The Tasting Panel magazine

January 2014

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Page 73 of 108

The Wine and Food Influencers of Paso Robles As Paso Robles is realizing its destiny as a world-class wine region, it is becoming more and more of a destination. Here's a look at the standouts who are making an impact on their community and the industry. A Star Is Born AT VILLA SAN-JULIETTE WINERY, WINEMAKER MATT ORTMAN IS CREATING AN AMERICAN IDOL by Meridith May "T here's something special here," says Matt Ortman, winemaker for Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery, just a few miles north of Paso Robles in the San Miguel district. He pauses, stands before the looming Tuscan estate behind him, the undulating landscape surrounding us. "The hills, the elevation, the soil structure—it adds so much intensity to the fruit." In 2012, Ortman was chosen to work as a consultant to help wrap up the 2012 harvest while winery owners Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe were looking for someone permanent. They were serious about putting some prospective talent to the test. Auditions come naturally to this Hollywood production duo. "We held an unconventional interview with Matt," reveals Hillary Trout, the winery's President and COO. "He was already making the wines Ken and Nigel liked: depth of character and sexy." Matt Ortman comes from a winemaking family. He is leading the way of the vines and wines at Villa SanJuliette Winery. In the background is the 14,000-squarefoot Tuscan-style estate. PHOTO: ROB BROWN january 2014  /  the tasting panel  /  73 TP0114_66-108.indd 73 12/19/13 9:47 PM

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