Posts Tagged ‘sauvignon blanc’

What I Drank Last Week (May 19-25)

By Nikki Lincoln

As some of you may know, this week started off with a big event in San Francisco known as Bay to Breakers. I enthusiastically participated and after all was said and done, I was looking forward to taking a little break from drinking so no wine was cracked open for a couple of days. However, that didn't last long and by Tuesday I was back on the wine grind.

RN74

Tuesday I'd finally felt recovered from Bay to Breakers and decided to go to Happy Hour with a couple of work friends. My only requirement was that the place have wine so I was happy when RN74 was thrown out as an option.JC Quincy

My coworker and I were in a particularly silly mood and after spending zithromax overnight the whole walk laughing and joking around, I decided it would be nice to cool down with a crisp white. Ideally, when I want something cool and refreshing, Sauvignon Blanc is my go to so I was happy to see one on the menu, and extra excited that it was from the Loire Valley after having read about it earlier in the day. The wine was very light and refreshing with mild flavor and acid.

For my second glass, I decided to go for a Grenache from Southern Rhone. My friends all decided to follow suit and it was fun to see that they all trusted my judgement. This wine was big and fun with an earthiness to it. We enjoyed it so much that we decided to get a second glass. If drinking this wine at home though, I think it would do a little better having some time to breath in a decanter or passed through an aerator.

After the three glasses of wine, we were all in fine spirits and despite one friend having tickets to the Giants game (now close to being over), we decided to try one more wine. I thought it would be fun to try something I wasn't familiar with at all and went with the Louis Antoine Pais from Chile. The bartender then proceeded to explain the wine to me and warn that I shouldn't be shocked by the hint of bubbles since this wine was a little “gassy.” Needless to say, my coworker erupted in a fit of giggles over this. I really enjoyed the wine and I love a bit of effervescence in a wine, especially when it unexpectedly comes from a red. Next time I come back to RN74, this is going to be the first wine I order so I can get a better idea of the taste.

All in all, it was a very fun happy hour both in company and location. I  love when a bar has a great selection of wine by the glass since it let's me try more wines that I might not normally have access to. It's also fun to share my interest with my friends, as well as a bunch of laughs. I did feel bad about my friend missing the Giants game though so I promised next time we'll go somewhere that he can at least watch it.

SAUVIGNON BLANC, JEAN-CLAUDE ROUX QUINCY, LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE 2011 $12/glass

GRENACHE, PIAUGIER GIGONDAS, SOUTHERN RHONE, FRANCE 2010 $16/glass

PAIS, LOUIS ANTOINE LUYT QUENEHUAO, MAULE VALLEY, CHILE 2011 $12/glass

Macallan Finest Cut Event

A couple of months ago some friends and I went to a Macallan tasting event. I'm sure you've heard of these – they put you in a big pretty room, give you a free cocktail and then some samples while an MC shows you a video and explains why the scotch is superior to others. Basically, they're a really fun time to try a new spirit with your pals. So a couple of weeks ago when I got an email about another Macallan tasting event, I was caught off guard. Hadn't I JUST gone to one of these? However, upon opening it, I was pleased to find out that this was a smaller scale event at a local whiskey restaurant, Nihon. I enthusiastically signed up and invited a friend who went with me to the big event.

This event baffled me in the best way possible. Having been to plenty of events where the idea is to sell you on something, it was oddly refreshing to show up in a room, be handed two tasting coupons, and be told to sit anywhere and enjoy the free (very fancy) sushi. The only announcement that was made was to let everyone know that it was actually a charity event for the World Children's Initiative and that they were making a donation on behalf of all of the attendees. Well played, Macallan, well played. In addition to having great scotch (and an ice ball machine), you also have a place in my heart for just being really, really good people.

2010 Coppola Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon

Coppola Diamond CabAfter the Macallan event, we decided to go back to my apartment for some wine and GeoGuessr (the most addicting game on the Internet, I'm sorry). I was feeling a big red so I decided to open up the 2010 Coppola Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon. This actually ended up being surprisingly light for a Cab. I picked out some blackberry tones and felt that it was the kind of red that would be very enjoyable to drink in the summer. That particular note in red wine is nice in that blackberries aren't known for having an overwhelming flavor and likewise, this was a gentler red. I could imagine being able to enjoy it even on a warm day.

