Adrien Vacher

Some regions are small and some are smaller. The area under vine in Savoie in eastern France, at 2000 hectares, is less than 1/3 the size of Ontario’s vineyard area. In fact, it wasn’t until after 1950 that Adrien Vacher became the first to bottle Savoie wine under a label. Until then, it had been sold in barrel only. Four generations later, the family works with 60 different growers across 33 hectares to produce a range of wines from fun and friendly to more serious and terroir-driven, with local indigenous grapes found nowhere else in France like Mondeuse, Jacquère, and Chignin, along with Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Chardonnay.

Alex Gambal

“Burgundy isn’t a spectator sport. It’s a contact sport.” Alex Gambal’s entry into the world of Burgundy would make him one of very few Americans to make wine and own vineyards in this fiercely protected historic French zone. Alex went to Europe in the early 1990s to see if he could change his lifestyle. There, he met Becky Wassermann whom he started selling wine for. He then decided viticulture school was a good idea, so ended up hobnobbing with the young up-and-coming winemakers. This allowed him to first source some barrels of wine, then eventually fruit itself, to put under his own small négoçiant label. He continued to source fruit, acquired 12 hectares of his own vines, and makes 18 different wines at the Grand Cru, Premier Cru, Village, and Bourgogne AC levels. In 2019, he sold his holdings to Boisset, but the Gambal name remains.

Antica Terra

Maggie Harrison was enjoying a remarkable career as winemaker-extraordinaire at cult winery Sine Qua Non in Santa Barbara, California when the opportunity to farm in Oregon arose. At first, she refused. But upon visiting the land at Antica Terra, it took her less than 30 seconds to change her mind. A self-proclaimed “first-generation” winemaker, Maggie approaches her task with complete humility, wonder, and a fanatical insistence on beauty in all things. Farming Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on exposed 40-million-year-old marine-fossil-infused sandstone in the Van Duzer corridor, the Antica Terra team promised themselves the following: “to gain on intimacy, to perfect and refine our farming over time, paying attention neither to trend nor to dogma. Every vine a puzzle, every season its own solution. This work is our privilege and this place is our home.”

Artiga Fustel

Artiga was founded in Spain’s Vilafranca del Penedès in 2002 by Martí Quer, who spent over a
decade as Head Sommelier of Aureole in Manhattan’s spectacular Bank of America Tower. He
then introduced Spain’s most exclusive wines to Japan’s top importers.

But the groundwork for these incredible wines goes back to the 1950s, when one Señor
Ruberte was the first to recognize the quality of Campo de Borja and subsequently bottle estate
and regional wines rather than selling in bulk in Spain and to France. This played a pivotal role
in forming the D.O. Campo de Borja twenty years later in 1978. In 2017, the winery was
awarded the Best Winery in Aragón by the Academia Aragonesa de Gastronomía. They focus on
native varieties Tempranillo, Garnacha, Xarel.lo, and Moscatel de Alejandría.

Arzuaga Navarro

The old Basque saying goes:
“Man is the only animal that knows where he will die: in his girlfriend’s village.”
It was in that spirit that 20-year-old Florentino Arzuaga moved from his mountainous northern Spanish home to the river valley of Ribera del Duero and set about establishing vineyards to grow wine. He happened upon what is now called “The Golden Mile” of this historically superior-quality growing region, with his winery and vineyards slap dab in between the two biggest names from the region: Vega Sicilia and Pingus. Today, Arzuaga grows classic expressions of Tempranillo with little bits of Cabernet Sauvignon that blend French and American oak aging, as well as single-vineyard wines from the western reaches and a project 360ish km south of Ribera on the edge of La Mancha.

Averaen

It’s said that pattern-recognition correlates to general intelligence. Averaen in the Willamette Valley was conceived by a couple of Sonoma Pinot Noir growers during the International Pinot Noir Conference (notably Rob Fischer of Valravn). They noticed that both Oregon and the Sonoma Coast have cold Pacific winds that funnel through mountain ranges, marine sedimentary and volcanic soils, and thousands of individual terroirs due to altitude, aspect, and the differences in soil and climate. Averaen sources from top organic, biodynamic, and sustainably farmed sites in Dundee, Eola-Amity. Chehalem, and McMinnville on up to 50-year-old vines, some of them own-rooted.

Bella Wines

It’s said that the best sushi bars do sushi and sashimi only–no cooked food with its smells and sounds to interfere with the delicacy of the aromas or contemplative ambiance. Bella in Naramata is like the sushi bar of wine here: they only make sparkling wines. Jay Drysdale started professional life in the kitchen before pursuing formal wine education and working as a sommelier. He then learned formal winemaking before establishing Bella with Wendy Rose, his wife. Wendy grew up in her mother’s California kitchen and travelling and drinking the state’s best wines with her father. Formal cooking classes in Vancouver and cellar hand work in the Okanagan set her up to discover the Bella dream. They focus on single-vineyard expressions of Chardonnay and Gamay Noir in the traditional and ancestrale methods.

Bethel Heights Vineyard

In 1977, twins Ted and Terry Casteel and their wives Pat Dudley and Marilyn Webb bought land that, until 1972, had been deemed “not suitable for farming”. In 1978, they left their academic lives and moved their families to this idyllic pastoral property where there were but a handful of grape growers to grow the best Pinot Noir in the land. Almost 50 years later, they are industry establishers, best wines… And the next generation is right in there.

Bischöfliche Weinguter

The wine history of Trier dates back to the early foundations of Christianity when Emperor Constantine gave immunity to Christians and allowed them to build churches. Bischöfliche Weingüter means “Episcopal wine estates”, where wine was always an important element of the church. It was used for sacrament and to entertain dignitaries, and it allowed clergy the ever-important practice of labour. The three Bischöfliche properties combined in the 1960s. Among their 98 hectares, they have some of the best vineyard parcels in the country, including Goldtröpchen, Scharzhofberger, and Ürziger Würzgarten.

Bodegas Riojanas

Apparently, a lot was happening in Rioja in 1890. Since the railway came to Haro in 1864, exports to France had started to boom. Bodegas Riojanas was founded by the Artacho family in 1890 with their long history growing wine in the region. Since then, they’ve survived tariff wars, phylloxera, two world wars, and stock market crashes. But they’ve also seen the establishment of the Rioja DO and DOCa, the creation of Crianza and Reserva classifications, and several winery expansions. Today, they bottle one of the oldest wine brands in existence, the Monte Real, and own wineries in Galicia (for Albariño), Rueda, and Toro.

Ca’ la Bionda

In 1902, Pietro Castellani founded the winery and vineyards in Marano di Valpolicella, right in the very heart of the Classico zone. Their 29 hectares of east-facing, terraced vineyards range in altitude from 150 to 300 metres, creating a range of microclimates that allow them great flexibility and choice in crafting the best wines. The Castellani’s began converting their vineyards to organic in 2000, and use a range of techniques to get the best out of nature–cover crops, sheep, sexual confusion (to keep pests under control), and wild yeast ferments. They even sell off the grapes from the rows that border their neighbours to ensure what’s in their bottles isn’t affected. Four generations later, and after a winery renovation that allows gentle handling of must and wine through gravity flow, the Castellani family continues to do everything themselves.

