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Wallis Estate

Edward Wallis
May 13, 2021 | Edward Wallis

Wines That Inspire

Time Posted: May 13, 2021 at 2:22 PM Permalink to Wines That Inspire Permalink
Edward Wallis
August 9, 2020 | Edward Wallis

The Platinum Parade

"The Platinum Parade
By Robert Whitley

July 7, 2020  

Over the 30 years I've been writing this column, I've easily sampled a couple hundred thousand wines — at least. At some point, you might think, the thrill of discovery would have worn off.

In reality, tasting great new wines never gets old. Neither does sharing those experiences, such as the two days of judging at the recent 17th annual Critics Challenge Wine & Spirits Competition in San Diego. My panel evaluated more than 250 young wines over two days, assigning a platinum, gold or silver award to wines of outstanding merit.

Platinum was the top award an individual judge could bestow. To earn platinum, a wine must achieve a score of 94 points on the infamous 100-point scale. Over the weekend at the Critics Challenge, I had the opportunity to taste dozens of truly exceptional wines, but only 15 of those rose to the level of platinum on my personal scorecard.

In sports terms, a platinum award to me is the equivalent of a grand slam in baseball. A platinum award should be rare or risk losing its meaning. Of course, during a competition judging, the wines are tasted "blind" to conceal the name of the producer, the vineyard and the price, factors that could produce bias. All we as Critics Challenge judges knew was the region of origin to provide context for stylistic differences.

Of course, after choosing a platinum winner blind, a judge is anxious to learn the wine's identity. For me, discovery is the great appeal of a wine competition. Over the course of my career, I've judged wine competitions the world over, from New Zealand to Italy to Belgium to Portugal to Slovakia to right here in the United States.

I am truly pleased this week to share my most recent wine competition discoveries with you, dear reader.

Tasting Notes

Wines are rated on a 100-point scale. Wines are chosen for review because they represent outstanding quality or value, and the scores are simply a measure of this reviewer's enthusiasm for the recommended wine.

Wallis Family Estate 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Diamond Mountain District ($100) — The Diamond Mountain District is one of the most coveted sites for cabernet in California. There is a reason for that, and it is in evidence here. This wine shows extraordinary depth and concentration, and is richly layered and complex, with aromas of blackberry, cassis and spice. The balance is exquisite and the finish dazzling and long. Rating: 97.

Wallis Family Estate 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Denali Estate Vineyard, St. Helena ($125) — The extraction and richness in Napa Valley cabernet is what made the valley famous, and this wine has both in spades. Brilliant aromas of blackberry and red currant combined with beautiful texture and balance make this a cabernet to savor now or lay down in a proper cellar for another five to 10 years. Rating: 95.

...... (Balance of article not relating to Wallis omitted)




Time Posted: Aug 9, 2020 at 9:29 AM Permalink to The Platinum Parade Permalink
Edward Wallis
October 15, 2019 | Edward Wallis

Wisdom of The Somms Article By Robert Whitley

Wisdom of the Somms
By Robert Whitley

October 8, 2019

"When the Sommelier Challenge was conceived in San Diego more than a dozen years ago, the profession was undergoing a renaissance. The image of a snobby sommelier full of condescension (never really an accurate portrayal) was melting away as a generation of young, eager wine professionals embraced the quest for advanced and master sommelier status.

What struck me as founder and director of the challenge was the remarkable thirst for knowledge exhibited by the first participants. Several wrote afterward thanking me for organizing such a splendid blind tasting.

Tasting blind, or unaware of the producer or price of the wine, is a useful tool in the ongoing education of sommeliers. The challenge allowed them to do just that with a broad cross-section of wines from around the globe.

It also levels the playing field for entrants. Wines are judged solely on the basis of quality, as opposed to reputation. The end result (and all of the results are available at demonstrates a number of truths that cut against conventional wisdom.

First, the idea that price is the final arbiter of quality is false. The Sommelier Challenge awards silver, gold and platinum medals, platinum being the highest rung on the ladder. At the 12th annual challenge, last month in San Diego, numerous platinum winners cost $100 or more retail. And there were a number of platinum wines below the $20 mark. Bottom line: It's what's in the glass that matters.

Second, there is no question superior terroir produces outstanding wines, but that doesn't mean Monterey and Temecula and France's less desirable regions, such as the Languedoc, can't produce wines on equal footing with those from Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Napa Valley. This week's tasting notes include a petite sirah from Temecula Valley and a syrah from Monterey that are world-class. Each earned a platinum at the challenge.