Price: $18

2011 Mirassou Cabernet Sauvignon20130522_211723

We decided to end the night with one more wine. This time I decided to open a wine I had received as a sample. The 2011 Mirassou Cabernet Sauvignon was much more robust than the previous Cab. The flavor was fruity and had more black currant tones than blackberry. The slight jamminess of the wine was a noticeable contrast compared to the Coppola Cabernet.

Price: $12

2011 Coppola Director's Cut Chardonnay

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The next day brought us to Chardonnay Day and the arrival of Momma Lincoln. Lucky for me, this was a fortuitous coincidence as my mother loves Chardonnay. I decided to pop a bottle of 2011 Coppola Director's Cut Chardonnay in fridge as I waited for her much delayed flight to arrive. She was very happy to arrive at my apartment and be immediately treated to a glass of her favorite kind of wine.

The wine was very light with an almost floral nose that I presume to be the presence of the cloves that the tasting notes suggest. I hadn't had a Chardonnay in a while and had forgotten how different the acidity is than a Sauvignon Blanc or the other whites I'd had recently. It was interesting to think about those differences more and figuring out my preferences. More importantly though – Mom liked it.

Price: $21

2011 Pueblo Del Sol Sauvignon Blanc

20130525_200439For the rest of Mom's visit, I wasn't actively keeping track of the drinks we had because I just wanted to enjoy spending time with her. However, Saturday night, after spending the day rearranging my apartment and setting up some much needed wine racks, she picked out a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc she wanted to try. As it was a sample that I was given, I told her I should probably take notes on it… and I'm so glad I did.

This wine was exactly what I look for in a Sauvignon Blanc. It was very dry and acidic with a crisp apple flavor. I really enjoyed this wine and I am definitely going to find where I can buy a few bottles because this would be perfect for a picnic on one of those rare warm SF days or with some oysters.

Price: ~$11

Last week was a pretty busy drinking week for me so now that Momma Lincoln has left, I've decided to take a few days off from the vino. My big drinking this week will be at a couple more specific tastings so no wines of the week next week, but I'll try to post something regardless.

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Events for This Weekend and Two Routes for the Wine Road Barrel Tasting

Guest Post by Fred Swan

This weekend’s events look a little sparse on the surface. But one little line item portends barrels of adventure. Hundreds of barrels. Full of wine. canadian viagra

tle=”The 34th Annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting in Northern Sonoma” href=”http://www.wineroad.com/events/barrel_tasting/3#tabs-5″ target=”_blank”>The 34th Annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting in Northern Sonoma.

There have already been excellent articles on this site about the barrel tasting. I don’t want to repeat what has been said. But, the list of more than 120+ wineries makes it hard to know where to start. So, I’ll offer a couple of itineraries for you to consider:

(Editorial note by William, for those of you who listened to me on KRSO tonight and are looking for the Tips & Ticket Contest, see Monday’s Post Here: Wine Road Barrel Tasting – The Premier Wine Buying Event of The Season. Learn, Share and Win Tickets! (4 winners!) )

Route 1: Get it While You Can — Wineries Open This Weekend Only

Saturday, focus on wineries west of Hwy 101. I might start at Moshin. Their Sauvignon Blanc will ease you into tasting. Follow it up with vineyard-designate Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.

Next, head up Westside Road to De La Montanya. They have five different wines for you to sample, starting with Pinot Noir and closing with a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc. The dessert wine will lead nicely into lunch. You did pack a lunch, right?

Head north on Westside Drive as it turns into West Dry Creek. Pull in at Quivira. Eat your lunch near their biodynamic gardens. Then enjoy their Mourvedre and Petite Sirah.

From Quivra continue on to A. Rafanelli Winery which will be pouring 2010 Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. Their wines are always very good. And they age well.

