Archive for the ‘What I Drank This Week’ Category

What I Drank Last Month (Nov 2013) Part 1

by Nikki Lincoln

I had a very crazy November and although I didn’t have time to write, I definitely made sure to taste lots of amazing wines. I hadn’t realized just how many of the wines I had last month were truly spectacular until I had to back up all of my pictures on the eve of getting a new cell phone. I had to make sure all of my tasting notes were saved somewhere in case they didn’t transfer to the new phone and in the process I realized that I better get writing so I can share all of these things with you!

Once I got everything down, I realized it would be better for me to split this post into two so you can look forward to the second half next week!


Kivelstadt 2011 Father’s Watch Red Blend

I tried my first Kivelstadt wine a few months ago at Hotel Biron. It was an amazing Rose of Mouvedre and I was excited to see that the winery made several other Rhone varietals. I was able to get some samples and was very excited to start trying them. The first of the bunch was the Father’s Watch Red Blend, a blend of Syrah, Carignan, Mouvedre, and Grenache. The wine had lovely pomegranate, earth, and leather flavors. It had a great balance of all of the varietals (which are some of my favorites on their own as well). The wine was quite light for a predominantly Syrah blend and was very enjoyable both on its own and with food. The Kivelstadt wines continue to impress me and I’m excited to crack into more of the samples.

Price: $26


Alamos 2012 Torrontes

The Alamos Torrontes is another wine I received as a sample. I had been very impressed with the Malbec when I had tried it a few months ago and was looking forward to trying more of their Argentinian style wines. When I decided to have a creamy soup for dinner one night, I knew I wanted to grab a bright, acidic wine to help cut the heaviness of the dish. The pear and green apple of this wine really had the crisp flavor that I was looking for and it paired wonderfully with what would have otherwise been a very heavy dinner.

Price: $13



Fenestra 2012 Alvarelhão

I came across Fenestra at the TAPAS Tempranillo tasting and was happy to see that their wines included many Portuguese varietals in addition to Tempranillo. I had never heard of Alvarelhão and fell in love with it as soon as I tasted it. I bought a few bottles and after looking up their wines for this post, am really happy that I did. It seems as though they do not always sell the wine. If you happen across it, I would strongly suggest buying some.

The wine has a beautiful ruby color with tastes of blueberry, raspberry, plum, and cherry. The flavor intensifies with each taste, and truly is an amazing wine. I would really like to get out to Livermore and track down a few more bottles of this interesting varietal.

Price: $19.50

William Hill 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

20131105_210948I’m a sucker for traditions, no matter how small they might be. The rule is, if you’ve done it twice, it’s a tradition. One of my most persistent traditions is watching V for Vendetta every November 5th. Sometimes the date sneaks up on me and I have to push the movie back a day or two but luckily there are usually plenty of Facebook reminders to make sure I don’t miss it all together.

I decided to pair this bold movie with an equally robust wine and went with a sample of the William Hill Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine had a bright red fruit flavor with dark cherry and blackberry as well. I also picked up a lot of the oak flavor from the barrel which added a nice spice touch. The wine felt very appropriate for fall and was perfect for my movie watching.

Price: $40

What I Drank The Last Few Weeks (Sept 23-Oct 27)

by Nikki Lincoln

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Here’s another post with my recent wine reviews for your enjoyment! I’ve been trying to get some notes together on a few tasting nights I had recently had but for now, here’s my usual post of the interesting wines I’ve gotten to try recently.



Townley 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, The Shizzle, Napa Valley

I had a lot to celebrate a few weeks ago when I learned that I passed my WSET Level 2 Exam with Merit. The test was harder than expected so I was very happy to hear that I had one of the highest scores and I knew I needed to open something special. Last post, I wrote about the Townley Pinot. Since I loved that one so much, I thought I would open the Townley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon which is appropriately named “The Shizzzle.” The wine is very tannic with deep blackberry flavors. It’s definitely a BIG wine and felt appropriate for a big accomplishment. I paired it with a little bit of a lamb stew and it just felt like an appropriate fall meal. The wine was still very good the next day and maintained much of its big, bold flavor. If you love bold reds, this is a great wine for you.

Price: $75



Red Rock® 2012 Menoza Malbec

One of the routines I’ve been really wanting to set up is a good workout pattern. After a couple of weeks at the new job, I made semi-weekly rock climbing dates with a couple of friends. Now that I’ve gotten my work and commute routine set more and my personal life is steady, I’ve also been adding in extra workout routines and it’s been great. Every Wednesday I go climbing with a friend and as such, I tried to leave work on time so I could meet my friend in time. Somehow I managed to get on the wrong train not once, not twice, but three times. Eventually I made it to the gym to meet my friend for our climb and we stayed after and did a leg workout. Needless to say, when I got home I was ready for a big glass of wine and healthy dinner. I was happy that I had some leftover steak w/mushrooms, kale w/ bacon, and mashed sweet potatoes. I thought a nice, hearty red would go well with my dinner and decided to open a sample wine that I had recieved: the Red Rock 2012 Malbec.

