Thursday, December 31, 2015

So Long 2015 Hello 2016

While at times it flew by many times it felt more challenging than the rest. We tasted some beauties from the likes of Campesino Cellars, Ceja Vineyards, Passaggio, Seven Of Hearts, Zoetic, MacPhail, Rodney Strong, Fields Family, Webster Cellars, Jessup Cellars, Ponzi, Cornerstone Cellars, Gallegos, Steven Kent and Hardball. For those winemakers and all winemakers who pour their heart and soul into creating juice for us to enjoy......Thank you.

We also have the opportunity to continue to give back with each purchase on Cellar Angels. Martin and Denise Cody bring awesome boutique producers to wine lovers nation wide. In return we chose a charity to give back with each purchase. I highly recommend Cellar Angels! I look forward to the wines in the new year.

And to all the readers.....thank you for your support all these years and let 2016 be our best year ever.

Cheers to 2016

Sunday, December 13, 2015

2012 MacPhail Pinot Noir Rita's Crown Vineyard Santa Rita Hills

MacPhail Family Wines owner James MacPhail produces small lot world class Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Rose with minimal intervention and hands on attention. The winery itself not open to the public as it sits on James private property but by having the winery close by he can keep an eye on the product and fine tune his skills at the same time. If the 2012 is any indication I believe James your fine tuning skills are an A+.

Like many winemakers James was introduced to wine at an early age by his father who loved burgundy and his love grew for the grape. Many times he would find himself after a long day sipping Pinot Noir as this wine resonated with him. In 2002 he launched his own label and for those who have taken pleasure in drinking this juice just smile. “My goal is to produce food friendly wines with subtlety, elegance and finesse," says the winemaker. They are also layered and full of character. I couldn't agree more.

The MacPhail Tasting Room at The Barlow you will find the familiar face of Jim Morris aka Sonoma Wine Guy who is in charge of wine education. Here you will taste and learn all about the grapes, soil and climate from Jim and the staff. Both James and Jim believe in the importance of wine education. Plus what a cool place to sip, relax and learn. Ok time for the wine.

The nose is a thing of beauty starting with an earthy floral aroma followed by ripe dark cherry, blackberry, a hint of blueberry and plum rounding out with clove, cola and a dusting of cinnamon. Exquisite aromatics.

The mouth is complex and flavorful. Intense cherry notes with blueberry and plum fruit. Cloves, cola and a hint of smoke compliment the long medium tannin finish. Day 1 was amazing and Day 2 was perfection.This is why I drink and love Pinot!

Big thanks to Cellar Angels for bringing this special purchase offer to all of of us. Sign up today at Cellar Angels to join, sip and give back.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

2014 Passaggio Passion Blend White Table Wine California

"Passaggio artisan wines are hand crafted to bring you a new generation of fruit forward, terroir driven,
food friendly wines" says Cynthia Cosco owner and winemaker of Passaggio Wines. Her passion to follow in her family's footsteps leaving behind a career on the east coast in law enforcement leads to her success today. 

She started part time back in 2004 learning the process from the ground up. Many will say the best place to start your learning process is at harvest and in the the cellar. Both tasks build character and for those who think wine making is all glamour and glory guess again. Exactly what Cindy did and gradually moved to the lab and then to her own label. Each stop on her journey from the early early wine tastings to her work with Crushpad (where I had the opportunity to meet her), has lead to her success in building the Passaggio brand. She can be found promoting her wines on social media or in her new tasting room (just celebrated her 1 year anniversary in the location) chatting with friends and drinkers of her wines. Cindy's acceptance speech when honored as a Rising Star in Women For WineSense shows how humble and grateful she is for those who recognize her talents and truly enjoy her wine. 

Today's wine is a blend of 40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Grigio and 20% Roussanne. Love the complexity of aromas with lemon citrus, sweet pear, fresh sliced apple, white peach and orange zest. So lively jumping from the glass and crisp. 

The mouth is awesome with ripe pear, fresh nectarine, juicy apple and lemon which carry long into the clean finish. When I first sipped there was this hint of creaminess in the beginning of the taste and allowing the wine to open brings a subtle minerality. I love when the winemaker nails a blend! Well done Cynthia.

You can find Cindy's wines in her tasting room located at 25 East Napa St, Suite C Sonoma, CA 95476 open 7 days per week or on the website I encourage you to stop in and meet the winemaker. Humble, grateful and so hospitable you will leave knowing everything about her wines and have a new friend.


Friday, November 27, 2015

Segura Viudas Brut Cava Spain

*Sample Received*

Today's quick sip is courtesy of Segura Viudas Sparkling Wine. Can't think of a better time to break out than Thanksgiving as our starter to kick off the celebration. Served with soft cheese, meats and veggies these bubbles were a huge hit.

