Sunday, December 30, 2012
Dinner this evening was chicken with fresh peppers over white rice and after tasting tonight's wine, I figured it to be an excellent pairing. Might be winter but this crisp little devil was just the ticket. Vinho Verde means "green wine" or a better translation young wine. Many of the producers are small with the wines coming from the Minho Region of Portugal.
Green apple and peach are very dominant on the nose. Cantaloupe and honeydew melon with a touch of lemon zest.
Loads of citrus and fresh cantaloupe on the mouth with crisp melon. Lemon zest and minerality on the finish. When the wine warmed peach and green apple entered the scene.
Inexpensive and nicely done. Conversation sippers or simply pair with food, introduce yourself to the wines of Portugal!
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Must say its been an interesting year. Wonderful wine tastings from California, Oregon, Argentina, Portugal, Chile and France just to name a few. I have so many special relationships with winemakers and wineries but most importantly I have a great bunch of followers who are in the true sense friends. One who only lives just 2 hours to the west will embark on her journey to Napa, a place where she belongs. Another on the east coast who might just be crazier than I (Yes D you may call me Miles but you are definately Jack) and many more in wine country (even Chef Robin in Chicago). Wine friends are the best friends hands down.
2012 also allowed me to "Follow My Passion" and become a partner in a boutique winery. So excited to take this journey in 2013 and beyond......... My wife and I are very very happy! Remember I always said I would be a part of a wine business. Never give up your dream.
To all the wineries, winemakers, pr professionals and social media specialists, many many thanks for the wonderful samples you sent this past year. You introduced me to some tasty juice and bring a smile to my face with your support and comments.
Dad I hope you're watching from above. Were doing just fine.
To each of you Happy New Year and may 2013 bring you good health, happiness and a whole bunch of great wine.
Cheers My Friends
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Portugal is fast becoming a wine country I'm loving. Vinho Verde Wines are released young typically 3-6 months after harvest and known for being one of the best wine values on the market today. Versatile, crisp, clean and food friendly wines everyone will enjoy.
2010 Twin Vines is a refreshing white wine which takes you to the tropics. Lemon-Lime citrus, honeydew melon and ripe tangering tickle the nose. Simple yet so pleasing.
I sipped this baby relaxing by the fireplace after opening gifts christmas eve. Fresh melon, with hints of juicy tangerine and pink grapefruit. Lime citrus with a nice touch of minerality on the finish. Nice balance of acidity too. Someone grab me a nice fruit salad!
Treat yourself today and experience the delicious wines of Vinho Verde!
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Oh the joy of drinking Pinot Noir. Tonight I toasted my love of Oregon Wine with this elegant bottle of passion by Craig Camp. The wine is born in the Willamette Valley which happens to be Oregon's leading wine region. Imagine over 200 wineries producing world class Pinot in a climate which is darn near perfect for grape growing. Popular among wine tourists, a visitor to the region will have the opportunity to taste exceptional food paired with exceptional wine, stay at one of the many bed and breakfasts the area has to offer or take in the beauty of the countryside. Oh yes and taste alot of wine from Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot, Sauv Blanc, Syrah, Pinot Noir and a few others.
What you will notice when tonight's wine is poured is the bouquet of fresh tart cherry with hints of cinnamon spice. Raspberry, ripe cranberry, subtle hint of clove and a touch of earthiness. Neat little nose pleaser.
Charming $30 Pinot and worth every penny. Cranberry, cranberry and more cranberry with cherry, strawberry and raspberry. Fruit really shows the personality of the vineyards. I get a little of the cinnamon spice and clove on the end. Delicious young and I wonder what Craig thinks some age will do to the wine. It's a winner either way! Cool label "Color of Life" by artist Janet Ekholm.
Discover both Cornerstone Wines and the Stepping Stone Wines lineup offered from Cornerstone Cellars CA/OR. Three years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the tasting room in Yountville Napa Valley and can't wait for the day to visit Gaston Oregon's room. I have been drinking their wines ever since. Everyday or special occasions, serving Cornerstone Wines will make you a popular host.
Monday, December 3, 2012
I usually taste and review wines on this blog so a wine glass is a first for me. I have used the glass on both white and red wine, multiple varietals and really impressed. Designed in a partnership with The Italian Sommelier Association, it was created to bring out the very best aroma and taste in wine..... enhancing your experience.
With the help of both designers and sommeliers, Tre Sensi provides the wine with the opportunity for perfect oxygenation by its bowl design. I notice as well the aromas flow nicely to the rim and enhance the fruit as it fills your nose. Love the sleek design and how easy the glass is to handle. A set of these would impress your dinner guests.
Enhance your tasting experience and purchase your Tre Sensi today! Cheers Bormioli Rocco!!!!
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Pinot my old friend so luscious and silky. Love the holidays especially the traditional meals which pair nicely with my favorite varietal. Today I served the 2010 Cornerstone Cellars Pinot Noir with my turkey, cranberry sauce and favorite stuffing. Beautiful pairing with the rich fruit in the wine paying a compliment to the flavors in the meal.
Right away your nose fills with ripe dark cherry and red raspberry showcasing the fruit of the vineyard. No doubt in my mind these berries were harvested at the perfect time. Cloves and cinnamon spice with a nice hint of earthiness. Soothing and inviting aromas.
Well done Pinot. Juicy cherry with hints of fresh strawberry and red raspberry followed by a slight tart cranberry. Warm cinnamon spice on the end finished the taste with elegance. A palate pleaser and one I think you will really enjoy.
To learn more about their wines produced in Oregon click the link Cornerstone Cellars or call 971-228-5758 to schedule your tasting today. It's a stop you won't want to miss. Craig and the gang have an award winner with this bottle.
Friday, November 23, 2012
My apologies for those readers who are experiencing missing pictures on many of my older posts. Thank you for alerting me. It seems my phone decided to wipe out all my pics on the picasa web album on google. Slowly I am manually uploading everyone of them and as you can imagine 350 pics will take some time.
