Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2009 Ceja Vineyards Brut Sparkling Wine Napa Valley Carneros

Happy New Year! Apparently Ceja Vineyards is my go to sparkler for saying goodbye old and welcome new because another bottle was enjoyed saying hello 2013. I think you may have me hooked Amelia or the fact this was a great wine club selection and I had to buy more. My final bottle and a perfect night to open.

The wine is made from 2 of my favorite grapes 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. Bubbles should be enjoyed anytime not just for celebrations. Offer this wine as a starter with your guests with light cheese and fruit platters. You will be popular trust me on this.

The nose has loads of lemon citrus, fresh apple a touch of vanilla along with spiced ginger. A crips nose tickler along with pleasing aromatics. I believe this sparkler became better with age.

The mouth is refreshing with apple, pear and a kiss of lemon on the finish. This wine is why I love sparklers! The only way this would taste better is if Amelia and Dalia were sipping with us.

If you're in Sonoma stop by the tasting room at 22989 Burndale Rd Sonoma on the same property as their sister business Carneros Brewing Company. If you would like these wines shipped to you direct click here Wine Club and sign up today.

May 2015 be prosperous, healthy and full of great wine.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

2013 Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

*Sample Received*

50 years ago the vision began and what is known as Rodney Strong Vineyards when Mr. Strong settled in Sonoma County. The passion to make exceptional wine is a key driving force among every winemaker. I am amazed with the notion many walk away from a career to start producing wine and the success they achieve.I raise a glass to you all.  In 2013 RS Vineyards was named Wine Enthusiast Winery Of The Year.Cheers to RS Vineyards Tom Klein, head winemaker Rick Sayre and the entire staff.

Tonight's wines come from the Sonoma Coast Appellation known for its cool climate and higher than average rainfall. The vineyards are above the fog line allowing the sun to fully ripen the fruit to ensure quality wines.

Up first the 2013 Pinot Noir. The nose is full of bright cherry, strawberry and hints of cranberry jam. Fresh cut pine needles with a hint of cloves. The mouth is very nice with tart cranberry and juicy strawberry and a little bing cherry. The finish is long and juicy. Classic Sonoma Coast character!

 Second wine was the 2013 Chardonnay. The nose is greeted with tropical pineapple, sweet pear and ripe apple. I love the vanilla creme aroma when the wine first pours along with a hint of baking spice. The mouth has loads of juicy apple and pear with a hint of lemon zest. A touch of pineapple and toasty vanilla round out the wine and enhance the long finish. This was a holiday favorite and I could drink it everyday. Well I could drink both of them everyday.

Stop by for a visit and taste at 11455 Old Redwood Highway Healdsburg from 10-5 daily. Schedule a tour or have a picnic in the relaxing atmosphere. Great times and great wines.


Friday, December 26, 2014

2012 Fields Family Wines Old Vine Zinfandel The Century Block Lodi

*Sample Received*

Fields Family Wines are small lot handcrafted gems which showcase the vineyards character. The relationship between winegrower and winemaker makes for the production of high quality wines with little intervention to the wine making process. Russ Fields owner has maintained the property as California Certified Organic Farming Certification.

The nose exhibits intense blackberry and dark cherry with hints of clove, fresh chopped herbs and white pepper. Inviting aromatics definitely perfectly harvested grapes.

The mouth is full of ripe juicy cherry, raspberry and blackberry with a touch of spice on the finish. Soft, silky elegant Zinfandel. The wine paired nicely with my pulled bbq pork sandwiches. Well done Fields Family Wines and great price point under $25.

Stop by the tasting room at 3803 E Woodbridge Rd Acampo CA open 11-5 Thursday to Monday. Enjoy a tour, picnic and even barrel tastings (which is a must if you want to see how wine evolves).


Monday, December 22, 2014

2013 Seta Nera Trebbiano D'Abruzzo Italian White Wine "Quik Sip"

The jury may be out on the red but the white wine from Seta Nera was a house favorite and below $15 per bottle at Lot 18. Tasty little beauty and you'll be singing Amore'.

The nose was full of tropical melon and crisp granny smith apple with hints of lime. The citrus explodes with each swirl from the glass.

The mouth is crisp and refreshing with the honeydew melon, fresh lime and juicy apple. Our evening conversation wine which went quickly.

