Shirvington 2010 Shiraz, McLaren Vale

Shirvington 2010 Shiraz, McLaren Vale

Shirvington 2010 Shiraz, McLaren Vale

First there was Sparky Marquis. He was the “hit winemaker” for years in South Australia. His wines were highly coveted, especially in  the states. His wines  were bigger than life, bold, rich, but beautifully linear and precise as well.  Things started going sideways for him in 2005, culminating with his divorce a few months ago from his wife Sarah, who now owns all their properties, including Mollydooker.  Few people realized she, as much as Sparky, was responsible for that luxury-grade style of Shiraz that Mollydooker epitomized. Why take that much time talking about another winery? Because the steps that Sarah walked, often in the shadow of her famous husband, made way for another female maker, who is rightfully getting rockstar-level love in Australia. Her name is Kim Jackson, and this is one of her wines. Burnt incense, toasted allspice, and chocolate-covered cherries  bobbing in a gigantic vat ...

Summertime Recipes (From Our Cooking Class)

From the Cooking Class at the Wine School

Arugula, Fennel and Olive Salad

cooking class
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Fine sea salt
  • 1 5-ounce package arugula
  • 1 fresh fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, sliced paper-thin
  • 1/3 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted
  • 2 cups Manchego cheese shavings
Mix the lemon juice, shallot, salt and mustard in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Toss arugula, fennel, and olives in large bowl with dressing. Sprinkle cheese over.  

Chilled Pea & Shallot Soup

cooking class
  • 3 large shallot
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 5 mint leaves
  • 1 pound of fresh English peas1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp Salt
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. If you oven doesn’t go that low, set it to the lowest setting possible. Toss the shallots with 1 tsp of olive oil and place ...

Castelli del Grevepesa 2011″Clemente VII” Chianti Classico Riserva

Castelli del Grevepesa 2011"Clemente VII Chianti" Classico Riserva

Castelli del Grevepesa 2011″Clemente VII” Chianti Classico Riserva

  This bottling of Chianti Classico has been hitting up high ratings over the past few years. This vintage may even be better than the 2010 Castelli del Grevepesa Riserva and a notch up from the regular bottling of Chianti I reviewed last year. Aromas of cigar box and burnt anise open into dark berry notes.  Espresso and tea leaf lend complexity to the savory fruit compote and rich texture of this lovely wine.  

Wonky Wine Articles We are Reading Right Now

A recurring problem in Sonoma County soils is high magnesium content relative to potassium content. Magnesium, a very mobile element, is a product of chemical weathering of serpentine, a common rock type in this area. Mg is mainly derived from rocks of the Franciscan Complex and its erosional products (Table 1). Magnesium is a necessary nutrient for wine grape ...

Martinelli 2013 Zinfandel, Vellutini Ranch

Martinelli 2013 Zinfandel, Vellutini Ranch

Martinelli 2013 Zinfandel, Vellutini Ranch

Can you believe it?  Let’s all welcome the cloned children of Jackass Vineyard. Allow me to explain, Jackass is a vineyard that was planted in the late 19th century in Russian River Valley. Head pruned Zinfandel, non-trellised and dry farmed; this is one of the great historic vineyards in California. Vellutini Ranch was planted in 2001 with zinfandel budwood (clones) from Jackass Vineyard. It’s located on a similar hillside nearby, with similar Franciscan soils. Over the past decade, Martinelli has shown that the wines from this vineyard are of the same high quality as the original. Deep, lush and velvety. It is full bodied to the extreme, what with it’s alcohol content pushing toward 17%. Flavors are reminiscent of Hermitage, with iron,  game, and burning herbs in the mix.

 

Wonky Wine Articles We are Reading Right Now

Within the survey that was carried out ...

Zotovich Estate 2013 Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills

Zotovich Estate 2013 Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills

Zotovich Estate 2013 Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills

A standout winery from the wine ghetto in (not so) beautiful Lompoc.  While this may be the less majestic looking spot in Santa Barbara County, it’s one of the greatest spots on earth for Pinot Noir.  Vineyards in Santa Rita Hills keep putting out palate poems like this bottle, and doing so at reasonable prices. Taut red fruit with layers of wild rose and honeysuckle. It is a lithe expression of Pinot Noir that offers great finesse and clarity.  

Wonky Wine Articles We are Reading Right Now

A recurring problem in Sonoma County soils is high magnesium content relative to potassium content. Magnesium, a very mobile element, is a product of chemical weathering of serpentine, a common rock type in this area. Mg is mainly derived from rocks of the Franciscan Complex and its erosional products (Table 1). Magnesium is a necessary ...

Domaine des Ruettes 2015 Saumur Champigny

Saumur Champigny

Saumur Champigny

This is what I want from a Saumur Champigny (A Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley in France): high toned fresh red,  delicate tannins, light body, and it’s inexpensive.  This is a classic cafe wine , at least in Paris.  Have a glass with a simple meal at home. Perfect for it’s price point. Here’s a few quotes about this wine:
Nez ouvert, friand, mêlant fruits rouges (liqueur de cassis), fruits noirs (cerise noire) et de fines notes réglissées
Sorry, here’s the translation:
Open nose, delicious, combining red fruits (blackcurrant liqueur), black fruits (black cherry) and fine notes of liquorice.
And Another:
Beautiful ruby-red with purplish highlights. Open, attractive nose of red fruit (blackcurrant, redcurrant) with subtle overtones of mint and red sweet pepper. Well-structured, warm and powerful on the palate with delicious fruit flavors and great balance.
 

Wonky Wine Articles We are Reading Right Now

There are two ...

Last Minute Wine Gifts

last minute wine gifts

last minute wine gifts

Last Minute Wine Gift Ideas

A Perfect Wine & Chocolate Pairing

Everyone loves getting fed. You could whip up a three-course meal, but that’s not a quick gift. If you want all the glory without all the work, ditch the first two courses and jump right to dessert. Throw in some great wine, and you will be a gift-giving rockstar. Here are a few ideas culled from our annual (and sold out)  Mother’s day Wine and Chocolate class: White Chocolate is a fantastic foil to Cabernet Sauvignon, especially bottles from Paso Robles. Another favorite at the Wine School is Banyuls (the French dessert wine)  with Chocolate truffles. Here’s  a sommelier secret:  Brachetto d’Aqui is pretty much the best wine for any and all chocolate pairings. It’s fizzy, frothy red wine with a dollop of residual sugar. Chocolate-covered bacon? Brachetto d’Aqui! Flourless chocolate torte? Brachetto d’Aqui! ...
Antica 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Atlas Peak
The Grand Tasting Table at the Wine School
Hobo Sommelier?
The Wine Rack