I hope each of you had a Happy Thanksgiving.
PS: Yes I am enjoying wine while I reload. Would you think any less of me
I hope each of you had a Happy Thanksgiving.
PS: Yes I am enjoying wine while I reload. Would you think any less of me
Simply delicious chardonnay was in the glass this evening from the vineyards in the Willamette Valley. I usually associate this region with Pinot . Actually the vineyards produce award winning Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris along with Reisling and Chardonnay. A special place growing exceptional grapes.
Once in the glass the fruit aromas pop into the nose. Fresh kiwi, pear and honeydew melon give you a tropical sensation. Lemon and lime citrus with hints of vanilla bean. Baking spice appears as I continue to swirl.
Definately fruit forward and very new world chardonnay. Tons of citrus with the lemon and honeydew melon, juicy kiwi and rich vanilla enveloped by a nice baking spice. Day 2 brought a nice touch of pear. The tropical fruit is so crisp and refreshing. Elegance in every sip.
Cornerstone has a big winner here with the 2010 Chardonnay. Stop by the Gaston tasting room and sip for yourself. Craig and the fine folks at Cornerstone will treat your palates. Check out their site Cornerstone Cellars You will want to buy a few bottles....trust me the wino knows!
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Tonight brought a very nice selection of Loire Valley Wines 5 in all celebrating Chenin Blanc! I found the wines refreshing, crisp and full of character. The event brought many of my wine blogging friends together for an enjoyable tasting.
Wine one was the Vincent Careme 2010 Vouvray Brut Cuvee T. Love starting with bubbles! Vanilla, grapefruit, loads of citrus, mineral notes, lemon zest. Excellent layers of flavor wrapped around minerality. The wine tickles your nose and treated your palate.
Wine two was the 2011 LeHaut-Lieu Sec. I found this wine very interesting with a slight funk when I first opened the bottle which quickly faded giving way to pear, green apple, mild orange zest, lemon/lime notes, nectarine, fresh almonds and hay. Nice mineral notes on the finish of this wine as well and the lime citrus accent. This may have been my favorite of the evening.
Wine 3 was the Gautier Benoit Vouvray Argilex 2010. Loved the fresh cut flower aroma as if you were standing in a field of daisy's. Red apple, lemon, citrus and nice honey notes. Simple yet refreshing.
Wine 4 Foreau Vouvray Demi-Sec 2009. Loads of sweet pear and lemon citrus when the wine first hits the glass. As it opens, baked apple pie, wild flower and honey. Nice character and perfect balance of fruit. This was my second favorite of the evening.
Final wine of the evening the 2005 Francois Pinon Cuvee Botrytis. Licorice, vanilla, sweet golden raisins along with very ripe apple. Would love this with a spicy asian chicken dish. Great wine to end the evening.
There we are folks the journey of Vouvray is complete. Both parts really opened my eyes to the various styles of vouvray and the vast character each wine portrays. I have a greater appreciation of this region. Thanks to Cailyn and Joel for taking me on this tour of France. What a wonderful evening of tasting and sharing thoughts.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Chilly fall days call for red wine in my glass and today its the 2010 Stepping Stone Cabernet Sauvignon. While you can age these wines in your cellar if you wish, Stepping Stone wines were made for pairing with tonight's dish. Each vintage is an expression of the vineyard and I really enjoy these as an everyday wine. My pairing a nice Amana beef rump roast with fresh stock, root vegies slow cooked to perfection. Craig I'll fedex you a plate :)
Nice fresh red raspberry, dried sage, hint of vanilla, blackberry with cinnamon spice. When you first open the wine a blast of smokey oak which quickly disappears. Allowing the wine to warm in the glass brings juicy plum and cloves. Wonderful aromatics.
Excellent layers of both dark and red fruit with the blackberry, raspberry and plum from start to finish. It's awesome how you start with the blackberry then move towards the middle of the taste with red raspberry then finish with ripe plum. Soft and silky there is a hint of spice on the finish but very little. Definately a great expression of fruit in each sip. If you're not drinking this wine then you're missing out.
Craig as always its a real treat to taste these wines. Year after year quality affordable juice with a price point everyone can afford. Order yours today Cornerstone Cellars by clicking the link. Don't miss out on the very friendly delicious cabernet from Stepping Stone.
Friday, October 26, 2012
Hello Australia! A trip to the Barossa Valley on Tastelive this evening brought 3 excellent wines flavor packed and aroma sound. Winemaker and Host Stuart Bourne provided the setting and knowledge about the wine region including climate, soils and location. Chateau Tanunda is Australia's oldest and largest chateau and the birthplace of barossa wine. Vines were planted in 1845 with the winery created in 1848. Ranked #4 for 2011 outstanding value wines by Wine Spectator. Wine Advocate recognizes them as one of Australia's top 20 producers.
Up first this evening the Grand Barossa Riesling 2010. Loads of citrus fill your nose at the start. Lemon lime, orange, melon, ripe pineapple so crisp. Wonderful refreshing wine. Grapefruit, melon, juicy lime, stone fruit and minerality. Beautiful acidity. My pairing which I thought would be perfect is a pasta dish with fresh shrimp drizzled with fresh lemon juice. I was instructed to fedex the winemaker a plate lol.
Wine 2 the 2010 Grand Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon. Dried thyme with green pepper, cocoa powder, currant, blackberry, plum and fresh mint. Really liked the combination of herbal notes with the ripe dark fruit. In the mouth rich blackberry and raspberry, dark plum with chocolate notes and oak. Middle of the taste there was some earthy spice which gave the wine some character but also showed how young the wine and aging is needed. Can't wait to taste the other bottle a year from now to compare.
