Travel with Food & Wine Magazine's Executive Wine Editor Ray Isle as he visits Charles and Diana Karren of Terra de Promissio Vineyardlocated in the Sonoma Coast appellation. Hear the Karren's story of how they met and their incredible journey to find their "Land of Promise" and become grape growers in this illustrious winegrowing region.
Christian Karren help spread the world about winegrapegrower efforts at the Sonoma County Ag Days, held March 15the & 16th in Santa Rosa. Ag Days, sponsored by the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, brings the Farm to 5,000 City Kids. Christian Karren manned the Sonoma County Winegrowers Booth at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds where he talked about our vineyard's collaboration with the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue to place orphaned owls in our vineyard owl boxes. Karissa Kruse, President of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, stated: "Christian is our sustainability ambassador! And he makes us so proud of the next generation of grape growers in Sonoma County."
Located in the southeast end of Petaluma, this 12-year-old
vineyard is hitting its stride and continues to please. Deep and
concentrated black cherry and cherry pit notes mix with blood
orange, vanilla, and allspice. Subtle notes of terra cotta and
sous bois, a French term meaning forest-floor or undergrowth,
add a wonderful elegance to the darker side of this wine.
Lively and refreshing on the palate, the cherry flavor profile
coalesces into an earthy finish, with an overlay of black
tea-like tannins. Superb texture and finely knit; this wine will
age extremely well.
“The Land of Promise” is family owned and operated by
husband and wife team Charles and Diana Karren. The
Karren’s bought a 50 acre dairy ranch in 1999 and planted
over 33,000 Pinot Noir vines on 32 acres in 2002. Terra de
Promissio had its first harvest in 2005.
After two stellar vintages, 2014 completes the trifecta of high
quality growing seasons where the wines exhibit purity of
place with generous fruit and elegant textures. The season
began as one of the driest winters on record with only 40% of
normal rainfall by mid-season. April rains replenished the
soil’s moisture profile to re-invigorate the plants, boost
growth, and help set a bountiful crop. The harvest season was
near perfect with warm temperatures allowing for a leisurely
picking schedule. 2014 is a superb vintage of compelling
nature and will develop well with long range cellaring.
Barrel Description: 68% new, 32% 1 yr.
Barrel Aged: 16 months
Released Spring 2016
Notes from Whetstone:
Vineyard Notes: Sustainably farmed, cool climate site. Solid vintage year from start to finish. We harvested the fruit on September 10th.
Winemaker’s Tasting Notes: Aged for 16 months in 35% new French oak barrels, sur lees. Cherry red in color. Floral notes of sassafras, rose and Rooibos tea with hints of Asian spice. Secondary notes of orange peel, forest floor and tobacco. Bright flavors of red plum, ripe cranberry and orange pekoe tea. Finishes long and refined with notes of bing cherry, tobacco and baker’s chocolate.
Case Production: 260 * Alcohol: 13.9%
To Order the Whetstone TdP, please visit: http://www.whetstonewinecellars.com/
On February 2, 2016, Sonoma County lost a true American Hero and the Karren Family has lost its beloved Patriarch. Howard Karren was the embodiment of the American dream-by achieving success thru intelligence, hard work, integrity, honesty and humbleness. Howard loved his country, he served it with distinction at home and abroad and he was grateful for the opportunities that it gave him.
Howard Karren, a member of the Class of ‘51 of Texas A&M would be the first person to tell you how lucky a life he lived. He had everything he ever wanted, from his family that he adored, and who adored him back, to the opportunities and experiences of being able to travel for the last 60 years to over a 100 countries. There was not a corner of the globe that he did not touch. Never shy in his travels, Howard was fearless and would travel into deepest Sub-Saharan Africa, the Soviet Union tundra, the Libyan desert and the Australian outback. He was shot at in Yemen, narrowly missed being killed when his plane blew up in Nigeria and had to avoid terrorists in the Colombian jungle.
Howard was one of the few people in the world, who was able to visit vineyards and wine operations on all 6 continents. Turkey, Lebanon, Israel and Japan in Asia; France, Italy, Spain and Germany in Europe; South Africa, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco in Africa; Argentina in South America and multiple regions in Australia. Applying his knowledge from his travels including his visits to Sonoma and Napa, Howard, together with his wife of 51 years Peggy, planted a Cabernet vineyard in the mid 1990s in Glen Ellen, California. The vineyard became known as the Karren Vineyard has been producing award winning grapes for the last 15 years.
