Hallgarten Wines expands Californian Portfolio
Specialist wine importer, Hallgarten & Novum Wines, has doubled the size of its Californian offering, adding a diverse range of styles from across the region. 25 new wines, from a host of cutting-edge producers, have been added to the importer’s US portfolio.
Discovered on a buying trip to the region by Hallgarten Head of Buying, Steve Daniel, each of the seven new producers in the portfolio reflects Hallgarten’s ethos of championing world-class producers from ‘off the beaten track’. The introductions showcase some of the region’s most forward-thinking, cool-climate, Burgundian and Rhône style wines from smaller producers in Sonoma, Monterey and Santa Lucia.
Andrew Murray uses the beautiful topography of Santa Barbara County to create elegant wines from Rhône varietals. He gives a Californian twist to the classic GSM blend and produces stunning single varietal wines from Viognier and Syrah. The wines from Language of Yes, in the Santa Maria Valley, is the brainchild of Randall Grahm where they focus on Grenache and Syrah, and provide a unique Californian take on Old World style wines.
Old Stage produce classically Californian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from their cool climate vineyards in northern Monterey. Scribe Winery also produces wines from traditional varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, alongside more intriguing grapes, such as the historic red grape variety: Mission. Mission was the first European grapevine cultivated in California and is rarely grown today.
In West Sonoma and Russian River Valley, Senses Wines creates elegant wines which are full of finesse and focus on the senses of the grapes: sight, scent and sip. Talbott Wines’ exquisite Pinot Noir and Chardonnay come from their iconic Sleepy Hollow vineyard. Whilst Peterson Winery, in Sonoma County, is one of the pioneers of Zinfandel, producing wines which perfectly represent the vineyard and vintage with their philosophy of ‘Zero Manipulation’.
Hallgarten’s Head of Buying, Steve Daniel, commented: “We are incredibly excited to have introduced a host of stunning Californian wines to our portfolio. There is a vast and diverse world of wine producers in California that offer something more unique than what a lot of the UK consumers expect from the region. Each of the new additions to our portfolio create exceptional wines and we are thrilled to be able to share these with the trade.”
Further information on each winery:
Andrew Murray Vineyards
One of the pioneers of this now ever so trendy region, Andrew and his family were drawn to the natural beauty, climate, soils and topography of Santa Barbara County, which reminded him of the Rhône Valley. Andrew’s focus and dedication to his craft have culminated in what Robert Parker Jr. calls, “…one of the shining stars in the Santa Barbara firmament”. Sustainability In Practice (SIP) certified, he is eternally committed to vinicultural ‘Kaizen’ - the unrelenting pursuit of continuous improvement - and his dynamic, elegant wines are proof of this. Amazing wines and offering outstanding value.
Language of Yes
This is the very exciting joint venture between Randall Grahm and the Gallo family. Randall, the iconoclastic Rhône Ranger who has constantly challenged grape selection, winemaking methods and closures in California, has teamed up with the financial and technical muscle of Gallo to make a range of unique wines. These wines are made in miniscule quantities, around 500 cases of each – Hallgarten Wines has secured 50 cases of each. These are the only cases to leave the USA.
‘The Language of Yes’ is an attempt to capture the essence of Old World wines through the uniqueness of the vineyards and the (mostly) sunny disposition of California. ‘The Language of Yes’ or La Langue d’Oc, is the term that the medieval people of the Languedoc and nearby areas in Southern France used to describe who they were, by how they spoke. The aim is to craft wines preserving the old ways, revealing the utmost respect for the integrity of the sites form which they derive.
The Franscioni family is one of the most important vineyard owners in northern Monterey. Now in the hands of the fourth generation, they own 290-hectares of cool-climate, sustainably grown and California Sustainable Wine Growing Alliance certified vines. They grow primarily Chardonnay and
Pinot Noir at the foot of the Gabilan Mountain Range. Their consultant winemaker is the industry pioneer and veteran, Dan Karlsen, who with over 40 harvests under his belt, has made wine at illustrious neighbours Talbott and Chalone. They represent amazing value for money.
Scribe Winery was founded in 2007 and is managed by fourth generation California farmers and brothers, Andrew and Adam Mariani. The Sonoma Estate was one of the pioneers of pre-prohibition winemaking in the region. The brothers believe that the best wines are the result of a healthy relationship between man and nature. When vinified with non-interventionist natural methods, the result is a distinct wine that speaks vividly of its provenance. These are not typical Californian wines. They have a cool elegance and are far more “European” in style. These wines are normally only sold through the wineries mailing list and are produced in tiny quantities.
Senses is making some of the most exciting wines in the cool coastal region of Sonoma. The wines are rated as some of the very best of the region and are strictly allocated and only available through a private mailing list. We are extremely happy to have persuaded Max, Christopher and Myles to allow us some tiny allocations for the UK. Senses was formed in 2011 in order to make wines from the family’s vineyards which happen to be some of the most renowned in the region. Thomas Rivers Brown joined the team as winemaker, and the team hit the ground running, garnering spectacular reviews from the first vintages.
Talbott Vineyards crafts estate-grown Chardonnay and Pinot Noir into exquisite coastal wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. In 1972 the legendary Sleepy Hollow Vineyard was planted for the first time in the cool-climate region of the Santa Lucia Highlands. For 30 years, their wines have consistently garnered praise from wine critics and enthusiasts alike, including a rare 100-point score for the 1990 vintage of the Sleepy Hollow Chardonnay from Wine Spectator during a special retrospective tasting in 1997. They are a certified Californian Sustainable Winegrower.
Owner Fred Peterson has an old-world winemaking philosophy and a devotion to sustainable farming. He was the Vineyard Manager of legendary Ridge Vineyards from 1985 to 1990. The Peterson approach is to capture the essence of vintage and vineyard - a philosophy they call ‘Zero Manipulation’, with low tech, yet high touch winemaking techniques to produce artisanal wines of a place: wines with soul. His Zinfandels are world class and show real elegance as well as the customary power.