BROC Cellars. One word: Delicious.

I visited one of the most hip and happening wine shops in Southern California the other day- Buzz in downtown LA.  These guys pride themselves in collecting the most weird and wonderful beers and wines from all over the world- and from what I saw, they’re succeeding in this mission.  Another GREAT sign- I ran into a most excellent niche wine supplier Tom Hunter from Revel Wine while I was there.  Tom sent me home with a bottle of this red wine from BROC Cellars that truly rocked my world…

This Vine Starr Red Wine is made by “natural” wine phenomenon Chris Brockway.  Chris is a pioneer of the Urban Winery phenomenon- he is based in San Francisco, and has a “winery” in a commercial space in Berkeley.  He is also interesting to me because he started out as a philosophy student from Iowa.  Chris came to this industry organically- not as a result of growing up part of a wine making family.  Maybe that’s why he so proficient at re-inventing what it means to be a winemaker.  He buys grapes from organic, natural or biodynamic farmers, and then makes the wine in his own cellar-  Urban wine making is clearly NOT your usual Napa Valley estate production.

I love this quote from Jeff Segal of, “Judging from how good Chris Brockway’s wines are, you kind of wish all winemakers were from Nebraska, had degrees in philosophy and film editing, and made wine in an urban warehouse.”  So true.  This wine was fabulous, and I am excited to try a few more from BROC Cellars.

This Vine Starr Red Winehas an initial delicate perfume of a “natural” or “non-interventionalist” wine.  There is a subtlety to these wines- usually a little more layered with fleeting and fast-changing aromas.  The Vine Starr in particular had a pretty violet note, mingled with fresh sage and red berries.  I love the freshness and bright carnation aromas as well.  On the palate the wine had a lush texture- soft and round with a pop of acidity that helped balance the floral aromatics.  All around I loved this wine- delicious, ready to drink and an entirely new way to experience California wine.

Another reason to love Chris Brockway? Jeff Segal of also asked Chris what he was drinking at the time of their interview.  He replied, “The winery is called Vodopivec, and the grape varietal is Vitovska… It is from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy. It is a really cool wine from a grape varietal that no one has ever heard of. ”

Photo borrowed from

Well, the Italian Wine Geeks of the world- we hear you, Chris.  Vodopivec, and Vitoska ROCK!  Thanks for supporting the geeky Italian wines of the world- and for making such fantastic wine yourself!