The nose showed a big citrus explosion with lime and tropical fruits including melon, pineapple and white peach. The mouth was a splash of lime and melon with nice acidity, balanced and refreshing. Loved the soft fruity finish as well. Excelente!

Grab this affordable delicious sparkler from Segura Viudas today and enjoy with family and friends


Saturday, November 21, 2015

2013 Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

*Sample received*

Today's wine and no doubt my favorite varietal is the 2013 Ponzi Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from beautiful Oregon. The region is known for growing world class Pinot and on my bucket list for a visit.

Ponzi Vineyards was born in 1970 by Dick and Nancy Ponzi with the first wines in barrels in 1974. Two years later those wines were introduced into the Portland market a mere 96 cases of wine and the rest is history from the New York Times feature to the Legendary Producer status of today.

The winemaker is Luisa Ponzi who at an early age showed her passion for wine making while closely shadowing her father. Educated at Portland State she ventured off abroad and became the first American woman to receiver her certificate in enology and viticulture in Beaune France. Her education and experience shaped her philosophy and is evident in the world class wines she crafts today.

The nose on this wine is so aromatic with rich ripe cherry, strawberry rhubarb, tart cranberry and a hint of cocoa, earth and cloves. A wonderful expression of Pinot. Aged 11 months in french oak and aged an additional 5 months in the bottle, the wine was released in Sept 2015.

The mouth is beautiful with luscious cherry and cranberry fruit followed by notes of vanilla and spice. The finish is long showcasing the fruit from start finish. Pinot Noir at it's finest. Well priced at $40. Make a stop for this wine today!


2012 Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County

*Sample received*

Today's quick sip comes from my great friends at Rodney Strong Vineyards and their always delicious Sonoma County portfolio. The affordability of an everyday drinking wine with the flavors and aromas of a sophisticated gem, the quality of these wines is outstanding. A couple I know this is their favorite Cabernet and when they stop by I always make sure I have one on hand for them.

The nose is lively with raspberry, vibrant cherry, blackberry with a touch of vanilla, wildflowers and allspice. Nice complex layers of aromas and very pleasing. So consistent from vintage to vintage.

The mouth is very fruit forward with raspberry, blackberry and cherry. The finish is long with toasted oak and spice which compliments the juicy fruit. Nice soft tannins and a perfect pairing with red meat sauce over pasta. Never disappoints my friends.

Stop by for a visit in Healdsburg and enjoy a tasting, tour and check out the many events held at the winery. A true total wine experience you won't want to miss.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

2012 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Black Label

*Sample Received*

No need for a special occasion to open a bottle of Cornerstone Cellars wine because every time is special when you open one of their bottles. Wines of elegance, aromatics, terroir and perfect fruit are what you the wine lover will find with each bottle and sip from the folks in Yountville and Oregon. My first trip 5 years ago took me to their tasting room and I have been hooked ever since. A regular sipper/blogger of Craig's juice, I get the distinct pleasure of tasting this labels consistency vintage after vintage with no 2 the same.

Tonight's wine is the 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Black Label. 92% Cabernet, 5.5% Merlot and 2.5% Cabernet Franc the wine spent 18 months in French Bordeaux oak growing up and becoming the handsome youngster it is today. The nose provides beautiful aromatics of red raspberry, blackberry with a hint of blueberry. What I first noticed though was this wonderful toasty spice which came screaming from the glass before the fruit intertwines in harmony.

The mouth is lush with layers of blueberry, plum, blackberry and raspberry. A hint of earthiness with a bold spice gives this wine a sophisticated feel. Allow the wine to open in the glass and you will see this evolution to a softer elegant wine. Oh how I love it's complexity.

Swing by the tasting room in Yountville to discover these beautiful wines for yourself.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

2011 Ceja Vineyards Sonoma Coast Syrah

Armando Ceja enjoys wearing both the vineyard and winemaking hats at Ceja Vineyards an ultra premium Latino family owned winery founded by Amelia, Pedro, Armando and Martha Ceja. Having grown up working the land, Armando can tell you just by the smell which AVA he is standing in and it brings back many memories of working with his father, mother and grandmother (who by the way were excellent cooks). The introduction at an early age to the vineyards along with his UC Davis education enables Armando to produce the very best wines the vineyards offer. His philosophy is simple, “Making wine is more like making preserves than jam,” he says and favors bright fruit balanced wines. As well his creations are so food friendly and many are paired with recipes from President Amelia Ceja's kitchen along with the help of daughter Dalia.

One of my first wineries visited in Napa was a stop at Ceja Vineyards and to be greeted so warmly by Amelia and her family was a huge impression. We sipped and talked for what seemed like hours listening to the early stories, the venture to where they are today and her passion for wine. Not lost in the discussion was the importance of family and this winery operation is truly a family affair.

