Tag Archive | California Wine

Oh What Fun!, Day 4

Our Day 4 wine was a California Zinfandel!

Immediately upon opening, we were met with bold, rich, berry flavors.  We both loved it!  Zinfandel is often a robust wine and this one was no different.  It is a fairly heavy hitter at 14% ABV, but the balance of the fruit flavors and a light oak made this easy to sip.

It was an excellent representation of the grape!

Oh What Fun, Day 1

It’s December!  You know what that means?  Wine advent calendar time!

Tonight’s treat was a California Chardonnay.  I’m not that big into Chardonnay, but I would choose a California Chardonnay over other regions.  This one was balanced and light, with enough oak to satisfy those who love Chardonnay, and enough citrus acidity to satisfy me.

The wine is branded for the advent calendar, so figuring out the mystery of its origins is a bit tough, but the back of the bottle holds some clues.  La Chapelle de Guinchay, a region in Eastern France; that must be where the grapes are grown.  Bottled by Paul Sapin, a French winemaker.  Imported into California and branded a California wine – does that mean that Paul Sapin has facilities in California?

At any rate, my little mini-bottle of Chardonnay hit the spot at 12.5% ABV, and a nice balance of oak, lemon and vanilla.  Excellent when shared over video chat with my dear friend, enjoying the wine and catching up on life.

Happy December!

 

2019 Morgan Cotes du Crow’s

This wine was one of my August wine club selections from the wine shop in town.

Morgan Winery was founded in 1982 in Monterey County; their tasting room is in Carmel, California.  This wine is sourced from their vineyards in the Arroyo Seco and San Lucas appellations of Monterey County.

This Rhone-style blend has a dark ruby red color, and a heavy consistency that sticks to the edges of the glass.  The flavors are raspberry and cherry, along with a light woody tannin.  I opened it on Tuesday, and enjoyed a glass, then got pulled away by life for the next two nights.  It was still delicious on Friday!

This wine was aged in French oak barrels, with 15% new oak that added a hint of spice to the flavor of the wine.  It is not your standard GSM blend, as it contains Tempranillo instead of Mourvedre, but it works for this wine!  The blend: 52% Syrah, 44% Grenache, 4% Tempranillo.

If you have a chance, check this wine out!  You won’t be disappointed.

 

Chenin, by Field Recordings

A few months ago I joined a wine club at our local wine shop.  I love the wines that the owner chooses for his shop, and for years I have asked him to pick wines for me.  I tell him my preferences and my price range, and let him pick some for me – he always knocks it out of the park.

During my divorce, I closed down my non-essential spending in order to replenish the savings that my ex had wasted.  Then once I had savings built up, I went on my big trip and needed to live off of those savings for a bit.  But now, with a paycheck coming in again, I have a bit extra to splurge, so I joined the wine club.  It gives me an opportunity to try some new things.  Each month I get one white and one red, and I opened last month’s white on Monday night.

The wine is called Chenin, and it is a Chenin Blanc from Field Recordings, a winery from Paso Robles, California, that I have been hearing about for years.

This wine is delicious!  It is 100% Chenin Blanc, sourced from the Central Coast of California.  It is a combination of green apple and floral flavors, with a light minerality.  I paired mine with such gastronomic weekday delights as tuna sandwich, cream of mushroom soup, and BBQ pulled pork and rice, which basically means that it tastes good with anything!  The winery recommends pairing it with shellfish, salads or turkey subs, which basically means that I probably love these unpretentious people.

You see that I drank it out of my Dia de los Muertos candy skull stemless wine glass – I got it at the Dollar Store!  Wine is meant to be accessible, and who has the time or money to eat scallops and steak every night, or pull out the fancy wine glasses?

Try this wine – you won’t be disappointed!

2013 Liberated Pinot Noir

I don’t typically pick a wine by the label, but sometimes I pick one by the screw cap!  I was traveling, and needed a bottle that could be opened without a corkscrew, because I didn’t happen to have one in my suitcase, and who wants to buy another cheap corkscrew to add to the collection at home?

So, anywhoo, the 2013 Liberated Pinot Noir from Monterey, California comes with three different choices of cool labels.  The store I purchased it at had two of the options, but I liked the Urban Dweller girl label better.  It’s so cool!

The wine itself is decent, with a medium body and flavors of ripe cherry, blackberry and a hint of tobacco.  The Liberated Wine Company clearly puts more stock in the curb appeal of the bottle, rather than the wine itself though, as their website merely has a whimsical description rather than information about the wine.

URBAN DWELLER – I’ve rarely met the company of a nook whose cranny wasn’t just as welcome! It’s the beauty of being a tourist in your own town, where there are hundreds of sights you’ve crossed a thousand times, and yet somehow, never seen before. Take nothing away from travel, but no one needs to leave the city limits to broaden their horizons. All it takes is a curious mind and a set of eyes—so open yours to the wonders of everyday life. Isn’t it about time we liberated our idea of what “local” means?”

2013 Liberated Pinot Noir - Monterey, CA

2013 Liberated Pinot Noir – Monterey, CA

At $13.50 for the bottle, when Pinot can often be much more expensive, it is certainly a bottle worth trying out!

