Marty Winters & Alex Pitts
Maître de Chai
Stampede Zinfandel 2018
This Zinfandel was sourced from Stampede Vineyard, a pristinely farmed assortment of own-rooted vines planted in the 1940s in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The decomposed granite soils provide aromatic lift, while its wild west mystique is all thanks to the old rodeo grounds just over the fence. Stylistically, the wine is a nod to the great Paul Draper of Ridge Vineyards, a master of finesse and precision. Fermentations were conducted with native yeasts in a mix of open top and barrel fermenters (with a percentage of whole cluster), and then aged for 11 months neutral oak barrels.
Considering the tight relationship between food and wine, it’s surprising how few chefs make the leap from kitchens to cellars. But on the rare occasion that it does happen, the results are about as amazing as you’d expect. Take Maître de Chai, founded in 2012 by longtime friends Marty Winters and Alex Pitts. After working in some of California’s top kitchens — including Cyrus, Quince, and the French Laundry — the two former chefs decided to trade in their Crocs for Blundstones and make a life in wine. Today, Alex and Marty are joined by their respective partners — Stephanie Pitts (all things web) and Jessica Force (creative director, tasting room) — who have helped grow Maître de Chai into one of the most dynamic indie wineries in California. Their calling card is an uncompromising commitment to sourcing only the highest quality, organically farmed fruit — a carryover from Alex and Marty’s ingredient-driven ethos as chefs.
Maître de Chai