Tonight's wine is the 2011 Sonoma Coast Syrah. Harvested from the Adobe Vineyard and aged 24 months in new french oak, the nose exhibits notes of earth, smoke and pepper spice followed by a rush of lush blackberry jam. A slight hint of dried herbs compliments the wine nicely.

The mouth is full of ripe blackberry, black raspberry followed by a slight pepper spice and earthy leather finish. The tannins are so soft for such a medium bodied wine. A special syrah indeed. I paired this with spaghetti and meat sauce which was a complete AAA rating.

If you have the chance to visit I highly recommend a stop at the tasting room located at 22989 Burndale Road, Sonoma. Plan to spend some time sipping, listening and as always purchasing some of these premium wines.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Lost & Found

I've had my fair share of emails from wine friends asking if I was sick. Why do you ask? Well we noticed your posts have been missing, no online tastings, no winemaker tastings or bottle shots. Correct on all accounts. Even my wife noticed I was not sipping the grape juice.

I temporarily lost the way. The whole reason I got into wine was because I enjoyed sipping. The blog was born as a way to tell the world about the small producer, promote their wines and be their voice. After all who would know Campesiono Cellars  Passaggio Wines   Gallegos Wines Krutz Cellars Cornerstone Cellars Eric Ross Winery Ceja Vineyards and the 1000 other wines started in garages and custom crush facilities.

Being inundated with multiple weekly online tastings became more of a job than the thrill of discovering new wines. With the popularity came sample after sample and no longer was tasting fun. I drifted farther away from the real reason I drank wine....because I enjoyed it. I never missed the TV Tuesday Live show at Cellars Of Sonoma for 4 years and then no real motivation to watch. Today, no online tasting invitations and samples are limited. I'm back to my humble beginnings with a smile.

Even the blog became a bore. The stories stopped and all I posted was tasting notes and the same wording. I was becoming just another blogger in space. No direction no means just words slapped in a couple paragraphs. I was becoming what I said I never would be.... just another wine blog. Tried monetizing with strategic placed ads. What was I thinking? Talking with other bloggers who encouraged me...."we all go through writers block it will come back." It was a dark place with no desire to sip or post then something changed the other day.

Martin Cody posted a wine book Hungry For Wine: Seeing the World Through the Lens of a Wine Glass. It took reading 1/4 of the book to open my eyes. The passion and fun was missing. Wine is fun and shared with friends. It had been too long since the wine boys stopped by for a 3 hr tasting with great wines and great food plus a little joke telling. I pulled out the old Napa/Sonoma pictures from out trip and you could smell the vines and the soil. I'm back and ready to discover. Time to commit to one small production wine per week and get back to my roots. Time to be like Dezel of My Vine Spot a wine friend who enjoys telling the story of each bottle and varietal. It's time to have fun sipping again.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

2012 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Merlot Oak Station Vineyard White Label

*Sample received*

One amazing wine from Cornerstone Cellars  and their first release under their new Napa Valley single vineyard program. Harvested from the Oakville Station Vineyard blocks in To Kalon, this 100% Merlot exhibits intense plum and blackberry fruit on the nose. Full bodied, sophisticated and velvety smooth, the soft tannins frame the long stunning fruit finish. One of the finest merlot's I have tasted to date.

Only 97 cases produced but more importantly a wine club exclusive, you will want to get your hands on this juice. $75 per bottle and worth every penny. Sign up by clicking on the WINE CLUB link and start sipping perfection.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

2012 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, White Label

*Sample Received*

A Sauvignon Blanc with classic structure and minerality from Cornerstone Cellars this beauty will take you to the tropics.

The grapes were harvested from the Ink Grade Vineyard located in the prestigious Howell Mountain region as well as the Talcott Vineyard in St Helena. Picked in the pre-dawn cool, the fruit was gently pressed to extract the high quality free run juice. Fermented in stainless steel then racked to mature french oak barrels for sur-lie aging. Case production 853 and priced nicely at $30.

The nose shows layers of ripe honeydew melon, fresh pineapple followed by lemon zest and floral notes. Vibrant fruit which captures a refreshing crispness. Beautiful.

The mouth is superb with honeydew melon, tart lemon and pineapple. The flavors flow nicely and the creamy soft character lends an elegance to this sauvignon blanc. One very good wine Craig!

Looking to join a wine club then look no further than Cornerstone Cellars Wine Clubs and choose the option which best fits your palate. Three decades of producing excellent wines, welcome to Cornerstone Cellars.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

2011 Ceja Vineyards Merlot Sonoma County Carneros

Vinum, Cantus, Amore translation Wine, Song, Love. Welcome to the wines of Ceja Vineyards. Tonight's wine was another club purchase,  the 2011 Merlot. A mighty tasty wine I proclaim.