On the second day do an eastern route. Rodney Strong will have a tasty assortment. Chalk Hill Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and Dry Creek Zinfandel.

From there, go to Stryker Sonoma. See how the Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from their estate differs from the Dry Creek wines you tried on Saturday. The’ll also pour Merlot.

Stay on the Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon path by going to Trentadue. They’ll let you try their reserve, the La Storia Cabernet Sauvignon. The La Storia Zinfandel and La Storia Cuvee 32 blend will also be available.

For a taste of a completely different Cabernet Sauvignon AVA, head back across Hwy 101 to Ridge Vineyards. They’ve got a barrel of 2011 Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon from the Santa Cruz Mountains. (Ridge is open the 2nd weekend too, but why wait?)

 

Route 2: Que Syrah — There’s more to Sonoma than Chard, Zin, Pinot and Cab

Formulate an itinerary from among these excellent Syrah producers:

Joseph Swan (Forestville) will be pouring not one but three vineyard-designate Syrah. Give them a try and see how the terroir of the different vineyards shows through in the wines. The winery will also have Zin, Tannat and more.

Vintoteca in Santa Rosa will be featuring six different wineries. Among the wines will be Olson Ogden’s Dry Creek Syrah. Before you dive into that though, try the Pinot Noirs from Bjornstadt and Baker Lane.

Krutz Family Cellars (Santa Rosa) Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stagecoach Vineyards of Napa Valley was one of Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines for 2011. They’re opening a barrel of Syrah from that same vineyard, which excels with that variety.

Lauterbach Cellars (Windsor) has acclaimed Syrah fruit, but makes wine in tiny quantities. This is your chance to try some. They’ll have the 2009 Syrah, but will start you off with Pinot Noir and their Syrah Rosé.

Red Car (Sebastopol) is un-bunging their Estate Syrah. But first, enjoy Heaven & Earth and their estate Pinot Noir.

Dutton Estate Winery will be pouring My Father’s Syrah. …I didn’t even know my dad had Syrah! I’m sure it will be good though. They’ve also got Pinot and Chardonnay on tap wine thief.

 

Events

Lake County

Six Sigma Ranch Pro & Amateur Pruning Competition —Lower Lake: March 3, 10:00am – noon
Learn pruning from the pros and try your hand at it, too!

 

Napa Valley

Cab Release Weekend at Velo Vino — St. Helena: March 3 – 4, 11:00am – 6:00pm
A special Vertical tasting of our 2006, 2007 and 2008 kit’s killer cab.

Charles Krug Winery Celebrates Charles Krug’s 187th Birthday — St. Helena: March 3, 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Imagine the light the birthday candles will put out! There’ll be appetizers and three-course wine dinner.

 

Sonoma County

34th Annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting – Northern Sonoma: March 2 – 4, 11:00am – 4:00pm
144 wineries open their doors this weekend, many will be offering futures. Advance ticket sales are over, but you can buy tickets at the door.

Inspiration Vineyards Winemaker Dinner — Santa Rosa: March 2, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
There are still a few seats available for this dinner and the menu looks great!

Music at Vino di Amore Tasting Lounge — Cloverdale: March 2, 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Unwind after work, or barrel tasting, to rock and reggae played by Oscar Caleron.

Hanzell Vineyards Winemaker Dinner at Santé — Sonoma: March 8, 6:30pm
Join Hanzell winemaker Michael McNeill for a delicious four-course dinner paired with past and current vintages of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

 

A Quick Plug:

The Wine Advocate will soon be releasing Antonio Galloni’s report on Sonoma County Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. You can learn levitra viagra online more about him and what he looks for wines by reading my in-depth interview with him. It’s being published in daily doses this week at NorCalWine.com.

Enjoy your weekend!

 

Great surprises from Lake County Wineries found at "Wines with Altitude" event

I recently attended Wines with Altitude, where the vintners of Lake County California brought their wines to town — literally, to a stunning San Francisco venue on Treasure Island.  Casually dressed wine-makers and staff members poured and chatted with the attendees between baguettes and hummus.  A folksy event put together by the Lake County Winery Association, the four-hour pow-wow came with a classy glass sporting the Wines with Altitude slogan, a fresh personal-size baguette, and booklet with info and space for wine-tasting notes.  I attended as press.

