You Look Organic

In 1996 when Nick and I bought an old sheep ranch and apple farm on the Sonoma Coast, we wore our hair in pony tails. Perhaps premature baldness was dictating our hairstyle decisions, (we joked that we should take an aerial photo of our balding heads and label the wine TwoPeay.) Could be our decision to pursue entrepreneurial, unconventional careers …

The Myth of the Estate?

Giacomo Conterno. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Domaine Jean-Louis Chave. Other than high price tags, Old World roots, and legions of fans, what do these wineries have in common? All three are estate wineries. Recently a wine writer wrote a book on California Wine with a chapter provocatively titled, “The Myth of the Estate”. The chapter made, and still makes, me …

Gain the World, Retain Your Soul

I know that I am going to sound like an old person when I say that young people these days (“Youts deez days!” as I shake my fist) think they can figure out how to do anything by simply watching a YouTube video. Don’t get me wrong. I have found some pretty good tutorials on YouTube where I learned how …

A Case for a Case of Chardonnay

As the Wine Institute reported in 2011, “Chardonnay far and away remains the most popular wine in the U.S. and has continued to be the leading varietal wine for the last decade.” It occupies that middle ground of the wine palate, less weighty than the white wines of the Rhône, such as Grenache Blanc or Marsanne, but more substantive than …

Yes, But Be Delicious

At a recent wine seminar, a writer/critic proclaimed that “wine must be more than delicious.” The call to arms filled my chest and I felt the power of his gestalt. Then I paused. Sure, a wine can be intellectually intriguing and the experience more profound based on outside information like where it was made or how it was made. But, …

The Estate Pinot noirs: What’s in a name?

When Nick and I planted the first 30 acres of vines, we were pioneers in this region of the Sonoma Coast. As such we were tinkerers, uncertain what clones would best express our site and how much of each would be ideal in a wine. We now farm 13 clonal selections of Pinot noir strewn across 35 acres kept distinct …

Peay Estate Chardonnay: A Retrospective Tasting

Every August we invite our local sommeliers and wine directors to the vineyard for an event we call Peay Vineyards “Sommelier Love Fest.” Around 40-50 people drive all the way out to the coast for a special tasting followed by a seated dinner we prepare for them on the lawn. Everyone brings a few bottles of wine to share with the meal and we burn a bonfire and share stories deep into the night. It is our opportunity to serve and provide for our customers as they work the rest of the year representing us in their restaurants and shops.

In Pursuit of Balance?

It has become quite vogue to say you make wines of balance. I admit, I’ve said it myself. Peay is even a founding member of a group of wineries who promote balance in wines and cross the country (soon, the globe) spreading the word about balance in California Pinot noir and Chardonnay. But does anyone think they make wines of imbalance?

Older is Better

I’m writing this column to urge you, nay, to implore you, to create a little space in your life for aging your wines. And in my experience, it’s really not that difficult. You can do it, I know you can. I’ve done it in some pretty challenging circumstances. Here’s what you need to know.

Ceci, n’est pas un vin

A couple of years ago, I took my son Julian to see a performance at the Luther Burbank-Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa located right here in Sonoma County. Our seats were on the balcony section so we headed toward the stairway that led up to the upper seating area. Taking the first step I glanced up toward the stairway landing whereupon I saw on the high white wall, artwork consisting of intricate figures made of wire. My gaze panned across the width of the wall where rushing, dancing clusters of human forms spanned across like chattering, gesturing tumbleweeds.

Great Expectations

People often ask me which of our Peay wines is my favorite. I usually find a way to say something positive about them all; for, it is true, I have liked all of our varieties best at one time or another. In the end, it really comes down to the vintage’s expression in a wine and my particular stylistic preference. I do so love the ‘04, ‘06 and ‘11 Chardonnays for their laser precision and minerality. And the ‘05, ‘07, ‘09 and ‘11 Syrahs capture the peppery, meaty, blood quality that thrills me. But I can say with no hesitation, that the 2012 Pinot noirs are my favorite Pinot noirs we have made, hands down.

Water Sommeliers: The Next Big Trend?

I read the title above this morning in The Daily Meal (All Things Food and Drink) and had a good chuckle. Apparently, the author was talking about more than just whether you’d like still or sparkling. His bottom line was that the establishments that are employing a water sommelier or training their servers/sommeliers on their extensive offerings of water options are attempting to improve the quality of the experience for you, their customers, in a meaningful way. Uh, sure, I guess?