At the Monterey Winemakers' Celebration in Monterey, CA, on Aug 12, I made a beeline for one booth in particular. I had heard of Steve McIntyre but knew little about him, except that we probably weren't related except in some distant, existentialist sense. (This was confirmed when I saw him - he's too tall and handsome to be from my side of the family. See for yourself, that's him with his wife, Kim.)
Steve is a leading winegrower and vineyard manager in Monterey County, tending vines for 22 wineries including San Saba, Estancia and Bonny Doon. He also runs a custom crush facility where, it turns out, one of my favorite wines is produced - Bonny Doon's Big House Red. (Steve will have it for one more vintage until the recent sale of the brand takes full effect.)
Steve also makes his own wine, in small quantities that unfortunately don't really make it out of Monterey County. At the fair, he was pouring a delightful 2000 Pinot Noir that at $18 retail still tastes fresh and shows what Monterey County can do with that grape in its cool coastal climate. His Chardonnay was also excellent, as was the 2001 Kimberly Vineyard Merlot - soft, supple, plummy fruit with a dusting of cocoa.
I wish I could make these my house wines!