With Sonja out of town, the host seat gets filled by the brilliant winemaker and friend of the show, Wes Hagen of Clos Pepe, who has invited David Vergari of Vergari Wines and Thornton Wine to discuss the bubbling scene in Temecula.
The talk goes into the reasons for the region’s surprising excellence–from good soil to passionate growers, and we taste several varietals of David’s work. Along the way, we wonder where Temecula is going with their wine, and learn about the roots of the current crop. It’s a key show about a region that is coming up in the wine world.
David Vergari founded Vergari Wines in 2003, producing Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards that are exclusively suited to those varietals. David studied Enology and Viticulture at UC Davis, interned at Sonoma-Cutrer and The Hess Collection in Napa Valley, and worked abroad at Coldstream Hills in Australia and Covisa in Spain. Landing back in California, David worked his way up to Research Enologist at Joseph Phelps Vineyard before moving to Rutz Cellars in the Russian River Valley, where he not only became the winemaker, but honed his skills and appreciation for Pinot Noir. Then, after four years as Head Winemaker at Maddalena Vineyards, David decided to launch his own label, Vergari Wines.
In his spare time, David acts as a consulting winemaker and teaches extension wine courses at UC Irvine. David ascribes his lifelong interest in wine at least in part to his Italian ancestry. His first memory of wine goes back to when he was five years old, in his great-uncle’s cellar in San Francisco tasting “Dago Red” – cut with water, of course! For a while in his twenties he worked as a financial analyst, but winemaking was in his blood, and inevitably he decided to change careers and follow his passion.
00:01 Welcome to the Wine Down
01:02 Introducing David Vergari of Vergari and Thornton Wines in Temecula.
02:28 David’s background in wine.
07:29 Using “theory” to the benefit of winemaking.
11:06 Pinot Noir–”If you can make it here…”
14:31 The direction of Temecula and third leaf vines.
16:39 The development of the region.
18:17 What drew growers to Temecula.
21:36 Some notes on sharpshooters–enemy of growers.
23:42 Is Temecula growing the best wines for their land?
29:08 Balancing acidity to create a complete wine.
30:31 Would growers in Temecula like to produce different varietals.
35:18 Sugar, carbon dioxide and the “sluttiest wine in the world.”
40:37 Wes gives David the bully pulpit and sees what he’d like Temecula to embrace.
43:26 Tannins and Tartaric acid–necessary to balance with foods.
44:44 A note on the Cab/Merlot.
46:54 Wes measures the last ten years in Temecula.
47:52 The greatest advantage of Temecula: “Location, location, location.”
50:11 What will be the varietal of Temecula’s future?
52:16 The situation between the vineyards and wine and vintners association.
55:49 Where to find David.
58:31 Wes shows us how to pour wine for an Italian, and cheers!