Saturday, November 26, 2011

2009 Eric Ross Marsanne-Roussanne Russian River Valley Saralee's Vineyard

My last bottle purchased from the summer wine collection was this beauty from my good friend Eric Luse winemaker/comedian at Eric Ross Winery. Opened before thanksgiving dinner, my daughter who typically drinks little if any wine really enjoyed this refreshing white (see Dad still knows best). What I truly enjoy about Eric's wine is that each bottle showcases the fruit of the vineyard. One of our long talks one evening the winemakers wisdom was bestowed on me "Danny, take what the vineyard gives you because great fruit will make great wine!"

In the glass the aroma of pear and melon come to the front. Toasted almond and rich vanilla with orange citrus notes throughout each sniff. The wine smells crisp and fresh. Many times with Eric's wines, I find find myself swirling more than drinking picturing myself standing surrounded by the vineyard's fruit.

Eric another excellent flavor packed wine. Ripe pear and fresh melon wrapped around nectarine citrus notes. Apricot on the finish with a touch of honey and a nice minerality. Crisp and refreshing just as the aroma's showcased. Perfectly balanced with ripe fruit and acidity. Bravo Eric.

Wine drinkers new and old, Eric Ross Winery has one of the finest portfolios of wine and a must for your cellar/glass. Don't miss the opportunity to visit while in Glenn Ellen on your next wine country visit. Eric I can't wait to pop in again for some of that good juice and the Luse stories!


Friday, November 25, 2011

2009 One Hope Wine Chardonnay California

A wine I opened while preparing the thanksgiving day feast was a chardonnay from One Hope Wine. 50% of profits from each bottle of chardonnay sold are donated to fight breast cancer. A cause close to my heart.

Wonderful nose of fresh apple with hints of honey. Fresh crisp melon greets my nose along with a blast of citrus zest followed by vanilla notes. The aroma is fresh and lively and screams "drink me."

A very nice chardonnay. Ripe pear and apple treat the palate from the start of the taste. Fresh picked melon with lemon zest towards the middle followed by a creamy vanilla/butter finish. I also get a slight hint of oak but only as an accent. Refreshing with a great balance of fruit and acidity.

I encourage you to visit their website One Hope Wine to order wine and check out all the worthy causes each bottle sold supports. Excellent juice for great causes.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2010 Cline Cellars Cashmere California

Really excited to taste tonights wine the 2010 Cline Cellars Cashmere a blend of Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache. The label on the bottle is very fitting proudly showing their support for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Admire folks who give to worthy causes.

In the glass a wonderful ripe cherry aroma followed by rich plumb. Clove and pepper notes with the slightest hint of oak. Love the balance of the ripe fruit combined with the perfect amount of spice. Pleasant on the nose.

Flavor is excellent. My taste starts with the ripe plum and then hints of cranberry. Next juicy cherry, raspberry and a wonderful peppery spice finish. Silky and soft absolutely delicious. Quality wine in every bottle from the folks at Cline Cellars. My sincere thanks for introducing me to your wines. Don't miss your chance to stop and see them while in the Sonoma Carneros California wine country. You can thank me later :)

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tastelive Rodney Strongs "Down Home Downtown" Holiday Food and Wine Pairing

Rodney Strong wine tastings rank right up with my favorites for their food friendly quality juice and excellent price points. Robert Larsen picked a wonderful selection of wine for the evening with a couple tasty recipes. Throw in 8 of my blogger friends and bingo its an event.

Wine one was the 2009 Chalk Hill Chardonnay paired with a Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup from Josh Silvers, Syrah Bistro & Wine Bar. Aromas in the glass of fresh apple, vanilla, butterscotch and tropical citrus notes. The taste was fruit forward with ripe apple and pear, a nice lemon zest in the middle and a creamy vanilla finish. The creamy texture of the soup paired perfect with flavors in the wine.

Wine two this evening was the 2009 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. There was no doubt where the grapes were grown on this beauty when the mushroom and earthy notes grabbed my nose from the beginning. Cherry, hints of spice and cola with fresh cut rose filling out the aroma's. Lovely red fruit with cherry, strawberry and raspberry very dominant. Towards the finish nice juicy strawberry followed by a touch of spice. Very nice Pinot for $20.

Wine three was the 2009 Knotty Vines Zinfandel a nicely balanced Zin. Aromas of raspberry, spicy pepper notes, ripe blackberry with a slight hint of oak. The flavor started with a awesome raspberry jam followed by pepper notes, fresh blueberry and a nice warming spice. I struggle with this varietal but really enjoyed this one.

