Monday, May 25, 2015

Rhythm of the Year.......

One of the best parts of growing wine is the rhythm of the year.  This weekend we have been working on Shoot Positioning.  This is working with the hand crew to remove lower leafs and expose the fruit zone to sun and better air flow. For the current vintage (2015) it helps cut down on mildew pressure (as an organic farm we do not use the harsher chemicals to keep out mildew so we work on more technique ) and toughen up skins.  For the 2016 vintage, the sun on the buds helps insure that we will have good fruit set.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tasting room is OPEN!

It is finally open! We are starting with Friday-Saturday-Sunday 12-6pm.

550 1st Street Avila Beach Ca. It is one block off the beach across from the Central Coast Aquarium.

It is $10 per a person for a tasting  (wine club members are free)

Wines by the glass and bottle too!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Tasting Room Update

Happy Holidays! This was our first Christmas with both kids being teenagers. I have to admit it was the best one in a few years. It was like hanging out with friends for a few hours each day (when they didn't have there heads into social media and computer games)

So the tasting room will be open in Late January. It is in Avila Beach one block from the Ocean across from the Aquarium. The address is 550 1st St Avila Beach, CA USA Earth.

We will start with just Saturday and Sunday and expand from there.

Below are some details of what we have been working on.....

Happy New Year!


Monday, November 24, 2014

Library Wine for lunch

One of our wonderful wine club members just ordered a few bottles of our older wines for Thanksgiving. 2005,2006,2007 Pinot Noir from the Aubaine vineyard to be precise.

For lunch I decided to open the 2006. Here are my notes:

Sandalwood, sage, cola, rose petal, mushroom, forest floor. Very complex and layered aromatics. Still sweet mid, lift of acid on finish. For the consumer who knows and drinks burgundy this wine still has 3-5 years left in it. For the consumer who values Pinot Noir for its youthful fruit and concentration this wine is towards its useful life.

For me, I love this wine in its current state. Very layered and a complexity that only comes from time and great vineyards. It paired well with my left over baked Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and sausage from dinner that Cheri cooked last night. Cheers!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Update Late Spring 2014

Hi Everyone- Sorry for the useless web site. This last year has been wild and we have not had time to get it updated on all our new goings on so I though I would just quickly update things here:

  • We bought the Bassi Ranch and Vineyard in early 2013. It is 112 total acres with 30 acres undervine. (mostly Pinot Noir with small amounts of Chardonnay, Syrah, Pinot Gris and Albarino) Starting with the 2013 Vintage we will be an Estate Winery. 
  • We still have small amounts of Talley-Rincon and Aubaine Pinot Noirs for sale but going forward we will only have wine from our Estate. 
  • Jean Weeks has taken over the wine club. If you want more info on our wine club or would like to buy wine please email her.
  • We are hoping to open a Sinor-LaVallee tasting room sometime this year. It will off of San Luis Bay Drive where Woodstone Market Place is. It is on the Bob jones Bike trial.
  • For any restaurants or wine shops our new distributer is Henry Wine Group in California.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Some Reviews of our Current releases…..

Got some love for new releases…

90 Points    2011 Pinot Noir San Luis Obispo

Good price for a Pinot Noir this elegant and delicious. Its dry                                                                                   and firm,with zesty acidity and some furry tannins. Flavors of                        raspberries,cola and buttered cinnamon toast lead to a                                         long,spicey finish. Decant it an hour or two before drinking.

92 Points    2010 Pinot Noir Talley-Rincon Arroyo Grande
Editors Selection

This Pinot is so fabulous, its easy to fall in love with. It comes
As no surprise that this wine hails from the wonderful
Talley-Rincon vineyard. Light and silky,its bright in citrusy acids.
Dry on the palate, but with juicy raspberry and cherry flavors,
and hints of mineral, spice and smokey oak for complexity.
What a nice wine.

92 Points   2010 Pinot Noir Aubaine Vineyard
Cellar Selection

Hits the ground running with wonderful flavors of raspberries,
cherries, red licorice and toasty oak, ancohored by coffee and
mushroom notes. The acidity is mouthwatering and the
texture is silky and clean. Should easily develop over the next
six years, but its delicious now as well.

Scores by Steve Heimoff of Wine Enthusiast


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Hi Everyone- Just want to wish you a Happy Holidays!


Mike and Cheri

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hot Tub Time Machine Syrah

Every vintage we do something different in our winemaking. Its part of a philosophy of getting better (I seem to remember the 5 min manager book about "keeping the saw sharp") Sometimes they are ideas that I have leaned in my travels to other wineries during the year (new cooperage,delayed ml) . Other times its something I learned from other winemakers. This year one of our experiments has been 6 years in the waiting……..

Flash back to a tech tour at Tolosa Winery I was there with a group of other winemakers taking a tour of some local cellars to share winemaking ideas when I spotted an old lonely looking oak fermenter in the corner covered by a tarp. I asked my friend the winemaker there Ed Filice what it was. "That was my uncle Carmen's, he re-coopered a redwood hot tub form the 70's into a fermenter. His wines really were good". His bosses wanted it (and any of its microbiological funk) out of the cellar. So I offered to hold it for him, I love that type of funky old school winemaking stuff.  Well it took me a few years of storing it in my cellar until I found time that it would take to get it back in food grade condition. (and when I say "time" it really means I finally hired an intern to work for us for this vintage). Teddy the intern went to work on cleaning it up and getting it ready for wine. It took about 3 weeks of cleaning and soaking in every chemical known to a winery. I even bought a new product from Italy that was designed to help bring back old oak.  Well we ended up fermenting some Syrah from the Bassi Ranch in it for this vintage and it ROCKS!

Next time you in the cellar with us remind us to taste you our our Hot Tub Time Machine Syrah......

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Child Labor tradition

Summer means the long family tradition of Child Labor.....Tomas backing Wine Club shipments.

Friday, June 01, 2012

A nice piece on us in Lifestyle Magazine in Visalia Ca

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Love this guy

Of all the things I read, this blog is the first....wish he would come to our part of Earth.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Quote of the Day

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Friday, June 24, 2011

Great review of New Sauv Blanc


Mike Sinor & Cheri Sinor


The scoop:

Aromatic with grapefruit,Meyer lemon,slate and lime notes & it's got a bracing acidity! The capper? It's $18 a bottle! Buy from

It's International Sauvignon Blanc Day! June 24,2011 is designated as raise your glass to grass day. Okay, we like to play along with days set aside to pop open a bottle and cheer the variety. Wine Region News is all about a well thought out party. Honetly though we were already onboard long ago and June 24 is just another fabulous Friday with a nice glass of Sav Blanc.

Here's our recommendation - and we're making it knowing full well there are at least 15 producers from around here that we buy,drink and serve to our friends and colleagues - it's the Valor 2010 Sauvignon Blanc. Valor is the new second lable from Sinor-LaVallee. It's exciting that Mike & Cheri decided to play around with some of the wonderful vineyards and varieties they have access to here on the Central Coast. We can blow through Sinor-LaVallee Pinot Noirs in an amazingly scary rate in this household. So, with some additional varietals in the case room, maybe we can be distracted for awhile

Okay - enough about us - here's the deal. I think the grapes may come off a vineyard in Squire Canyon just around the corner from our house. Believe me the chilly ocean climate (it's the Pacific people, wear a wetsuit when you come visit us. It's cold not like Florida) is good for producing acidity in the grapes. This wine is very refreshing. We're already thinking of the food that will shine under the light of this wine!