Hess 2014 North Coast Sauvignon Blanc

I was looking for some whites the other day at the grocery store, perhaps to pretend that the winter has given way to spring.  That hasn’t happened of course, but a girl can dream…  I saw this on an endcap, and it ended up in my cart, without so much as a read of the back of the bottle.  I know.  I live dangerously.

2014 Hess North Coast Sauvignon Blanc (this pic is from a 2012, but you get the idea...)

2014 Hess North Coast Sauvignon Blanc (this pic is from a 2012, but you get the idea…)

This wine has a lot of lemongrass on the nose.  On the palate, there is more crisp lemongrass, with citrus and tropical fruit, but it also had something I wasn’t expecting.  There was a lingering flavor of barely burnt caramel – a good burnt caramel.  It was intriguing – different.  It certainly tasted like a New Zealand style Sauvignon Blanc, with the exception of that hint of toasty caramel.

The Hess website’s description didn’t mention burnt caramel, nor have I tasted that in other Sauv Blancs.  It was aged in stainless steel, so where the flavor came from will remain a mystery.  Flaw?  Happy Accident?  Intention?  Who knows.  At any rate, it was a great, affordable wine at just $9.  And I would drink it again, not only just to discover whether the burnt caramel is a fluke.

Happy Wednesday!

 

 

2012 Dark Earth Pinot Noir

Tonight, I am enjoying a California Pinot Noir. The Dark Earth Pinot from Buellton.

Red cherry and earthy flavors mingle with medium tannins, to create a nice weekday wine. It packs a punch too at 14.8 percent alcohol.

Delicious! Highly recommended if you come across it. Happy Saturday everybody!

 

 

2012 Husch Vineyards Chenin Blanc

Jon and I picked up this wine on our California trip in Spring 2013, when we had the good fortune to visit Husch Vineyards.

I opened it up last night,  after putting a couple of bottles of white wine in the fridge to chill a bit.  Now that it’s spring, I’m enjoying my whites even more!  I couldn’t be more pleased.  It has flavors of pineapple blended with minerality, giving it a balanced flavor that I love.  It has just a hint of sweetness on the tip of the tongue, with a lingering light honey syrup on the back of the palate.

Husch has been producing their Chenin Blanc since 1984, and they have clearly been doing something right.  It is fermented in stainless steel tanks, and bottled only a few weeks after fermentation was complete.

Not to mention it is a great value at just $12.00 a bottle.

Have you had the Husch Vineyards Chenin Blanc?  Have you been to the Anderson Valley? 

The First Wine from the Mixed Case

Bright cherry red with a hint of carbonation?  That’s usually not the description for a wine…  But it was how I describe the first wine from the mixed case I purchased last weekend.  I let Jon pick the first wine to try, and he chose the 2012 Trentadue Old Patch Red.

The color was more bright cherry red than I was expecting from a wine that is primarily Zinfandel, and it was less opaque than I was expecting too.  On the palate, it has a medium body, but the first taste of this wine was odd.  It made my tongue tingle, almost like the wine was lightly carbonated.  Once the tingle dissipated, I figured it was very strong spice that was causing the sensation.  So weird!  Fortunately the tingling on the tongue went away after the wine sat in the glass for about 10 minutes.

This red blend from the North Coast of California is 85% Zinfandel, 6% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignane, and 4% Syrah.  This wine was meh… Not bad enough to pour down the drain, but… in short, not every wine is a winner.

Have you had the 2012 Trentadue Old Patch Red?  What did you think?

California Marathon Road Trip: Schug Winery

After our trip to Gundlach Bundschu, we visited Schug Winery.  Schug was founded by Walter Schug and his wife Gertrud in the 1970s.  Both of them grew up in Germany with fathers who managed wine estates, and Walter learned the trade at several wineries in Germany, England and California.  Once they moved to the United States, Walter worked at the winemaker for Joseph Phelps Vineyards in the 1970s before starting his own winery.

Schug is located just outside of the town of Sonoma.  They produce about 40,000 cases annually but you wouldn’t know it from their tasting room –  it is tiny little space!  I was a bit surprised by that, but we were greeted warmly by the server there and guided through the line-up.

Schug Winery – the tasting room is just the dark pink section in the middle. Cozy!

Schug Winery – the tasting room is just the dark pink section in the middle. Cozy!

Their Rouge de Noirs sparkling wine is where it is at.  It is a great sparkler with light bubbles, and a fruity, effervescence.  It is made from 100% Ricci Vineyard Pinot Noir, fermented with the skins for 3 days and then a bleeding off of the juice with no pressing.

The Carneros Pinot Noir was very good too – it is their flagship wine with more than 5,000 cases produced.  To be honest, I did like the Estate Pinot better, but not enough to justify the  extra $12 in price.  Their Sauvignon Blanc was not on the tasting menu, but our server let  me have a taste and it was a delicious acidic Sauvignon Blanc with flavors of grapefruit and honey.

We went home with the Sauvignon Blanc, the Carneros Pinot Noir and the Rouge de Noirs – but I would be happy drinking anything that we tried that day!