The Chalk Hill Estate Winery Experience with Courtney Foley, Winemaker


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


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Enjoy The Chalk Hill Estate Winery Experience

What a fabulous lunch and reserve tasting I had today with Courtney Foley. She is now the winemaker for Chalk Hill Estate Winery in Sonoma, California. The Chalk Hill Estate Winery is famous for its Chalk Hill Chardonnay. This Chardonnay comes from unique chalk and limestone estate vineyards. Like so many wineries today, the owners create Chalk Hill Estate Winery Experience to includes tours, tasting, and  the culinary arts.

The Terroir Behind Chalk Hill Winery Estate

As you can imagine from its name, the vineyards (Chalk Hill Estate is also its own AVA) have a certain mineral component. This mineral component comes out in the wines. Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay and Chalk Hill Pinot Noir are famous around the world.

History of Chalk Hill Winery

In 1972, the original owner Fred Furth takesa plane trip over the Russian River. Outside the airplane, he …

Albariño from Spain & California


This post is by from Simon Woods – Drinking Outside The Box


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Tesco Finest* Viñas Del Rey Albariño 2016 (Felix Solis), Rias Baixas, Spain (£8 Tesco) Age has given a hint of creaminess but this is still lip-smackingly fresh, with pear and custard apple flavours pepped up by pithy citrus acidity and a hint of herbs. B+ Marimar Estate Albariño 2015, Russian River Valley, California (£29.50 Amazon.co.uk, […]

Two Pinot Noirs from New Zealand & California


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Seresin Estate Leah Pinot Noir 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand (£21.99 The NZ Cellar, The Wine Society, Wholefoods, Davy’s Wine Merchants, New Zealand House of Wine, Noble Green, Handford Wines, Hay Wines, Cheers Wine Merchants) Lovely lithe, relaxed and confident wine, wonderfully aromatic with red berry & cherry fruit (fresh and lightly cooked), a spine of […]

Live Like a Winemaker: 5 Lessons in Authenticity


This post is by Jill Barth from L'OCCASION


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These wine industry professionals offer actionable advice on maintaining authenticity.
Virginia Wine, Monticello Wine trail
A selection of Stinson Vineyards wines. Credit: Jill Barth

Anyone that has visited wine country has seen the abundance of wineries dotting the landscape. We gather our friends and make the trip for this very reason – there are so many choices. While this means competition for your business, every winemaker understands this also helps create a vibe and draw in a crowd.

Same goes for wines on the shelves in your local store. Winemakers want to be recognized for their own good taste as well as for being a part of a region with distinction. Standing out as something special requires authenticity. This isn’t a catchphrase or trend. It’s a requirement for anyone who wants to succeed for the long-haul.

Here five respected wine industry pros from around the world share how they keep their footprint fresh while staying …

Female winemakers, Oregon wine,
Sonoma winemaker, Women in Wine, Female winemaker
Italian winemakers, Female winemakers from Italy, Chianti Classico
Virginia Wine, Meritage, Tannat, Cabernet Franc

In the Mood for Sonoma with #WinePW


This post is by Jill Barth from L'OCCASION


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The Wine Pairing Weekend group (#WinePW) has turned our focus to the winemakers, grape growers, and wine industry pros in Sonoma County, California. Look for our posts and social media shares with the hashtag #SonomaStrong to raise awareness of fire relief efforts throughout Sonoma. Groups such as Sonoma Valley Rotary Foundation, have led the way with this hashtag, and we use the spirit of giving, community, and collaboration to guide our posts and collective voices.

Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Carneros, Alexander Valley
Map Courtesy: Sonoma County Vintners
Wine Pairing Weekend

Look for these articles and then join us on Twitter at 10 am CST on Saturday, January 13th. Look for the #WinePW hashtag as well as #SonomaStrong. Our posts feature Sonoma wines, paired with some of our favorite dishes. We uncover stories, history, current events, travel ideas, and opportunities to reveal Sonoma and let readers know how they can help, simply by purchasing wine or visiting wine …

#WinePW, Sonoma, California Wine, Wine Country, Fire Relief, California wildfires

Women in Wine: Sonoma’s Legendary Bacigalupi Vineyards’ Brillante


This post is by Jill Barth from L'OCCASION


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While a beautiful sparking Sonoma Blanc de Noir rosé was my official introduction to Pam Bacigalupi, learning about her history fell right into a topic with which I’ve had some new involvement. Sonoma writer Amy Bess Cook approached me recently about a project she’s released, a database of woman-owned wineries in Sonoma County. Though Bacigalupi isn’t fully woman-owned (it is shared between husband and wife), it is the work of individuals such as Pam Bacigalupi and her mother-in-law Helen Bacigalupi that have laid the groundwork for more women in the field, for more women to enter an environment such as Sonoma, where winemaking is conducted with excellence, where good earth, good people, and super wine are the standard.

sparkling rosé, rostato, sparkling wine, bubbly
Brillante Blanc de Noir from Bacigalupi Vineyards. Credit: Jill Barth

Pam Bacigalupi has her ear to the ground when it comes to winemaking – not that she herself is a winemaker – but …

California Champagne, Sparkling rosé, Sonoma Wine
Bacigalupi Vineyards, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Wine, California Wine
Bacigalupi Family, Helen Bacigalupi, Sonoma winemaking family
Sonoma history, Helen Bacigalupi, Judgement of Paris

5 American Wines for Thanksgiving


This post is by Jill Barth from L'OCCASION


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Over the weekend I listened to a TED Radio Hour story about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The story spent some time dwelling on our human need for security. Food and shelter come lower on the pyramid – meaning we need those needs fulfilled before we move into an attempt to gain security. But security, the talk said, has two meanings, really.

Security is an actual state, a for-real situation. Security is also a feeling. We can be secure but feel insecure. We can lack security, but still feel pretty safe.

This time of year, these few weeks approaching Thanksgiving, have always been a nesting time for me. I like to declutter, plan for the holidays, make home improvements. I especially think about food, about kitchen smells, and table settings. Of things to eat and drink and share with my family friends. Building an atmosphere of security is a priority to me, …

5 American Wines for Thanksgiving

Martinelli 2013 Zinfandel, Vellutini Ranch


This post is by Keith S Wallace from Wine School of Philadelphia


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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 …

Charming Wine for your Sweetie: Toad Hollow Vineyards


This post is by Jill Barth from L'occasion


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Let me count thy ways…that Toad Hollow Risqué is a charming bottle to share on this, the most romantic of holidays: St. Valentine’S Day
(Most Romantic? if we are to believe what we are told. And do we believe what are told? Never! But do we like wine to share with someone sexy? Always!)
Welcome to Toad Hollow in downtown Healdsburg, Credit: Toad Hollow Vineyards
Welcome to Toad Hollow in downtown Healdsburg, Credit: Toad Hollow Vineyards

How many ways am I charmed by this vintner? For starters, there is the website. Toad Hollow Vineyards tell their story through an adorable interactive book about Mr. Toad and Mr. Badger, the original best-friend founders of the label.

Right now, click over the The Chronicle and then come back to my post. I’ll keep a tab open for you.

And then, they place upon their bottles the most delightful and imaginative labels by local artist Maureen “Mo” Erickson. Her colors and lines (and …

Toad Hollow Art by Maureen "Mo" Erickson
Risque Sparkling Wine From Limoux
Frankie Williams of Toad Hollow Vineyards
Healdsburg Wine Tasting Room

Winemaker Rendezvous: Theresa Heredia of Gary Farrell Winery


This post is by Jill Barth from L'occasion


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TODAY WE WELCOME A RENDEZVOUS WITH WINEMAKER THERESA HEREDIA, CHIEF WINEMAKER AT GARY FARRELL WINERY IN SONOMA’S RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY.
th-with-bottle
Theresa with a bottle of her Gary Farrell Pinot Noir

I’ve been waiting to interview Theresa for a while now. Her Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays embody such elegance that I have to say I was impressed and intrigued. I’d tasted her wines and done a bit of poking around about the Gary Farrell ways. I thought, the woman who made this really has something to teach us.

