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WineRelease.com's August 15, 2004 Monthly Newsletter


Greetings from WineRelease.com, now 973 winery listings strong!

Based on my recent subscriber survey, many of you requested more information on new wineries and more info on winemakers, so I have added two sections to the monthly newsletter. "By the Barrel" is a winemaker profile and this month features Delia Viader of Viader Vineyards (see below) and "First Crush" which profiles a new winery and this month features Olson Ogden Wines. With the changes, I hope to introduce you to new wineries and give you a deeper appreciation of the winemakers that create the juice we enjoy.

I have to give big thanks to my friend Fred Schwartz (copywriter extraordinaire) who comes up with cool creative headlines such as "Defy the Law of Supply and Demand", "First Crush" and "By the Barrel" in a matter of minutes. He continues to amaze me.

And now, on to the show...


September 2004 Wine Releases


WineRelease.com's Winery Newsletters and Mailing Lists Sign Up Page: Click here. New wineries include SE Chase Cellars and Gargiulo Vineyards.


The following 66 winery information pages have been updated since 7/15/2004:
  • Abreu Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Amavi Cellars; United States: Washington State: Walla Walla Valley
  • Amicus Cellars; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Andrew Geoffrey Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Anglim Winery; United States: California: Central Coast: Paso Robles
  • Arns Winery; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Barnwood Vineyards; United States: California: Santa Barbara County
  • Basel Cellars; United States: Washington State: Walla Walla Valley
  • Belle Glos Wines; United States: California: Napa Valley: Rutherford
  • Beringer Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley: St. Helena
  • Brochelle Vineyards; United States: California: Central Coast: Paso Robles
  • Caymus Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley: Rutherford
  • Chateau Boswell Winery; United States: California: Napa Valley: St. Helena
  • Chateau Christina/Joyce Vineyard; United States: California: Monterey County: Carmel Valley
  • Chateau Montelena Winery; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Crane Family Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley: Mount Veeder
  • Dover Canyon Winery; United States: California: Central Coast: Paso Robles
  • Downing Family Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Drew; United States: California: Santa Barbara County: Santa Rita Hills
  • Elliott Family Cellars; United States: California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
  • Emilio's Terrace; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Fire Station Red; United States: California
  • Fountainhead Cellars; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Girard Winery; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Gnekow Family Winery; United States: California: Central Valley
  • Goldeneye; United States: California: Sonoma County: Anderson Valley
  • Goosecross Cellars; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Harlan Estate; United States: California: Napa Valley: Oakville
  • Hip Chicks Do Wine; United States: Oregon
  • Husch Vineyards ; United States: California: Mendocino: Anderson Valley
  • Iris Hill Winery; United States: Oregon
  • J. Davies; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Jewel Collection Fine Wines; United States: California: Central Coast: Lodi
  • JR Wagner Family Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley: Stags Leap
  • Juslyn Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Kelham Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley: Oakville
  • Kenwood Vineyards; United States: California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Valley
  • Kinkead Ridge Vineyard and Winery; United States: Ohio
  • Laetitia Vineyard and Winery; United States: California: San Luis Obispo: Arroyo Grande
  • Lake Sonoma Winery; United States: California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley
  • Le Cuvier; United States: California: Central Coast: Paso Robles
  • Loring Wine Company; United States: California: Central Coast: Santa Maria Valley
  • Mark Ryan Winery; United States: Washington State
  • Marston Vineyard; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Milano Family Winery; United States: California: Mendocino
  • Morgan Winery ; United States: California: Monterey County
  • Navarro Vineyards; United States: California: Mendocino: Anderson Valley
  • Olson Ogden Wines; United States: California: Sonoma County
  • Pelerin Wines; United States: California: Central Coast: Santa Lucia Highlands
  • Poet’s Leap Winery; United States: Washington State: Columbia Valley
  • Pride Mountain Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Red Car Wine; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Robert Green Cellars; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Robinson Family Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley: Stags Leap
  • Sonoma Coast Vineyards & Winery; United States: California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Coast
  • St. Barthélemy Cellars; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Staglin Family Vineyard; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • T Vine; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Toad Hollow Vineyards; United States: California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
  • Ty Caton Vineyards; United States: California: Sonoma County
  • Valley of the Moon Winery; United States: California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Valley
  • Viader Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Whitman Cellars; United States: Washington State
  • X Winery; United States: California
  • Zaca Mesa Winery; United States: California: Santa Barbara County
  • ZD Wines; United States: California: Napa Valley




  • By The Barrel Winemaker profile with Delia Viader of Viader Vineyards

    Argentine born Delia Viader grew up in France and holds a doctorate in Philosophy from the Sorbonne University in Paris, pursued advanced business studies at three American Universities: MIT (Sloan School of Management Executive Programs in Financial Management, Corporate Strategy and Negotiation), UC Berkeley (Financial Management, Corporate Market-Focused Organizations, Masters Program in Business Administration), and Enology and Viticulture at UC Davis.. Mother of four and founder of Viader Vineyards, Delia grows 15 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, nine acres of Cabernet Franc, one acre of Petite Verdot and five acres of Syrah on the rocky slopes of Howell Mountain overlooking the Napa Valley and produces about 5,000 cases of red wine each year (all organic).

