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2008 Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare – Santa Cruz, CA

I will confess I am partial to Bonny Doon’s wines, but the 2008 Vin Gris de Cigare is one of the finest rosés I’ve tasted. I keep several bottles well chilled at all times. A blend of grenache, cinsault, roussanne, mourvèdre, syrah and grenache blanc, it is perhaps untypical of a Southern Rhône rosé since two white grapes (roussane and grenache blanc) have found their way into the blend, but to me the 2008 Vin Gris de Cigare is a quintessential rosé. Crisp and light yet round in the mouth, the strawberry and summer fruit notes harmonize with the sweetness of the tomatoes, while the citrus notes and crispness of the wine cut through the richness of the olive oil. You’ll keep sipping this one long after you’ve licked your plate clean.
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Mouthwatering Salads and Vegetable-Friendly Wines

Most people can confidently pair wines with seafood, meat or pasta—but pairing wines with salads can put even an avid wine drinker into a quandary. With the warm weather upon us, salads are about to take up more room at the dinner table. If you are stumped about what wine to serve with your salad, you’ll be pleased to know that many wines lend themselves beautifully to this more often than not underappreciated course.

2009 Stepping Stone Corallina Rosé – Red Hills Lake County, California

This intriguing rosé started with three days skin contact, followed by a very slow three-month fermentation. Progression on the palate is fascinating, as if the wine changed from white to red from attack to finish. It opens with a great acid streak and the tiniest fleeting hint of barely ripe peach before immediately switching to the red flavors. It starts lightly with strawberries, faint at first then growing, getting sweeter and darker, evolving into cherries, which linger. I drank this the day after it was bottled, in a courtesy tasting with General Manager, Craig Camp, and the new full-time winemaker, Jeff Keene. Once the wine recovers from the beating it took it will only get better.
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2006 Shafer Relentless – Napa Valley

This deeply opaque Syrah blend spent 30 months in very tightly grained new French oak. It is already terrific and has years ahead of it. Tannins are very sweet. Flavors comes in waves, with tremendous depth. Blackberries are the lead dark fruit among several, along with the meaty/smoky flavors of the crisp end of a prime rib, including the rub of leafy spices like sage and rosemary. Excellent, and very highly recommended.
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2008 Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay – Napa Valley

This is a well-balanced and luxurious Chardonnay. It is made with 25% in stainless steel and 75% in new medium-toast French Oak. It does not undergo malolactic fermentation. The wine was rich and creamy but clean, with good acids and without the distinct dark toast that seems trendy in Napa Chardonnay. Flavors were several different types of apples, from fresh green apples to slightly baked Pink Ladies, pears, and a touch of citrus. The finish was long.
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An American Wine Identity For the Next Generation

Less than a hundred feet away from my desk a handful of young Frontenac and St. Croix vines are entering their third year here in Salt Lake City, and maybe they aren’t the only ones around. A few industrious pioneers and forward-thinking visionaries are betting blood, sweat, and acres on a ridiculous proposition: to create an authentically American, native grape capable of transforming the wine world.
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A Tasting with Joe Davis of Arcadian Winery

Unlike many of his colleagues, Joe Davis, the founder and winemaker of Arcadian Winery, does not come from a long line of winemakers. On the contrary, his people were Monterey fisherman—with first-hand accounts of John Steinbeck’s peccadilloes, no less! But he was not destined for the family business.
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Farm Versus Fish: Water Use in the Russian River Valley

It takes guts to grow premium wine grapes—plus a sizable amount of cash, a love of farming, and the fortitude to deal with the ongoing challenges, both environmental and political, of producing a great glass of wine. Frost may not be the biggest of a grower’s concerns, but it has become a vexing problem here in California’s Russian River Valley, where the rights of farmers sometimes go head to head with the rights of fish.