The Tasting Panel magazine

February 2014

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72 / the tasting panel / february 2014 Nike and sneakers," explains Deutsch, "but when it comes to wine, if consum- ers don't believe the celeb has any connection to the wine, they won't see it as authentic." Deutsch asked Nantz a deining question: "Does your name have to be on the label?" "If you think putting my name on the label can help us, let's do it," Nantz answered, "but what I'm more interested in is building the next great American wine brand, and I prefer that my name be well off into the background." That comment sealed the deal, putting Deutsch at ease and paving the way for the birth of a new brand that would help answer a calling for both men. A Dream Realized For Jim Nantz, the idea of starting a wine brand may have been impressed upon him since his early teens, when his parents, described by Nantz as "always curious-minded people," introduced him to wine as part of their desire for him to have an apprecia- tion for many things. "We took tours, walked the vineyards and learned about the process from growing, to crushing, barreling and bottling. It left an indelible impression," recalls Nantz. In typical Deutsch fashion, Peter moved into high gear, employing all his expertise and connections in an effort to create a wine brand that would appeal to a broad range of consumers. "Jim and I could have gone on to make the next garage wine, extremely limited availability, high price point, but that's not what we wanted to do," says Deutsch. Instead, he reached out to legendary winemaker Marco DiGiulio of Vintage Wine Estates, knowing that someone with the likes of DiGiulio's professional abilities and intimate knowledge of vineyards would be integral to The Calling's success. He has built a reputation for crafting artisanal, terroir driven wines at California's top wineries, includ- ing Girard, Pepi and Lakoya. Wine Spectator has named DiGiulio "one of Napa's leading wine consultants." "We told him about our vision and Marco was into it," says Deutsch. All agreed that tapping Sonoma's top vineyards was the best option for a Burgundian style Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. DiGiulio set up a meeting with Steve and Joe Dutton, ifth-generation winegrowers of the famed Dutton Ranch, which includes 1,000 acres of sustainably and organically farmed vineyards in the Russian River AVA. The Dutton family has been farming vineyards in Sonoma County since the 1880s. Dutton Ranch is known for its unique Goldridge soils and moderated, maritime climate that are ideal for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the predominant varieties growing in the vineyards. "The sites of our vineyards are relatively close to the coast so we have cool nights and a fog inluence. The combination of that and the sandy Goldridge soil that we grow our grapes on puts us in a very unique area with the ability to grow very high quality grapes," says Steve Dutton. The Duttons' commitment to viticultural innovation combined with decades of knowledge of the land allows them to cultivate the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes in the area, and The Calling beneits from that exceptional fruit. A Retail Giant Hears The Calling Chris Adams, CEO of Sherry-Lehman Wines & Spirits, one of the country's most respected wine retailers, is a big proponent of The Calling. He's particularly excited about the 2012 Russian River Valley Fox Den Vineyard Pinot Noir, which evolves in the glass over time, like a true Burgundian Pinot. On discovering The Calling, Adams recalls, "I was instantly impressed—the wines had real character, ripeness, framed with bright acidity and good tan- nic structure. They had a sense of place, a terriic story, and the complexities were there—they possessed the balance that we look for in a California wine and at the price point it was over-delivering." PHOTO: DOUG YOUNG Chris Adams, CEO, Sherry- Lehmann, NYC. The Calling portfolio consists of six wines in two tiers. COVER STORY

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