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On Tuesday, March 12, Netflix will premiere a docu-series called, Turning Point: The Bomb and the Cold War. On Wednesday, March 13, the world will celebrate International Riesling Day. How are these two events related? Two words: Peter Sichel.

Peter Sichel is my father AND he was CIA bureau chief in Berlin in the late 1940’s, where he assessed Russia’s intentions regarding Eastern Europe and also tried to recruit Russian military brass as double agents. He appears in the 1st episode of the Netflix docu-series on March 12 (at age 100.) The day after, on March 13, Laurel Glen Vineyard will be celebrating the 2022 vintage of Laurel Glen p.s. Riesling. The name of the wine, p.s., is a play on words. On the one hand, it is a postscript to our specialty Cabernet Sauvignon. On the other hand, it is my father’s initials, to whom the wine is dedicated.

Before and after my father worked for the CIA, he worked for his family’s winery: H. Sichel Söhne (or H. Sichel & Sons.)  My father is the 4th generation to run the family wine business and that family business was built on Riesling! (And later, Blue Nun.) Riesling is Germany’s signature grape variety and, in my opinion, the climate where Riesling achieves its most mind-blowing expression.

My father taught me to appreciate wine and the people who are passionate about it. I have enjoyed many exceptional wines in the company of my father and his many wine-loving friends. But let’s be clear, above all other grape varieties, I have learned a love of Riesling from my father. I don’t think there is any other grape that can be made really well in so many styles, from bone dry to honey-sweet. And there is certainly no other grape that can be enjoyed in so many contexts. It is the perfect wine by itself, with Asian food, with spicy food, with a classic Thanksgiving meal, with Dungeness Crab, and the list goes on and on.

Do I need to admit that I am a snob when it comes to Riesling? For many years, I did not believe that good examples could be made outside Germany. Experience has taught me otherwise. I am here to tell you that good Riesling can be grown in many places, including California. The vineyard we source the p.s. Riesling from is perhaps the oldest Riesling vineyard in California, planted in 1964 by the Wirz family. The 2022 vintage smells like wildflowers and has a beautiful juicy fruitiness in the mouth balanced by a refreshing acidity, leaving a dry palate impression. Total production – 73 cases.

Wednesday, March 13 is International Riesling Day. I invite you to join me by celebrating with a glass (or two) of Riesling. Or, you might want to open your bottle of Riesling on March 12 to enjoy while watching  Netflix’s Turning Point docu-series. (You can always finish the bottle the next day.)