The nose is beautiful with aromas of luscious blackberry and ripe raspberries. A hint of plum with dark chocolate and spice.A true reflection of the magnificent fruit and vineyard which theses grapes were harvested and crushed.

The mouth is perfect on this wine. Juicy raspberry intertwined with dark berries, cocoa and spice. The wine is soft and elegant with the finish long and juicy. A wonderful expression of Merlot and ranks in my Top 5 all time!

Make plans to visit Ceja Vineyards tasting room located at 22989 Burndale Road, Sonoma CA to taste a diverse range of award winning wines. When you're finished treating your palate to their premium juice, wander next door to their sister business the Carneros Brewing Company for handcrafted beer. A great way to spend the afternoon.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

2013 Ceja Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma Coast

The church bell rings calling families and friends to join in celebration or gather at Sunday Mass. The symbolic bell on every bottle of Ceja Vineyards rings each time a bottle is uncorked calling all friends and family to share in great food, wine and celebration. President Amelia Ceja will say as a fan or club member you are now part of the Ceja family and welcome you with open arms.

Today's wine is the 2013 Sonoma Coast Sauvignon Blanc from my wine club purchase. The nose exhibits a rush of lemon lime, pineapple and grapefruit with a nice splash of citrus. It is so crisp and refreshing with a tropical flair. Just love the aromatics on Ceja wines!

The wine is so elegant with grapefruit, juicy pineapple and lemon from start to finish. The layers of flavor are soft and flow nicely complimenting each other perfectly. Versatile as well from an everyday sipper conversation wine, to being paired with an elegant dinner, a Sauvignon Blanc that will never disappoint.

Looking for a wine club that will deliver great wine right to your front door then click the Ceja Wine Clubs link and start enjoying this ultra premium latino family owned winery juice.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

2014 Rodney Strong Estate Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Charlottes Home

*Sample Received*

The heat continues and so I keep sipping the white wines. Today we have the 2014 Rodney Strong Vineyards Charlottes Home Sauvignon Blanc. Harvested from grapes in both the Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley, the growing season was warmer than normal this year.

The aromatics are lively with ripe peach, red grapefruit, crushed pineapple and lemon lime zest. Crisp and tropical. Year after year this is such a solid wine.

The mouth is fruit filled with pineapple, grapefruit, juicy peach and loads of lemon citrus. Refreshing and light. I think this is my 5th vintage tasted and always a favorite. I served this with rosemary infused cream cheese and what a pairing. Love it.

Stop by the tasting room and choose your tasting adventure....Sonoma County, Estate or Single Vineyard. Either tasting chosen will be a perfect way to spend the afternoon.


Saturday, September 5, 2015

2014 Passaggio Rose Colored Glasses Tempranillo Rose

"Passage Way" the Italian translation for Passaggio the label Cynthia Cosco has successfully created following in the footsteps of her families tradition of winemaking.

Having a passion for winemaking she walked away from a 15 year career to embark on a journey which can be both rewarding and challenging. Her love of the grape, the ever changing weather pattern affecting the grapes in the vineyard were mere challenges in the road for this female winemaker destined for greatness. She worked her way through the ranks from tastings to harvest to cellar to lab and finally a winemaker.She has successfully built her brand from those early days to include artisan wines covering white blends, rose's chardonnay, pinot grigio, sauvignon blancs, pinot noir, merlot and sangiovese just to name a few. The 2015 lineup will bring even more varietals. Keep a pulse on Cynthia because her popularity is growing among her fans and the winemaking community.

Right from the start the nose is filled with red raspberry, strawberry and melon followed by a hint of currants. Crisp and refreshing. Ok enough of this swirling lets taste this aromatic beauty!

The mouth explodes with layers of red fruit and finishes with a juicy kiss of watermelon. Very clean and a wonderful balance of fruit and acidity. So pleasing on the palate. A very special crazy good Rose` and one which is sadly sold out. Must buy more next time.

Stop by the tasting room located in the Historic Sonoma Square 25 East Napa Street Suite C Sonoma CA. The wines and staff will spoil you and you may even see the winemaker mingling with the guests.Sip and enjoy artisan boutique wines from Passaggio.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2013 Gallegos Chardonnay Charmer Vineyard Yountville Napa Valley

The story is similar to many, a family immigrating  to America where they build a business based on hard work and determination to succeed. The Gallegos family is no exception and their passion for growing grapes and understanding the vineyards is second to none. Learning the basics of grape growing was key and the family was one of the first Mexican farming families to settle in St Helena (grandfather in the 1950's with the entire family in the 1960's). Making wine from vines planted over 30 yrs ago by Eric's father adds a little special love to each bottle. Case production for all varietals is 1000 and if not for Cellar Angels and their showcase of this wonderful family winery, many outside California like myself would never have an opportunity to taste these beautiful wines so Martin well done. This was a great Cellar Angels buy for me.

