Don’t you just love it when a good friend (someone who knows wine) gives you a bottle to try? I do!
I invited a few friends for a barrel tasting before the Passaggio Wines Club Release party on Saturday the 24th. My good friends David and Laurie Razzari showed up with bottle in hand. “We brought you something.” They handed me the 2016 Odonata Rosé. I couldn’t wait to pop it open.
I decided to enjoy it last night on my back deck. What a beautiful evening. Perfect weather for sitting and sipping.
First of all, the bottle has a beautiful label and a screw cap (which I love) The color of the Rosé was quite intriguing. The first whiff brought forth strawberries and peaches, with a slight minerality note. I sat swirling it in my glass and smelling it for a while. More stone fruits rose from the glass. Loved it. That first sip was just as it smelled – Strawberries, peaches, and very nice acidity. Medium body which I expected from the color. I enjoyed the wine very much. Thank you David and Laurie! Phoebe was intrigued as well…
It’s not everyday you find a rosé that is a blend of several different varietals. Well…I found one! This rose is 40% Cinsault, 30% Mourvedre, 20% Carignane, 10% Grenache. A very interesting blend indeed.
Adam Webb, winemaker and owner, has produced a lovely rosé of these Rhone varietals. I picked this gem up at his tasting room, located on Vine Alley, in downtown Sonoma. You can also get to the tasting room by way of First Street East.
The wine displays some stone fruit, grapefruit, and citrus aromas in the glass. On the palate I found strawberry, peach and citrus. Nice lingering finish. Nicely done, Adam.
If you get a chance to visit downtown Sonoma, stop in Cochon Tasting Bar and enjoy a glass of his rosé.
There are times when you are searching in your wine cabinet for a special something. It was just a Friday evening but I wanted something unusual. Found it! Cab Franc! I pulled out the 2012 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley. Gotta love that…
Cab Franc is usually thought of as a blending wine for bordeaux blends, but I think it’s just fantastic on its own.
This wine showcased plum and cherry, a hint of violet and good tannins with slight herbal notes.
This past Tuesday I got up at 4:30am to make the trip to Lodi from Sonoma. I was picking up the Roussanne grapes from Hux Vineyard. I love this vineyard and the owner, Barbara Hueckstead. I have known Barbara now for three years. I first got her Roussanne in 2014. Last year I also sourced her Petit Verdot.
Upon arrival at the vineyard, Leia and Pippin, Barbara’s two vineyard dogs met me in the driveway. Pippin (he’s 15 years old) had a stroke a few weeks earlier. He was moving slow but was getting around pretty well. Leia (she’s 4 years old) and all she wanted to do was play fetch with her frisbee. 😉
The vineyard guys had already started picking. It was barely light outside. Barbara and I chatted about the past year and what was going on in each of our lives. I asked her how the rest of the vineyard was looking. She was very surprised this year. She thought the yields were up more than anticipated. She did have someone back out of some of her fruit and was looking for a buyer. She had a little Teroldego to sell. My ears perked up! I asked how much did she have? She said it would be a little over half ton. She barely got the word half ton out of her mouth when I said I’d take it. The opportunity to make a small amount of an obscure Italian varietal was very appealing to me.
I know some friends who make Teroldego. They source it from Heringer Estates. As soon as I could, I texted Brian and asked if I could buy a bottle of his Teroldego. He said no. He wanted to give me a bottle. 😉 I ended up trading him a bottle of Passaggio 2015 Unoaked Chardonnay for it. I couldn’t wait to open the Teroldego. I invited some friends over for dinner to share it with.
The 2013 West Of Temperance Teroldego shows blackberry, blueberry, cherry, spice, and a slight chocolate note, with nice acidity. It was a great balanced wine and went very well with the grilled sausages and veggies.
I can’t wait to see what I can do with this varietal…
Sometimes you open a bottle of wine with great anticipation of being one of the best bottles you’ve opened that month. You want the wine to be great. You’ve been thinking about it all day. You also think, “what should I pair with it for dinner?”
Think of a hard day at work. I am in the swing of harvest now, and the days are quite long. I am surrounded by wine all day. I come home exhausted. Sometimes I just want a beer but other times I have a specific wine on my mind.
This particular day I had the 2013 Etude Heirloom Pinot Noir on my mind. Fresh salmon from the market for the grill. Couldn’t wait!
Step one. Look at label. Both front and back.
Step two. Remember what you paid for it. 😉
Step three. Open the bottle
Step four. Pour into glass slowly
Step five. Swirl
Step six. Put your nose in the glass
Step seven. Take a sip
Step eight. Smile
This wine made my evening! Dark fruit, spice, slight orange, nicely balanced with oak and tannin. Smooth finish. This wine paired very well with my grilled salmon.
If you ever get the chance to visit Etude Winery, I highly recommend it. My only regret that evening. I only bought one bottle.
Trousseau Gris, also known as Gray Riesling, has become one of my favorite wine geeky wines to produce. This is a very meaty, grey grape. The 2016 skins were tough and the juice did not flow very easily when pressed. But oh, did it taste good. So good!
The 2015 Passaggio Trousseau Gris sold out quickly. I was sad to see it go so fast. I would have liked more people to experience this wine. The 48 cases only lasted two months. The 2015 gave a vibrant and exotic blend of grapefruit, tangerine, and floral notes with peach, melon and a balanced acidity.
I have seen this grape made into so many different versions. Some leave it on the skins for days, which produces a light red / pinkish color wine. Some make it in concrete tanks. I have also seen it made in stainless and neutral barrels and then blended before bottling. I prefer to press these grapes straight off as soon as it’s brought into the winery. It still gives a slight pinkish hue to the juice. Then it’s fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. This is a highly sought out wine. A wine geeks wine for sure. Keep your eye out for the Passaggio Trousseau Gris in Spring of 2017.
Meeting new friends. One of my favorite things in life, especially when we have the passion of wine in common.
I met Mike and Lori (wine makers and owners of Dracaena Wines) through a mutual friend, David Razzari. I also met Kristi Riley Chewing. We all knew each other on social media, but what joy when you get to meet in person. They all joined me in the Passaggio Wines tasting room one afternoon. I had such a wonderful time and made some lasting friendships.
Eventually, Lori and I traded some wine. I had heard so much about her 2013 Cab Franc. I couldn’t wait to try it. I finally got to sit and try it one evening. I loved how it opened up in my glass while sipping. This wine, coming out of the Paso Robles area, gave off some wonderful blackberry and dark berry aromas along with spice and slight vanilla. On the palate, it gives you a mouth full of dark cherry, black berry, plum, spice, and slight tannin with balanced acidity. A long finish. Nicely done!
If you want to know more about Mike and Lori, and get a bottle of this fantastic wine, check out their website.
I am hoping when they visit again they bring another bottle… 🙂
Have you ever tried to find a wine that knocked your socks off? I have been in search for a Chenin Blanc that I could really say “wow, this wine is great!”
Having gone through several bottles of various labels, I finally found one that I could actually sit and sip. I won’t say it knocked my socks off, but I will tell you the 2014 Protea is my favorite Chenin so far.