The event was held at The Winery SF on Treasure Island. WARNING: This is a place of jaw-dropping city views. It was easy access and there were a couple of food trucks outside with picnic tables.

Inside there was a large main floor of wine pouring. An upstairs room featured winning wines from the 2011 Lake County Wine awards. In all, over 100 different wines were pouring from 20 or so wineries. There were olives and olive oil, pizzettas and gazpacho and some nice lounging areas in the

old building.

I’ve been known to favor Lake County Sauvignon Blancs. The Altitude theme suggested Reds.  I arrived with my notebook and spit-cup, eager to commence tasting, and not really knowing what to expect.  It turned out to be a day of surprises, some professional – like tasting a Lake County Aglianico, and some personal – like running into Napa Valley winemaker Nils Venge, the first person who exposed me to garagiste winemaking. The story: About twenty years or so ago, a group of friends and I loyally appeared every season to help Nils bottle his fledgling Saddleback Cellars wines in a small concrete block building on Money Road in Rutherford, CA. The little block building is still the nucleus of Saddleback and Nils now also owns Cougar’s Leap in Lake County.

I made an effort to taste every Sauvignon Blanc (SB), and there were quite a few. The Lake County SB’s were each so different, I couldn’t identify a Lake County “style” or varietal “character.” The only label I recognized was Guenoc, a widely distributed and solid SB. This was a good sign I was discovering a number of labels for the first time. I learned that Guenoc is a Valley – and it’s own AVA — and that the premium SB is their Langtry Sauvignon Blanc (250 cases produced vs thousands of Guenoc). I liked the Langtry.  My other favorite Sauvignon Blanc’s were 2 from Six Sigma Michael’s Vineyard – the 2010 stainless with bright fresh melon on the nose and classic grapefruit on the palette – and a single vineyard, very lightly oaked version that maintains a crisp, cleansing acidity while adding dimension from the oak.  This wine recently won best-in-class in the 2011 Lake County Wine Awards Competition, directed by Ray Johnson.

 

Winemaker Nils Venge

Cougar’s Leap offered a unique Sauvignon Blanc rendition – the 2010 Black Rock White which is 70% Semillion, 30% SB and, according to vintner Nils Venge, includes a boost from a one-time barrel of Albarino. Cougar’s Leap was pouring 2 other wines and they were memorable: The 2008 Black Rock Zinfandel with lots of fruit coming through structure and tannins, and which Venge claims with a crooked grin is “17% alcohol.” Reviewers have dubbed it “Ballistic!” Definitely a wine with “Altitude.” I finished with a 2007 Petite Sirah at Cougar’s Leap.

Nils introduced me to Gregory Graham, and I spent quite a bit of time at Greg’s table. Former wine-maker at Rombauer, Graham has been at it for 30 years.  At one point he was making 4 different Zinfandels for them.  For his own label, he makes only small lots using bins for fermentation. He says this has freed him from the constraints of tank-based wine-making, giving him a lot of flexibility.  He was pouring several wines. I tasted the 2009 Gregory Graham Red Hills Bartolucci Vineyard Viognier, one of the nicest Viognier’s I’ve had … and it’s a $16, 13.5% alcohol wine.  Graham’s 2007 Grenache was my personal favorite of the day, delivering a mouth-filling intensity and lingering romance of fruit and texture on the palette.  The 2008 Cinder Cone was my red blend favorite of the day – 48% Syrah, 24% Cabernet, and 14% each Malbec and Grenache. Big, balanced, and Red. Graham’s wines are well-priced, running from $15-16 for Dry Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, to a high of $38 for a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir he wasn’t pouring, and a number of wines in the $18-24 range. Gregory Graham wines represent star-quality wine-making at excellent value pricing.

