Le Vigne Winery, translating to “The Vineyard” in Italian, stands as a testament to the Filippini family’s rich heritage and commitment to traditional winemaking. For close to a century, Le Vigne has dedicated itself to crafting exceptional wines that reflect the distinct characteristics of both the vineyard and the vintage.
The Filippini family’s connection to the Paso Robles region dates back to the early 1960s, when Sylvia Filippini’s family acquired the property that would later become Le Vigne Winery. Initially focused on hay and cattle farming, the landscape underwent a significant transformation in 1982 with the planting of the first grapevines. This marked the beginning of Paso Robles’ evolution into a prominent wine region, driven by its unique soils, climate, and coastal influences.
Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon were among the initial varietals planted. The grapes from the estate quickly gained acclaim among local producers, prompting the Filippini family to venture into winemaking in 1989. A state-of-the-art winery was established in 1995, accompanied by additional vineyards in 1998. The winery expanded its portfolio to include Merlot, Syrah, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Franc, alongside the original plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Small blocks of Grenache, Petite Sirah, Malbec, and Tannat were also introduced.
Walter Filippini, co-owner of Le Vigne Winery, traces his roots to Italy, where he spent summers working on his grandparents’ vineyard in Valtellina. His culinary journey began at the age of 15 when he enrolled in the Culinary Institute in San Pellegrino, Italy. Specializing in “Gastronomia,” the artful presentation of cold food dishes, Walter won Italy’s National Chef’s competition in 1981. His culinary expertise, combined with a passion for wine, eventually led him to the creation of Le Vigne Winery in partnership with Sylvia.
The Filippinis also own Peacock Cheese, an importing and distributing company that brings high-quality cheese and food items from international sources. Predictably, gourmet cheeses and foods are in integral part of the Le Vigne tasting experience.
Le Vigne’s commitment to wine and food pairing is evident in their offerings, such as the Cheese Flight featuring Kiara label wines and Le Vigne label wines paired with a selection of French, California, and Italian cheeses. The winery also presents the Decadent Flight, where wines are paired with imported chocolates, showcasing the versatility of Le Vigne’s creations.
The winery hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including Olive Oil Pairing Seminars, Culinary Experience Programs, Blending Seminars, and specialized classes such as Truffle Making and Pasta Sauce. Le Vigne’s Cheese Lady, Zina Miakinkova, is instrumental in the wine and cheese pairing program, contributing to the development of the Wine and Cheese Club.
The winemaking team at Le Vigne includes Winemaker Anthony Gallegos, whose unexpected journey led him to Paso Robles in 2016. His dedication and passion for winemaking have propelled him from Cellar Master to Winemaker. Anthony believes in the importance of vineyard practices, emphasizing that great wine is made in the vineyard.
A Southern California native, Gallegos first studied horticulture, which ultimately lead him to develop a passion for viticulture and wine. He has winemaking experience with a broad range of grape varietals, from Pinot Noir and Syrah in the cooler climates of Santa Rita Hills, to Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat in the hotter regions of Paso Robles.
The consulting Winemaker, Terry Culton, brings over 20 years of winemaking experience, marked by mentorship under industry luminaries like Ken Volk of Wild Horse and Josh Jensen at Calera.
Drawn by the Siren Song of old vine Pinot Noir, Terry left Calera and returned to Paso Robles to work with HMR’s (Hoffman Mountain Ranch) vast plantings of Rhone Varietals. He next launched Culton Wines, all produced from ultra-premium Central Coast grapes.
Le Vigne’s vineyards, including the Domenico Estate Vineyard and Acquarello Estate Vineyard, cover nearly 113 acres, showcasing the diversity of Paso Robles’ terroir. With plantings dating back to 1981, these sustainably farmed vineyards feature clay loam soil, undulating terrain, and a range of grape varietals, creating a unique expression of the Estrella District terroir.
Here was a first for me: after removing the foil and cage from the cork, I turned my back to get a flute for the tasting. Seconds later, I heard a loud crack! as the cork spontaneously zoomed out and hit the ceiling, not to mention a few ounces of bubbly on the counter, dammit. A good reminder to never point a bottle of sparkling wine at yourself or others.
This sparkler is produced using the méthode champenoise [aka méthode traditionelle] where two fermentations occur in the bottle. The fizz is fairly coarse, but not unacceptably so. There are plenty of citrus aromas on the nose. The palate features an excellent mouthfeel, with dominant flavors of grapefruit and lime. There is a hint of honeydew in there as well. There are none of the bready/yeasty notes I really like in a sparkler, but I guess you can’t have everything, eh? The racy acidity makes this wine super refreshing, and it paired quite well with the whitefish alfredo I served. ABV is 12.3%.
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