We've been importing and distributing wine in the United States since 1975, with a focus on independent, classic producers. This podcast was started as a way to connect you to our winemakers and colleagues in the field, and we hope it gives you some extra insight on the grapex wines in your cellar or shelves.
James Ontiveros: A pioneer in Santa Maria
James Ontiveros represents the ninth generation of his Santa Maria family farm and with Justin Willett he is turning out some of the most dynamic examples of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay you'll find in the region. Our own Cameron Russell (Director of Sales, Southern California) has been close friends with James going back to his somm days, and they connect in this episode to give you all the scoop on all things Ranchos de Ontiveros
Dan Kravitz's Domaine du Pegau Origin Story
We are thrilled to represent Domaine du Pegau in California and Oregon. John connects with Dan Kravitz of Hand Picked Selections to dive into the history of this iconic family Domaine.
The Dynamic Dan Kravitz of Hand Picked Selections (Part 2 of 2)
As of this Monday we are now proudly representing Hand Picked Selections in the State of California! Dan connects with John again to give us the dish on more things Languedoc, including his collaborations with Jeff Carrel.
The dynamic Dan Kravitz of Hand Picked Selections (Part 1 of 2)
Dan Kravitz founded Hand Picked Selections in 1985, and few national importers bring such an incredible range of balanced and characterful wines from France, Spain, Italy, and Argentina. We work with Dan's team in both the traditional Grape Expectations distribution side, at our affiliated Vino! and Oddlots stores, and via Premier, our compressed-margin logistics platform.
This is the first half of our conversation with Dan, where we learn about his company's roots and about his passion for Languedoc wine, a region in which he has purchased his own operation - Domaine Cabirau, in the small village of Maury (Roussillon).
“Tread Lightly” with Simon Back
Simon Back is carrying the family torch high and bright at Backsberg Estate in South Africa. He connects with John to tell us about the strange prohibition of alcohol sales in South Africa during COVID, and dishes details on the delicious “Tread Lightly” wines that just landed in our warehouses.
The iconic Jean-Claude Mas: “To produce wines that make you dream”
John Griffin connects with Jean-Claude Mas and they quickly cover a variety of topics in this short interview episode.
Born into a long line of Languedoc grape growers, Jean-Claude Mas became the first in his family to emerge as a formally-trained winemaker. His initial memory of wine came when he was three-years-old, defiantly escaping his Mother’s watch to run two miles into the countryside to meet his grandfather in the vineyard (!!!) during harvest.
From that point forward it was game on.
As a young man, Jean-Claude went about creating Domaine Paul Mas in 2000 using the family’s existing 86 acres of holdings. In short time he began to purchase underpriced but strategically situated Domaines throughout the region, in the process turning their vineyards and cellars into well-known regional standouts.
Fast forward twenty years and Jean-Claude is operating 15 separate chateaux and domaines – A diverse collection of terroirs spanning the kaleidoscope of topographies that makes Languedoc-Roussillon one of Europe’s most dynamic regional appellations: From mountainside terraces in Limoux used for some of the best sparkling wines you’ll find in France outside of Champagne, to salty coastal plots of Picpoul destined for local shellfish consumption, to vineyards set atop clay plateaux producing pale Grenache-driven examples of rosé and vin gris, to moonscape settings near the Spanish border responsible for intense examples of both dry and fortified Carignan.