The Best Winemaker in California? Boorish Wine Snobs, Wine Shortages and other Notes on a Wine Card

Who’s the best winemaker in California? That’s a tough question to answer, I do have a list of my favorite winemakers, but it is tough for me to pick my favorite of the bunch. I will say that after sitting down to lunch with Bibiana González Rave Pisoni and tasting through her incredible lineup of wines, she is in the running for the top spot in my book!

What I love about Bibiana is that she isn’t just making great wine from just one or two varietals.  She is producing wines from various varietals and they are all outstanding.  I tasted wines from several of her projects – Shared Notes, Cattleya, and Alma de Cattleya – and have tasted other wines in the past where she is the consulting winemaker such as Wayfarer and Pahlmeyer.  All her wines have an elegance that stands out for me.  Yes, there is power and structure, but the elegance is what I enjoy the most from her wines.

By the way, her Shared Notes Sauvignon Blanc Les pierres qui décident 2016 is one of the best, if not the best, domestic sauvignon blanc that I have ever tasted. Unfortunately we don’t have it at The Bottle Shop, but drop me a line and I will let you know where you can purchase this stunning wine. It is on the pricey side but well worth it at $65!

An interesting fact about Bibiana is that she was born and raised in Medellín Colombia, a nation not known for its wine production or consumption! Unfortunately, Medellín was known for being the center for the drug cartel headed by Pablo Escobar and was once considered the most violent city in the world.  However, Medellín has enjoyed a renaissance lately and in 2012 was nominated for Most Innovative City of the Year for its transportation policies and improvements. The crime rate has also been reduced drastically which has helped the city emerge from its dark days and transform itself into a vibrant city.

One of the aspects that I love about Bibiana’s story is that she is proud to be an immigrant to this country.  Bibiana states that she had to work harder than others because she was an immigrant. It reminds me of my dad who came to this country and worked hard all his life and was proud to be a part of this great country. I wish more people could see that side of the immigration story.

I will be pouring two of her wines this week at The Tasting Room.  Drop by so you can taste her wines and see if you agree with me. For a fascinating look into Bibiana’s road from Colombia to California winemaker, click on the following link Bibiana’s Road to Winemaking

Sad news for all of you who grew up learning about math by watching Schoolhouse Rock!  Bob Dorough passed away this week.  Bob was an accomplished jazz musician who recorded with Miles Davis but who later gained much more fame from penning the song Three Is A Magic Number.  The song on the album Multiplication Rock went on to become the concept for Schoolhouse Rock! the long running series of educational cartoons. To hear his famous song Three Is A Magic Number click on the following link Remembering Bob Dorough

Just read an article that stated world wine production had recently fallen to a 60-year low in 2017.  The decline was caused primarily by poor weather conditions in the European Union which lead to a decrease in production of close to 15%. Production in the USA remained stable.  Meanwhile, global consumption went up about 2% with the USA holding the top spot followed by France. Imagine if we had a Wine Olympics!  USA! USA! USA! Would love to see that medal ceremony.

OMG! Shoot me if ever I am this condescending or snobbish while tasting wine.  Conan O’Brien took his associate producer to a winery in Italy and check out what got Conan so upset by clicking on the following link Wine Tasting with Conan  I never imagined someone giving the finger to a wine glass! Hilarious!

Went to a Dodger game last Friday and was very impressed with the Dugout Club‘s spread of food.  I was less impressed with the wine selection which was mostly wines that you see at your local big box grocery store. The Dodgers lost that night but I had a blast celebrating my son’s 13th birthday watching the best sport in the world!

Celebrity sightings: While downing some Dodger Dogs in the Dugout Club, I saw Tommy Lasorda, Nomar Garciaparra, Rick Monday, Jaime Jarrin, and super agent Scott Boras.

Question of the Day:  Do you consider yourself to be a social drinker or is most of your drinking work related?

Don’t forget to attend the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta! at The Tasting Room on May 5th. Go over to the upcoming events page for more details and to purchase your tickets!

Here’s the lineup for Thursday and Friday’s Wine Tasting:

Alma de Cattleya Pinot Noir Rosé, Sonoma County 2017  $19.99 

Dragonette Rosé, Happy Canyon Santa Barbara 2016   $19.99

Alma de Cattleya Pinot Noir, Sonoma County 2016   $23.99

Dragonette Pinot Noir, Sta Rita Hills 2015   $34.99


Last word: If you’re going to give a toast at a wedding, don’t be like Michael Scott from The Office when he said… “Webster’s Dictionary defines wedding as the fusing of two metals with a hot torch.”



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