Saturday, November 27, 2010

2009 Wente Vineyards Chardonnay Morning Fog

I knew the Wente Vineyards name but for some reason had never tasted their wines. My choice to serve with the Thanksgiving Turkey was their chardonnay which I purchased at my local wine shop.

Located in Livermore Valley which sits east of San Francisco, the winery founded over 125 years ago was the first California winery to produce a wine labeled as Chardonnay. The description of the vineyard on the bottle "Our Morning Fog Chardonnay is Estate Grown in the Livermore Valley, a region where the vineyards are cooled by morning fog that rolls in from the San Francisco Bay, resulting in longer hang-time and enhanced varietal character." Sounds like a beautiful place doesn't it!

The wine looked perfect as I poured it in the glass. Clear and crisp, the aroma of green apple and pear filled my nose first. Vanilla and fresh melon followed by a very slight hint of oak. Wonderful aromas and very pleasing to the nose.

The wine was a great pairing with the seasonings in the stuffing and the bird. I loved the apple melon combination at the beginning of the wine. The middle features a creamy vanilla along with a hint of pear and citrus. The layers of flavor are so well balanced and the finish crisp. Awesome bottle of wine and one I highly recommend if you love chardonnay.

To learn more about Wente Vineyards and the wonderful wines they produce click on the link to visit their website.

Cheers and Happy Holidays

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Three Sticks, Three Ways For the Holidays Tastelive Event

Another great TasteLive event which I was honored to participate in was live from Cellars Of Sonoma in beautiful railroad square downtown Santa Rosa California (as my buddy Scott Jordan can only say) hosted by award winning radio host, journalist and wine judge Ziggy "The Wine Gal" Eschliman. Loved the format via ustream because also in attendance was winemaker Don Van Staaveren who the panelists were able to bounce questions off and hear first hand his thoughts on the wines, winemaking and how well the foods paired with the evenings dishes. Chef Duskie Estes also in attendance provided some wonderful recipes for all of us to cook. Special thanks to Cailyn McCauley Tastelive's Managing Partner for bringing such a wonderful event together and my fellow bloggers for a wonderful evening talking wine (Grace Hoffman, Craig Drollett, Douglas Trapasso, Amy Corron Power and Joe Power).

As I said before loved the live visual of seeing Ziggy and Don along with Chef describe the wines and pairings making you feel as if your right there and not a million miles away :). We started the evening off with the 2008 Durell Vineyards Chardonnay and the pumpkin soup. The wine with the wonderful aromas of baked apple, pear, melon, butterscotch (yes as the wine warms) and vanilla. The texture of the soup combined with the creamy finish on the wine was outstanding. Apple, pear, melon and vanilla are a perfect balance of flavors so beautifully layered. Love this chardonnay!

Next up and you all know how excited I get any chance I taste awesome Pinot Noir was the 2007 Durell Vineyards Pinot Noir paired with duck. Because I was unable to find the main ingredient I substituted pork tenderloin. Wonderful nose on this Pinot with juicy black cherry followed by a fresh rose pedal. Black raspberry and spice round out the aromas. Great pairing pork and pinot. The juicy cherry, raspberry and spice was so smooth and drank like velvet. Officially the bottle did not make it through the night!

The final wine of the evening was the 2006 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Black cherry, blackberry, raspberry and plumb aromas filled your nose with a slight hint of oak. The fruit smells so ripe and fresh. The wine is a fruit sensation in your mouth exploding with flavor. The plum really comes to the front followed by layers of boysenberry, black cherry and black raspberry. Awesome cabernet!

Well folks as we fast approach the holiday's where we share good food and wine with our families, Three Sticks Wines are an excellent choice. Elegant, balanced, exceptional fruit in each wine Mr Van Staaveren creates. Thank you Bill Price and all the staff at Three Sticks Wine for treating us to some special juice. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

2003 Chateau St Georges Bordeaux St Georges St Emilion

If you have never treated yourself to a bottle of bordeaux its probably time you spoil yourself. Mine happened to be a gift from a good friend 3 1/2 years ago. Why did I cellar for so long? Cause it said best to consume in 2010 and 2011 is about here so now you know :)

Prior to even thinking about taking a drink the cork was removed for well over an hour to allow the wine a chance to open up. Once in the glass a wonderful dark fruit aroma of blackberry and plum followed by raspberry, a hint of tobacco and oak. Nicely layered and very pleasing to the nose. The wine is 60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc.