The minute you pull the cork the quality of this wine is evident. Layers of caramel/vanilla, fresh apple and pear, tropical mango and pineapple. Big fruit and crisp on the nose. Swirling and sniffing is as gratifying as tasting.

The mouth is full of beautiful fruit with pear, tart apple and a kiss of pineapple finishing with a soft creamy vanilla custard. So luscious and elegant this handcrafted gem is so unbelievably good. Ignacio you and your family are making outstanding wines.

Support small family wine operations like the Gallegos Wines who pour their heart and soul into each bottle. Have an opportunity in the future to taste boutique wines by becoming a Cellar Angel and taste what Martin Cody is finding in wine country. Both are opportunities you can't pass up.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Daily Double Dose Rodney Strong Vineyards 2013 RRV Pinot Noir and 2013 Sonoma County Chardonnay

*Samples Received*

Easy drinking everyday wines to sip or pair with your gourmet meal you cannot go wrong with a bottle of Rodney Strong Vineyards Tonight I sampled 2 of my favorite varietals Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Known as a winery which protects it's resources they are certified sustainable and solar powered. It's about green and reducing your carbon foot print.

Up first the 2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Swirl and it's complete harmony with luscious cherry and strawberry followed by a bouquet of fresh cut roses. Allow to open and a hint of earthiness, vanilla with a touch of clove. Wonderful expression of the Russian River Valley and Pinot Noir. The mouth explodes with cherry, strawberry and pomegranate and silky smooth. The finish showcases a perfect splash of spice and toasted vanilla with the fruit still juicy and inviting. I could drink this all day. I like pairing this with my pork medallion dish and so do my guests. Robert just plant me under a barrel will you.

The 2013 Sonoma County Chardonnay is another favorite in the house. The nose takes me to the tropics with melon, green apple, lemon zest and a hint of pineapple. The citrus is crisp on the nose and the baking spice notes compliment the fruit nicely. The mouth is fresh and lively with the tart green apple, fresh pear, lemon and pineapple followed by vanilla with baking spice. Love sipping on the back porch and paired with any chicken dish!

Swing by the winery on your next visit to Healdsburg for some quality tasting.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Rocks By Cornerstone

*Samples Received*

Always enjoy this time of year when the new releases hit the streets especially  Rocks by Cornerstone.....White, Red and Rose. Versatile fun food friendly wines meant to drink now. Share these with friends at your next dinner party or cocktail get together. They taste more expensive than their price tag!

I started with the 2014 White Rocks a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Orange Muscat. Aromas of peach, grapefruit and tangerine with a citrus zest. Crisp and tropical on the nose. The mouth explodes with flavor sweet peach, pink grapefruit, ripe pear and sliced tangerine, with a lemon zest finish. The longer I taste a hint of green apple. Intriguing complexity of flavors and really tasty. I paired this with Mongolian Chicken. Quality juice Craig!

Up next is big brother 2013 Red Rocks a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Pinot Noir. Nice earthy aroma . The fruit is big with blackberry, cherry, raspberry and blueberry with a white pepper spice. Excellent juicy character with cherry and blackberry followed by smooth blueberry. The finish is long with a nice earthy/spice tone. I paired this with bbq baby back ribs and I declare a home run!

Last wine of the tasting was the 2014 Rocks Rose a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet, Pinot Noir and Syrah. At first glance this is a deeper red colored rose not your salmon or light red. The nose exhibits aromas of strawberry, cherry, black raspberry and a hint of black pepper, anise and liquorice. The mouth is full of red juicy jammy fruit with the strawberry and cherry flowing nicely into a spicy finish. Simple and soft. Might just be my favorite of the evening. Paired with fresh salmon patties and wild delicious.

Now who wants to stop by Cornerstone Cellars and grab your own bottles of Rocks!


Saturday, July 25, 2015

2014 Passaggio New Generation Barbera Rose Lodi

Passion is defined as an intense emotion, a compelling enthusiasm or desire for something. Imagine leaving a 15 year career and fully immersing yourself in a new career which can be both challenging and rewarding at the same time. Ladies and gentlemen meet Cindy Cosco winemaker/owner of Passaggio Wines

Following her family heritage in 2004, Cindy has set out to create wines which showcase each years harvest. The end result is award winning wines which should be shared with friends over conversation and dinner. Just recently she was named one of the Rising Stars for 2015 by the National Organization Women For Wine Sense. She will also be celebrating her 1st Anniversary of Passaggio Wines Tasting Room located on the historic Sonoma Square where wine lovers can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere of tasting and being with friends.