    Note: WineRelease's By the Barrel ask 20 questions of winemakers, but only require the winemaker to respond to half of the questions. Delia replied to all.

    Describe the pivotal point when you went from dreaming about making wine to actually doing it.
    Actually my dream was to remain in California and take advantage of all the opportunities offered...in other words: live the American dream not for myself but for my children. I enlisted the financial help of my father (not without first spelling very clearly a due date his name was to "come off the note"). He took me very seriously and treated me just like any other business proposal, with extreme care to detail. If today I remain profitably in business I think I owe it in a major way to that disciplined approach and not only to trying my damnest to come up with the best our vineyards can produce.

    What was the first wine you remember tasting and where were you?
    The first I remember leaving an impression was a 75 Petrus my father offered to me "blind" in search for an opinion whether to serve it or not with our meal. I was brought up very much the European way and had wine with my meals at a very early age but my opinion was never "consulted" until I reached the mature age of 15.

    Who has been the most influential in your wine making career?
    I have had many good "influences" from many people for various reasons. Zelma Long for helping to pave the way for women winemakers; Prof. Ann Noble; Prof. Roger Boulton; and many others who maintain a lifelong "childish enthusiasm" towards research as we are never at the end of anything, but just merely at the beginning of a new and exciting discovery every day every harvest with every glass of wine we taste and today, the most influential without a doubt is Tim Mondavi since we love to tease each other senseless over wine vineyard practices and winemaking technique.

    What is your most memorable food and wine experience?
    My memory is not as good as it once was so it was very recent that we had a 59 Mouton Rothschild on my birthday at Mouton itself with Baroness Philippine and her immediate family. Tim says he was not responsible entirely but it was the best birthday celebration I ever had in my life. The wine the food and most important the company made for a once in a lifetime experience. A close second came when we shared the gift bottle of 59 Mouton Baroness Philippine generously gave me at home with both our families Bob, Margrit and our nine children.

    What is your favorite memory of creating wine?
    Every time we bring in the first load of grapes the excitement of looking face to face at the endless possibilities and the tremendous responsibility that comes with it. How to best represent the soul and character of this magic place without the interference of my own heart and soul in the bottle? Is the eternal dilemma one must face year in and year out.

    What wine best expresses the region where it grows?
    Pinot Noir in Cote de Nuits...Sancerre in the Loire...Cabernet Franc in St Emilion...I think that if one pays attention to what the terroir has to offer in as much as the variety we choose to plant there every place should best express not only the region but the place itself. A wine to me has to have a sense of place speak of origin more than of the hand that put it in the bottle I am convinced that this is one of the most revolutionary advances in winemaking today; that we apply what we have learnt to match the right variety to the right terroir for that specific variety that in itself is a quantum leap in the history of winemaking.

    What food and wine paring is perfect?
    The one that gives you the most pleasure as when playing off each other’s strengths and showing off a chameleon array of nuances from each other for all that matters it could very well be the simplest of dish elevated to an extraordinary level by the wine. As happiness itself this perfect pairing is elusive but worth seeking. Life is short and I do not believe it to be a dress rehearsal so I take with gusto every opportunity I have.

    What do you wish you could say on your wine label that you can’t?
    That wine is good for you as a whole...Wine is a good catalyst for the soul.

    What is your opinion on alternative cork closures?
    When you make wines for the long term...meaning that the next generation will still be able to enjoy I have not been convinced yet that alternative cork closures will "deliver" to the next generation in the same way short term perhaps.

    What is the funniest wine descriptor you have heard?
    "Chokeful" if it makes you choke why would anyone want to keep drinking it? I never quite understood why it meant something positive in the writer’s mind but then again, English is not my first language.

    What wine trends do you not want to see?
    Wine writers’ advice followed to the letter like dogma guidance is always welcomed but the most fun comes from our own discovery so why limit our universe to a few given choices??? Then there is the argument of who do we agree with and who we don’t and so on and so forth. The whole exercise takes away from our own exploration and discovery; complicates lives unnecessarily and takes away the fun.