CasalFarneto

Casalfarneto was borne of four winery journeyman in 195 who saw more for the Marche.  Restoring an old Casal, or “farmhouse”, on land surrounded by Farnetto oak trees, they endeavoured to elevate Verdichhio from the gimmicky green glassed, amphora-shaped bottle of light, quaffable white wine to something more emotionally evocative.

Eventually, vineyard improvements, expansion, new varieties and a world-famous enologist in Franco Bernabei of Flacianello fame would see their vision realized. Today, the deeply textured, aromatically layered Verdichhio have redefined the potential of the region, while friendly, easy-going varieties like Pecorino show its exuberance. Finally, structured red grapes like Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet complete the portfolio.

Celler del Roure

Pablo Calatayud started with the usual styles from the 1990s Southeastern Spanish winemaking renaissance: Monastrell, Tempranillo, Merlot, Cab Sauv, Syarh… And the full-throttle wines were very, very good. But then he discovered two things: an estate with an ancient underground cellar hosting 100 buried amphorae, and old, near-extinct native varieties like Mandó, Verdil, and Tortosina. Today, he continues with the modern styles but also uses the local varieties and amphorae to make fresher, juicier, more traditional wines that stay vibrant despite the hot climate.

Celler Piñol

Terra Alta is a relatively recent DO established in Catalonia in Spain’s northeast. Literally meaning “Highlands”, it is a place where forward-thinking growers could experiment with different grape varieties and winemaking styles outside of traditional Denomination of Origin regulations. Celler Piñol uses old vines (up to 75 years) and new thinking to turn out a range of expressions from concentrated, deep estate bottlings to fruity, friendly young charmers. For a winery where family is the root of all things, each expression reflects a generation, sister, brother, mother, grandfather. They grow Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, Grenache Blanc, Macabeo, and one variety grown nowhere else: Morenilo.

Collet

In 1921, Raoul Collet founded Maison Collet house in the same year the oldest wine grower’s union was formed. Its mission: to have Champagne terroir recognized. Established in Aÿ in the heart of the Champagne region, Collet uses primarily Premier and Grand Crus to reflect the diversity of the terroirs. Champagne Collet is a gastronomic wine and every cuvée has been created to complement various fine dining and fine drinking experiences.

Château de Saint Cosme

If 15 generations of winegrowing count for anything, then Saint Cosme counts. Louis Barruol’s family history in Gigondas in the Rhône Valley goes back to 1490. When it came their turn, Louis and his father redoubled their efforts to launch the vineyards and resultant wines to the top of the quality mountain through organic, biodynamic, and other sustainable practices, as well as an approach that considers balance and beauty above all. The Barruol’s are best known for their remarkable single-vineyards in Gigondas: Hominis Fides, Le Claux, and Le Poste. The zone is at slightly higher altitude, is slightly cooler, has high limestone content, and is much smaller than its famous neighbour, Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Above all, Louis pursues honesty and beauty in wine-growing and reveres those, like his late father, who contribute to the whole.

Château des Quarts

Olivier Merlin has pursued perfect Pouilly-Fuissé his entire career as a vigneron. He’d farmed the Clos des Quarts for years, but when the opportunity to buy it came along he a) couldn’t say no and b) called his friend, Dominic Lafon, of Meursault and Montrachet fame. The east-facing, gently sloping vineyard on clay-limestone hosts 100+year-old vines in the south part of the appellation. Dominic consults on the farming, which is organic, and Olivier farms and makes the wine. The purity and refinement of the wine is testament to the possibility that Olivier just may have found what he was looking for.

Château Marsyas and Domaine Bargylus

This has to be a tale of two wineries. Johnny Saadé, dreamt of making wine in Bordeaux, but established Domaine Bargylus in Syria instead at a time of relative political stability. Sons Karim and Sandro have since taken over, and moved their operation to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon to establish Château Marsyas when the situation in Syria deteriorated, though they continue to make wine in Syria via video and phone call.

While all wine regions and winegrowers have their share of struggles (be they logistic, economic, environmental, labour related, market-driven… you name it), add to that militia-controlled roads, mortar shells falling in your vineyard, intermittent electricity, and an anti-alcohol regime in charge… For Bargylus and Marsyas, the very act of making wine is a symbol of resistance and a miracle at the same time. And yet they manage to produce “arguably the finest wines produced in the Eastern Mediterranean”, according to Jancis Robinson. They grow Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, and Mourvèdre for red, and Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for white.

Château Pech-Céleyran

In a perfect Languedoc location about halfway between Beziers and Narbonne, Château Pech-Céleyran boasts five generations of Saint-Exupéry family history, including ancestor Antoine, who authored The Little Prince. Two important winds from the northwest and south bathe the vines in the scrub and herb aromas that permeate the air. The 96 hectares of vineyard are planted on a clay-limestone hill, the 44 best of which lie at the top of the hill in the AOC of La Clape. The La Clape wines comprise Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Carignan (red) and Bourboulenc, Marsanne, Roussane, and Grenache Blanc for the whites. Meanwhile, the Pays d’Oc wines use Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, Viognier, Muscat, and Sauvignon Blanc.

Château Yvonne

With vineyards planted in the Middle Ages, wine produced at the Château since 1813, organic viticulture by Yvonne herself in 1997, and biodynamics from Mathieu Vallée since 2007, the wines have only gotten better, and better, and better. Now, the 90+-year-old Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc produce low yields of supremely concentrated fruit, making the wines expressive and streamlined, with the structure making them some of the best food wines in the valley.

Clos Henri

If Burgundy icons like Drouhin, Bouchard, Lafon, and Méo can believe in Oregon for world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay terroir, then surely Henri Bourgeois from the Loire has high-quality ground to stand on in New Zealand. The Bourgeois family brings its 10 generations of know-how with Sauvignon Blanc in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé to this parcel under the foothills of the Wairau Valley in Marlborough, where three distinct soil types combine with traditional and modern wine-growing to showcase the terroir of Clos Henri. Their Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir balance the generous NZ fruit with minerals, steel, citrus peel or tart cherry, and firm structure.

Cristom Vineyards

For some, making wine is ripening grapes enough to ferment into alcohol, then bottling and selling the result. Nothing wrong with that. For others, the wine itself is a storyteller for the uniqueness of a piece of land. Some places and grapes tell better stories than others. And some people put more care into that story coming through in a compelling way. Cristom Vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills of Oregon’s Willamette Valley has stories. Established in 1992 by the Gerrie family, their four single-vineyards are each named for a family matriarch. And each is detailed in climate, soil, elevation, ripening schedule, rootstock, clonal selection… you get the idea. While the focus is Pinot Noir (the greatest storyteller of them all), they also grow Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Viognier variously among contracted growers and estate sources. Steve Doerner has been the winemaker from the beginning, where they employ traditional viticulture and winemaking as well as certified sustainable practices in both vineyard and winery.