Rosa d’Oro Aglianico.  This is a red varietal grape of Southern Italian regions – Basilicata and Campania – pronounced alianico.  I’ve had the Corte Normana from Campania (imported by Salvia Bianca), and heard of one or two Aglianico’s being vinted in California. So I was pleased and surprised to find Pietro Buttitta pouring his family’s estate-grown 2008 Aglianico. It’s a lovely wine expressing the full Aglianico character, if in a smoother, less rustic style than it’s Italian brethren. Well-priced at $18.  I tasted the 2008 Barbera, which won a Silver medal in the Chronicle Wine Competition – also a fine wine at the $18 price point.

I decided the only way to cope with the bounty of Rosa d’Oro, is to visit the their Tasting Room in Kelseyville and do some serious sampling of the Primativo, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Dolcetto and maybe a Rosato. And in another year or two, they will be bringing out a NegroAmaro! (You read it here first.) Pietro is also a prolific blogger – check him out here.

SF from Treasure Island

It’s clear I have a lot to learn about Lake county as a wine region and I’m planning to make a trip. You can find various Lake County Wine events online; next up is the Lake County Wine Auction on Sept 17. The event that interests me most is the People’s Choice Wine Awards and blind tasting on November 5.

I love blind tastings … as long as I can see the view!

One last surprise: Many of Lake County Wineries have active Facebook pages, but there is definitely room for growth in the Twitter realm. The Winery SF’s most recent tweet was in July, nearly 2 months ago. One would expect better care and feeding, especially when you have a high-profile name, location, and over 2000 Twitter followers.

 

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Wine of the Week – Dry Creek Vineyards 2010 Fumé Blanc

A fair share of my Wine of the Week selections are chosen from microwineries, harder to find producers, geek or Rhone varieties, or wines over $20. That’s often what I drink, but certainly not all. It most especially does not represent, as I often remind my wine geek, fellow wine writers, and wine maker friends, what the mass population of North American wine drinkers consume.

I will often write about these as I remain dedicated to helping the typical wine lover and consumer, expand their horizons.  Wine knowledge is a journey of ever broadening discovery, no matter what your experience level, and I would pass on some of my ‘wasted’ years and eye opening experiences, and save readers only drinking big red overoaked wines for your first ten years, which sadly over the last 20 years the consumer has been lead to think is ‘good’.

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However, even in the world of  mass market consumption, there ARE good wines you can find widely available, under $20, and just grab off the shelf.

The Dry Creek Vineyard Fumé Blanc is one of those. A price any budget can afford, a wine most wine consumers can enjoy (get over that ‘I don’t drink white wines’ stance  – its killing your growth,)  yet enough there for the experience wine consumer to enjoy, even if as a uber wine geek you’d ‘prefer’ a $30 ‘white’ 6 month skin contact Trousseau Gris.

About Dry Creek Vineyards

Dry Creek Vineyards is becoming one of those rare breed and size winery. Still family owned and operated since founded 39 years ago, as the winery that put Sauvignon Blanc on the map in north Sonoma County, they exist in a difficult space. At 100k+ cases they aren’t the sometimes more fashionable boutique winery, yet they are a fraction of the size of the BIG boys who make millions of cases a year. Only a handful of wineries exist in this size, and less and less each year. A visit to their tasting room and meeting the team, feels the same as the 20k case winery down the road.  Perhaps more another time, but do take a few minutes to read about one of Dry Creek Valley’s pioneers, that brings a piece of the Loire Valley, by clicking here and their love affair with sauvignon blanc here.

I visited with Bill Smart,  Director of Communications, several months ago and tasted through a series of wines. I should point out, Dry Creek Vineyards makes a number of small lot wines, including other sauvignon blancs, but by design for this tasting we wanted to focus on what consumers could find widely available. Do drop by the tasting room to try these – I will be.

 About Fumé Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is sometimes referred to as  Fume’ Blanc. Purportedly this started  when Robert Mondavi  in 1968, changed their Sauvignon Blanc from an off dry  to dry version. To not confuse their customers, they came up with the Robert Mondaviname “Fumé Blanc”, from Pouilly-Fumé, a  popular dry-style Loire Valley wines made from Sauvignon Blanc. Rather than trade marking the name, Mondavi offered to allow anyone to use the Fumé Blanc name to market dry-style Sauvignon Blanc.