The wine had a bold, tart cherry flavor with some prune as well as earthy notes. I also picked up some boysenberry. It paired beautifully with my food and the berry flavors complemented the red meat wonderfully. I like to consume as many different colors as possible in a meal and the bold red really helped round out my dinner. It was a wonderful way to relax after a long commute and a strenuous workout

Price: $13.99


Bonny Doon 2012 Vin Gris de Cigare

William introduced me to some Bonny Doon wines as part of my Jedi Wine training and as such, I get really excited when I see them on wine lists or in wine shops. On my last trip to  LA, this was no exception. I went out to James Beach in Venice Beach with some coworkers for some famous fish tacos and was happy to learn that a number of the wines were half off for a bottle. This brought them down to their retail level and was a steal. Since my co-workers know about my wine adventures, I was tasked with picking a bottle and once I saw the Bonny Doon 2012 Vin Gris, I knew what I was getting.

The Grenache, Mourvedre, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Cinsault blend had freshfreshing grapefruit, blood orange, strawberry, and cranberry notes. It was a lovely wine for a warm Venice night and the pale salmon color looked great against the beach sunset.

Price: $16



Copolla Sofia Blanc de Blanc Mini


Last Friday was Champagne day and, of course, I didn’t realize it until day of. I sadly didn’t have any champagne at home and there was none at the Halloween party I stopped by at. On any other day, I probably could have justified running to the store for a bottle but I was running a race the next day and I didn’t want to tempt myself with drinking the whole bottle. I’ve messed up many a race by having more than “just one drink” the night before so I decided to open up one of my Sofia mini’s – single servings of the Coppola sparkling wine. Although it wasn’t true champagne, I still had fun drinking my little can of sparkling wine in solidarity and I didn’t drink so much that I had a hard time with my race the next day. I actually really love these little cans of wine. They’re easy to throw into a purse and people always get a kick out of them. As someone who doesn’t really drink beer, they make a nice alternative if you feel that your alcoholic beverage needs to come out of a can.

Price: $5 each or $20 for a box of 4



Campovida 2007 Fairbairn Ranch Syrah

Last Saturday, I participated in the NorCal Warrior Dash. I have a bit of an athletic side that I don’t show here too much. That athletic side, however, does not encompass running. I try to sign up for races sometimes that have other obstacles and things (which as a climber, I really enjoy) to encourage me to run more. So after a long morning of uphill running, obstacles, and wading through mud, I was excited to go to a Halloween party and bring a really nice bottle of wine.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a beautiful wedding at the beautiful Campovida Vineyard a couple of months ago. I had several glasses of the Syrah and was excited to go back the next day and pick up a bottle of that and the rosé that was so popular at the rosé tasting this summer. While browsing through my collection, I really wanted to open a nice bottle of wine and as soon as my eyes landed on the Syrah, I knew what I was grabbing. The wine had a lovely dark berry flavor with hints of oak and smoke. It was the perfect way to celebrate post race and was very popular at the party as well.

Price: Not listed but I believe it was in the $35 range



Las Rocas 2012 Rosé

I knew my Sunday would be spent relaxing my legs after all of that running. I spent most of the day at a bottomless mimosa brunch and in the evening, I decided to continue my relaxation with a bottle of Las Rocas Rosé that I’d had chilling.

The super light cranberry, lemon, and raspberry notes were a great end to my weekend. For an inexpensive Rosé, this wine was dry and had a great, light flavor. It is definitely something I would buy again.

Price: $10

And with that… Happy Halloween everyone! Is there a particularly frightening wine you plan on enjoying tonight?

What I Drank the Last Few Weeks (August 15 – September 22)

By Nikki Lincoln

The last few weeks of wine fun have been kind of a blur. With my WSET studies, a lot of my wine tasting was in a more formal set up rather than the one offs that I prefer for this series so I realized that even though I skipped a few weeks, I still had about the same amount to write about. It was an exciting and delicious month of wine drinking though and I’m excited to share some of that with all of you.