The final wine of the evening was the 2010 Grand Barossa Shiraz and my favorite. All 3 wines were superb but this happened to be the one that really wow'd me. Excellent ripe plum and blackberry with pepper and vanilla. When the wine warmed hints of earthiness, spice and chocolate. The flavor was so soft and silky. Plum, blackberry, cherry and blueberry with vanilla notes. Might just be the best Shiraz I have tasted......ever and my comment to the group "Drop Dead Delicious" was spot on.
Bravo to Chateau Tanunda for some excellent bottles this evening. While all bottles were under $20 tonight I thought for sure these tasted more in the range of $25-$30. Cailyn and Joel another great tasting and thanks for introducing me to the world of Australia.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
What a great nose with the start full of ripe red raspberry. Black cherry, fresh plum and blackberry with white pepper. As the wine opens up this wonderful smokey earthiness treats the nose. Amazing aromas!
Awesome flavor. Loved the juicy red raspberry followed by blueberry and hints of vanilla. Ripe plum with a nice oak touch. The finish was long and soft. Not your average celebrity wine. This blend screams delicious!!
Huge thank you to Chrisy Gallagher for introducing me to this great wine and naturally Mr. Gordon for sharing his love of wine with us. Perfect evening, perfect juice. Check out Jeff's wines at Jeff Gordon Cellars
Sunday, October 21, 2012
White wine as it should be was my comment about tonight's Tastelive Event.... Hurray Vouvray from the famed Loire Valley. Tons of citrus and tropical flavors with some dry and others on the sweet side. Fantastic expressions of wines from this region. I for some reason tasted out of line so here we go......
My first wine of the evening was the Marc Bredif Vouvray Sec 2010. Fresh melon, lemon, juicy pineapple, sweet pear and loads of fresh lime. Combination of pineapple/pear with the lemon lime was outstanding and the sweetest of the wines this evening.
Wine 2 was the Domaine des Aubuisieres Sec Cuvee Silex 2011. Pear, lemon citrus, grapefruit, and orange zest. The pear was the star lasting long into the finish with a hint of the organge and lemon citrus. Little touch of mineral....perfect.
Wine 3 The Didier Champalou Vouvray Sec 2010. Nectarine, orange peel, pear, lemon this wine was huge on the citrus aromas and flavors. More of the orange/nectarine flavor than pear on this wine followed by mineral notes.
Wine 4 the Francois Chidaine Vouvray Sec Argiles 2010. Lemon, pear and loads of lime on the nose. The flavor was a very nice ripe sweet pear followed by fresh lime and zesty on the finish. The pear lasts long into the finish and is semi sweet.
Final wine tonight the Domaine Bourillon Dorleans Vouvray Sec Coulee d Argent. Probably the favorite of mine this evening with aromas of honey, grapefruit, pear, lemon. The flavor outstanding with the pear/grapefruit, the hint of sweet honey. Toss in some stone fruit and it was a great ending to the night.
Cailyn and Joel thanks for introducing me to these awesome wines from France. I never knew what I was missing until tonight.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Let's call this night "Lost in Chile" an hour long tasting/interation with winemaker Marcio Ramirez. 4 Single Vineyard Wines Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon were on tonight's menu all grown/harvested near Chile's major rivers. The vineyards are planted on river terraces and hillsides which are mineral rich and free draining. The climate is perfect with the fresh sea breezes and cold mountain winds cooling the grapes from the warm sunny days. The result are wines with intense flavor and complex aromas.
Wine one was the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc from the Ucuquer Vineyard which lies on the south bank of the Rapel River. Aged in stainless steel tanks for 6 months, the aromas of lemongrass, grapefruit, tangerine, cantaloupe and lime zest tickle the nose. The fruit was so vibrant on the nose. The flavor was intense with pear, cantaloupe, lime and a nice mineral finish. I found the wine full of citrus and tropical flavors with nice acidity. Beautiful wine to start the evening.
Up next the 2011 Malbec from the Palo Santo Vineyard near the Tinguiririca River. Right out of the gate the chocolate and blueberry aromas were very intense. Plum, blackberry with hints of tobacco and leather finishing with the faintest oak nuance. As you swirled these layers circled your nose and this baby was ready for some mouth time. Ripe plum and juicy blueberry followed by cocoa powder, blackberry with leathery oak on the finish. Great combination of flavors.
I loved all these wines this evening but I must say wine 3 may have been my favorite. The 2010 Carmenere from the Peumo Vineyard showed nicely in the glass. Blackberry, pepper, sweet vanilla, mocca, blueberry and plum. Intense ripe fruit and spice I thought for sure this wine would be bold. Silky and soft with creamy blueberry followed by rich plum. Vanilla with hints of mocca and cocoa. With a piece of dark chocolate the wine is like butter in your mouth. Many of you know my love of the cherry in Pinot but I adore the blueberry in this Carmenere!
The final wine of the evening Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 from the Palo Santo Vineyard. Full of cherry, plum, blackberry, molasses, leather and spice on the nose. As I swirl I'm thinking about a nice juicy beef filet. Fresh raspberry, ripe cherry and red plum with a nice clove/oak finish. I believe my comment was "just flat delicious". That steak you ask......dinner night 2 of this wine and one great pairing.
Marcio it was a pleasure meeting you and tasting your wines. My first introduction to these wines and I am very impressed. The beauty of the country is stunning and I hope to visit one day. Cailyn and Joel bravo on another excellent tasting. Great to see many of my blogger friends at this event too. We shared some great thoughts and awesome wine. Learn more about this fine juice by clicking the link Gran Reserva Wine
Sunday, October 14, 2012
What would you say if someone asked you to participate in a wine and food tasting that included cupcakes for desert? Cupcakes with wine eeewwww was the words from my wife and youngest child. Well you were both wrong because not only was this night an absolute treat that included a fresh salad and chicken dish, the chocolate zinfandel cupcakes along with the stud muffin cupcakes (brown sugar beer cake, salted caramel frosting, cayenne dusted bacon) were to die for. The 4 wines we tasted tonight Charlottes Home Sauv Blanc, Chalk Hill Chardonnay, Estate Russian River Pinot Noir and Estate Knotty Vines Zinfandel. Robert Larsen, Josh Silvers, Cailyn, Joel and a host of guest bloggers were treated to a night of great wine, food and conversation.
