Thursday, August 22, 2013

2010 Inspiration Vineyards Chardonnay Russian River Valley Sonoma County Estate Reserve

Wine making is in the genes or in my own mind it must be. Jon Phillips owner/winemaker of Inspiration Vineyards who's family long ago owned vineyards in San Martin, is another success story in California's wine industry. A passion to do something he loved, a desire to succeed in his heart and make people feel is his story.

Flash back to 1999 as he and wife Barbara were producing wine for family and friends in their home. The first barrel Contra Costa Zinfandel which was a huge hit among them. Prior to this day Jon knew he wanted to to make wine and with the blessing of Barbara and her nudge to have Jon develop a business plan, well the rest is in the bottle.

Medals and accolades followed and now it was time to move the wine operation from home to a facility allowing them to sell commercially. 2001 saw the purchase of 6 acres in Sonoma County with an already planted vineyard of 4.5 acres. The dreaded process of obtaining permits and waiting period in 2002 they contracted with another facility in order to start producing their wines.

2003 the first release of 500 cases was both exciting and rewarding. Over the years the operation grew both in size and popularity with 2009 bringing a 2000 case production. To expand even further, 2010 brought a move to Pinecreek Business Park where along with many other wineries, a tasting room and winery facility was erected. Open for tastings and tours without an appointment Thursday through Monday 11am to 4:30 located at 3360 Coffey Lane, Suite E, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. Great wines and a wonderful story behind them.

Today's wine was a purchase and featured a couple weeks ago on Cellar Angels Check out the clip Video Clip Inspiration Vineyards  The nose on this chardonnay is so pleasing and takes me back to my younger days as the apple trees would blossom in grandmas backyard. Warm vanilla with hints of creamy butterscotch and lightly toasted oak. A faint hint of baking spice as the wine opens up. Soft elegant aromas makes this wine royal.

Wonderful mouth with ripe green apple, baking spice, a touch of sweet juicy pear, creamy vanilla and butterscotch. The wine is so crisp and the flavors last long into the taste. Beautifully balanced fruit and acidity. My first Inspiration Vineyards wine but definitely not my last. Jon I really enjoyed each glass and you will be interested that I paired this with margherita pizza topped with smoked chicken. Excellent pairing.

I rate this chardonnay A+. Stop by the tasting room and taste the award winning wines of Inspiration Vineyards.



Art & Wine: Napa Rhone Tasting With the North Coast Rhone Rangers

Art & Wine: Napa Rhone Tasting With the North Coast Rhone Rangers

Rhone Rangers - North Coast Chapter

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM (PDT)

Yountville, CA

Art & Wine: Napa Rhone Tasting With the North Coast Rhone...

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
Rhone Ranger
Entry and tasting
Aug 27, 2013 $20.00 $0.00

Who's Going

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Event Details

The members of the North Coast Chapter of the Rhone Rangers are joining together to offer wine afficiandos a chance to taste Rhone wines from 15 wineries.
The event is from 3-7 p.m. at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville.

Taste Through Rhone wines, Red, White, & Rosé

This is your chance to taste wines from a wide range of wineries, from veteran icons to new and emerging wineries that make very small productions and 100 case lots.
Wineries include: Anaba, Maclaren, Cornerstone, Two Shepherds, Meyer Family Vineyards, Ridge Vineyards, Kale, Kieran Robinson, Wesley Ashely, Carica, Euclid, Truchard Vineyards, Petrichor, Donelan Family Wines and Campovida.
Taste multiple wines from 15 producers for less than the price of most Napa tasting rooms, $20 in advance. ($25 at the door.)
Please note: If you are a qualified member of the Trade (wine buyer for restaurant, retail) or Media (actively publishing writer or blog.) there is a seperate tasting available, please email

Enjoy Art, Cheese, Wine & More
Enjoy art on display from the Napa Valley Museum, sample cheese from Oxbow. Other artisans in the works.

Have a Date With The Devil
The tasting will be held in the Museum’s main gallery where visitors will be surrounded by Date with the Devil, a juried exhibition of new work by 19 regional artists based on the legend of Faust, the man who sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for riches, power, youth and wisdom. Date with the Devil reminds us that who we are is ultimately defined by the choices we make. Also on display are 26 devil-inspired prints by late Calistoga artist Earl Thollander. The History Gallery on the first floor will also be open free of charge. All galleries are free of charge. 

Have Fun, Compare, & Vote For Your Favorite
Similar to our smash hit Grenache Day and Rosé tastings - attendees get a clipboard of information with detailed notes on each wine, and walk around to interact with each winery. 
Attendees will have a chance to vote for their favorite wines. Help pick the top wine of the day!
Details on the event and wines willH be updated shortly.

