Saturday, June 17, 2017

2016 Martin Ray Rose of Pinot Russian River Valley On National Drink Rose Day


*Sample Received*

National Drink Rose Day a day devoted to drinking a wine that many think should only be sipped in hot months or on sweltering days. Wrong on all accounts. Your mentality should be "Rose Any Day Anytime" including cold holidays. Have you ever tasted rose with turkey or ham? How about with pork? Yes it's very versatile my friends and this one from Martin Ray Winery is one to grace your table. I'll bet you didn't know that when they moved the operation to the Russian River Valley the new home is one of the "oldest continually working wineries in California."

 The 2016 Rose Of Pinot with it's price point of $25, is definitely a keeper. The grapes were harvested from vineyards in the RRV and Green Valley which coincides with the winemaking philosophy "wines of place." Both in aroma and palate you immediately sense the ripeness of the berries and how this fruit must have been harvested at the perfect time from some well kept vineyards. The wine is produced by the saignee method where the winery "bleeds" off the juice with limited contact with the skins. In this rose, the winery allows skin contact for 6-8 hrs which gives them the beautiful color and an abundance of flavor on each vintage. Once completed, the juice finds it's home in steel tanks where it's allowed to ferment until bottled.

The nose is inviting with red cherries, strawberry, a splash of fresh sliced melon with a hint of orange peel. The mouth is so crisp with red berries, strawberry rhubarb, hints of peach and melon giving this refresher an almost tropical feel. Love how the flavors intermingle as they roll across the palate and keeps you filling the glass with more juice!

Swing by for a tasting, tour or even a picnic with friends by booking a reservation HERE. A place where you and your friends will enjoy.

Cheers
dan

Monday, May 29, 2017

2012 Viszlay Vineyards Five Vines Estate Red Blend Russian River Valley


Located in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, this small production boutique winery is a hidden gem. I was introduced to Viszlay Vineyards through my affiliation with Cellar Angels. The winery produces these small lot estate wines with grapes harvested from their 10 acres of vineyards. Varietals grown on the property include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir (yes after this blend I can only imagine how good their pinot is), Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Alicante Bouschet and Prosecco which is the only vineyard in Sonoma County growing this grape.

Not a large operation by any means, you will find owner John Viszlay wearing the hat of wine maker and winery operations head honcho. Son Tony handles the marketing and finance aspect of the business. I can tell you both you brought a smile to my face as soon as I tasted this beauty.

The 2012 Five Vines Red Blend consists of 42% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Malbec, 8% Cabernet Franc and 8% Petit Verdot. From the moment the cork was pulled there was this rush of a fruit bouquet followed by hints of earthiness, dried herbs and spicy currants. As you continue to swirl I was completely mesmerized by the complexity of the layers of aroma dancing through my nose. Not even a drop had touched my palate and I was already in love with the wine.

The mouth is silky and juicy with cherry showing off throughout the taste. Plenty of dark ripe fruit with each sip but the cherry makes another appearance so you don't forget about her. The spicy currants with a slight kiss of creamy vanilla lead to a long soft finish. I tasted this at various stages over the course of 5 hours and it was tight when first opened but with each passing hour it reached a point where my only thought was WOW. I have a second bottle to let age for another 5 years and can only imagine how good this will be.

Tasting at Viszlay Vineyards is by appointment only and I highly recommend making one. This my friends is some special juice. Don't miss another opportunity like this and sign up to become an Angel on Cellar Angels. It's free so don't wait.

Cheers
Dan




Saturday, May 27, 2017

Celebrating 90 Years Of Pedroncelli Wine #ped90th


*samples provided & recipe*

Its always fun to help celebrate milestones with wineries but even better when the fun lasts all year. Happy 90th Pedroncelli Wines and to many more. Tonight's festivities included tasters from the east coast, midwest, south midwest and west coast. Ed you need to stop inviting Thea....she tries to show off LOL

The family has farmed for 90 years in the Dry Creek Valley with many generations learning the family craft. They take things a step farther preserving the land for their future generations. Yes you guessed correctly sustainable farming.