The final wine of the evening the 2008 Symmetry Red Meritage Alexander Valley. A blend of 65% cabernet sauvignon, 25% malbec, 7% merlot, 2% petite verdot and 1% cabernet franc. The wine was paired with Jeff Mall's Zin Restaurant and Wine Bar recipe Applewood-Smoked Porkchop With Fresh Applesauce, Braised Rainbow Chard, Corn Bread Stuffing. The aroma of rich plumb, ripe blackberry, baking spice and cloves was so pleasing to the nose. The flavor was outstanding with the dark fruit coming to the front followed by hints of chocolate, molassis and spice. Big flavor yet elegant and silky. I did not have all the ingredients for the recipe but I did have a boneless pork country rib with applesause and stuffing (and no time to really cook that evening) what a nice pairing.

Cailyn and Joel it was another excellent tasting. I highly recommend Down Home Downtown Seasonal recipes from Two Sonoma Wine Country Restaurants. Click the link and you can purchase your own copy. I have mine sitting on the end table so visitors can see the beautiful wine country pictures and cool recipes from Jeff Mall and Josh Silvers. To my wine blogger participants I enjoy each time we get together to taste and chat about wine. Let's not forget the fine folks at Rodney Strong Vineyards who deserve a big thank you for tonights selections. Grateful for the opportunity to taste and enjoy!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

2009 Campesino Papi y Chula Vineyard Pinot Noir Los Carneros Napa Valley

When my friend Carrie from Napa Valley Wine and Cigar  asked if I would like to taste their most popular turkey day pinot my answer quickly heck yes (remember I am referred to as Pinot God or Miles depending on who you speak with).

Campesino is a very small production pinot (50 cases) owned by Macario and Griselda Montoya. Mrs Montoya coincidentally grew up around the grapes of Carneros and her brothers and their wives are the founders of Ceja Vineyards (another of my Carneros favorites). Macario educated at Notre Dame in South Bend Indiana (Go Irish), is the winemaker with a very simple philosophy: "Wines are an expression of the earth and are made in the vineyard. It's the job of the winemaker to finish the process." Well said Macario! The hands on the beautiful label are those of Pablo Ceja (Griselda's father) a man who worked the vineyards tirelessly so that his family could have a better life.

Carrie and I commented how wonderful the aroma's were straight from the bottle. Carneros wines tend to have a eucalyptus aroma which is a dead giveaway to the region. I don't find that in this wine but what I do is pure perfection. Beautiful cherry followed by cola and finishing with a lovely spice. Simple and elegant.

Heaven in a bottle! A delicious ripe cherry with slight hints of fresh strawberry and finishing with the perfect amount of spice. Silky smooth and soft as velvet. Macario you have created one of the finest bottles of Pinot Noir I have ever tasted.

Please stop by their website by clicking the link Campesino Cellars to learn more about their story and ordering wine. Carrie I can see why this wine is a favorite with your customers and thanks for letting me taste this with you. Folks in and around the Napa area support your local wine store by stopping in to see Carrie for a bottle or 2.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tastelive Bacchus Selections Stock Your Cellar Holiday Tasting 11/8/11

Excited to taste this evening selections with the first 3 wines being french and this mammoth magnum of cabernet. French wines are rare in my cellar mostly due to my lack of knowledge of the wines. I found the first wines very different and concluded my palate was the issue (majority of wines consumed are california). Grateful for the opportunity to be taste them and I personally enjoyed them better on day 2. Bacchus Selections is a members only site for excellent wine offerings. Highy recommend signing up so you can enjoy great wine.

The first wine of the evening was the Maison Champy 2006 Premier Cru Hospices de Beaune and my favorite tonight. Huge wood, mushroom and spice aroma with hints of mocha and cherry. The flavor was plum dominant along with hints of expresso and dark cherry. I opened the wine 2 hours early and amazed at the difference from first uncorking till tasting time. Aromas and flavors are very appealing.

Next up the Chateau Pontet-Caillou 2008 Pessac-Leognan. The consensus by some of the tasters was "funk" smell. The aroma of fresh tobacco, leather, dusty earth, roasted herbs, hints of violet and clove with blackberries. Completely different on day 2 with the roasted herbs very mild. Plum, blackberry and earthy leather in the mouth. Many said the wine needs to age and will be even better. I am going to let a second bottle age at least 5 years and see if there is a difference.

Wine 3 was the Chateau Moulinet-Lasserre 2003 Pomerol.  Big dark chocolate aroma screams from the glass followed by dark jamy fruit, spice and a faint touch of oak. Juicy cherry along with fresh blackberry and a nice earthy spice. Little hint of cocoa in the middle. Decanted and aerated which greatly improved the wine.

The final wine of the evening Ridgeline Mountain Vineyards 2005 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (magnum). Aromas of milk chocolate, raspberry, creamy vanilla and blackberry. The wine was both juicy and chewey. Big blackberry in the mouth along with a huge spice. Hints of red raspberry and vanilla along with a powerful oak flavor.

