Winemaker events are BACK at the Solano Cellars Wine Bar! We could think of no better way to jumpstart programming than with Alison Thomson, who resurrected her grandfather's Lepiane label in 2013 to focus on honoring Piedmontese varieties and the terroir of Santa Barbara in equal measure.
Luigi A. Lepiane (Le-pi-annie) arrived in California from Calabria in 1917 and promptly opened a butcher shop and grocery in Monterey. A wine label soon followed, though his lineup was less Nebbiolo, and more 18% Flame Tokay from Hollister (this was post-Prohibition, after all). Almost 100 years later, Alison released her first wine, a Nebbiolo that prompted this praise from Darrell Corti:
"The Lepiane Nebbiolo 2013 is to my mind the most expressive and best varietally typical nebbiolo wine I have tasted in California...proper deep red, not black color; a fragrant aroma of berries and tar, typical of nebbiolo with the violet character...If this 2013 wine is an example, Alison Thomson will go far in winemaking in California."
Alison didn't just magically jump from granddaughter of a humble, post-Prohibition country winemaker to producer of arguably the best Nebbiolo in the country. She's had stints at some of the most iconic producers on both sides of the Atlantic - from studying Nebbiolo with Barolo master Sergio Germano, to understanding the nuance of the Central Coast with cult legends Sine Qua Non, to unlocking the potential of Italian varieties in California with Steve Clifton at Palmina winery. Now, Alison is making elegant expressions of Italian varieties - Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Malvasia - that honor old-world winemaking while still reflecting the unique terroir of Santa Barbara and the Central Coast. (And she makes a killer Grenache, to boot!)
We'll have Alison in-house tomorrow Thursday, June 8th to pour her wines (and *shhh* maybe even a bonus library splash) by-the-glass and as a flight of 5, and to offer insight into how she translated her family history, personal experience, and love of the Central Coast into some of our favorite domestic wines around. As if that wasn't enough, we'll also be offering a few additional wines by-the-glass that honor her time with Germano, passion for Nebbiolo, and respect for her peers in the Santa Barbara winemaking world.
We'll be offering a 10% discount to club members on Lepiane bottles purchased during the event. There are no reservations or tickets needed - you're welcome to come by anytime between 5-7:30pm to grab a flight, a glass, and a conversation with Alison herself!