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Chris Leon is checking in with some of his favorite people in wine. You're invited.
You have access to these wonderful characters, their delicious wines and the beautiful corners of the world they live in. Ask questions... try something new... get to know the wines and makers behind them. Now's the time to get closer and connect. We hope to see you there.
Carlton McCoy has a big job. As President and CEO of Napa's Heitz Cellar he runs one of our country's most historic estates. He came to that job with a background as impressive as it is atypical. At 28 Carlton became one of the world's youngest Master Sommeliers, and one of only three Black MS' in the world.
Join us for this free flowing talk about running an estate in Napa (how do you honor the history of Heitz while still being progressive in its vision?), farming (Heitz is converting to 100% biodynamic!), race in wine (how the whiteness of wine defines its structure), and what your 20s must look like to become a MS at 28.
Chris remembers his first La Clarine Farm. He was at Vinegar Hill House's wine bar with his cousins and they ordered a bottle of Sumu Kaw Syrah. It was a dizzying wine unlike anything he had experienced from America–savory, feral, exciting. And it was a glimpse into the future of natural wine in California. Ever since then Chris has been a huge fan of Hank's work. He can't wait to check in with this beacon for domestic natural winemaking.
If you can make elegant pinot noir, skin fermented sauvignon blanc and pet-nat all under one roof, you're already our friend. Enter Theo Coles of New Zealand's The Hermit Ram. Embracing old hands-off techniques, he's making some of the most characterful wines in all of NZ. Based in Canterbury on the South Island, Theo does an incredible job capturing the joy of this area's wines with sneaky complexity.
Talk about a cool origin story. Marco isn’t from a winemaking family. He fell in love with wine as a hobby and began visiting iconic winemakers to get his hands on as many bottles as possible. He eventually began hunting for aglianico grapes in Campania, which he found beautifully situated in Montemarano. But he needed a place to make his wine. Enter Frank Cornelissen, where Marco began producing his own wine. He’s since added an incredible fiano to his lineup and generally produces some of the most exciting wines out of southern Italy. We’ll talk about his story, his newly acquired vineyard, and how the hell he makes fiano taste so good.
We're thrilled to be visiting this referential estate in one of the most beautiful places in the wine world. Cristiana’s farming and winemaking frames just how special the native varietals of Abruzzo are, especially the distinct Trebbiano Abruzzese grape. We’ll walk through her vineyard, talk Abbruzzo and catch up with one of our favorite producers.
The distinct wines of the Canary Islands have never been more popular. There are a lot of reasons for the deserved rise in popularity and a host of producers who've elevated the tiny archipelago to the world's stage. Envínate is chief among among them, which has attained cult-like status among wine lovers. And for good reason–their wines are some of the best in the world let alone the Canary Islands. We’ll visit Tenerife-based winemaker Roberto Santana at the winery. A can't miss!
Few places on earth are more severe and beautiful than Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. It's an island of pure black volcanic soil that produces smoldering, singular wines. This corner of the wine world has exploded in popularity, and once you see the surreal landscape and taste the volcanic wines you’ll understand why. Los Bermejos is one of the defining producers of the island. Ignacio and Chris will talk about the challenges of growing wine in this climate and their newfound popularity.
He’s one of the true greats. We love Clemens Busch for his veracity in the vineyards (farming those insanely steep Mosel slopes biodynamically 🤯) and his very personal style of crafting riesling. No one’s wine tastes like Clemens’. And we love the joy his passion fuels in our industry. This will be a master class in farming insanely difficult sites and a check in with one of our favorite people in wine.
The sun’s poking through and we can’t stop thinking about the best of Beaujolais. Julien Sunier makes the really good stuff–charming and elegant, lifted and ethereal, from old-vine, high altitude parcels in Cru villages. We’re visiting Julien to get a look at how he makes some of the most elevated Beaujolais around, talk about his full embrace of organics and figure out how a surfer makes do among the gentle hills of Fleurie.
Chris loves (LOVES) American wine, and Michael Cruse is one of those producers who gives him confidence that the best of California wine is still yet to come. Michael makes world class sparkling under the Ultramarine label and still wines under Cruse Wine Co. We can't find enough shelf space for this guy. Chris and Michael will talk all about California wine and bubbles.
Ariel's technically a restauranteur, but she's really an entrepreneur. From Tokyo Record Bar to Niche Niche (where Chris hosted last year) and beyond, she's crafted fresh dining experiences that engage people with wine in a truly new way. Ariel almost singlehandedly made restaurant wine drinking FUN in a way we didn't know we needed. But we certainly did. And still do, maybe more than ever. In a post-covid world Ariel's adapted her businesses on a dime, kept her team together, and done it all in her quintessential style. Chris and Ariel will talk about operating and adapting in NYC right now, why everyone should #popbottles with vigor, and let's be real they'll probably go down a Champagne rabbithole at some point.
If only we could all be like Aldo. He runs one of the world's top wine programs (Le Bernardin), his own wine bar (Aldo Sohm Wine Bar), and has been awarded every accolade in existence (including Best Sommelier in THE WORLD). He's got a winery project in Austria (Sohm & Kratcher). And he authored "Wine Simple" On top of all of this Aldo has the time to be a great neighbor we love having around the shop. We'll have a lot to talk about.
Touching base with our friend and importer Savio Soares, who's sheltering in Portugal. We’ll talk about the state of the industry, why he's made a passionate stance behind Portuguese wines and maybe even sip a few.