I liked these wines much better on day 2 when they were allowed to open even more than the 2 hours before tasting. Many thanks to Cailyn at Tastelive, Kathleen at Baccus Selections and Joel from Creative Furnace for an opportunity to taste these french wines. For those readers who have tasted these wines I would love to hear your thoughts.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

North American Wine Bloggers Conference 2012 Portland Oregon Aug 17-18-19

August 2012, wine bloggers from across all walks of life will converge on Portland Oregon and the beauty of the states wine country. Ask any wine blogger the importance of this event and you will quickly see its high on their wish list. The opportunity to meet many industry leaders in the local wine community and social media, expanding their blogging knowledge and meet individuals just like themselves with a passion for wine are huge benefits.

Why donate? Well ask any of the wine blogging attendees and you will quickly find out many of us make little if any money. We all have regular jobs and wine tasting/blogging is our passion. Sponsors enable the conference organizers to provide scholarship money helping worthy bloggers attend. In fact in 2011, donors provided enough funds to help 14 bloggers participate. How cool! To the sponsors many thank you's.

Here is your chance to bring a smile to a bloggers face (Thea too) and support a great conference. Click the link North American Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship today to make your donation.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Kunde Family Estates KundeLive Wine Tasting

Impressive production last evening with Kunde Family Estates presents KundeLive wine tasting. Winemaker Zach Long with 4th generation winegrowers (brother and sister) Jeff Kunde and Marcia Kunde Mickelson, the hour long program included a ton of wine knowlege from grape growing to wine production and even food pairings. The interacting between the bloggers/tasters and the esteemed panel was by far one of the best live tastes I have participated in. 3 Excellent wines were on this evenings menu starting with the 2009 Sonoma Valley Chardonnay next the 2008 Sonoma Valley Red Dirt Red and concluding with the 2008 Reserve Century Vines Zinfandel. If you would like to view the program click the link KundeLive and watch all the fun.

First wine the 09 Sonoma Valley Chardonnay which set the tone for a great evening. A beautiful toasty oak when first poured in the glass followed by ripe pear, fresh apples and hints of vanilla. When the wine warmed slightly tropical fruit notes of melon and pineapple. Love the fruit aroma! The taste is amazing. Crisp apple, juicy pear, hints of pineapple/melon with a buttery/creamy finish. The flavors explode in your mouth and the wine is so well balanced. Bravo!

Wine 2 this evening was the 08 Sonoma Valley Red Dirt Red a wonderful blend of 37% Barbera, 29% Syrah, 25% Zinfandel and 9% Sangiovese. In the glass a big jammy red fruit sensation. Cherry, raspberry, hints of spice and pepper with a touch of blueberry. Excellent aroma. The taste is so juicy with the raspberry and cherry filling your mouth. Little peppery spice but not overpowering with a quick appearance of blueberry towards the finish. The fruit is so ripe throughout the taste and the combination of flavors perfect. I can see why this is a favorite in the tasting room!

The final wine of the evening the 2008 Reserve Century Vines Zinfandel created from vines over 130 years old. Unlike any other Zin you will smell or drink because its so soft and silky. Jeff commented if your looking for that huge alcohol, big bold heat zin then this wine isn't for you. Absolutely correct Jeff and I love the lower alcohol wines due to them being more versatile with food. In the glass nice dark fruit aroma of blackberry with a hint of earthiness. Some raspberry, pepper notes, slight hint of cocoa. The mouth feel is so lovely. Dark ripe juicy fruit of blackberry followed by hints of raspberry and cherry. Nice subtle spice which slightly warms the mouth. The finish is smooth with the flavors married perfectly together. Hands down one of the best Zinfandels I have ever tasted.

Truly spoiled drinking theses selections from Kunde Family Estates and I encourage you to stop by the winery and taste these exquisite wines. Jeff, Marcia, Zach and Ed I can't thank you enough for the opportunity to participate. I will see you in 2012 on my next visit.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2007 Block 7 Sonoma Coast Clone 667 Pinot Noir

What a cool opportunity to taste some wonderful Pinot Noir small production (only 100 cases produced) along with my friend Carrie from Napa Valley Wine and Cigar in beautiful Napa California. By the way you can purchase this wine from her store at 161 Silverado Trail or online at the link above. Great wine knowledge, excellent selection of boutique wine and darn friendly just what I like when shopping for my favorite juice.

It was Halloween night after the candy was handed out to all the little ghosts and goblins, Carrie and her husband Randy in California myself here in Iowa tasting the 07 Block 7 Sonoma Coast Clone 667 Pinot Noir. Allow this wine to open up in the glass swirling often before sniffing. Huge roasted herbs and earthiness until the wine opens. Now the red fruit really shines with the bright cherry, raspberry and spice. Day 2 its all ripe fruit on the nose and very beautiful.

Once the wine mellows it's classic pinot noir. Ripe cherry, fresh red raspberry with a nice warming spice. Hints of earthiness, herbal notes and a slight touch of oak. Nice finish of juicy cherry. Loved how our comments to each other were dead on with each smell and taste. Enjoyable Pinot! A nice pairing for your turkey this holiday season.

Carrie I had a blast tasting with you and your husband. Lets do this again soon.