-Lynn Diehl

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Valor Wines

1) Noun. Boldness or determination in facing great danger, especially in battle; heroic courage;
2) Le Valor - French for “the Value”
3) “VAL” from LaVallee and “OR” from Sinor

Valor was born back in 2006 when Cheri and I jumped off the end and went self-employed. It was recommended to us by those with more business experience to have a parent company and have Sinor-LaVallee be a DBA under that company. To that advice Cheri came up with Valor and it is perfect. Having a second label will allow us to play around with different grapes and sources and not have the Sinor-LaVallee label get distractive. For those that have been with is for some time may remember very small amounts of Petite Syrah and Zin that we have done with Valor some vintages ago. Rumor has it that some of these sold out wines may get shared with members of our wine club. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 28, 2011

More great reviews from WOPN 2011

The Team from Vino La Vagas all ways does a great job covering events....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Villa Creek's Blog

The boys over at Villa Creek in Paso had some great things to say about the wines we make in this weeks blog. Thanks Chris and Eric!

If your in town for Hospice Du Rhone
or any other reason be sure to stop by the restaurant, it is some of the best in not just the central coast but the state.


Villa Creek Restaurant
1144 Pine Street
Paso Robles, CA 93446
Phone: (805) 238-3000
Fax: (805) 238-5439

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Grape Nutz Visit

Thanks Eric for taking time to hang out and see what we have going on....cheers!

Thursday - February 24, 2011


Tasting Notes: Current & Future Releases

Valor 2010 Sauvignon Blanc – Central Coast. Tank sample. From a vineyard near Avila Beach. Nose of light citrusy aromas with a racy background note. Nice acid balance in mouthfeel, very nice lime zest flavor, with a slight saline quality to the long finish.

Effort 2008 Chardonnay – Estate, Edna Valley. Fermented in stainless, then coopered in neutral oak. Nicely ripened almost sweet fruit in the nose, with slightly waxy texture and good concentration of fruit and balance.

Center of Effort 2008 Chardonnay – Estate, Edna Valley. Same vineyard source as above, but all barrel fermented and coopered with 80% new oak. Light pineapple and tropical aromas; seems to wear the oak well, with nice crispness and flavors of lemon and lime.

Sinor-Lavelle 2008 Pinot Noir – San Luis Obispo Co. From a blend of vineyard sources. Lots of rose petal and cinnamon in the nose. Nice cherry fruit, the 1/3 whole cluster fermentation is more apparent in mouthfeel, raising the complexity from mid to latter palate.

Sinor-Lavelle 2008 Pinot Noir – Talley-Rincon Vnyd, Arroyo Grande Valley. From a 14 row block of Clone 2A (Wadenswil selection). Meaty nose of dark cherry and forest floor. Excellent balance and flavors, nicely understated in mouthfeel, you get the feeling that something more is hiding in the background, waiting to emerge. Quite “Burgundian” in its unsweetened flavors, with a nice soft fade on the long finish.

Sinor-Lavelle 2008 Pinot Noir – Aubaine Vnyd, San Luis Obispo Co. From a vineyard near Nipomo, which at 800’ elevation, has a direct view of the Pacific Ocean. Mike says the fruit here looks like a small cluster of blueberries. The nose is loaded with bing and dark cherry fruit, with a talc or chalky note. More jammy than expected in mouthfeel, with very good balance and a long fruit-filled finish.

Sinor-Lavelle 2008 Pinot Noir Anniversary Cuvee – San Luis Obispo Co.. This is 100% whole cluster fermented, and essentially a ‘best barrel’ blend of his fruit sources. But, but slightly reticent dark cherry nose, with only a slight perception of whole cluster aroma. Chewy mouthfeel with lots of cherry fruit, very good blance, and long finish.

Sinor-Lavelle 2008 Syrah – Luna Matta Vnyd, Paso Robles Clone 174. Big, but decidedly not ponderous in the nose, with lots of black fruit, and some tarry notes. Very nice balance of fruit and acid, slightly peppery quality to the dark fruit, and nice long smooth and tannic finish.

Effort 2008 Pinot Noir – Estate, Edna Valley. Interesting spicy and smoky quality in the nose. Dark spices compliment the dark cherry fruit, with good balance throughout and long finish.

Center of Effort 2008 Pinot Noir – Estate, Edna Valley. Lush and spicy in the nose, with a firm grip on the palate, and even more spicy fruit in the mouthfeel.

Michael and Tim came by to pick me up, and we left about 6:45am for Edna Valley. After slugging through the usual L.A. Freeway choke spots on the I-405, plus a few on the 101, we finally arrived a little after 11am for our appointment at Sinor-Lavallee. Rain was threatening the next few days, but today was nice and sunny.

Mike Sinor has been around the Central Coast wine scene for some time now, working at Corbett Canyon, Chamisal Vineyards, assistant winemaker at Byron, and winemaker at Domaine Alfred. Rather than formal wine training at Cal Poly SLO, Mike was more interested in becoming a shop teacher. Interestingly, after he was bitten by the wine bug, these skills at welding and fabricating undoubtedly made him a potentially valuable asset to any winery.

I first met Mike on a visit to Domaine Alfred in 2003. Bob Summers and I were wandering around looking for then owner, Terry Speizer, to show us the vineyard and winemaking operation. With the tasting room locked and nobody in sight, we wandered around to the back of the building. As DA’s winemaker, Mike was on the crush pad with a couple of assistants working hard at cleaning out manual presses from the recent crush, since the Europress was down and they were waiting for a serviceman to show.

I ran into Mike again a year or two later at the World of Pinot Noir festival, where he had become one of the directors. By that time, he had left Domaine Alfred to devote full time to his own fledging label, Sinor-Lavelle as well as consult on a few other projects.

Mike greeted us out front of the former Corbett Canyon facility. After describing the aspect and growing conditions of Edna Valley, he led into and around the large winery, explaining its recent history. In 2010, Corbett Canyon, owned by The Wine Group, moved its production to a larger facility, selling the vineyard and winery to Rob Rossi, a local businessman and co-owner of Ancient Peaks Winery, and Bill Swanson, CEO & Chairman of Raytheon. Nathan Carlson (Tolousa), left EOS winery in Paso Robles to become general manager here. Renaming the vineyard, Center of Effort, the facility now produces wines under the Center of Effort and Effort labels, as well as Ancient Peaks – all made by Mike Sinor. The winery is also home to Sinor-Lavelle and several other smaller labels (including, Giornata, Broadside, Drake) which are produced on the premises under an alternating proprietorship.

The Sinor-Lavelle label began in 1997, combining Mike’s last name and his wife’s maiden name. Natural growth has taken the production up to 400 cases, and Mike is happy with keeping this volume - at least for the time being. Active involvement with so many project seems to merely stoke his fires. I guess you could say that working hard is what Mike does. Animated and energetic, he seems indefatigable as he explains what he does and how he does it. “I’ll make 40 different wines, but the consumer will only see 4 of those,” he said, describing the various lots and barrels he labors on that will ultimately go into the bottle. Well, he did want to work hard!

Mike and I had talked about grabbing lunch, so with the clock ticking, we headed the short distance into San Luis Obispo to Meze Cafe and Market, in SLO's Railroad Square. Terrific menu here, with tapas and lots of other options.

We brought along a couple of the wines Mike opened, and everything was absolutely delicious. I had lentil soup with bacon, and amozzarella sandwich with roasted red pepper and balsamic dressing with rocket. (As an aside, whose bright idea was it to rename arguala, and call it rocket?) It would have been enough for us to just hang out there, but sadly, we had another wine stop to make before sundown.

Ancient Peaks

Tasting Notes: Current Releases

Ancient Peaks 2010 Rose of Pinot Noir – Margarita Vineyard, Paso Robles. Quite fruity in the nose, with a blood orange quality throughout. Tasty in mouthfeel, good balance with a relatively short finish. 100 cases.

