Endless Summer with German White Wines Flight: Borell-Diehl, Weinreich, Koehler-Ruprecht, and Von Winning

Hello Friends,

I recently had the opportunity to participate in Snooth’s ‘Endless Summer with German White Wines’ virtual broadcast and wine tasting. Mark and Claudia Angelillo of Snooth hosted special guest Matthew Kaner, Wine Director and partner of West Coast businesses Good Measure LA, Bar Covell, Augustine Wine Bar, and Dead or Alive Bar. Matthew knows that the key principles behind creating enjoyable dining experiences are to understand both the food you are serving and the wine. He’s been to Germany a few times, and the wines moved him. He told us, “The new world of German wines really made a push to make us understand there’s more than just Riesling; there’s a lot more to it, and a lot of different avenues you can go with these wines.”

With a built-in lightness and brightness, Germany produces some of the most versatile, food-friendly wines on ...

Looks Good, Tastes Better Rosé Flight: Eric Kent Wine Cellars, Bedell Cellars, and Babylonstoren

Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to discuss design influence on rosé wine labels on #winestudio, an educational conversation about wine that takes place on Twitter every Tuesday at 9PM EST. Come mid to late spring, when the weather warms up, you are likely to see walls and walls of rosé, in myriad shades of pink, lining shelves at your local wine shop and grocer. And as competition heats up, so does creativity. Many producers pour (pun intended) great emphasis into label aesthetics. A bottle needs to say: “I caught you looking, so buy me, chill me, and try me.” For retailers, summer is peak time to promote and sell rosé. During the warm months, pink wines along with varietals like Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, are usually recurring staples of free in-store weekend tastings.

"The pursuit of making fine wine goes on forever. Each vintage brings new ...

Loimer NV Brut Rosé: A Wow-Worthy Sparkling Wine from Austria

Hello Friends,

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying: “While all Champagne sparkles, not all sparkling wine is Champagne.” The terms are often used interchangeably, but a sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if it comes from the Champagne region of France. And just about everyone, at least in my sipping circle, enjoys the heck out of a good bottle of Champagne. However, equally as satisfying and worthy—and oftentimes less expensive—are “traditional method” sparkling wines like this appealing Brut Rosé from Fred Loimer. Whether you see classic method, traditional method, méthode traditionelle, etc. on the label, these wines require that the bubbles be produced within bottle by a second fermentation in the same way as Champagne. While this method is more labor intensive, time-consuming and costly, it generally produces tiny, longer-lived bubbles and wines of high quality and complexity.

Loimer NV Brut Rosé

The Loimer Brute Rosé is bio-dynamically ...

Loimer NV Brut Rosé: A Wow-Worthy Sparkling Wine from Austria

Hello Friends,

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying: “While all Champagne sparkles, not all sparkling wine is Champagne.” The terms are often used interchangeably, but a sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if it comes from the Champagne region of France. And just about everyone, at least in my sipping circle, enjoys the heck out of a good bottle of Champagne. However, equally as satisfying and worthy—and oftentimes less expensive—are “traditional method” sparkling wines like this appealing Brut Rosé from Fred Loimer. Whether you see classic method, traditional method, méthode traditionelle, etc. on the label, these wines require that the bubbles be produced within bottle by a second fermentation in the same way as Champagne. While this method is more labor intensive, time-consuming and costly, it generally produces tiny, longer-lived bubbles and wines of high quality and complexity.

Loimer NV Brut Rosé

The Loimer Brute Rosé is bio-dynamically ...

Nino Franco Summer Kir: A Refreshing Cocktail to try with Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco and Root 23

Hello Friends,

Nino Franco is one of the quality pioneers of Italian Prosecco. The winery was founded in 1919 by Antonio Franco and is located in northeastern Italy in the prominent wine growing region of Valdobbiadene. Nino Franco’s Rustico label honors the historic name of the original method used to make Prosecco, which was second ferment in bottle. Pressurized vessels are used today in what is known as the Charmat method. This method lowers the cost considerably, so sparkling wine can enjoyed any time of year, not only during celebratory occasions and holidays.

Beat the heat with this delicious, pretty cocktail! 

Classic cocktails such as the Mimosa and Bellini, which uses Prosecco and other sparkling wines, are delightful, but let’s kick it up a notch with something new and exciting. How does a flute or coupe of Nino Franco Summer Kir sound? You need only three ingredients: a bottle ...