This wine is light and crisp. Enjoyable enough to just sit and sip while contemplating the long day I just had. Showing off in the glass, you will find pear, citrus, and slight honeysuckle.
To top it off, this is a beautiful bottle. I think I may just have to save it 😉
I am still in search of that dry Chenin Blanc to knock my socks off…any suggestions?
How does one choose a wine highlight of the week? I try to pick one wine I’ve had during the week and post about it. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know I do try a lot of wines during the week. 😉 and believe me, I usually love them all. But one stood out for me this past week. The HL Vineyards 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. What a treat!!
A friend of mine just moved from Napa to Sonoma, and she is loving her new place. I, along with some friends, got invited to her place for dinner. The task…hang artwork. Not an easy task I might add. The measuring, and re-measuring and finding the studs (no…not those. I’m talking about the wood studs behind the drywall – geez)
It was a great evening! A few friends hanging artwork and a few cooking to get ready to BBQ the steaks. What could be better? Well….add a great bottle of wine and there you have it – a perfect evening. Wonderful friends, great food, awesome wines!
The HL Vineyards 2011 Cabernet – what a lovely wine! I know a lot of people think the 2011 vintage was not a good one. But I am here to tell you, I am finding some wonderful wines (especially Cabernet) coming from that vintage.
This wine is a very elegant Cabernet. Low alcohol for a Cabernet. 14.4% ABV. Softer tannins than most. The nose gave some bright red fruit, layered with nice toasty oak and hint of vanilla. Upon sipping, it was beautiful red fruit with a lovely spice rack and mocha and coffee flavors. I loved this wine, and I thank my friend for sharing it and a lovely evening with us.
Happy Wine Wednesday
It has been a very exciting summer so far for 2015. Visiting family is always a highlight. This year I went back to Virginia, at the beginning of July, to spend time with my grandson, Levi. He’s three years old. We got to spend some wonderful time together. My son and daughter-in-law live a few blocks away from old town Manassas, a very quant town. One day, Levi and I decided to walk up to town to see the trains. This was one of our many conversations on the way:
Levi: Mimi? You want me to toot? Yeah or no?
Levi: Well, I ate broccoli…
Me: I guess you will have to then
You just have to love innocence of little children. We had a great day that day!! I love him to the moon and back!!
I also visited my brother and his family. I stopped at Target on the way to visit and was walking the wine aisle when I spotted the Whispering Angel Rosé. This was a great find, especially at Target. I decided to take this out to share with my brother and sister-in-law. I couldn’t wait to try it!
The wine is a beautiful pale salmon color. Strawberry, raspberry, and citrus on the nose. A slight floral note as well. This is a dry rosé with bright acidity, layers of strawberry, raspberry, citrus, watermelon and a slight nuttiness on the palate. Very intriguing!
I am going to have to find this here in California. I need to buy a few more bottles to share with some friends!!
Well I’d have to say the highlight of my week was the Broadway Under the Stars. On Sunday, June 28th, the Passaggio Wine Club members and the MacLaren Wine Club members met at the Jack London State Park for a fantastic evening. We gathered under the shade trees about 5pm and greeted by the Girl and Fig with a wonderful cheese platter, olives, etc. The wine was flowing from both Passaggio and MacLaren. We were then given a wonderful dinner, again hosted by the Girl and Fig.
How’s this sound?
Two cheese selections served with grapes, dried fruits, spiced nuts, fig cake, fig compote, sliced baguette. Salmon nicoise, pork tenderloin, butter lettuce, haricots vert, egg, Yukon gold potatoes, caperberries, nicoise olives, cherry tomatoes, olive vinaigrette, mixed greens, roasted peaches, vanilla almonds, pear tomatoes, snap peas, champagne vinaigrette. Decadent chocolate brownies, fig & walnut crisps, chocolate chip cookies, fig kisses. Oh my!!!
Then it was time. We walked to the open arena where a series of award-winning concerts, produced by Transcendence Theatre Company, features established Broadway and Hollywood performers in the majestic open-air winery ruins in Sonoma’s Jack London State Historic Park. We were in for a treat. We were waiting for “Oh, What A Night!”, one of the four separate themed concerts in Transcendence Theatre’s “Broadway Under The Stars” 2015 Season. We sat down under the open sky, with the sun just about to go down. It was a beautiful evening. Everyone seemed so excited to see this musical that’s getting such great reviews!
Oh wait! I forgot to tell you about the wines – LOL
During the wonderful picnic, Passaggio poured the 2012 Unoaked Chardonnay, and the 2014 Lake County Sauvignon Blanc.
The 2012 Unoaked Chardonnay displays Granny Smith apple, Meyer lemon, tropical fruit, pineapple, balanced acidity, minerality, vanilla/butterscotch, with green tea notes.
The 2014 Lake County Sauv Blanc gives you big citrus, slight lantana bush, guava, pineapple, tropical fruit, floral notes, balanced acidity with a long finish.
If you haven’t been to one of these Broadway Under the Stars events, I highly recommend you taking the time to sit and relax under the stars with friends and enjoy…
I believe there comes a time in everyone’s life when we get too busy. I love writing this blog but my other passions just got in the way. A good friend of mine Jeff Kralik, whom I met on Social Media, writes a wonderful blog. If you haven’t heard of or read his blog, I recommend it highly. It’s called The Drunken Cyclist. He recently wrote a blog about some of Passaggio Wines. I was truly humbled and fascinated by his tasting notes.
After reading Jeff’s blog about Passaggio, it inspired me to start this blog back up again. (although I will never write as well as Jeff) I went to the wine cellar and pulled out a rosé I just purchased at Sonoma’s Best, a great little deli, wine shop, near the Sonoma Square. The Women for Wine Sense, a great national organization, have their annual rosé tasting there. What a great time we had sipping on several different Rosés. If you have never heard of Women for Wine Sense, here’s the link to their site.
Anyway, back to the rosé. This was one of my favorites of that evening at Sonoma’s Best. The Balletto 2014 Rosé of Pinot Noir. I found out an interesting fact about this wine the night of the tasting. This wine is a blend of 75% whole cluster press and 25% of the “bleed off” of their regular Pinot Noir fermentation.
This wine was very complex. It had layers of strawberry, cherry, and citrus. A great minerality on the nose and a balanced acidity on the palate. A great wine for just sipping on the patio. Stainless steel fermented. ABV 13.2%.
I have thought about this whole blogging thing. I looked back on this particular site of mine and couldn’t believe I hadn’t blogged about any wine since April of 2014. Now that could mean a couple of things. One, I have been pretty busy. Two, I lost interest. Or three, well I think I’ve been pretty busy 😉
One of the wines I had the privilege of drinking last week was the BRYTER 2012 Chardonnay. This wine paired well with some wonderful seafood at a dear friend’s mother’s 80th birthday party. This wine made from Gap’s Crown Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast was well received that evening. Terin Ignozzi, owner and winemaker of BRYTER Estates, has done an awesome job with these Chardonnay grapes. It’s a nice rich, complex Chardonnay. Those are hard to find I might add. Very well-balanced with acidity, oak, and complex flavors. I found tropical fruits, lemon, pear, and hints of spice. Long finish.
