Wines, Trains and Animators

Wine of the Week: Lasseter Chemin de Fer, Sonoma Valley

Pixar animator John Lasseter combines his love for southern France, trains, and wine in this delightful red blend, the Stark Insider wine of the week.

Clinton Stark
01.31.2013 | View Comments

2010 Lasseter Family Winery Chemin de Fer, Sonoma County

89
OUT OF100
wine reviews
VERDICT: "Go for it"
Sonoma County
Chemin de Fer, 14.8% alc.
$40

Lasseter Family Winery Chemin de Fer - Wine ReviewYou might know John Lasseter as the creative force behind the wildly successful Pixar animated films. Toy Story, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Up and Brave are but a few of the ground-breaking works he and his creative team have produced out of the Emeryville-based animation studios.

But you may not know that the affable, hard-working creative genius is also a huge fan of trains and wines. That the two would meet on this bottle of “Chemin de Fer” (‘railroad’) the Stark Insider wine of the week, is somewhat unsurprising.

ALSO: Harrison Ford, Salman Rushdie to be honored at Cinequest Film Festival

John and his wife Nancy founded the Lasseter Family Winery in 2000 at a 50-acre site in Glen Ellen, Sonoma (formerly Grand Cru). They’ve been expanding their wine operations ever since.

Local Sonoma artist Dennis Ziemienski contributed the whimsical label seen to the right, featuring a steam train meandering through Syrah vineyards in southern France. It’s very fitting given the inspiration behind this red blend is based on a trip the Lasseters took to explore wines of the region.

The 2010 Chemin De Fer is a blend of 49% Grenache, 38% Syrah, 13% Mourvédre. Interestingly, in a blind taste (the bottle was randomly selected and opened by someone else while I whistled dixie), I could tell it wasn’t a Cab (my favorite varietal) and ultimately guessed that it was a Syrah, missing the primary Grenache notes completely. Oops. Decant it and give it a go. It’s a small production wine with only 325 cases produced, but if you appreciate your wines laidback, with aromatic raspberry notes, and smooth finishes, you should definitely seek out this France-inspired blend. Recommended.

Lasseter Family Winery 2010 Chemin De Fer, Sonoma County

89 points, $40

325 cases produced

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Clinton Stark
Clint writes about Silicon Valley (Churchill Club Academy member), film, California wine, theater (ATCA member) and tech including his trusty Canon EOS 70D and, much to his wife's chagrin, his new Pebble smartwatch. A would-be NHLer if it weren't for the clarinet, he tries in vain to direct Loni on Stark Insider TV. He's held executive marketing roles at Cisco, EMC and Salesforce.com, and is active with start-ups across the valley. Clint's story...
  • Thisrag Seemslegit

    Hey Stark, is this a wine story? I thought we didn’t need no stinkin wine stories?