July 2019

Greetings from Cordon –

Hey! It’s officially summer! And after a long, chilly, gray, and unusually rainy winter-spring, the grapes are happy with the sun’s warmth! Let’s just hope for continued warm days and cool nights going forward into harvest so that the grapes take their time in ripening.  Slow ripening means more complexity in the aromas and flavors.

We recently bottled and released our 2017 reds, including our “Les Jumeaux” Pinot Noir, “Cuvée Rouge 246,” and White Hawk Syrah. They’re young, but the elements are already coming together, showing great depth and complexity which will only get better and better as the wines continue aging in their bottles.

We also released our 2017 “L’Or de Salomon Pico” Chardonnay and it’s stunning! It’s been tagged “a Chardonnay for those who don’t like Chardonnay.” It’s very clean with just a kiss of oak.

Also released is our 2018 Cuvée Rosé, 95% Grenache and 5% Syrah aged in 100% stainless steel. With lively floral notes and mouthwatering flavors of fresh strawberry and pink grapefruit, crisp and dry, tangy and tart with a silky fruit foundation. But I really don’t like offering tasting notes. I’d much prefer to know what you’re tasting when pouring a glass of my wines.

It’s all subjective. When asked which is my favorite wine, my reply is always that it depends on the time of the day, where I am, what I’m eating, and who I’m drinking with. Have you ever been excited about a glass of wine sipped in an idyllic setting surrounded by family and friends – and then had that same wine in less than attractive conditions? Not quite the same!

I love feedback. Better yet, please visit us at the winery for a tasting of our current releases followed by some barrel tastings. It’s fun for me to open bottles with my wine club members and other followers of Cordon.

That’s a large part of the reason why I enjoy going on the road with our distributors – to meet my restaurant and retail buyers along with their customers. Different cultures than Southern California, different styles of restaurants, different menus, different weather…lots of differences. Whereas my Pinot Noir might be the most in demand in the LA market and my Sauvignon Blanc in the Santa Barbara area, it was the richer reds that paired best with the backdrop of falling snow a few months ago in Reno. Then, again, it’ll probably be entirely different in the heat of summer.   

On the subject of traveling, I recently returned from visiting my father in Belgium with a side trip to the Northern Rhône Valley of France. I visited two of my favorite appellations, Condreiu and Saint-Joseph. Both areas are breathtaking with views of the Rhône River as it winds its way to the Mediterranean Sea. Condrieu is best known for Viognier and Saint-Joseph for Syrah. For those of you who haven’t tasted my Cuvée Rouge or Cuvée Blanc, I get really excited with the blending of Rhône grapes. I was in my element while in the Rhône Valley.

Interesting enough, the wine that most fascinated me during my visit was a very unique Chardonnay. I spent time with a highly-respected wine producer in the Condrieu region. Pierre Gaillard’s family-owned winery – Domaine Pierre Gaillard – is surrounded by vineyards perched on steep, rocky slopes supported by hand-laid stone retaining walls. It was a sight! Pierre is carrying on the passion and tradition of winemaking known to this region since Gallo-Roman times. Hard to compute, but true! Pierre introduced me to a Chardonnay that he’s crafting from his grapes, a wine not at all typical of the region. The wine was fermented in amphora, a clay jar with two handles and a narrow neck , a practice going back centuries. The wine was very interesting and I managed to bring a bottle back to my winery where I poured it at our most recent potluck trade lunch. Feedback was across the board, but the general consensus was positive. Jamie (Brand Manager/Marketing Director) was sure that she was drinking a Viognier rather than a Chardonnay — and was particularly excited about the wine. 

 So…I’m now inspired to make a similar Chardonnay in the Gallo-Roman tradition. It will be a very limited production available only to my Wine Club members.

Might that be inspiration to join the Club? We’re finally getting back on track with a coming-soon updated website and reorganized Wine Club. Our next shipment of a bottle each of 4 of our current releases should ship in early October. As reminder, club members get a 15% discount on each shipment and that discount is extended on additional wines purchased on our website or in the tasting room. Tastings for up to 4 people are complimentary to club members. Jamie should be in touch with you within the next week or so to confirm your shipping and billing information. If she doesn’t reach you, please reach out to her via our website.

Meanwhile, Happy 4th of July!

We hope to see you at the winery soon. Just call for an appointment and we’ll polish the glasses.



Etienne Terlinden

Author Etienne Terlinden

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