Monday, May 27, 2013

2010 Ponzi Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Oregon

Nestled in the lush country side of the Willamette Valley in Oregon we find the 43 year old Ponzi Vineyards and their award winning pinot noir. Covering 120 acres the family owned operation is "Live Certified Sustainable" the highest standard attainable for sustainable viticulture and enology. Ponzi is considered one of the top wine producers in the country. Tonight's wine was aged 11 months in french oak and is a blend of several of Ponzi's vineyards. Priced at $35 and the closure is a screw cap.

The nose fills with fresh ground cinnamon, dark cherry and earthy tones. Hints of raspberry and cranberry with a touch of dried herbs/leather as well. Nice aromas which are oh so pleasing! Time to drink and enjoy.

Lovely pinot noir with big ripe cherry notes. Cranberry and plum follow the cherry to the nice long finish. Earthy notes minus any spice. Definitely a fruit forward pinot which is soft and elegant. A perfect compliment to my italian seasoned pork chops. Luisa it's easy to see why you are one of the top winemakers in the country.

To learn more about Ponzi Wines click the link. Whether wine tasting or touring at the vineyard, a nice meal at the bistro or a stop at the Ponzi Wine Bar, a visit is a must when in Oregon.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

2011 Fogline Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Sun Chase Vineyard

Growing high up in the Sonoma Mountains in the Pentaluma Gap region above the fog line, we find the grapes for my Cellar Angel purchase from Fogline Vineyards. A perfect region for growing world class pinot noir because of the cool breeze and fog which blows through the gap, the fruit is well balanced and creates focused wines. Brent Bessire and Evan Pontoriero are creating wonderful juice for us to enjoy.

The nose is full of beautiful ripe cherry and fresh scents of pine. I felt like I was sniffing my wine among christmas trees. Ground clove with hints of strawberry and earthy herbs as the wine opens. Really love the nose on this pinot.

Big fan of sonoma coast pinot for its fruit forward bright characteristics. Big cherry pie with cranberry and strawberry notes. In classic form, cinnamon and cloves compliment the fruit and enhance the flavor of the wine. Elegant yet beautifully structured. Some of the finest pinot noir I have tasted.

The views are stunning from Fogline Vineyards and the wine exquisite. Once you pop a cork I think you too will agree! Thanks to Cellar Angels for showcasing this winery and allowing us "Angels" to purchase, sip and enjoy small production wine while making a difference for others. Won't you consider joining wine lovers across the country and become an angel!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

2011 Biltmore Century Red and Century White North Carolina

 Imagine the most visited winery in the United States hails from Asheville North Carolina. If you guessed The Biltmore (I'm sure Elizabeth Smith was correct) have a glass of wine. The Biltmore House blends the elegance of a French chateau with classic American living. Experimental grapes were planted in 1971 and as we fast forward to May 1985, the winery was officially open to the public. Strategic grape growing partners in California and Washington along with their North Carolina grapes, the Biltmore Winery is able to meet the wine needs of their customers across the country.The wines received as samples were the top sellers among the estate guests.

Up first The Century Red. A blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Zinfandel the grapes were sourced from California in Lake County, Sonoma and Cienega Valley. On the nose blackberry and raspberry really dominate with wild flowers and vanilla calming the senses. As the wine warms hints of oak, plum and herbs.

Pleasantly surprised on the first sip with ripe raspberry and rich blackberry combining with a nice soft plum. Definitely a fruit forward wine. The finish while still showcasing the fruit had a hint of spice. Nice touch.

Wine 2 was the Century White Wine consisting of a blend Muscat Canelli, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Malvasia. 99% of the grapes were sourced from Mendocino and Monterey with the remaining 1% from North Carolina. On the nose lime, honey, vanilla and hints of licorice, lemon zest and melon. A tropical feel with a splash of floral.

In the mouth loads of lemon and lime with sweet honeydew melon and kiwi. Add a shot of honey for sweetness and bingo you have a nice little dessert wine.

Visit their website Biltmore Winery and see all they have to offer. Inexpensive unique handcrafted wines for easy drinking.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Social Media...Have you jumped on the Train

The great debate among many people I have spoken with revolves around a small business (winery) unable to afford the benefits of social media. It's too expensive, there are too many so-called experts who promise the moon and under deliver, my customers aren't engaged in social media why should I, no time. The list goes on.

"A winery available, listening and interacting online with the consumer is a winery which is increasing it's brand awareness". Some of my favorites include Cline Cellars, Passaggio, Cornerstone Cellars, St Supery, Ceja Vineyards, Jean Edwards, Somerston, Napa Valley Wine and Cigar just to name a few. They take the time to promote new releases, talk about tasting notes etc with their online followers. Posting pictures of bottling or harvest it's all key to growing your brand. Each of these folks will tell you how important technology is to their daily routine. Think about the customers they reach with almost everyone having a smartphone at their fingertips. Liquid gold just like their wine.

