Filed under: Events, Restaurants, Retail, reviews, Vineyards, Winemaking | Tags: 2012 Pinot Noir vintage, anderson valley pinot noir, New Year's, Pinot Days Chicago, Pinot Noir, Rex Pickett, Sideways, Waits-Mast Pinot Noir
With 2012 barely a glimmer in our rear-view mirror, we’re excited about all that 2013 will bring. 2012 was a good year in many ways, so we thought we would take a quick look back at some of the highlights of the year for our little winery and provide a brief preview of what to expect in 2013. Here are four things, in no particular order, about 2012 that made the year in winemaking for Waits-Mast Family Cellars a great one, plus a preview of things to come:
1. The 2012 Vintage: the growing season this year was consistent and cool with minimal disruptions. A few heat spikes here or there, but nothing to worry about. In 2012, we became more focused on Mendocino County and decided to only use pinot noir fruit sourced from that region, working with vineyards from Anderson Valley to Mendocino Ridge to Comptche. We worked with a total of five different vineyards this year, continuing with Wentzel Vineyard in Anderson Valley and Oppenlander Vineyard in Comptche. We returned to Deer Meadows Vineyard, 1600 feet above Anderson Valley and worked with two vineyards for the first time: Nash Mill in Anderson Valley and Mariah in the Mendocino Ridge appellation. Besides being in Mendocino County, what these vineyards also have in common is that each is independently-owned, small and well managed. We just barrel tasted the 2012s the other day and we’re excited for this vintage – but patience will need to prevail as the wines will be in barrel for a number of months (except for a rosé…wait, did we say rosé? Look at the 2013 preview for more info.)
2. Tasting Events: 2012 was a year where we poured at more events than ever. We continued to pour at our favorites, like the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival and Pinot Days, but also tried out some new events like Taste of Mendocino and Winesong. And every once in a while, a special opportunity comes along. Being able to pour our wine at Sideways the Play in Santa Monica this past summer was a blast. The play naturally drew a crowd of Pinot Noir fans and it was a treat for Brian to meet Rex Pickett, author of Sideways and Vertical. The best thing about all of these events is seeing old friends and meeting new ones. We’re always up for talking about wine, whether we’re geeking out about clones or cold soaks or just enjoying the wine and trading stories with our visitors. Inevitably, a colorful remark or gesture arises and our day is made.
3. Accolades: our wines continued to garner strong trade press and blog reviews. Each of our 2009 vintage Pinot Noir wines received good reviews in outlets like Wine Enthusiast, PinotFile, Wine & Spirits, Daily Sip and more. The inclusion in Wine & Spirits’ “Best 100 Wines of 2012” was definitely a highlight. We were honored to have the 2009 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir from Deer Meadows Vineyard featured among some of the best wines across the world. In the PinotFile newsletter, our 2009 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir from Oppenlander Vineyard in Mendocino County received a Pinot Geek rating from the Prince of Pinot and made his 2012 California Pinot Noir All-Americans list (honorable mention).
4. Restaurants and Wine Shops: we’ve been working hard to get our wines in restaurants and wine shops to make it easier for people to try and buy our wines. It was great to have the support and response from wine stores like Wine Club Santa Clara, K&L Wines, SF Wine Trading Co, Canyon Market, Wine Exchange, Robert’s Market, and Little Vine. And we’re thrilled to be placed on some incredible wine lists at restaurants like Kokkari, Michael Mina, Brasserie S&P, Liberty Cafe, The Hobbit, moto, L2o, Acadia, Boonville Hotel, MacCallum House and more. For a full list of restaurants and wine stores that carry our wine, go to the News section of our website.
5. 2013 – a preview: Okay, so here is a short list of things we’re excited about in 2013:
- Releasing our other two 2010 wines from Oppenlander Vineyard & Archer Family Vineyard (RRV) this Spring
- Releasing our first rosé of Pinot Noir this Spring (see photo above)- wine club members will get it first. It is a saignée of the fruit from three different vineyards and it is tasting great already. More to come.
- Bottling our 2011s and tasting them along the way to see which ones will be ready for a Fall release
- Pinot Days Chicago – it used to be in November, but now is in April. We love the “home crowd” here as Brian’s Midwestern roots harken him back home.
- The 2013 vintage – so hard to think about the next vintage when we feel like we just wrapped up 2012, but harvest will be here before you know it.
- Hopefully seeing and hearing from you, our fans, along the way. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all of these updates and more.
With that, we wish you the happiest of New Year’s and a bountiful and peaceful 2013.
