As a married winemaking couple, Bibiana and Jeff Pisoni have had their fair share of time spent away from home in pursuit of their own wine ventures. In fact, during harvest season (the busiest time of the year for winemakers), they hardly ever see each other. In an effort to remain close during the supremely busy winemaking season, Jeff and Bibiana decided to come together and collaborate on one special single product—Shared Notes wines.
When it came time to release the 2018 Vintage, Jeff and Bibiana knew that their customers were in for a real treat. You see, 2018 was a beautiful year for winemaking. Ample rainfall in Sonoma County and wonderful, moderate temperatures all throughout the growing season have led to these vintage wines.
2018 Les Leçons des Maîtres:
This wine is a blend of 76% Sauvignon Blanc and 24% Semillon, inspired by the cellar masters of Bordeaux. It is sourced from the Russian River Valley, Sonoma County appellation.
2018 Les Pierres qui Décident:
This is a pure, 100% Sauvignon Blanc, inspired by the pure and focused wines of the Loire Valley. It is sourced from the Russian River Valley, Sonoma County appellation.
Founded in 2012, Shared Notes is a winemaking joint venture bringing together husband and wife and, with them, their unique winemaking styles. These wines are handmade in a very small production, and they serve as a revelation of a varietal with the purity and respect this couple has for Sauvignon Blanc. These wines were made by this savvy couple to enjoy at every special occasion, or really just any day worthy of a good glass of wine. Just as their time together is precious, so is every bottle of Shared Notes wines.
Shared Notes wines are not only unique for their flavors and history, but also for the location in which their grapes are grown. Harvested in the Russian River Valley within the heart of Sonoma County, these grapes are nurtured with the unique climate of the region and only partial sunlight to create a truly delightful Sauvignon Blanc. The climate of this region also serves well to aid in the even ripening and development of a specific group of aromas that makes this wine truly unique. We’ve found that all of these delicious factors, along with a keen eye for detail in the winemaking process, create a product that you and your loved ones can enjoy now and throughout the aging process.
After few vintages of working together, Jeff and Bibiana often find people asking them questions related to their unique working relationship as husband and wife (and partner winemakers). In an effort to let you in on the special dynamic between these bonded winemakers, we decided to share this personal Q&A with you for our 2018 vintage release.
Husband and Wife Winemaker Q&A
Q: How did you get the idea to make wine together?
Bibiana: Jeff and I had spent over 20 years making wine separately before we decided to unite and make wine together. In the past, while I was either consulting or focusing on my own wine brand, Cattleya, Jeff was making wine with his family. We decided to jump into making wine as a team, as we wished to bring together not only our separate winemaking norms and practices, but also, our time as a couple. If we hadn’t gotten together to pursue this joint venture, then it would be supremely difficult to find time to spend together one-on-one during this 3-month harvest period!
Q: How did you meet?
Jeff: Bibiana and I met while making wine, of course! It was during the 2005 vintage harvest that our paths ultimately crossed. I was making this harvest with my family while renting space at a separate winery than the one we normally used, and as circumstance would have it, Bibiana happened to be working at that exact winery at the same time. However, as many focused winemakers can probably attest, we were each far too engrossed in the vintage that we hardly ever picked up our heads to connect with one another.
Ultimately, once the pace of the harvest finally slowed down, Bibiana and I became fast friends. As one might guess, we spent much of our time together discussing winemaking theory! Unfortunately for our budding relationship, Bibiana had made a prior commitment to leave that winery after the harvest to make wine in South Africa, but we found a way to remain friends even from afar. I was even lucky enough to visit her in South Africa while I was on tour visiting its renowned wine regions. Once Bibiana eventually moved back to California full-time (where I was living permanently as well), we reconnected over a few bottles of wine. The rest is history!
Q: Do you always agree on winemaking decisions?
Bibiana: This is the most common question that we gest asked as a winemaking couple. To help me answer, I will give you some background context into our winemaking backgrounds. Unlike Jeff, I did not grow up in a family of winemakers. Instead, I studied at the University of Bordeaux to learn my craft, and I’ve always felt a deep pull and appreciation for the classic wines of that region. Coming from a winemaking family, Jeff also became a lover of classically made wines from his father collecting wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, etc. Because of this shared love of classically made wine, our aesthetics have been naturally similar to one another’s.
That being said, we generally agree on the most important winemaking decisions, but we still can disagree on a couple of details. For example, we usually agree on the more sensory decisions (taste, when to pick the grapes, how hard to press the picked fruit, etc.), while some of the philosophical notes like whether or not to filter our Sauvignon Blanc can take us a longer time to discuss and resolve.
Q: How long do you like to cellar (age) your Sauvignon Blanc?
Jeff: As someone who is a collector by nature (wine, rocks, coins, etc.), I enjoy seeing how wines age and evolve over time. In fact, I believe that the aging process is one of the top reasons why our Shared Notes wines are so special. Of course you can enjoy it young, like most Sauvignon Blanc, but you can also let it evolve and develop even more complexity over time. The wines from 2018 are our sixth vintage, and I look forward to doing a fascinating (and likely delicious) 10-year vertical soon!
The 2018 Shared Notes vintage wine has been made with love by two supreme winemakers passionately coming together in this joint venture. The 2018 vintage is now available for purchase (while it lasts) on our Shared Notes website. Note that we are sharing the reviews for the 2017 vintage, as this is the most recent review of Shared Notes.
2018 Les leçons des maîtres
The 2018 Les Leçons des Maîtres has beautiful and vibrant aromas of grapefruit, crushed rocks, white peach and Anjou pear. The bouquet is generous and elegant. On the palate are the textural and richer notes of the Semillon with hints of nectarine. This wine is bright and intense now, but will age for at least a decade in the cellar.
– 96 points, Jeb Dunnuck, 2017 Vintage
2018 Les pierres qui décident
Laser focused and beaming is the 2018 Les Pierres qui Dècident. The nose shows citrus—orange blossom, key lime, blood orange—with additional notes of ocean mist and flinty minerality. The palate is refreshing and texturally precise, providing a great match for many foods or aging in the cellar.
– 94 points, Jeb Dunnuck, 2017 Vintage