Top Terroir: Elaine And Scott Harris' Producer Picks

On Top Terroir, we ask a different wine expert who his or her favorite wine producers currently are. We can't promise they'll be in your local wine store, but we will tell you where to look for them online. This week, Elaine and Scott Harris, certified sommeliers and founders of VinoLasVegas, share their picks:


Producer: Ampelos Cellars

Location: Sta. Rita Hills, California, USA

Why? Owners Peter and Rebecca Work believe that great wines are made in the vineyard. Their wines are organic, sustainable and biodynamic and have earned the very difficult SIP (Sustainability in Practice) certification. The Sta Rita Hills has a unique east–west orientation that allows the maritime influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean to settle into the vineyards, and makes it an ideal AVA to produce world class Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. The Rho Pinot Noir, Sta Rita Hills, Ampelos Vineyard 2006 is a classic example of this very special area. It has a nose of cherry and spices that goes on to a palate of dark berries and cherries and just a hint of smoke and spice for a smooth long finish.


Producer: Margerum Wine Company

Location: Santa Barbara County, California, USA

Why? In 2001, Winemaker Doug Margerum started Margerum Wine Company producing small lots of Santa Barbara County Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Gris. He as has always been committed to creating handcrafted wines using the highest quality grapes that are indicative of the terroir where they are grown. Margerum Rhone Blend M5, Santa Ynez Valley 2007 is a blend of  48% Syrah, 31% Grenache, 10% Mouvedre  2% Counoise and 2% Cinsault. Also included is 6% Genesis of M5 (a co-fermentation of everything but Syrah). This very special blend shows off his craft and  is affordable and pleasing to the palate.


Producer: Okanagan Estate and Vineyards

Location: Oroville, Washington, USA

Why? Located just five miles south of the Canadian/US border, the Okanogan Valley is well known for its Reisling, Gewurztraminer and of course Ice Wines. Under the direction of winemaker Mike Buckmiller, this small family owned estate produces Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir and of course Ice wines. Ice wines can be found in most cold climate areas all over the world and are known to be pricey. The Okanogan Riesling Ice Wine  Orchard Hill Vineyard 2006 is a very sweet dessert wine. This Ice wine is pretty complex with flavors of mango, peach and other tropical fruits that end in a long finish. Only 83 cases of this particular vintage were produced, and like most Ice wines, is a great finish to a meal or just for dessert.