Iapetus 2016 Tectonic: A Delicious Skin-Contact La Crescent from Vermont

Hello Friends,

Vermont may be one of the last states you think of for producing fine wine. However, for those with an open-mind and an adventurous palate, hidden gems await you. Despite seeing wines from only a handful of well-known states on most store shelves, today wine is produced in all fifty states. The trick is finding these wines. Social media provides an avenue to develop relations with small-scale wine producers you wouldn’t otherwise find in your local market.

Iapetus 2016 Tectonic

During a recent virtual chat on #winestudio—an online education program on Twitter that happens every Tuesday at 9PM EST—I had the pleasure of meeting Ethan Joseph. Ethan is vineyard manager and head winemaker of Shelburne Vineyard in Shelburne, Vermont. We were introduced to Iapetus (pronounced ī-ˈa-pə-təs); a new sub-brand he developed that’s committed to sustainable farming and minimal intervention, allowing each bottle crafted to fully express ...

#ChardonnayDay with Wines from America’s First Family of Chardonnay: Wente Vineyards

Hello friends,

What better way to spend #ChardonnayDay than with wines from the family often dubbed “America’s First Family of Chardonnay”?  The story of Wente Vineyards began in 1883, when founder Carl H. Wente, a first-generation immigrant from Germany, bought 47 acres in Livermore Valley (just east of San Francisco). By 1912, his son Earnest had convinced him to import Chardonnay cuttings from the vine nursery at University of Montpellier in France. In 1936, Earnest and his brother Herman released the nation’s first varietally labeled Chardonnay. The original plantings would eventually become certified as the Wente Clone, and spread throughout myriad California vineyards. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of all California Chardonnay stems from the Wente clone. Today, Wente remains the oldest continuously running family-owned and-operated winery in the United States.

The #ChardonnayDay lineup!

Although Wente grows a number of grape varieties, make no mistake: ...

A Trio of Fun & Affordable Warm-Weather Wines: Segura Viudas, Nik Weis Selection, and Adegas Galegas

Hello Friends,

Just about every day, as wine o'clock approaches, you can find me uncorking or unscrewing a new adventure. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine writer, and someone who appreciates the liquid expression of place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I find wine to be one of the most intriguing beverages out there. The world of wine offers endless opportunities to learn and taste new things.

The wines featured for this post, two from Spain and one from Germany, are easy-drinking, refreshing wines that perfectly match the warm weather season. They are also reasonably priced and very satisfying. I hope you will seek out all three, and share them with friends over a good meal. Tapas would be ideal, hint-hint. For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.

Segura Viudas NV Brut Rosé 

Segura Viudas NV Brut Rosé (SRP ...

Chicken with Prunes and Chiles, paired with Pedroncelli Winery Springtime Sips!

Hello Friends,

Getting together with friends online for virtual cooking and wine tasting is always a blast. And no one does it better than the good folks at Pedroncelli Winery. They totally rocked a chicken dish that called for chile peppers and prunes (yes, I said prunes) as key ingredients. Initially, I found the duo interesting, if not odd; I thought the flavors would surely collide. Boy, was I wrong! The dish was delightful and I’ve already made it a second time.

The recipe turned out great. I grilled my chicken on a pellet smoker. Not pictured are the bed of cauliflower rice, house salad, and a generous spoonful of sauce over the bird.  

This thoughtful dish came with a dash of history about the wrinkly fruit featured in the recipe. As Vice President of Sales and Marketing Ed St. John said, “prunes replaced grapes because prohibition ...

Smith Story Wine Cellars: A Story of True Love, Delicious Wines, and a Handsome Goldendoodle

Hello Friends,

I recently had the opportunity to take part in the first Charles Communications Brandlive virtual event of 2018, and what great fun it was. The live broadcast featured Smith Story Wine Cellars, along with a tasting of several of their recent releases from Sonoma County, California. The story of Smith Story Wine Cellars—a true love story—goes back some 15 years when Ali Smith and Eric Story met while working at K&L Wine Merchants. Ali was a marketing manager, hence her early adoption and use of social media, especially Twitter. Eric was one of the leading buyers for German, Loire Valley, Alsace, Austrian, and Greek wine.

A particularly fortuitous trip to the Anderson Valley, “way back when,” as Ali says, sowed the seeds of a dream that would one day become reality. She and Eric got engaged in 2012, and then eloped to Hawaii the following ...

