Wednesday, June 29, 2011

4th of July Firecrackers

Let's pay homage to great American wines this weekend! I've hit the TexaCali Wine Trail hard this summer out in Cali and can't wait to dive into some new discoveries.  A few you should consider too!

2010 Handley Cellars Sauvignon Blanc this bright beauty will be flowing in the kitchen during BBQ prep for sure.  A perfect compliment to fresh Guacamole and peach salsa. $18

2010 Michel-Schlumberger Pinot Blanc I've written about these in detail before, this one is for all you "red-only" drinkers to finally experience a white wine that will make you smile, I promise you.  $24

2009 Barrique Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Only a tiny amount of this super QPR was made and can be found at K&L Wine Merchants on the West Coast.  This is going to match up perfectly with lamb burgers with caramelized onions hot off the grill.
2007 Pellegrini Family Vineyards Cloverdale Ranch Merlot this red is for after the sun sets and when we're surrounded by homemade brownies.  Always a classic representation of Alexander Valley Merlot $20
2007 Davis Family Vineyards Zinfandel only one bottle left of this in my cellar and boy do I love this old-vine Zin produced from 100+ year old vines in the Russian River. It's wouldn't be July 4th without it! SOLD OUT.

2008 Mark David Cabernet Franc  I have been thinking about this bottle ever since I walked away with it after tasting at Arista Winery a few weeks ago.  This is "last bottle of the night" worthy. Outstanding wine.

Happy 4th of July everyone! Cheers - Ali

Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Wines from the Anderson Valley

Porch Pounders, Camping Wines, Poolside Sippers, BBQ Reds - we all have our favorite summer wines and our favorite places to drink them.  I've found many new ones recently now that summer has hit full stride I must open. I'm calling these my "Hammock & Garden Wines" since my little backyard oasis is kickin' cool these days. 

On a recent trip to the Anderson Valley I came home with these beauties:

Toulouse Vineyards is always a must stop for many reasons...I love the owners, their dog Tess, the views and of course their beautiful wines.   I seriously like all their wines, but gathered a few bottles of their new 2010 Rosé of Pinot Noir up first.  Vern sent me home with a special bottle of Riesling as well.

Handley Cellars as you know has been near and dear to me for years.  I only tasted wines that are not available in Texas.  The 2010 Sauvignon Blanc-Semillion,  2008 Viognier & the 2007 Ranchhouse Red were standouts.  So of course, I love their pink wine too. The Handley 2010 Pinot Noir Rosé is made with organically-farmed grapes from Handley’s Estate Vineyard. DELICIOUS!

Not much to say about Navarro Vineyards that you don't already know - just buy the stuff.  They have the best winery direct to consumer program and wine club in all of California.  I walked away with a mixed case  - this was my favorite for the Garden wine for this summer: 2010 Edelzwicker

Meyer Family Cellars was such a new treat for me.  I was turned onto wine years ago after reading Justin Meyer's "Plain Talk about Fine Wine" and haven't stopped since.  They are known for their hand-crafted Reds (love their Syrah!) and fantastic Port which I couldn't resist buying...but for the Hammock and Garden selection I loaded up on their new 2010 Rosé of Syrah.  The bottle after drained I shall keep around and use as a cold water bottle too, gorgeous.

Big surprise of the day was the Drew Family Wines bottle of Albarino. I had no idea Albarino was growing in Anderson Valley.  What a kick!  I've had at least 100 bottles of Albarino in my lifetime and this one was spot-on.  A fun discovery  - who knew?

Last stop of the day, minutes before closing time was at Phillips Hill Estates. And am I glad we made it!  Toby Hill is an artist and has now taken his "art" to an entire different form - winemaking.  BRAVO!  I liked every wine and that rarely happens.  His 2009 Valenti Vineyard Pinot Noir made the hair on the back of my neck standup after sipping.  I also walked away with bottles of Gewurtraminer and unoaked Chardonnay.  

I have a feeling I'm a lifer for this winery now too.  His dog "Jackson" sat on my feet while I rubbed his head...yeah, I love that about good dogs. 

Cheers to some Hammock time this weekend...what are your favorites places to sip your favorite wines?  -  Ali

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In the trenches...

On the road through the Anderson Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley and Alexander Valley over the last week.  Details on my visits coming soon, for now, check out these old shoes that are displayed at Jordan Winery. They were worn in the vineyards...yikes. Latah - Ali

Friday, June 03, 2011

Wine of the Week

Whew. one more day for me before I can take a break from a jam-packed week of work and projects.  The last few nights a chilled glass of Michel-Schlumberger 2010 La Bise Pinot Blanc has been a welcome and tasty light at the end of the daily tunnel.  

I had the pleasure of visiting the winery a few weeks ago (they were the star feature on Wine.Woot! for National Chardonnay Day on May 26) to pick up samples for a photo shoot.  If it weren't for the total sell-out on Woot! that day, their gorgeous Lu Brume Chardonnay might have beat out their new La Bise Pinot Blanc as my best friend this week. Maybe.

I've said it a thousand times over the years, I am a closet Pinot Blanc junkie.  When I get my hands on a good one, I just can't seem to open much else until the stash is depleted.  I've paired the Schlumberger Pinot Blanc with simple meals this week of king salmon, sweet potato fries, turkey burgers and veggie risotto.

Notes from the winemaker (I love their clever tasting notes):

Poor Blanc, her cousin Noir continues to make headlines while Blanc consistently works hard every day and raises a family every year…all this without the glory and fame of Noir’s life. Don’t worry Blanc, we at Michel-Schlumberger are here for you.

2010 allowed us to craft another vintage of Pinot Blanc that again showcases the dynamic nature of people, product and place. Fermented in stainless steel at a cool average temperature of 44 degrees Fahrenheit, the nose is delicate yet complex with hints of starfruit and light jasmine while the palate is as consistent as you’ve come to expect from Michel-Schlumberger Pinot Blanc. A distinct place with distinctive wines…this Pinot Blanc is no exception. Best enjoyed with croissants in a hot air balloon. Cheers!

Winemaker/Vineyard Manager ~ Mike Brunson 

Off to the Anderson Valley tomorrow to visit Handley Cellars and discover some new bottles.   Cheers - Ali