Sunday, January 27, 2013

My weekly Taste a Quick Snapshot

It was Chile and Australia in the glass this past week. A 2010 Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Carmenere and a 2010 Chateau Tanunda Grand Barossa Riesling.

First up from Chile the Carmenere with its deep red/purple color and aromas of dark cherry, vanilla, pepper notes, blueberries and plum. Love the silky feel in the mouth. Creamy vanilla, dark ripe cherry, with hints of blueberry and oak. Perfect little pepper spice on the end. Big fan of this wine.

Up next the Australian Riesling which I will call the citrus queen. Aromas of lime zest, nectarine, fresh pear with hints of green apple. Light and crisp in the mouth with loads of lemon/lime, crisp green apple and melon. Paired perfect with chicken stir fry. One of my favorite Rieslings!


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Sunday, January 20, 2013

2011 Block Nine Caiden's Vineyard Pinot Noir

Ron's wine pick at First Avenue Wine House and my favorite varietal, it was a no-brainer purchase. Priced at $14, I'm always looking for that "steal" wine....great taste at a value price. Block Nine was produced by winemaker Larry Levin a veteran in the wine industry. His experience includes making wine in Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Dry Creek Vineyard and Icon Estates. Created out of the need for more economically priced pinots, the wine clocks in at 13.1% and captures some nice flavor.

On the nose cherry, dark tea, violets, cloves, with hints of leather and strawberry. In the mouth ripe cherry and strawberry with clove and a hint of vanilla. The finish is both juicy and spicy. Pretty good pinot for the price. I'm torn is the wine too young with it's tightness on the start of the taste but then on the finish it softens so will it age? I would ask my readers to try a bottle and let me know their thoughts.


Friday, January 18, 2013

2013 Virginia Winery Guide Now Availble


Richmond, VA – January 15, 2013 – The 2013 Virginia Winery Guide, produced by the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office, is now available and ready for distribution. The initial shipment has gone out to all the wineries and tourism centers in Virginia, as well as many wine shops, bed and breakfasts, and restaurants throughout the Commonwealth. winner
This year marks the third annual Virginia Winery Guide Photography Contest. Professional photographers and novices alike submitted more than 500 pictures statewide. This year’s winner is Christina Brewer of Northern VA. Her photograph was taken at Hume Vineyards. Her photograph was selected because it embodied the overall vision of Virginia wines: sophisticated yet approachable wines in picturesque countryside setting.
coverThe 2013 cover image features the newly designated Middleburg AVA, and was photographed by James Hanna. For more information on James Hanna photography, please call (540) 668-7707 or visit
The guide has been updated this year to feature 230 wineries, cideries and meaderies. Along with a detailed, topographic driving map of Virginia with the winery locations, the Virginia Winery Guide also has a comprehensive listing of all the wineries. This listing includes the location, hours, directions, and contact information for each winery.
If an individual is interested in receiving a copy of the 2013 Virginia Winery Guide, they can visit to submit their mailing address. Winery guides are sent at no cost and will arrive in 1-2 weeks in the mail after the request is made. Also, if individuals need a copy of the 2013 Virginia Winery Guide immediately, then they can download any of the regional maps at
Businesses in Virginia or surrounding areas that would like to display the Virginia winery guide can either email or call our office at (804) 344-8200.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2010 Four Vines Naked Chardonnay Santa Barbara County

Unoaked Chardonnay was my latest purchase from my favorite Cedar Rapids Wine Shop First Avenue Wine House I had not stopped for awhile so I'm assuming Traci thought I was ill or something. This happened to be a staff pick so it caught my eye. Couple of my friends knew the winemaker Christian Tietje, so my guess this would be a nice wine was correct. Fermented in 100% stainless steel, I have become a fan of theses unoaked morsels of lively juice (so has my wife).

On the nose granny smith apple, peach, pineapple, melon, tons of citrus zest with a hint of vanilla and lemon. Definately crisp tropical fruit!

Did I just put fresh lime sherbert in my mouth? Lime with lemon citrus creme. Pineapple with a nice minerality on the finish. Simple yet full of flavor. Love finding these inexpensive gems.

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Monday, January 7, 2013

2009 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Located on Washington Street in Yountville, you will find the quaint tasting room of Cornerstone Cellars loaded with exceptional wines. After a visit, there are several shops, an art gallery and many world class restaurants to complete your day.

Tonight's vino (sample received) is the 09 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Composed of 95% Cabernet and 5% Merlot (aged 22 months in french oak), Cornerstone produced 842 cases and the wine clocks in at 14.9% alcohol. I opened 2 hours before really getting after this wine but I also tasted just after opening and I highly suggest allowing this baby to open up with air. Evident right from the first swirl is the dark cherry and clove racing into your nose. Raspberry, vanilla with a kick of cinnamon followed by blackberry. Rich, complex aromas....yep it's definately time to taste.

Silky smooth and nice ripe fruit. Juicy cherry/raspberry combination with hints of plum/blackberry. On the finish the cherry and plum last long with a nice touch of cinnamon spice. As I continued to taste, I notice the layers of fruit and spice are so well balanced neither dominates. Drink by itself or pair with a nice hearty stew, I think you will agree it's one fine cabernet.

Schedule a visit, buy some wine or learn more about Cornerstone Napa by clicking the link. I hope you share the same thoughts about them as I do. Great people, exceptional wines it must be Cornerstone.