Howard could not be happier living on Sonoma Mountain and enjoying all the bounty that Sonoma County has to offer. He worked very hard and was the embodiment of what it takes to be a successful wine grower as Howard personally tended the vineyard by hand as he would prune, sucker, train the vines as well as hoe, do leaf removal, green fruit removal and finally harvest. He would laugh: “yes, I could hire someone, but I like doing it.” Every year, including this last vintage of 2015, he would personally sort and load the Cabernet grapes into the truck and for many years, he would drive the grapes himself down to the Wellington winery in Glen Ellen. In addition to the vineyard, Howard personally planted, managed 33 fruit trees and a dozen olive trees.
Howard is survived by his wife of 51 years Peggy, his sons Geoff of San Francisco, Charles of Petaluma, California, his daughter in law Diana and his grandchildren, Christian and Grace. He is also survived by his brother Jerry, his sister in law Marilyn, brother Sidney’s widow Ruth, Peggy’s sister Julie, a host of nephews, nieces and friends.
Howard was very proud of the accomplishments of Peggy, his sons and grandchildren. He loved his family more than anything. He would never admit it, but the proudest accomplishment in his life—is that he came from Texas A&M, where he was the first generation in his family to go to college, became a geologist and then had one of the most exciting careers in one of the most fascinating industries. He used what he learned at Texas A&M to have a successful life—both professionally and personally. He incorporated the Texas A&M Corp of Cadets’ motto of Respect, Leadership, Integrity, Loyalty, Excellence and Selfless Service. His degree from Texas A&M not only made a difference in his life, but that of his family, the generation that will follow them and the many friends he worked with around the world.
Finally, Howard also believed in giving back. Both Peggy and Howard gave to numerous charities here in Sonoma County over their lives. However, his favorite cause is Texas A&M. Howard and Peggy endowed two professorships and also supported three students with Presidential and Corp of Cadets endowed scholarships. In his honor, we ask that in lieu of flowers, any gift shall be directed to the Howard Karren Fund at the Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, TX, 77840
Howard Karren was laid to rest at the Aggie Field of Honor, College Station, Texas on February 6, 2015, the 51st Anniversary of his marriage to Peggy.
Diana Karren will be a featured panelist at the Sonoma in the City events in Houston on March 1, 2016 and Austin on March 3, 2016. Every year, the Sonoma County Vintners and Sonoma County Growers organizations hold a Sonoma in the City events in select cities in the United States. In 2016, they will be in San Francisco for Super Bowl 50 and in Houston and Austin in March. Diana will speak about Terra de Promissio's sustainable efforts. Following the presentation, she will pour the 2013 Land of Promise Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir wine to the invited trade and press.
Christian Karren was the featured guest today on The Drive with Steve Jaxon on KSRO Newstalk 1350 talking about how Sonoma County vineyards like Terra de Promissio are employing sustainable farming practices by leveraging the resources provided by Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue Center. Terra de Promissio partnered with Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue Center for over a year and both wildlife-especially our owls and our vineyard have benefited. 13 year old Christian Karren and an 8th grade student at Sonoma Country Day School highlighted his efforts here at the vineyard and how other winegrape growers as well as the public could support the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue Center in their efforts to save wildlife.
To listen to the entire podcast, click below:
Land of Promise is pleased to announce that the Mailing List is open to take orders for the inaugural 2013 Land of Promise Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. The Land of Promise was harvested from Terra de Promissio in September 2013 and was in French Oak Barrels for 18 months. The wine was bottled this past summer and is now ready to be released.
Alina Zarr, one of the three proprietors of Land of Promise stated:
"We are very excited about this wine. 2013 was a great growing season and harvest. My sister Diana has worked very hard overseeing the whole wine-making process--from personally handpicking the grapes to the crush to fermentation thru barreling, blending, bottling and now release."
"The wines of Terra de Promissio are always special, but this wine has special meaning as this is our family's first wine."
Only 100 cases of the 2013 Land of Promise has been produced. To order this wine, first you will need to click here: landofpromisewine.com You will then receive an email outlining the ordering steps. Land of Promise anticipates shipping the wine in early 2016.
Lynmar Winery Tasting Notes: The 2013 Terra de Promissio exhibits a dark garnet color. Vibrant aromatics of black cherry, fig and rhubarb jump from the glass. The textured entry on the palate shows savory hints of clove, cinnamon and sandlewood. The wine concludes with a silky finish of black tea and cacao and nutmeg.
