Friends of the Family

Wine is no fun without friends, and here are some of ours…

Beauregard Vineyards
Winemaker Ryan Beauregard produces a wide range of expressive wines from the family’s estate vineyards. It was Ryan who first turned me on to Pinot Noir back in 2001 with his first vintage of Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir. Ryan is a longtime friend and winemaking mentor to me.

MacPhail Family Wines
This one falls under the category of “recommended wines”. James MacPhail consistently produces some of the most mind-boggling Pinots in the world for the MacPhail and Sequana labels. We are fortunate to be able to call the MacPhails friends and to be able to share thoughts and ideas about Pinot Noir with one of the best Pinot craftsmen in the world.

I Brand and Family Wines
Ian Brand used to help out with Split Rail Vineyard before we came along, and we’ve gotten to know one-another as a result.  His P’Tit Paysan wines, especially the GSM blend he makes, are on our table more than most other reds.  He also makes an amazing Albariño and a fantastic rosé.  Ian is not messing around.

Wargin Wines
We’ve gotten to know the Wargin family over the last year or so, and have been consistently impressed with Mikael’s craftsmanship when it comes to some lesser-known varietals.  Their wines are at an approachable price point and are, quite often, an amazing value for the money.  Really nice wines.

Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard
Jeff Emery is the current reigning Grandfather of Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir.  We are lucky to get to share ideas and taste wines with someone that has such a vast well of experience to draw from.  Do yourself a favor and age one of his estate pinots for 10+ years.  His wines are made for aging, and they age amazingly well.

Downhill Winery
Winemaker Frank Ashton is attracted to lesser-known (in America) varietals and does a wonderful job with them. His 2008 Torrontes, for example, is pretty much the perfect summer wine. He also produces quality, affordable wines from better-known varietals– Pinot Noir, Zin and Chardonnay.

-John Benedetti, owner/winemaker