Fumé is French for “smoke,” but has nothing to do with smoky flavor in the wine. It refers to morning fog in the Loire Valley. Any’ smokey’ smells or flavors are from aging in newer oak barrels, not from any aroma or flavor character that is in Sauvignon Blac. Although some wineries choose oak barrel fermentation and/or oak aging, the use of Fumé Blanc on a label does not mean the wine was barrel-fermented or ever contact any oak, although it’s a common misperception that it does. (Another spin is that sauvignon blanc didn’t sell, so Robert changed the name.)

 

Wine Review

Dry Creek Vineyards Fume Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc), Sonoma County

Welcome to the 39th vintage of this flagship wine of Dry Creek Vineyards. This sauvignon blanc is entirely stainless fermented, with no oak contact.

To The Eye: Clear pale yellow

On the Nose: Fragant nose of white peach, honeysuckle, grapefruit

In The Mouth:  Citrus. Lime & grapefruit as well as some herbaceous  characters found in the popular New Zealand sauvignon blancs, but with some minerality as well as great acidity that give it a bit more nuance. The finish is dry and mouth watering. Would pair well with shellfish, salads, or make a great aperitif.

Recommendation: An excellent value at $12. This wine has justly received many awards over the years, including recent Best Buy from Wine Enthusiast and in 2008 was the prestigious Sonoma County Harvest Fair (which I am pleased to be added as a judge this year) Sweepstakes winner.

89 Points – Excellent, Recommended Buy.  Buy locally or online, or check your local store. Media Sample (but I will be restocking for summer and Thanksgiving.)

Side Note: I should add their <$10 Chenin Blanc, is also a great value at $8-10, and  varietal I wish we saw more of in Sonoma. I have the 2009 also in my glass, current release is 2010, or it could have also ended up as a Wine of the Week.

Wine Geek Info:

  • Grapes 100% Sauvignon Blanc
  • Appellation: Sonoma County
  • Harvest: October 4, 2010
  • Fermentation: Stainless steel fermented at an average of 52˚F for about 30 days
  • Barrel Aging:

    None

  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Total Acidity: 0.64g/200mL
  • pH: 3.36
  • Residual Sugar: Dry
  • Aging Potential: 3 – 5 years
  • Case Production: ~30,000 cases

Tasting Notes – 2009 Charity Case Sauvignon Blanc #sauvblanc

Last month I did a full review of the Charity Case 2008 Rose'. As I dive into the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc I am again impressed by their noble cause, but also by the quality of this wine. A detail I forgot to mention last time, the wine maker is Jayson Woodbridge of Layer Cake.

To The Eye: Dark Yellow, clear, vibrant

On The Nose: A Delightful nose. I was afraid the dark color and barrel fermentation might be

lie new oak on this but I suspect the oak was neutral, or a few years old. I am generally not a fan of SB where the oak flavor can be detected.  Tropical fruit, gooseberry, apricot.

In The Mouth: Equally delightful. This wine is lush, creamy texture and mouthfeel. While I would not call it a French Sancerre style, its definitely not your standard New Zealand grassy, herbal SB. Melon, ripe stone fruit. Nice finish with balanced acidity and fruit that linger.

Recommendation: An excellent value for $14 – not to mention a great cause!

Friday is #SauvBlanc Day

This Friday June 24th is #SauvBlanc day on Twitter, where people will enjoy and Tweet about #sauvblanc – grab a bottle of this to enjoy AND help a good cause. Cheers!

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Wine Review – 2009 Paul Dolan Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Mendocino County

Paul Dolan is a renowned leader in sustainable, biodynamic, and organic agriculture. Paul is the author of True to Our Roots: Fermenting a Business Revolution the story of how he led the sixth largest winery in the nation to industry and market leadership while successfully pioneering the path of sustainability.