Classic taste on this beauty. The combination of rich plum, juicy black raspberry, ripe blackberry was a palate pleaser. Earthy with a slight hint of oak but definately full bodied yet a soft silky finish. Excellent wine.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

2006 Z-52 Zinfandel Lodi

I received this sample a couple weeks ago as I have been experimenting with Zinfandels. Still trying to find my way and it seems hit or miss with my palate.

The nose on this wine I thought was very nice. The plum and raspberry seemed to flow very well. Add in the black pepper spice and the wine has a pleasant aroma.

While I will start off with this wine was not one of my favorites it's only my opinion. I researched the web and found multiple reviews which showed folks were really impressed and liked the wine. Plum was dominant at the beginning with a hint of dark berry along with the raspberry. The black pepper spice was a little too much for me at the end. I'm more for wines with subtle spice vs bold spice.

I encourage you to try a bottle of the Z-52 Zinfandel for yourself. You have my permission to email me afterwards and tell me I'm nuts especially for those Zinfandel fans who love the wine.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

2006 Cambria Julia's Vineyard Santa Maria Valley

My first ever taste of Cambria was courtesy of my oldest child and her gift "Happy Belated Birthday Dad". Still trying to figure out how she knows good old pops is a Pinot Lover!

I knew very little about the winery before I tasted so naturally I headed to their website Cambria Wine to learn more about them and the wines they produce. Located 3 hours north of Los Angeles in Santa Barbara County, Cambria has been producing estate Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah for 20 years. I guess I must have been living in a fog for all these years missing out on this wine.

When this wine hits the glass there is no doubt its great Pinot. The ripe cherry aroma fills your nose first. Next the combination of the strawberry and the cinnamon spice followed by a slight hint of vanilla is absolutely perfect. Nice bright color I am ready for a taste.

Silky smooth and full of ripe fruit this wine will not disappoint. Cherry was dominant on the aroma and its no different when you first taste. What was really nice is the cinnamon spice combines with the cherry giving you a warm feeling. Next the strawberry and vanilla appear and really completes the wine. All I could say when the bottle was finished WOW! Yes Cambria you have a new fan and now I must visit and taste more of your wine.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

2006 Ceja Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

Pondering when to drink the last bottle of wine purchased from my June trip to the beautiful wine country of California (which feels like a lifetime dear Napa and Sonoma), I could not think of a better pairing than pork medallions and pinot noir. The 2006 Ceja Vineyards Pinot Noir handcrafted in beautiful Carneros, was the perfect wine to serve. The berry flavor of the wine combined with the dried cherry pomegranate sauce over the pork was heaven.

In each bottle of Ceja wine, the fruit aroma is very intense and it's what I love about their wines. The 2006 Pinot Noir starts with the cola and the earthy raspberry aromas. Next I get a rich dark berry aroma and floral notes. Wonderful combinations of fruit and spice.

The wine in your mouth is elegent and rich. The flavors are very intense yet the wine so smooth. The raspberry and blackberry come right to the front as you first taste the wine and lingers long. Slight hint of dark cherry towards the middle of the taste. The spice while not overpowering compliments the fruit perfectly.

In talking with Amelia Ceja owner of Ceja Vineyards I asked her how she would describe the 06 Sonoma Coast wine. "Fresh and floral with hibiscus tea scents aromas. A savory medley of Jamaican tea, dried berry, herb and spice flavors."

My introduction and visit to Ceja Vineyards will always hold a special place in my heart. Trademark words the family lives by Vinum, Cantus, Amor......Wine, Song, Love. Found in each bottle of wine and any time you visit Amelia and her family. Stop by and visit their tasting room at 1248 First Street in Napa open daily at 11am.