fine Wine Source Wine Club
Cartlidge & Browne: In the late 1970’s, Tony Cartlidge sat in the cab of a cement mixer on a nuclear plant construction site reading about great California winemakers; shortly thereafter, he got into his 1960 Nash Rambler and headed to Napa. He checked into a Motel 6 and used the Yellow Pages hanging from a payphone in the lobby to cold call wineries looking for employment. He talked his way into a job as a tour guide for a winery and there also began to dabble in winemaking. Tony and his partner, Glen Browne, decided to break all the rules and embark on a winemaking enterprise with no experience, vineyards, or winery. In 1980 they settled into a facility in Napa that was little more than a garage. While Glen Browne handled the business end, Tony Cartlidge scoured the appellations of the North Coast in his Rambler. He brought the harvest of his labors back to the garage and it wasn’t soon after that critics began to talk about the balanced, varietally correct, complex wines; a style previously thought achievable only with estate-grown and bottled fruit. As Tony puts it “They were Hollywood, we were Independent Films.” The family-owned, Sonoma-based wine company Vintage Wine Estates, acquired Cartlidge & Browne in 2011, and set about to restore the iconic brand with a new package and aesthetic to bring the origin story to life. Today, the garage may be gone, but the spirit and vision lives on. Tony Cartlidge continues as spokesman and ambassador for the wines, which remain true to their original style.
About: California’s North Coast AVA is vast, covering more than 3 million acres (1.2 million hectares) of land to the north of San Francisco. “We get to pick and choose the best vineyards across California — some with lively acid, others that will lend a plush texture on the palate. From there, we ferment the grapes under strict temperature controls, age the wine, blend to taste, and age the wine some more until it’s integrated, aromatic and delightful on the palate. Ah Chardonnay…”
Varietals: 100% Chardonnay-10 months, medium toast French oak
Tasting Notes: Gold in the glass and roaring with aromatic passion fruit, guava and tangerine on the nose. Medium bodied with lively hints of cinnamon spice, and flavors of stone fruit (like warm, freshly baked peach cobbler) cruise into a lemon curd packed finish.
Food Pairings: Chardonnay is a “comfortable cruiser” when it comes to pairing with food — it will play nicely with a variety of foods. Enjoy it on its own or take it for a test drive with sautéed fish with lemon-butter sauce, roast chicken, or your go-to creamy pasta recipe.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Rich & opulent with a silky long finish. Best served with rich fish or poultry dishes.