What's Cookin' on Wine with Michael Horn


April 19, 201652 min
NEIL COLLINS – OWNER & WINEMAKER, LONE MADRONE & BRISTOLS CIDER – CENTRAL COAST CIDER FESTIVAL ATASCADERO  ABOUT LONE MADRONE: A lone Madrone stands atop a hill between the mountain and the sea in west Paso Robles, presiding over the rugged vineyard that started it all for brother and sister duo, Neil Collins and Jackie Meisinger. The Lone Madrone wine label was founded in 1996 with the premier goal of producing distinctive wines exclusively from vineyards in the rugged limestone hills of west side Paso Robles. Growing slowly yet steadily since, the focus has become largely on vineyards that are dry farmed and head trained, which winemaker Neil Collins believes to be “the purest expression of the unparalleled terroir of west Paso Robles.” Neil also feels that when you begin with grapes from vineyards of this quality, in these outrageous soils, it only makes sense to “let them sing for themselves without being masked by our hands.” To this end, all the wines are fermented with native yeasts and native malolactic bacteria then aged in predominantly neutral oak barrels. Lone Madrone wines are unique not only because of where the grapes were grown, but due to the influence of Neil’s winemaking style. The winery produces some rare single varietal wines, however the majority of Lone Madrone wines are extraordinary blends where you distinguish Neil’s unique winemaking slant formed over years of tasting and blending west side Paso Robles wines. The wines of Lone Madrone are distinctive and characteristically balanced with structure and finesse. Lone Madrone wines are available to purchase at the tasting room, on line, at Brisotls Cider House in Atascadero and at many restaurants and stores on the central coast. WWW.LONEMADRONE.COM ABOUT THE WINEMAKER: Neil strongly believes that in order to produce wines of the highest caliber you must first start with grapes of exceptional quality. Neil’s technique of marrying old world growing methods and winemaking preferences with new exciting blends of Rhône, Bordeaux and Italian varieties is a result of carefully honing his craft over many harvests. Neil has been working in the wine industry for 21 years, spending time at Wild Horse Winery and then Adelaida where he became winemaker alongside the notorious Mr. Munch. In 1997 he moved his family to the vineyards of Chateauneuf-du-pape in southern France where he spent a year learning the cellars and vineyards of the famed Chateau de Beaucastel, one of the oldest and most highly regarded estates in France. Neil returned to Paso Robles to take up the new role of winemaker and vineyard manager at Tablas Creek Vineyards, the California property of Château de Beaucastel. Since that time, great success has been achieved by Tablas Creek, success in which Neil’s hand has been significant. Neil’s experience in French winemaking complemented his earlier training as a French chef in hometown of Bristol, England. ABOUT BRISTOLS CIDER: Bristols cider is a part of the Lone Madrone winery, owned and operated by brother and sister Neil and Jackie and Neil's wife Marci. Jackie and Neil grew up in the West Country of England which is very much cider country. We are not talking murky apple juice here but the fermented version. When Neil moved to California he was disappointed to find none of the traditional beverage of his home, of which he had been known to partake on occasion. So in 1994 Neil began making small batches of cider from local apples under the Bristols name. Since that time it has evolved into a small line up of ciders. These ciders are all from select varieties of local apples, primarily from See Canyon and Paso Robles, although we have played with fruit from Oregon. All ciders are 100% apple juice and fermented on the native yeasts of the fruit. We ferment different ciders in different casks, some in retired Bourbon casks some in retired white wine barrels but most in stainless steel. Bristols can be found on draft at a number of the ce


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