Filed under: Retail | Tags: Anderson Valley, Draeger's, Hein Vineyard, Los Altos, Pinot Noir, Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, Wine
South Bay and Peninsula pinot noir lovers rejoice! You can now find Waits-Mast Pinot Noir at Draeger’s Market in Los Altos, California. It is located at 342 First Street, just off of Main Street in downtown Los Altos. Draeger’s has always been known for its exceptional wine department. The Los Altos store has a great selection of domestic wines, including many local wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains, and a strong selection of European wines. They are now stocking our latest release, the 2008 Hein Vineyard Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley.
Draeger’s, a Bay Area institution, is a favorite haunt of Brian’s. He often finds himself in a grocery store many days a week, seeking out ideas for the evening’s dinner or just stocking up to feed the child, and locally-owned markets are always the best. Jennifer has been going to the same hairstylist in Los Altos for many years, so Brian and their daughter often drive down from the city and while away the time ambling about Draeger’s and downtown Los Altos. They have great produce, meats and fish and lots of hard-to-find groceries.
Stop by Draeger’s and say hi to Stacy in the wine department and she’ll help you out with all your wine needs. And we’ll see if we can get our wine into the other Draeger’s markets as well for you San Mateo, Menlo Park and Danville folk.
Filed under: Events, Retail | Tags: August West, Ed Kurtzman, Hein Vineyard, La Encantada Vineyard, San Francisco Wine Trading Company, Sandler Wine, Urbano Cellars
Waits-Mast Family Cellars is happy to announce that SF Bay Area locals can find our wines at the San Francisco Wine Trading Company (SFWTC). Located at 250 Taraval at Funston, the Sunset/West Portal neighborhood wine shop is currently carrying our 2007 La Encantada Vineyard Pinot Noir and 2008 Hein Vineyard Pinot Noir on its shelves. We really feel like our wines are in a good home (or rather, way station) since the shop is as fog-bound as we are in this Cool Grey City of Love. Owners Julia and Gary, and knowledgeable staffers like Suzanne and Alex, are very friendly and helpful, and have an amazing selection of wines for such a seemingly small store. They definitely maximize their shelf-space and have a knack for getting a hold of difficult-to-find, smaller lot wines.
We kicked off our latest retail availability by pouring our wines at SFWTC’s Neighborhood Winemaker’s Tasting this past Friday. SFWTC holds this type of tasting once a quarter, inviting SF-local winemakers to pour their wares. Julia and Gary have loyal, discriminating, yet very neighborly customers and we were eager to gain their approval with our wines. Also pouring excellent wines were Bob Rawson and Fred Dick of Urbano Cellars and Ed Kurtzman with his August West and Sandler wines.
We poured the La Encantada and Hein pinot noirs at the early evening event. Each of the wines quickly found its own following among the attendees who often returned to our side of the tasting bar for repeat pours. Comments on the La Encantada included a “Rhone-like nose” with “sawdust” “minerality” and “intense fruit.” The Hein generated a number of pleasantly pensive pauses and lots of surprised looks that a 2008 was showing so many layers at such a young age.
Everyone was in good spirits as the Friday, 5:30pm start time found visitors easing into their weekends with warm smiles and empty glasses ready to be filled. There were lots of regulars and newcomers alike. A formidable crew of our fans showed up, including family from Massachusetts (where we can’t ship direct!). It’s always great to see these different worlds overlap where old friends re-connect and new friends are made. Paths cross and stars align. From our vantage point behind the bar, it was a blast. While we all had our fair share of wine chatter, a convivial feeling swirled around the place and everybody was genuinely having a great time. Before we knew it, it was 8pm and we were starving.
So, definitely check out SF Wine Trading Company if you are achin’ for a bottle of our wine, if you are in search of other hard-to-find wines or just looking for a good recommendation on a $10 bottle of something to go with Thursday’s dinner. And then dip down into West Portal and enjoy the cool shops and restaurants. It’s a neighborhood that sometimes feel like it is caught in another time…but, we’ll save that for another post.
Filed under: Restaurants, Retail, Uncategorized, Wine bars | Tags: 2007 Waits-Mast Cellars Wentzel Pinot Noir, Glen Park, Glen Park wine bar, Red & White, Red & White wine bar, San Francisco wine bars, wine bar
For years we’ve been hoping that one day there would be a wine bar in our neighborhood and last night that wish was finally realized with the opening of Red & White in Glen Park (678 Chenery Street, near Diamond in San Francisco).