Ancient Peaks 2010 Blanco – Margarita Vineyard, Paso Robles. A blend of Chard, Pinot Grigio, and Sauv Blanc, with nice perfumey nose, and a refreshing lightly crisp mouthfeel and moderate finish. 100 cases.

Ancient Peaks 2010 Sauvignon Blanc – Margarita Vineyard, Paso Robles. The nose is loaded with clover, boxwood and copious amounts of cat pee. Very tasty, with surprisingly little of the aromas penetrating the flavor level. Nice crispness, balance and finish.

Ancient Peaks 2009 Merlot – Margarita Vineyard, Paso Robles. Nice, almost lush nose of plum and cinnamon. Nice fruit, moderately tannic in mouthfeel, with good balance and finish.

Ancient Peaks 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon – Margarita Vineyard, Paso Robles. Nice cassis and dark fruit in the nose. Very much a Paso Cab in ripeness, though not overtly so. Tasty, with good fruit, balance and finish.

Ancient Peaks 2008 Zinfandel – Margarita Vineyard, Paso Robles. Spicy ripe boysenberry fruit, with a hint of pepper. Nicely ripened Zin-berry flavors, with a dollop of spice, and long finish.

Ancient Peaks 2008 Syrah – Margarita Vineyard, Paso Robles. Nice Northern Rhone qualities of sage, spice and black fruit. Very nice ripeness and balance, and tasty long finish.

Ancient Peaks 2008 Malbec – Margarita Vineyard, Paso Robles. Nose of boysenberry fruit pie, with mocha cream on top. Good flavors on the palate, and despite the creaminess in the nose, there is more complexity in the mouthfeel.

Ancient Peaks 2008 Petit Verdot – Margarita Vineyard, Paso Robles. Nose of fresh blueberries. Lots of fruit layers on the otherwise tannic mouthfeel, good balance and finish.

Ancient Peaks 20108 Petite Sirah – Margarita Vineyard, Paso Robles. Nose of dark fruit, with hint of iodine and minerals. Big mouthfeel, with ripe if largely undefinable flavors…to me. Good balance and long finish.

Ancient Peaks 2008 Oyster Ridge – Margarita Vineyard, Paso Robles. 46% Cab, 24% Petite Sirah, 15% Merlot, and 15% Petit Verdot. Interesting blend that works quite well. Nice dark fruit aromas, with a touch of mocha. Smooth mouthfeel, with nice fruit-filled flavors and smooth long finish.

Since Mike is the director of winemaking for the Ancient Peaks label, he volunteered to lead us up to Santa Margarita, a small town just north of SLO near the top of the Cuesta Grade. First stop, the Ancient Peaks tasting room on Hwy 58, and then we were off to “5-mile,” a jumping-off point for a Jeep ride through the vineyards. The tasting room is replete with ancient oyster shells and soil samples. Mike led us through the wines, while he and Karl Wittstrom, one of the partners in the operation, told us about the interesting history of the ranch.

Sort of a hybrid of the cooler Edna Valley to the south and warmer climate of Paso Robles to the north, the nearly 14,000 acre Santa Margarita Ranch is bordered on three sides by the Santa Lucia Mountains, and is the southernmost vineyard in the Paso Robles appellation.

The ranch was bought in 1999 by a group that includes Rob Rossi, a local developer known for his interest in preserving the natural landscape of the Central Coast. Cattle-ranching is the ranch’s primary occupation. However, in an effort to defray part of the purchase price and retain the working-ranch heritage of the property, the group leased 1,000 acres of rolling hills to Robert Mondavi Winery in 2000.

Grapes are not new to the ranch, the area having been first planted by Franciscan missionaries in 1774. Mondavi proceeded to plant 966 acres for inclusion in its RM Private Selection label. However, when Constellation Brands purchased the Mondavi Corporation in 2004, they weren’t at all interested in keeping the Margarita Vineyard. So, Santa Margarita Ranch took back the vineyards and land. Now, Santa Margarita Ranch, LLC, was in the wine growing business – and soon thereafter, the wine-making business. Enter Mike Sinor, in the Spring of 2006, who became director of winemaking for Ancient Peaks.

There are now sixteen different varieties planted on a complex palette of soil formations. Margarita Ranch has five distinct geologic areas: ancient seabed, sedimentary, shale, volcanic, and granite. There are also literally tons of oyster shells poking their heads out of the ground in several areas, especially a block known as Oyster Ridge.

Ancient Peaks has been getting some good scores and very good press of late. Most of these accolades have been for wines which over-perform at their price points, and are frequently cited as a "Best Value" for a particular varietal. While these wines all have good structure, they generally don't appear hugely fruit-forward or smoothed out (some would say 'smacked') with oak. That being said, their top wine, the Oyster Ridge is, at $50, quite Napa-esque in both its structure and mouthfeel. A winery to watch, especially as the vines mature.

Tasting and tour of the ranch completed, we’d managed to monopolize Mike’s entire afternoon – in addition to our own, of course. After the Jeep ride, Mike brought us back to the tasting room about 4pm – not enough time to visit another winery. BUT, according to my watch it was already Beer O’Clock, so there was still enough time to grab a pint at Dunbar Brewery, conveniently located right next door to the tasting room.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sacramento Bee

March 9, 2011
Enotria wine dinner coming March 31

By Chris Macias

On the heels of today's Wine Buzz column, which introduced Jeremiah Morehouse as the new wine director for Enotria Restaurant Wine Bar (1431 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento; 916-922-6792), here's some info. about where you can see Morehouse in action. On March 31, Enotria will host a wine dinner featuring Sinor-LaVallee and Ancient Peaks, two family-owned producers from the central coast. Dinner, with wine pairings, will unfold over four courses and cost $68 per person.

Here's the menu:

First Course

Sous-vide Halibut, wilted pea tendrils, fried basil, guava nectar beurre blanc
Ancient Peaks 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Paso Robles

Second Course

Spiced Butternut Squash and Rhubarb Soup, vanilla bean crème fraiche, cranberry walnut crouton
Sinor-LaVallee 2008 Pinot Noir, SLO County

Third Course

Crisp Pan Seared Duck Breast purple viking potatoes, sautéed chanterelles, oyster and hedgehog mushrooms black currant balsamic gastrique
Sinor-LaVallee 2008 Pinot Noir, Aubaine Vineyard, SLO County

Fourth Course

Chocolate Custard Tartlet with Strawberry Cinnamon Gelato almond hazelnut cookie crust, zinfandel syrup
Ancient Peaks 2008 Zinfandel, Paso Robles

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to seeing how Morehouse shapes Enotria's wine list, especially following his recent four-month jaunt to Italy and France's wine country. I'd first met Morehouse about a year ago, and was always impressed with his amiability and deep knowledge of wine despite being only his mid-20s. Morehouse encourages fellow wine lovers to drop him a line at

Read more:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Nice piece on our area....

Nice story from Chasing Clean Air Blog.

Thanks Donna for including us.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Open House

2008 Vintage
Pre-Release Tasting

Saturday and Sunday September 18-19th 2010
11am - 4pm Saturday
11am- 3pm Sunday
2195 Corbett Canyon Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93420, Earth

SLO Winemakers' Studio

The Event

You are invited to the annual tasting of the new vintage of Sinor-LaVallee wines. Since we do not have
a tasting room, this is a rare chance to taste and purchase the wines we made for the current vintage and
to enjoy discounted pricing good only this weekend. Our friend, Chef Kim Fredrick, will be making
delicious light appetizers. We do not charge for this event.

