Wine of the Day, No. 499


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I like wines that feel true to their grape varieties yet express a sense of individuality, even wildness. Such is the case with the Newton Vineyard Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Napa Valley. The wine is a blend of — and they get really precise about this — 85.27 percent cabernet sauvignon, 5.93 percent petit verdot, 5.74 merlot and 3.06 cabernet franc, It aged 14 months in French oak, only 15 percent new barrels, a remarkably restrained regimen for Napa Valley. The color is dark ruby-purple shading to a vivid fuchsia rim; penetrating aromas of iodine and graphite, lavender, smoke and cedar unfurl notes of intense and concentrated black currants and raspberries, bolstered by exotic, feral undertones of cumin, ancho chili and rosemary, with a bit of the latter’s resiny astringency. It’s a vigorous and rigorous cabernet that offers a freight-load of grit and traction on the …

Wine of the Day, No. 496


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All rosé wines are not made equal, but then nothing is, right? A Swatch is not a Philippe Patek. A Ford Fiesta is not a Porsche Panamera. While you’re enjoying this moment of philosophical meditation, let’s broach the subject of a superior rosé. This would be the Gamble Family Vineyards Rosé Wine 2018, Napa Valley, a blend of 66 percent cabernet sauvignon (from Oakville grapes), 21 percent cabernet franc, 8 percent merlot and 5 percent petit verdot, which could, of course, be the blend of a regular table wine. These grapes, however, were purpose-grown for rosé; the wine sees only stainless steel, no oak. (Yes, we occasionally encounter a rosé that aged in neutral oak barrels.) The color here is the classic Provencal pale onion skin hue; aromas of pure strawberry and raspberry are infused with notes of cranberry and pomegranate, blood orange and spiced pear, with damp flint …

3 Secrets of Gamble Family Vineyards


This post is by Marisa D'Vari from Wine Region Travel & Reviews: A Wine Story


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Tom Gamble of Gamble Family Vineyards

3 Secrets of Gamble Family Vineyards

Gamble Family Vineyards is exceptional.

You will find many excellent wineries in the Napa Valley.

Almost every winery today offers fabulous tours and tastings.

And almost every winery features excellent wine.

Yet when you visit a winery, you are not really in the position to understand the “secrets” behind the glitzy label and the showy winery facade.

Lunch with Tom Gamble of Gamble Family Vineyards

So during my lunch with Tom Gamble of Gamble Family Vineyards, I was able to understand the three secrets  that really made Gamble Family winery stand out.

First though, you should know that one of my favorite things about writing about wine is the opportunity to hear storytelling from passionate winemakers.

Tom Gamble is one of the best and most passionate storytellers in the wine world.

As Gamble Family Vineyards is such a …

Spring cuisine of Jean-Georges Vongerichten
Jean Georges dessert with Gable Family Vineyards wine
Tom Gamble and Marisa D'Vari

Learn Wine At Somm Summit 2019


This post is by Marisa D'Vari from Wine Region Travel & Reviews: A Wine Story


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Somm Summit at CIA Copia

Somm Summit at CIA Copia

Learn Wine at Somm Summit 2019 – A Review

The CIA summit is a best way to learn wine.

This is especially true if you want to learn wine for the Court of Master Sommeliers or Masters of Wine.

If you are a sommelier, wine director, or in the trade you might find it interesting to check out the Sommelier Summit offered from the CIA at the Copia Center.

I first heard about this wine course via Sommelier Journal.

It is held in the Napa Valley, California – the best place to learn wine.

CIA SOMM SUMMIT – BEST WAY TO LEARN WINE

You will meet some of the most  influential and popular wine icons of the world.

For example, Kevin Zraly, a key presenter, is a wine legend.

He taught the famous wine classes at Windows at the World.

Andrea Robinson MS, moderator …

Dinner at Greystone
CIA Copia Main Session

Visiting the Napa Valley Hess Collection Winery


This post is by Marisa D'Vari from Wine Region Travel & Reviews: A Wine Story


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Hess Collection winery

Hess Collection winery

Visiting the Napa Valley Hess Collection Winery

If you love art and wine, you are eager to visit the Hess Collection winery in California’s Napa Valley.

