The SOMM Journal

August / September 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 26 of 148

26 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER { the ransom report } The Ransom Report is a column by The Somm Journal's East Coast Editor David Ransom. In each issue, David will discuss what's currently on his mind and in his glass gathered from conversations and experiences in the world wine, spirits, and hospitality. LET'S FACE IT, there are some folks who think that if a wine is not made from estate fruit, it is inferior. Conversely, many winemakers rely on contracted fruit to assure con- sistency or to make wine from varieties they don't grow. Is one philosophy better than the other? I recently had the chance to try some exceptional wines from both camps. In the "We only make wine from our own fruit" category, I had lunch in NYC at Ai Fiore with Count Francesco Marone Cinzano, owner of Montalcino's Col d'Orcia, who is one of the great producers of Brunello and arguably its most passionate and outspoken promoter. I've known the Count for many years and consider him a friend, so when he invited me to lunch to talk not about Brunello, but about his pet project in Chile, Erasmo, I jumped. Erasmo, in Chile's Maule Valley was started in 1995 with the thought that Chile could produce truly world-class wines from traditionally grown and harvested fruit (Erasmo is dry-farmed and certified organic). Rather than rely on Chile's nursery system for vines, Marone Cinzano even brought specific clones in from Europe to give another level of authenticity to the project. The wines—a Barbera-Garnacha blend, and Bordeaux-style blend called Reserva de Coliboro— are fabulous, as expected. The wine is imported by Palm Bay International. And in the "Do we have to grow it, too?" category, I had the pleasure of dining at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, where resident Wine Diva (aka Director) Marika Vida-Arnold hosted Miner Family Winery's head winemaker Stacey Vogel as part of the Phenomenal Femmes dinner series, which features female winemakers from around the globe. Guests were treated to a breadth of wines, including Miner's Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and, of course, The Iliad (Miner Family's white Rhône-style blend) and The Oracle (their flagship red Bordeaux blend). Vogel explained that Miner's philosophy from the start was never to grow grapes— "We have under an acre of vines at Miner"—but to source exemplary fruit from the areas of California that grow a given variety best and concentrate on making great wine. She must be doing something right, because Miner Family has won countless awards, and even been featured at the White House—not once, but six times. Simply put, this femme's wines are phenomenal. So, to grow or not to grow? That is the question, or should I say philosophy. Who's right? As a wine lover and former producer, I say both. To Grow or Not to Grow? story and photos by David Ransom Erasmo's Count Francesco Marone Cinzano. Erasmo is the Chilean project from the owner of Col d'Orcia. Ritz-Carlton Central Park Wine Driector Marika Vida-Arnold, Miner Family Vineyards' Stacey Vogel and The Somm Journal's East Coast Editor, David Ransom, at the Phenomenal Femmes dinner.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The SOMM Journal - August / September 2017