Truett Hurst

Posted on Updated on

Keith and Kimberly welcome Ginny Lambrix, Winemaker at Truett Hurst Vineyards

Enjoy the Show (part 2 of 4)


The wines we will are opening are ….

Truett Hurst Russian River Valley 2012 Chardonnay

Truett Hurst Sonoma County Old Vine 2012 Luci Zinfandel

Truett Hurst Sonoma County Old Vine Red Rooster Zinfandel

Truett Hurst Sonoma County 2012 DragonFly Red Field Blend

Truett hurst Winemaker Ginny Lambrix: Winemaking begins with an understanding of the vineyard and allows for translation of its unique character ginny
through to the bottle. It requires spending a lot of time with the grower, the vineyard and the wine, to try and really understand what each should express in the finished wine.  Truett Hurst allows me to farm biodynamically and make wine. Usually viticulture (the growing of grapes) and winemaking are considered separate jobs. I got lucky – when I was looking to make the transition from viticulture to both winemaking and grape growing, Paul Dolan – a friend and fellow biodynamic practitioner- asked if I would be interested in working on the Truett Hurst project. I still have to pinch myself to believe its real.

Truet Hurst Vineyards: While the formation of the Truett Hurst partnership began in November of 2007, the founding partners worked together at Fetzer Winery years before. At that time, Paul Dolan was Director of Winemaking and hired Phil Hurst, fresh from UC Davis, to work as one of the winemakers. Years later, Phil would hire Paul’s son, Heath, right out of college to work for him. Thirty years after that first meeting, Paul, Heath, Phil and Sylvia Hurst formed a partnership in the Dry Creek Valley. Their vision: create world class wines using biodynamic farming principles. To complete that vision, Mark De Meulanaere and Virginia Lambrix were brought in.

Please visit Truett Hurst at


Ask for the Wines of Frontera at your Local Wine Retailer


Wineguys Radio Sponosr
Sponsors of Wine Life Radio

2012 SIGNATERRA Benziger Pinot Noir La Reyna

Posted on Updated on

This Week’s Wine Review

2012 SIGNATERRA Benziger Pinot Noir La Reyna

“The Warrior Queen”

Typical late summer afternoons in Colorado Springs usually means vast blue skies peppered with brilliant white fluffy clouds that begin to signaterrra pinotdissipate at about 2:45. That’s when the blue sky turns deep purple and within minutes the purple fades into dark grey and the great battle in the skies begin. Thunder roars, birds squawk and the patter of rain on the barrel tile roof of my house sounds like the faint beat of a tom tom. No need to rush inside just yet. I can sit under the big umbrella on the patio and watch the rain unless the thunder gets too close. When that happens I retreat inside to watch the clash of the titans. On just such a summer afternoon this past June, I watched from my study where I was working on a blog for as the storm rolled in and back out on cue.

The glory of the sky after these summer showers is mesmerizing. This evening the sky beckoned an audience. I pulled out my blank tasting notes and grabbed the bottle of wine I was waiting to do a review on. This night the 2012 SIGNATERRA Benziger Pinot Noir from the La Reyna Vineyard seemed to say, “I was made for nights just like this…”

Benziger postures SIGNATERRA in her role as a “Queen”; elegant and demanding as is her noble right. Having earned her place on the throne she is The Warrior Queen! She lavishes you with a delicate bouquet of mixed fruit and field essence such as lavender and hay. This queen has tenured her time with the trees that produce dark fruit and the bushes that produce delicate berries: strawberry and raspberry. She is a lady of the earth and her roots are expressed in the aromatics and big mouth feel. She demands accompaniment with foods that take you to home and hearth. Having earned her place on the throne she is The Warrior Queen!  La Reyna, “the Queen”, is a wine of regal positioning, posture and pedigree; a classic wine of elegance and luxury. True to the characteristics of Pinot Noirs created from the extreme coastal environments, the wine displays aromas of cherry pie, rose petals, all spice and sweet cedar wood. The wine enters as vibrant, elevated and playful with layered complexity. La Reyna shows a well-integrated finish with silky tannins that linger on the palate. -Benziger

