Wine Talk

Snooth User: Mark Angelillo

Small Batch Winemakers of Note

Posted by Mark Angelillo, Feb 25, 2010.

After reading some of your comments here ( ) about the smaller production wines you are drinking/enjoying I got excited to go check out what some of them are up to. Also, I think they should get some exposure here on Snooth and would love to track them down.

Anyone have recommendations? Great winemakers who maybe haven't hit it big yet, or maybe don't even want to!


Reply by jameshull, Feb 25, 2010.

HIGHLY recommended - Helen Keplinger... Keplinger Wines ( .... making some outrageously good Syrah and Blends in the Napa valley. She's very, very talented. I heard that French Laundry is now carrying some on their list..... and she's only in her 2nd year release!

Reply by dmcker, Feb 25, 2010.

You're opening up a whole range of wineries for discussion, whether younger growers in the Northern Rhone, Garagistes on the right bank in Bordeaux or people fighting the good fight in Northern California against horrible past excesses in Napa and elsewhere.

Here's a listing of some very good winemakers, almost all small and some exceedingly small, from a separate thread I started on "What's Wrong with California Cabs"

"On the positive side, here’s a partial listing of California producers that appear to be getting it right, to greater rather than lesser extent, anyway, from what I've tasted over the last year or two. I'm undoubtedly missing several because I am currently living in Tokyo and don't have access to anywhere near as many wines and wineries as I would if I were living back home in California. With some 3,000 wineries in California alone (and 1,000 in the Pacific Northwest these days), it would be extremely hard to get on top of things even if I was back in CA. Also this is off the top of my head, so I'm sure I'll remember others the second after I post this. Nonetheless, I'll get the ball rolling by putting up a list. Then, perhaps others will respond as to whether they agree or not, and suggest other names.

To start with:
--Anthill Farms
--Mt. Eden
--Wind Gap
--Natural Process Alliance"

These are all relatively new places in California and we haven't yet seen how their bottles will stand up to 20 or 30 years in the cellar, but they do deserve, IMHO, our support. And no, they're not all cabernet sauvignon producers. On the contrary, they are focusing more on other varietals, including pinot noir and syrah.

There's plenty more to say on this subject but I'll leave off here. One final thing, though, Mark. When I did a forum search just now for 'What's wrong with California Cabs' nothing came up. When I typed in 'California cabernet' again no results. When I then tried 'California cabs' I found the thread. So your search engine is acting a bit hinky....

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Feb 25, 2010.

Thanks for the suggestions. I've got some research to do!

Also, DM -- thanks for the bug report. I've confirmed and logged it and we'll track that down very soon.

Any others to add to the list?

Reply by napagirl68, Feb 26, 2010.

I think these are small enough to talk about.....

Roudon-Smith, Santa Cruz, Ca- have a good RRV chard, SC red blend, and SC cab franc.

Lucas and Lewellyn, Santa Barbara= good cab franc and red blends

Selby Winery, Healdsburg, CA- I LOVE their chards... RRV

Arger-Martucci, St. Helena, CA... great pinot noir and cab franc

Deer Ridge Vineyards, Livermore, CA- Don't like all their wines, but the 2007 (i think) Sauv Blanc is WONDERFUL.

Georis Winery, Carmel valley, ca. Known for their merlots, but I love their Cab francs....yum they sell out real fast.. small lots.

Joyce Family Vineyards, Carmel valley, CA- PINOT NOIR!!!!!

will think on this more... am very tired......

Reply by amour, Feb 26, 2010.

makes tiny quantities of old-style Sancerre.......very unusual,
and so different from the norm.

Will return to this thread.

Interestingly, only last night,
I was discussing a project mounted by the
University of Glasgow (Scotland) and with some
input from the University of Alicante (Spain).

The project is aimed at assisting small producers,
helping them to understand their market and
actually teaching them how to promote their offerings.

Reply by Cathy Shore, Feb 27, 2010.

Crottin de Chavignol with an old style Sancerre - sounds good to me. Good wine and great cheese from the same village - now that's what I call a good match.

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