Mike Dunne at the Sacramento Bee drove out to the Dunnigan Hills to visit Matchbook Wine Company’s tasting room. Here’s what he had to say about it:
“Even as Road 92B rises and falls through the Dunnigan Hills in the Zamora area of northern Yolo County, California motorists can’t get far without coming across a winery tasting room.
The Giguieres have become recognized for their astute reading of the American wine consumer and their willingness to embrace risk. The formula paid off at R.H. Phillips and is paying off at Crew, now up to 100,000 cases of wine per year.”
Read on here…
Our 2012 Matchbook Old Head Chardonnay is included in Fred Tasker’s fun column on the origin of brand names:
reveal essences of
• 2012 Matchbook “Old Head” Chardonnay, Dunnigan Hills: lush and rich, with aromas of oak, caramel and golden delicious apples, creamy finish; $15. When John Giguiere was a kid in the 1950s, he says he was a confirmed pyromaniac who set his family’s wheat fields ablaze. Hence the name Matchbook. On the straight and narrow today, he uses the name “Old Head” to signal that largely avoids powerfully flavored new oak barrels to emphasize the fruit in the wine and not the oak.
IntoWine.com, a web site created to aggregate the collective knowledge and experience of the wine community on one site, recently caught up with Crew Wine Company founders, John and Lane Giguiere to discuss their venture into winemaking:
In 1983 you entered the wine business as founders of R.H. Phillips, grew that business into an empire with such noted brands as Toasted Head and EXP, went public in 1995 and eventually sold to Vincor International in 2000. On the surface it would seem you have nothing left to accomplish in the wine business. What are you doing differently with Crew Wine Company?
When we started R.H. Philips, some people in the wine industry were skeptical that quality grapes could be grown in the Dunnigan Hills. We not only proved that they could, we went on to prove that the appellation could produce premium quality wines at an affordable price. After we sold our company, we realized that there was so much more we wanted to do. We really wanted to raise the bar on quality both in the vineyard and at the winery and the sale offered us a “do over”. This time around, we put so much more into the vineyards from enhancing the soil profile, selecting better clones to plant, to improving the irrigation and trellising techniques. At the winery, we are always tweaking our blends and experimenting with new ways to improve quality. The economics haven’t changed, however; we still need to keep costs down to offer consumers a real value. It’s that tension of constantly striving to produce better wines while keeping costs in check that is the challenge, the game, the thing that drives us daily.
Read the entire interview here