I’m pretty obsessed with the wines off Mt Etna—a place that naturally captures power but somehow maintains finess. IMO the secret sauce for pleasure. And few deliver that profile like Mario Paoluzi. His whites are visceral, his reds are smoldering, but both have detail which would be lost in less capable hands. Mario will walk us around the sustainable winery, talk all things Etna, his philosophy on bush training (those labels depict a real vineyard!). Come soak up some Sicilian Sun.
On my first trip to Japan (also my honeymoon) I came across this gin in every great cocktail bar. I quickly became obsessed with its unique herbaceousness (I’m now equally obsessed with sancho pepper) and classic crystalline profile. It's become one of our favorite gins in the shop. And a year after that inspiring trip, our little store comes full circle to chat with the head distiller. Get your lime wedge ready, and don't miss this.
We're suckers for outsiders who carve out a place in some of the most heralded, culturally-guarded corners of the wine world. The stories of American Ted Lemon heading the wine-making at Domaine Guy Roulot (a first in Burgundy) or of Japanese Chemist Hirotake Ooka creating a definitive style in Cornas at Domaine de la Grand Colline. Now a similar story emerges from the Loire with Brendan Stater-West. This American fell in love with wine - specifically those of the Loire Valley - while working retail (my man) in Paris. And, in 2008, he took the winemaking leap by way of assisting in the cellar of world famous Domaine Guiberteau. In 2015 he bottled his first estate wine to industry fanfare with bottlings of Saumur, Chenin Blanc and in 2018 took on Cabernet Franc. The future is looking real bright in Saumur :)
WEDNESDAY, MAY 13 at 3PM
Simply put Vajra is one of my favorite family owned wineries in Barolo, Giuseppe is one of my favorite people in the wine world and this will be one of my favorite check-ins.
I love when a producer is a physical manifestation of their place. Emmanuel Guillot is that for me and the Mâcon. His personality is big, his charisma joyful and he's got a bon vivant quality I honestly envy. Jovial and authentic, a la the Maconais. We’re visiting him down on the estate and talking about how Burgundy is dealing with these difficult times. Grab some of his good stuff and raise a glass with us.
Amaro, Fernet, Bitter, Aperitivo: you see them on shelves and love drinking them, but do you really know what they are? We’re visiting Brooklyn’s newest distiller and talking all things Amaro. Patrick will break down whats going on and why these spirits are so damn delicious.
If you've ever had Champagne with me, you know I love the Pouillon wines. They come from meticulously farmed biodynamic vineyards and are impressive from bottom (the NV cuvée is always one of my favorites) to top (these are modern collectable IMO). On top of this the young man at the helm is pushing, experimenting and taking this estate into the upper echelon of grower Champs. This should be a memorable trip to Champagne.
Let's visit Tuscany. The rugged, gorgeous coast of Maremma to be exact. We’ll be tasting through a lineup of certified organic wines from Val di Toro with owners Anna Maria and Hugh. Coastal wines from their property where they live aside their vines and their horse Sting. We adore these wines and this family. Also, Tuscany, let's go to there!
Have you seen those Faccia Brutto fernet and aperitivo bottles all over the internet recently and thought "those look cool"? How about that Vichingo skin contact bottle with the orange label? Garrett and Elizabeth are the creative powerhouses behind both of them. From a background in creative direction for brands like Caraway, Outer Reach, Clove and Harry's, these guys are now setting a new standard in the beverage industry, designing for both new producers and beloved brands like Other Half. On top of all of that they happen to be some of our best friends (Elizabeth introduced Chris and his wife Cristina). And they're the creatives behind the Leon & Son and Leon Circle brands.
Join these 4 friends for a happy hour IG Live talking about the state of beverage packaging, what the future of wine labels looks like (if they have their way), and probably some random stuff in between.
Pull up a seat to this interactive ZOOM event. We'll taste through high wire orange and skin contact wines from some of the most dynamic, cool climate regions in the world with the man responsible for bringing them to the States.
Words from Stephen's own mouth: “It turns out that the cold north is an EXCELLENT place for this style of winemaking. The naturally high acids of these cool climate locals give the orange wine style more lift, clarity, cut energy... make them VERY drinkable and refreshing.”
We love selling these wines of purity and freshness. So it's with a lot of excitement that we're visiting Markus through the internet. The man himself, Markus Altenburger will walk us through his certified organic vineyards. We’ll talk about (and see firsthand!) what it means to farm organically, the holy grail of limestone, if he knows of anyone skin fermenting Neuberger in a cement egg, and how the hell Marcus is holding up in this crazy time. Chill your Blaufrankisch and join us.
Taras Ochota is a master of low intervention winemaking, and one of a handful of producers defining new wave Australian wine. He makes a range of lip-smacking blends (including the quenching co-ferment "Texture Like Sun") and single vineyard single varietal wines that are as expressive as they are delicious. We’ll be chatting about the Basket Range, the state of Aussie wine and what the future is like (it'll be Friday there). Taras is one of the biggest, friendliest characters in wine—it should be a fun one.
I just love these wines. I also love what they represent as references of new Chile. The man behind Antiyal, Alvaro Espinoza is one of the most influential minds in South American wine. One of the first to fully embrace both Biodynamic farming and the Carménère grape, which arguably defines Chilean wine. We can't imagine a better person or occasion to kick off these visits.