Tonight's wine the 2014 Barbera Rose is an interesting wine. Aromas of strawberry and watermelon with a hint of anise. Simple and intriguing at the same time. It's my first Barbera Rose.

The mouth is really good with an initial ripe strawberry and a crisp melon tropical feel. When you allow the wine to open on day 2, there is this tart strawberry rhubarb sensation with hints of creamy vanilla. Beautiful and well priced at $26 per bottle.

Swing by for a visit on your next tasting adventure at 25 East Napa St Suite C in Sonoma. Sip, relax and enjoy Passaggio Wines.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2013 Jessup Cellars Rose` Napa Valley

Leave it to Martin Cody of Cellar Angels to find these small production ultra premium wine producers for his weekly offerings to the army of angels. Today's wine was an angel purchase from Jessup Cellars and their 2013 Rose.

Located off Highway 29 in Yountville, Jessup Cellars story is one of family, passion, hard work and some beautiful wine. Known as one of the friendliest tasting rooms, Jessup Cellars loyal followers spread the word among family and must drink this wine! Owned by Roy and Cheri Eisiminger, Becky and Dan Blue, Jana and Vance Thompson, Kelly and Jim Mazzo the story how these folks came to be partners in the wine business and the success they enjoy today is truly inspiring.

The pinot noir grapes for this wine were grown by the Truchard Family in Carneros. The aromas of wild strawberry, cherry with a hint of cinnamon spice on the nose. Nice floral notes of fresh picked rose pedals. Just a beautiful nose on this rose.

The mouth is so refreshing and crisp. Candied strawberry with a kiss of sweetness followed by ripe watermelon and sophisticated pink grapefruit. Dry with a perfect balance of acidity, I paired this with chicken stir fry and so delicious.

When in Napa this is a must stop at 6740 Washington St in Yountville to taste, sip and savor Jessup Cellars portfolio of wines. Amazing juice from this talented producer.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

2014 Decopas Medoza -Argentina Sauv Blanc and Malbec Quick Sip

*Samples Received*

Decopas means "by the glass" and is a favorite saying in Argentina especially around happy hour. Today's wines are just that conversation starters and an inexpensive house wine priced below $13 per bottle. The natives will tell you it also signals the start of Happy favorite part of the day

First up the 2014 Savignon Blanc with it's big grapefruit, lemon/lime and grassy aromas. The mouth is grapefruit dominant with lemon citrus and mineral notes. Both crisp and very dry.

Wine 2 the 2014 Malbec with really nice red berry aroma's of cherry and plum followed by black pepper. The mouth is soft for a malbec with the red fruit and pepper spice combination. Nice medium bodied wine easy on the wallet.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

2014 Cornerstone Corallina Napa Valley Syrah Rosé, Artist Series

*Sample Received

This ladies and gentlemen is what Craig Camp calls "Real Rose, no afterthought or leftovers but a rose with a purpose." The grapes are grown in the Oak Knoll AVA Crane Vineyard and 100% designated to become Corallina Syrah Rose. Once the cool fruit is pressed the juice heads to stainless steel tanks where it ferments to it's dry state. Upon completion the wine is racked into French oak barrels for the next 5 months and then bottled for all of us to enjoy. Branding is also important and I just love the color and detail on this Artist Series label. The wine is damn tasty too :)

The nose is lively with red berries of cherry and strawberry. A hint of floral with fresh cut roses followed by a nice peppery spice. As I let the wine warm there are some earth tones that splash into the picture. Definitely a grown up rose. Beautiful salmon color.

The mouth is full of flavor with tart cherry and ripe strawberry. The finish is this little kicker of white pepper which is a perfect touch to each sip. While the flavor is huge it's not overpowering and really softens as the wine opens up allowing you to "drift into rest and relaxation." Paired with Asian Cuisine was just amazing. Rose with a purpose.....I couldn't agree more Craig and my glass kept screaming "fill me up please."

This weekend is the release of this beautiful Rose` so stop by the Cornerstone Cellars tasting room in beautiful Yountville for a bottle or 12. The 2014 Cornerstone Corallina Napa Valley Syrah Rosé, Artist Series won't last long!


Sunday, June 21, 2015

2014 Isa Grenache Rose Sonoma Coast Campesino Cellars

Campesino Cellars the creation of Macario and Griselda Montoya produces premium boutique wines which reflect the earth and the vineyard. Lucky for us wine lovers they both were introduced to wine at an early age and caught the bug to make wine.They are quick to give credit to those who have helped them along the way especially the "campesino's", the fieldworkers who like many coming to this country, have dreams of a better life and work many long hours to prove themselves. They are as much a part of each bottle of wine as the winemaker and his family.