Participating Wineries Include: (more detail to follow soon)
  •  Maclaren
  •  Cornerstone
  •  Two Shepherds
  •  Meyer Family Vineyards
  •  Ridge Vineyards
  •  Kale Wines
  •  Kieran Robinson
  •  Wesley Ashely
  •  Carica Wines
  •  Euclid
  •  Truchard Vineyards
  •  Petrichor
  •  Campovida
  • Anaba (new add!)
  • Donelan Family Wines (new add!)

Many Thanks to Our Host - Napa Valley Museum!

Wesley Ashley


Two Shepherds

Have questions about Art & Wine: Napa Rhone Tasting With

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Raza and Hera Vinho Verde Portgugal

A short hiatus from vino tasting due to some heavy work requirements we tasted a couple of nice Vinho Verde wines today....appropriate for our return of heat.

Vinho Verde is not a grape varietal. It means "green wine" meant to be enjoyed young and tends to have sparkling characteristics in each glass. Also the wine is lower alcohol and easy drinking. These wines originate from the Minho region in Portugal and I find them very refreshing.

Up first Raza and my favorite of the night. Aromas of lemon lime, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, orange peel. Tons of tropical citrus mist. Excellent nose. The mouth was full of lime, honeydew melon, grapefruit, nectarine and a lemon mineral finish. Love the little sparkling effect on these wines.

The Hera had much less going on with nectarine, lime, cantaloupe and orange peel on the nose. In the mouth I tasted the cantaloupe and lime with a nice straw mineral finish.

Always a treat when these quarterly samples arrive. Taste a glass or 2 of Vinho Verde today!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Inaugural Cellar Cast Broadcast

Well readers I finally fixed all the technical issues and we launched the first broadcast of Cellar Cast on Blogtalk Radio. Jitters and butterflies my heart raced as we were 10 minutes from show time. I talked about wine clubs and social media both of which excite this wino. As a social media consultant, I find others process/engagement very interesting and the pro's and con's on why they choose to interact with their customers. Virtual tastings which are great events and a perfect way for small producers to reach an audience and build their brand. Here is the link to the show:        Cellar Cast

Karen Troisi owner of Jean Edwards Cellars was my special guest. Karen and her husband produce premium Cabernet Sauvignon who believe "You should only make wine you love to drink." Actually I asked the question Why Cabernet and Karen informed me they love to drink great cabernet. Other varietals are enjoyed too but their love is definitely a nice rich full bodied red. What a perfect guest who loves to talk wine. I think you will agree. Please check out her website and join the mailing list to get the latest on wine they will release and your opportunity to purchase.

Special thanks to my wonderful friends Carrie and Randy Bowman owners of Napa Valley Wine and Cigar for their sponsorship. These 2 are great folks and have a wonderful knowledge of wines. The small production gems you find in their store are priceless. Don't forget about the primo cigars they carry!

After you listen to the show I would love the feedback. Ideas for topics on upcoming shows give us a hollar.


Monday, August 5, 2013

The Coach To Remember Amazon EBook Short Story

I always reserve this space for wine tasting so forgive me for being a little selfish trying to promote my first ebook short story "The Coach To Remember." The story is about a fun time in my childhood when playing baseball was all that mattered.

Many of my friends have read, provided feedback and enjoyed this short little story about a group of little league players who eventually became overachievers. Thank you for your kind words. Our coach, my dad believed you should learn to play the correct way....integrity, honor, fundamentals and fun. Each player regardless of ability should have the same opportunity to learn and participate. No one person was bigger than the other, we win or lose as a team. Maybe more coaches should be like him.

Looking at old pictures as I put the words together brought back a lot of emotions and memories. How simple and carefree life was at that time. I miss hearing my Dad's goofing daily calls even after a year and a half of him being gone. Cleaning out an old closet one day we ran across some of the pictures. We laughed for what seemed hours, lost endlessly in time. Writing this was my way I guess of keeping his memory alive. Even when I stop by the old park, I can hear his voice. One time I was standing at home plate as this little guy rolled up on his bike. He had his baseball bat, 2 gloves and an old ball. "Hey mister my dad had to stop and get a couple new bats for our team. I am supposed to pitch today. Can you warm me up?" Crouching behind home plate I offered words of encouragement "Not to hard, loosen that arm up before you start throwing heat." After about 15 minutes I said "Alright lets hear that glove pop." He stopped and looked at me so funny. "My dad says that same thing when I warm up." "So did mine." It was one of my former teammates youngest boys. How funny.

I would be honored and humbled if you purchase and read my first short story. Once your finished, please review it on Amazon so others can view how you enjoyed the story. Here is the link The Coach To Remember for only $0.99

Thank you and I hope you enjoy.