Friday, November 13, 2020

NV Treveri Cellars Chenin Blanc Sparkling Wine

We have been big fans of anything produced by Treveri Cellars for several years.  Julie Grieb and her team do such a wonderful job of bringing Champagne-inspired wines to the US market at a fraction of the price of their French counterpart.  We were absolutely honored to receive a few samples from Treveri Cellars this year at the same time as the State Department chef, prior to public release.  

This wine presents a medium gold color and classic honey and floral aromas.  A little more time in the glass and some room temperature warmth begin to pull some baking apple flavors against a zippy and lasting acidity.  Unless you're sharing a bottle of sparkling wine, we find it tough to finish a bottle.  We actually tasted this over two days - one day solo and the next morning with homemade sausage gravy and biscuits.  This sparkling wine is an amazing accompaniment to the comfort food.  Who says you can't have wine with breakfast?  Not us!  This sparkling wine is an amazing value!


ABV:  12.0%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $20.00

Drink The Bottles score:  92/100


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

2016 Baldacci Vineyards Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon

 



We love thinking about wine and what was happening in the vineyards when grapes are picked and turned into a lovely wine like this one.  You have to wonder how gorgeous the fruit must have looked to create a wine that is as black a night with such power and lovely mouthfeel.  The 2016 Baldacci Vineyards Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon is a wonderful example of the unique and beautiful fruits that come from the Stag's Leap District (Napa Valley).  Amazing and definitive aromas of black licorice, raspberry pie filling and baking spices abound.  The color of this wine is hauntingly gorgeous and we knew as soon as we popped this cork we were in for a real treat.  Wonderful, layered flavors of black cherry, chocolate pudding and cinnamon were most dominant, but with additional time in the glass we picked up some very distinct espresso powder and allspice.  We should have decanted this wine for about 30-45 minutes prior to tasting, but Jeff couldn't hold back.  He absolutely LOVES wine that presents itself like this.  For those of you who are put off by sediment, you will definitely want to decant.  But this doesn't bother us at all.  We like purple teeth and we know you are going to absolutely love this wine.  This wine would be fun to try again in 15+ years but we think you can cellar it for much longer.  




ABV:  14.5%

Napa Valley, California

1,027 cases produced

Suggested retail price:  $90.00

Drink The Bottles score:  93/100



Monday, August 31, 2020

2017 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon


Any time we are afforded the opportunity to taste a Cathy Corison wine, we know that we are in for a real treat.  The soon-to-be-released 2017 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) is absolutely no exception.  This bottle was tasted in a line up of other Napa cabs about seven weeks ago and we have purposely held off writing about it until the release date is near.  

What immediately struck us was how mature and fine this wine appeared in the glass and on the nose, introducing layers of fresh violet bouquet, cedar plank, dusty spice box and whiffs of tar.  The wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvingon and it rewards the taster with black cherry, plum, blackberry pie with a sweet crust and dried spices.  The violets are always dancing in the glass.  The finesse on this work of art is evident by the long and memorable, effortless finish.  You get mesmerized by the amazing fragrances and stunning color of this wine and it is truly one that makes you wish your glass was bottomless.   Incredible!


ABV:  14.2%

Napa Valley, California (St. Helena)

Suggested retail price:  $100.00

Drink The Bottles score:  97/100



Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Gary Farrell Winery Pinot Noir Tasting

Wow, weren't we the lucky ones?   On Tuesday, August 11th, we had the distinct pleasure of taking part in a virtual wine tasting with some great media folks, Sam Folsom of Folsom + Associates and the lovely Theresa Heredia, winemaker at Gary Farrell Winery.  We had a fantastic line up for 7 single vineyard Pinot Noir and want to share our thoughts on some of our favorites....


Here's the line up of these unique and delicious wines that we sampled.  We actually made an afternoon of it, ordering a charcuterie board and inviting a few friends.  It would be a shame to have 7 bottles of wine go to waste.  A few of the folks from our group had never tasted Gary Farrell wines, so this was a win-win for everyone!

