Here are 2 completely different wineries located in different corners of the globe yet both are family owned and embrace the craft of winemaking:
Better known for his passion and lifelong devotion to baseball as Hall of Fame pitcher and manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda is also a lifelong wine enthusiast. Growing up in a large Italian family, food and wine always took center stage. He and his 4 brothers opened a restaurant in Exton, Pennsylvania for over 30 years and to this day, family gatherings center around home cooked meals and wide selections of wines.
Lasorda was introduced to the art of winemaking long before he ever put on a baseball glove. His father, Sabatino was an Italian immigrant hailing from the small town of Tollo in Italy’s Abruzzo wine region. As a young boy, Tommy observed his father’s home winemaking hobby and helped to procure and press grapes before distributing the results to family, neighbors, and local card players.
Fast forward to his post MLB days, Lasorda established his own signature Lasorda Family Wines label embracing the best of California’s Central Coast with a collection focused on Chardonnay drawn from Monterey’s cool-climate appellation and Cabernet Sauvignon harvested from the rolling vineyards of Paso Robles. Their Monterey Chardonnay is fermented in neutral French oak exhibiting the grape’s characteristically crisp attributes like citrus and young peach across the palate. An intensely defined well balanced minerality ensures a refreshing finish.
Now in its seventh generation, Château Peyfaures’s Laurent Godeau right outside of Bordeaux France has handed off operations to the Moraes family who purchased the Chateau in 2017. Grapes truly take center stage here with sustainable organic practices in the vineyard, natural fermentation in the winery, and delicate oak aging to enhance rather than mask their grapes’ expressions.
Biodiversity is key as evidenced by the lush grasses encouraged to grow between their vines planted in gravelly sand and clay-limestone in eastern Entre-deux-Mer in Génissac just across the Dordogne river from Saint Emilion and Pomerol.
Château Peyfaures’s techniques still reflect winemaking before modern, large-scale production dwarfed craft traditions. Grapes are gently crushed in a traditional basket press accentuating aromatics avoiding harsher green notes. Spontaneous fermentation is encouraged utilizing natural, indigenous wild yeast sourced from the winery rather than formulated in a lab.
As their carefree Bordeaux Superieur 2015, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon demonstrates, there are no exact predetermined numbers or timetables for production. Nothing is rushed and each vineyard block is fermented and aged separately exhibiting optimal character before blending into a lush dark fruity tasting experience with layered complexity driven by refined tannins and definitive acidity.
Photos courtesy of Lasorda Family Wines and Chateau Peyfaures. Coverage made possible by participating in a sponsored tasting.