Scorsone's secret

A couple of times a year, I taste wines that stand above the rest. It happened two weeks ago when I tasted wines from Sonoma County–based Adobe Road Winery, owned by renowned sports car racer and entrepreneur Kevin Buckler and his wife, Debra.

Local Porsche aficionados might recognize Buckler’s name – he’s also founder of The Racer’s Group (TRG), a manufacturer and distributor of high performance Porsche parts.

Buckley brought that same drive to the wine business. Following a model that’s becoming more and more prevalent, he did not invest in acres of vineyards, but put his resources into state–of–the–art production facilities.

But an owner’s drive, vision and deep pockets mean nothing without a talented winemaker.

Michael Scorsone brings that talent to Adobe Road Winery. Scorsone has worked at some of California’s top boutique wineries – from Neyers and Failla to Turley. His talent was developed from far more than a background in the wine industry. Coming from a deeply rooted Sicilian food and wine family, Scorsone graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. As a professional chef, Scorsone worked at restaurants such as: The Little Nell, Caribou Club and Ajax Tavern in Aspen, Colorado.

From there, Scorsone became the Hotel Operations Manager at the luxurious MGM Grand in Las Vegas. That’s a career for most people, but Scorsone was just getting started.

Scorsone left Las Vegas to follow his heart back to wine. He took intensive viticultural courses at Napa Valley College and was Cellar Master at Neyers before apprenticing at the Villa Montelione winery in Valpolicella, Italy, where he learned to make Amarone style wines.

Scorsone returned to the U.S. as an assistant winemaker at Failla Winery where he not only made the wines, but single–handedly farmed and managed the vineyards of this small, ultra–premium estate for three years. With the Failla wines being crafted at Turley Wine Cellars, Scorsone was also involved in winemaking for Turley’s wines.

I tasted five Adobe Road wines – Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Syrah. In my trade show shorthand, I scored all five Adobe Road wines with my highest accolade: Five stars and an “MB,” for “must buy.”

I was particularly enamored of the Sauvignon Blanc. Typical Sauv Blanc features are present – green apple and tart white stone fruit – but three months of aging in neutral oak adds depth that brought even more flavor to the table: vanilla, caramel and nutmeg spices. Adobe Road Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect choice when you’ve tired of the grassy and brassy counterparts.