About Vintage 2008

Early season was very wet and cold for 2008. The next hallmark of the vintage was a bit of a heat spike
in June that brought on an early harvest. Harvest started with quite a bang on August 16th at our Talley-
Rincon block of Pinot Noir we had a lightning bolt hit the ground just over the hill from our pick and
we all could feel the blast. The local paper said there were 3 fires started by lighting that day and 2,500
lighting strikes in the sky!
Overall the resulting wines from 2008 are very exciting and we look forward to sharing them with you.

Please email Mike Weeks which day you'll be attending and how many are in your party.

Mike and Cheri

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Kathys Pic of the Week

Sinor-LaVallee 2007 Pinot Noir Anniversary Cuvee

This deep, layered Pinot is ripe, rich, full-bodied, and perfectly balanced. An array of blackberries, earthy plums, and exotic spice aromas and flavors made it a standout for me. Made in celebration of winemaker Mike Sinor and his wife Cheri LaVallee’s 1996 marriage in Burgundy, it’s great for your any celebration. Quite wonderful on its own but this special Pinot was meant to enhance great meals. Try it with grilled ahi with ginger/black bean sauce, filet mignon with mushrooms, or pork tenderloin with pomegranate sauce. Highly limited but it’s still available, only through Sinor’s website at

-Kathy Marcks Hardesty

Saturday, July 10, 2010

07 Mano Tinta Release Party

Sinor-LaVallee fortunately could finally donate wine for this wonderful project.

This release party is always a good time....a great wine for a great cause.

July 17 - from 11am-2pm at Talley Vineyards. Please join us in celebrating the release of our 2007 Mano Tinta Red Wine which benefits The Fund for Vineyard and Farm Workers. Mano Tinta ("Red Hand" in Spanish) was chosen to signify the pride and commitment of vineyard and farm workers. This charitable wine is produced from grapes and packaging donated by local vintners and international companies so that 100% of the profits can be donated to The Fund. This year's robust red wine blend is absolutely delicious and consists of 50% Malbec, 40% Syrah & 10% Petite Sirah. Tickets for the event are $10, this entitles you to a lunch plate of tacos al pastor, a taste of our new 2007 Mano Tinta red wine, and a discounted tasting of Bishop's Peak and Talley Vineyards wines. Tickets are limited and available for purchase now in the Talley tasting room.

Please contact Belinda at or call (805) 489-0446 ext 20 for more details.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Its a Small World......

My friend Shelby Ledgerwood CWE ran into our barrels being made in France. Click the link to see her note....


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Nice post on the 07 Syrah

by Ben Weinburg, Unfined and Unfiltered

"Try Sinor La Vallee's Syrah Luna Matta hailing from San Luis Obispo, full of graphite, black and red licorice, black plums and dark red cherry fruit. There's even a hint of tangerine peel on the weighty finish."

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Brooks in Ventura

Big shout out to Chef Andy at Brooks in Ventura. I stopped by last week on my way back from the LA wine fest. Had the Foie Gras Ginger Poststickers with Thai red curry sauce and a sweet soy glaze. Great food and a world class wine sure not to miss this place.



Wednesday, June 09, 2010

New York City?

Thanks to our new distributer in New York you can find us in the big apple.

Prime Steak House all ready has it on the wine list.....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quote of the Day

When the Soul is present Nature is alive....Thomas Moore

Thursday, April 01, 2010


Sorry I dont Update this as I used to. Hit me up on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

2010 World of Pinot Review

Randy Caparoso has a great review of the World of Pinot 2010. Hit the link below...


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

2007 Syrah Luna Matta Vineyard

Wine Enthusiast 90 Points

"An interesting and very delicious Syrah that shows what Paso can do when it really tries. It's soft in acids, but rich and firm in tannins,offering ripe layers of blackberries,chocolate,violets,anise,ceder and tons of black pepper. Fine now, and should develop over the next 3-4 years."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I love Auto Parts!

Just got back form a two day trip to Napa Valley. I love giving Napa a hard time about "Auto parts" only because I am jealous of all the great things they have to offer up there. Don't get me wrong, there is no way I could live or make wine there but it is a great place to visit. It reminded me of the early years when Cheri and I would go to Napa in January and try to go during a mid week storm. It would take a lot to get me on HWY 29 in the summer time. Here are the high lights:

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The PinotFile's review of our 2007's

Sinor-LaVallee Wines: For Hedonists Only

The husband and wife team of Mike Sinor and Cheri LaVallee Sinor founded Sinor-LaVallee Wine Company in Arroyo Grande in 1997. Mike and Cheri met as students at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1993 where they had “Chemistry.” They were married in 1996 in the town of Beaune, in the heart of Burgundy. Both have a colorful background in the wine industry.

Mike’s history is intimately tied to the Edna Valley region of California. His first job in the wine business was at Corbett Canyon Vineyards in 1991. Many of you will remember those Corbett Canyon commercials featuring the echo of “canyon, canyon, canyon.” Corbett Canyon was one of the first wineries in Edna Valley, founded in 1978, but has changed ownership several times through the years. Today, it is owned by Rob Rossi, and is a custom crush facility (SLO Winemaker’s Studio) where Sinor now produces his Sinor-LaVallee wines.

Back in 1991, Mike was just trying to earn some money to pay for college, but this job quickly led to a passion for wine. After finishing his studies at Cal Poly in 1994, he took a harvest position at Byron Vineyard and Winery in Santa Maria. Soon he had a permanent cellar position, advanced to enologist, and then became assistant winemaker at Byron working under noted Central Coast vintner Ken Brown. During his time at Byron, Mike traveled to Burgundy and the Rhone Valley to study winemaking. Mike left Byron after the harvest of 2000 to become the winemaker at Domaine Alfred Winery in San Luis Obispo at the site of Chamisal Vineyard.

Chamisal Vineyard was first planted in 1972 by Norman Goss who built a small winery on the property in 1980. Alfred “Terry” Speizer, who sold Electec, his Silicon Valley semiconductor company, bought the dormant 131- acre Chamisal Vineyard property in 1994 and revived the declining vineyard and winery. The Domaine Alfred label was launched in 1998. Mike directed the vineyard operations, instituted biodynamic farming, and crafted wines that brought the winery considerable national acclaim, particularly for Pinot Noir. Domaine Alfred was sold in 2008 to Napa-based Crimson Wine Group, owners of Pine Ridge in Napa and Archery Summit in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

In 2006, Mike resigned from Domaine Alfred to focus on Sinor-LaVallee Wines. He continues to be much in demand as a winery consultant and started a second brand, Ancient Peaks Winery, where he is in charge of winemaking. Those of you who attend the annual World of Pinot Noir in Shell Beach, California, have probably seen Mike running around directing the show. He is one of the founding board members for the World of Pinot Noir and served as Board President for the 2005 event.

Cheri’s introduction to wine also grew out of a need to pay for college. In the summer of 1991, she worked for a trucking company that transported wine grapes from various vineyards to E.&J. Gallo Winery. She studied Agricultural Business at Cal Poly, but wasn’t really bitten by the “wine bug” until she met Mike. After graduating from Cal Poly in 1994, Cheri worked as the manager of the Corbett Canyon Vineyards tasting room. Later she became the Executive Director of the Central Coast Wine Growers’ Association (CCWGA), a non profit association of growers and wineries. She left in 2001 to manage the growing Sinor household of two young children.

The inspiration for Sinor-LaVallee wines is the Burgundy model: finding specific rows of vineyards with world class terroir near where you live, contract for those rows, and make the best wine you can. Mike produces mainly Pinot Noir along with small amounts of Syrah, Pinot Gris, and Vin Gris of Pinot Noir sourced from vineyards in Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley, Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo. The main vineyards, Talley-Rincon, Aubaine, Corbett, and Margarita, are all within a bicycle ride from where he lives. Total production is about 500 cases annually.