Up first Charlottes Home Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County 2011. Full of great tropical aromas and flavor. Tangerine, honeydew melon, pear and lemon treated the nose. Pear and melon first treat the mouth with a nice long lemon/mineral finish. Paired with the Frisee Salad Lyonnaise, both complimented each other very well. Loved this first wine and wondered where this was on my hot July days this summer.
Second wine the Chalk Hill 2010 Chardonnay paired with pan roasted chicken and spaghetti squash carbonara. Big fan of this wine with its aromas of caramel and butterscotch, baking spice wrapped around warm apple. Day 2 brought some tropical notes of coconut with hints of vanilla. The flavor was creamy from start to finish with pear and apple followed by a soft spice/oak ending. Another wine I could have in my glass everyday and a steal for $20.
The final wine of the evening which by this time I'm headed to a food and wine coma, was the 2010 Knotty Vines Zinfandel. I have tasted this wine on many occassions and love its quality and consistency. Fresh jammy fruit (raspberry, cherry, plum, black raspberry) with pepper notes and oak both in aroma and flavor. Normally this wine I would pair with my bbq dishes but tonight it was the chocolate cupcake with zinfandel frosting (loved the blue sparkles). OMG so delicious. Chocolate, rich dark fruit and creamy frosting I'm sure this has to be illegal it was that good!!! Sift cupcakes you are amazing!
I have a few folks to thank for this wonderful evening. First to Robert Larsen of Rodney Strong Vineyards you spoil us with these quality wines each and every time. Josh Silvers author Down Home Downtown Seasonal Recipes from his Sonoma Restaurants which is full of delicious recipes. Highly recommend you purchase! To the fine folks at Sift Cupcakes you make the most delicious amazing treats! It's no wonder you were champions! Finally Cailyn and Joel always great events and thankful for the opportunity to participate. I am one lucky wino!
Sunday, October 7, 2012
The chardonnay grape originated in Burgundy and today is grown all throughout the world. Known as "The Queen", she can be created into many different styles from the heavy buttery oaked to the more tropical unoaked version we see being produced today. That's not to say all chards produced today are the latter version, no there are plenty of old world chardonnays available and ready for your drinking pleasure. Which one do I prefer you ask? I'm a wino so naturally I love them all!!! Tonight's Flowers Winery Sonoma Coast Chardonnay showcases the region and fruit beautifully.
From the moment the wine hits the glass, fresh green apples and ripe pear treat the senses. Next fresh cut flowers with a hint of the tropics gives you that feeling of standing on a cliff overlooking the ocean with the sea breeze gently blowing against your face. Lemon citrus, hints of coconut and vanilla round out the aromas. Wonderful wine to get lost in swirling and sniffing.
I'm so impressed with each vintage I taste. The pear and green apple flavors are so vibrant you can tell the grapes were picked at the perfect moment. While those two flavors last long into the taste, juicy lemon and orange zest appear with a nice little mineral hint on the finish. Traditional flavor on the front with new world tropical flavors on the finish make this wine a huge favorite in my house. I love to serve this wine with a pan roasted tilapia or chicken breast with a fresh lemon and vegies.
If you have not tasted Flowers Winery wines you're missing out. Click the link today to learn more about the beauty of their vineyards and the wines they produce.
Monday, October 1, 2012
Great night for white wine and this nice little gem from Cornerstone Cellars! White Rocks a blend of Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer, showed very well in the glass/mouth. Excellent combination of rich, ripe fruit along with a crisp clean finish.
Loved the aroma with pear, pineapple, honeydew melon, hints of lemon/lime zest and allspice. Have I gone to the tropics? Daughter and wife "Oh that smells wonderful pour us a glass" There was no hoarding of wine this evening by yours truly LOL!
Perfect combination of lemon citrus and pear on the palate as you take your first sip. Towards the middle a sweet sensation of melon and pineapple with a nice clean finish. The spice on the nose was lost in taste but honestly what impressed me was the quality of the fruit. A great wine to start the evening off with and man will your friends be impressed. Grab this bottle before its all sold out at Cornerstone Cellars Craig you have another awesome wine!
Monday, September 24, 2012
Always a treat tasting the new releases from Craig and the folks at Cornerstone Cellars Tonight's wine is the North Coast Red Rocks a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah and Merlot. I paired this wine with a Gino's Chicago Sausage/Pepperoni Pizza.
On the nose as soon as I popped the cork I got a quick little smokey sensation. Plum, raspberry and blueberry with hints of pepper/clove. The longer in the glass.....plum, boysenberry and blueberry.
Plum dominated the taste with raspberry, white pepper and spice following. I really enjoyed this wine with the pizza. The plum complimented the tangy, chunky tomato sauce while the pepper added a nice touch of spice to the dish working well with the garlic and meats. Soft finish with the food and when I drank alone there definately were tannins.
Stay tuned for Stepping Stone's White Rocks tasting.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
As summer slips away and the leaves start turning, there is still time for a little grilling and red wine. Tonight's dinner was bbq chicken breasts grilled to perfection paired with Rodney Strong's Knotty Vines Zinfandel. The price point runs $17-$20 but the quality takes me over the top.
Dark fruit fills the nose with blackberry, black raspberry, and plum. Gives you a jammy sensation with each sniff. Next a nice big black pepper aroma followed by cloves. Nice balance of fruit and spice but I love that huge pepper note.
Did you know this wine tastes perfect while held in the left hand as the right flips the chicken lol. Excellent juicy raspberry followed by blackberry and ripe plum. The finish a black pepper spice but soft. I used a smokey bbq sauce and what a pairing. The dark fruit complimented the thick rich molasses in the sauce with the pepper giving it a little kick.
