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Ep 279: Greg La Follette of Alquimista Cellars and pioneer of Sonoma, CA Pinot Noir

Wine for Normal People

Release Date: 06/03/2019

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Greg La Follette is known in the wine world as a founding father of California Pinot Noir. A former seminarian and biochemist with degrees in Plant Biology and Chemistry, he was an early AIDS researcher at the University of California San Francisco before earning his masters degree in Food Science and Technology at the University of California Davis.

Greg has worked for BV, started La Crema and Hartford Court for Jackson Family Wine (Kendall-Jackson), started Sonoma Pinot cult brand Flowers and his own brands LaFollette (which he sold) and now Alquimista. Greg has consulted all over the world – in northern California, Oregon, Europe, South America, and Australia. He is widely considered an expert on Pinot Noir.

 

Here are a few things we chatted about:

  1. Greg's early history, including his time with André Tchelistcheff, the father of American Viticulture (also mentioned in Ep 275: http://winefornormalpeople.libsyn.com/webpage/category/ep-275-lane-tanner-the-pinot-czarina-of-santa-barbara-county-california)
  2. The allure of Pinot Noir and the various styles Greg has made over the years -- from big and brawny at Flowers to elegant and earthy at Alquimista. Greg talks about winegrowing and the challenges of Pinot Noir (and why Chardonnay is important to grow as a sanity check!)
  3. The influence Burgundy has had on Greg's wine over the years
  4. The fascinating chronicles of working at La Crema, starting Flowers for someone else, starting and selling Tandem (now La Follette) and then departing to the best stop: Alquimista Cellars!
  5. We discuss Patrick Dillon, Greg's partner in Alquimista (and a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, writer, editor), and how their styles combine to make a style of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay you won't find elsewhere in California. 

Alquimista's wines are spectacular. Check them out!  

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