Last night’s opening was part of their “soft launch” of the wine bar and retail space. They entertained guests for several hours in this warm and inviting neighborhood haunt and featured both a by-the-glass tasting menu, along with a selection of charcuterie, cheeses, and gougeres (french cheese puffs).
Beginning on Tuesday, January 5th, Red & White will also be open for lunch and owner Juliana Flores promised us that there would be gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches on the menu.
Since Red & White is also a retail space, you can pick up bottles of wine to either enjoy in the bar or to take home. They have a great selection of wines to choose from, including some unusual bottles from California and from all over the world (we even spotted a sparkling wine from Australia). They are also selling our remaining 12 bottles of the 2007 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir from Wentzel Vineyard in Anderson Valley (which made the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100 Wines of 2009 list).
It was a treat to see the wine bar open and buzzing with people and we couldn’t be happier for owners Juliana and Peter. Since this was a date night for us, we tried as many wines as we could in 3 hours. Jennifer had a delicious glass of La’ Antica Quercia Prosecco di Conegliano Brut, 2007 (Italy) that was crisply refreshing.
The menu’s poetic description of the wine (written by owner and former ad guy Peter Bell) certainly caught Jennifer’s eye: “Imagine a sparkling wine conceived and created by Milan designers-understated with a fresh aesthetic and organic inspiration.”
Brian started with a glass of French viognier and we paired both wines with a plate of the amazing savory cheese puffs with gruyere, black pepper and thyme (they plan to expand the list to include sweet cheese puffs with blue cheese and dried cherries!).
Throughout the evening we also sampled an intriguing California-made pinot noir made with French grapes (Rutz Pinot Noir French Cuvee 2005 Sonoma/France), a cinnamonly slice of heaven Cabernet Sauvignon (Blacksmith Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Alexander Valley), an aromatic and viscous Petite Sirah with a smooth mouthfeel (Chronic Cellars Petite Sirah 2006, Paso Robles), and a tasty nightcap of a Syrah Port (Steele Syrah Port 2004, Lake County).
Along the way we paired the wines with a charcuterie plate, the creamy Mt. Tam cow’s milk cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, and a Spanish manchego.
General Manager Derek Cienfuegos walked us through the wine list and told us that they planned to change the by-the-glass list every few days. The idea is to rotate all of the wines on their shelves through the tasting list, so customers will have the chance to try something different each time they come in. Additionally, anyone is welcome to purchase a bottle of wine from their shelves to enjoy in the wine bar (for an additional $10).
We’re all about embracing the neighborhood joints and feel so lucky to be able to add Red & White to the growing list of reasons why we continue to love (and hype) Glen Park.
Filed under: Retail, Wine bars | Tags: Anderson Valley, Geary Street, Internos Wine Cafe, Irish pubs, La Encantada, Laurel Heights, Wine bars
Waits-Mast Pinot Noir is now being served by the glass at a new wine bar in the Laurel Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. Our 2007 Wentzel Vineyard Pinot Noir is currently on the list and soon, our 2007 La Encantada will be available by the bottle. Geary Street is lined with Irish pubs and Asian restaurants, but clearly there is a dearth of wine bars in this neighborhood. Enter Internos Wine Cafe, the latest addition to the wine bar scene in San Francisco. Run by Adnan Daken and Quinn Longbothum, Internos (Italian for “between us”) has been open for about a month now and already has a loyal following. It’s also getting some great reviews on Yelp which led us to discover this gem in the first place.
The bar has a rustic, warm feel, with great photography and artwork and a small, but growing wine list. We asked Adnan how he builds his wine list and he replied “with wines that I like to drink.” He has good taste and likes to introduce smaller, lesser-known wines to his curious customers. On our first visit there, I enjoyed a Carneros Pinot Noir from Cuvaison – not extremely rare, but not easy to find around town. Plus, Carneros wines don’t get enough exposure these days. Jennifer sampled a number of different white wines before settling into a 2006 JL Colombo Viognier from the Rhone Valley. We also enjoyed some great small plates, including bruschetta, dried meats and wonderful cheeses.
Adnan has a long history of owning and working at restaurants and joints in North Beach and after moving to this neighborhood, was ready to establish his own outpost in Laurel Heights. It’s exciting to be working with another wine-related business that is establishing itself and trying new things. In addition to offering many wines by the glass and bottle, Internos is going to build out a retail section where customers can discover and take home other interesting and eclectic wines.
Check out Internos and their great wines at 3240 Geary Street, San Francisco, between Parker and Spruce. The Bridge Theater is a couple of blocks away, so make a night out of it and see a movie too.