Please let me introduce myself. My name is Leon C Glover III. I am a self-taught chef and winemaker whose primary background is in technology (software development — device drivers to SAAS, project management and search engine developer) and business development (entrepreneurship and Venture Capital).
My love of engineering, food and wine have all combined into the launch of Lionheart Wines. A winemaker is a strange mix of the following things: biochemist, biologist, mechanic, chef, business development, project manager, marketter, salesman and engineer (problem solver). On any given day, a winemaker will wear 5 or 6 different “hats”. The combination of problem solving, rapidly evolving tasks and technical know-how / research is fantastic for me! It is constantly evolving and challenging work environment which helps to stretch my mind and forces me to be a more rounded and complete person.
Personal wine preferences:
I started off with a strong bias towards very fruity, new world styles particularly California wines. Thankfully, my wine education and palate training has exposed me to wines from all over the world. It is very true that a person’s palate is constantly changing. I am past my bias towards California wines and am very open to wines from all over the world. I do still like fruit vs. barnyard in my wines but do enjoy a bit of barnyard in some of my Burgundians. I enjoy a crisp level of acidity in wine as having wine with food is quite important to me.
My style of winemaking is a combination of old-world complexity and ageability with the fruit-forward style of the new world. In California, we are very lucky to be able to grow nearly any grape varietal that we want given the range of soil and climate in the state. The typically long growing season allows for concentrated, complex fruit flavors and developed phenolic maturity at the expense of acidity and high-sugar levels. However, with good winemaking techiniques, you can combine the good fruit qualities, proper wood aging and better winemaking through chemistry to produce a wine that has great fruit, complexity aromatically / palate, balanced acidity and reasonable alcohol levels. I do try to keep the alcohol levels down as I enjoy wine drinking vs. getting drunk.
White wine: I prefer wines with limited oak influence. If I wanted buttery flavor characteristics in my wine, I would suck on a buttered oak stave. So, the white wines we make are lightly oaked; generally, aged in neutral oak barrels. I like the effect of barrel aging but not the buttery (Diacetyl) effect or strong wood flavors.
Red Wine: I like red wine in general. The types and styles of red wine can range tremendously based on what food I am having with the wine. The range of flavors and aromas in red wine is tremendous and I enjoy nearly all of them (not including faults that is especially Brett). A few wines I enjoy are: Barossa Valley Estate, Black pepper E&E; J. Lohr South Ridge Syrah; Gamba Vineyards Russian River Valley Zinfandel; Priorat Cabernet Sauvignon; Otago Pinot Noir; Germany Zweigelt; Brunello di Montapulciano; Eric Kent Big Boy Blend; Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon; Cotie Rotie Syrah; Bordeaux — left and right bank, many growths; and many, many more.
My red wines are made for overall complexity, balance, integrated silky wood tannins, concentration and acidity to allow for potential cellar aging yet approachable enough to be drinkable at release.