Bottling date: February 11, 2015
T.A.: 5.8 g/L - Alcohol: 14.3% - pH: 3.54
Aging: 15 mo. in 50% new oak - Cases Produced: 142
“Enticing aromas of Bing cherry, pomegranate and raspberry are met by scents of pipe tobacco, blood orange, vanilla, ginger and wet forest floor. The red fruit flavors are true to the aromas and have a juicy quality. The fine tannins give some grip along the sides of the palate while the acidity supports the flavors and provides great depth. Decanting one to two hours before serving is recommended.”
- Michael McNeill
Harvest: September 10 at 24.6° Brix; Ten months in 25% new 60 gallon French oak barrels; Bottled: June 14, 2014; 528 cases produced and bottled
Alcohol: 14.2% abv; pH: 3.43; Total Acid: 6.1 g/L
This is our third vintage of Terra de Promissio and it continues to be a high performing site. The nose leads with star anise and wet earth, but quickly gives way to cherry pit, blood orange, and grenadine. A touch of purple flowers shows off the lighter side of this dark and brooding wine. In the mouth, it dazzles as potpourri spices intermingle with black cherry and cherry pit flavors. There is a centered quality to this wine, with a perfect balance of acid and tannins. The medium tannic structure seems almost dusty but possesses a refreshing citrus feel, reminiscent of single origin Brazilian coffee. The wine lingers on the palate with great tenacity and a tangy finish.
“The Land of Promise” is family owned and operated by husband and wife team Charles and Diana Karren. The Karren’s bought a 50 acre dairy ranch in 1999 and planted over 33,000 Pinot Noir vines on 32 acres in 2002. Terra de Promissio had its first harvest in 2005.
With great back-to-back vintages, 2013 was every bit as good as 2012 has proven to be. Amidst concerns about another drought year, the rain gauges filled up to about 80% of the yearly average. The growing conditions were very favorable, which resulted in a remarkably similar growing season to the exceptional 2012 vintage. The only notable difference, however, was the increase of heat units in 2013, as measured by the Growing Degree Day index. With below average rainfall for the season bud break initiated earlier than average along Westside Road. April showers helped to drive good shoot growth and set the plants up for May flowering. Excellent weather at flowering time allowed for fantastic set and a bountiful yield across all appellations and varieties. Even with an earlier start to the growing season, the grapes had the ideal amount of time on the vine to achieve full maturity without any threat of inclement weather late in the season. Wines from the 2013 vintage exhibit extremely pure and polished tannins and the acidity will provide longevity, but the supple structure also offers earlier enjoyment.
From Spell Estate: The Terra de Promissio Vineyard is owned and managed by Charles and Diana Karren and with the help of Diana’s parents it is a true family operation. Planted in 2002 to Pinot Noir clones 777 and 115 it is located east of Petaluma on a rolling hill in what is unofficially referred to as the Petaluma Gap of the Sonoma Coast AVA. Buffeted by cold maritime winds the fruit ripens slowly and produces wines of exceptional elegance and purity.
The Spell Terra de Promissio Vineyard Pinot Noir is ruby red in color, aromas of raspberry, strawberry, toasted oats, sandalwood, peat moss, and sassafras introduce this youthful wine. Cranberry and raspberry flavors mix with hints of cocoa nib, coffee, and sweet toasted oak coat the palate. Bright acidity and broad shouldered tannins mingle with flavors of bing cherry and mocha coffee on a lasting finish. Drink now or over the next 5 to 7 years.
Oak: 100% French; 50% new, 25% once used and 25% older.
Clones: Dijon 115 with a tiny amount of Dijon 777
Harvest Dates: September 30 and October 4, 2013
Bottled: August 11, 2014
Cases Produced: 100
The inaugural Castello di Amorosa Terra de Promissio was released this week.
Expressive bouquet of cherry and spiced Christmas berries with an exotic backdrop of cola and black tea. This is a sleek Pinot Noir boasting both lush texture and vibrant acidity.
“The Land of Promise” is a family owned and operated vineyard located near the city of Petaluma that is widely regarded as one of the premier Pinot Noir vineyards in all of the Sonoma Coast Region. The two distinct clones (777 and 115), clay loam soils, southwest exposure, and the wind and fog of the Petaluma Gap combine to create the “Terroir” that allows Terra de Promissio grapes to mature to perfection. The cool summers and resulting extended “hang time” of the grapes is necessary to achieve optimal ripeness, a benchmark critical to producing premium Pinot Noir.