You can find this wine at the BRYTER Estates tasting room on the Sonoma Square, Sonoma, CA. Or you can buy it on her website here.
Thanks Terin for the awesome Chardonnay
It was a pleasure for me when Jean Rowe, proprietor of Greyscale Wines, emailed and wanted to come by the winery for a visit. I had not seen Jean in a few years. Jean and her sister, Anne, came by this past week and we had a wonderful time tasting through some barrels. As a treat, we opened a bottle of the recently bottled Passaggio UNMARKED 2012 Merlot.
The three of us went to lunch and had a great time reminiscing about the past. Jean gave me a bottle of her Greyscale 2010 Napa Valley Cab. I was quite excited about this and couldn’t wait to taste it. Thank you, Jean and Larry Rowe, for the special gift…it was greatly appreciated!
If you love Napa Valley Cabs, this is a special find. Check out their website and purchase a bottle or two 😉
This wine is 91% Napa Valley Cab, 6% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cab Franc. On the nose, dark fruit. Spice. Slight floral aroma. Chocolate. Earthy notes. On the palate, medium body. Blueberry. Vanilla. Framed with oak and soft tannin. Balanced acid. Long finish.
Every now and then I do enjoy a glass (or two) of my own wine…what winemaker doesn’t? So for St Patrick’s Day I decided to follow the rainbow. When I got to the end I found liquid gold. Well…maybe not real gold, but it was a very nice glass of unoaked chardonnay 😉
(but I am kinda biased)
The Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay is fermented and aged in stainless steel. This wine sees “no oak.” On the nose I found melon, mango, and lemon-lime. On the palate, it’s clean and crisp. Layers of citrus, stone fruit, lemon-lime, and a long finish.
I sure hope you get try it! My suggestion for pairing: with friends!!
I had the privilege of taking a mini vacation to Pismo Beach a couple of weeks ago. What a beautiful place! Of course I visited several wineries in the area. Along with the beautiful sunsets, I ran across several wines I thoroughly enjoyed.
This wine is from seven different vineyards. 95% Syrah, 3% Grenache, 2% Mourvedre. Smokey, meaty, blueberry, cherry, plums, spice, pepper, balanced acid. What more could you ask for 😉 Goes great paired with a beautiful sunset!
It’s not every day that you find a wine that’s only sold in the tasting room. You can’t get this wine anywhere else. If I were you, I’d find a way to 2455 Third Street, San Francisco, CA and taste the Dogpatch WineWorks 2011 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. You can thank me later 😉
One day, at the winery, Dave Gifford (one of the founders and wine makers of DPWW ) said to me “Have you tasted the 2011 Sonoma Coast Pinot lately?” He grabbed a bottle and we opened it. After the first sip, we just looked at each other and nodded. Of course Dave gave me a bottle to take home…
On the nose you will find complex layers of cherry cola, spice, strawberry-rhubarb, plum, and a hint of minerality. Full body, lively cherry, spice, and slight oak on the palate. Velvety mouth-feel. Balanced.
Great wine Dave!!
It’s always fun getting together with friends you haven’t seen for a while. Being invited to dinner is even better. 😉 It was a great evening catching up with Karen and John Troisi. We have been friends for some time now. They live in New Jersey and just bought another place in Napa. They are finding that they are flying out to Napa about every 6-8 weeks. It will be good to see them on a regular basis now….They are the owners/vintners of Jean Edwards Cellars.
The dinner was great and the company was wonderful. And, of course, the wines were awesome…the Jean Edwards 2010 Napa Cabernet “Seventy-four Forty-one” went great with the steak filet Karen made for us.
This Cabernet has a very dark nose. Layers of blackberry, blueberry and dark cherry up front with a slight tobacco note and dried herbs in the background. On the palate you will find layers of dark fruit, spice, and a nice balance of spicy oak and acidity. Long finish.
If you are a Cab lover – you will definitely like this one.
This year I made a promise to buy more small lot Artisan wines. Support the little guy…right? Jared Brandt, a friend of mine, who makes wine in Berkeley, CA, is the winemaker/owner of Donkey and Goat. He makes wonderful Rhone varietals, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. He was named one of the “wine makers to watch” in 2011. A few of his wines are featured in the Wine Enthusiasts Top 100 Wines of the Year. Needless to say, he is making great wines!!
I, along with my good friend Stu Ake, decided to visit Jared last week. We just wanted to say hello and sip some awesome wines. Jared just happened to be at the winery. It was good to see that he was doing well. But best of all, we tasted some great stuff. I brought home a bottle of the 2012 Grenache Blanc.
This wine is stunning. The grapes are from two different vineyards. Each fermented on the skins for six days and eleven days. A complex nose of citrus, pear, orange, floral, cloves, and a slight spice. On the palate, a slight red apple, pear, apricot, orange peel, and honey. Balanced acidity. This is one of those wines that you just like to keep swirling and sniffing. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine – thanks Jared! I’ll be back…
I met, David James, the wine maker for DEFINE Wines Rosé at my wine release party a few months back. He and Carrie Maudlin came to enjoy some sips of Passaggio Wines. We had a great time and I enjoyed their company that evening. In December, I noticed the new release of the 2012 vintage of DEFINE Rosé, so I decided to buy a bottle. I purchased the 375ml bottle for $23 off their website. This vintage rosé was made from Napa Pinot Noir and Sur Lie aged in French Oak barrels for six months.
The rosé, in a very elegant bottle, which used a stopper cork, was a deep rose color. A complex nose of strawberry, pomegranate, cherry, and a hint of minerality and oak. A heavier mouthfeel than you would expect on a rosé with strawberry, cherry, slight oak and balanced acidity.
Cheers to DEFINING yourself
2014 has arrived and I’m embracing the new year…it is truly a time for new beginnings. It’s been awhile since my last review on Fifty Shades of Wine. 2013 ended with some personally tough months. I lost, Mattie, my Airedale to cancer. She was 8 years old and words cannot describe the place she held in my life. When she passed away, a piece of my heart went with her. Slowly, my heart is mending and I am looking for 2014 to be a time for new beginnings.
My word for 2014 is “simplistic” – This leads me to the appropriate selection of 2014’s first review, the Joel Gott 2012 Unoaked Chardonnay.
This wine was quite refreshing. Very simple. Clean. Easy to drink. Great balance. Tropical fruit, a slightly floral note and minerality on the nose. On the palate I found tropical fruit, slight citrus, balanced acidity and long finish. This wine was great by itself.
Cheers to new beginnings
Sometimes you just have to buy a wine for the label! I saw this bottle in the grocery store and just had to try it. I couldn’t help but look up their website too. www.PinotPassion.com – When I opened the wine I found a very refreshing Oregon wine. An interesting nose to say the least. Floral, tropical fruit, and minerality. The palate has a medium body mouth feel with citrus, melon, and balanced acidity. Alc by volume 12.5%
Back label reads: It rains a lot in Oregon. And for those of us who live here you learn to love the rain. Rain influences almost every facet of our lives – how we dress, the foods we eat, the music we listen to and, importantly, the wines we drink.