Crotin 1897

At Crotin 1897, their label image, the nautilus shell, embodies the Russo brothers’ respect for the land, for doing things slowly and carefully, and for balance and beauty (the golden ratio). In bringing back the past, they organically farm some less common Piemontese varieties, like Freisa, Albarossa, and Grignolino. The focus is on wine for the table to drink and enjoy. They also operate an agritourismo farm on the property, where you can have salami from their own pigs, bread and pasta from their own wheat, and jam and honey from their own fruit and hives–what they call “0 kilometre eating”.

Dandelion Vineyards

The winery website says it best: “Dandelion Vineyards is a combination of old vineyards, a young winemaker, and a couple of mates to help out in-between”. Elena Brooks is the highly gifted Bulgarian-born winemaker who leads a predominantly female team at Dandelion. She scours South Australia for the perfect sites to which to match grape variety. And, the wine names reflect the special connection between wine and land (like Lionheart of the Barossa, Pride of the Fleurieu, Twilight of the Adelaide Hills). Elena’s wines have garnered enormously positive attention from the press and an international following.

Darioush Winery

Darioush Khaledi and wife Shahpar built Darioush winery in hommage to their belief in individuality, the entrepreneurial spirit, the richness and beauty of culture in all its forms, and the importance of connection through hospitality. After he trained as a civil engineer in Iran and she in boutique retail fashion and the Tarof, the Persian art of hospitality, they moved to California and established the state’s most successful family-run grocery business. From that launchpad, they were able to realize their ultimate vision of a spectacular Napa winery where they’ve become famous for their opulent Cabernet Sauvignon and blends, Chardonnay and Viognier.

Domaine Anne Gros

If you’ve ever been to a tasting event in Burgundy, you know it’s hard to keep track of all the Gros family domains. And in most cases, they’re directly related. Anne took over Domaine François Gros from her father in 1988 and had to earn respect as a vigneron in her own right. In 1995, she would establish Domaine Anne Gros. As it says on her website, “She is a winegrower suspicious of certitude and fastidious about maintaining her freedom… She showed that she had not only the shoulders but the head to make her family heritage one of the greatest domaines of Burgundy.” With immeasurable understanding of the geology of the 6.5 hectares of prime vineyard land across Village, Premier, and Grand Cru sites, she farms organically and biodynamically to capture the essence of the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Aligoté.

Domaine Bargylus

This has to be a tale of two wineries. Johnny Saadé, dreamt of making wine in Bordeaux, but established Domaine Bargylus in Syria instead at a time of relative political stability. Sons Karim and Sandro have since taken over, and moved their operation to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon to establish Château Marsyas when the situation in Syria deteriorated, though they continue to make wine in Syria via video and phone call.

While all wine regions and winegrowers have their share of struggles (be they logistic, economic, environmental, labour related, market-driven… you name it), add to that militia-controlled roads, mortar shells falling in your vineyard, intermittent electricity, and an anti-alcohol regime in charge… For Bargylus and Marsyas, the very act of making wine is a symbol of resistance and a miracle at the same time. And yet they manage to produce “arguably the finest wines produced in the Eastern Mediterranean”, according to Jancis Robinson. They grow Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, and Mourvèdre for red, and Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for white.

Domaine Chante Cigale

Since 1874, Domaine Chante Cigale, or “The Cicada’s Song”, has worked to honour the unique terroir of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Its 28 original hectares was called Clos Chante Cigale by the original owner, Hyppolite Jourdan. When the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC was formed in 1936, Paul Jourdan redoubled efforts to meet the new standards and renamed it “Domaine Chante Cigale”. It has now expanded to 40 hectares under Alexandre Favier, who has identified no fewer than 45 individual parcels. Not only does he treat each parcel individually according to the needs of the vines, but he also modernized the wine cellar to handle the fruit according to its need.

Domaine de la Commanderie

Chinon is best known as a classic zone for Cabernet Franc, turning out a small spectrum of styles most of which tend toward elegance and firmness with red currant, herb and spice flavours. Philippe Pain grows according to vineyard site, vine age, and varying oak regimens to turn out a handful of wines labeled as Tradition, Sélection, Médiéval, Renaissance and Secret de Famille for the reds, as well as an oak fermented Chenin Blanc called Élégance.

Domaine de la Potardière

For five generations, the Couillaud family has worked their 27 hectares on varied soils of metamorphic rock (gneiss, granite, schist) along with some volcanic sand. They’re on a slope leading down from the Butte de la Roche and tucked into the Goulaine Marsh some 20km from Nantes. The marsh moderates temperature and the slope maximizes sunlight, heat, and drainage. Recently turning to organic viticulture, the Couillaud’s are applying modern technology to family knowledge passed down generation to generation since the 1880s. They grow super-racy and varietally pure Melon de Bourgogne, Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay Noir, and Cabernet Franc.

Domaine des Malandes

The purest things are also the easiest to find fault with. Chablis is among the purest expressions of terroir, so the quality of the grapes is laid bare in the wine. In 1949, André and Gabrielle Tremblay farmed their first grapes in the Fourchaume 1er Cru. Three generations later, Richard and Amandine have inherited 29 hectares across 1er and Grand Cru vineyards, along with land in Petit Chablis and Chablis. But in between, it was Lyne who spent 30 years expanding the vineyards, production capacity, and market reach, and improving the wines. Working the 37- to 67- year-old vines in the Premier and Grand Crus, Malandes has earned a reputation for freshness, finesse, and minerality… all in a tough place to hide.

Domaine Laporte

Domaine Laporte is part of the stable from the historic Henri Bourgeois empire. Started in 1850, the now 21 hectares are the “gateway to Sancerre” with their position in the rolling foothills along the Loire River and the village of Saint-Satur. The core of their stable includes Sancerre from the Rochoy vineyard of Silex soil, which hosts a 2.5-hectare section with the oldest, deepest-rooted vines for their flagship, Le Grand Rochoy. Other soil-specific bottlings include La Comtesse and a generous, expressive Pouilly-Fumé grown on chalk and flint called Les Duchesses.

Domaine Laurent Boussey

As climates change and audiences evolve, some of the less famous Burgundy villages are growing wines more than worthy of our attention; they are delicious and represent the region and the vineyards truthfully and excellently.

With five generations of winegrowing in the family, Laurent and Karen Boussey are the current heads of estate having taken the reins in 2003. They follow traditional viticulture across their 15 hectares and 24 appellations, and focus on the prime areas just south of Beaune: Meursault, Volnay, Monthélie and Pommard.