The Sinor-LaVallee label features all the thumbprints of the family members. On the front label, Mike’s on the right and Cheri’s on the left. Tomas and Esmée are on the back label.

The title of this feature, “For Hedonists Only,” is an apropos description of the style of wines that Mike produces. They are bold expressions of Pinot Noir, packed with pure fruit pleasure, decadent and macho, yet suave. They are wines that say, “ooh la la” on the palate.

Mike likes to do something distinctive at each harvest. Sometimes it is a different hair cut (for example, a Mohawk), or a different beard. His music of choice at harvest is the Gregorian chant. The Gregorian chant is said to increase beta wave activity in the brain. Beta waves, or beta rhythm, are associated with active, busy, or anxious thinking and active concentration: very appropriate for winemaking. Whatever Mike did for the 2007 harvest, it was magical for he crafted a very impressive lineup of flamboyant Pinot Noirs that will find plenty of fans.

2007 Sinor-LaVallee San Luis Obispo County Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 104 cases, $29. An appellation blend of several vineyards. · Deep purple color in the glass. Terrific perfume of black cherries, raspberries, graham, cardamon spice and wet earth. Luscious dark berry fruit packed with flavor. Smooth, deft touch of oak, and admirable harmony. Very approachable. I would be happy drinking this daily. Think Sinor-LaVallee Pinot Noir in a skirt.

2007 Sinor-LaVallee Talley-Rincon Vineyard Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 48 cases, $40. Sinor has a one acre block of Talley-Rincon Vineyard consisting of 14 rows planted to clone 2A. Yields were .73 tons per acre. · Dark purple robe in the glass. Shy aromas of dark stone fruits and subtle spice and toast. The nose improves in the glass over time. Tasty core of black cherry fruit. Fresh and clean with moderate tannins and aromatic persistence on the finish. Will get better with cellaring but very enticing now. Very good.

2007 Sinor-LaVallee Anniversary Cuvée Central Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 47 cases, $50. This wine celebrates Mike and Cheri’s marriage in Burgundy in 1996. It is vinified in the old style of Pinot Noir using 100% whole cluster. The combination of Talley-Rincon and Aubaine fruit is fermented entirely on stems, using indigenous yeast and natural MLF. Not produced in all vintages, it is often referred to as the “wild child” in the Pinot lineup. · Deep, dark purple color in the glass. An “Oh my God” kind of nose featuring blackberries, plums, forest floor, spice, a hint of oak, and a floral note. A peacock tail of black berry fruits unfurls on the palate, saturating the taste buds but retaining a velvety touch. Juicy and exotic with moderate tannins and perfect harmony. This is what drives Pinot Geeks to throw all caution to the wind to find that one great sensual experience. Crazy good.

2007 Sinor-LaVallee Luna Matta Vineyard Paso Robles Syrah

14.9% alc., 74 cases, $25. Sourced from a one acre block planted to Syrah clone 174. I tasted this wine with the lineup of Pinot Noirs which is very unfair. Its like driving an Aston Martin and them switching to a Hummer. That said, this is a very exemplary Syrah. · Purple fruits with hints of tobacco, oak and alcohol on the nose. The plum-driven flavors are accented by brown spice. Rich and velvety in texture, with healthy tannins. Decent (+).

Sinor-LaVallee wines are sold primarily through a mailing list at with some retail distribution. Tasting is by appointment (805-801-2502).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

World of Pinot Noir 2010

Pinot Noir alert: Buy WOPN tickets now!


I’ve just received a very real indicator that the economy is improving: The fabulous World of Pinot Noir (WOPN), an annual two-day wine celebration in Shell Beach, is selling out fast. And this event doesn’t take place until the first weekend of March 2010. This time these wine zealots will raise a hearty toast to their 10th anniversary of bringing Pinot Noir enthusiasts from around the world together on the Central Coast. The extravaganza packs one amazing educational experience about Pinot Noir into two fun-filled days that you’ll hope never end.
The events, all of which can be purchased à la carte, include informative and engaging seminars; two days of grand tastings with a roster of unique wineries that specialize in Pinot Noir; three Pinot Noir-focused dinners with renowned chefs from the Central Coast and Hawaii; a rare Burgundy tasting with Domaine Fourrier of Gevrey-Chambertin; and the grand final party that takes place at Au Bon Climat with a Santa Barbara-style Paulee dinner. Besides the events taking place in Shell Beach, seminars are hosted by Pinot Noir producers throughout the South Central Coast, assisted by a panel of sommeliers from the best restaurants in the country. It’s the premise of the movie Sideways come to life, and if you’re not obsessed by Pinot Noir yet, attend any session of this monumental event and you’ll soon be joining the rest of us in the cult.
“Unlike last year, we’re filling up fast, and many events are close to sold out,” reported Felicia Montemayor, event coordinator for WOPN. “But there are still tickets available for most events, and they make a great Christmas present. We can have the tickets back to you in one day with a confirmation letter, or we can provide a handwritten card with the recipient’s name on it.”
The most difficult decision for me was over the Friday night dinners. One features chef Budi Kazali of the Ballard Inn, this year’s winner of “Ultimate Central Coast Chef” contest in CCM. I was among the judges in the contest and have always been a strong advocate of this talented chef. At Lido in Dolphin Bay Resort, Kazali will prepare his French-Asian cuisine to pair with white and red Pinots. At the Cliffs Resort, chef Roy Yamaguchi, known worldwide for his fusion cuisine at Roy’s of Hawaii, will also prepare a multi-course meal to complement white and red Pinots. Yamaguchi opened his first restaurant in Hawaii in 1988, and now has 33 Roy’s worldwide. I’ve had his amazing foods many times and dine in his restaurants whenever I’m fortunate enough to be near one. I’m excited about seeing this great chef here to participate in WOPN.
The winery seminars take place on Friday with a choice of two; again, good luck trying to decide which one to attend. Seminar Combination A, held at the Cliffs Resort, features a 10-year retrospective of the renowned Williams-Selyem library Pinot Noirs, lunch by Marisol chef Gregg Wangard, and an afternoon tasting with Maximilian Riedel where participants walk away with a set of crystal Pinot Noir glasses worth almost as much as the admission price. Seminar Combination B, held at the new Foxen Winery in Santa Maria Valley, offers a vineyard examination of the Santa Lucia Highlands Pisoni Vineyard by a panel of esteemed winemakers who make Pinot Noir with grapes purchased from Pisoni, including Gary Pisoni, James Hall of Patz & Hall Wines, Gary Franscioni of Roar Wines, Adam Lee of Siduri Wines, Jeff Fink of Tantara Wines, and Rob Jensen of Testarossa Winery. Lunch will be prepared by New West Catering with barrel tasting of Pinot Noirs in new and neutral oak barrels by each of the participating wineries.

The Friday and Saturday Pinot by the Sea Grand Tastings take place in the afternoon at the Cliffs with 100 different Pinot Noir specialists each day. Gourmet appetizers will be prepared by the Cliffs’ team of talented chefs. The Cheese Shop of Carmel and Santa Barbara will be slicing up their outstanding array of artisan cheeses. And there will be a silent auction of collectible Pinot Noirs in varied-size bottles, including double magnums.

