The last 20 years of Whetstone would not have been possible without all of you. Many of you have been with us from day one, tracking us down in a vineyard, in our kitchen, or anywhere we could pop some bottles in the early years. Sharing a glass over stories, friendship, laughs or tears have been the greatest gift to us from you. Now for a trip down memory lane...
Charleston, South Carolina is a magical place; integral to me becoming me. Less James Dewitt Whetstone Jr., more Jamey Whetstone. One of the spots that indelibly imprinted the Low Country ideals of drink hard, play hard, work hard on my soul was Magnolias... Uptown Down South Southern Cuisine. (continue reading)
After spending two years at Mustards raking in $28K/year pre tax, I had two job offers to choose from: Front of House Tasting Room Manager for a handsome raise and solid hours or $10 bucks an hour driving a tractor and working in a wine cellar. Be very careful what you wish for... (continue reading)
I knew I wanted to quit my restaurant job the day I got to spend a few hours with Larry Turley, Ehren Jordan, Bob Nicolayson, and Thomas Brown up at a spot called the Whitney Tennessee Vineyard. Bright, cool, and windy day of pruning vines with the Turley crew in February 1998. Larry had his candy apple red Suburban backed up against the vineyard, cooler on the tailgate provisioned with pork chops, veggies, and a couple bottles of Alain Graillot Crozes Hermitage. (continue reading)
Larry is a fantastic listener. Not verbose. Poignant. Speaks in parables applicable to the sitch:
Larry: "Do we have to do this now?" deadpan, heavy air, eye contact. He's a very big dude, btw.
Me: "I would like to, yes."
Larry: "Ok. (loooong pause) Then I need your business plan. We'll go over it otgether, put some parameters in place, discuss it further, decide."
Me: "That's it?!"
Larry: "Get out." (continue reading)
This is the time where everything is under control and my morning treat of nature at its finest ensues. I haul ass on the 4-wheeler away from the vineyard up to a small rocky knoll, 3400 ft ASL, that looks due south down the Valley. Being July, the blanket of fog looks like a sea of cotton stretched all the way to San Pablo Bay. Pinheads of colored balloons magically pop through and above the white blanket of fog at Yountville, sun fully up and over the Stag's Leap district. Insane the simple pleasure of a vineyard. (continue reading)
The cellar is a refuge to realize your finest hour or as is the case sometimes, "WTF am I a gonna tell Michelle happened here?!" Personally I like a long cold belt of Anisette at Angèle prior to having that conversation. SO many things to expound upon but attention spans being what they are, I'll sign off for now. (continue reading)
You know, looking back at my journal entries from 2020 I am amazed at how many of us thrived through it all. I lost my Pop, Covid hit, fires... If frogs had started bouncing off my windshield I may've grabbed my longboard, jumped in the Pacific and headed for the horizon.
The 2020 Walala Vineyard Pinot Noir was spared the fires by luck of geography, high atop Annapolis, unscathed from the carnage all around it and below. The day I made the picking call I left our house in Napa around 4:30am and rolled into the vineyard around 10:00am after being rerouted due to fires. The entire journey out there was starless; solid dark brown rust in color, and thick with the smell of smoke. Orange tinted sky shone through only at the vineyard's elevation. I got tickled sampling that morning thinking on our good fortune and walked face first into a giant Orb spider's web eliciting a different octave from my throat than normal. Ahhh the romance of the wine industry...
Winemaker’s Tasting Notes:
Stainless steel fermented, aged 16 months sur lees in 35% new French oak. Voluminous nose full of rose petal, violets, orange pekoe tea, and crème brulee. Secondary aromas of chamomile and mint, with hints of cassis. Medium-bodied flavors of ripe raspberry, cherry cola, and boysenberry pie. Long finish with bright plum, baker's chocolate, and a hint of tobacco.
Jamey has some tricks up his sleeve and some new wines coming in 2023!
In the meantime, we are keeping in line with diving into Whetstone's past and are sharing the last few delicious cases of our beloved Syrah with you! Cellar aged for your drinking pleasure.
Winemaker’s Tasting Notes:
Stainless steel fermented, aged for 28 months sur lees in neutral French oak barrels. Freakishly expressive nose of white pepper and olive tapenade, massive amounts of cassis, and spicy bacon fat. Secondary aromas of violets, blackberry cobbler, and vanilla. Intense flavors of cassis, peppery bacon, and ripe plum. Finishes long with chalky tannins, baker's chocolate, tobacco, and lively acidity.