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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Wine News Weekly

A quick look at news in the wine industry

Oregon- Growing the awareness of all varietals not just Pinot Noir faces Tom Danowski, Executive Director of the Oregon Wine Board according to Wines & Vines interview. Working closely with Travel Oregon and The Washington State Wine Commission, he hopes visitors to the state also incorporate winery visits into their travel plans. Expanding distribution, imports and getting more Oregon wine on restaurant wine lists are just some of the tasks on his agenda. I agree Oregon wine should be enjoyed by all wine lovers. We will keep checking back on their progress.

Napa Ca- Winemakers and Vineyard owners are extremely please with this years harvest. The abundance of fruit and quality have some proclaiming wines will rival the 2007 vintage. Cynthia Cosco of Passaggio Wines and Michael Gann of Gann Family Cellars who I have talked with both said they are excited about their 2012 fruit. Full healthy clusters with amazing flavor, it's great to see after a couple challenging harvests. Provided the economy continues to improve California winemakers should see a welcomed uptick in sales.

Iowa- The Iowa Wine Trail consists of the cities Anamosa, Baldwin, Bankston, Clinton, Decorah, Fredericksburg, Lisbon, Marquette and West Branch. Scenic hills and cliffs await the traveler with many of the wineries open daily for tastings. Stay at a cute bed and breakfast or shop local at downtown specialty shops. There is something to see or visit for everyone. Check out more by clicking the link Iowa Wine Trail

Wine Joke Of The Day:

Men are like a fine wine. They begin as grapes, and it’s up to women to stomp the crap out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with.

Have A Great Wine Week!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Frances Mayes's Bramasole Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Imagine my elation when asked if I would love to finish my meals with some of the best tasting olive oil produced. Under The Tuscan Sun author Frances Mayes, hand picks her olives from her home Villa Bramasole (I'm sure Edward helps too). Made in the artisanal manner, they grind the olives without using heat. What I have is first cold pressed olive oil which many Italian families adore and incorporate with their meals.

Notice in the picture a small can and large bottle. The small can is from olives picked October 25th and is deep green in color, cloudy with a bitter character. Italians and oil experts consider those attributes to be perfect olive oil. Extremely bitter means the olives were picked before they were completely ripe. A touch of bitter means they were picked at the perfect time. After a few month's the oil in the small can will naturally filter itself and sediment will fall to the bottom of the can (no longer cloudy). The larger bottle is filtered and beautiful clear green color with amazing flavor. I use olive oil religiously in dishes but the enhanced flavor of Frances's oil is unmatched. An olive in every bite.
One of the dishes I love drizzling olive oil over the finished product is chicken, fresh sauteed peppers on a bed of white rice. Another dish (not pictured) is yellow squash and zucchini sauteed with cherry tomatoes on angel hair pasta. Drizzle fresh lemon juice and olive oil just before heaven. Highly recommend preparing a plate of this olive oil sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese grated and fresh cracked black pepper. Dip warm Italian herb bread and enjoy!

Frances and Edward thank you for introducing me to what olive oil should really be.....perfect. Chef Robin White you know my love of fresh cooking and I was touched you thought of me! Order yours today by clicking the link Tuscan Sun Frances Mayes

Fresh is the best. Eat well my friends!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

2011 Passaggio Unmarked Code 7 Pinot Noir Fagan Creek Single Vineyard

I'm going to start this post off by saying yes I am going to be a tad biased on this wine but not compromise what I do which is taste wine. It just so happens I am a partner in tonights vino. You heard correctly....the Iowa Wino and his wife are partners in a wonderful boutique winery. Passaggio Winemaker Cynthia Cosco introduces her newest label Unmarked Code 7 a 2011 Napa Valley Pinot Noir Single Vineyard from Fagan Creek. Created for the wine lover, the bottle celebrates the selfless work of the men and women in law enforcement. She will be donating 5% of the selling price of each bottle to charities serving the families of peace officers who have fallen in the line of duty. Those who know Cindy are well aware of her former 15 year career in law enforcement. It's about giving back and I can't be more excited for these families.

The wine had trouble arriving to my home due to a blizzard but the delay was worth the wait. First aroma from the glass is my favorite dark cherry. Cloves, eucalyptus, dried herbs and tobacco fill my nose as I continue to swirl. Nice pleaser Cindy.

Young and still evolving but overall very tasty juice. Cherry and clove dominate the first sip. Raspberry with tart cranberry and a juicy finish. Opens very well on day 2. The wine has some tannin and it's very evident on the finish. Warms you up too! I have another bottle saved to be tasted in a year. Speaking with Cindy she says drink now or cellar for up to 7 years. Only 65 cases produced so don't miss the chance to taste the first Pinot Noir offering from Passaggio Wines

New Years Resolution to join a wine club then check out the Passionistas Wine Club which offers some excellent selections if I do say so myself. We have a winner here Cindy.


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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2009 Ceja Vineyards Brut Sparkling Wine New Years Style

New Years Eve a time when most only think about drinking bubbles (let's not forget weddings, special birthdays), but it should be considered when serving wine anytime. Amelia Ceja or Scott Jordan will tell you anytime is perfect for sparkling. I held this bottle (wine club shipment) of 2009 Ceja Vineyards Brut for the perfect occasion because well....... it's a Ceja.

Born in Carneros, the wine consists of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir with 250 cases produced. Fresh apple and honey with hints of lemon citrus and ginger treat the nose.

Simple yet elegant. Apple with a nice finish of juicy lemon. Sparkling wine at it's finest! I paired with a mild cheddar and fresh melon. Amelia what a delicious wine!

Experience the beauty of Napa and be sure to taste Ceja Vineyards vino! Looking for a great wineclub then I highly suggest Casa Ceja Wine Club

Happy New Year To All