Foodie Chap Visits Oakland's Côte West and Winemaker Bret Hogan

Winemaker Bret Hogan with Liam (Photo credit: Foodie Chap/Liam Mayclem)
Photo credit (Photo credit: Foodie Chap/Liam Mayclem)
By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

OAKLAND (KCBS RADIO) - Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties get most of the love for NorCal winemaking but some cool things are happening in wine in Alameda County too. Côte West is a family-run urban winery based in Oakland, California. They seek out special vineyard sites and use minimal intervention in the winery to highlight the unique characteristics of our sources. The result is Old World-style yet undeniably Californian wines.

Bret Hogan is the co-founder and winemaker. Growing up in Carmel Valley he developed an early appreciation for the natural beauty of the California landscape. He received a Masters Degree in Viticulture & Enology from UC Davis and got his hands dirty interning at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa and Domaine des Comtes Lafon in Meursault Burgundy. Upon returning from France, he set out to combine that tradition-steeped approach with his training at Davis in order to create Old World-style yet undeniably Californian wines. Bret's favorite pairing is Côte West Chardonnay with crab cakes.

Wife Kerrie is the co-founder and wears many hats as la femme d'affaires. She loves Côte West Pinot Noir with boeuf bourguignon. 

Dillon and Leia are winery kids who love running around tanks and barrels. I met with Bret recently at their Oakland Tasting Room and Winery. We talked, we sipped and sipped some more. You are going to love their wines and their story.

Come visit and taste the wines for yourself. 

Saturday or Sunday 2-6pm. To make an appointment for a midweek or group tasting, please email at

Cheers, Liam! 



2018 Rosé of Counoise - Dry Creek Valley, Mounts Vineyard ​ ​           150 cases produced, 13.1% alc.$25/bottle, $270/case91 points, Wine Enthusiast

This rosé was made from whole cluster pressed Counoise, a variety more commonly found in the South of France that is ideal for rosé. Mounts Family Vineyard is located in Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County and its third-generation growers were among the first in California to introduce Counoise to the region. 

The vineyard has striking red, rocky soils which are rich in iron volcanic deposits. This hardy vineyard site with plenty of sun has the potential to produce bountiful yields. To minimize those yields with a focus on quality, this Counoise was grafted to a devigorating rootstock. The vineyard team also made multiple passes in the rows throughout the growing season to drop fruit. The resulting concentration of flavor is quite apparent.

Intensely aromatic, bright and perfumed red fruits bound out of the glass. On the palate, this dry has a rich body, yet lively acidity. The juxtaposition of this lush mouthfeel and bracing acidity makes this a very versatile rosé. 


2015 Pinot Noir - Sonoma Coast, La Cruz Vineyard        ​        ​​96 cases produced, 13.3% alc.$43/bottle, $464 case

La Cruz is a sustainably farmed vineyard located in the Petaluma Gap. The multi-layered, mineral-laden clay soils were formed from ancient seabeds. The Pinot Noir is planted on a gentle slope just below the parcel where Côte West sources its Chardonnay. The vineyard is influenced by the cooling influences of the San Pablo Bay as well as an opening in the coastal hills to the northwest, both of which allow fog from the Pacific to flow freely through the vineyards. This cooler microclimate results in more intense color and flavor development while preserving a refreshing acidity. 

This is undeniably Pinot Noir. It is aromatic, floral, and earthy. On the nose, it offers red fruit, spicy black pepper, and a touch of vanilla. On the palate it is rich in strawberry and sarsaparilla with great structure, nice tannins and high acidity. 


2018 Pétillant Naturel - Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak, Pine Mountain Vineyard  38 cases produced, 12.8% alc.$28/bottle, $302/case

Pétillant Naturel is a sparkling wine created by allowing fermentation to finish in bottle. Each one will have its own unique and natural effervescence. This Pét Nat showcases green apple, pear and brioche. 


2018 Sauvignon Blanc - Pine Mountain, Cloverdale Peak275 cases produced, 13.7% alc.$23/bottle, $248/case

This Sauvignon Blanc was grown in Pine Mountain Vineyard, which climbs up to 2,800 feet on a peak that rises above the northern edge of Sonoma County. The vineyard’s high altitude and late harvest deliver smaller berries and more intense aromas and flavors. The volcanic soils are well-drained and mineral-rich. 

This Sauvignon Blanc offers a bouquet of perfumed lychee fruit, lime, grapefruit, passion fruit, honeysuckle, and orange blossom.

Côte West Tasting Room2102 Dennison Street, Suite A, Oakland CA 94606