Despite having a successful career with Citicorp Investment Services, André Hueston Mack decided to leave his “desk job” to pursue his passion for wine. While working as a sommelier in San Antonio, Mack discovered the joys of introducing guests to the little known vineyards that first attracted him to the business and “the instant gratification of a guest’s reaction.” While still in Texas, Mack was awarded the prestigious title of Best Young Sommelier in America by the highly regarded Chaine des Rotisseurs. This recognition propelled him into the opportunity to work as a sommelier at Thomas Keller’s world-renowned The French Laundry in Yountville, California.
Winemaking has always been a dream of his and came to fruition when he set up shop under the moniker of Maison Noir Wines. Throughout his career Mack has forged unique relationships with luminary growers and winemakers from around the planet. It is with this prestigious group that Mack currently creates his wines.
Mack is a zealous wine educator who has been invited to host seminars as well as conduct panel discussions at numerous esteemed food and wine events. He enjoys sharing his fondness of wine with others.
The 2017 Other People’s Pinot is classic Oregon Pinot—earmark Willamette Valley. It is accessible, a great value, and stays true to the character of the vineyards from which it was born. Earthy, spicy, floral, herb-framed flavors of cherry with gingery wood spice tones.
The 2017 Love Drunk is an intoxicating rosé. Much like new love, it clouds the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise, and lips to pucker. Provocative aromas of strawberry and raspberry, followed by refreshing flavors of wild strawberry, watermelon rind, and a hint of kiwi.
Horseshoes & Handgrenades is fruit-driven, full-bodied complex red blend sourced from Southern Oregon and Red Mountain Washington. The rich, ripe, voluptuous fruit comes from Oregon Syrah with just enough Washington Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to give it complexity and structure. Think cherry pits and leather whips!
Born in Racine, Wisc., and raised in Idaho, Pennsylvania and Illinois, winemaker and winegrower Chris Berg didn’t always know he wanted to make wine. In fact, when he graduated from the University of Kansas in Lawrence with a bachelor’s in English, he wasn’t sure what his future held, as far as a career. Meanwhile his parents, Chuck and Dian Berg, had decided to relocate to Oregon from Illinois with the purchase of a manufacturing company in Tualatin, Ore. Chris soon followed and helped his parents at the plant, as well as the other reason for the big move: establishing a small vineyard.
In 1999, the Bergs planted seven acres of mostly Pinot Noir on the 20-acre property near Yamhill in the Yamhill-Carlton District of the Willamette Valley. Chuck and Dian built a small house on the vineyard, and Chris lived in Portland with his wife, Hilary, also a Jayhawk.
The family’s business closed their doors in 2000, and the Bergs found themselves full-time winery folk. In 2001, Chuck and Dian moved to the sunny locale of Wickenburg, Ariz., to be near Dian’s parents. Chris and Hilary were then given the opportunity to move to the vineyard from Portland. And the rest is … in the barrels. In 2002, the Bergs picked their first harvest of a whopping three tons, which were made into 72 cases of Pinot Noir.
Today, Roots produces approximately 5,000 cases annually. Wines include the flagship estate Pinot Noir, as well as several single vineyard-designate Pinot Noirs, sourced mostly from neighboring vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Other main varietals under the Roots label include an estate Pinot Gris and Chardonnay sourced from the neighbor.
Klee Pinot Noir
lithe and expressive, open-textured and tangy, with raspberry, cherry and lime peel notes coming together with presence and finesse on the long finish.
The story of Martellotto (which means big hammer in Italian) begins in Alberobello in Puglia, Italy, where Greg’s grandfather left the old country in 1918 to find a new, better life for himself and his progeny.
Greg Martellotto has led a multifocal life. From age 5 to 22, he played soccer and expected to be a pro. At 19 he franchised a house painting company in Palo Alto, CA. He attended Stanford University on a soccer scholarship but studied biology with the thought of going to medical school. After graduation with a bachelor’s degree and the end of soccer dreams, he took off for three years and traveled to 55 countries. When Greg returned, his wine business took shape, made out of threads from his past, a love for cooking and wine, and for entertaining.
Greg has now been making wine since 2005.
One of the most important influences on Greg’s winemaking is his diverse background in the wine business. Most folks in the wine biz fall into one of three tiers; they work for a winery (production), a distributor (wholesale), or they work for a retailer/hospitality (restaurants/service). Greg has worked and continues to work in all of these tiers. As a result, he regularly tastes about 4000 wines per year. He has had the privilege to taste many of the great wines at wineries throughout France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia, California, New York, Texas, among other wine growing regions.
While Greg’s heart and genetic code may lie in Italy, his taste preferences lean toward Bordeaux. This is the reason Greg focuses on Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals in Santa Barbara.
