Wine Blog

September 16, 2020

Kapcsandy Family

I first met Louis Kapcsandy and his son Louis Jr. at Ch. Lynch Bages, in Pauillac in 1998. I was conducting my “Golf and Taste the Greats of Bordeaux tour and at our pre-lunch tasting I was introduced to them by the owner Jean Michell Cazes. He told me they were passionate wine lovers that were serious about getting into the wine business and were doing their homework by visiting Bordeaux’s greatest vineyards and hoped it would be ok if they joined us for lunch.

As we enjoyed our nice lunch together, I could clearly feel their passion for wine, especially Bordeaux and their Hungarian heritage. One year later Louis was buying Bordeaux from K&L, and in 2000 the family purchased a 20-acre parcel of the iconic “State Lane Vineyard” in Yountville California. The vineyard had been infested by phylloxera and had to be completely replanted and the Kapcsandy’s



July 8, 2020

I’m dead serious when I say I have answered this question a thousand times; we are coming back to Napa Valley for vacation, we love it and have been there a few times. Are there any cool or new places you recommend? I ask if they have covered a lot of the wineries on Highway 29 and Silverado Trail; if they say yes; I say it’s time to explore Spring Mountain.

 Spring Mountain stands behind the town of St. Helena framing the northeast corner of the Napa Valley at 2600 feet and is the main route linking Napa to Sonoma from the top of the valley. The Spring Mountain  AVA (American Viticultural Area) was established in 1993 but vines have been planted on the mountain since 1870.

There are some great and historic wineries to visit here. You can get away from the traffic of 29 and into beautiful rugged mountain landscape and enjoy a different side and style of Napa wine. Mountain...

July 3, 2020

Dalle Valle was founded in 1986 by Naoko and Gustave Dalle Valle and is located on a hillside east of the Silverado Trail in Oakville.

In my opinion Dalle Valle has always been a Napa Valley -Cult wine because the wines were awesome from the first release with no track record and took the Napa Valley by storm.

 When I first tasted the 1991 Cabernet Sauvignon, it was pure cashmere! The wine was so lush, and driven by pure red fruits and absolutely delicious. I bought it for myself and sold it to all my customers but soon the horse was out of the barn and everyone wanted the wine and the allocations were getting smaller and were small to begin with, and eventually went mailing list only soon.

That was sealed when there 5 acre parcel named after their daughter Maya received their first 100 point score from Robert Parker. Maya herself now directs the property with her mother. ’ve be...

June 24, 2020

In my opinion, hundreds of years from now when people reflect on the history wines of California, Robert Mondavi will remain the number one influence in its success; making him the godfather of California wine.

He gambled everything; money, family and his reputation to get his winery built in 1966. He was 53 at the time. He was absolutely sure that the quality of his wine and his winery would be world class and a visit there would be the experience of a lifetime. He invited the world to come visit, they came and the rest is history.

Hundreds if not thousands, by now of talented wine lovers and professionals got there starts by working there and those people are everywhere in the wine trade. Every person who owns land, makes wine or earns a living in the Napa Valley should wake up every day and thank the lord for Robert Mondavi’s life. His vision for Napa Valley is exactly what...

June 17, 2020

You can call her the flying winemaker or the queen of the cult wines, but wherever you go anywhere in the world of wine, everyone knows the name of Heidi Barrett as one of the greatest winemakers in the world.

So far in her great career, and she still has a long way to go if she chooses, Heidi has made five- 100 point wines. Two at Dalla  Valle with the “Maya” 1992 and 1993, Screaming Eagle in 1992 and 1997 and Grace Family in 1997.

Heidi likes to take the expression of the vineyard and get that expression into the bottle; her wines are big and rich but never over extracted and are always perfectly balanced.

Heidi’s Amuse Bouche is truly a California cult wine of small production from her vineyards in the hillsides east of Rutherford. Heidi consults at a long list of very fine wineries; two that are absolute favorites of mine and not crazy expensive, which is nice!

