Tuesday, July 20, 2010

7/21-Steve Pepe, Larry Lipson

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Steve Pepe-Clos Pepe Vineyards

Clos Pepe is a family-owned vineyard and winery set in the heart of the Santa Rita Hills of Santa Barbara County, California. Of the 29 acres planted in vines, 25 acres are planted in Pinot Noir, and 4 acres in Chardonnay. Pinot Noir is our passion. We make about 800 cases of Estate Pinot Noir each year, and about 100 cases of Chablis-style Chardonnay that is aged without the use of any new oak. We sell grapes to other wineries as well. For a list, see below.
'Clos' (pronounced with a long 'o' and with no 's', like 'Clo') is a French word that literally means 'wall'. It describes the ancient stone walls that surround small, meticulously farmed (usually) Burgundian vineyards,rarely you will see a 'Clos' in other regions of France, such as Alsace, the Rhone, or Bordeaux. The term 'Clos' also denotes a winery in the same way as the words 'Domaine' or 'Chateau'. So the name 'Clos Pepe' means Pepe's Winery, or, more specifically 'The Burgundian-style vineyard of a guy named Pepe'. Steve Pepe (pronounced 'peppy' like someone with a lot of energy) is our Vigneron - he oversees operations and tastes barrels and aging bottles to assure they live up to his strict quality standards.
Clos Pepe believes that great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is an expression of passionate viticulture. We farm with an eye for detail and sustainability. We keep the same crew employed year-round so the same hands prune, culture, tend and harvest the vines. Our vineyard manager, Wes Hagen (Central Coast Winegrower's Association Grower of the Year 2001-2002) is also our winemaker. Having total control of the vineyards (design, planting, farming, harvest) and wine production (picking decisions, crushing, fermentation, pressing, barrels, bottling) allows Wes (and his assistant winemaker, wife Chanda) the freedom to craft wines that represent the time and the place where they were grown and vinted. Our tierra sandly loamsoils are rich in calcium and calcareous shale. They produce low-vigor vines and a tiny crop of mineral-laden, intensely flavored fruit. Normal yields are 1-2 tons/acre of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This is less than half the yield that is allowed inBurgundy's Grand Cru AOC system.
Our current list of outside prodcuers, as of Harvest 2007, include Brewer-Clifton, Ken Brown, Siduri, Loring Wine Company, AP Vin, Diatom (Chardonnay only), Ojai Vineyard (PN and Chardonnay), Roessler (Chardonnay and PN) and Copain. All of these wineries vineyard designate their Clos Pepe wines. Wineries that no longer make Clos Pepe wines, but did in previous vintages, include L'aventure, Au Bon Climat, Hitching Post, Testarossa, Arcadian, Babcock, Vino V and Carr Wines.

Former LA Daily News Food Columnist (50 Years) Larry Lipson is live and direct from his research Institute in Costa Rica. He will talk about wine food and the good life and will have comments and comparisons between his new adventure.