Your next bbq consider picking up Rodney Strong Vineyards Knotty Vines Zinfandel. You will love the pairing.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
College football season and the weather was perfect for a little shrimp, pasta and savignon blanc. I went with a California Sauv Blanc which tends to be more tropical vs a New Zealand. The 2010 Honig Wine from Napa Valley was full of tropical fruit with a crisp clean finish.
In the glass you know its sauv blanc with the trademark grapefruit aroma pouring from the glass. Fresh peach with hints of cantaloupe and tangerine followed by a nice lemon citrus sprinkled with floral notes. Felt like I was on the beach with the sea breeze blowing in my face!
Lively fruit with each sip. Mango with peach and cantaloupe starts your taste off. Grapefruit with white peach and lemon closing with a nice minerality. Crisp, refreshing wine which paired beautifully with my seafood dish. Does summer really have to end?
Friday, September 7, 2012
Thursday was the 3rd Annual #PinotSmackdown a global day of tasting Pinot Noir my favorite grape. Wine lovers from all walks of life tasted from regions including New Zealand, California, France, Oregon, Washington, South America. Big thanks to @winetonite Mr Ed Thralls Jr for tonights event. The winner once again New Zealand with Oregon coming in second and California a distant third. My choice was the 09 Highflyer from Somerston Wine Co in California.
Having tasted a few bottles of Highflyer varietals previous to the pinot, I assumed this would be tasty like the others............ and I was correct. Once in the glass a huge dark cherry aroma fills my nose. Hints of earth and herbs, cola, spice with splash of raspberry.
One sip and it feels as if I am eating fresh cherry/berry pie. Layers of cherry, strawberry and red raspberry preceed a nice little warm spicy on the finish. The red fruit is the star and the cola/spice combination really complete the wine. Excellent balance. I served this with sauteed veggies tossed in angel hair pasta plus the cook had a taste prior to dinner. Hey you have to make sure the pairing is correct!!!! Bravo winemaker Craig.
Highflyer Wines "Exceptional wines produced by the perfect alignment of vineyard and climate." I couldn't agree more.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Labor Day and grilling to celebrate the last long summer weekend called for Amana Beef Tenderloins and a Ribeye. Naturally a Cabernet Sauvignon paired with this dish exceptionally well. Since being introduced 2 years ago to Patrick Krutz owner of Krutz Family Cellars, I have become a huge fan of his wines. Rich fruit, velvet finish this wine is aging nicely.
In the glass the dark fruit aroma of blackberry and black cherry treat the nose. Hints of red rasberry, rich molasses, black currant, sweet vanilla cream and smokey oak.
The layers of flavor are just amazing with age on this cabernet. Cherry followed by raspberry with rich molasses quickly showcasing blackberry. As you move toward the finish the cherry reappears with current leading long into the soft finish. Silky smooth even more so than last year. Aging well and that friends is quality juice.
Highly recommend you pick up a few bottles of Patrick's wine and taste some of this boutique juice for yourself. Krutz Family Cellars check them out.
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Tonights wine was a sample I received and pairs really well with my spicy chicken stir fry. Cline Cellars a family owned operation and producer of award wining wines since 1982, is located in beautiful Sonoma California. Their portfolio consists of many varietals from sparkling whites to bold reds. Quality affordable juice in every bottle!
Viognier is known for its floral scents and is meant to be consumed at at early age. The 2011 Cline Cellars exhibits a beautiful fresh floral aroma with loads of ripe peach. Apricot and pineapple give you a tropical sensation with a hint of lemon/lime citrus zest. Nice little nose pleaser.
Crisp refreshing pineapple greets your palate as you sip this wine. Fresh apricot combines with a hint of white peach and a lemon citrus finish. Not only did the wine calm the spice of the dish, it cooled me down on a rather hot start to September. I really need to drink more of this varietal!
Learn more about their history and wines by clicking the link Cline Cellars Treat yourself to a bottle or 2.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
The weather turned steamy and in my stash was a chardonnay from some friends who visited Napa last year. I have tasted this vintage before and love how well the wine aged. Honestly does Gloria Ferrer ever produce a bad bottle..... No!
On the nose creamy vanilla custard, baked apple and warm pear, citrus with hints of fresh cut spring flowers. Lovely inviting aromas.
In the mouth juicy pear, buttery, ripe pineapple, spiced apple, lemon citrus, with a toasty oak mild finish. What I enjoy about Gloria Ferrer Chardonnay, the wine is not overoaked and really showcases the fruit of the vineyards.
Check out the winery and wines by clicking the link Gloria Ferrer Winery Handcrafted juice to please your palate.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Tasty treat this evening with a selection from Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards and their 2010 RRV Pinot Noir. Even my buddy Dezel Quillen was wishing he had a glass! Honestly I'm a big fan of the RS portfolio and find their quality excellent with a wine lovers price point. This was a sample I received.
Aroma on this beauty showcases many of the classic pinot characteristics. Cola, fresh cut rose pedals, vanilla, cherry, baking spice, pomegranate and a hint of earthy mushroom. Oh this is why I could smell the wine all day!
Excellent flavor with loads of red fruit. Cherry, tart cranberry, fresh strawberry with toasty oak, vanilla and spice on the finish. Perfect balance of fruit and spice with the layers very pleasing to the palate. Winemaker Rick Sayre this is one delicious wine!
Learn more about the story, wines and people behind the success of the winery click the link Rodney Strong Vineyards and schedule a visit the next time your in NorCal Wine Country. Tom, Rick, Robert and all the staff kudos!
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Cline Cellars Cashmere is like an old friend who will never disappoint you. A blend of Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah, the wine is elegant and the velvet finish sweeps you off your feet. Consistent quality wines in each bottle.
The aroma starts with fresh cherry and ripe raspberry followed by milk chocolate. Clover and wild violets with hints of plum and just the slightest touch of oak. When the wine warms a nice layer of cloves and pepper.