Domaine Marcel Deiss

The wines from Domaine Marcel Deiss’s Grand Cru and Premier Cru parcels are famous for their exquisite expression, concentration, focus, complexity, length, and ageing ability. And it’s no accident. Their philosophy is an anomaly in both Alsace and the greater wine world. In 1947, when Alsace was moving toward single- varietal worship, the Deiss family doubled down on terroir and took the stance that vineyard field blends were the only true terroir. They call this approach “complantation”. On top of that, through his biodynamic growing and obsession with the vines living their best selves, they emphasize wines’ texture and structure beyond aromatics. The family winery goes back to the mid-1600s, and today Mathieu Deiss farms the 32 hectares with father Jean-Michel.

Domaine Philippe et Arnaud Dubreuil

Philippe and Arnaud’s story is of of a father and son reunited in winemaking over the tragic passing of their father and grandfather. Paul Dubreil established the original estate in the 1940s and his son Philippe continued in his footsteps, however he opened his own winery in the middle of Savigny-lès-Beaune in 1973. So, Paul and Philippe operated separately.

Arnaud, the third generation of the family, never planned to go into the family business. He was more interested in plants in general. During the grapevine portion of his horticulture studies, he went to the wine-growing school in Beaune. You can probably guess what happened then.

Arnaud became interested in vines, and when his grandfather passed away suddenly, they combined the two estates again to create the father-son Phillipe et Arnaud domain.

Ellena Giuseppe

Ellena Giuseppe is a 70+-year family dream come true. The Ellena family has grown grapes in Barolo since the 1940s. In 1966, Francesco and brother Giovanni were able to buy 15 hectares in La Morra, five planted to grapes. They continued to sell to the local cooperative, but with plans to make their own someday. Francesco’s son Giuseppe and grandson Matteo were able to realize that dream. After restoring the barrel cellar, in 2009 they produced their first vintage under the Ellena Giuseppe label. Now, with the vineyards in the family for so long they produce estate-quality Barolo (and Barbera and Dolcetto) but can offer it at entirely accessible prices.

Elysian Springs

Elysian Springs is a 200-acre estate located in the pristine northern end of the Adelaide Hills district bordering the Eden Valley where the River Torrens rises. This river led to Adelaide being established as a city, and South Australia’s capital to boot. The property started its journey when the Seppelt family planted it to Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay back in 1980. Today, the winery endeavours to use sustainable viticulture along with biodynamic and organic techniques to produce wines with a true sense of place. Brad Rey (of Zonte’s Footstep) is one of the principals.

Failla

It’s amazing where an Art History degree, life as a ski-bum, some shelf-stocking in a liquor store, and restaurant work can get a kid from Pittsburgh. For starters, it got Ehren Jordan 18 years at none other than Turley Wine Cellars working with California’s oldest Zinfandel vines. Failla came to be in 1998, when Ehren and wife Anne-Marie Failla began their own label. Originally making the wine out of Turley and Neyers facilities, they eventually bought a winery of their own in Fort Ross-Seaview. They’ve since planted their own vineyards and continue to source fruit from other top spots in California, such as Hirsch, Hudson, Savoy, Hayne, and Keefer Ranch. All about cool climates, they started an Oregon project in the Eola-Amity Hills. Ehren’s focus on cool-climate wines make Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah his specialty. But he couldn’t resist planting some Zinfandel on a little hillside on the winery property in Fort-Ross Seaview. This fruit goes into his Day Wines project. His wines are characterized by scintillating acidity and verve to shine on a table with food and friends.

Four Vines

Artists, Rebels, Seekers, and Bon Vivants. That’s four. This is the spirit of California’s Central Coast through the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, captured in bottle by the Four Vines team. It’s about the awakening of one’s individuality, about the power of personal expression, about the spirit of exploration, and the freedom of shaking off the shackles society forged for you. Bold wines are their hallmark, from Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. Four Vines captures the history, spirit, and geography of Paso Robles.

Gambal + Work

For years, Artisan Wines has represented the amazing Burgundy wines of Alex Gambal. His is a true story of taking a chance and finding meaning in what you do; a story of family and friendships; a story of pursuing truth in beauty.

In 2019, after several decades of growing and making wine in Burgundy, Alex sold his domaine and vineyard holdings and went under the radar.

But we found him.
We found him in the Sta. Rita Hills of California where he brought his incredible experience and success in Burgundy to the coolest vineyards in the region to grow exceedingly precise and profound Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

There, he joined forces with Peter Work, among the earliest biodynamic growers and winemakers in the Sta. Rita Hills, and Jeff Newton, another legendary vineyard steward named “One of the Top 100 most influential people in the U.S. Wine industry”.

Governors Bay

The Governors Bay story starts in Canterbury, New Zealand in 1987, when Brent and Shirley Rawstron planted three hectares of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Eventually earning horticulture degrees in 1993, they continued to grow and produce quality estate wines at accessible prices under the Rossendale label. They’ve since moved operations to Blenheim, Marlborough, acquired another 45 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc, and focus on sustainable farming and drinker-friendly wines. They make Governors Bay for their export markets in a classically fresh, expressive, mouth-watering Kiwi style.

Isole e Olena

If there ever was a “gentleman of Tuscany” today from the many gentlemen of Tuscany both now and bygone, it would be Paolo de Marchi of Isole e Olena. In 1956, Paolo’s father bought the 800-acre estate that included the two villages of Isole and Olena. This was at a time when the Chianti mandate was “The more grapes the better; let’s bulldoze vineyards so tractors can fit”. In 1976, Paolo took up the reigns of wine-growing and set about reviving the land from the state he inherited it in. Since then, he has remained a fervent student of nature, the earth, and the vines, and today is one of the icons of Tuscany. His top wines include Cepparello, Chianti Classico and Classico Gran Selezione, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Jip Jip Rocks

The Brysons have farmed the land in Padthaway where Jip Jip Rocks lies since 1851. Five generations later, they’ve built a family legacy and some of the top wines in the area. Padthaway is known for its maritime climate where cool, southern coastal breezes extend the growing season and concentrate flavours and aromas. Its iron-rich Terra Rossa soil is ideal for the Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon the Brysons grow, and the climate lends freshness and finesse to their Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Kapriol and Aqva Lvce

In WWII, an Italian Marine was serving with fellow allies, one of whom, a Brit, shared his country’s famous spirit. In writing back to his love, Toni would describe the delicious “English grappa” his comrade shared. He swore to bring the recipe home to his hometown in the mountains above Venice near Conegliano-Valdobbiadene.

Today, two WWII-era copper pot stills distill these craft alpine gins sourcing botanicals from the hills nearby and fruit from the south of the country. The spirits are pure, clean, and intensely flavoured for all uses, be it in a martini, with tonic, or in other cocktails.

Kleinood Tamboerskloof

In the 1600s, the Dutch settled Cape Town in South Africa where they grew fruit and vegetables to ship for the Dutch East India Company. For the farmers, getting their produce to port at the right time was important to stay competitive. But from the valleys (kloof), they couldn’t see the ships coming in. To signal the farmers it was time to move, drummers would sit atop the mountains with their tamboer and play. Tamboerskloof became the name of the Cape Town neighbourhood Gerard de Villiers lived in before moving to Stellenbosch.

