag department have forwarded their report and underlying findings regarding the Krasilsa land to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office. The case is under review by the district attorney’s environmental and consumer law division, office spokeswoman Joan Croft said.
The most significant allegations included in the inspection report prepared in February are: the removal of 40 acres of trees, including those within 500 feet of a natural water channel; the placement of branches, tree tops and organic debris in at least eight natural channels; the improper dredging and filling of at least 2,450 feet of a water channel and the dredging of at least 10,000 square feet of wetland.
Reimers, 47, a vintner from Australia who had been president of rival Jackson Family Wines of Santa Rosa until leaving to join Foley’s company, said in an interview Monday, since he has not received a copy of the inspection report prepared by the North Coast water board and county ag department in February or the notice of violation the board issued in June, he could not address the specific allegations against his grape vineyard enterprise.
However, he pledged to comply with the water board. “We’re absolutely more than willing to work with the water board to rectify any issue out there and correct the situation,” he said in an interview.
He contended the work in question Krasilsa performed on a portion of its land was “agricultural cultivation” of the soil.
“Everything we did was under agricultural cultivation,” Reimers said, in a reference to the 2,278-acre property near Cloverdale that his company bought in September 2017. “We are not building anything out there.”
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|Nathan Strong, chief executive officer and president at Terroir AI, a startup company, demonstrates an automated yield count unit at UC Davis Oakville Station.The Terroir AI unit is mounted on the back an ATV. Kerana Todorv/Wine Business Monthly|
A company is developing a computer vision system to estimate vineyard crop yield with the collaboration of UC Davis scientists.
On Friday, Nathan Strong, president and chief executive officer at Terroir AI in Menlo Park, demonstrated the system at UC Davis’ Oakville Station. Strong installed a box containing four sensor cameras in the back of the station’s ATV, the cameras adjusted for the high-wire trellis system of the experimental block.
The sensors collect data on the number of clusters and volume per row while the ATV or tractor drives up to 5 miles-per-hour; machine learning algorithms then estimate crop yields. “The computer vision tells you what you have right now,” Strong said.
Terroir AI in a second phase of development wants to build artificial intelligence models to predict yields months ahead of harvest, taking into account farming management practices, the environment and other factors, Strong said. This will help farmers meet their targets. Eventually, the units and algorithms will be designed to spot mites for disease detection.
Kaan Kurtural, the assistant cooperative extension specialist in viticulture at UC Davis, has designed the 1-acre fully-mechanized vineyard in Oakville, where Strong has tested the Terroir AI unit. The block includes 1,349 vines that are spaced 1.5 meters by 2 meters – or about 5 feet by 6.5 feet.
Kurtural collaborated with Strong and his team to improve Terroir AI’s computer vision system, including figuring out a way to deal with occlusion from leaves, a common problem found in other automated crop yield systems. Terroir AI’s technology resolved the occlusion issue in part by positioning cameras inside the enclosed unit to shoot the vines from different directions.
The unit captures data from every fourth row of vines at the experimental vineyard in order to reduce the sheer amount of information to be analyzed. That’s enough information to obtain statically accurate results, according to Kurtural.
Terroir AI also has tested the system in commercial vineyards in Napa, Monterey, Paso Robles and Argentina. Fog has not been an issue, Strong said.
Strong, who started the project 1 ½ year ago, said the first commercial unit by March 2020. Prices will vary depending on acreage and other factors. Each unit will cost less than $50,000, according to Strong’s “very rough” estimates. The company plans to first sell the units bundled with two years of processing service.
Strong, who has a doctorate in environmental engineering from Stanford University, was determined to put his PhD to work when he came across the yield count issue in vineyards. He’s enjoyed being out in the vineyards, Strong said. “I love wine. I love the people in the wine industry. Everyone you talk to is so much fun.”
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Wente’s 2017 Riva Ranch chardonnay offers a surplus of flavors — almond butter, mango, lemon peel, and chamomile — all melding into a surprisingly apt summery concoction. The palate is big and buttery, while notes of cardamom and vanilla inform the finish. It’s a crowd pleaser, but it drinks with more authority than you’d think for an Arroyo Seco (in Monterey) bottling.
A- / $14 / wentevineyards.com
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