Sunday, October 28, 2012

2010 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

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

Chateau Tanunda Grand Barossa On Tastelive

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

2008 Jeff Gordon Cellars Napa Valley Joie De Vivre

Twitter taste this evening featured the 2008 Joie De Vivre from Jeff Gordon Cellars. This is a beautiful red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. The Cabernet is from Corbett Vineyards Spring Mountain, the Merlot from Solari Vineyard Calistoga and the Syrah from Page Nord Vineyard Yountville. Aged 20 months and only 254 cases produced. On my way home I stopped and grabbed a bacon cheesburger and so glad I did.

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

Hurray Vouvray Loire Valley France on TasteLive

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

Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Chile on Tastelive

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

Rodney Strong Vineyards with Down Home Downtown Seasonal Recipes and Sift Cupcakes on Tastelive

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.

Third wine of the evening the 2011 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir which I paired with the stud muffin cupcake. Rose petal, ripe cherry, hints of toasty vanilla with rich cloves. As I continued to swirl a touch of earthy mushroom and cinnamon. Excellent flavor with the dark rich cherry, strawberry and finishing with spice, vanilla and oak. I could swirl this wine all night! Amazed at how the wine softened the cayenne bacon and turned that cupcake into a creamy delight. You can never go wrong with pinot, bacon and caramel right Robert!

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

2009 Flowers Winery Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

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

2011 Stepping Stone By Cornerstone North Coast White Rocks

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!