I have boys ages 9 and 11 who play a lot of basketball. Recently, they conceded if they don’t make it to the NBA they are willing to consider other career options although, well, it is highly possible they will be drafted. First round, most likely. It is a little early in their lives for […]
Cultivating a Sense of Hospitality
In case the headlines have you in a funk about the current state of civility in the world, rest assured that being hospitable is not an entirely dead concept, not even in the fractured United States. Years ago I fell in love with the southeastern part of the country in large part due to the […]
Trying To Put My Finger On A Region
I just spent four weeks in New York’s Finger Lakes region, right on Cayuga Lake next to Cornell University where my wife Ami was taking summer classes. On July 4th, we sat at a table at Good Life Farms overlooking a variegated expanse of small farms with clusters of trees, corn, vines, flowers, and feed […]
What do I know
Albert Einstein famously said, “the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.” Of course, Einstein knew more about certain areas of science than anyone during his lifetime, but grasping new scientific concepts only revealed more fields for him to explore and doors for him to open. This process is what drove Einstein, […]
You Look Organic
In 1996 when Nick and I bought an old sheep ranch and apple farm on the Sonoma Coast, we wore our hair in pony tails. Perhaps premature baldness was dictating our hairstyle decisions, (we joked that we should take an aerial photo of our balding heads and label the wine TwoPeay.) Could be our decision […]
The Myth of the Estate?
Giacomo Conterno. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Domaine Jean-Louis Chave. Other than high price tags, Old World roots, and legions of fans, what do these wineries have in common? All three are estate wineries. Recently a wine writer wrote a book on California Wine with a chapter provocatively titled, “The Myth of the Estate”. The chapter […]
Yes, But Be Delicious
At a recent wine seminar, a writer/critic proclaimed that “wine must be more than delicious.” The call to arms filled my chest and I felt the power of his gestalt. Then I paused. Sure, a wine can be intellectually intriguing and the experience more profound based on outside information like where it was made or […]
The Estate Pinot noirs: What’s in a name?
When Nick and I planted the first 30 acres of vines, we were pioneers in this region of the Sonoma Coast. As such we were tinkerers, uncertain what clones would best express our site and how much of each would be ideal in a wine. We now farm 13 clonal selections of Pinot noir strewn […]
Peay Estate Chardonnay: A Retrospective Tasting
Every August we invite our local sommeliers and wine directors to the vineyard for an event we call Peay Vineyards “Sommelier Love Fest.” Around 40-50 people drive all the way out to the coast for a special tasting followed by a seated dinner we prepare for them on the lawn. Everyone brings a few bottles of wine to share with the meal and we burn a bonfire and share stories deep into the night. It is our opportunity to serve and provide for our customers as they work the rest of the year representing us in their restaurants and shops.
In Pursuit of Balance?
It has become quite vogue to say you make wines of balance. I admit, I’ve said it myself. Peay is even a founding member of a group of wineries who promote balance in wines and cross the country (soon, the globe) spreading the word about balance in California Pinot noir and Chardonnay. But does anyone think they make wines of imbalance?
People often ask me which of our Peay wines is my favorite. I usually find a way to say something positive about them all; for, it is true, I have liked all of our varieties best at one time or another. In the end, it really comes down to the vintage’s expression in a wine and my particular stylistic preference. I do so love the ‘04, ‘06 and ‘11 Chardonnays for their laser precision and minerality. And the ‘05, ‘07, ‘09 and ‘11 Syrahs capture the peppery, meaty, blood quality that thrills me. But I can say with no hesitation, that the 2012 Pinot noirs are my favorite Pinot noirs we have made, hands down.
Earning Your Stripes: the 2011 Vintage
When Nick and I decided to make estate wines, we agreed that we should only consider the viticultural potential of a site and not the impact the location would have on our personal lives. One site we considered would have had us living in a moldy trailer in horse country (we do not ride). Fortunately, we felt it was not ideal for the style of Pinot noir we wanted to make (the area was too warm. Phew). This focus led two bachelors—brothers to boot—to take up house on a remote hilltop 40 minutes from the nearest grocery store and an hour and a half from the closest “town.”
Discovering a Sense of a Place
At the risk of diverting attention from the release for a moment, I want to share a recent experience. In late July I attended the International Pinot Noir Conference (IPNC) in McMinnville, Oregon.