Frank Family Carneros Chardonnay 2020

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Nestled amid the picturesque landscapes around Calistoga in Napa Valley lies a story that spans generations. It all began in 1993 when Rich and Leslie Frank embarked on a journey to establish Frank Family Vineyards, unaware of the rich tapestry of tales woven into the very soil they tread upon. Little did they know that they were about to become stewards of a legacy that stretches back to the late 19th century.

Larkmead Lane, where the Frank Family Vineyards stand today, has a storied history. It was once graced by the presence of Lillie “Firebelle” Hitchcock Coit, who was a patron of San Francisco’s volunteer firefighters and the benefactor for the construction of Coit Tower in San Francisco for whom it  was named.

Lillie Hitchcock Coit

In 1948, the property was purchased by one of Napa’s pioneering winemakers, John Solari. It next passed to a German-born sekt (sparkling wine) maker named Hanns Kornell, who established Kornell Champagne Cellars in 1958 (not to be confused with Korbel California Champagne). The following year, Kornell’s daughter Paula was born, and the winery continues to this day as the Paula Kornell Winery in a different, and undisclosed, location. (Stories have been told of Marilyn Monroe making annual visits to Kornell to stock up on the bubbly.) Continue reading “Frank Family Carneros Chardonnay 2020”

Genora Skin Fermented White Wine 2022

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Among the picturesque vines of the Château de Villemajou, nestled in the heart of the Corbières in 1975, a young Gérard Bertrand harvested his first grapes, unknowingly embarking on a lifelong passion for wine. Under the guidance of his father, Georges Bertrand, Gérard honed his skills and absorbed the values of performance and excellence instilled in him through his years on the rugby fields of his first vocation.

Gérard Bertrand (born January 27, 1965) represented France, RC Narbonne, and the Stade Français. But before and during his rugby career, he apprenticed in his father’s vineyards for twelve years.

“In 1975, when I turned 10 years old, I discovered winemaking and my family’s estate for the first time. I really fell in love with this part of my father’s business. Even though I didn’t know it was going to be my journey in life, I really enjoyed it. My father taught me, coached me. And every summer, I spent 45 days taking care of the vineyard with my sister, then two weeks working on the cellar,” ” he reminisced.

Tragically, in 1987, fate ihttp://taste#ntervened as Gérard’s father passed away in an accident, thrusting him into the role of stewardship over the family estate, Domaine de Villemajou. Undeterred by adversity, Gérard forged ahead, founding the Gérard Bertrand wine company in 1992, with a vision to showcase the wines of the South of France. With a dedication reminiscent of his sporting days, he set out on a mission to unearth the finest terroirs of his region. Continue reading “Genora Skin Fermented White Wine 2022”

A History of Wine in California

Note: This isn’t really a blog post, but rather a long-form essay.



Spanish Colonization
The Spanish Mission System
The Establishment of Missions throughout California
Fray Juniper Serra and His Missions
The Exploitation of Native Americans

Southern and Central California As The First Wine Region
Missions Founded in San Luis Obispo County
Los Angeles as a Wine Making Center

The Gold Rush and the movement of Wine Production North
Sonoma Valley Pioneers
Napa Valley Pioneers
Exporting California Wine in the Formative Years of Napa Valley

The Phylloxera Epidemic

The Early Twentieth Century
The California Wine Association
The Scourge of Prohibition

Highlights of the  Modern California Wine Industry
Father of the Modern Era: Andre Tchelistcheff
The Emergence of Single Vineyard Wines
The Judgment of Paris
The Mondavi Family
The Elephant in the Room: Robert Parker
The Amazing 1990s
California Cult Wines
Jean Phillips and Screaming Eagle
Bill Harlan
David Abreu
Andy Beckstoffer
Helen Turley
Contemporary Grapes and Wines

California Wine Regions
American Viticultural Areas
The North Coast
Napa Valley
Sonoma Valley
The Central Coast
A Renaissance in Southern California
The Temecula Valley

Notable Ethic Groups
Native Americans and Mexican-Californios

Challenges and Opportunities in the California Wine Industry

Continue reading “A History of Wine in California”