Sign up for free and take advantage of all the great deals from Lot 18 by clicking the Free Sign Up link and start saving and sipping today. Remember $10 off your first order.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

2013 Seta Nera Montepulciano D'Abruzzo Italian Red "Quick Sip"

A Lot 18 purchase for under $15, I was a little unsure about the wine. Maybe it's more rustic than I am used to or the pairing wasn't quite right. Improved after it was open a few minutes.

The nose was dominated by plum with hints of raspberry and cherry. Earthy notes, vanilla bean and a dash of cocoa. Bold on the nose.

The mouth saw the plum and cherry with a little vanilla and cinnamon. I sipped while cooking and then paired with spaghetti and the sauce and wine seemed to clash. The wine was much better on its own. Jury is still out on this one.

Sign up for Lot 18's free membership by clicking the Free Sign Up and receive $10 off your first purchase. Great deals.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

2012 Cornerstone Oregon Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Stepping Stone Cuvee Artist Series

*Sample Received*

Cornerstone Oregon came to fruition as a result of the passion of Craig Camp (Cornerstone Cellars) to produce cool climate pinot noir and chardonnay. Created to drink young and very food friendly you will find these wines have an elegant personality now with the ability to age. What you will discover in tonight's wine is bright fruit, aromas found in classic pinot noir which please the senses and a mouth feel that is fruit forward.

2012 was a great year for fruit in Oregon with some saying a perfect growing year. Aged 14 months in french oak the vineyards selected for this offering were from regions in  Eola Hills, Chehalem Mountain, Ribbon Ridge and Yamhill Carlton. Screw cap closure and priced at $30, the wine delivers a great "pinot experience" without breaking the pocket book.

The nose is very nice with bright cherry and strawberry with spicy cloves. Continue to swirl and a hint of toasty vanilla with a slight earthy herbal tone. Wonderful aromatics.

The mouth is superb with the strawberry and cherry so juicy followed by cloves and a little cinnamon. The velvet silky finish is long and your palate craves more with each finished glass. Craig this may be the best vintage yet.

"Vineyard, Vintage and Variety" the expression in each bottle of Cornerstone Oregon and Cornerstone Cellars wines. Stop by the tasting room in Yountville for a sip or two. I think you'll agree these folks are producing delicious wines that are a must in your cellar.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

2012 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

*Sample Received*

Faust Cabernet Sauvignon created by Agustin Huneeeus who also owns Quintessa, is recognized as a leader in how wines are produced and marketed. With an entire career devoted to the wine business he believes that great vineyards make great wines. Impressive he has produced wine in 15 countries.

The fruit for this wine was hand picked and double sorted to ensure the utmost quality. 80% Cabernet, 16% Merlot, 2% Cab Franc and 2% Petit Verdot make up this big bold wine. The Cab came from Agustin's family vineyards in Rutherford and Coombsville with the other varietals harvested from vineyards in Atlas Peak, Mount Veeder, St. Helena and Oakknoll. The wine was aged for 19 months in french oak.

The nose is big with blackberry, dark cherry and plum fruit. Toasty oak, vanilla with hints of molasses and clove. Allow this wine to open in the glass and smell the rich elegant aromas. Really nice.

The mouth is full of layered dark fruit (blackberries, dark cherry, plums, blueberries) with a hint of red raspberry followed by cocoa, cloves,  a hint of tobacco and a faint hint of oak. Complex yet a long beautiful velvet finish. Great pairing with my shredded beef dish.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

2013 Keith M Webster Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Dry Creek Valley

Imagine your first wine created from your garage. Many winemakers across the country got their start this way and Keith M Webster Cellars is no exception. A trip to UC Davis and the wine production course, the move to California and presto a talented winemaker is born who produces balanced elegant wines with depth and character. Keith will tell you there is a journey in each glass which pleases the palate and senses.

The winemaker is meticulous when selecting the grapes from the vineyards knowing both the growers and the correct time to harvest. He tastes the fruit and examines it for perfection. Each vintage is only as good as the fruit from which it is derived. Exactly why I love small production handcrafted wines and Keith is producing some beautiful juice. Thanks to Cellar Angels for showcasing tonight's winemaker and allowing us non-Californians to purchase, discover and give back by donating to charity.