Line 39 2012 Sauvignon Blanc
Although they have California on the label, this wine comes from Lake County. Alc by volume 13.1%. I purchased this wine at BevMo for $8.99
Orange, grapefruit, stone fruit, slight floral and grassy with minerality on the nose. Layers of orange, grapefruit, and peach on the palate. This wine has a heavier mouth-feel than I expected. Great acidity.
A lot going on for under $10.
It’s been a long harvest so far!!! Well…from my perspective anyway! Balancing harvest with taking care of Mattie has been a challenge. She is doing better though and is learning to walk on three legs. Sometimes she forgets and takes off running and falls…breaks my heart every time it happens. I am trying to get her off her pain medication too. I am sure she will be running around the yard soon like nothing ever happened.
Yesterday called for something I hadn’t had before. Dry Creek Vineyard 2012 Sonoma County Fume Blanc. I usually don’t drink Fume Blanc. I had heard about this wine and had to try it. Reason being, it is a Fume Blanc fermented in stainless steel. No oak!!! My kind of wine!
This wine has 13.5% alc by volume. Love the lemon and lime aroma dancing in the glass. A great citrus combination with a little grassy note. On the palate a very well-balanced lemon, lime, and lychee nut. Balanced acidity and easy to drink. It was definitely a great glass of wine (well actually two glasses) for the end of a very long day. I am planning on finishing the bottle when I get home this evening!
I am trying out this new app I discovered called Pressgram. I believe I’m gonna like it 🙂 Let’s see how this works out…
I picked this wine up (two bottles) at BevMo for $14.95. (Nickel sale) Only 12% alc by volume. It’s aroma was a little linear but had great apple and nice minerality. The palate was softer than I thought it would be. Great fruit, a little tart apple followed by soft melon, great acidity.
Who would have thought we’d be celebrating such a thing as Cabernet Day! Well…why not!
It’s been a tiring week but it’s finally Friday. If you would like to know what’s been happening in the life of this winemaker you can check it out here. Things are pretty hectic and, Mattie, my Airedale, has undergone bone cancer surgery to remove her left front leg.
Yesterday was Cabernet Day. I went to the cellar and found a 2008 Chateau St Jean Cinq Cepages. Although it’s not 100% Cabernet, I thought it appropriate for this special evening. Even though it’s been a tough week, what better way to celebrate this special day. The 2008 Cinq Cepages blend is 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec. Purchased in the CSJ tasting room. Alc: 14.4% by vol
The 2008 Chateau St Jean Cinq Cepages aroma is one of those wines I could sit and sniff for a while. It’s the boysenberries and chocolate that get me every time, coupled with a slight floral note and cassis. On the palate I found stone fruit, blackberry, slight licorice, nicely integrated tannins…feels slightly hot…long finish. I think this wine will be even better in a couple of years!
Love the new label too!!
It was a long flight home (well not really…just 5 hours) but it sure seemed longer. I had a wonderful time with family and friends in Virginia. Finally home and settling in to relax while watching a little TV, (I needed to catch up on Major Crimes) I decided to open the Urban Legend 2010 Barbera. I couldn’t wait to taste a glass of this Barbera simply because it was great when I had it at the winery. The Urban Legend Cellars is located in Oakland, CA. Marilee and Steve Shaffer are the owners and wine makers for Urban Legend. Like other small wineries, they have a great story. Marilee’s past careers include academic research to discover effective bacterial vaccines, development of molecular cloning methods, and biotech equipment sales engineering and marketing. (what a mouthful that is!) Marilee has an exhibit at the Smithsonian…how cool is that!?! After many years in this career and creating her own business called Waypoint, Marilee decided it was time to launch a new business…in the wine industry. Steve holds patents in computer system and fiber optic networking. Together they make some awesome wines. This winery is definitely a hidden gem in Oakland, CA. If in town, you absolutely should visit them!
I purchased this wine at Urban Legend Cellars. 15.7% alc
The 2010 Barbera had a slight floral aroma with cassis and dark fruit. On the palate was dark cherry, plum, anise (or some might say licorice), and even a little cola, light tannins, very good acidity and a long finish. I thoroughly enjoyed sipping on this wine while watching Major Crimes!!!
I’ve been in Virginia the past couple weeks visiting family. I am loving it!! My twenty-two month old grandson is so adorable I can hardly stand it 😉 You can see some of the photos and videos on my facebook page.
My daughter-in-law has made some amazing dinners and wine pairings with Passaggio Wines. The other day she decided to stop and get some wine at the store and asked what wine to get. I left it totally up to her. (I did give her a suggestion though – a CA Sauv Blanc 😉 – market research!!!) She brought several bottles home. One was the VINTJS Knights Valley 2012 Sauv Blanc. I believe she paid about $7.99 at Trader Joe’s. Alc 14.6%.
This wine’s aroma became more prominent as it warmed up in my glass. I found slight oak, nice minerality, grapefruit, lemon, and hint of hay. (interesting) On the palate it was a little heavier than I expected. Lots of citrus with slight strawberry on the palate and a slight creamy texture. I found this wine very interesting. I have never heard of the label and would love to know which winery has this as their secret “other” label. 😉
Alpha Omega…(the beginning and the end) Love the name!!!
I have been a bit slack on reading the blogs I follow. So I apologize for that. I sat down this morning to write about the Alpha Omega 2012 Sauvignon Blanc. I ended up reading through all the blogs I follow. Whew!! Veggie dishes, Beer, Wine, Plantations, Oysters, Sunday’s for Sebastian, Fried Chicken, and even Snow!!!
I love reading all these blogs, and I know how hard it is to keep them up. I appreciate that. I realize I don’t write as often as I should but I do hope you enjoy the wine notes I do write. I sure enjoy writing them.
The Alpha Omega 2012 Sauv Blanc on the nose had great minerality, pineapple, pear, grapefruit, apricot , mango and an interesting floral note. I had to keep sniffing this wine…it was very intriguing. Very complex. On the palate was citrus, pear, even a soft peach, with nice acid and a long finish. I truly enjoyed this wine. (a little pricey but I would buy it again $38)
First of all, the name of this wine is quite a mouthful to say. For simplicity and to save my fingers, let’s just keep it to “Domaine Carneros 2012 Rosé”…LOL. Second, I can’t believe Domaine Carneros took this long to come out with their first still wine rosé!
Once I got the notice of the release, I couldn’t wait to get up to Domaine Carneros to try this wine. I knocked on my neighbor’s door to see if she was interested in joining me to try out some new wine (she said, “Duh!!”) and off we went! It was pretty hot that day in Napa…perfect for sitting on the patio, looking at the absolutely gorgeous landscape while sipping on a few glasses of bubbly paired with a cheese plate and the charcuterie plate. With excitement, I asked for the rosé…
WOW – I was surprised at the very pale color of this wine…it matches the color of their sparkling rose! I couldn’t wait to start the tasting…here are my notes:
On the nose – watermelon, strawberry and peach. On the palate was refreshing, light layers of strawberry, peach, and hint of watermelon. A very delicate dry wine. Great for a hot summer day! Only 250 cases produced. You can pick a bottle up at the winery for $25 ($22.50 club member) Hurry before they are sold out.