  • 2016 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley
  • 2016 Fort Ross Vineyard Pinon Noir, Fort Ross-Seaview
  • 2016 Hallberg Dijon Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley (Green Valley)
  • 2016 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russion River Valley (Green Valley)
  • 2016 Martaella Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
  • 2016 Toboni Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
  • 2016 Gap's Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir, Petaluma Gap
While all of these wines are absolutely beautiful and unique, the three highlighted wines above were collectively our group's overall favorites.  Some of them also happen to be some of the least expensive of the bunch, so maybe we are cheap dates?

The 2016 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley was very vibrant with ginger and pomegranate aromas that really permeated the nose and mouth.  Tons of bright red fruits and dried herbs were on the palate and the notable acidity created a long, lovely finish.  If you haven't had any memorable Pinot Noir before, this is where you should start.  Absolutely delicious.  And....you might just find your favorite here!    Drink the Bottles score:  96/100


Next in the lineup was the 2016 Fort Ross Vineyard Pinot Noir, Fort Ross-Seaview and it presented rustic and earthy aromas including dusty book, blackberry and notes of crushed violet petals.  There are tons of plum flavors up front and a hint of soy sauce with a fun, spicy finish.  The colors on this wine are stunning!  Drink the Bottles score:  92/100


Asking a winemaker what wine is their favorite is similar to asking a parent which child is their favorite.  And while Theresa did share some hints to how she leaned, we will tell you up front that the 2016 Hallberg Dijon Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley was our overall #1 wine of the day.  The blue colors against the deep red center were very unique and mesmerizing.  Strawberry jam, cigar box and chocolate on the nose.  In the mouth is a light to medium bodied combination of strawberries, black tea, cigar leaf and raspberries.  The palate gives a bright tingle and Jeff thinks that this is absolutely a great cigar wine!   Drink the Bottles score:  96/100


It's not every day you get to taste a wonderful line up of very individually-tasting wines.  But that's what makes this fun.  Most people have an idea of what a "typical" Pinot Noir tastes like.  However, when you put multiple bottles together, you get to see, smell and taste the differences of the unique growing climates.  Theresa really went into depth about Brix and clones and vineyards, which was absolutely fascinating.  We were surprised to see different some of the wines looked on the cork.

What's a wine tasting without amazing charcuterie?

Halfway through the tasting experience is the 2016 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley.  Ripe black cherries, cola and young flowers are prominent.  The tasting was more herbal with wintergreen and sweet cherries.  Full disclosure here - this wine was very unique and all over the place for us.  It seemed like every sip presented new flavors and we would love to try it again sometime.


The 2016 Martaella Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley was another real stunner for us!  Blueberries and cedar were dominant and mouth-watering.  This wine seemed to have more structure and was incredibly silky.  Blueberry pie filling, home made biscuits and baking spices were what really stood out in this lovely and fine example of Pinot.  You can really get lost in this wine and at only $65 per bottle and a small production of 618 cases, you should get this one fast!
Drink the Bottles score:  95/100


From the blueberry pie to Syrah.....and we aren't mad!   2016 Gary Farrell Winery Pinot Noir Toboni Vineyard, Russian River Valley was more flowery on than many of the other wines we tasted this day.  In addition to vanilla custard, we noted cedar box, fresh cut flowers and cherries.  There's a solid full body feeling with this wine and it could easily be an every day drinker for the Pinot fan.  Jeff definitely could see some Syrah similarities in this wine and thought the flavor and overall mouthfeel was unique.  The stronger tannins give this wine an edgier feel but your mouth will thank you when you sit back and smile at the juicy finish!  Drink the Bottles score:  94/100

Look at the gorgeous color of these Pinot Noir wines!


Our final wine of the day was the 2016 Gap's Crown Pinot Noir, Petaluma Gap.  At $80 a bottle, it was the most expensive of the lot.  At one point one of the other media participants asked about wine pricing.  Theresa explained that some of the pricing structure had to do with whether or not the winery paid for the grapes or what the yield was for that season.  This wine was definitely the most herbaceous of the group, showing dusty road, saddle leather and hanging potpourri.  Pomegranate was again introduced into the line up with this wine along with cherry preserves, cherry cola and mushrooms.  The color of this wine is reminiscent of a pomegranate and left us with a warm and welcoming finish.  
Drink the Bottles score:  94/100

It was a perfect day for an outdoor Pinot tasting!

