Saturday, October 31, 2015
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
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
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.