Riserva II Capoccia
The extended barrel aging led to a wine that has developed incredible depth of flavors, and an intoxicating nose. The wine is a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.
Baked apples and pears in the nose follow through on the palate. The wine suggests a liberal use of French oak and the 2017 is 40% new French oak with the balance in older barrels. The wine was bottled in August 2018 after 12 months in oak with limited sulfur additions.
The wine aged in 100% French oak, 10% new. It was bottled after 11 months to maintain a freshness and vivacity. Like all great Pinots, this wine is a bit of a seductress. It allures with notes of spice, light cedar, and a bright raspberry. Slowly, it reveals itself with aeration.
The family started off in Napa Valley growing walnuts, dates, and a small selection of grapes in the 1950s. That’s when Dr. Lewis Gibbs Carpenter Jr., a lifelong farmer and psychologist with a history rooted in the cattle ranches of Gilroy, moved to Saint Helena and bought land on the valley floor. An agriculturalist at heart, Lewis’ expansive orchards and personal garden were a testament to his hard-working attitude and dedication to Napa Valley’s natural resources. By the 1970s, he had replaced most of the nut and fruit orchards with several Bordeaux varietals of grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Merlot, all of which were beginning to gain international attention following the Judgement of Paris in 1976.
It wasn’t until the year 2000 that Craig Handly, Lewis’ son-in-law who was working in the valley as a label designer at the time with his wife Susan, began making wine from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes grown by Lewis. These first batches, made in a tank kept in their barn, were the beginning of Craig’s new career as a winemaker. Over the next decade, he honed his skills while making private label wines and bottling under his first labels, Terroir Napa Valley and Sentall. It wasn’t until Lewis passed away in 2013 that they introduced Gibbs, an expression of the quality of fruit that Lewis passionately grew for 60 years. To this day, their Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc come from the same vineyards planted by Lewis over forty years ago.
Delicate floral notes, vanilla bean, a hint of stone fruit, and lightly toasted French oak seamlessly carry into a body full of Bosc pear, honeydew melon, juicy nectarine, and subtle salted caramel pretzel. With its voluptuous texture, the wine leans to that of a classic Napa Valley Chardonnay with just enough fresh acid to help accentuate the fruit and drive a lengthy finish.
On the nose there are aromas of ripe black cherries and dusty French oak with a textured mid-palate bursting with plum, juicy dark fruits, and notes of black pepper. Soft, sizable tannins make for a smooth and silky finish.
Staying true to it’s warm-climate roots, Gibbs 2015 Napa Valley Merlot offers heaps of ripe red fruits and warm spice on the nose. Fresh plucked raspberry, juicy red plum, and fresh cranberry are layered over French oak, subtle cedar tones, and a hint of white pepper. Fresh acidity brings balance to the fruit filled body, while fine tannins make for a silky-smooth medium length finish.
Brack Mountain Wine Company was founded in 2008 by three friends with a shared vision and passion – to produce age-worthy, handcrafted wines. Today, they are a thriving winery with more than fifteen fine wine brands, located in the Russian River Valley near Sebastopol, California.
Brack Mountain doesn’t follow the pack. They look at things differently, and they’re not afraid to break with convention. They build efficiency into everything they do, while using techniques that have withstood the test of time. They value hard work and intellectual nimbleness, and most of all, they love a challenge.
Their winemaking team is small, but mighty. They are tirelessly committed to producing interesting, hand-crafted wines with a sense of provenance, lower alcohol and brighter acidity levels. They seek out passionate and devoted growers who know their land, and farm it with pride and attention to detail.
It is under the Bench label that Brack Mountain Winery produces this extraordinary wine.
Every wine that our team makes is vinified using the same time-honored techniques: small lots handled with minimal intervention, native yeast fermentations, and no crushing, pumping, fining, or filtering.
Our wines benefit from the nuance of tightly grained, French oak barrels that highlight savory notes, elevate the wine’s natural aromatics and provide a framework for the subtle aromas that make a wine a great wine.
Whether working with a legendary vineyard or a site just coming into its own, our wines retain a sense of the earth, climate and farming from where they came.
This memorable Knights Valley Merlot is brightly aromatic with hints of cherry, currant and cedar. This wine’s complex yet elegant structure, supports notes of toasty vanilla spice, cocoa and forest fruit with soft tannins and a lush, mouthwatering finish.
Sourced primarily from Sangiacomo Amaral Ranch Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA. This is a wine with a lean, elegant structure and vibrant acidity, reminiscent of Burgandy, it complements rich sauces, roasted meats, and lvoes to be paired with poultry.
This wine exudes a deep , dark purple color in the glass. The nose is vibrant with violets, huckleberry and a touch of vanilla spice. The palate is elegantly wound with dusty tannins and a supple, velvet texture. The long, seamless finish ebbs and flows
with flavors of black currant, dark cocoa and black forest floor.