Quick Sip: A Delicious Trio of Red, White & Sparkling with Addendum Wines, Bonterra, and Casa Valduga

Hello Friends,

Just about every day, as wine o'clock approaches, you can find me uncorking or unscrewing a new adventure. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine writer, and someone who appreciates the liquid expression of place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I find wine to be one of the most intriguing beverages out there. The world of wine offers endless opportunities to learn and taste new things.

The wines featured in this post are all worthy of your attention and dinner table, and they are sure to make that special occasion even more memorable. But if you’re like me, don’t wait for a special occasion; make today that special occasion. 

You can start by popping the cork and enjoying one of these delicious wines any time you like. Good friends and food are optional—but are highly recommended. For further information and where you can find these wines, ...

Tomasello 2013 Palmaris Outer Coastal Plain Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve: A Garden State Cabernet Worthy of Consideration

Hello Friends,

I closed out 2017 with a number of really nice wines from the Garden State. One of those wines was Palmaris 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Tomasello Winery. Tomasello is located in Hammonton, New Jersey, situated halfway between Philadelphia and Atlantic City.

The story of Tomasello Winery begins in December of 1933, when prohibition was repealed. Noted fruit grower, Frank Tomasello, jumped in his truck and drove through a snow storm to get to Washington DC, where he obtained the 68th bonded winery license after prohibition. Today, the winery is owned and operated by third-and fourth-generation family members—led by third generation winegrowers Jack and Charlie Tomasello.

Palmaris is Latin for “Prize Worthy.” It is the Reserve-line of Tomasello wines, made only in years of exceptional quality and character, and only from 100% Outer Coastal Plain fruit. The Outer Coastal Plain AVA is situated in southern New Jersey, ...

Tomasello 2013 Palmaris Outer Coastal Plain Cabernet Sauvignon: A Garden State Cab Worthy of Consideration

Hello Friends,

I closed out 2017 with a number of really nice wines from the Garden State. One of those wines was Palmaris 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Tomasello Winery. Tomasello is located in Hammonton, New Jersey, situated halfway between Philadelphia and Atlantic City.

The story of Tomasello Winery begins in December of 1933, when prohibition was repealed. Noted fruit grower, Frank Tomasello, jumped in his truck and drove through a snow storm to get to Washington DC, where he obtained the 68th bonded winery license after prohibition. Today, the winery is owned and operated by third-and fourth-generation family members—led by third generation winegrowers Jack and Charlie Tomasello.

Palmaris is Latin for “Prize Worthy.” It is the Reserve-line of Tomasello wines, made only in years of exceptional quality and character, and only from 100% Outer Coastal Plain fruit. The Outer Coastal Plain AVA is situated in southern New Jersey, ...

Unionville Vineyards 2013 Pheasant Hill Syrah: Estate-Grown Deliciousness ‘Straight Outta New Jersey’

Hello Friends,

All 50 states in the U.S. grow and produce wine. This fact is often lost on the average consumer, even one who regularly sips wine. Oftentimes, due to small production and limited distribution, wines coming out of lesser-known wine regions become well-kept secrets among locals and wine savvy tourists. Over the years, I’ve sought out hidden gems throughout the United States of Wine. I can easily name stellar producers in almost every state who fly under the radar but grow and produce quality wine. On occasion, a friend from up north brings down wines from MA, PA, NJ, etc. Many of the New Jersey picks have been non-grape fruit wines—easy-drinking quaffs that are perfect for summer festivals and backyard get-togethers. A few of the wines, however, have been appealing dry table wines, piquing my interest in what the Garden State has to offer.

And then, lo and ...

Unionville Vineyards 2013 Pheasant Hill Syrah: Estate-Grown Deliciousness ‘Straight Outta New Jersey’

Hello Friends,

All 50 states in the U.S. grow and produce wine. This fact is often lost on the average consumer, even one who regularly sips wine. Oftentimes, due to small production and limited distribution, wines coming out of lesser-known wine regions become well-kept secrets among locals and wine savvy tourists. Over the years, I’ve sought out hidden gems throughout the United States of Wine. I can easily name stellar producers in almost every state who fly under the radar but grow and produce quality wine. On occasion, a friend from up north brings down wines from MA, PA, NJ, etc. Many of the New Jersey picks have been non-grape fruit wines—easy-drinking quaffs that are perfect for summer festivals and backyard get-togethers. A few of the wines, however, have been appealing dry table wines, piquing my interest in what the Garden State has to offer.

And then, lo and ...