I was right on the money. It turns out that Teresa was inspired to educate herself as a teacher, but found the siren of wine along the way. Her responses here expose that she is wise and articulate and is a helpful guidepost for those of us that want to understand the winemaking life.

Gary Farrell Winery

Since the early 1980’s Gary Farrell has made …

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gf-teresa-with-glass
gf-wine-setting
gf-woodland-tastings

Adler Fels


This post is by Margot from Write for Wine: It's Wine O'Clock Somewhere!


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Just in time for the holidays, Adler Fels has a reenergized vision and new releases of 2014 Pinot Noir and 2015 Chardonnay.

Although Adler Fels has been producing award-winning wines in California for more than 35 years, the winery decided on a rebirth in 2016 by focusing on “artisan wines with intense varietal character.” To do this, winemakers Aaron Bader and Linda Trotta “searched for the best vineyards in the best regions, grown by interesting people in interesting places.”

We joined the celebration by tasting samples, provided by the winery, of these two new releases.

Adler Fels 2014 The Eagle Rock Pinot Noir ($27.99)
Adler Fels is German for “Eagle Rock” — a fitting name since the winery is high on a crest in the Mayacamas mountains, with a fantastic view of many of California’s Napa and Sonoma vineyards.

This luscious wine is sourced from grapes in the Santa Rita Hills (76%) and the Russian River Valley …

Chardonnays from Spain and California


This post is by from Drinking Outside The Box


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Jean Leon 3055 Chardonnay 2014, Penedès, Spain (£13.99 Hailsham Cellars, Lancaster Wine Company, Dartmouth Wine Company) Rich and rounded, broad peach and pineapple chunk flavour, tinned fruit juice, smells fleshy but while there’s some lemony zip to bring some freshness, it’s not subtle – feels like yesterday’s wine… B- La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2014, […]

Gloria Ferrer’s Glorious Bites 2016 Winner


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Glorious Bites Winners

Miso-Maple Glazed Cod Wonton-Cho’s

 

On October 15, Chera Little from Austin, Texas was awarded the grand prize for her Miso-Maple Glazed Cod Wonton-Cho’s with Crispy Bok Choy Slaw. In October Chera competed against two other semi-finalists: Jerry Edwards and Diane Williams for the award. The prize for winning as finalist was a wonderful $5,000.

Glorious Bites was sponsored by Gloria Ferrer, Caves & Vineyards, a winery and vineyard in Sonoma, California.  One of the goals was to create an appetizer that paired well with Gloria Ferrer’s Sonoma Brut which is a delightful, crispy sparkling wine that pairs well with many foods. Competitions were held across the country. In the fall, three semi-finalist events were held. One in Washington, DC, the others in Austin, Texas and Los Angeles, California.

If you would like more details about Glorious Bites semi-finalist challenge in Washington, DC read Terry’s blog and for more photos visit

Dogs
Won Tons

Glorious Bites Challenge Finale Coming Up!


This post is by from Wine Trail Traveler LLC


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Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut

Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut

On Saturday, October 15, the Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards’ Glorious Bites final challenge will take place between three semi-finalists. The contestants are vying for a $5,000 prize. The contestants were chosen at three regional semi-finals. We wrote about the Washington, DC semi-final where we had fun interviewing Jerry Edwards from Timonium, MD, who won.

Plan now to attend this final Glorious Bites Challenge taking place at the Gloria Ferrer winery in Sonoma this Saturday. This is sure to be an enjoyable event. Attendees will be able to enjoy appetizers, wine and a cooking demonstration by Executive Chef Jennifer Luttrell. Tickets for the final judging are available online.