Gerard established the farm he called Kleinood, something “small and precious”, in 2000 as one reward through his career as a world-famous winery architect and engineer. His mission was to find that special place, and allow the land to tell him what wine to grow. After fanatically detailed research, he found the climate and soil to most similar to the Northern Rhône, thus he grows Syrah, Mourvèdre, Viognier, and Roussanne.

La Serena

As far back as the 1930s, the Mantengoli’s La Razza estate grew spelt, bees, olives and a single hectare of grapes. But the thought of making Brunello was reserved for their aristocratic neighbours like Biondi Santi, Constanti and Casanova di Neri.

In the 1970s, the father of twins Andrea and Marcello thought about bottling a family estate wine. However, raising twin boys and working a single hectare proved too much, so he gave up on bottling his own wine.

Fast forward to 1988, when Andrea and Marcello were now old enough to make their own decisions. Since attitudes toward who could grow Brunello had long since changed, the boys revived the vineyards, expanded the holdings, and now turn out entirely classic, hauntingly rustic yet generously elegant Brunello.

The Mantengoli’s (whose name is associated with the very word “Montalcino”) were the first to create a name for a Brunello wine, then re-name the estate after the wine. La Serena is both a woman’s name in a brothers-run venture, and evokes the state of mind to best enjoy wine in.

Lamborn Family Vineyards

In 1968, Bob Lamborn was a private investigator for the FBI and CIA living in Oakland. Needing a change, he and son Michael went to Howell Mountain in Napa Valley and bought 40 acres of land (25 and 15 respectively). Four generations later, the Lamborns organically farm their true family venture. They have always been grape farmers only, so at harvest, they deliver their fruit to a winemaking facility in Calistoga where none other than Heidi Barrett meets them to take over. Heidi joined the family as head winemaker in 1996 with her deep and wide legacy as Napa’s “first lady of wine”, which includes back-to-back 100-point wines at Screaming Eagle and Dalla Valle. They have farmed fully organic since 2016, but don’t (and can’t) say so (since they haven’t paid to get certified).

LaurelGlen

Laurel Glen winegrowing dates back to the late 1800s when German immigrants planted mixed red varieties on Sonoma Mountain’s eastern slope. It was re-planted to Cabernet Sauvignon in 1968, and the fruit was sold to Chateau St. Jean and Kenwood for its Artist Series over the next several years. In came Peter Campbell in 1977 who took cuttings, developed the modern vineyard, and advanced the quality over the ensuing 30 some years. In 2014, Bettina Sichel (of the Bordeaux wine family) acquired the property and brought renewed focus on organic viticulture, vineyard techniques, and winemaking to make an already great wine greater still. Today, it is revered as one of the classics, with a Laurel Glen clone of Cabernet Sauvignon vines recognized by UC Davis.

Le Riche

Etienne Le Riche, whose ancestors came to South Africa from Normandy with the Huguenots in 1698, started making Cabernet Sauvignon in the mid-1970s, so around 50 years ago. He began with a simple, two-fold plan: focus on winemaking by sourcing fruit from a small amount of high-quality, trusted growers for long-term relationships; and, make the best Cabernet in South Africa by bringing the elegance of the grape forward along with its
propensity for power. They’re doing well, too. Le Riche Cabernet is a staple of tastings hosted by the South African Wine of Origin marketing and trade body, and the 2020 Reserve earned Best in Show from Decanter Magazine’s World Wine Awards and 99 points from Tim Atkin MW.

Lillian

With all the chops she discovered and earned at Sine Qua Non, Maggie Harrison of Antica Terra couldn’t leave Syrah behind completely. Lillian is her Syrah opus, which she makes at the Antica Terra winery in Oregon but which comes from three prime vineyards along California’s Central Coast. Taking the same approach of questioning everything, pursuing the highest order of beauty, and respecting and caring for the health of the place the grapes grow, she produces a Syrah that some feel deserves a place at the table with the likes of Saxum, Sine Qua Non, and Cayuse.

Lock & Worth

It would be easy to suspect a winery of using empty words when their motto is “Drink Different”. But at Lock & Worth, Matt Sherlock and Ross Hackworth go so far as to call themselves “contrarion” and “not for everyone”. Now, that sounds interesting. It’s two guys sharing space with a cheese shop on the Naramata Bench using a basket press. Focusing on single vineyards with low-intervention wine-making, they believe people should be able to get interesting, site-specific wines at affordable prices. Their lightweight, clear bottles and simple labels reinforce their position that they “spend all of [their] money on [their] wines, not [their] marketing”. Their fruit sources can vary, but you’ll find Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. Many of their bottlings are left intentionally hazy, low in alcohol, or off-dry… when you wouldn’t expect it.

Luigi Maffini

Two grapes. Two vineyard spots. Six wines. Luigi Maffini decided that if he’s going to do it, he’s going to do it right. He and wife Raffaella Gallo studied oenology and agriculture at the University of Naples, then set about deciding on very specific pieces of land that could produce their vision of beautiful, authentic Aglianico and Fiano. And how it’s worked. Other top growers across the country (and international critics) recognize them as making among the top few wines in the land from these grapes. They produce elegant, ageworthy, refined versions that offer magnificent complexity, structure, and length.

Malivoire Wine Company

Martin Malivoire founded Malivoire Winery in 1995 on the Beamsville Bench in Niagara, Ontario, after a 30-year career directing special effects in the movies. At Malivoire, Martin and winemaker Shiraz Mottiar take the approach of maximizing nature’s energy in all things and doing all things with a purpose. Martin has expanded his vineyard sources to 17 hectares across four vineyards. Today, the special effects of natural forces directed toward healthy land and environment produce explosive fruit of exceptional purity. This has led to two Ontario’s Best Winemaker accolades: 1. Ann Sperling in 2004 (she was the original winemaker in 1996). Ann converted the Moira Vineyard to organic during her time. 2. Shiraz Mottiar in 2017. Shiraz took over in 2005 where he works his magic through vineyard-specific bottlings and regional blends of Pinot Noir, Gamay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, and a few others.

Manoir du Carra

The Sambardiers are 5th-generation wine growers operating in that crossover zone where the Mâcon is Beaujolais is the Mâcon. They’ve stewarded the land with extreme care since 1918 and bought the estate in 1962. From the original four hectares, they now farm 37 across the zone, have added specific Cru in Beaujolais proper, and use both organic and sustainable practices. If there is a way to sum up the wines, words like “energetic”, “authentic”, “pure”, and in all honesty, “fun” jump to mind.

Mas Martinet

In the late 1980s, a handful of Spanish wine legends’ children (who were legends themselves) discovered forgotten, 100+-year-old Grenache and Carignan vineyards in the mountains west of Barcelona. Among René Barbier III and Alvaro Palacios Jr. was Josep Lluis Pérez. Together, they would set about reviving these old vineyards and would soon produce Spain’s deepest and most expressive wine. This “Priorato” region would become only the second wine-growing zone in the country to earn the special DOCa (DOQ in Catalan) designation after Rioja. Today, Josep Lluis’ daughter, Sara, runs the estate, with a focus on organic viticulture, wholistic winemaking, and elegance through larger old oak and clay ageing.

