That bottle of wine on your dinner table didn't vinify itself, you know. A lot of labor, strategizing and general hand-wringing accompany the journey of a bunch of grapes into a great bottle of wine. Wine Spectator's winemaker blogs give you an inside look as the grapes roll in from vineyards in from California and Europe, so you'll be among the first to know how the 2004 vintage is shaping up in some of the world's most important wine regions.
Juggling two careers -- winemaking and software engineering -- keeps Brian Loring on his toes. The 43-year-old consulting winemaker specializes in vineyard-designated Pinot Noir from around the Central Coast and Bay Area.
With a little start-up money and no formal training, Loring threw himself at the difficult Pinot Noir grape in 1999. A firm believer that good wine is made in the vineyard, Loring is fussy about where his grapes come from, and he's found some good sources, including Garys' Vineyard and Rosella's Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands, Brosseau Vineyard in the Chalone appellation, and Ontiveros Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley.
So far, Loring's pickiness has paid off; several of his bottles have already earned outstanding ratings.
See ratings for Loring Wine Company wines.
Consulting winemaker Mia Klein produces Bordeaux varietals for esteemed Napa Valley wineries such as Dalla Valle, Fisher and Bressler. Her own winery, Selene Wines, focuses mainly on Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
Klein studied enology at U.C. Davis and cut her teeth at Chappellet and Robert Pepi, and has also consulted at Spottsoode, Araujo and Viader.
At Selene, Klein focuses on Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot because, in her own words, "Both have a wide range of style … neither variety has a narrow or limiting definition of what it is or could be."
See ratings for Selene wines.
Alex Gambal's original plan was to spend just one year in France with his wife and family. That was 1993, and Gambal hasn't left Burgundy since.
The American transplant, formerly a real estate broker, learned the craft of winemaking and started his négociant firm, Maison Alex Gambal, in 1997. A firm believer in quality over quantity, Gambal is an advocate for traditional winemaking methods and sources grapes from all over the region for his wines, several of which have earned outstanding Wine Spectator ratings.
See ratings for Maison Alex Gambal wines.
The Folonaris have been making wine in Italy for six generations. In the early 20th century the family purchased Ruffino, which became one of Tuscany's largest wine producers. In 2000, Giovanni and his father decided to focus on smaller-production wines and formed Tenute Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari, which focuses on single-vineyard wines. The father-son team now owns eight estates, seven in Tuscany and one in Friuli.
Giovanni Folonari received a degree in oenology and viticulture from the University of California at Davis and worked at Robert Mondavi Winery before returning to his native country.
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