Glorious Bites, Jerry Edwards, semi-finalist

Glorious Bites, Jerry Edwards, semi-finalist

The three semi-finalists are Diane Williams who’s special appetizer is Triple “B” Won Tons Beef, Blue Cheese, & Bacon, Chera Little who is competing with Miso-Maple Glazed Cod Wonton-Cho’s with Crispy Bok Choy …

Two Chardonnays from Torres


This post is by from Drinking Outside The Box


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Marimar Estate Acero Chardonnay 2014, Russian River Valley, California (~£22 winedirect.co.uk) Young fresh, honest style, with plump nectarine and tinned peach flavours, decent but a touch simple. B Miguel Torres Cordillera Chardonnay 2013, Limarí, Chile (£12.99 Hoults, Partridges of Sloane Street, Portland Wine Company, Mitchells Vintners, Swift Wines, Blyth Valley Wines) With its ripe, oily […]

Marimar Estate Albariño 2013, Russian River Valley, California


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Marimar Estate Albariño 2013, Russian River Valley, California (£26.95 Edgmond Wines) Smells rich and fleshy, sl peach – cooked and fresh, crystallised orange, weighty, nutty, peachy fruit, like Albarino with a dollop of Chardonnay, but nice dry finish. And regarding my comments on the video wondering whether it would open up further after a couple […]

Quick Sip: Angels & Cowboys Sonoma County 2015 Rosé


This post is by Dezel Quillen from My Vine Spot


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Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is Angels & Cowboys Sonoma County 2015 Rosé. Angels & Cowboys is a collaborative effort between the co-founders of Cannonball Wine Company, Yoav Gilat and Dennis Hill, and northern California graphic artist, Michael Schwab. The joint business endeavor is clearly headed in the right direction. Everything about the packaging is appealing and on point; and the pale salmon colored wine is drop dead gorgeous. This rosé is made from a blend of Grenache Rouge, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Grenache Blanc; all sourced from distinct sites in Carneros, Alexander Valley, and Dry Creek Valley. The grapes harvested were picked with the sole intention of making rosé, as opposed to saignée — a by-product of red wine fermentation — or other methods. Stylistically, Angels & Cowboys looked to the south of France for inspiration; drawing on lightness of color and body, combined with a sense of …

Chardonnays from France, South Africa & USA


This post is by from Drinking Outside The Box


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I didn’t taste these side by side, but I’ve ended up giving them all similar marks – would happily drink them all, but none had me jumping out of my seat and shouting ‘Whoopee!’ Vergelegen Premium Chardonnay 2013, Stellenbosch, South Africa (£12.49 Majestic, Roberts and Speight, Stewart Wines, Liquid Treasure, Noble Green Wines, Hailsham Cellars, Polygon Wines, […]

Four Californian Pinot Noirs


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Byron Pinot Noir 2013, Santa Barbara County, California (£16 Slurp.co.uk) Some will like the soft, vanilla tinged ripe red berry flavours here, but others will think that (like many Californian Pinots) it veers too much towards the overripe. I tasted this over a couple of days to see if a subtler edge emerged, but it […]

Sonoma’s Rosé Revolution


This post is by Jill Barth from L'occasion


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rose display

I’ m certainly not one of those people that think rosé is just-for-summer. I drink rosé all year and in fact, have had some meaningful wine discoveries from rosé-producing winemakers, most of them Provençal. I’m excited, now, for this opportunity to learn more about rosé from an American wine region: Sonoma County.

Sonoma has been a point of interest for me, not simply because of wine, but because of poet Gary Snyder.  Mr. Snyder was one of the beat poets, in cahoots with Alan Ginsberg, Philip Whalen and Jack Kerouc. Snyder, a Buddhist, writes heavily about nature and the Earth. Later in his life, he established a homestead in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas(where he lives today). On my first trip to Sonoma I was impressed and captivated, driving through the deeply wooded hills, because I noticed that people in California were able to live as Snyder described, in the …