If you get the opportunity to taste wines with a winemaker, don't let it go to waste.  Whether it is 7 different varietals or a vertical tasting, you will absolutely love the experience.  We are looking forward to our next virtual tasting.

We invite you to visit Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery to learn more about these wines and purchase them directly from the winery.  In fact, most of the wines presented here are available ONLY from the winery.   Tell them we sent you!  Cheers!













Tuesday, August 4, 2020

2016 Knights Bridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley



This wine was the second bottle of the night and had so much going on.  The first bottle was an 'every day drinker' that we have a case of at the house.  Immediately upon popping the cork, we were pretty confident that we had something very special with this 2016 Knights Bridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.  On the nose was a wonderful mix of violets, blueberry, tobacco leaf and suggestions of cedar.  This is one of those wines that really make your mouth water as you're pouring your first drops in the glass.  We were very pleased how smooth this wine is and what full flavors jumped out of the glass.  Dark cherry, cocoa powder and grilling spices were all showing their colors and left a gorgeous feel in the mouth and at the finish.  This is a wine that will really hold up well for the next decade or longer.  It is absolutely appealing to the Cabernet lover!  We encourage you to reach out to the winery to pick up this wine here:  2016 KB Estate Cabernet Sauvignon


ABV:  14.5%

Knights Valley (Sonoma County), California

Suggested retail price:  $60.00

Drink The Bottles score:  93/100

Friday, July 31, 2020

2018 Baldacci Family Vineyards Fraternity



If you are looking for a wine that pairs with just about anything in your pantry or freezer, you have found it in the 2018 Baldacci Family Vineyards Fraternity blend.   Don't roll your eyes and scoff about red blends....certainly not this one!  The picture above should really be all that you need to know about how much we enjoyed this wine.   The bottle is empty!  This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), Merlot (36%), Cabernet Franc (10%), Syrah (7%) and Petit Verdot(2%) is exceptionally balanced and a real palate masseuse!  This wine opens with grandma's homemade preserves, dried spices and some incredible hints of earthiness.  It is absolutely full of fruit flavors like juicy bing cherries, ripe plum and multi-berry cobbler, including the taste of spice racks flavors in the crust.  It is always incredible to sip a wine like this, sit back and just laugh at how wonderful it is at this price point.  This wine is young but it drinks like it has been bottled for 10 years.  The color on this wine is absolutely captivating and you just want to get lost in those legs.  We applaud Michael Baldacci on this lovely bottle.  You can find this online directly from the winery here:  2018 Baldacci Fraternity Red Wine


ABV:  14.5%

Napa Valley, California

2,833 cases produced

Suggested retail price:  $50.00

Drink The Bottles score:  94/100



Monday, July 20, 2020

2017 Pope Valley Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon



We absolutely LOVE trying new wines!  And we get super-excited when we get a chance to work with someone we have never tasted before, as is the case here.  This is the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) from Pope Valley Winery.  As you can see, in the glass what you would expect from a beautiful Cabernet - dark to the rim.  This young wine was swirled extensively and the cherry and spice aromas leaped effortlessly from the glass.  In the mouth was blackberry preserves, cedar, at times a hint of dark chocolate and a very solid and definite finish.  Despite teetering the 15% ABV mark, this wine is not hot in any way, which is testament to the winemaker and time in the barrel.  The tannin was surprising small and soft.  The winemaker states that this wine spent 26 months in oak before bottling and we absolutely love the youthfulness and potential to age this wine.  This would be a fun one to open again in a year, 3 years and 5 years.  At this price point, you really can't go wrong.  This wine is very lovely and worth your time.  You can purchase this wine directly from the winery here:  


ABV:  14.84%

Napa Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  $52.00

Drink The Bottles score:  91/100



NV Treveri Cellars Chenin Blanc Sparkling Wine

We have been big fans of anything produced by Treveri Cellars for several years.  Julie Grieb and her team do such a wonderful job of bring...