 Technical Tasting Notes

Name of Wine: SIGNATERRA Benziger La Reynathe arch

Grape Variety: Pinot Noir

Old/New World: New

Country: US

Region: Sonoma Coast

Vintage: 2012

Appearance: Clear with medium intensity ruby core and clear rim

Nose: Clean with low+ intensity aromatics of lavender, dark fruit, vanilla, hay, chocolate covered cherries, raspberries…hint of banana, strawberry and lemon

Palate: Dry with medium + acid, medium tannin, medium alcohol. Characteristics of dark cherry and bark along with lavender and cocoa, vanilla and a touch of rhubarb. Earthy and androgynous yet leaves you with the touch of elegance you would expect from a Warrior Queen.

Conclusions: Potential aging: 8-10 years. I suggest letting the wine breathe for 10-15 minutes or rapid decant it. As it opens up and the complexity of the wine changes from robust and earthy to elegant and balanced.  2012 proved to be a seamless year for growing extreme climate coastal Pinot Noir. Dry spring days were ideal for even budbreak and cane growth. Normally high mildew pressure was minimized by drier than normal conditions in the late spring and early summer and prevailing winds that helped to keep the humidity low. Flowering and set was completed in a short and very even cycle. The vines were extremely balanced and crop thinning virtually unnecessary. Verasion was fast and even. Full flavor maturity was reached at lower sugar levels while still retaining postured and vibrant acidity providing lift and length. Other vintages showing a similar and memorable pedigree are 2007 and 1991. – Benziger

Don’t expect a California fruit bomb or a Burgundian fresh squeezed pine cone cluster..

This wine is uniquely SIGNATERRA. If any comparison is warranted, think Oregonian Pinot Noir. But don’t think too long. Drink!”

-Kimberly faye, Sommelier

Becoming a Sommelier: The Never Ending Story

Posted on Updated on

by Kimberly Faye

The thing I am learning about becoming a Sommelier is that once you begin your journey you quickly realize that you have entered into a Never Ending Story; your story and your love affair with learning about wine. Once inside your Never Ending Story you embrace a passionate journey to learn as much as you can possibly can in one lifetime.never ending

There are varying degrees of starting and stopping – one might think of these times as resting points and/or watering holes, or, as I like to call them: Sipping Stations. For sure there are plenty of accolades along the way with escalating levels of accomplishments from Level 1 through to Diploma programs and arriving at the most highly recognized and prestigious award: Master Sommelier.

If you discover that you are fueled with a passion to achieve the various levels of wine education accolades bestowed on oenophiles, you will have to commit your mental brawn to intense immersion in the world of wine, beer and spirits. In addition, you must show business acumen, cellaring and storage knowledge, hospitality and on-premise as well as off-premise (restaurant/retail) skills, knowledge and expertise. Lastly, it is a club you can’t buy your way into. The only chance you have of making it to the top is to climb.

Making the ascent from Level 1 to Master Sommelier is akin to reaching the pinnacle of Mount Everest. Yes! It’s that challenging. It is that hard.

It is doable but not without hard work (a commitment of time), discipline (you have to study – you have to write the essays – you have to taste the-nothing-from-the-neverending-storyof lot ~ and while that’s the fun part, it still takes discipline), familiarity with the climate (know which program works best for you), an understanding of the danger involved (this journey messes with your confidence if you fail a course or are not passed on an oral, written or service exam), accumulation with the environment (know your fellow sojourners), and an unquenchable, unstoppable passion for learning. Few are the strong of heart to climb the mountain and fewer still are those who are invited into the inner chamber of the mountain (The Master Sommelier).

My allegorical flair for drama is intentional, though not meant to deter your quest for learning, growing and developing your professional path as a Sommelier. Rather, it is meant to congratulate you for daring to enter the Never Ending Story of Becoming a Sommelier.


Please visit for info on the classes and how you can sign up in your area!

