- The Underground Wine Letter - http://www.undergroundwineletter.com -


It is hard to believe but it has been almost 30 years since we bought our land here in Montecito, about 25 years since we started building, and nearly 22 years since we moved in, which just happened to correspond with the beginning of the millennium. Adjacent to us across San Ysidro Creek is the San Ysidro Ranch. Established in 1892 it was in a stage of decline when we moved here. But in 2000 Ty Warner bought the property and began an upgrade across the board. That has all been in place for some time, and the San Ysidro Ranch is now world class in all respects: the facility and grounds, food, and service. The San Ysidro creek bisects our properties which obstructs passage. But following the roads, it is still only a few minutes away (to read more about The San Ysidro Ranch click here [1]). And even though it is very close, we rarely went to the ranch until  after Ty bought the property. Now we are there a lot. That included this Christmas eve when Laurie and I went over for dinner. As usual, the food and service were great, and the entire property was lit up for Christmas. It was a magical setting. I took 2 bottles of wine: a 2014 Francois Raveneau Chablis Montée de Tonnerre and a 2008  Billecart-Salmon Champagne.


As expected both were great. Despite its status as only a Premier Cru, Montée de Tonnerre is my favorite vineyard in Chablis. The Grand Crus are richer, but Montée de Tonnerre has the structure and minerality, which I find most appealing in Chablis. And Francois Raveneau is my favorite Chablis producer. The 2014 was spot on!   The 2008 Billecart Salmon was stunning and at a peak of perfection. A great Champagne from a great producer in a great year – that’s a trifecta!
We chose Calamari to start with the Champagne, and then I had the Chablis with my oysters while Laurie continued with fish and chips with the rest of the Champagne. As always the food was great as were the wines. And even after over knowing each other for about 60 years and being married for over 50 years, Laurie and I still enjoy each other’s company and always find a lot to talk about!



John Tilson