Masaveu Bodegas

The Masaveu Bodegas have roots dating back to the mid 1800s, when Don Federico Masaveu Rivell had vineyards just outside of Barcelona. The Masaveu Bodegas include five wineries throughout Rioja, Navarra, Rias Baixas, Asturias, and Duero/Castilla Y Leon.

They produce riveting Rias Baixas from steely Albariño under the Atlantik label.

Nichol Vineyard

There’s something about being a pioneer. And there’s more still when as a pioneer you become an establishment. Nichol Vineyard is among the first three Naramata wineries. They first planted in 1989 (over 30 years ago), old enough to count as “old-vines”. Nichol proudly keeps everything close and small. All of their vineyards are 900 metres or fewer from the winery, they harvest in 10L baskets by hand, and minimize tractor use. They believe if the grapes are healthy, they can mostly “stay out of the way” in the winery. They admit to spending little on marketing and letting their name and history of excellence do the talking. And it’s worked.

Niepoort

It’s just a fortunate coincidence that the name Niepoort has the word “port” in it. Dirk van der Niepoort’s great-great-grandfather moved to Porto from Holland, where he became a wine trader in 1842. Since then, five generations of Niepoorts have owned and operated this family business, with the 6th on its way up. Dirk’s great challenge is reflective of his era: he had to manage a traditional company in a traditional industry with an entrenched family history while implementing the innovation that has come with modern times. His first act was to acquire vineyards the family owned, since historically many port houses bought and blended wine from others’ farms. Then he set about applying biodynamic growing and wine making to their produce. Adding to that entrepreneurial spirit, Dirk has branched out into both different wine styles (dry still and sparkling table wines) as well as different regions (Bairrada and Dão). Remarkably, Niepoort’s master blender, José Nogueira, is also a 5th-generation Niepoort stalwart, having held the position at Niepoort since its foundation in 1842.

Nortico

We can’t do any better than Olé Imports’ website:
“Nortico is from tiny vineyard plots in Moncao and Melgaço, on the border with Spain’s Galicia province – the best Alvarinho-growing area in Portugal… Alvarinho is the grape to watch for ageworthy, world-class wines, and this is a perfect introduction.” Nortico farms “as it was centuries ago, with the grapes planted on granite pergolas in plots so small they are called “jardins”–or “gardens” in Portuguese.” Finally, the label pays homage to the traditional ceramic tile atelier where the owner of Olé Imports grew up. It reflects both the durability and beauty of the produce, made the same since the 18th Century.

Olivier Merlin

Olivier only caught the wine bug in 1977 at a time when “distinct quality” was not the typical approach in the Mâconnais. After learning winemaking in Beaune, and with experience in the Jura and California, he settled back in the Mâcon with wife Corrine at a property called Vieux Saint-Sorlin. With what they learned about quality viticulture, they set about acquiring beautiful terroirs in Pouilly-Fuissé, Solutré, St.-Véran, and Moulin-à-Vent. Today, sons Paul and Théo look after the day-to-day operations, with with viticulture degress and international experience. The four words that guide their approach are balance, purity, depth, and harmony.

Prima Pavé

When Marco Marano and his wife, Dejou, found themselves in lockdown with a baby on the way, they realized they couldn’t do much of what they loved: taking groups on premium European winery tours, travelling themselves, and enjoying wonderful wine. 

After trying and not re-buying all the low-alc or no-alc wines available, the two certified specialists in wine figured there must be more people like them: those who wanted to experience the beauty of a beverage without alcohol. All that was out there were afterthoughts for teetotallers; they weren’t for the gastronomically inclined.


So, with a 75-year family history growing in Campania, Italy and relationships throughout the country, they set out to source quality grapes to fashion into an elegant sparkling wine using a reverse-osmosis filtration process that allows the fruit to express its character.

Produttori del Barbaresco

The Produttori del Barbaresco produces the region’s top wines despite operating as a co-operative, which are infamous for being a traditionally medium- to low-quality winery model. In 1958, they decided that quality was their mandate and to that end, would only make Barbaresco wines rather than including the various other styles allowed in the region. To do so, they combined great vineyard sites, common ownership, and visionary leadership to move everyone in the same direction. And even though their wines are among the top in quality, they stay at outrageously accessible prices because of this model. Produttori has carved out its place in the premium-wine market. They bottle Barbaresco DOCG, nine single-vineyard or “Cru” Riserva wines, and a Langhe Nebbiolo from young-vine Barbaresco vineyards.

Proprietà Sperino

Casimiro Sperino originally started winegrowing at his estate, the Castle of Lessona, in the mid 1800s. A physician and Italian Senator with an illustrious career, he dedicated himself to wine growing after becoming “embittered… by a series of events.” His son, Felice, also a doctor, took the winery to the next level with his dedication. However, Felice had no family heir. So, in the early 1900s, the property passed to the de Marchis who are extended family of the Sperinos. Because Lessona is a small-production, high-quality growing zone, it saw a decline with the onset of the industrial revolution and with Italian winegrowing priorities being for quantity over quality. In 1999, Paolo de Marchi of Isole e Olena in Tuscany set about realizing a childhood dream to revive the old estate, its cellar, and the undeniably unique terroir of the area. Today, Paolo and son Luca produce some of the world’s most compelling wines, working with Spanna, the local name for Nebbiolo, and other local varieties.

Quinta da Plansel

Quinta da Plansel’s Lindemann family has been winegrowing since 1828. Dorina and daughters Julia and Luísa are the second and third generations. While they work in the more modern and experimental Alentejo region, they grow the traditional Douro varieties Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Barocca. One of the astounding things (though given they’re growing in Portugal perhaps is no surprise) is the depth of expression and overall quality in an elegant and inviting package for the price.

R.J. Viñedos • Joffré

Raul Joffré’s family were winegrowers in their native France in the 1800s. Raúl’s grandfather moved from the Pyrénées-Orientales to Argentina in 1918 after the First World War. Raúl learned of their winegrowing past through his stories. Today, the most successful R.J. Viñedos lines of wines revolve around the next generation, Raúl’s four daughters. These are “Joffré e Hijas” (Joffré and Daughters), “Pasión 4” (Love four), and “Cuatro” (Four). Today, they farm 120 hectares in Mendoza province in Luyan de Cujo and the Uco Valley. They focus on the unique expressions of grapes (Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bonarda, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Torrontés) from different altitudes and soil profiles to make quality wines at all price levels.