Finally, there is a lesson in all of this for the rest of us. Preconceived notions about wine often prevent us from experimenting with less renowned wines, depriving us of untold tasting experiences that could deliver untold pleasure. Sometimes it's good to sit back and let a passionate sommelier be your guide.

Tasting Notes

Wallis Family Estate 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon 'Seraphim,' Diamond Mountain District ($175) — This is the Wallis family's hotrod cabernet from Diamond Mountain, and it definitely has the horsepower for the role. Rich and dense, with impressive depth, this is a darkly fruited cabernet that has that rare combination of power and elegance. Notes of ripe cassis and black fruits dominate. There's a touch of wood spice and ample tannin for the long haul, though the wine drinks exceptionally well at this young stage. Rating: 97."


Time Posted: Oct 15, 2019 at 4:18 PM Permalink to Wisdom of The Somms Article By Robert Whitley Permalink
Edward Wallis
December 12, 2018 | Edward Wallis

TRB Cover of Wine Spectator November 2018

Time Posted: Dec 12, 2018 at 11:52 AM Permalink to TRB Cover of Wine Spectator November 2018 Permalink
Edward Wallis
November 10, 2017 | Edward Wallis

TRB and October 2017 Issue of Town and Country Magazine

Wallis Family Estate wines get a nice mention In the October 2017 issue of Town and Country Magazine about Thomas Rivers Brown.


Time Posted: Nov 10, 2017 at 10:29 AM Permalink to TRB and October 2017 Issue of Town and Country Magazine Permalink
Edward Wallis
November 10, 2017 | Edward Wallis

Vineyard to Bottle

Chris Girling from Cornell wrote an interesting piece on : "Conversion Factors: Vineyard to Bottle"



Time Posted: Nov 10, 2017 at 10:07 AM Permalink to Vineyard to Bottle Permalink
Edward Wallis
February 1, 2013 | Edward Wallis

Festivals and Competitions

We have been receiving positive press from Festivals and Competitions around the country.


First close to home we have the Winemaker Challenge which is an international wine competition held in San Diego on Jan 19th and 20th. This is the fourth annual competition where judges taste blind to see what wines in the new year have to offer. A gold medal is awarded to wines "that possess an added dimension or profound characteristics" by 2 out of 3 judges at a table. A silver is awarded to a wine "that exhibits above average character for the wine type and place of origin."

      2010 Cabernet Sauvignon received a GOLD medal
      2010 Little Sister received a SILVER medal


Next a little farther away in South Carolina we have the Hilton Head Food and Wine Festival which has been running for 28 years. This is a festival that benefits educational opportunities for students in the Hospitality program at the University of South Carolina Beaufort and supports a scholarship program through John T and Valerie Curry at the Technical College of the Lowcountry. This competition goes on the last week of January and Wallis Estate received some amazing positive comments from stranger and friends alike.

     2010 Little Sister received a Gold medal
     2010 Cabernet Sauvignon received a SILVER medal



We hope everyone that went to either of these events enjoyed themselves and if you ever want to share stories with us please feel free!

The Wallis Family

Time Posted: Feb 1, 2013 at 2:07 PM Permalink to Festivals and Competitions Permalink
Edward Wallis
January 29, 2013 | Edward Wallis

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Results

Exciting news! San Francisco Chronicle just put out their results for the 2013 competition.


Wallis Family Estate Cabernet Sauvignon received a SILVER medal and the Little sister received a BRONZE medal.

In more exciting news the Wine Enthusiast magazine also gave the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon a 91 for their upcoming issue.


We are very proud of our wine maker, Thomas Rivers Brown, and his amazing staff and are excited to bring this great wine to your table. Please contact us to start your order today.


--Wallis Family

Time Posted: Jan 29, 2013 at 2:24 PM Permalink to San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Results Permalink
Edward Wallis
December 20, 2012 | Edward Wallis

A history lesson of the Napa Valley

As I was stumbling around my emails today I found this very interesting article written by Tim Atkins giving a glimpse into the rich history of the Napa Valley winery world. He gives reference to how wine arrived in the valley and makes references to how it was sustained through the years as well as geological relations to France. Worth a read



Time Posted: Dec 20, 2012 at 9:40 AM Permalink to A history lesson of the Napa Valley Permalink

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