“After tasting the real difference between organic and conventionally farmed grapes, side by side in a sun-drenched vineyard in 1987, my entire way of thinking about grape growing changed.  The organic grapes were expressive, interesting and balanced while the conventionally farmed grapes were bland and insipid.”

Whether or not you can 'taste' the difference of biodynamic and organic grapes is something of a controversy in the industry, although some producers swear by it, as Paul does. Regardless,  it's the right thing to do as stewards of the land, our environment, and for future generations.  Indeed if a wine grower needs a selfish reason, most do admit the long term benefits in the health of a vineyard and soil profile compared to the results of years of chemical farming. This isn't a fad or a marketing ploy, it's part of sharing this planet with others.

Parducci, Paul Dolan, Mendocino Press Tour End of this Month

I have been enjoying a number of Paul Dolan & Parducci wines these last few months, and look forward to a scheduled visit, and personal tour at the end of the month. Anything you would like me to ask him, on the behalf or readers? What other wineries would you like me to visit and write about? (No revisits this trip to places have tasted before.)

2009 Paul Dolan Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Mendocino County

100% Organically grown grapes, from a high elevation, affording hot days, and cold nights. Temperature swings like these allow grapes to ripen with full flavor, but retain acidity, key to balance in a wine.

Color: Medium Yellow straw, clear and vibrant

On the Nose: Green apple, kiwi, cialis 100mg Crisp asian pear.

In the Mouth: The published tasting notes say “The wine has a distinctive kiwi fruit character, complemented by bright citrus zest and lemon grass notes.” The latter may make you think of New Zealand sauvignon blanc, but it does not have the herbaceous, grassy like quality many of the New Zealand sauvignon blancs, and their counterparts too. (Not there is anything wrong with that style, but this is a pleasant change.)

It is not the overripe version we can see from warm climates, but instead nicely balanced. I taste kiwi and apple, nice mouthfeel, texture, good acidity, but not searing.

This wine is best drunk at proper cellar, not refrigerator temperatures – overchilling mutes much of the more delicate flavors in the mouth. Some budget priced SB's serve better chilled, even with a ice cube as a porch pounder – don't do that to this one, its more refined and nuanced.

Recommendations: Recommended buy. Well made, subtly, pleasantly slightly unique from many other North Coast sauvignon blancs.

Where to Buy: Online -  click here. $17.99. Media Sample

Wine Geek Info:

  • VINEYARDS 100% MENDOCINO COUNTY
  • COOPERAGE: 100% STAINLESS STEEL FERMENTED & AGED
  • ALCOHOL: 13.5% BY VOLUME
  • TA: 0.58 G/100ML
  • PH: 3.28
  • RS: 0.03G/100ML
  • CASES: 4,050 CASES
  • CERTIFICATION: 100% ORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES, C.C.O.F. CERTIFIED
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Wine Review: Rodney Strong Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc; suggested holiday pairings

It’s back; Simple Hedonisms wine reviews. I have quite the backlog of reviews, and hope to share a steady stream over the holiday season. I should note, I actually recording tasting notes frequently during the week, which can be found on my CellarTracker profile, here.

Buying for the Holidays

It’s that time where family and friends are beginning to roll in.  The holidays are such a great time to enjoy wine paired with seasonal fare, or just to quaff something that’s easy to enjoy as you catch up with loved ones.

Residents of wine country have a lot at our fingertips from very small lot producers, to value priced widely available wines. When buying wine for visiting family, friends, and for meals  consider a few bottles that are modestly priced, appeal to a wide range of palates and experience levels, and foods. Your Uncle Charlie may not appreciate that Wind Gap  Trousseau Gris with extended skin contact…so don’t waste it on him.

Why Sauvignon Blanc

One of wines I’d recommend for a broad range of consumers is the Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc.  I like, and recommend this wine for a variety of reasons:

  • It won’t break the bank at $15 or so, and widely available at many stores; you can just throw one in the cart, as you are buying supplies to feed the house guests.
  • Sauvignon Blanc in my experience is one of those ‘universal’ whites that almost everyone will drink. I find that the ‘red wine only’ crowd if they do dabble in white, will enjoy sauvignon blanc. I also find on the other end of the spectrum for many of my friends and I always looking for new and interesting, sauvignon blanc still offers a safe haven, and a good balance of flavor, acidity.
  • It drinks great by itself, as an aperitif, or paired with many foods; especially a salad at the beginning of the meal.   This is even more so with a style like this one, that is a bit more bold and ‘juicy’ as opposed to some of the more New Zealand ‘grassy’ style.