I love my new grill…and I put it together myself 😉
I love grilling out on my back deck. Some of my favorite foods to grill are salmon, chicken, hamburgers and fresh vegetables. Hamburgers go great with the Passaggio 2012 Rose Colored Glasses. If you have a grill and you love inviting friends over, here’s a great recipe and a great wine to pair with it. I got this recipe, Mini Pesto Burgers, from one of my favorite books called 100 perfect pairings written by Jill Silverman Hough. I thought this recipe was a great one to pair with the 2012 Rose Colored Glasses…perfect for those hot summer days.
3/4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
6 slices provolone cheese
1 tomato, cut into 6 slices
6 white, whole wheat, or sour dough dinner rolls, split horizontally
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper and pulse to finely chop, scraping the bowl as necessary. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and process until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Set the pesto aside.
Shape the beef into 6 patties, about 3 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. Cut the provolone cheese into slices so that they are 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
Prepare the grill to medium high heat and lightly oil the grate. Sprinkle both sides of the patties with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Grill the patties to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium. During the last minute, place a slice of provolone cheese on top of each patty and place the rolls cut side down on the grill, to melt the cheese and lightly toast the buns.
Place the tomato slices on the bottom halves of the rolls. Top with the patties, pesto, and the top halves of the rolls and serve.
The 2012 Rose Colored Glasses has layers of strawberry, pomegranate, raspberry tea, slight cherry and minerality on nose. On the palate you will find layers of cherry, pomegranate tea, strawberry, slight tannins, fresh acidity and a long finish. This wine is $17. The alcohol by volume is 14%
It’s not every day that you get to taste a wine of which only 90 cases were produced. This wine was a gift from a friend. Alcohol by volume is 14.9 (website says 14.7) but who’s counting…?
Our weather had turned a little cooler from the prior day when we had temperatures in the upper 70’s…a virtual heat wave for the East Bay area! With the cooler temperatures, it was time to pull out a red from the cellar. It had been a while since I tasted a Zinfandel and I thought “Why not drink a nice red before the weather creeps back up into the upper 70’s?” The weather channel was saying soon, so I pulled a Zin out of the cellar.
The Barlow 2009 Napa Valley Zinfandel sounded good. The label is nice (for those who buy for the label.) It has some nice reviews (for those who buy according to reviews.) For those who like a classic Zinfandel – this one could be calling your name…that’s if you take my word for it 😉
After posting a photo of the Barlow Zinfandel as “In my glass tonight…” I received several positive comments so I knew I was on the right track. I took my glass, swirled it and took a nice big sniff…mmmm, nice dark fruit on the nose with a layers of plum and raspberry and a hint of spice. First sip, those aromas also showed up on the palate. The dark berries, plum and raspberry were complemented by a subtle vanilla, spice, soft tannins, and a nice finish. While it was a great compliment to the left-over grilled chicken, I thoroughly enjoyed a glass of the Barlow Zin on its own as I relaxed after dinner.
It was quite the dinner I was invited to! Headed to my Pastor’s house with two bottles of wine…hmmmm. I had no idea what was going to be served…all I was told was to bring two bottles of wine, so I decided to take the Passaggio 2012 Pinot Grigio and the 2012 Rose Colored Glasses. I figured, if anything, we could at least open one of them before dinner. When I arrived at the house and walked up to the door, I could smell dinner. Wow – I could tell we were in for something tasty!!! Invited in, I noticed some great dishes still being prepared in the kitchen. My neighbor…she was my ride…started helping. She began to cut up the strawberries for the dessert. And, of course, I opened the Rose Colored Glasses and poured everyone a glass as they arrived. The 6 of us stood around in the kitchen watching the final touches of the dinner preparation. My pastor tried to shoo us out of the kitchen, but we rebelled and had a great time sharing memories of family kitchen gatherings and stories of grandmas showing generations how to cook…it was such a good feeling to just relax as we shared great company and great wine while great food was cooking.
We all headed to the dining room where the table was set to perfection. The table-cloth, the cloth napkins, the dishes…everything was beautiful! The main course was Danish meatballs, also known as frikadeller- oh my!!! The spinach salad was wonderful and the pickled red cabbage side dish was scrumptious. And of course, the dessert….Fresh strawberries over sponge cake with ganache chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
We drank the Rose Colored Glasses with dinner. There was a red wine sitting silently on the side table. With very little prompting, we opened what turned out to be a Five Rivers 2003 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon. I couldn’t wait to taste this eye-catcher for sure!!
We decanted the Cab: Nice aromas of cherry, black berry and vanilla. On the palate I found it to be very fruit forward with cherry, blackberry, soft tannins and good acidity. The wine was quite velvety on the palate. Everyone enjoyed it! Oh, and the Pinot Grigio? It stayed in my Pastor’s refrigerator…a small gift of thanks for a wonderful feast, a memorable night with great friends and great wine!
Cruising the Mediterranean and sipping on Napa Cab….LOL.
One evening on the cruise ship during dinner, I was looking through the wine list and found Tyler Florence Napa Cabernet. I am not a big Cab drinker but, of course, we had to order it. What else would we have with our steak…LOL
A very funny story behind this bottle of wine. The Sommelier came to the table with the bottle. As she was pouring me a taste she began to explain how she didn’t know what the vintage this was since it wasn’t on the bottle. I looked at her with a little concern on my face. “How can that be..” I said. As I tasted it to make sure it was a good bottle, I looked at her as if to say go ahead and pour for the rest of us. She poured for the other four and left the bottle. I picked it up and began to ready the front. Tyler Florence Blend #5 Cabernet Sauvignon 09 Napa Valley rich with black current, cherry, vanilla. Hmmm…Cabernet Sauvignon 09. I looked at it again – Cabernet Sauvignon 09. I passed the bottle around and everyone said “Cabernet Sauvignon 09”
I waited a while before I called the Sommelier back to the table. I motioned her to lean down so I could whisper in her ear. I said to her – “I believe the bottle says it’s an 09 vintage.” She picked it up and looked closely as I pointed it out. She was a little embarrassed but was very gracious about it and thanked me for pointing it out to her.
This wine went great with the filet mignon. The nose was dark cherry and cassis with a hint of vanilla. On the palate I found very dark cherry, toasted oak and vanilla, nice tannin with balanced acidity. Definitely this wine is meant to drink with food. A pretty straight forward Cabernet.
But you know what made this wine a great wine…? Having it in the middle of the Mediterranean, with wonderful friends and great food…
Now that’s a mouthful to say…LOL
I recently was given the opportunity to take a cruise through the Mediterranean and I got to try some great wines of the region. This just happened to be one of those wines “in my glass tonight” in Sicily. (except it was during lunch…LOL)
Sicily is a wonderful place. The people, the food, the wine – sound familiar? I have always said that something magical happens when you bring food, wine, and friends together. Well it was even more magical in Italy (for me anyway…) Wines of Italy are made to drink with the local food! The culture lends to it. It’s a way of life there and I absolutely loved every moment!! We had the opportunity to sit down and enjoy a local food and wine pairing lunch. It was fabulous.
This wine is made in western Sicily with two grapes. Grillo, also known as Riddu can withstand high temperatures and widely known for its use for Marsala. Zibibbo is also known as the White Moscato. It simply means “dried grape.” This wine was a simple white wine. The aroma lent to a citrus, tropical fruit and slight minerality. It also had light tropical fruit and citrus on the palate as well. This wine was great with the seafood that day… 12.5% alc by volume.