In the mouth layers of cherry, chocolate, spice, raspberry, plum and toasty spicy oak. Great balance of fruit and spice with each complimenting the other. Wonderful red blend which I enjoyed. Daughter tasted as well "Dad this smells and tastes like fresh cherries" (and she only claims to like white wines). You're correct now give your Dad back his glass LOL.
You will notice the pink bow on the label which represents Cline Cellars commitment to the fight against breast cancer. They have proudly contributed over $200,000 to breast cancer foundations to comfort and find a cure. Thank you Cline Cellars!
*Today's wine was a sample I received*
I encourage you to learn more about the fine folks at Cline Cellars Winery by clicking the link. I'll be stopping by again on my next visit to Sonoma and you should too. Beautiful setting, beautiful wines!
Monday, August 6, 2012
We intended to taste 3 wines of Portugal tonight but unfortunately one had other plans. What I have found from these wines are fruity, crisp value wines which pair as conversation wines or with lighter dishes.
Up first the Arca Nova Alvarino 2011. Aromas of nectarine, pear, pineapple, hints of vanilla with lime zest. The flavor has loads of pineapple, melon, pear with a lemon finish. Nice start to the evening.
Second wine was the spoiler tonight the Vinho Verde Cruzeiro Branco. Unfortunately it was badly corked so no review.
The final wine the Quinto de Gomariz Loureiro which was the favorite of the night (both daughter and wife are fans of this one). Aromas of lemon lime, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, pear with a hint of fresh daisy's. Flavor was layers of fresh fruit (melon, cantaloupe, tangerine) with a lemon/lime finish. Sipped this one on the back porch to finish the evening!
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Hot weather greeted Dutcher Crossing owner Deb Mathy and winemaker Kerry Damskey on their return visit to The First Avenue Wine House in Cedar Rapids Iowa. Huge turn out for the event and reinforces the number of fans they have courtesy of my favorite wine house owner Traci Weber. She along with husband Ron and even her parents, head to wine country every February to scope out potential wines for her store. We her loyal customers, are treated to some tasty juice. Tonights food pairing was fresh grilled pizza. My compliments to the chef/griller (aka Ron) but the best job of all last night had to be the always positive door host Jim (Traci's Dad) who was stuck in the cool a/c!
Three stations of wine were set up with Deb pouring at 1 and Kerry at 2. These two were ribbing each other all night and I was one of the messengers. Deb first poured the Costello Chardonnay which was a great starter to the evening. Honeysuckle, apple, creamy creme brule with a nice little mineral finish. Next up Proprietor's Zinfandel with its deep dark fruit of blackberry and blueberry. Petite Sirah in the wine really softens the finish and I would never have guessed I was drinking Zin. Up next Proprietor's Syrah which was full of deep rich blackberry, cherry and vanilla. How the heck do you pick a favorite? The last wine Proprietor's Petite Sirah. Dark berry, raspberry with black pepper notes, leather, mocha and a touch of earth on the finish. I was instructed to go tell Kerry the wines at table 1 are better!
I wandered over to table 2 where the winemaker was pouring and chatting with all the guests. Before my glass was filled, I passed the message on and his response "Go ask her when she is going to learn to fish?" My first wine at this station was the Winemakers Cellar Chardonnay full of white peach, green apple and creamy buttery oak. Back to deliver the news to Deb who laughs and responds with "Who caught more fish and big ones?"
By now the line is huge as Kerry is chatting more than pouring lol. Traci to the rescue helping pour and the line moves fast. Maple Zinfandel was next in my glass and believe it or not my and everyone elses favorite of the night. Blackberry, cherry, chocolate notes with a nice pepper finish. Message delivered his response "She is full of it!" Into my glass the Taylor's Reserve Cabernet with ripe raspberry, cherry, blackberry with hints of smokey oak. Steak anyone? The final wine at station 2 was the Cooney Cabernet from Alexander Valley. Again loads of rich ripe fruit. Blackberry, dark cherry with a hint of smokey cedar.
My purchase this evening the Costello Chardonnay and the Maple Zinfandel. I asked Deb and Kerry to each sign a bottle which they naturally agreed. She is an absolute hoot and Kerry reminds you of the mischievous little kid next door just seeing how much he can get away with. Deb was right too Kerry.... get a haircut!
Traci and Ron it was a great evening of music, wine and food. Deb and Kerry it's always great to see and talk with you! Check out my favorite wine store First Avenue Wine House and attend the next tasting. You will love it!
Dutcher Crossing Winery learn more about their winery and portfolio of wines.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
TV Tuesday Live the weekly wine program from Cellars of Sonoma featured Ted Elliott winemaker/owner of TR Elliott. Love Ted's passion for creating Pinot but more importantly his knowledge of winemaking which he shares with us on each program he is a guest. Influenced by the pioneer of California Pinot Richard Graff, he meticulously chooses the grapes for his Queste, Burgonet and Three Plumes. Definately shows in each vintage and I am happy to say we bloggers were in "Pinot Heaven."
The 2008 Queste is a 16 barrel cuvee with 11 barrels coming from the Hallberg Vineyard and 5 barrels from the O'Connell Vineyard. On the nose earthy mushroom, ripe cherry, hints of raspberry, cinnamon spice, cloves and fresh roses. The layers of aroma were so pleasing to the nose and the wine really opened up day 2.
Elegant classic pinot noir. Juicy dark cherry with hints of red raspberry and tart cranberry followed by warm spice on the earthy finish. Soft silky juice. The flavors were even more pronounced the longer the wine was allowed to breathe. Amazing bottle of wine!
Folks I highly suggest tuning in Tuesday's at 6pm pacific on the Cellars of Sonoma website. Here is the link Cellars of Sonoma which takes you to the live broadcast link. Talk directly with Scott and the winemakers via the chat box. We have a ton of fun. Scott and Ted thanks for a great evening of conversation and wine!