Spectacular nose full of ripe peach, fresh sliced apple and orange zest with hints of stone fruit. The citrus explodes from the glass and as the wine warms, a hint of fresh cut grass. I could swirl this wine all night but then what fun would that be.

The mouth is wonderful with the bright apple and peach fruit followed by a nice crisp tangerine. As the wine warms, a lemon zest spritz. Crisp and refreshing with a nice balance of acidity and fruit. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc Keith!

If you want to taste and meet the winemaker you will need to fill out the form found Here and he will get back with you on his availability. Did you know wine always tastes better with the winemaker present? Well worth the visit.

Consider becoming an Angel by signing up for free at Cellar Angels and allow them to introduce you to small boutique producers. Enjoy these hand-selected award winning artisan wines picked by Martin Cody himself while receiving exclusive pricing, an opportunity to select a charity to donate and receive $10 shipping right to your door or office. The videos are pretty cool too.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

2012 Luminous Hills Pinot Noir Estate Grown Oregon

I would have to say this was one of my favorite shop and sip meet the winemaker visits to my local wine shop 1st Avenue Wine House when Byron and Dana Dooley stopped in Cedar Rapids. They are the owners of Seven Of Hearts Winery where their motto "a special place, The pursuit of a dream, A little luck, And a lot of heart" is so true. They forgot down to earth loveable couple too.

Like many it was Byron and Dana's early tasting days while attending college in Oregon, that drove the passion you sip in every bottle today. As an added bonus Dana owns a successful chocolate business and we all know how fun chocolate and wine pairings events turn out! More so I gained a deep appreciation for who these two are as we talked about the wines, philosophy and life in general. As I said above there may not be a nicer couple in the wine business.

Luminous Hills Vineyard is the source of Byrons estate Pinot Noirs,  known for it's 2 distinct soil types Willakenzie sedimentary and Jory volcanic. The clones are Pommard and Dijon with yields kept to a minimum to ensure high quality fruit and wine. The character of the vineyard shines in each bottle and is captured perfectly. It all starts with amazing fruit.

The nose on this wine is luscious with ripe cherry, sliced strawberry with hints of fresh mint, dried herbs, cloves and cinnamon. Continue to swirl and layers of wild flowers and toasted vanilla add to the layers of fruit and spice. The aromatics on his wines..... amazing.

The mouth is pure elegance with the juicy cherry and strawberry with a hint of clove/mint. The finish is long, juicy and oh so silky smooth. An expression of perfect Pinot Noir. I purchased for somewhere in the $30-$40 range over a year ago. Well worth the price and more!

When in Oregon stop by the tasting room at 217 Main Street Carlton OR. Thursday - Monday 11-5. A tasting you won't want to pass up.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

2011 Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel Lizzy James Vineyard Lodi

*Sample Received*

Love. Laughter. Family. The three main ingredients in every Harney Lane bottle of wine. A proud family heritage of farming dating back to 1907. The family in 2006 developed their talents as winemakers. Each visitor that ventures by for a taste at Harney Lane is greeted by family and treated like one of their own. From Kathy "the matriarch" to Kyle the farmer and don't forget Ranger the beloved winery dog. I'm told he demands a lot of visitor attention and might just tucker you out playing a game of fetch. It's family wineries like these that I have so much respect for and enjoy tasting their wines.

Today's wine is the 2011 Lizzy James Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel. Handpicked  and hand sorted fruit, fermented in small lots and barrel aged you will find nothing but quality juice in these wines. A wise winemaker once said never put my wines in a decanter or run through an aerator. Always let them open up naturally in the glass and that's exactly what I did with this wine. The results are stunning with a first opened bottle yielding a powerful cinnamon, red currant and pepper aroma almost masking the fruit yet when you let the wine open just 5 minutes this beautiful bouquet of raspberry, blackberry and dark cherry released from the glass. Absolutely beautiful on the nose.

The mouth is bold yet subtle with raspberry, blackberry and pepper notes as you first taste while later on dark juicy cherry notes with currants and a nice long finish which warms the heart. Love that little kick of cinnamon on the finish which by the way was perfect on this cold Midwest night in front of the fireplace. My first bottle of Harney Lane and yes you have a new fan.

Next time you plan a trip to California wine country consider a visit to Lodi and a stop at Harney Lane!