Month: November 2018

LaRue Wines – A Determined Woman on a Mission

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That may sound a bit too serious, but then again making award winning wines is also a serious business. Katy Wilson has set her sights high from the day she entered Cal Poly to make some great wines. She has done her journeyman’s tour from harvests in San Luis Obispo to Australia and New Zealand. She got her start at Testarossa Winery in the Bay Area and then worked hard at Flowers Vineyard & Winery as harvest enologist and made her way to assistant winemaker. This is where is fell in love with both Pinot Noir and the Sonoma soil. Since 2009, LaRue’s first harvest, she has striven to perfect her acclaimed Pinot Noir vintages. Then in 2014, she branched out into Chardonnay with an exquisite LaRue Charles Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay. Key to her success is the hands on detail from hauling grapes, constant punch downs, etc. She does it all to ensure her quality product.


While all that seems very serious, this picture of Katy Wilson in Emmaline Ann Vineyard shows her enjoyment and pride in making some truly remarkable wines. Her smile is as wide as the vineyard!! Here she is poised with her award winning 2014 LaRue Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. One of the key contributing factors beyond her innate hard work ethic, is her ability to gain access to some of the best vineyards in the Sonoma Coast AVA. Most of her wines are single vineyard designated wines, like Heintz Vineyard, Thorn Ridge Vineyard, Rice-Spivak Vineyard and Emmaline Ann Vineyard. She does produce one non-single vineyard wine – LaRue Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – a blend of the Rice-Spivak and Thorn Ridge Vineyards.


In this picture, is shown the 2014 LaRue Emmaline Ann Vineyard Pinot Noir. Here on this secluded hillside vineyard, Katy has produced some phenomenal award winning wines. International Wine Report reporting on the 2014 Pinot Noirs, described her wines as “possessing a soft and supple texture on the palate along with expressive fresh red fruits and lovely touch of acidity keeping this fresh and inviting through the finish”. Perhaps the best compliment of her award winning wine making was the compliment from Antonio Galloni on her 2013 Pinot Noir, “Katy Wilson’s 2013 Pinots are some of her best wines yet. Over the years, Wilson’s Pinots seem to have become more precise, nuanced and articulated, all qualities that come through loud and clear with these current releases. As always, Wilson’s light touch translates into wines of grace and restraint.” I personally noted the bright clarity and refined qualities of strawberry and cherry. Also, mentioned her Pinot Noirs were graceful and smooth like a solo ballerina performance from Kirov Ballet School.

LaRue’s total production is approximately 500 cases and she sells out each year. If you are desirous of these tasty single vineyard designated Pinot Noirs or Chardonnay, it is available only via the wine club. Beyond her own winery, Katy is the winemaker at Anaba Wines, Reeve Wines and Smith Story Wine Cellars.

So while not guaranteeing a smile as big as Katy’s, I can state your enjoyment will bring a smile to your face while sipping her serious wines!



Alyris Vineyards presents their Pièce de Résistance – Carnal Wine Company

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Alyris Vineyards, with Ewan & Cyndi Downie and Rudy Zuidema, with notable wins in the wine community, launched another venture, Carnal Wine Company. It is hard to imagine something much beyond Alyris Vineyards award winning Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but they have now a premiere wine called Carnal Cab.

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This wine is for collectors only, but stay tuned as they are making a one-time offer later in this article. Only 50 cases were produced of this premium wine. Carnal Cab, identifies the finest of the award winning Audition Series barrels and produces an extraordinary and sensuous yet delightful wine. It is 100% Cabernet from Mt George estate on the hillside east of Napa. See previous article on Alyris at

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This wine is set aside for Alyris Club Members and available only in 6 packs. The price is $100/bottle, but don’t reel back, this is a bargain price. Now for the good news! Alyris Vineyards & Carnal Wine Company has set aside fifteen six-pack’s (first come first served) to be sold to discriminating buyers after reading this article. Normally, you cannot buy this wine unless you are a Club Member of Alyris, so this is an exceptional opportunity to acquire and taste some magnificence and unique Mt George hillside estate grown wine.

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The wine is aged in 100% new French oak barrels and then stored in their cave for an additional year. Rudy who is already a noted winemaker in the Napa Valley, has seriously produced his pièce de résistance in Carnal Cab. This is no ordinary Napa Valley Cabernet with strong tannins, this is a silky smooth non-lip puckering wine. Ewan describes it as “backing off on the sugar, or sweeteners and went for a big mountain side Cabernet flavor” with fruit forward embracing nectar on the palate. Perhaps that is where the name Carnal came into play??? This was truly produced a seductive dance with a marinated and BBQed tri-tip last week.

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So while this piece is on their Cabernet, they also do a Carnal Zinfandel and soon a Carnal Chardonnay.
This Carnal Cab is definitely worth a spin around the block for a pleasurable Napa Valley Cabernet experience.