It all began back in 1927 with the purchase of 25 acres planted on a hillside outside of Geyserville. In 1934 the family applies for a winemaking license and starts selling wine to stores and families. Think about a bottle today and tell me if you would trade by going back in time, driving up to the winery, and filling a gallon bottle for $0.45. Pick me pick me. Then in 1949 the first Zinfandel is bottled under the Pedroncelli label. In 1954 they were one of the first wineries to use the Sonoma County Appelation. Over the next several years more varietals are produced, more acres purchased and the sons purchase the winery and begin their journey. We will continue this section on our next post.

We started the evening off cooking the recipe provided Feta and Kalamata Lemon Chicken paired with the first wine of the evening Pedroncelli Eastside Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. I on the other hand became wrapped up in the wines and burnt the dish. I remade the following evening (still not my best effort) and thought the wine worked really well. The melon complimented the lemon and feta on the chicken nicely even on day 2.

Up first was the 2016 Eastside Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. Pressed, cold soaked and fermented in stainless steel and bottled shortly after harvest to showcase the fruit of the vineyard. Bright and crisp the succulent melon intertwines with a subtle tart grapefruit and lemongrass. You had me at melon my friends.

Wine 2 is the 2016 Dry Rose Of Zinfandel. Made from 100% free run juice and fermented in stainless steel, this dry rose' just dances across the palate. Strawberry and cherry with hints of orange zest and floral notes. A kiss of spice on the finish compliments the fruit. Drink this rose for any occasion.

Final wine of the evening the 2015 Alto Vineyards Sangiovese. After the first sip I was walking around the house talking like the godfather. Ripe cherry and red berry clusters with hints of baking spice and toasted vanilla. Jammy with well defined tannins. Loved this wine.

I was honored to taste and help celebrate with a group of tasters who are rockstars in wine. Ed and Robert thank you for including me in this stellar tasting. Folks check out all the twitter chatter at #ped90th and enjoy.

Cheers
Dan




Sunday, April 30, 2017

2010 Ceja Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast


This wine club shipment of the 2010 Ceja Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast sat in the cellar awhile winelaxing until just the right time to pop the cork. One of my first winery visits to Napa (yes another is planned this fall) and a personal tasting in their home I could not help but fall in love with their wines. I have watched them grow their success over the years and have remained a loyal fan.

I admire this family for their humble beginnings but big dreams of making a life in America. Starting in the vineyards and cellars and eventually to purchasing land, growing grapes and today making ultra premium wine. Their children are part of the business and what a wonderful opportunity for them. Passion, working hard, desire to succeed and values are how I would describe this family of wine.

The 2010 is showing nicely on the nose with these beautiful earthy notes racing from the glass. As you swirl, fresh mixed berry notes of strawberry, cherry, raspberry, plum and blackberry. Once the fruit is released a nice cola and herb finish treats your senses.

The mouth is rich and elegant with the dark fruit dancing across your palate and dominate, but there is that splash of red fruit for balance. On the finish the dried herb/cola spice compliments this pinot perfectly. At first it appears as this big pinot but the longer this remains in your mouth the softer and more beautiful she becomes. Muy hermosa Ceja's!

I encourage you to try any of the multiple Ceja varietals today. I think you will agree the wines will be inviting and delicious.

Cheers
Dan


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

2014 Passaggio New Generation Unoaked Chardonnay



I bought this wine a few years ago and just found it buried in the cellar. A fan of Cindy's wines since I was first introduced to them a little over 10 years ago. The name of her label Passaggio means passage way in Italian and falls in line with her roots and family winemaking.

The 2014 Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay was fermented and aged in 100% stainless steel. The nose shows nicely with fresh sliced apple, pear, lemon citrus and white floral notes. The mouth is very fruit forward with tart pear and apple followed by lemon citrus. The finish is crisp and begs you to drink more.

Visit Cindy at her tasting room located at 25 East Napa St Suite C in Sonoma. A huge congratulations are in order as she has now also moved into her own production facility a testament to her continued success. Swing by for a sip.

Cheers
Dan