Aw…you say she is talking about her own wine? Well, frankly…I am!
I just got back from a wonderful cruise in the Mediterranean. We sailed from Rome to Venice. It was a fantastic vacation and I can’t wait to go back. We visited Rome, Sorrento, Sicily, Zakynthos and Corfu, Dubrovnik and then Venice. It was absolutely beautiful. The food and wine were awesome, and the landscape was gorgeous. Waking up in the early mornings to see the sunrise was spectacular. Walking among the ruins at the Colosseum was life changing and walking through the Vatican was priceless.
Upon my return, still suffering jet lag, it was time to hit the ground running. I had to get ready for the Passaggio Wines 2013 Spring Release Party scheduled at the tasting room in San Francisco a mere 4 days after my return. We had a great turn out – approximately 65 – 70 people. Of the 2012 vintages, I poured Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, UNMARKED Sauv Blanc, Passaggio Rose Colored Glasses, and the 2011 UNMARKED Pinot Noir. The hands-down favorite white of the night was the 2012 UNMARKED Sauv Blanc. You can purchase this wine at the tasting room in San Francisco or on-line at Passaggio Wines website for $18 retail. Alcohol 13.2% by volume.
This wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel drums. It has layers of lemon grass, gooseberry, grapefruit, citrus, and a slight floral on the nose. You will find on the palate a vibrant lemon tart, citrus, grapefruit, pineapple, a slight lemon grass and a balanced acidity. This is a great wine for summer!
It’s fitting, don’t you think, that the Sauv Blanc was the highlight of the Release Party since it’s National Police Week. As always, 5% of sales from the UNMARKED labels go to the 100 Club of Contra Costa County benefiting families of Fallen Officers…
Cheers and Happy #Sauvblanc Day!!
- Sauvignon Blanc – A very brief and abridged history (barrelthief.wordpress.com)
Harvest…it’s a wonderful, exhausting time and each harvest brings unique memories. I remember working one harvest in Sonoma. I had an opportunity to work for Elizabeth Vianna, winemaker at Chimney Rock…she can make an amazing Elevage! The work was hard, but intensely rewarding. That harvest I stayed with friends in Sonoma. Every day ended with the same ritual…I would get off work around 6-7 pm, exhausted, and point my car to their house. They would greet me at the door, Advil in one hand and a glass of wine in the other…what awesome friends! Each evening they pampered me with dinner, and twice a week they got me hooked on another ritual…twice a week, without fail, we settled in with a glass of wine (of course!) turned on the TV and we watched Dancing With The Stars…yep, I became a DWTS addict!
I couldn’t help but think of those good times as I sat down this week to watch DWTS. It’s wonderful to have such great friends to share life’s moments with…we still share DWTS, except this time it’s while I’m sitting on my own sofa. Texting back and forth during the show isn’t the same, but it worked as we decided who we like best.
I decided to open a bottle of Simi 2011 Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc to sip on while watching DWTS. I purchased this wine at my local grocery store for under $15. 13.5% alcohol by volume. As I sipped on it during the show, I thought this was an unusual Sauv Blanc. It tasted as if there was something else blended in it. I had to look it up online. Sure enough, there is 2% Semillon and 2% Viognier blended in. The 4% was enough for me to think that this was an unusual Sauv Blanc. I must admit, I liked it. It was very easy to drink.
This wine had aromas of lemon, lime, apricot and slight peach with a hint of minerality (I love minerality on white wines.) On the palate I found a soft peach, lemon lime, and a hint of tropical fruit. The acidity was well-balanced with a long finish.
A big shout out to my friends in Sonoma. Had it not been for them I would not have those wonderful memories that will last long after this glass of wine is gone…
- Welcome Spring with Sauvignon Blanc (boiseweekly.com)
I just finished the most wonderful vacation on the east coast with my beautiful grandson, Levi! It was such a joy every morning waking to a little guy calling me, his grandma, “Me-Me.” Yep, he came up with that name all by himself…smart young fella! Now I can tell you I don’t mind the name “Me-Me” one bit. I kinda think it fits me perfectly! It was tough leaving, but now that I am back from my visit and it’s time to bring to you the tasting notes for wine “In My Glass Tonight”.
It was a long flight home, leaving Washington-Dulles International Airport around 7am EST to Long Beach, CA then to Oakland International. But it was all worth it. My flight landed in Oakland around 2pm. I was a little tired to say the least but ready to get back to my routine.
I went to the cellar to find something for the evening and pulled out the Fairview Cellars 2010 Two Hoots Red Wine. While visiting friends in BC, Canada, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the winery and purchased the bottle for around $24. Alcohol 13.3% by volume. This wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet, 30% Merlot, and 20% Cab Franc. I met the winemaker, Bill Eggert. He gave us a tour of the winery and we tasted through his wines. Two Hoots was named for the Green Horned Owls that come to nest every year on the property.
This wine was a little lighter than most red blends making it very drinkable now. I am thinking it could benefit from some age in the bottle and wish I had bought two bottles. It had blackberry, vanilla, current, a slight spice and oak aroma. On the palate I found blackberry, blueberry, slight cherry, current, soft tannins and balanced acidity.
I hope to get the opportunity to visit the Okanagan Valley Wine Country again…
This blog was a tough one to write, not because of the wine I chose but because of the tough start of my day. As I was writing, I found I’d write a sentence, then hit the back space to erase the words…I did that about four times until my brain finally kicked in gear, so here we go….
Sunday had a very rough beginning. I was sitting at my desk doing social media stuff, when I heard a sound that is only associated with metal hitting metal. I went outside and saw a car / motorcycle accident at the end of my street about a half block from my house. Several of us responded to help direct traffic; one neighbor held the head of the young motorcycle driver to soothe her until emergency responders arrived. It had been a while since I had to work an accident. Memories flooded back on my days as a police officer working events that had unfathomable tolls on people’s lives. Finally the local fire truck and two police units showed up, then the ambulance. They recognized right away she needed quick attention…it was good to see them take over the situation.
This made for a very long day and I eagerly looked forward to my church’s Sunday evening service. I needed a little soothing myself. After the service and arrival back home, I sat down to just take a deep breath. Quiet felt so good! It was now time for a glass of wine. I decided to try the Fetzer Echo Ridge 2011 Sauvignon Blanc. I purchased it at my local grocery store for $7.98. 13.5% Alcohol by volume.
This wine has a great aroma and a softness to it. The color was a little darker than I find in most Sauv Blancs. Very fruit forward with layers of melon, orange and pineapple with a slight floral note. The mouth feel was a little heavier than most Sauv Blancs with a mouth full of tropical fruit and a little grapefruit. The acidity of this wine was well-balanced. It was a nice wine to bring a close to my day. Although it would be great with food, it didn’t really need any. It was just fine on its own.
Dennis Martin, winemaker for Fetzer, believes that quality wines shouldn’t be reserved just for special occasions. He feels consumers should expect satisfaction whether they choose a moderately priced or higher priced wine.