Monday, July 30, 2012
My wife who after we attended the local theatre, has decided that unoaked chardonnay is pleasing to her palate. Tonight's wine was purchased from my favorite wine store First Avenue Wine House on the advice of owner Traci Weber.
NOCO is short for North Coast and the fruit for this wine is sourced from the counties north of beautiful San Francisco (Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, Napa, Lake and Solano). Founded in 2009 by Matt Licklider and Kevin O'Conner, their philosophy is to produce authentic wines which deliver value by allowing the wine to showcase the fruit. This bottle was under $15 and yes it delivered.
On the nose ripe pear, vanilla, lemon citrus, hints of pineapple and melon, with a little white peach as the wine warms. Nice crisp refreshing aromas!
The little devil packs some excellent flavor with pear, tangerine, pineapple, honeydew melon with a hint of grapefruit and minerality on the finish. Excellent recommendation Traci!
Sunday, July 22, 2012
A vibrant nose which includes wild flower notes, orange peel, fresh melon, big ripe lime and pear. As I continue to allow the wine to open up, the citrus notes just explode from the glass.
Wonderful mouth with nectarine and melon complimented by juicy lime. Nice little mineral notes on the finish of this crisp refreshing white wine. When the wine warmed a hint of grapefruit added to the mix of tropical fruit. One of the must wines you should keep stocked in the cellar!
Visit their website by clicking the link Highflyer
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Huge fan of Amorosa Bella juice and tonight's Chardonnay is very good. Aromas of pineapple, red delicious apple, pear, baking spice, orange peel, vanilla and citrus. Wonderful crisp aroma sensation.
Wow flavor packed awesome wine. Apple, pear, pineapple, allspice, touch of oak and a huge lemon citrus long finish. While watching the show I sipped on it's own but day 2 paired with a zucchini/yellow squash/red onion/cherry tomato veggie saute over whole wheat pasta drizzled with fresh lemon juice. Charlyn's wines are always so food friendly and compliment many dishes. Killer Chardonnay!
Scott I hope you had a great time in Tahoe. The pictures looked gorgeous!
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Always special when I'm introduced to a new winemaker and portfolio of wines. Tonights selection comes from Winemaker Craig Becker and his Highflyer portfolio which can be tasted by visiting the Somerston tasting room in Yountville. Unique labels, so naturally I have to research more about this winemaker and history.
Craig Becker founding member, is the General Manager/Director of Winemaking and Viticulture for Somerston Wine Company. He has extensive knowledge in plant and soil science which enables him to understand the vineyard and create exceptional wines. Educated at The University of California Davis, Craig produces Highflyer from fruit grown at small family owned single vineyards throughout California. By piloting his plane over the vineyards, the winemaker can visit the locations at peak times throughout the growing season to monitor the grapes progress.
Tonights wine is a blend of 81% Syrah, 12% Petite Sirah, 3% Zinfandel and 4% Tempranillo. Wonderful aroma of plum, blackberry, cherry, raspberry, white pepper, clove and a slight hint of oak. Love the layers of fruit aroma as the wine opens in the glass. Rich ripe fruit.
Excellent flavor with some nice tannins. Fresh cherry, blackberry, blueberry, huge plum, ripe red raspberry with a nice pepper/oak/spice soft finish. The balance of fruit and spice is perfect. Tastes like a $40 wine yet easy on the pocket book ($20 on their website). I paired this wine with meatloaf and it was a great pairing with the beef, peppers and fresh herbs.
Craig love your wines. Your philosophy and knowledge of the vines/soil is showcased in the bottle.
Readers watch for my tasting notes on the Pinot Noir and Grenache Blanc coming up very soon. For more info on Somerston, Highflyer and Priest Ranch make sure you check out the link Somerston Wine Co and when in California make sure to plan a visit to both the St Helena and Yountville locations.
Friday, July 13, 2012
I opened 2 hours before show time to give the wine enough breathing time. Aromas of blackberry, plum, red raspberry with a nice clove spice treats the nose. The longer this wine is open the more defined and big the fruit is on the nose. Quality juice.
I paired with olive oil/rosemary crackers with roast beef and a dollop of creamy horseradish on one side of the plate and smoked cheddar cheese on the other. Delicious with this wine. Flavors of juicy plum, raspberry and blackberry followed by a slight smokey oak/spice finish. Love the dark fruit which lingers long in the taste.
John I thought the 07 was magnificent but this 08 is even better. Scott nice job spoiling your wine club members and bloggers with this selection.
Tune in next week to see what tasty morsel is in the glass at Cellars of Sonoma TV Tuesday Live and maybe you will have a chance to win wine for $1.00 per bottle. Snooze you lose!
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Sparkling Rose is making its way into my wine routine especially during the hot summer months here in the midwest. Amorosa Bella makes a mighty tasty offering with their Brut Rose.
Born from my 2 favorite grapes chardonnay and pinot noir, the aroma of strawberries, cream, vanilla, spice and citrus tickle the nose.
Love the bubbles. Creamy strawberry with a nice splash of vanilla and baking spice treat the palate. Crisp and so refreshing the perfect wine for sipping with friends
Learn more about the wines of Amorosa Bella and Dr Charlyn Belluzzo by clicking the link. Her wines are always a wise choice.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Several months back you may recall I participated in a tastelive where I was introduced to the portfolio of wine from Flowers Vineyard and Winery. Ever since that day I have not failed to keep a bottle of their juice in my cellar. Rich aromas, ripe fruit forward wines that treat the palate every time.
The 08 Camp Meeting Ridge Chardonnay fills the nose with floral notes, fresh peach, honeydew melon, creamy carmel, hints of toasty oak and citrus zest. Gives you a tropical coastal sensation.
Wonderful flavor with the ripe melon, hint of fresh apple, tangerine, vanilla carmel cream, lime and a touch of oak. Love how the fruit has evolved from a previous bottle I tasted. The layers of flavor with each sip are superb.