Saturday morning, seats are still available at the Iron Sommelier seminar and tasting at Lido in Dolphin Bay Resort, although the Domaine Fourrier seminar is sold out. I’ve attended the Iron Sommelier since it started and always find it rewarding. No matter how much you already know about Pinot, you’ll experience some delicious taste combinations and learn something new. You’ll walk away better informed about choosing wines with your meals whether at home or in restaurants; I certainly have. The Paulee dinner at Au Bon Climat presents extraordinary food and wine, but this event is not for the shy at heart.
“If you’re not familiar with the Paulee dinner, it’s a walk-around wine tasting and dining that’s unlike anything you’ve experienced before,” Montemayor explained. It’s not a sit-down, formal dinner, but it features chef Budi Kazali of the Ballard Inn and many other excellent chefs, cooking at stations set up around the winery. Guests walk up to the chefs to get a dish of food from each one. “This event is for the adventuresome Pinotphile. Everyone brings one or two magnums of Pinot Noir to share, and you walk around the winery tasting the Pinots among winemakers and sommeliers. It’s a two-day event crammed into three hours, and we’re here to have fun!”
Bus transportation is available for all events held outside the Cliffs and Dolphin Bay resorts, but you must reserve early to guarantee your seat. And at this event there’s so much wine to taste you won’t want to drive anywhere afterward without a designated driver. Ticket prices are per person: Dinners are $195, seminars are $185and the grand tastings are $95. For details and tickets visit or call Felicia Montemayor at 489-1758. Although this tasting is for the serious “Pinotphile,” at these prices, the winemakers and consumers who regularly partake in the experience at WOPN wouldn’t dream of missing it.

You can reach New Times’ Cuisine columnist at

Friday, October 16, 2009

Harvest Celebration and Open house

Come taste Sinor-LaVallee wines in the building where it all began a long, long time ago…..Mike and Cheri are renting space to make their wine in the building that was Corbett Canyon Winery where they both got there first jobs in the wine business. Also on display will be local artist’s Ben Thompson, Eric Weathery and Jason Haase with their Mosaic’s and Tubular Tikis’s. Light snacks provided by Harry and David’s .

Date: November 8th 2009

Time: 11am to 5 pm

Location: Sinor-LaVallee Winery
2195 Corbett Canyon Road. Arroyo Grande 93420(the old Corbett Canyon Winery building)..yes that Canyon,Canyon,Canyon....

Cost: $6.00 per person or Free with purchase of SLO Vintners Harvest Celebration ticket.




More questions?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Quote of the Day

I carry on mental dialogues with the shoots of the grapevine,who reveal to me grand thoughts, and to whom I can retell wonderous things.

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pinot Noir Harvest Shirt from

Pinot Noir Harvest Shirt from

Shared via AddThis

Be the first to own our 2009 Crush Shirt!!!

Here is a code to get $10 off the shirt:


until end of Sept!!!!

Nice ink for "Ground to Glass" Movie

Buy this movie. Tell a friend. Drink Pinot Noir.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Valley Trends Article

Good Juice

by JR Guerra

This month, we will focus on a winemaker that now hails from Paso Robles. Mike Sinor, a graduate of Mt. Whitney High School, is a winemaker working in Paso Robles. Mike’s introduction to the wine business came in 1991 when he went to work for Corbett Canyon Vineyards. Although it started out innocently enough as a fun job to pay for college, Mike was soon bitten by the “wine bug”. While working at Corbett Canyon, he also began working at six local Edna Valley area wineries doing anything and everything while gleaning every bit of information he could. For the 1993 vintage, Mike took the Fall quarter off from school to work and live full-time at Saucelito Canyon Winery. After finishing Cal Poly in 1994, Mike took a harvest position with Robert Mondavi owned Byron Vineyard and Winery in Santa Maria. The harvest position turned into a permanent cellar position, then Enologist, then Assistant Winemaker to Byron Ken Brown. During his stint at Byron, Mike had the good fortune to make two trips to France to study extensively the vineyards and wineries of Burgundy. Mike left Byron after the harvest of 2000 to become the winemaker for Domaine Alfred Winery in San Luis Obispo for the opportunity to be part of an exciting new brand as well as to be closer to his growing family in Arroyo Grande. In addition to his duties as winemaker, Mike supervised the vineyard operations and was in charge of the Biodyanamic aspects of farming the ranch. Mike is also one of the founding board members for the World of Pinot Noir event held each year in March and served as Board President for the 2005 event. Mike Sinor is recognized as one of the Central Coast’s highest-rated winemakers (96 points - Wine Spectator; 95 points – Connoisseur’s Guide; 92 points – Wine Advocate; 92 points – Wine Enthusiast). His winemaking career on the Central Coast spans more than 15 years. Currently, at Ancient Peaks Winery, Mike oversees all winemaking operations and directs the quality and style of the wines. His first complete vintage with Ancient Peaks, the 2006 vintage, yielded an abundance of accolades, including a rating of 93points by the Wine Spectator for the 2006 Zinfandel.
Mike was so kind as to make time to sit down with me and answer a few questions.

What is the first “great” bottle of wine you tasted? Your epiphany?

My epiphany wine was not so much about a bottle of wine but what I was going to do for the rest of my life. After a long day of crushing grapes I was by myself drinking a 1989 Zinfandel from Saucelito Canyon winery swinging in a hammock over looking that very vineyard (planted in 1880) when I said “yep, this is what I will do for the rest of my life….”

What is the best beer to drink during crush season?

Firestone. Think globally, drink locally.

Do you feel more like a farmer or a rockstar?

A Farmer who has the good fortune to do professionally what a lot of people do for a hobby.

How did you get into wine?

I needed money to pay for college.

How competitive is the winemaking business?

To this day, that’s one of the best parts of the Biz is that my closest friends are also my biggest competitors. At the vineyard and cellar level we share everything. I taste with other local winemakers (who make the same wines from the same locations at sometimes the same price point) at least once a month.
But when you’re out selling, that’s a different story……..

Is winemaking everything you hoped it would be and more?


What’s your personal style when it comes to making wine?

Make good everyday decisions based on experience and intuition and pick great vineyards to work with.

What other winemaking regions have you explored, if any? What areas would you like to explore/learn more about?

Four trips to France, one to Italy. Did a harvest on the West Coast of Australia. 4 Trips to Oregon. Would love to get to New Zealand soon. My philosophy is not to copy what I see rather be inspired by what I see/ experience and bring it home to adapt it to my location.

Tell us a little about the vineyards you source grapes from and what you love about them?

My two favorites are Talley-Rincon and Margarita. With Talley-Rincon we get just one acre of Pinot Noir for our Sinor-LaVallee brand every year. The challenge there is we get one shot. From picking time, yeast and barrel selection, it is an education on a single Terroir. The Margarita is just the opposite but just as fun to work with. The Margarita Ranch is 12,000 acres with 900 planted to vines at 3 separate places. It has many different hill sides and soil types to work with. Being the southernmost vineyard in the Paso AVA temperature wise it is one of the coolest vineyards in the AVA producing vivid intense fruit without as much alcohol.

It’s not very often we see a 93 point wine that retails for less than $18/bottle. Wine Spectator gave the 2006 Ancient Peaks Zinfandel this score and voted it “Best Value Wine of 2008″. What did this do for Ancient Peaks and what will great press like this ultimately lead to?

That was amazing! No doubt it was a great way to launch a new brand. The exposure has been great. Sunset Magazine also rated us the “Steal of the year”. The combination of the two has helped get the name out to not just the hard core wine drinkers but everyday wine consumers too. As far as the future we have not changed course much. We have not doubled the price or become a “Zin House”. We will continue to make the same good decisions day to day that we did before “the score”.

The 2006 “Oyster Ridge” is, simply put, hedonistic. What is it about this wine that you love the most and what food should it be paired with?

The best part about that wine is how it was created. During harvest I picked a few rows of almost every varietal that Ancient Peaks farms. Then I put it through the small lot “cool guy” wine making techniques that I have built over my career, small open top fermenters, native yeast, hand punch down, top end French oak etc. When blending time came we went through as series of blind tastings and blends to eliminate egos and components. We were hoping for a traditional Bordeaux blend but that ultimately did not make the best wine. And that’s what Oyster Ridge is all about, it’s about being the best not just using what you hope or think is the best lots. Food wise, Roasted leg of Lamb crusted with Rosemary and served with Garlic Mash potatoes might hit the spot.