Cheers to a GREAT day of bottling…I can still hear Dave Gifford’s bottling cheer in my head – “I love bottling yes I do, I love bottling how about you…?” Thanks, Dave!! After 7 hours of bottling my Passaggio Wines 2012 white wines and the ensuing clean-up, it was time to open the Mer Soleil Silver 2011 Unoaked Chardonnay. I have waited to open this bottle all week. I actually purchased four bottles of the Mer Soleil Unoaked Chardonnay on WTSO for $20.99/bottle. 14.5% alcohol by volume.
The bottle is a great ceramic piece but quite heavy. (You could hurt someone with it – LOL) A great concept though, since they ferment and age this wine in stainless and concrete tanks.
The wine had a wonderful nose. A lovely gold color with layers of tropical fruits, slight yeasty aroma, with a hint of minerality, citrus, and green apple made me want to keep swirling and sniffing this wine in the glass. On the palate – a nice medium mouthfeel (a little heavier than most unoaked Chardonnay) I found layers of lemon zest, peach, pear, grapefruit, and a nice acidity that makes this a great food friendly wine.
Winemaker for the Mer Soleil Silver is Charlie Wagner II states: “What I love most about this wine is that it has a true sense of place, by fermenting and aging without oak, you allow the flavor influences from the vineyard to really shine through”
I took Mattie on her first post-surgery walk today around the neighborhood. Another beautiful day in East Bay, CA. All is right in the world again now that Mattie, my Airedale, is on the mend from her surgery. When I got home, I was thinking it was time to relax and decide what to have for dinner and of course what wine would I pair with it. I went down to the wine cellar and pulled out the Clos Du Bois 2011 Pinot Grigio and placed it in the fridge. I purchased this wine at my local grocery store for $7.98. Alcohol 13% by volume.
A very light straw color. The aroma profile of this wine had me stumped at first. It was quite light. It had a modest citrus and a slight floral nose. The palate was a little thin. A dry, one-dimensional citrus and slight melon with a tart finish. Not quite was I was hoping for, but with only 13% alcohol it was an easy to drink wine. This would be a good choice for those really hot summer days at the beach when all you want is a simple straightforward glass of chilled wine to sip as you sit in your lounge chair, reading a great book.
Clos Du Bois Winemaker, Gary Sitton’s, approach to winemaking: “My goal with each of our wines is precisely the same: to honestly express the character of the appellation and to do so in the approachable, refined style for which Clos du Bois is known.”
- wine friday: cupcake pinot grigio. (frugalfoodiefamily.com)
It was a beautiful day in Sonoma. I visited a friend who works at Cline Cellars, and of course while I was there, tasted some wines. The winery and tasting room was just awesome as ever and the people who work there are always very friendly. I tasted through about 5 wines and decided on three to buy. One of the three is the wine I write about today…the Cline Cellars 2012 Mourvedre Rosé.
This wine is a great patio wine ideal when you have friends over for dinner or a BBQ. A great salmon color with pomegranate and a hint of cherry, it carries a nice minerality on the nose. There’s cherry lifesaver, slight citrus, a hint of red licorice and nice acidity on the palate. 13% alcohol by volume. It’s a light bodied wine…a nice refreshing wine to drink on its own. You can get this wine for $14 in the tasting room…
“Charles Tsegeletos, winemaker for Cline Cellars since 2002, often lets the grapes guide his style of wine-making. He works closely with the Vineyard Managers to ensure that varietals are planted in locations that will provide optimal acid and sugar levels and express true varietal characteristics. He then hones his wine-making skills to shepherd the wine towards his chosen style. His red wines are big and dark with lots of fruit concentration and delicate oak nuances; white wines are bright and fresh” ~ Cline Cellars
- 03.07.2013 Wine Reviews: TR Elliott Winery and Bonneau Wines with Cellars of Sonoma (vinespot.blogspot.com)
It’s not every day six of your most wonderful friends give you a bottle of wine they made in their micro winery. (actually in their garage :-)) These six friends, who live in Sonoma, get together most week-ends and have fun tending to their vineyards and making wine. They have graciously allowed me the opportunity to show them a few things about winemaking and in return I get some great wines that no one else can get. (unless you know them – they love to share)
They own and tend to their own vineyards, make their wine, bottle their wine, and design their own label..they actually have two labels – this one is my favorite.
The Luna Sei Moon Mix 2010 Red Table Wine is actually a 50/50 blend of Syrah and Mourvedre. It had layers of blackberry, currant, cherry cola, clove, violet, black pepper, with a hint of eucalyptus and vanilla on the nose. I kept swirling it in my glass just to smell it. I couldn’t get over how much I was enjoying it. On the palate was a juicy blackberry, black cherry pie, spice, slight eucalyptus, soft tannin and a nice acidity. It went quite well with my pork pot stickers.
They just bottled their 2011 Merlot and 2012 Syrah Rosé – I can’t wait to taste those!!
What a beautiful Sunday. The sun was shining…it was about 65 degrees in sunny east bay California. This was a great day to pop open the Chateau St Jean 2011 Pinot Gris. I did happen to find this wine at my local grocery store for $8.87. It regularly sales for $12.67. I thought what a great deal so I brought it home for dinner and a movie.
This wine had aromas of lemon and melon with a hint of minerality. On the palate was citrus, a really nice tangy melon, and a slight orange floral note. The wine had a slightly short finish but well-balanced with acidity. Alcohol 13.2% by volume. Sipping on this wine while making dinner was very delightful. It went quite well with baked salmon. I believe this is the only wine at Chateau St Jean that is fermented and aged in stainless tanks.
Oh, and the movie with dinner was “Skyfall” – an excellent evening for sure…
- Pinot Gris Food Pairings ~ A Best Resource ~ OregonPinotGris.org (wine-blog.org)
Every year at the end of February, I take part in a charity bowling event in Napa. It’s called the Gutter Ball Classic benefiting a wine industry scholarship fund. The first tournament was founded by Riccardo Gaudino and Margrit Biever Mondavi to commemorate the “immigrant” American Dream on the 100th Anniversary of Antonio Rossi in Napa Valley from Genova Italy. It’s great fun and where else can you bowl and get credited for a strike when you knock down 9 pins, win wine in a raffle, and see friends that you don’t get to see but once a year???
I wasn’t able to attend this year but a friend of mine won the Artesa 2010 Carneros Chardonnay. She was very kind to share with me. I took the bottle and immediately read the back label. I saw the words “hint of oak” and thought I have to see what they mean by “hint.” Of course, those of you who know me well, know that I am an unoaked Chardonnay winemaker and drinker. But the word “hint” caught my attention enough to give this a try.
The wine in my glass was a very beautiful gold color. On the nose I found apple, pear, stone fruit, hint of spice with vanilla and oak. On the palate a strong buttery, toasty oak with tropical fruit and a nice crème brûlée texture. I love using the term crème brûlée simply because I rarely get to taste it since I am drinking unoaked white wines most of the time. The acid helps balance this wine tremendously. I dare say the “hint” of oak was nowhere near what I call a “hint.” If you like a nicely balanced, creamy chardonnay with more than a “hint” of oak then this is the wine for you.
