Tag Archives: Noble Rot Talks
In the first week of my stay in Napa, I was invited to join Jesse Fox and his wife for a picnic in the town of Sonoma for the Sonoma Farmer’s Market, which is anything but your ordinary Farmer’s Market thanks to the open bottle policy! So we parked ourselves in the park, bought some food-truck delights and sipped on Rose. A mutual friend from New York put us in touch. Fifteen minutes into meeting the world seemed incredibly small: Jesse, it turned out, was hired to be the Assistant Winemaker at Ram’s Gate Winery, a brand new “Zarathustra” on the mountaintop winery perched on a hill in Sonoma/Carneros with 360 degree views of the rolling hills of Southern Sonoma. And consequently where I had been hired to consult on social media and events. Jesse and I became fast friends and over the course of my stay in Napa had many a drink, dinner and conversation pow-wow. Jesse was headed for a career in the restaurant world, having come to Napa to work at The French Laundry. His story of transition to the wine industry is a great tale. You’ll get a real sense of place thanks to Nature’s underscoring soundtrack… After listing to the interview, if you’re curious to read about my personal experience working with Ram’s Gate, visit Winetology. Listen, enjoy and elevate your afternoon.
Winemaker, Chris Phelps, was an elusive and mysterious presence to me the first several weeks I was hosting by-appointment only tastings in the Swanson Vineyards Salon. I had met his son, Josh Phelps (who I interviewed previously) and had been tasting and talking about Chris’s wines with guests in the Salon, utterly unsure if the man truly existed. Finally, we met one brisk Napa morning as grapes were coming in and as harvest activity picked up, he was around a lot. Not that he isn’t around – he’s simply around the grapes, the tanks, the vineyards and not so much the salon. His bio includes a laundry list of high-pedigree mentors and wineries, namely Petrus, Dominus and Caymus. He’s a Francophile and purist at heart and uses words like “Iron Fist” and “Velvet Glove” to describe his covereted Merlot. I hope you enjoy Chris’s fabulous stories of the ’82 epic Bordeaux vintage, his first! among other wonderful insights. He also makes a wine called Ad Vivum, which we’ll discuss in a later podcast. After listing to the interview, if you’re curious to read about my personal experience working the 2011 Harvest in the Swanson Salon, visit Winetology. Thanks for listening.