Please visit our “Becoming a Sommelier” Sponsor at


Becoming a Sommelier: The Wonderful World of Wine

Posted on Updated on

by Kimberly Faye

This guy walks up to me as we are leaving Church on Sunday and says, “Did I read on Facebook that you are a Sommelier?” It wasn’t the right time or place for a lengthy conversation so I weighed out my answer by giving an affirmative nod. “That’s great!” he went on…”What’s your favorite wine?” I felt pretty sure he wasn’t probing for a recommendation so I said, “There is a lot to appreciate about every var…” I didn’t have a chance to finish my sentence. “My favorite is Road Kill. Have you had it?” He goes on to extol it’s virtues … Actually I hadn’t and because I had serious doubts that I ever would, I told him with insincerity in my voice that we’d catch up another time. I excused my behavior by telling myself that we needed to hurry home – guest would be arriving soon for Easter brunch.

That was my first act of snobbery as a sommelier. One of my objectives with this sommelier journey is to be, first and foremost, considerate of people’s interest’s in wine. I have had experiences with Sommeliers who, for whatever reason, have an attitude of “all-knowingness” and have forgotten that the profession of a sommelier is to guide consumers toward a wine selection that matches their individuality. I’m fairly certain I failed my first opportunity to be a Good Sommelier (sad face). However, I am determined to learn from this experience.

Read the rest of this entry »

Becoming a Sommelier: The Importance of Essays

Posted on Updated on

by Kimberly Faye

This past week we wrote exam level essays that count toward our final grade. We will repeat that process when we do our final exam which will include a 100-point multiple choice test, 4 essays and 9 blind tastings – all timed. This is only the beginning for those who are truly passionate about furthering their knowledge and career potential as a Sommelier.

Essay writing is an important component of the International Sommelier Guild qualification for certificate achievement and if you have an any inkling that you may want to proceed to diploma level and then pursue the Quarter Master Sommelier or seek to achieve the highest and most prestigious award in the industry: Master of Wine Diploma, then grab your paper and pen because you have some writing to do. To even be considered for the Master of Wine (by invitation only) you must submit an essay describing your achievements along with your current Sommelier knowledge.

Read the rest of this entry »

Becoming a Sommelier: Where There is Fruit – There is Root

Posted on Updated on

by Kimberly Faye

I’ve been using the phrase, “where there is fruit there is always a root” for many years now, though typically in the context of human behavior (see Now that I am knee deep in schist, limestone, gravel and alluvium soil, the saying has taken on a whole new, and, may I say even much deeper meaning.

Until I began my journey of studying the viticulture of winemaking, I had no real knowledge of the type of soil, climate and conditions that soil_diagram_postcardproduce the most concentrated fruit for the worlds best wines. That said, I am a farm girl. Or, I should say I was a farm girl – and hope to be a farm girl again someday – preferably in wine-country. I left the farm in my mid-20‘s with zealous determination to develop an urban lifestyle. I have since learned that I’m not much of a city slicker and prefer a quieter, less congested lifestyle. Nothing, however, has surprised me more than to realize that my daddy’s words would one day resonate to my core. When daddy came to visit he took great pains to remind me that I was not built for city life. On the day of my birth, my mother was driven by a tracker to the nearest highway because of a snowstorm that made passage through the hollow impossible. That, according to his way of thinking, should have rooted me in the country where we farmed the land and raised white-faced Hereford cattle.

Always, on his way out the door to the truck (Daddy didn’t like airplanes so he and Mommy put on lots of miles to visit me as I traipsed my way across the US changing jobs every three years just so I could experience a new city) before placing his ten gallon hat atop his head, he would reach down and give me one of his bear hugs while leaving these parting words, “You can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl!” Oh, how those words infuriated me! I was determined to become citified and daddy’s intimidation was not going to deter me.

My little jaunt down memory lane is intended to show how early years of farm life taught me that good vegetables are grown in nutrient rich, well watered soils. The same is true of grape vines with one very important caveat: Grape vines need soil, climate and conditions that will force their roots to burrow deep to find the nutrients that the vine needs.