Two Sheperds 2011 Pastoral Blanc 375 mL

As most of you know, William also makes wine under the Two Shepherds label and for some of the bigger events, I help him pour. At his summer release party, I was really excited that he had bottled some 375 mL bottles and made sure to bring a couple home. He advised to not hold onto it too long so when I was looking to only have a couple of glasses of wine on a warm afternoon, I knew exactly what to open. The 2011 Pastoral Blanc wine is very refreshing with apple, pear, and white peach on the nose. The palate also exhibits the apple with some citrus as well. It is very acidic and was exactly what I needed to quench my thirst on an unusually warm city day. The small bottle also made me not feel so guilty about finishing it all in one go either…

Price: $24 for 750 mL


Townley 2010 La Encantada Pinot Noir



I first tried the Townley 2010 La Encantada Pinot Noir at the Vinify tasting event back in June. I went into the event not intending to buy a lot of wine – only the really special ones. I left with about a dozen bottles, but that’s a story for another day. The important thing now is that the Townley 2010 La Encantada Pinot Noir was one of them. My intention had been to only try the Pinot that winemaker, Randal, was pouring. I liked it so much that I needed to try his Chardonnay and Cabernet (appropriately named the Shizzle) as well. I left with a bottle of each.

As with all of my pinots, I saved it for a visit from my friend Natalie who loves them. We love to catch up every couple of weeks over a bottle of Pinot Noir, some nice food, and lots of fun stories. It had been a few weeks since I’d had her over and knew I wanted to pick a really special bottle so I grabbed this one. It didn’t dissapoint and we both loved the fruit forward flavors and earthy tones.

I’m also a fan of fun labels and Townley delivers on this front as well. Each label features the skyline of a different city or town. It’s fun to try to figure them all out but be careful, some are very tricky.

Price: $48


Imagery 2008 Cabernet Franc

One of the nights, I was looking in the mood for a big, bold red and decided to grab this Imagery Cab Franc from the collection. The wine very much delivered on bold flavor with intense black fruit and leather. I was hoping the wine would soften a little bit overnight but it still brought the same intensity. I would advise holding onto it a few more years or decanting if you have one of these.

Price: $44 for the 2010, older vintages not available directly


2009 Viandante del Cielo Pinot Noir Skywalker Ranch

The night before the WSET exam, the boyfriend decided he wanted to surprise me with a treat to help me relax before my test so he tracked down a bottle of Pinot Noir from Skywalker Ranch that he had told me about on our first date. He admitted that he’d been looking for it since then since he thought it was a great way to combine my geekiness with my love of wine. I decided I just wanted to relax and enjoy it so I didn’t take any detailed notes on the wine, but I did love the fact that for once, the night before a test, I didn’t feel bad about enjoying some Vino. I do know that I really liked the bottle and (knowing that he reads this) am really looking forward to trying moreSkywalker wines…

Price: $35 for the 2010 vintage, 2009 is no longer available directly


Idlewild 2010 Vin Gris

Idlewild is one of a handful of winemakers that I met through William and have kind of a wine crush on. I was really happy to pick up a few bottles of rosé from their first release because I loved what I got to try at the Rhone Rangers Rosé tasting. I think a great rosé is perfect for a warm day in the park. When I saw that Sunday was going to be a hot day and I had a friend visiting from out of town – I knew exactly what to do. I grabbed my Vin Gris and a blanket and we met in Dolores Park for a beautiful afternoon of sunshine and great wine.

I really love sharing rosé with friends. They often don’t understand why I love them so much because when they think of rosé they think of inexpensive, sweet, pink wine from the supermarket. I love showing them how much more it can be and without fail, my friend said “Wow, I love this rosé. It’s not sweet or anything and has so much flavor!” Exactly.

Price: $22


Turkovich Family Wines 2011 Grenache

By the afternoon, I was ready to get home and relax a little bit. I decided to treat myself to a bottle of Turkovich 2011 Grenache I’d picked up a few months earlier and settle in with the 49er game on and a wine themed crossword puzzle. Unfortunately, the game and the crossword didn’t turn out very well for me but the wine was fantastic and almost made the rest of that better (almost.. I really like football and really dislike the Seahawks so that still stings…). The wine’s light body made it a great pick for the warm San Francisco afternoon and the fruit forward  red berry flavor was balanced with the pepper from the bit of Tempranillo that was blended with the wine.

Price: $24

Alamos 2011 Mendoza Selección Malbec

20130921_171736The following Sunday, I decided I wanted to have a relaxing night. With no roommate or boyfriend around I decided to relax with a bottle of wine and some Assassin’s Creed. I was curious about one of the wines I had received as sample so I decided to open the Alamos 2011 Malbec. I’ve always been a big fan of Malbec but as my palate has gotten more refined, I’ve been much pickier with them.  The Alamos Malbec passed the test though. The wine was very smooth and not overly tannic as I was worried it might be. The tasting notes said that it had been a cool season and it’s reflected in the wine. The nose had blackberry and earth tones which carried through on the palate in addition to oak and stone flavors. I definitely would like to pick up some more of this wine for some of my Malbec loving friends.

Price: $20

All in all, the month was filled with some wonderful wines and the reviews practically wrote themselves. I’m also happy that I have other varietals on hand from each of those winemakers (except Skywalker…) and you’ll be seeing more about them in future reviews.

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