For Turkey Day?

You will find people on both side’s of the fence for sauvignon blanc for Turkey. It certainly can pair with portions of the menu, especially the salad and starters. Thanksgiving is one of those holiday meals I strongly recommend going through wine in courses if you have a crowd, or as I like to do, open up 2-3 different bottles and have them all on the table.

What better way to see first hand what pairs well and what doesn’t. Sparkling wine and Pinot are two others  I’d recommend as near universal.

Wine Review

Wine: Rodney Strong Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc. Sonoma County

Color: clear, light straw

Aromas: Nose of citrus and kiwi.

In the Mouth: The blend of the warm climate Alexander Valley fruit with cooler climate Russian River, makes for a unique, flavorful wine. Ripe grapefruit , pear, melon in mouth. Nice finish with good minerality and acidity. Drinks well by itself, pair with moderate acidic foods.

Price: Media Sample. $12-15 retail. 

Enjoy Your Friends and Family

A special pre-Holiday best wishes to all readers and followers. I hope next week you can take the time to slow down a bit, and appreciate the gifts we have in life.  I hope to be finally be unwinding a bit myself, and look forward to relaxing with friends, tasting wine and doing some creative kitchen time. Feel free to post comments looking for wine recommendations or food pairings, always happy to help. Cheers!


Wine Review – Reynoso Vineyards White Blend – 2009 Long Gamma

Tonight I am swirling in my glass a very interesting white wine blend, that is a project from Reynoso Vineyards, a small Cloverdale grower and vintner.

Long Gamma is a new brand that Reynoso just launched,  a white blend and a red blend; priced to be affordable, very drinkable, made from premium Estate grapes.

The red blend (Syrah, Zin, Petite Sirah) will be released shortly. The term ‘Long Gamma’ is a bit of a mystery, but I believe refers to a Stock Trading term, which given that there are ex-Chicago denizens in this project, may be indicative of careers prior to the Wine Industry.

I was immediately intrigued by Long Gamma white blend when I learned the blended varietals; 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Viognier, 15% Gewurtzraminer.

My taste buds immediately perked up at Viogner, a white Rhone varietal that adds great florals and excellent mouthfeel, whether blended or bottled as a varietal.

Wine Tasting Notes

Color: Bright pale yellow, with a slight green hue. Clear.

On The Nose: I had expected the Viognier to dominate the nose with its typical fragrant, floral aromas, but was clearly able to detect the Sauvignon Blanc. The hints of grassiness, grapefruit indicative of an SB are there, just a bit subdued. Interwoven are the viognier aromas; subtle citrus, peach, honey. Gewurztraminer is also a varietal know for its floral elements; I have to confess I don’t drink Gewurtz as much as I’d like, as I only care for dry Gewurtz, and little is made here in North Sonoma.

In The Mouth: Wow – the 3 varietals meld together splendidly. Layers of peach, subtle lime, green apple. Touch of minerality and wet stone mid palette. Great mouthfeel and excellent balance, that ends in a lingering, slightly mouth watering finish, pleasing acidity. This is a quaffable wine suitable both for standalone consumption or paired with food. For the love of Dionysus do NOT overchill this wine and serve it right from the fridge – you mute all these great flavor profiles. Mid 50s please.

One of the best parts of this great blend – is the suggested retail is $10-12. I just ordered a half case to start, this is one of my new summer house whites.

In a few weeks you can purchase this on a new Long Gamma website, until then you can do so via contacting Reynoso, or as of now at Andy’s Market in Sebastopol, BoardWalk Market in Tiburon, Wilibees Wines in Petaluma, and Farmstead Cheese and Wine in Alameda and Montclair.

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