Raúl Pérez

If there ever was a figure whose character and artistry represented an entire region, it’s Raúl Pérez of Bierzo. Raúl’s tireless improvements, sensitive cultivation, and pursuit of truth and authenticity in his winemaking have taken the region from a novel rediscovery to world-class recognition. Working with the Mencía grape for reds and Albariño and Godello for whites, his precise viticulture and restrained vinification produce layered, structured, haunting expressions of the grapes and the stones they grow in. To characterize them, think of the depth of Gevrey-Chambertin, the body of Saint-Émilion, and the structure of Taurasi. Yet they’re still a thing all their own.

Real Companhia Velha

There’s influencing an industry, and then there’s saving it. When port demand was booming in the 18th century, fraud began in earnest. To protect the producers’ reputation and the buyers’ interests, the Portuguese monarchy and government, along with top growers, created production laws and delineated a growing zone–arguably the first official Denomination of Origin in the world. It was Real Companhia Velha’s Board of Deputies who were entrusted with this task. Today, it is the longest continuously operating port house in the world. Like others, it has had to reinvent itself time and again through changes in world markets, technology, and experience. Today, it produces a range of outstanding dry Douro table wines along with its ports from its ancient vineyard holdings.

Requiem

Valkyrie Selections is the distribution arm of Baron Ziegler’s winery projects. Averaen in the Willamette Valley, Valravn in California, and Requiem in Washington work on the model of fantastic vineyard sources vinified in rented space. This keeps the quality high and the price low. Requiem came about after he and his team (including winemaker Rob Fischer) had spent time in Oregon. That work put Washington on their radar as a source for top Cabernet Sauvignon from somewhere other than Napa. The fruit comes from Horse Heaven Hills, Red Mountain, and Walla Walla.

Schild Estates

The Schild’s have been settled in South Australia since 1866, when Gottfried and Louise sailed from Hamburg to Port Adelaide. Several generations later, Ben and Alma would move to the Barossa in the 1950s and purchase land that would become the first Schild Estate vineyards. Since then, the family has become an Australian wine establishment, with the ensuing three generations taking on the family business. They now farm 134 hectares across 11 unique sites. Schild is 100%, unapologetically Barossa. Today, they work some of the world’s oldest Shiraz in the Moorooroo Vineyard, planted in 1847.

Silver Ghost Cellars

With a family history going back to British Parliament’s development of automobile regulations, including friendships with Charles Rolls and Henry Royce, Weston Eidson created Silver Ghost Cabernet Sauvignon in homage to his great-grandfather. John Montagu’s favourite car was the 1909 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, and the wine reflects the quality of source, richness, elegance, and uncompromising quality in all things in Napa Valley.

Soléna

Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus both grew up as cellar rats and vineyard pests. Laurent was born in Bordeaux on his great-grandfather’s vineyard and studied viticulture and oenology at the Institute of Oenology there. Danielle, who was born in Oregon, grew up on her parents’ winery, one Pine Ridge in Napa Valley.

Laurent worked in Bordeaux and Napa before moving to the Willamette Valley in 1988 where he would eventually found Willakenzie Estate. Danielle returned to Oregon in the 1990s to start her family’s next winery, Archery Summit.

The pair founded Soléna together, naming the winery after their daughter and wedding-gifting each other an 80-acre parcel in Yamhill which would become the Danielle Laurent estate vineyard.

Since then, they have expanded relationships and holdings throughout the Columbia Valley, with parcels in Dundee, Eola-Amity Hills and McMinnville along with their Yamhill-Carlton estate. These include fruit from Shea Vineyard, Zena Crown and Hyland Vineyard among other top spots.

Swartland Winery

Swartland Winery began in 1948 with 15 small growers wanting independence from the juggernaut state-sponsored KWV cooperative.

It lies about 65 km north of Cape Town in the “bread and wine basket” of South Africa, where wheat and vines flourish in the Mediterranean climate tempered by cool antarctic breezes and mountains tucked in behind. They grow the classics Chenin Blanc and Pinotage from old bush-trained vines, as well as a range of Rhône varieties including Mourvèdre, Syrah, Carignan and Cinsaut.

Swartland, meaning “Black land”, refers to the Rhino bush, or renosterbos, the local vegetation that grows a greyish black under the South African summer sun.

Tamar Ridge and Devil’s Corner

Tasmania is the coolest, and wildest, growing region in Australia from both nature and metaphoric standpoints. The Brown Family wine group founded the Tamar Ridge and Devil’s Corner wineries to capture the differing terroirs of the north and east coasts. Where the north is warmer and sees more rainfall, the east coast is cooler and drier. As the largest vineyard holders on the island, their 190 hectares support top-notch Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Gris, while their labels celebrate local history and folklore.

Tawse

Tawse has become a leader in Ontario’s continued quest to define and refine its best wine styles. Using organic and biodynamic winegrowing, Paul Pender has brought Tawse to the top of the Canadian wine quality ladder. Their single-vineyard lines of Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc are recognized internationally as among the world’s best. And their Niagara varietal blends represent some of the best value in Canadian wine. Ever the student and experimenter, Paul also makes traditional method sparkling wine, Pétillant-Natural, Orange wine, vermouth, cider, and beer.

Tenuta del Cerro

The land Tenuta del Cerro sits on boasts a 1,000-year history growing wine in Tuscany. Today, it comprises both DOCG and IGP vineyards in Montepulciano, Montalcino, and around Pisa in Tuscany, and in Montefalco and near Assisi in Umbria. While they own thousands of hectares, they maintain biodiversity by allowing forest and wilderness to thrive, while only a small percentage of the land is planted to vineyard. They honour both tradition and the modern wine drinker with their viticulture and their range of wine styles up and down the quality hierarchy.

Terracaë

Terracaë is the charming, honest, precocious vinous lovechild of two giants of the south: Pascal Verhaeghe of Chateau du Cèdre in Cahors and Frédéric Brouca of Faugères in the Languedoc. The Terracaë is their friendly rom-com version of an otherwise film-noir style. Cahors wines are best known to be inky, tannic, chewy, earthy beasts. Frédéric and Pascal challenge the notion of “true Cahors terroir” through a Burgundian approach. They focuson Malbec alone, work on cool sites, pick for freshness and expression over weight, and farm organically to ensure a healthy growing environment.

The Pathfinder

Kraig Rovensky and Chris Abbott felt something was missing in the Seattle bar scene, and it wasn’t alcohol. Grown-ups needed to go out and have a little fun, enjoy an interesting beverage, but not be affected by booze.

With so much attention in non-alc on what’s taken out of a product, these Pathfinder alchemists were more interested in what goes in to it.

“Inspired by the age of apothecaries and the homemade remedies often employed by pioneers, homesteaders and snake oil salesmen alike”, the base spirit is fermented from hemp and carefully refined by copper pot distillation. This liquid is then blended with an alchemy of wormwood, angelica root, ginger, sage, juniper, saffron, orange peel and foraged Douglas-fir.

