Black men gone wine, the tale of two paths that end with making and distributing delicious fine wines. Last week I poured at Therapy Wine Bar in Brooklyn and had the pleasure of pouring wines made by two of my favorite brands, Esterlina Vineyards and Indigene Cellars. What made this tasting experience unique and engaging is the story behind the juice. In summary it is the story of African American men gone wine!
Esterlina Vineyards is owned by the Sterling family; three brothers and their Dad. The brothers grew up on the family farm in the Northern Coast of California. All three were professionals with individual success in their respective careers when their Dad called them home to the family farm to make wine. Now the family owned wine brand is distributing wonderfully, artistically made wines across the country. Indigene Cellars is owned by Raymond Smith. In his early 20's Raymond fled the rough streets of Oakland to settle in Paso Robles wine country. While in Paso Raymond worked on vineyards learning and crafting his skills as a wine maker. Some 15 years later he decided it was time to make his own wines and created the brand Indigene. Today his wines are highly acclaimed and placing first and second in various wine competitions.
I poured a total of 4 wines for our Wine Tweet Party at Therapy Wine Bar. From Esterlina Vineyards; 2012 Cole Ranch Riesling and the 2011 Cole Ranch Pinot Noir. The Riesling, dry in style, fruity, crisp and refreshing. Feedback was overwhelmingly pleasing with customers finding the wine off dry in taste having a hint of sweetness from the fruit concentration, not syrupy like some had anticipated. Two word take away: lively and pleasing. The Pinot Noir, classic! True to the grape profile; smoked cheeries, smooth with a richness of complex flavors and aromas. Customer feedback: Easy to drink, smooth start with a tart like lingering finish. Two word take away: elegant and fruity
We tasted a white and a red from Indigene as well. The white was a 2012 Leroi Sauvignon Blanc aged in oak barrels. This is not your typical Sauv Blanc. The wine was creamy in texture, rounded with hints of green pepper, grass, tropical fruit all wrapped in honey and vanilla flavors. Customer feedback; pleasantly surprised and approachable Sauvignon Blanc. Two word take away: herbalicios and rounded. Lastly I poured Indigene's red wine blend Phillanthopist. The blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Petite Verdot is always a crowd favorite whenever I pour it. Well balanced with pronounced tannins that match the high concentration of fruit. Customer feedback: Fresh, big and approachable. Two word take away: Fruity and layered.
Esterlina and Indigene represent only two the African American men and women who producing extremely well made wines in the United States. Cheers to their continued success in the wine business!
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