The winemaker for Artesa Winery is Mark Beringer. Following his passion for winemaking, he attended Santa Rosa JC, and later, California State University, Fresno where he graduated in 1990 with a B.S. in Enology. His winemaking philosophy begins in the vineyard. He values meticulous farming practices. Mark handcrafts wines from single vineyard blocks, treating them individually and keeping them separate throughout the winemaking process. Style by appellation is central to his winemaking philosophy. Only the best lots become Artesa wines. Artesa focuses on producing small, ultra-premium lots of the varietals for which the Carneros and the Napa Valley are best known – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. This winery is situated in the beautiful Carneros AVA…a wonderful place to visit.
What do you get when you add red carpet, beautiful gowns, handsome suits, gold trophies, and lots of gossip? The Oscars!!! Being invited to my neighbor’s house each year to watch the Oscars is always a treat. She always has beautiful table with great snacks to munch on while we watch, in anticipation, who is going to win best actor, best actress, and best movie. I must admit though, my favorite part of this years Oscars was Adele and Barbara Streisand. I love hearing them sing.
Every year, we each bring a bottle of wine to share with this group…this year, I brought the Sidewood 2011 Pinot Gris to share. I purchased this wine on WTSO (wines til sold out) The Sidewood Pinot Gris originally sold for $25 which I thought a bit expensive for an Australian Pinot Gris. It was on sale for $14.99 including shipping. The 93 rating from James Halliday, Australian wine writer and critic, made it especially intriguing. Alcohol 12.5% by volume. Sounded great to me and what better wine to share with friends at the Oscars 😉
This Pinot Gris was a light straw color in my glass and had beautiful aromas. Floral notes with apple and pear with a hint of minerality. The tasting notes on the WTSO said that it had a hint of oak on the nose and palate. I did not get any oak on this wine. The palate had nice complex layers of light and refreshing citrus, pear, and apple. The acidity was nicely balanced. This wine left me wanting more…good thing I have two more bottles.
A lovely evening with friends…great food, a very nice wine, Barbara Streisand and Adele…what more could I ask for?
- Pinot Gris Food Pairings ~ A Best Resource ~ OregonPinotGris.org (wine-blog.org)
It’s not every day I open a reserve wine. It’s been a tough few days with Mattie (my Airedale) who I rushed to the vet on Wednesday. After a full day of tests and observation, the vet confirmed she had two tumors on her spleen…no choice but to remove the spleen. She had successful surgery on Thursday and gets to come home Saturday morning…can’t wait to go get her!
This has been emotionally exhausting for me. The joy of getting past an otherwise devastating event deserved something special. To the cellar I went searching for one of my favorite wines…the Chateau St Jean Reserve Malbec. I found the 2007 in the wine cellar and decided “Yes!”. I worked for CSJ as a wine chemist from 2004-2007…my first wine job. Margo Van Staaveren, winemaker for CSJ, is an exceptional winemaker and an exceptional person. The art of blending is the cornerstone of her winemaking philosophy. One of the things she enjoys most about her job is putting together the final blend for the Reserve wines. “Since no two vintages are alike, it gives us the opportunity to carefully search for the vineyard lots that offer the biggest fruit expression and the ability to age in order to create a wine that truly captures the best of the vintage,” says Margo. She considers the Reserve wines the most concentrated, distinctive and balanced wines made at Chateau St. Jean.
The Chateau St Jean 2007 Reserve Malbec is not your typical Malbec. It’s very fruit forward and big. I mean big. This is a big Malbec. Did I mention that this is a big wine. LOL. On the nose is plum, dark cherry, hint of cola, vanilla and a slight minerality. Yes, I said minerality for a red wine. The palate is a creamy jam of dark ripe cherry, blackberry, cassis, smooth tannins, and nice long finish. Alcohol is 14.6% by volume. I recommend a big juicy grilled hamburger with this wine.
Thank you Margo Van Staaveren for such a great wine to enjoy…
- Chateau St. Jean Sonoma County Chardonnay 2010 (whywineblog.com)
I was standing in the wine section of my local grocery store searching for a nice Sauvignon Blanc. Checking out all the choices, I picked up this bottle and read the back label. A friend of mine had given me the 2010 Kunde Sauv Blanc which I absolutely loved. The 2011 was also in a clear flint bottle and screw cap that I am becoming more and more fond of, so I figured “go for it” and I bought it. After purchasing this bottle for $14.99, I took it home and stuck the bottle in the refrigerator for later.
If you were wondering if the Kunde Family Estate 2011 Magnolia Sauvignon Blanc is one of those wines to sip on while barbecuing, the answer would be “yes.” This wine works great for those hot summer days when you have some friends over to show off your skills at cooking a nice piece of salmon and vegetables on the grill.
The Kunde 2011 Magnolia Sauvignon Blanc is sustainably farmed and estate grown. This wine at 13.8% alcohol by volume was a little lighter and thinner than I expected. Nonetheless, its light mouth-feel shows off some freshness in the glass. The aromas of tropical fruit, pear, and hint of kiwi dance together in the glass with some minerality. On the palate I found a very soft peach followed by grapefruit. There was a slight hint of oak which helped give it some palate weight. Without a doubt, it will try to flirt with you from the glass. It was not like the 2010 that I remembered, but it’s still a nice wine to serve to friends before dinner.
Zach Long, winemaker for the Kunde Estate Winery and a graduate of UC Davis in Viticulture and Enology describes his winemaking style as “terroir-driven with minimalist intervention.” Zach states in one of Kunde’s YouTube videos: “‘The ability to get to work in agriculture, to grow something, create a bottle of wine, something timeless, something self expressive, that I could share with friends and family is what brought me to the world of winemaking.”
Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day in California. Mattie (my Airedale) and I enjoyed fresh air and a long a walk at the local dog park that borders the bay. Mattie loves the little dogs – I think she believes she is a little dog. (LOL) The air was cool but the sun was shining…all in all, it was a wonderful day in the park.
At 5:30pm, it was time to do some “market research” (hint, hint ;-)) so I headed to the refrigerator and pulled out a bottle of the Geyser Peak 2012 Pinot Grigio. I was quite shocked to learn the 2012 vintage was already out! The bottle was a clear flint with a screw cap…I am beginning to like screw caps more and more, especially for whites and rosés. The alcohol stated on the bottle was 13% by volume. I picked this bottle up for $12.99 at my local grocery store.
The winemaker for Geyser Peak is Ondine Chattan. Ondine. After her fist job at Cline Cellars she went back to school for her Masters in Enology from Fresno State University. After graduation she went to work at Ridge Vineyards. One of her quotes: “Winemaking is a wonderful mix of extreme fields. For instance, we use chemistry everyday, but we also use intuition.” Sounds like someone who understands the science and art of making wine…
In my glass, the wine was a pale straw color. The aroma was very clean and refreshing with a hint of minerality. It had lemon-lime, citrus, peach, and a slight floral note on the nose. There was definitely no hint of oak on this wine. On the palate was a very lively citrus and pear note, followed by peach, and a hint of spice. There was a lingering crisp finish which was quite nice. I would definitely pair this wine with oysters.
This wine added a nice refreshing finish to my beautiful California day…thank you Geyser Peak!