Why This Bottle, Really?

The 2015 Scallop Shelf Pinot Noir, named for a cuvée coming from certain parcels with ancient maritime soils and sea-bed fossils, is an exceptional wine. To me, it is reminiscent of Chambolle-Musigny, showing a balance of earth and small red fruits, judicious and elegant seasoning with French oak, and a tension from acidity that makes the wine vibrant and deeply delicious. It is a supremely fine Pinot Noir; it excites me when I taste a California wine of such quality, complexity, and finesse.

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The Five Best California Syrahs

Wine Searcher

There’s a lot of Syrah in California. There’s more Syrah here than there is Pinot Noir in Oregon.

There’s twice as much Syrah in California as the entirety of all grapes planted in the Finger Lakes.

I wouldn’t have said that six years ago. In 2008, during the economic downturn, I tasted a lot of expensive California Syrahs for a company that was, essentially, an unsold-wine discounter. It was dreary work, and I understood why the wines were gathering dust on the shelves.

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California’s Edgiest Wine Region: The Western Sonoma Coast


The grapes in Nick and Andy Peay’s vineyards are in a precarious state most of the time. Quivering on the edge of the San Andreas Fault, shrouded in hours of chilly fog and subjected to steady Pacific breezes, it’s a wonder these grapes can ripen at all. The Peay’s and their winemaker Vanessa Wong are not alone in the Western Sonoma Coast’s risky winemaking climate. In fact, they enjoy some highly regarded company including wineries such as Hirsch, Joseph Phelps and Littorai.

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There’s a new wine movement in California, and it’s all about the terroir

Charleston City Paper

When you ask someone what they know about California wine, the usual response is Napa Valley followed by rating scores, cabernet sauvignon, and Robert Parker. But what they’re really referring to, whether they realize it or not, are wines made in the cellar more than the vineyard. Over the last few decades and strongly influenced by the Wine Advocate’s Parker, California’s wine brand has become synonymous with oakiness, a fuller body, and higher alcohol content.

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2009 Wineries of the Year

Wine & Spirits Buying Guide 2010

Julian Peay, Vanessa Wong and Nick Peay’s two-and-a-half-year-old son, likes blackberries. On a warm afternoon in August, he watched his father and his uncle, Andy, lead a stranger down into the vineyard. At what he believed to be a safe distance, he climbed down the porch of the farmhouse, stomped through the fence posts where a wooden gate used to be, hid for a moment under the crouching pear tree, then kicked some of the windfall on his way to the pricker bush.

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On Top of their World

Vintrust Somm Selections

Peay Vineyards is the fruition of the love, passion, and the extraordinary efforts of three very different people. Brothers Nick and Andy Peay founded the project in 1996, planted the vineyard and, with winemaker Vanessa Wong, celebrated their first vintage in 2001. Each brings a specialty to the endeavor. Neck oversees viticulture, Vanessa handles winemaking and Andy is the marketing and sales guru. In 2006, Peay produced 4,000 cases and does not plan to grow much beyond that. Venessa has made it clear that beyond an 8,000-case production, she cannot smell every barrel sample every block and be personally involved in every step of the winemaking process.

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