California Wine country is filled with a lot of people like Mark Tarlov. He's a former Hollywood producer who's spent millions making the wine of his dreams, overpaying for real estate, hiring a high-profile wine consultant and pricing his top offerings in the triple-digit range.
But Tarlov's winery, Evening Land, isn't a movie-mogul vanity project. For one thing, the company doesn't make cult Cabernet, the wine that exmovie moguls tend to fetishize. Instead, Tarlov's boutique winery is a trans-Atlantic operation with a hyper-specific mission: to showcase Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Burgundy, Oregon and coastal California. Under the guidance of legendary Burgundy winemaker Dominique Lafon and a team of rising-star vintners, Evening Land wines are helping redefine the potential of these three top regions. And Tarlov is achieving this with affordable wines ($25) and expensive ones ($120). "I like making very special, hard-to-get wines, and widely available wines that over-deliver for the price," he says. "The middlemiddling success, middling failure, middling food, middling wineis something to be avoided."
- Sting & Trudie’s Tuscany: An Organic Tale
- A Star Chef’s Harvest Dinner
- Burgundy Wines: A New Generation of Winemakers
- Why It Pays to Order the House Wine
- Michael Chiarello's and Jamey Whetsone's Insider Napa Guide
- F&W American Wine Awards 2010
At the same time, Tarlov has collaborated with some of America's greatest chefs to create custom blends for by-the-glass house wines. For Thomas Keller's Bouchon, for instance, Tarlov and his winemakers produced a Bordeaux-style blend that's perfect with the restaurant's braised short ribs with Bordelaise sauce. "By-the-glass wines are a great, underserved area," Tarlov says. "People go with a default pick: 'I'll have the Cabernet.' But why not have a by-the-glass Cabernetor a Pinot Noir or a Chardonnaythat has provenance and authenticity and craft, all the things that go into an expensive wine?"