    Paradigm W...

June 2, 2020

I first met Randy and Debbie Lewis at Oakville Ranch in the foothills of the Vaca Mountains in 1989; this was their first investment and partnership in the wine business. Debbie had been in the wine trade and Randy had just retired from the race car world where he competed for 23 years, including 5    Indianapolis 500’s.

After spending just a few minutes with them, I remember thinking, wow; these people are excited, focused, professional and exude energy! There love of wine was obvious. Soon Randy had me in their small cellar, he wanted me to taste two wines, the same vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon but made differently, one wine filtered and fined the other was not. I told him I clearly enjoyed the unfiltered and unfined wine; Randy’s big smile told me he also very much preferred this style. I had the feeling this partnership was going sideways and in 1992 Lewis Cellar...

June 2, 2020

Delia Viader is a dynamic woman who makes great wine! Delia was born in Argentina, moved to France at 13, studied at Sorbonne in Paris, MIT, in America, speaks 6 different languages; and along with her son Alan makes one of the greatest wine in Napa Valley.

Delia’s vineyard is exceptional and very unique as it slopes from east to west, all in one un-terraced parcel at an angle of 32%, offering fantastic exposure and drainage.  With Delia’s French experience it is no surprise that her vineyard has a Bordeaux feel planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot.

The rocky, volcanic  soils of Howell Mountain typically  produces wines of dark concentrated fruit with solid structure. The Viader wines have their own style, always featuring great fruit, but they also have  silky textures, elegance and freshness. The decade of the 1990’s was an exciting time for Napa Va...

March 5, 2020

I finally did it; I played wine tourist and it was fun!

In my 43 years in the business of wine I have been blessed to have hundreds of fantastic culinary and wine experiences in Europe, Asia as well as here in America; the one thing they all have in common is that they were all work related.

Hanging out, relaxing and enjoying the beauty of wine country is not something I do very often. Last year on Valentine’s Day, February 14th my wife Kim and I were invited by the owners of Kokomo Winery, Erik Miller and Randy Peters to attend their 9th annual Winemaker Dinner inside the winery with their “Wine Club Members”.

At PrimeCellar, Kokomo has become a superstar in our portfolio; consistently producing delicious wines that are loaded with beautifully ripe fruit with silky textures while also offering fantastic value. The only downside is that they tend to sell out quickly! Ever since...

January 6, 2020

There is not one day in my life that goes by that I do not think about Sonoma county and the numerous towns that represent this beautiful wine country. The reason is simple, I’m 64 years old with an eye on retirement and of all the places on earth I would love to retire, Sonoma County is my dream spot.

To be honest the exact destination really does not matter to me as the entire area, the people and their communities are all very beautiful and very special. Moving from the Southern boundary to the North you will find the towns of Petaluma, Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Windsor, Healdsburg, Geyserville and Cloverdale.

The last few years have been nightmarelike in Sonoma County with devastating fires in the fall of 2017 and 2019 caused by turbulent southwest winds, causing high voltage power lines to malfunction, igniting trees and wild brush that encompass Napa and Sonoma County.  In...

October 30, 2019

Kincade Fire Update

Dear Friends,

So many of you have reached out to us regarding the wildfires once again ravaging our beautiful state. We sincerely appreciate your messages and kind thoughts, thank you! We thought this would be the best way to give you an update with what is going on for all of us.

On Saturday, October 26th, we harvested the last of the remaining grapes (Cabernet), crushed them, and hung up our coats on the 2019 growing season. An exciting and gratifying accomplishment to be sure! At 4am the next day, Brian, Adi, and family were evacuated from their Sonoma County home and headed to the vineyard to "take shelter." We've all been here since then.

Close to 200,000 people have been evacuated from Sonoma County, almost all of those without power, and that situation continues; we are on a generator currently at the vineyard. The Sheriff has announced a "repopulat...

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