Cheers, and happy sipping.
JR Guerra- owner of The Cellar Door. Visalia Ca.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Some nice press on WOPN and Sinor-LaVallee

2006 Sinor-La Vallee Talley-Rincon Vineyard Pinot Noir (Arroyo Grande Valley)

Deep, smoky, aggressive style, punctuated by luscious, bright, intense red berry fruitiness, folded into a medium body fleshed out by snappy acidity and moderate yet sinewy tannin.

-Randy Caparoso

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Giuseppes Restaurant-Pismo

Just wanted to post that I had a great meal last night at Giuseppes in Pismo. It was the Grilled Prawns wraped in Procuitto, one of the nights specials. Love this place....

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Petit Soleil in San Luis Obispo

Great people, Great location. A good friend of mine whom I recommended to stay here can't stop talking about the wonderful time him and his wife had at John and Dianne's, B&B Petit Soleil.

They are working with our Syrah this month.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Check these photos out!

Chris Leschinsky's the name, rocking photo's is the game.....Check out the one with the Ocean in the back ground...


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Wine Region News

Man it is tough to see yourself on the screen.....

If you have not heard this is the place on the web to find out the local food and wine happenings.

Thanks again Lynn...

Some local Press....

Posted on Sun, Mar. 29, 2009

The Grapevine: SLO County pinots for every budget

by Laurie Daniel

Plenty of local wines were on display at the recent World of Pinot Noir. The majority were from the Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande Valley, areas that may not have quite the broad recognition of Santa Barbara County or the Russian River Valley but have still developed a reputation for their excellent pinots. A smattering were from other parts of the county, including spots that are outside any recognized appellation.
One such spot is Aubaine Vineyard, which is just four miles from the Pacific. Both Stephen Ross Wine Cellars and Sinor-LaVallee produce pinot bottlings from Aubaine. The 2006 Stephen Ross Aubaine Vineyard Pinot Noir ($50) offers pretty, ripe cherry and crushed strawberry flavors, while the 2006 Sinor LaVallee Aubaine Vineyard Pinot Noir ($40) is more structured.
Stephen Ross, which opened its tasting room in San Luis Obispo late last summer, produces a variety of pinots. The 2007 Stephen Ross Stone Corral Vineyard Pinot Noir ($50) from Edna Valley is dark, aromatic and a bit floral, with cherry and black raspberry wrapped around a firm core. The 2007 Stephen Ross Edna Valley Pinot Noir ($30) is a very pretty wine, with plenty of juicy fruit, while the 2007 Stephen Ross Central Coast Pinot Noir ($24) is a good buy that’s more muscular.
Mike Sinor also makes a pinot from Arroyo Grande Valley for Sinor-LaVallee: The 2006 Sinor-LaVallee Talley Rincon Pinot Noir ($40) displays ripe cherry and spice with a supple texture. Talley Vineyards’ own 2006 Rosemary’s Vineyard Pinot Noir ($70) is structured and concentrated, with ample fruit and supple texture; the less expensive 2006 Talley Estate Pinot Noir ($36) is also excellent but with a little less complexity.
Laetitia is the other big pinot player in Arroyo Grande. Its Estate Pinot Noir ($20) is always a good buy, but its higher-end cuvees were being poured at the event. The 2006 Laetitia Reserve Pinot Noir ($40) is a lovely wine, with ripe fruit, good depth and a smooth finish wrapped around firm structure.
A number of wines from Edna Valley were available for tasting. Baileyana was pouring a couple of small-production special bottlings — the ripe, plush 2007 La Entrada Pinot Noir ($32) and the spicier, more structured 2006 S-Bar Pinot Noir ($40)—but the currently available 2006 Grand Firepeak Cuvee Pinot Noir ($38) is also a good bet, with its bright raspberry and rhubarb flavors and firm structure. The 2007 Claiborne & Churchill Edna Valley Pinot Noir ($26) is a pretty wine, with ripe cherry and a slight leafy note, and the 2006 Kynsi Edna Valley Pinot Noir ($32) is ripe and supple, with strawberry and vanilla notes. Summerland Winery poured a very attractive 2007 Wolff Vineyard Pinot Noir ($45) from Jean-Pierre Wolff’s Edna Valley property; the wine is ripe, spicy and juicy, with firm tannins.
And if all these wines are a little too pricey for your budget, it’s hard to go wrong with the bright, lively 2007 Edna Valley Vineyard Pinot Noir ($18). It doesn’t have the weight and complexity of many of the others, but it’s a very good buy in pinot.

E-mail Laurie Daniel at

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hollywood meets the Vine…

Come join “Red Wine” Carpet on Friday March 27th

The Event:

An in store tasting and screening for the movie we are in called “From Ground to Glass”
Here is the low down on the movie:

“No Grapes, no barrels and no money-just a dream to make a little wine. That’s all Rob Dafoe had on his side with harvest just around the corner. But with the help of a few friends, the improbable happened. Follow this novice vintner in his pre “Sideways” quest to take his first wine from ground to glass, seeking inspiration and insight from renowned winemakers along the way. This is a story about transformation, not only of grapes, but of those who make them into wine”

Featured winemakers: Paul Draper, Matt Ortman, Warren Winiarski, Jim Clendenen, Shane Kline and a whole cast of others including some kid from Visalia…….

Director Rob DaFoe, Matt Ortman and Shayne Cline will also be there pouring there wines and other winemakers may join, but herding winemakers is a lot like herding cats.

The movie recently received a four star rating and two thumbs up from Mike’s Mom.


The world famous wine shop in Templeton California, 15 Degrees C. Our friends Ali and Allison own and run the shop and are some of the most knowledgeable people we know about the world of wine.
805-434-1554 for reservations and questions

Time and Money:

6 pm and $25 at the door. For that you will get a complete tasting from all the winemakers in attendance, artisan cheeses and meat platters and a chance to rub elbows with some of Hollywood’s finest. (Smell that? that’s sarcasm)

Prizes! :

Anyone who buys a bottle of Sinor-LaVallee wine that night will be put in a drawing to win a limited production Magnum of one of our wines. (Due to the Federalizes you will need to buy it for $.25 cents)

Be there or be square……

Monday, March 09, 2009

World of Pinot Noir 2009

WOW what a year!!!!!!

Thank you to all the people who made the 2009 World of Pinot Noir a rocking success.



Chairman of the Board 2009
World of Pinot Noir

Friday, February 06, 2009

Sinor-LaVallee on CBS local news

Tune in at 5pm this Sunday on KCOY- CBS Channel 12.

I was interviewed by Lynn Diehl a few weeks back and the rumer is they may show me riding my skateboard....scary

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kathy's Pick!

Email me or to buy some......


