Release 27 - December 2018

Foot of the Bed Cellars 2016 Cole Ranch Riesling

Winemaker: Leo Hansen of  Leo Steen Wines

Winemaker: Leo Hansen of Leo Steen Wines

Small But Mighty

For centuries, countries around the globe have structured their wine labeling laws around specific regions that are recognized for producing high-quality wines. These winegrowing regions are known in the wine trade as appellations. Bordeaux is one of the most famous appellations in France; Barolo is an important one in Italy. In the United States, we call our appellations American Viticultural Areas or AVAs, and Napa Valley is probably the most recognized. The Russian River Valley is an AVA with a great reputation for Pinot Noir. The Columbia Valley, a region we have featured recently, is an incredibly large AVA that includes parts of Washington and Oregon. The smallest AVA in America is Cole Ranch, which is located in Mendocino County between the Russian River Valley and Anderson Valley. The entire region is just 189 acres—many Napa wineries own single vineyards many times that size—and only 55 of those acres are planted. The high altitude of the site ensures very cool night-time temperatures that are perfect for lively, refreshing Riesling.


This is the second wine we have released from sommelier-turned-winemaker Leo Hansen. Named one of The San Francisco Chronicle’s Winemakers to Watch in 2015, Leo has become well-known for the Chenin Blanc he produces under his Leo Steen label. Although Steen is the South African term for Chenin Blanc, this is by no means the only white grape variety he is adept at handling. One family owns the entire Cole Ranch AVA and it keeps most of the grapes for its own wines, but we are glad the family allowed Leo to purchase some Riesling grapes in 2018. This Riesling bottling is essentially dry, with just a kiss of sweetness to balance out the naturally intense acidity. The palate is full of mouth-watering flavors of key lime, green melon, and lemon verbena. Try this wine over the holidays with a pork loin with roasted apples or simply with boiled Dungeness Crab.

Foot of the Bed Cellars 2016 Sierra Foothills Merlot

Winemaker: Paul Manuel of  Chacewater Winery

Winemaker: Paul Manuel of Chacewater Winery

A Goldmine for Organic Merlot

Founded at the peak of California’s Gold Rush and located sixty miles northeast of Sacramento, Nevada City retains to this day the look and feel of a mountain mining town. The Manuel famly had been business owners here for decades prior to planting an organic vineyard after a devastating fire cleared a large portion of their property. After growing grapes for other wine producers for a number of years, it was time to try their hand at winemaking. After crafting their wine at a rented facility for a number of years, the Manuel family was able to purchase an olive mill from a local monastery that soon also served as their winery. The fruit from the Nevada City vineyard site arrives perfectly ripe after having spent the growing season basking in sunshine during the day and enjoying cool mountain air at night.  

We ARE Drinking Merlot!

It’s been exactly two years since our last Merlot release and we feel long overdue for enjoying a great bottle from this sometimes misunderstood grape. Its reputation has yet to recover from the 2004 movie Sideways, yet year in and year out it is responsible for some of the world’s most expensive wines, such as Chateau Petrus and Le Pin. Our current Merlot offering is approachable in price point while still exhibiting the soft structure and rich red fruit character that makes Merlot so easy to enjoy. The notes of purple plum and star anise are sure to warm you up on any chilly December night.

Martin Sheehan-Stross