    What do you want to tell the beer drinkers of America?
    Give up on building up that belly and do something good for your heart today: drink a glass of wine it will make your food taste much better on top of that.

    If you weren’t a winemaker, what would your occupation be?
    I am first and foremost a mother so when I am not up and around getting things done at the winery I have enough entertainment at home...aside from that I’m still in love with my first love: Philosophy to which a good glass of red wine fits like glove to the hand after that a writer...a historian...I love literature and I love history.

    Which words or phrases are overused in the wine world?
    "Velvety"...when speaking of a wine itself or its finish and is nothing of the sort. Ditto for "elegant" it means so very different things to so many people that it ends up meaning nothing at all, there are many "wine-speak" words that are on the verge of ending up like that so I usually advise people to close their eyes and decode a wine structure or feel in their own wine speak so they can put it to memory. Later on they can search for wines that bring back that memory or important elements of it and continue to explore and expand their circle; their comfort zone with wines they truly enjoy.

    What childhood talent did you have that came in handy in your wine life?
    As a young student in France I worked summers at a perfume factory in the south picking delicate flower petals by hand and learning how to roll them to make the ‘base’ extract that would in turn give way to the different classifications in perfume. As usual chemistry had its way but the ‘base’ came back always to the purity of the source. I think it gave me a profound appreciation for aromatics and nuances that I consider very important in winemaking ever since. I do stress aromatics in my wines to the point that some have described "perfumed". Aromatics to me act as a "presentation card" the same way a good chef works with color and shape to make a dish attractive I work a wine’s aromatic nuances to make a wine seductive.

    What bits of advice do you have for an aspiring winemaker?
    Keep your focus, work hard, never feel you have learnt the last lesson for Mother Nature never ceases to surprise you, and then start ALL OVER AGAIN work hard, keep your focus and so on. Winemaking requires patience and when you feel it has tested all you’ve got then it will require some more.

    What part of your job do you most enjoy? Least enjoy?
    Most enjoy: blending, because that is where the creative child artist in me comes out to "play". Least enjoy: cleaning, boring and repetitious plus I am perfectionist so I’m never completely done (translation: I am a pain!!! of a winemaker).

    How do you want to be remembered as a winemaker?
    I would like to have a wine I’ve made remembered because it made someone’s life happier more complete a memorable experience of that elusive "moment" like that of an spiritual revelation almost. Whichever way you want to define it.

    What is your greatest winemaking fear?
    There is an old adage that says: that who translates commits and act of treason (to the word translated)...I wouldn’t want to "treason" the terroir that I work with but in many ways I am obliged to "translate it" a certain way. I wouldn’t want that way to be MY way but always to the best of my capacity, the best humanly possible given the circumstances of that vintage. Nature has a way of keeping you humble; that lesson is never lost as I approach each harvest with great humility.

    What is your wine motto?
    Strive for excellence so you may achieve extraordinary...a translation from Latin so it looses a bit but the meaning is clear: reach for the stars so you may come up a hair under?

    For your last supper, what will be the food and wines?
    How would I know it is to be my last? Perhaps a great Pinot Noir with hand made pasta and fresh truffles which is what I am planning for tonight but in case that tonight is NOT my last supper and I have the next opportunity I will plan something else... I love to build a meal around a special bottle of wine and viceversa have a special meal around any wine for wine and food are intrinsically related in my mind...it is like an instinct...a reflex on my part couldn’t think of one without reference to the other.


    First Crush New winery profile of Olson Ogden Wines

    Located in Sonoma County, Olson Ogden Wines produces small lots of Rhone style wines with the goal of producing a balanced wine that expresses the terroir and vintage from which it comes. Olson Ogden Wines is a partnership between Tim Olson, a veteran winemaker and former principal winemaker at Tarius Wines, and John Ogden, a business owner and entrepreneur with roots in the Internet and a passion for wine.

    Olson Ogden Wines are currently made with Rhone varietals, with plans to expand the label to include other varietals in the coming year. The inaugural wine release was their 2002 Unti Vineyard Syrah and was introduced at March's Rhone Rangers tasting in San Francisco.


    Last month I stumbled upon a worthwhile wine newsletter, Nat Decants. Natalie MacLean is a wine writer who publishes a free, twice monthly newsletter on various wine topics. It is worth a look.

    I hope you like this longer format. If you know of a new winery, let me know so I can look into featuring it in an upcoming First Crush profile. Just hit 'reply' on your email as I am here behind the address. Also, please forward this email to your wine friends so they can enjoy it as well.

    Till next month!


    Neil Monnens


    Wineries listed in red are sponsors of WineRelease.com.
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