You might have heard about Hess Collection Chardonnay, rich and buttery, and available in your higher end supermarket or fine wine shop.

Hess Collection Winery makes wine from many different wine varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as the various blends.

History of the Napa Valley Hess Collection Winery

It’s really fascinating to hear the history of the Hess Collection Winery.

The Winery was created by Donald Hess, who inherited his father’s company at the age of 20 in the earlier part of the last century.

In 1959, the family was very successful with their mineral water company in Europe.

But in the mid 1970s Donald came to the USA to see how the market was for mineral …

Wine Tasting at Hess Collection Winery

Visiting Clos Pegase Estate Winery Calistoga Napa Valley


This post is by Marisa D'Vari from Wine Region Travel & Reviews: A Wine Story


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Clos Pegase Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Clos Pegase Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Clos Pegase Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Visiting Clos Pegase Estate Winery in the Calistoga AVA of Napa Valley

When people think of Clos Pegase Estate Winery in the Napa Valley, they think of mainly three things:

  1. Clos Pegase Chardonnay
  2. Clos Pegase Cabernet Sauvignon
  3. The famous architecture of the Clos Pegase Estate Winery, and the art collection within.

My recent visit to the Hess Collection Winery, with its extensive art collection, alerted me to the presence of another winery with an impressive art collection: The Clos Pegase Estate.

Origins of the Clos Pegase Estate Winery

The original owner and creator of Clos Pegase was Jan Shrem.

He was born in Columbia to Jewish-Lebanese parents.

After emigrating to the USA as a child, he made his way through the University of California, at Los Angeles selling encyclopedias.

Then he parlayed this experience into …

Wine of the Day, No. 464


This post is by from Bigger Than Your Head


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“Claret” is what the British call — or used to call — the red wines of Bordeaux, as in “we had a fine old claret for lunch at the club today” or “the claret that Oswald presented for dinner was more than amusing but less than distinguished.” The term is not to be confused with “clairette,” which is what the Bordelaise term a wine made from red grapes that is more robust than a rosé but less dense and dimensional than a regular red wine. Producers in California either take the term seriously or they have a riff and a laff, as in Bonny Doon’s red wine blend named “A Proper Claret,” which is anything but proper. David Ramey plays the game slightly slantwise by blending 8 percent of the decidedly not Bordeaux variety syrah with 52 percent cabernet sauvignon, 26 percent merlot, 12 percent malbec and 2 percent …

Weekend Wine Notes: 12 Wines for (Last-Minute) Giving and Getting


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I had to insert the term “Last-Minute” to the title of this entry, which I should have posted on Friday or at least yesterday, because here it is, Sunday. Still, wine stores are open today in many states, and there’s always tomorrow. I picture My Readers on an endless whirl of parties, receptions, open houses, brunches, wassails, carol-singing and what-not, giddily essaying the Yuletide with customary joy and merriment. For any or all of these festive occasions you will require a bottle of wine as a present for your host or to contribute to the groaning board. If that’s not — let’s face it — the case, you may still need a bottle of wine to take to the family or friends dinner on Christmas Day. There should be a bottle here or several to suit every taste and credit card, six whites, six reds. The price range starts at …

What I Want Wine to Be, Part One


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We learn by experience, whatever the field or range of sensation. I started reading about wine and tasting wine seriously around 1980 and was launched into a career as a wine writer and reviewer in July 1984. It’s an interesting phenomenon that these almost 40 years inevitably broadened my acceptance of a wide swath of wines, grapes and regions as well as narrowed my focus of preferences and what is amenable to my palate. For example, while a great chardonnay can be a noble, even a sublime drink, I will choose almost any white wine other than chardonnay for dinner, whether at home or at a restaurant. I don’t encounter many white Burgundies, so the blame doesn’t rest there, but I’ll say that California chardonnay — so often over-oaked, stridently spicy, tropical and dessert-like — spoiled my taste for the grape. Likewise, I can’t tolerate the level of oak and …

Meeting George Bursick of Maxville Winery


This post is by Marisa D'Vari from Wine Reviews: A Wine Story


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Tasting Maxville Wines in Chiles Valley

What a fantastic wine tasting and lunch today with George Bursick, Executive Winemaker of Maxville Winery. We tasted the wine in a very historic place, the restaurant at the Society of Illustrators in Manhattan.