Winemakers throughout the worlds great wine producing regions agree that great wines come from suffering vines. Take the Rhone Valley for instance, the home of Chateauneuf du Pape, where harvesters have to wade through mounds of round riverbed rocks to get to the vines. These rocks, called ‘galets’ influence the minerality in the fine Grenache blends from that region.

I have become a fan of Michael Fagan’s Discover series . If you want to learn more about wines and wine cultures follow his blog and watch his video’s. In an interview with Nicolas Jaboulet of Paul Jaboulet-Aîné wines we learn that the vines need to suffer from poor soils so the system of the root can go deep in order to feed the grape.

I conclude with this thought. Is it possible that vitis vinifera vines are designed to teach us humans a thing or two about suffering? Deep roots produce concentrated fruit. I don’t know about you but I want to go deep and maybe I have with this blog.


Please visit for info on the classes and how you can sign up in your area!

Please visit our Becoming a Sommelier Sponsor at

Sponsor of Becoming a Sommelier


you may also purchase my Book Memoir of a Broken Brain at

Becoming a Sommelier: The World Is Your Oyster

Posted on Updated on

by Kimberly Faye

The worlds most prominent wine regions happen to be my favorite places to travel. Today being an extraordinary day, one that annually offers the opportunity to do whatever one has the ability to imagine, I have decided to eat and drink my way through France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Hungary.

I begin my adventure today in Alsace, France with a Pierre Sparr Gewürztraminer. It offers aromas of apricot and honey with a developing  Alsace-France-4bouquet of lavender and herbs. On the palate it has a nice lingering finish, is full-bodied and with dried apricot and orange peel flavors. It is dry with residual sugar, low in tannin and acid and not too high in alcohol. This area of France produces mostly white wines from aromatic varieties such as Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewürztraminer. Since I arrived early and I’m in Europe, I’m having my wine with Quiche Lorraine and bacon.

From here travel on to Germany where I will experience a Hovel Oberemmeler Hutte Riesling Auslese from Mosel, the most famous of Germany’s 13 official wine regions. It offers intense aromas of fresh citrus and a hint of petrol (what you’d expect from this region). On the palate it is balanced and full-bodied with a lingering finish of green apple, pear and lemon meringue pie. Every time I drink this wine I will dream of Germany. It’s time for lunch so I’m having dish of thin, pan-fried veal called Schnitzel. On my way through the winding streets I’m going to pick up a loaf of Stollen to enjoy with my Tokaji aszu when I get to Hungary (for dessert later). tokaji

I haven’t quite satisfied my sweet tooth so I’m off to Austria. While I’m here I will have a 2012 Domaine Wachau Grüner Veltlinerfrom the esteemed region of Wachau. The small vineyard, located along the Danube River has southern exposure and vines that burrow deep into slate and granite soils which may be why this dry Riesling has such great concentration. It has a bright clear golden core and intense nutty aromas with a developing bouquet of clover honey. On the palate it is smooth with lingering apricot and honey flavors. It is off-dry and low in tannin, acid and alcohol. All this glorious white wine has made me hungry.

I’m off to Italy for some Radicchio Rosoo al Forno. Normally I would be going for Wild Boar over homemade pasta with a glass of Brunello, that is if I were in Tuscany or Rome, but since Vin Italy ( starts this soaveweek and we are in Veneto, the largest wine producing region of Italy, I am tasting the local fare. After all, when in Venice, eat like the Venicians. I will be pairing my Radicchio al Forno with a 2011 Inama Soave Classico from Veneto, Italy. This is an inexpensive dry white wine that  expresses itself best with food. On the nose it offers floral aromas and a hint of pear which comes through on the palate as well. This is an enjoyable, easy to drink wine and because it is Classico the grapes are grown in this area.

I really planned to pop over to Spain today before heading back to the United States for next week’s class but I will have to end my journey here. If you’re up for the ride, pack your bags and let’s go to Spain next week. I need more stamps on my passport.

Please visit for info on the classes and how you can sign up in your area!

Please visit our Becoming a Sommelier Sponsor at

Sponsor of Becoming a Sommelier


 April Fools!