Pedroncelli Winery 2015 Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel : A Delicious Wine for Classic Comfort Foods

Hello Friends,

Besides the beauty of Mother Nature’s stunning artwork, fall brings cooler weather and an appetite for hearty comfort foods and robust red wines. And I have just the full-bodied, purple colored wine for you, my friends: the 2015 Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel from Sonoma County’s Pedroncelli Winery. Fruit for this wine is sourced from Bushnell Vineyard, a 22-acre site situated on the eastern hillsides of Dry Creek Valley. This vineyard, which is great for Zinfandel, has been part of the Pedroncelli estate since the 1940s. So not only will you have a bit of history in your glass, you will also have a wine that’s both enjoyable and affordable.

Pedroncelli Winery 2015 Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel 

Throughout this year, I’ve been lucky enough to partake in a number of exciting virtual events celebrating Pedroncelli’s 90th anniversary in the wine business—an impressive accomplishment. The winery is family-owned and currently operated by ...

Unique, Appealing, and Delicious: I’m talking Nino Franco Primo Franco!

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is an appealing Prosecco from quality pioneer Nino Franco. The winery was founded in 1919 by Antonio Franco and is located in northeast Italy within the prominent wine growing region of Valdobbiadene. Eponymously named for third-generation owner Primo Franco, this Prosecco is unique in the sense that year-after-year, it is 1) produced from the same single parcel in Valdobbiadene, 2) vintage dated, and 3) built to age. A tribute to family members before him—and a way to express the vintage and inherent site characteristics—it was the first wine Primo Franco made after taking over for his father, Nino Franco.

Nino Franco 2016 Primo Franco Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG 

The fruit for this wine is grown on steep hillside vineyards, which naturally limit yields and require manual harvesting—two factors said to bolster the quality of the finished wine. Primo Franco is made from 100% Glera, a ...

Pretty in Pink: Rosés from Les Andides, Domaines Paul Mas, and Villa María

Hello Friends,

Just about every day, as wine o'clock approaches, you can find me uncorking or unscrewing a new wine adventure. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine writer, and someone who appreciates the liquid expression of place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I find wine to be one of the most intriguing beverages out there. The world of wine offers endless opportunities to learn and taste new things.

The wines selected for this post are value-driven rosés—sparkling and still. Just because summer is coming to an end, it does not mean you should retire these beauties. Add pink to the beautiful spectrum of colors that autumn brings. After all, drier-style rosés are some of the most versatile and food-friendly wines available. Their refreshing taste, uplifting flavors, and bright acids are perfect for Thanksgiving—particularly with glazed ham, turkey, and all the sandwiches you will enjoy days later. And add ...

Pedroncelli 2014 Wisdom Cabernet Sauvignon: A wine that begs to be paired with something rich & flavorful!

Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to participate in one of the many fun-filled virtual events the good folks from Pedroncelli Winery are holding throughout the year to celebrate their 90th anniversary in the wine business. Pedroncelli Winery is located in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley and was founded in 1927 by Giovanni and Julia Pedroncelli. Today, the winery remains family-owned and operated by third and fourth-generation family members. Given the ever-changing wine business landscape, this is no easy feat. I was surprised to learn that throughout the winery’s nine decades in business, there have only been three winemakers. John Pedroncelli, son of Giovanni, oversaw an astounding sixty-seven vintages before Montse Reece was appointed head winemaker following John’s passing.

The Pedroncelli’s most embody a passion for family, but also for wine, food, and fun—all key ingredients to their success and longevity in the wine business. This leads me to ...

Ridgeview Wine Estate 2013 Fitzrovia Brut Rosé: A Delicious Sparkler from England!

Hello Friends,

Today I’m enjoying a delicious flute of Ridgeview’s 2013 Fitzrovia Brut Rosé. Ridgeview Wine Estate is a family-run company in the South Downs of Sussex in England. Founded in 1994 by the Roberts family, Ridgeview specializes in growing high-quality sparkling wines using traditional Champagne grapes and methods. English sparklers are deservingly getting more positive press, and consumers are showing an increased interest in these wines. This is probably why I’m seeing more British bubbly in DC metro wine shops.

Even though Champagne is the crème de la crème of the sparkling wine world, exciting new regions like England are worthy of your attention. The region shares similar chalky soils to France's Champagne appellation and is located approximately ninety miles to the north—just across the channel. The English sparklers I’ve had have been delightful and reasonably priced. If your local wine shop doesn't carry any English sparkling wines, the ...