Sinor LaVallee 2005 Pinot Noir Anniversary Cuvee Arroyo Grande Valley

Winemaker Mike Sinor makes this special blend to commemorate his marriage to Cheri LaVallee Sinor in Beaune, the heart of Burgundy in France. The Pinot Noirs, grown in Talley and Aubaine vineyards, create an intense and impressive wine, the darkest and spiciest of his three proprietary Pinots. It’s layered with flavors of blackberries, black cherries, and plums, nuanced with impressive notes of blueberries and tart Bing cherries. This deep and flavorful wine lingers with a long spicy finish. Well balanced and drinkable now, it will become greater with time in the bottle. So buy two and hide one in the back of your cellar. Let it age five or more years and it will be a treat when you rediscover it. An excellent value at $45 retail, it’s only available online at

Ancient Peaks 2007 Sauvignon Blanc Paso RoblesAncient Peaks 2007 Sauvignon Blanc Paso Robles

Besides his limited-production wines, winemaker Mike Sinor also makes this value-priced line of good quality wines. Bright and lively, this white offers tasty green-apple and melon flavors highlighted with herb and Meyer-lemon notes. Flavorful and food-friendly it’s a good deal at $12 retail. Pair this with roasted poultry, curried Asian dishes, or chilaquiles (that aren’t too spicy-hot). It’s available at Ancient Peak’s tasting room in Santa Margarita and in local wine stores.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

La Maison Gourmet

Cool wine and cheese shop down in Mission Viejo. They do fun tastings over looking the lake. They are very knowledgeable about wine not to mention there amazing ability to pick out great wines to carry :)

27772 Vista del Lago, Ste B-15
Mission Viejo CA 92692
Phone: 949-916-4810

Friday, January 16, 2009

Casanova in Carmel

Wow! What a great place. Check out the web site and the picture of the hand dug wine cellar straight out of France. Amazing food! Ask for Wine Directer Kris or Sommelier Adam guys.

5th Street between Mission and San Carlos
Carmel, CA 93921
Phone: (831) 625-0501
Fax: (831) 625-9799

Friday, December 19, 2008

Great Christmas Gift!

The long awaited DVD release is finally here! This is a great movie and I am not just saying that because I am in it. Rob Defoe the directer has put his heart and soul in this project. It shows.

Buy it locally here:

Check out the press here:

Learn more about it here:

Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 13, 2008


Person-day measures of land

Units representing the amount of land that could be cultivated in 1 day by hand, that is, without horse, oxen, or mules. Such units are often specific to a particular type of agricultural land.

For example, in France one Ouvrée is 20 square rods of vinyard.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Kathy's Pick !

Food & Wine CuisineKathy's Pick

Sinor-LaVallee 2006 Pinot Noir Aubaine Vineyard Arroyo Grande Valley



During the holidays, I love bringing special bottles of Central Coast wines up from my cellar to share with my guests. And this winery is always among those I like showing off. This complex wine offers a mouthful of ripe black fruit and wild berry notes, highlighted with spice, earth, leather, and smoke. I find Pinot Noir the most versatile red for the table and a great choice for special meals, be it roast turkey, salmon, seared ahi, or prime rib. The quality/value ratio makes this a great buy, even at $40 retail. But do let me know if you find a French Burgundy nearly as good at the same price. Just about to be released into the local market, typically found at Monterey St. Wine Co. and 15 Degrees C wine shops, this wine can be ordered early at

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sounds good to me...

The discovery of a wine is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation. The universe is too full of stars.

Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pinot on the River

Click through to the link below for discounted tickets for this not to be missed tasting...

Last pick of 2008 Pinot Noir is tommorow!!!!!



Friday, October 03, 2008

New Times

Sinor-LaVallee 2006 Pinot Noir Talley Vineyards


Winemaker Mike Sinor makes three excellent Pinot Noirs, which are just being released in wine shops. According to Sinor: “The 2006 Pinot Noirs are more European in style.” I favor the elegant Talley Rincon, which opens with forward fruit flavors of Bing cherry, fresh blackberries, and ripe plums, beautifully layered with notes of minerals, earthy mushrooms, and allspice. It’s young yet already quite enjoyable on its own, but I suggest saving it for your holiday dinner parties to impress your guests. Pinot Noir is the most versatile of all red wines at the table so it’s a great choice for goose, prime rib, turkey, or rack of lamb. There’s no doubt in the quality per price ratio, this collectible wine is a good buy at $40, compared to its peers at this level.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

San Luis Obispo Tribune

San Luis Obispo Tribune Friday, Sep. 26, 2008

Wine Notes: Light harvest follows hard season
Spring frost caused what’s called ‘shatter,’ when grape flowers fail to pollinate

by Janis Switzer

Now that we’re about a month into the 2008 wine grape harvest, you’ll hear two words often mentioned by just about every grower in San Luis Obispo County: “light” to describe the yield, and “shatter” to explain why.
“There’s not a lot of fruit hanging out there,” says Lisa Pretty of Pretty- Smith Vineyards in Paso Robles, “but what is there is looking really good.”
In San Luis Obispo County, projections on yield are similar to Northern California. Some growers are experiencing yields that are off as much as 40 percent for some varieties — cabernet sauvignon, merlot and other red varietals have been affected the most. Other varietals, such as chardonnay, seem hardly to be affected at all. And across the county and across most vineyards, berry size and clusters are small.

The main reason behind the lower yields and the smaller berries is a condition called “shatter.” It’s what happens to a grapevine when certain weather conditions, such as cold and wind, cause the grapevine flowers not to pollinate, and thus not to become berries, or “shot berries” in grape-growing vernacular. In some cases, very small berries and small clusters result.
This year shatter was triggered by a record-breaking spring frost that occurred the third week of April. Temperatures dropped into the mid-teens overnight for five days, and stayed below freezing from many hours. Winds were also heavy during that period, only exacerbating the condition.
When freezing temperatures happen during the winter during plant dormancy, no damage occurs. But this year the frost came just as the vines were putting forth flowering buds. Certain varieties, including cabernet sauvignon, merlot, Grenache and malbec, are more susceptible to shatter, and in many cases vineyards with those varieties lost more than 40 percent of their crop.

John Richardson, a member of the Independent Grape Growers of Paso Robles, reports his vineyard is almost 50 percent behind last year. Pretty says her vineyard is down about a quarter, mostly because of her cabernet losses. And Mike Sinor of Sinor-LaVallee says his Paso Robles vineyard is down by at least 20 percent, while his pinot noir vineyard in the South County is about the same as last year, thanks both to warmer spring temperatures there, along with pinot noir’s resistance to shatter.

Don Ackerman of Meridian in Paso Robles reports his yields have been “modest,” but thanks to some smart thinking and investing ahead of time, shatter didn’t affect him. “It didn’t really hurt our yields too badly because we can frost protect nearly all of our acreage.”
There is a silver lining behind the short crops across the state. “The glut of ’05 has really worked its way through the system and we’re now on the other side of the coin,” Sinor explains. Stacie Jacob, director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance says, “Long term, this year puts supply and demand back into balance.” She further says that with a leaning towards demand, the market “should encourage earlier contracts between wineries and growers for 2009.”

The other good news to the 2008 vintage is going to be quality. “I’m very, very happy with what I’ve seen so far,” Sinor says of the quality of his fruit. Ackerman says, “it looks to be an overall great quality year.” And the combination of low volume and high quality works well for increased grape prices on the open market—where extra fruit is virtually impossible to come by this year, and where growers are finally moving prices up from the last three years of oversupply.
“Overall I think it’s going to be a good year for anyone with a vineyard,” Pretty concludes.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Gliding through a memory of a time yet to come...

One of my all time favorite Beastie Boys lyrics that remind me of harvest time and thinking ahead to the finished wines ……Weather in the Edna and Arroyo Grande Valleys has been picture perfect. I harvested my second pick of Talley-Rincon yesterday in fog was so thick that I could not see the other side of my one acre block.
Also early in the week I pressed off my fist pick of Rincon Pinot. I cannot remember the last time I had pressed off a tank before anything else was harvested. How cool would that be if was always like this?
Stopped by yesterday to bring beer to Steve Dooley ( at his new winery. As his cellar crew was weighting out Zin from Dusi, I gave him a hand hanging new refrigeration coils. Once again the romance of the business includes hammers, cheater bars, and one old school drill press that took a bite out of Steve’s hand.
So…where in the hell are all the other guys that said they were going to post to this thing?
Sinor out.