The time is right for the Slow Wine Guide to the Wines of California.
The editorial team behind the new Slow Wine Guide to the Wines of California
The Editorial Team
Giancarlo Gariglio, editor-in-chief
Elaine Brown, senior editor
David Lynch, senior editor
Jeremy Parzen, coordinating editor
Elisabeth Fiorello-Sievers, field editor
Nicholas Phelps, contributor
When he first decided to launch a new Slow Wine Guide to the Wines of California, Slow Wine editor-in-chief Giancarlo Gariglio reached out to American wine writer and educator Jeremy Parzen, a California native and his fellow professor at Slow Food’s University of Gastronomic Sciences in Bra, Piedmont. Jeremy was a natural choice because of his experience in publishing and his familiarity with the Slow Food movement, its history and legacy.
As coordinating editor of the new guide, Jeremy turned to a writer who is widely considered to be the leading authority on California wine today: Elaine Brown, a contributor to JancisRobinson.com and the Oxford Companion to Wine, to The World of Fine Wines and Wine & Spirits, and the author of the wildly popular Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews blog, where she combines her talents as an illustrator with her seemingly innate ability as a professional taster. For nearly 10 years now, Elaine, who lives in the heart of Californian wine country in Sonoma, has crisscrossed the California viticultural landscape, meeting with grape farmers and tasting their wines. Thanks to her literally herculean (and continuing) efforts to visit as many winemakers as she can across the state, there was no one better suited to fulfill one of the guiding tenets of the Slow Wine mission: To interact directly with the winemakers and growers in situ, to visit their farms and tour their vineyards.
Jeremy also turned to another one of America’s leading wine writers and sommeliers, David Lynch, whose byline has appeared in Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, and Wine & Spirits (where he served as senior editor), among many other high-profile mastheads. Although David’s early focus was Italian wine (he is the co-author of the landmark 2005 Vino Italiano guide to the wines of Italy and was the wine director of Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s Babbo in New York at the peak of its success and celebrity), his interest turned to California wine when he opened his own restaurant in San Francisco. A “writer’s writer,” David brought not only his finely honed literary chops to the editorial team. But he also helped to balance out the tasting panel thanks to his invaluable experience as a taster of wines from across the world.
In June of 2017, the four of them gathered together in northern California wine country with the guide’s field editor Elisabeth Fiorello-Sievers, an ex-student of Giancarlo’s at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Bra and a native California who grew up a stone’s throw from Napa Valley. Her tireless efforts “on the ground” — visiting and interviewing producers — were a key element in putting the guide together and she also served as the group’s tasting coordinator, organizing a two-day tasting of more than 200 wines. The group was also joined by Nicholas Phelps, another native California and ex-student of Giancarlo’s. Liz and Nicholas’ experiences at the university and their firsthand knowledge of the Slow Food model proved indispensable in creating profiles and tasting notes for the more than 70 wineries considered for the guide.