I was excited to attend this private tasting because I was curious to try wine from Maxville Winery in the little-known Chiles Valley. The Chiles Valley was first established in 1840 and became an AVA in 1990.   The Chiles Valley is a sub-appellation of the Napa Valley nestled in the Vaca Mountains.  This might sound like a lot of geography before we get into the tasting, but geography is everything when it comes to wine.

Most visitors think of all wineries being in the “Napa Valley” or in “Sonoma,” yet there are many different micro-climates in this region.

Though I have never been to the Chiles Valley, after tasting these …

Nine Savory White Wines, Because Autumn Is Not All about Reds


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Let’s say that for dinner you’re having cod stew with leeks, potatoes and chorizo or a spicy shrimp risotto or grilled swordfish with a black pepper crust. This is not the time for a delicate, winsome little white wine and probably not even a lighter red, It’s the time for a savory white wine, earthy, bracing, saline. These are especially appropriate for these chilly Fall weeks that lead into Winter. Herein, I offer nine examples of such savory white wines, not really accommodating as aperitif quaffs, because of their assertive personalities, but certainly amenable for heartier fish and seafood dishes. Enjoy!
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The Apaltagua Reserva Pinot Gris 2017, San Antonio Valley, Chile, displays a pale straw-gold color and seductive aromas of mango and begonia, with notes of green olive and preserved lemon and a background of limestone and flint; the wine is quite lively and alluring on the palate, supple …

Attractive California Cabernet Sauvignon Picks: Flora Springs Winery, Addendum Wines, and Murrieta’s Well


This post is by Dezel Quillen from My Vine Spot


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Hello Friends,

Nearly every day when 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 around. The world of wine offers endless opportunities to learn and taste new things.

The wines featured in this post (the three Cs) are complex, complete, and compelling Cabernet Sauvignon wines. They are all from California, and from 2015—a vintage largely marked by warmth, drought, and accelerated harvest, which led to lower yields and high-quality fruit. Appealing, fruit-dominant Cabernet Sauvignon wines with big personalities are king of Napa Valley, and deservingly so. However, under-the-radar wine regions like Livermore Valley, situated just east of San Francisco, should not be overlooked—especially for medium- to higher-tier value.

With …

Wine of the Day, No. 437


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October purports to be International Merlot Month, though why that should be the case leaves me scratching the old noggin. Other wines get a day of recognition, but merlot gets a month? Well, it’s all marketing, n’est-ce pas? Anyway, the Wine of the Day is not the venue in which to sort out the problems inherent in the grape and its character. Rather, let’s look at a fine example of the grape from a venerable winery in California. The Markham Vineyards Merlot 2015, Napa Valley, is not only delicious but distinctive enough that it doesn’t feel like a cabernet sauvignon wannabe. A blend of 90 percent merlot grapes with 5 percent each cabernet sauvignon and petite sirah — the latter an unorthodox touch — the wine aged 15 and a half months in French and American oak, 32 percent new barrels. The color is dark ruby-purple with a vivid violet …

#MerlotMe In The Kitchen: A #WinePW Special


This post is by Jill Barth from L'OCCASION


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wines for fall, Sonoma wine, Napa wine
#MerlotMe wines from California — an October celebration. Photo Credit: Jill Barth

Many years ago I walked into a wine store and the clerk approached me with a question: “What’s your favorite wine?” Hmmm.

It’s an honest question, but anyone who has tasted as much wine as I have will never be able to provide an answer. Another version of the inquiry sounds like this, “What sort of wine varieties do you like best?”

Same hesitation, on my part. Even a single variety can present itself as endless. Perhaps none more so than merlot, which thrives in France, Italy, Chile, the United States and Australia. Simplified, merlot provides silky tannins and red or dark fruit — it’s complex and depended upon in blends but can fashion a staid single varietal wine. I’ve found that versatility on the table is a characteristic that is often overlooked.

To prove that …

J Lohr, Robert Hall, Still Waters, Ancient Peaks, california wine
#MerlotMe 2
#MerlotMe 1