Learn more about the great things happening at Flowers Vineyard and Winery by clicking the link today.
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Nice little tasting this evening featuring some fun fruity wines from the Wines of Vinho Verde Team making their debut on Tastelive. Our host this evening was Brand Ambassador Laura Maniec and she lead us on a 4 bottle tasting. The vinho verde region is one of the oldest in Portugal and has been producing wine for over 2000 years. The juice is typically released 3-6 months after harvest and known for their low alcohol content along with vibrant fruit.
Wine 1 was the Adego Ponte de Lima Adamado 2011 treated the palate and nose to cantaloupe, honeydew melon and citrus zest. I commented how good this would taste at lunch time with a fresh bowl of fruit. Joel Q of Creative Furnace kept wanting to drink these wines on the coastal beach area. I'm with you Joe! We are off to a great start.
Wine 2 Lagosta Vinho Verde 2011 White Wine. Loads of lemon/lime at times zesty with fresh peach and hints of grapefruit rounding out the aromas/flavor. Crisp little fun wine and could see myself sipping this by the pool.
Wine 3 Quinta de Gomariz Loureiro 2011. Nice floral bouquet with loads of fresh melon. The flavors of apricot, melon, orange peel, lemon and lime were terrific. I had a bit of brie cheese with this wine and thought it paired well. Yes Joel we know you want to sip this on the coast LOL.
Last wine of the evening and a tasting wouldn't be complete without Great Sense Vinho Verde Rose` 2011. Excellent color and aroma with fresh cut roses, ripe strawberry and a perfect balance of citrus. The flavor the same with the juicy strawberry and citrus and a touch of mineral on the finish.
There you are readers your introduction to the Wines of Vinho Verde. Cailyn, Joel, Laura and Melanie thanks for the invite and some crisp refreshing tasty treats. Want to learn more about the wines and region click the link Vinho Verde
Visit The Iowa Wino Store for your wine accessories!
Thursday, June 28, 2012
The goddess of winemaking graced the camera on Cellars of Sonoma TV Tuesday Live. We were treated to an hour of wine knowledge from Heidi Barrett owner/winemaker of La Sirena while sipping this beautiful 05 Syrah and pelting her with questions. I'm still trying to figure out how she manages any down time with all her wine projects!
Pop the cork and the aromas explode from the bottle. In the glass black raspberry, ripe plum, dark cherry, nice herbal notes giving the wine a woodsy feel, with a touch of oak. Rich aromas and so pleasing to the nose you could swirl this wine all evening and soak in the layers of perfection.
Nicely done Heidi. Plum and red raspberry treat the palate with pomegranate, spice, fresh thyme followed by a hint of smokey oak. Love the long soft finish which showcased the fruit. One fine Syrah!
Scott another excellent selection this evening and what a super guest. Folks stop by Cellars Of Sonoma and enjoy a bottle of La Sirena. Your palate will thank you.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Love the nose with fresh ripe strawberry, raspberry, fresh cut roses, cinnamon spice, creamy vanilla, citrus and floral notes. So crisp and sets your senses in motion.
Outstanding flavor with creamy strawberry, ripe raspberry, hints of cranberry and a wonderful cinnamon spice. The finish is long and juicy and really showcases the strawberry/raspberry/cranberry combination. Love the middle of the taste with its creamy character. Rose at it's very best!
Craig three cheers to Stepping Stone by Cornerstone for producing top notch juice. Folks do not miss the chance to stop by the tasting room in Yountville for your Cornerstone and Stepping Stone wines. Relax, taste and buy some of this tasty wine. Cornerstone Cellars Napa
Saturday, June 23, 2012
My visit a couple years ago to the St Supery Estate Vineyards and Winery was memorable so having the opportunity to join in the #SauvBlanc day fun virtually.... no brainer. Beautiful facility, exceptional wine and a friendly staff its a must visit whenever in Napa. In case you missed the post St Supery Visit
The winemaker has nailed this sauvignon blanc perfectly and captures the essence of the vineyard in each bottle. Right from the start citrus both lemon and lime barrel ( no pun intended) from the glass. Next a tropical sensation of apricot, grapefruit with a slight hint of melon tickle the nose.
I believe a comment I had tweeted was "Oh St Supery how I miss you" as I tasted and enjoyed this delicious treat. Grapefruit with hints of the apricot start the taste off. Follow that fruit up with a long lemon soft finish and you have a wine that is made for sipping or pairing. Naturally I tasted prior to dinner and with a lemon pepper chicken breast during. Many of you know when it comes to sauv blanc if the grapefruit overpowers, I'm not a fan but the fruit and citrus combination from St Supery is a perfect balance. Bravo!
Next time your in Napa and driving on 29 check out St Supery for a tour, tasting or both. You will enjoy the visit. Jenna thank you so very much for including me in your #SauvBlanc Day celebration.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Originally scheduled to be discussed on tastelive, the wine ran into a shipping snafu and arrived late. A blessing if you ask me because with the hot summer midwest temps, cool refreshing rose hits the spot. Whispering Angel will treat your palate.
Wonderful creamy rich vanilla on the nose with a blast of fresh strawberry followed by hints of cut roses. Continue to swirl and red raspberry appears.
The mouth is really nice with ripe strawberry and raspberry leading into a creamy vanilla finish. The vanilla is a perfect compliment to the fruit and a crisp minerality begs you to fill the glass again. Keep a bottle or 2 of this on hand, your friends will love it.
Monday, June 11, 2012
Fresh herb chicken strips and corn on the cob paired with tonights Aveleda Fonte from Portugal. Light, crisp and fruity my wife even enjoyed a glass with me.
Citrus, melon, grapefruit, apricot on the nose. Apricot, pear, grapefruit and minerality in the mouth with a fair amount of sweetness. Nice inexpensive sipper especially before or after dinner. Diggin this fruit from the Vinho Verde Region of Portugal.