Food Pairing Notes
Given the wide variety of food that pairs with this wine, it’s understandable why Pinot Noir is considered one of the most versatile food wines in the world. Pair this silky wine with roast duck, grilled chicken or salmon, or wild mushroom risotto.
Production: 681 cases
Four Terra de Promissio vineyard designates were featured tonight for an invitation only event held by UC Davis at the Carneros Inn in Napa, California. The Terra de Promissio wines were the exclusive red wine for the event. The wines poured--all 2012s--were from left to right: Spell Estate, Lynmar Estate, Della and Williams Selyem. This is the first time in a public setting that four Terra de Promissio wines were poured at once.
You know it is the end of the summer and right before harvest when Kosta Browne throws its annual grower's party. As always, it was an outstanding event--great food, great pinot and most of all great people. Diana and Charles always enjoy catching up with their fellow growers and the KB winemakers and staff. A big thanks to Michael, Dan, Chris, David, Tony, Amy, Jennifer, Joy and the entire crew.
Charles & Diana Karren spent Saturday pouring the newly released 2012 Williams Selyem Terra de Promissio Pinot Noir. We want to thank Mr & Mrs. Dyson, Bob Cabral, Jeff Mangahas and the entire Williams Selyem team hosting us and over 1,000 members.
It was a great event! Diana and Charles really enjoyed meeting and talking to every member of the wine club.
Charles & Diana Karren spent Saturday and Sunday pouring the newly released 2012 Kosta Browne Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. As always, it was a first class event wonderfully executed by the entire Kosta Browne team. It was a fun event meeting and talking to all the members of the Kosta Browne wine club.
Wine Notes from Kosta Browne:
Our 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is a blend of four vineyards; Terra de Promissio; Gap’s Crown, Griffin’s Lair and Walala. The first three are located in the southern portion of the Sonoma Coast appellation and lie directly in the path of the Petaluma Wind Gap’s Pacific Ocean cooling and the maritime influence of the San Pablo Bay. The fourth vineyard, Walala Vineyard, is from the northwestern coastal reaches near Annapolis. The wines from the Petaluma Gap region are rich, voluptuous and structured with dark black and blue fruit, deep texture and broad structure. The wines from Walala are red fruit driven with clean earth, a slight spice, elegant structure and a complex core.
Aromatics:The wine shows focused blueberry, black cherry and ripe currants in the nose, followed by intense blackberry and cassis. In the background there is a dusting of cocoa and black plum.
On the palate:The 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir exhibits dark black and blue fruits that drive down the center of the palate and slowly melt into all areas of the mouth. There is focused acidity and a tannic grip that carries the rich dark fruit character towards the midpalate, followed by creamy black cherry, dark plum and dried currants. There is intensity to this wine that is followed by a slow release of complex flavors and textures, leading to a long and lasting finish.
Della wines releases its inaugural Terra de Promissio
Della wines is a passion of David Hejl. Along with the shared vision of his fellow founders; David's sister and his brother-in- law, Lee and Ernie LeRoy. Della honors their mother who died long before her time. Della Winifred Dale was a strong woman with a relentless commitment to life, raising eleven strong, intense and complex children. She was an extraordinary woman who believed in living the life you always imagined and in pursuing one’s dreams no matter the obstacles.
Tasting Notes from Williams Selyem
This wine has an expressive bouquet of cherry pie, raspberries, fennel, Asian spices and truffles. The heavier clay/loam soils add a textural component to the velvety tannins and rich flavors of wild raspberries, Bing cherries, cola, mushrooms and mocha coffee. This is a very sexy Pinot with lush textures and vibrant acidity — our second offering from this cool site in the Petaluma Wind Gap region of the Sonoma Coast appellation. The acid frames this wine brilliantly and gives it a tremendous amount of focus. This is a wine that will improve nicely in the cellar for 5+ years.
Harvest 2012 Simply put, the 2012 vintage was amazing in many respects. After the cool growing seasons of 2010 and 2011, which resulted in excellent quality but very low yields, Mother Nature was smiling on us in 2012 with superb growing conditions for a bountiful harvest. The exceptional weather during the spring allowed for moderate vegetative growth, superb flowering conditions and an above average fruit set — berries and clusters sized up beyond original expectations. 2012 was a vintage where ripe mature stems, seeds and skin tannins were achieved with harmoniously balanced natural acidity. Enveloped with pure intense aromas, juicy flavors and rich textures, these structured wines are clearly the result of a truly extraordinary vintage. A vintage like this, where everything comes together perfectly, is rare and will certainly be a vintage to enjoy for many years to come!