Thomas

If there is a true Oregon cult wine, it’s Thomas Pinot Noir from the Dundee Hills. One source calls it the “least known and most sought-after” Oregon Pinot. On wine Twitter, those lucky enough to get any of this tiny production say “Don’t talk about Thomas Club because there is no Thomas Club”. There is no website. There is no email address. You can’t go visit, but may be able to get an appointment if you write (on paper) to the P.O. box. You get the idea. Since 1984, John Thomas has farmed four acres and does all the winemaking himself except harvest. He only produces 400 cases and released his first vintage in 1992. He makes a silky, refined, medium-bodied style with pure red fruit and some mushroomy, steeped-tea character.

Tiberio

When Riccardo Tiberio found a forgotten plot of 60+-year-old high-quality Trebbiano Abruzzese vines in the late 1990s, he left his cushy job as export manager for a large wine cooperative and bought it. Fortunately (or by design), his daughter Cristiana and son Antonio were primed to step into winemaking and grape growing roles. The family set about surveying plots in the surrounding hills, and have since matched variety to terroir across 31 hectares. After experimenting with international varieties, they settled on Montepulciano, Aglianico, Pecorino, Trebbiano, and Moscato di Castiglione. They’ve quickly risen in profile and are known for making some of the best and most accessible wines in Abruzzo.

Domaine Tollot-Gros

Anne Gros and Jean-Paul Tollot are both fifth-generation Burgundy winegrowers with remarkable Côte d’Or vineyard holdings. While Anne has kept her focus on her Burgundy wines. she’s not one to pass up an opportunity for great terroir and new things to learn. She partnered with Jean-Paul on some prime old vineyards in the Minervois. Their 100+-year-old Carignan vines, along with Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault in the higher-elevation, northeastern part of the region means slow ripening and cooler nights to reveal the breadth of aroma and depth of character from individual plots.

Turley Wine Cellars

Larry Turley made it his mission to find the oldest Zinfandel vineyards in the most interesting places in the state. His vision was to make quintessential California wine–a unique expression of place through the lens of the Zinfandel grape. He started reviving the vineyards he found and converting them to organic in 1986. Now, with 47 vineyards up and down the state that range from 75 to 135 years old, he turns out some of the most structured, expressive, and long-lived wines in the country.

Valravn

Because the world needed another label of California Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel. Well, it turns out the world did need it. Valravn is one of three superwickedawesome winemaking ventures of Baron Ziegler, a wine-industry savant who never did make it to med school. But he did make it to California, Oregon, and Washington, and when you do what he did as long as he did it with as many people, what you get are connections. Baron sources spectacular fruit from top vineyards in Rockpile, Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valley which winemaker Rob Fischer converts by magic into magic. The beauty of Valravn is not just its beauty: it’s also its price. Valravn’s out-of-state sisters include Averaen from Oregon and Requiem from Washington.

Venus La Universal

After inheriting the duties at Mas Martinet from her father, Josep Lluis Pérez, Sara Pérez wanted a project of her own, where she could bring out the styles of wines she felt the region she loved deserved. Instead of staying in Priorato proper, she, along with husband René Barbier IV, looked just outside its boundaries in Montsant. Here she established Venus la Universal where she aims “to interpret femininity in a bottle of wine.” Indeed she named the winery after Botticelli’s famous painting of that very goddess of beauty, Venus. On their rough land organically restored they grow old Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, and Cartoixa for the reds, and Grenache Blanc, Xarel•lo, and Macabeu for the whites.

Vidigal Wines

History is all well and good and important. But what you do with it today is what matters. Vidigal was established in the early 1900s by a priest in the central Portuguese city of Leiria, where it produced wines according to the local traditions. Fast forward nineish decades when António Mendes Lopez, a wine importer in Denmark, purchased the enterprise and set about bringing it up to the 21st century. Today, they produce a range of modern and traditional styles at outstanding price points from their 1112 hectares in Lisbon, as well as from fruit sources in the Tagus, Douro, Alentejo, Dão, Beiras and Vinho Verde areas. A difference-maker in Vidigal’s approach is how both the packaging and wine style are modern and accessible. This opens these wines specifically and Portuguese wine in general to a much broader audience. While they’ve kept the Portuguese varieties of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, and Castelão in their stable, they also grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah among the red wines.

Weingut Rabl

Weingut Rabl started in 1750 with mixed agriculture. The original barrel cellar is still in use at over 300 years. Rudolf Rabl’s family has been involved since at least 1900, when his great-grandfather sold wine in barrel to local guesthouses. Rudy, the fourth generation, continued to expand and improve the vineyards and winemaking. He focuses on specific vineyard sites and the stones in them. His viticulture philosophy is to guide rather than intervene or over-manipulate. In the cellar, he uses wild yeast to ferment, and macerates for long periods to extract as much flavour and structure as he needs for balanced, intensely flavoured wines.

Yves Cuilleron

Some wineries are synonymous with their region; they are woven into its history and greatness. Yves Cuilleron is such a winery for the Northern Rhône. With a background in engineering, Yves came back to his family’s winery when his uncle retired and there was no successor. Vines have grown in the area around the winery since the 2nd Century BC. Yves’s grandfather Claude established it in 1920 with 3.5 hectares in Condrieu and Saint-Joseph. Today, Yves grows over 75 hectares which also includes Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Saint-Peray and Crozes-Hermitage. His range covers single site wines within the tiny appellations with extreme depth, richness, and finesse. His approach to wine-growing and process in the winery is one of fanatical precision, just like an engineer.

Zeno

A Cypriot shipwrecked trader stumbled his haggard self into Athens, whereupon he met a man named Socrates. In conversation with this man of late misfortune, Socrates would praise this Zeno for the four virtues of Moderation, Justice, Wisdom and Courage.

These traits would found the philosophic school of Stoicism, and when Zeno wasn’t philosophizing, he would eat figs and drink wine.

Zeno alcohol-liberated wine is not out to preach virtue. Their mission is to craft the best alcohol-liberated wine possible, with regional and varietal expression, for the more discerning wine drinker on occasions where they choose not to drink alcohol.

With Jane Masters, MW, as technical director, Zeno sources purpose-grown, organic grapes from central Spain, which are then fermented and blended before the gentle alcohol-removal stage.

Zonte’s Footstep

Brad Rey, a born and bred Calgarian, was around at the genesis of Alberta fine wine culture. He was among the first to work in the business when the province privatized retail in 1985. In 1991, he decided to pursue winemaking full time after visiting some of the wineries the shop he worked at represented. In 2003, he founded Zonte’s Footstep in Australia with a few industry mates. The first vineyard they bought dated back to 1893, with Shiraz and Cabernet planted since the 1920s. The winery now sources fruit from the key regions around the state: Adelaide Hills, Barossa, Langhorne Creek, the McLaren Vale, and other spots. Brad takes a “like them first, think about them later” approach at Zonte’s. The wines are fruit-forward, fleshy, and the reason many of us started drinking wine to begin with. Nonetheless, the range of vineyard sources and grape varieties (like Sangiovese, Malbec, Lagrein, and Vermentino among the classics) makes for plenty of drinking adventures.