Named after their oldest daughter Isa, tonight's wine is a beautiful expression of  rose` wine. The red fruit from this Grenache Rose`gently exits the glass pleasing your sense of smell with raspberry, strawberry and cherry clusters with an allspice kick at then end. While you pick up very quickly this is a dry wine there is this crisp refreshing sensation with each sniff.

The mouth is spectacular with the red berry clusters and dash of minerality throughout the taste. Nice level of acidity makes this wine both food friendly and a wonderful stand alone wine. I found with each sip my mouth begged for more. Thankfully I have 2 more of these in my cellar and folks this wine is an absolute steal at $16. Love this wine.

Sign up for their Mailing List to get the word first on new releases and your chance to purchase. Would you like to hear more about Macario then check out the interview with him by clicking the Cellar Cast Interview With Macario
link. Well done my friend and Happy Fathers Day!


Friday, May 29, 2015

2013 Stepping Stone By Cornerstone North Coast White Rocks

*Sample received*

Several vintages tasted and I can tell you that White Rocks really does rock Cornerstone Cellars! I love this crisp little blend of Chardonnay, Viognier and Muscat Canelli. Easy on the palate and the pocketbook. You may just think you have been swept to the tropics with each sip.

The nose is fruit filled with ripe cantaloupe and juicy honeydew melon. Sliced peaches and sweet pears complimented by lemon/lime zest. Layers of aromas are outstanding.

The mouth says you are in the tropics...relax and enjoy. White peach with just a hint of tartness followed by green apple, cantaloupe, apricot and honeydew melon. The finish is a kiss of sweet pear which begs your palate to "pour me more." Balanced, crisp, clean with nice acidity. Well done my Yountville friends!

Wine country visitors make sure you swing by the tasting room for this awesome tasting blend and sip for yourself. I think you will agree this wine is a must in your cellar.


Friday, May 22, 2015

2012 Ceja Vineyards Chardonnay Napa Valley Carneros #ChardonnayDay 2015

A special Chardonnay for #ChardonnayDay from my cellar a 2012 Ceja Vineyards originating in beautiful Carneros. A Latino Family owned winery producing wines which showcase the vineyards and their dedication to sustainable agriculture. Each bottle is handcrafted with "Ceja Love" and you become part of their family with each sip.

The nose is lush showcasing crisp apple and juicy pear with a splash of lemon/honey citrus. Beautiful flow of aromas and so elegant.

The mouth is rich with fruit and citrus. Pear, lemon and green apple with a hint of baking spice and vanilla. Nice balance and love the creamy character giving this wine a delicate feel yet still flavor packed. Delicious! Well done my Carneros Family.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

2013 Zoetic Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Sonoma County

Finding small boutique wines outside of their production area is always a bonus and thanks to the folks at Cellar Angels for their continued work promoting these tasty gems. Tonight's wine was showcased by Martin from Kim and David Vance of Zoetic Wines a few weeks back and the special pricing was a steal.

Zoetic Wines was born from the hopes, dreams, hard work and determination by former Texas residents Kim and David. Trips to wine country and the beauty it beholds causes one to fall in love with the land and wines. One day you feel the itch to create your own label and bazinga a winery is born. As with all great wineries the vintage starts in the vineyard. Soil, climate, fruit is not manipulated but allowed to develop naturally. A great vision Zoetic and one that makes your wines superb.

Classic Russian River nose with rich ripe cherry, cola and that earthy forest character known to great pinot from this region. A touch of spice perfects the aromas.

The mouth is oh so good. Juicy cherry with hints of red raspberry and cranberry. Nice red fruit character. Mild clove spice with a sprinkle of cocoa powder. Medium bodied, well balanced complex wine. Absolutely delicious.

Limited quantities available and sold exclusively by signing up HERE on the Zoetic mailing list. You won't want to miss out on this juice. While signing up make sure you become an Cellar Angel by joining as a  NEW MEMBER


Saturday, May 9, 2015

2012 Ceja Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma Coast

Ranks right up there with my  favorite Sauvignon Blancs. I'm talking about the 2012 Ceja Vineyards Sonoma Coast Sauv Blanc which is so delicious. No overpowering grapefruit or grassy notes but balanced soft flavors for easy drinking and food pairings. One of my first visits when touring Napa was a stop to visit with Amelia. I have been a huge fan of their wines ever since.

Beautiful nose of lemon lime citrus with hints of grapefruit and cantaloupe. Nice crisp wine which is pleasing to this wino's nose.

