Our Favorite Winemakers from 2018
At Abacus and Jasper’s Restaurants, we’ve had the pleasure of hosting wine events for some of the world’s most innovative and acclaimed winemakers. Over the past year, 13 winemakers in total have walked through our doors to uncork their best vintages. Whether you prefer a fruit-forward red or a full-bodied white, these winemakers offer plenty to surprise and delight your palate.
Wild Hog Vineyards
This small, family-owned vineyard is located in the hills overlooking the Sonoma Coast. There, the headwaters of Wild Hog Creek contribute to the richness of the soil, allowing winemakers Daniel and Marion Schoenfeld to grow especially flavorful grapes. Specializing in Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Syrah varietals, the Schoenfeld’s wines are truly handcrafted, organic and free from all chemical additives, insecticides or herbicides.
Named after the Babylonian goddess of wine, Siduri was founded by two native Texans, Adam Lee and Dianna Novy. They released their first wine in 1994 to much critical acclaim and are currently most famed for their unique, cool-climate Pinot Noir. Siduri believes great wine is made in the vineyard, which is why they produce only single-vineyard, single-variety wine from twenty vineyards stretching from Santa Barbara to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. All Siduri wines remain unfiltered and unrefined.
Located in the heart of Napa Valley, this winery has been home to four generations of the McGah family, original co-founders of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders. Owner Sherrat Reicher now oversees the business. Wines are produced on the family-owned, 65-acre vineyards and have been awarded 100-point scores in the past, likely due to the quality of their premium Rutherford bench fruit.
Walla Walla, Washington
Founded in 2005, Waters Winery capitalizes on the rich flavors of Washington State’s Walla Walla Valley. Waters is home to three estate vineyards (in addition to a few partner vineyards) and only produces a few thousand cases of small-lot bottlings each year. Winemaker Jamie Brown is especially renowned for his unique single-vineyard Syrahs.
Trinchero Napa Valley Vineyard
St. Helena, California
This popular vineyard and winery started as a small mom-and-pop operation in 1948, when Italian immigrant Mario Trinchero purchased an abandoned Prohibition-era winery in St. Helena and created the Sutter Home label. It now claims the world’s first White Zinfandel, 200 acres of premium estate vineyards and its own Trinchero Napa Valley winery and tasting room. Winemaker Mario Monticelli joined the team in 2007 and produced the first estate-grown wines under the outfit’s new name.
South Carolina native and winemaker Stephanie Cook has studied everywhere from St. Helena to New Zealand, all while producing her own wines under the Wonderment label. Wonderment Wines currently pulls from nine different vineyards and recently released 51 cases of its Hyde Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, rated over 90 points.
Although owner and winemaker Nick Goldschmidt’s main offices may be located in Healdsburg, he operates an international business. He helms two brands — the well-known Goldschmidt Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and the international Forefathers label, which features wines from Argentina, Chile and Goldschmidt’s native New Zealand. The Goldschmidt Vineyard label showcases single-vineyard source wines from both the Alexander Valley and Napa Valley Oakville appellations.
Long Meadow Ranch
St. Helena, California
Long Meadow Ranch is a 640-acre home ranch that was first founded in the late 1800’s and now represents a “full-circle” organic farming system, including wine estates, a restaurant and more. The Mayacamas Estate, which produces Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, Sangioveses and Cabernet Francs, is the backbone of the estate.
This famous French Champagne house was first founded in 1772 and is credited with bringing Champagne into the mainstream thanks to its breakthroughs in mass production. It now houses seven popular Champagnes, including what the world’s first Rosé Champagne. Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut is the house’s most iconic offering and features grapes from as many as 50 to 60 different Crus.
St. Helena, California
Bruce and Barbara Neyers first founded Neyers Vineyards in 1992. They now produce 15,000 cases of wine annually, a quarter of which are Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from their own 50-acre Conn Valley Ranch. In 2002, Wine and Spirits Magazine named Neyers Vineyards the Artisan Winery of the Year. The Neyers’ wines are sustainably farmed and aged with as little intervention as possible.
Stags’ Leap Winery
The Stags’ Leap Winery is one of California’s earliest wine estates and is now home to the 85-acre Estate Vineyard. Winemaker and General Manager Christophe Paubert employs a French philosophy, letting the fruit speak for itself. Many of Stags’ wines are rated 90 points and above.
Cliff Lede Vineyards
First established in 2002, Cliff Lede Vineyards now houses a 60-acre estate in the Stags’ Leap district of Napa Valley. Lede’s signature wine is the Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon, a distinctive blend sourced from the steep eastern hillside portion of the estate and made of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot varietals.
Bodegas Muriel Winery
This Spanish winery is located in the small village of Elciego, home to centuries of winemaking expertise. Bodegas Muriel combines the area’s age-old traditions with new technologies to produce vintages that capture the essence of the region. Wines are produced from Spain’s signature Tempranillo grapes, which owe their satisfying taste to the balanced nature of the soil and suitable climate of the La Rioja region.