Let's concentrate on boutique productions. After a long day at the winery or tasting room the last thing the winemaker wants is to spend hours on computers. He or she may want to out source but that can be expensive and cut into profits. They should find someone who is personable, willing to tailor a program geared toward the needs of small producers, trustworthy, economical and great at listening. Do not settle for anything less. It's a great way to build your brand and maximize profits.

How will the new government mandate on language required when using social media to sell your wine come into play? Video's, blogs, special sales they seem all to be affected. Click the link Federal Mandates to see what may be required. Social Media is becoming a new way of life for small business.....are you along for the ride? When government wants to intervene you know its a hot commodity.

Social media is evolving daily with several platforms offering you the chance to build your customer base. Whether a small winery or small business, technology plays a huge roll in today's business models and keeping up to date means one step ahead of the competition. The train is leaving the station.....are you onboard?


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

2010 Jeff Runquist 1448 California Red Table Wine

First Avenue Wine House was the place to find this beauty I'm tasting tonight which was being poured when Jeff Runquist winemaker made a visit to Iowa. Traci and Ron Weber do such a great job of bringing winemakers in to showcase their portfolio to folks in the area. They venture to wine country each year on a mission for new additions to the shop. The 2010 Runquist 1448 was the evenings favorite and mine as well.

Rich dark fruit and ripe red fruit on the nose (blackberry, red raspberry, dark cherry, blueberry). Vanilla and oak notes with hints of chocolate. A nice pepper spice adds a perfect touch. The blend is Petit Verdot, Carignane Zinfandel, Barbera, Petite Sirah and Syrah. Love the aroma!

Outstanding blend. Blueberries, red raspberries, cherry and blackberry so ripe and juicy. Creamy vanilla and chocolate soften the finish. A spicey oak in the middle really brings the wine together. Rich, elegant juice and I'm going to stop by and grab's great wine! Impressive.

Jeff Runquist Wines a must for your cellar. Check the link for news on his award winning wines and grab a bottle or 6.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

2012 Stepping Stone By Cornerstone Corallina Rose Napa Valley

Single Vineyard Syrah from the Crane Ranch Vineyard Oak Knoll District, provided today's Rose` sample from Stepping Stone By Cornerstone. The single block for the 2012 was carefully selected and nurtured until harvest, with one goal in mind to "produce the very best rose`". These folks are serious about producing Corallina, harvesting the grapes when the complexity of the fruit is at it's peak. Unlike many rose` productions where saignee or bleeding juice out of the red wine fermenter tends make a wine with less acid and sweeter, you will find the Corallina Rose dry with a nice mix of fruit and spice. Harvested in October 2012 the wine spent 5 months in mature french oak.

On the nose the rush of wild strawberries and vanilla cream treat your senses. Fresh cut wild flowers with hints of dried herbs and cinnamon on each swirl. Just as the label is entitled "Wine Dance", I picture myself celebrating in the vineyard with each little sniff.

Really nice in the mouth with the strawberry, peach and vanilla surrounded by a nice warm cinnamon spice. Crisp yet complex with ripe fruit and spice combine to make this one of my favorite Rose` wines. Jeff and Craig well done! Great price point as well.

Cornerstone Cellars with tasting rooms in Yountville CA and Gaston OR, provide a wide selection of varietals pleasing to any wine lovers palate. Stop in for a visit next time you're in the area and taste some wonderful wines.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Holman Ranch Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Carmel Valley

Spent the past couple evenings tasting Holman Ranch Wines and jotting some notes down about a couple of varietal favorites...Mrs Chardonnay and Mr. Pinot.

Holman Ranch winery completed their current winery within The Caves which is completely underground and utilizes the natural cooling effects of being in the earth. A total of 3000 square feet maintains a constant temp of 58 with all winery operations taking place inside with the exception of bottling.

I started off with the 2010 Estate Grown Chardonnay. Loads of pear, green apple, pineapple with hints of melon, toasted oak, vanilla and a honey baking spice on the nose. In the mouth green apple and pear with a little splash of vanilla. Sweeter than many chardonnays which I taste.

Next the 2010 Estate Grown Pinot Noir Carmel Valley. On the nose wet earthy hints with tobacco and cherry. In the mouth a cranberry/cherry flavor with hints of earthy spice which to me never really flowed. When I pulled the cork there was no "pop" so I am wondering if the wine was breaking down and headed south toward "corked". I'll try another bottle in the future and review it on it's own.

My final sample was the 2011 Heathers Hill Pinot Noir Carmel Valley. I really enjoyed this bottle. Cherry, boysenberry dominate the nose with cola, sage a hint of forest and cloves. The mouth is full of ripe dark cherry with strawberry notes and juicy through the long finish. Little hint of cloves and cinnamon round the wine out nicely. Well done.

Be it a wedding, wine tasting or admiring the beauty, a stop at Holman Ranch is a great experience. Spoil yourself today!