The mouth is fresh ripe grapefruit not overpowering with a spectacular vanilla cream kiss in the middle along with a hint of minerality. The finish is long and zesty with lemon lime lingering. Well balanced and not overly acidic. I could drink this wine all day.Well done my Carneros Family.

Stop by the Sonoma Tasting Room Wednesday -Sunday 11am to 5pm and taste these exquisite wines. An experience you won't want to miss.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

2012 Passaggio Unmarked Code Seven Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Sonoma County

Tonight's wine is my favorite varietal Pinot Noir. Cynthia Cosco winemaker/owner of Passaggio Wines , made 50 cases of this gem and as of this writing the wine is sold out. If you were fortunate enough to taste a bottle, then you know all too well why you should buy more than 1 bottle (unlike yours truly who didn't follow his own guidance).

The inviting nose exhibits tart cherry and cranberry with a hint of cloves. A touch of earthy character compliments the fruit and spice perfectly. Elegant!

The mouth is a blast of bright cherry and fresh cranberry followed by a kiss of warm cinnamon/clove spice and strawberry. The finish is long and silky smooth.One beautiful Pinot Noir Cindy. I sure hope the winemaker held a few back and in that case I'm coming for a visit.

Stop by the beautiful Passaggio tasting room when in the Sonoma Square on your next visit (25 East Napa Street Suite C Sonoma) to sip and taste this award winning winemakers offerings.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2014 Steven Kent Winery Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard Livermore Valley

*Sample Received*

Introduced a few years back to Steven Kent Wines by one of my favorite wine friends Tracey Hoff, I have a great appreciation for Steven's portfolio. Easy drinking, food friendly and sophisticated. Blending is an art and Steven nailed it on this wine. 75% Sauv Blanc and 25% Semillon, single vineyard juice with less than 420 cases produced all for under $25. A steal my wine friends.

The nose is vibrant with lime and lemon zest, honeydew melon freshly sliced and a hint of peach. Fresh cut flowers round out the aromas and compliment the fruit perfectly.

The mouth is crisp and clean with loads of lemon lime citrus. Melon with hints of pineapple gives the wine a tropical feel and the fruit lingers long into the finish. A perfect pairing for my Maryland Crab Cakes with Rice Pilaf drizzled with fresh lemon juice and parsley. Love this wine.

Stop by Livermore Wine Country and visit The Steven Kent Winery to treat your palate. Love this wine region and especially Steven's wines


Sunday, April 12, 2015

2014 Passaggio Mourvedre Rose California

Sometimes in life your path crosses with people who turn out to be something special. One of those people is today's winemaker Cynthia Cosco of Passaggio Wines who has become a close friend. We had the opportunity to meet roughly 5 years ago and tasting her creations throughout those years has been a real treat for me. Her growth as a respected female winemaker is due to hard work, excellent wines and that fact she is so down to earth. Yes Cindy you deserve every accolade given!

Tonight's wine is a new one in the Passaggio portfolio the 2014 Mourvedre Rose. Priced well at $26 and going fast I might add. The nose is an explosion of red berry clusters strawberry, cherry and raspberry. A kiss of fresh rose pedals compliments the bright fruit. Beautiful nose!

The mouth is lively with fresh strawberries, ripe cherry and a splash of plums. A touch of herbal notes but as the wine opens I get a berry creme sensation with a nice long finish. Crisp and clean with a nice balance of acidity. A wonderful expression of rose` Cindy!

Make sure you stop by the tasting room in the Historic Sonoma Square 25 East Napa Street Suite C. Open noon to 6 Mon-Thur with Fri-Sun 11-6. A relaxing atmosphere for wine lovers and their friends. You may just see the winemaker chatting about her exquisite wines. 


Saturday, April 4, 2015

2011 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, White Label

*Sample Received*

In their third decade of excellence, Cornerstone Cellars continues to amaze with each vintage produced. The quality and expression of the vineyard, make these wines a must in your glass and cellar. I have been a regular consumer of these wines for the past 6 years, and whether I'm drinking them or sharing them with friends, the outcome remains the same. Balanced, impeccable, food friendly are all great descriptors. My friends know great wine. Aged 22 months in french oak and is 88% Cabernet and 12% Merlot.

The nose on the 2011 exhibits dried herbs of sage and thyme followed by rich dark cherry notes which become very pronounced as the wine opens. Plum with hints of raspberry and espresso surrounded by toasted oak. Beautiful.

The mouth is full of ripe dark cherry and plum with a slight jammy raspberry. Cassis with dark chocolate mocha followed by toasted oak. The finish is long, juicy and elegant. I've tasted this over 5 hours and the wine keeps getting better. Wonderful expression of Cabernet!

Stop by the Tasting Room which has an relaxed inviting atmosphere where friends come to taste great wine.