Terra Firma Wine Company has been the proud distributor for Rosenthal Wine Merchant in northern California since 2003.
Our relationship with Neal and Kerry and their team has deepened in nature and grown steadily in scope over the years, owing in no small part to the support we have received from Ben Andersen, RWM’s west coast regional manager since 2008.
Rosenthal’s objective was, “from the outset… to work as directly as possible with growers who were dedicated to producing limited quantities of the finest quality wines and who shared the RWM passion for ‘terroir’. The wines are selected for concentration, purity of flavors, and clarity of expression… (and are) produced in as natural a manner as possible, (as) we believe strongly in sustainable and organic agriculture. Our selections have a striking balance between finesse and power which results in exceedingly age worthy wines.”
The book includes over 100 different growers —“from almost every viticultural area of France… from Piedmont, Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardy and the Valle d’Aosta in Italy… from the high mountain area of the Valais district of Switzerland… (to) a unique Cava from Catalonia.”
We began working with the folks at Terra Savia in early 2010, when we met winemaker Jim Milone, a fourth-generation Hopland winemaker. Jim’s philosophy of winemaking was a perfect fit – “to create wines that are true extensions of the grape, vineyard and terroir… planting the right varieties in the right locations is first and foremost. Nurture the grapes organically … put more effort in the vineyard and minimize treatment in the cellar; winemaking starts when you lay down the first compost in the fall…” The winery and vineyards are located in the Sanel Valley, in Mendocino County. Organically farmed and estate-grown, Terra Savia produces about 6,000 cases a year between their Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.
We’ve had the privilege to represent Chris Berg’s Oregon Pinot Noirs since 2012. This small winery in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA produce about 3,800 cases annually – several vineyard specific Roots Estates labels, and the Klee wines. Again we were drawn to Chris and his wife Hilary’s dedication to terroir… “it’s the earth, the dirt — as well geography and climate — that are expressed in our wines. We practice only sustainable methods in the vineyard and minimal intervention in the winery, using native fermentations to achieve wines of finesse and complexity.” www.rootswine.com
We added the Willful wines to our portfolio in early 2016. Pam Walden started in the wine business in 2000 with her then partner and husband Aron Hess. After they divorced in 2009, she took over the winemaking and created Willful Wines starting with the 2011 vintage. Carefully managed Oregon grapes are fermented using native, ‘wild” yeasts, making for a more a more complex wine and producing the greatest expression of the terroir, and ultimately creating a Pinot Noir that is elegant, nuanced and cellar-worthy. We also carry a second line from Willful – Jezebel Blanc and Jezebel Pinot Noir, two approachable, fruit-forward wines perfect for everyday drinking. www.willfulwine.com
Lauren Eisold and Adam Smith are partners in winemaking and life. Lauren studied viticulture and enology in Weinsberg, Germany and then went on to work in the vineyards of Europe, South Africa, California, and Oregon. It was here she met Adam Smith who was, at the time, working for Shea Vineyard.Mentored by the winemaking team at Domaine Serene, Smith took his craft with him as hewent on to produce wines with Craggy Range in New Zealand and Bethel Heights in Oregon. Today, Lauren is a leading viticulturist and spends her days farming and developing premium vineyards around the Willamette Valley. Adam focuses on Eisold-Smith Wines full time as winemaker, sales manager and cat-herder. They craft classic, sensual Pinot Noir & Chardonnay from the Willamette Valley, as well as vibrant, blissful red wines from the Gold Country soils Adam hails from. Eisold-Smith Wines are produced in a humble facility in the majestic coastal foothills of the McMinnville AVA. We began featuring their wines in mid-2016. www.eisoldsmith.com
The small but mighty Matzinger Davies Wine Company was established in 2006, producing wines with a resonant voice speaking to their geographic origin, varietal typicity and season. Anna Matzinger is wine maker and co-general manager for Archery Summit, a premier producer of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Michael Davies, a New Zealander by birth (and inclination) is the winemaker for both REXHILL Vineyards and A to Z Wineworks. He has held this position since 2006 and brings to it his unique form of intensity, precision and sincerity. Prior to that he managed the vineyards and assisted in winemaking for five years at Chehalem winery after completing a post graduate diploma from Lincoln University and gaining experience through numerous vintages in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres. After many years honing their craft as winemakers along separate trajectories, it’s exciting to see them come together and collaborate on this endeavor of their own. Referred to us by our dear friends Sam Tannahill and Cheryl Francis of REXHILL and A to Z, we have brought a tiny amount of their wines into Northern California in 2017… because there isn’t much of it and others keep snapping it up! www.matzingerdavies.com
Cote West, a 2017 addition to the Terra Firma catalog, is dedicated to highlighting the unique characteristics of noteworthy California vineyards – through minimal intervention and a nod to Burgundian tradition. Bret is the co-founder and winemaker. Growing up in Carmel Valley he developed an early appreciation for the natural beauty of the California landscape. He received a Masters degree in Viticulture & Enology from UC Davis and got his hands dirty interning at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa and Domaine des Comtes Lafon in Meursault Burgundy. Upon returning from France, he set out to combine that tradition-steeped approach with his training at Davis in order to create Old World-style yet undeniably Californian wines. Bret’s favorite pairing is Côte West Chardonnay with crab cakes. His wife Kerrie is the co-founder and wears many hats as la femme d’affaires. She loves Côte West Pinot Noir with boeuf bourguignon. www.cotewestwine.com
Beekeeper Cellars, also a 2017 addition to the Terra Firma catalog, is the vision of best friends and co-winemakers Ian Blackburn and Clay Mauritson (a 7th generation grape grower!). The two collaborated after adventurous individual careers in the wine business, and at last, decided to work together on a project of their own. Beekeeper started with a simple vow: “craft beautiful vineyard expressions from premier vineyard sites, and reintroduce the quality wine audience to Zinfandel.” Their wines are crafted with all the attention to detail of an ultra premium Cabernet; premier vineyards, low yields, careful hand selection of fruit, artisan winemaking, quality focused, not quantity and the expensive use of time in quality French Oak barrels. All of this meticulous attention is focused upon Zinfandel sourced from premier vineyard sites in Sonoma and Napa, such as Rockpile AVA and Howell Mountain. www.beekeepercellars.com