Saturday, May 13, 2017
I hope you have made plans to attend this year's Pinot Noir Festival in Anderson valley!I know I have! We are a week away and this weekend we will enjoy some of theses great wines with the food of a world class restaurant.We have some great features with the wines of Anderson valley paired with the amazing cuisine of Morimoto Napa.We will checkout the tasting notes on a few of the wines and invite you to join us as we live life LARGE with these beautiful wines of Anderson valley.A side note...Last night I enjoyed the wines of Phillips Hill at Stark's Steakhouse in Santa Rosa.I love to share wines and these wines opened eyes and produced smiles on a few faces.Incredible Pinot Noirs!Now we have another adventure!Are you ready?? Since its founding in 1973 by Jack and Dolores, Cakebread Cellars has been famous for its warm, gracious hospitality and unmatched wines. With an enduring commitment to quality, the belief that life’s occasions are elevated by good people, good food, and good wine flows through everything we do. Sharing these tenets and this journey with you not only brings us great joy, but also gives us the motivation to always look to improve. We have three wines from this fabled winery,and all are from Anderson valley.Two single vineyard wines and a blend of both,for the third Pinot Noir. Anderson Valley Vineyards: Annahala Ranch and Apple Barn Vineyard are situated on former apple orchards on the banks of Anderson Creek just north of Boonville. The vineyards are planted on soils that are uniform in texture and slope. A wide range of clones and rootstocks are utilized to provide for diversity and complexity. In 2004, these vineyards were certified under the Fish Friendly Farming program.Before we get to the Pinot Noirs, we also have opened some great white wines from Navarro Vineyards. One journalist wrote," Navarro is a family operation that has been around since 1974. As they say on their site, you won’t find them in your local wine shop (unless you live in California) but their direct-to-consumer prices are so competitive that if you’re interested in trying their wines, it’s not such a risky proposition to order a few bottles. And if my opinion means anything, I think the wines are freaking amazing." Enough said...We also have a great feature with the wines of Philo Ridge Vineyards!Fred is amazing and so are these wines! Philo Ridge Vineyards, located in the beautiful hills of the Anderson Valley in Mendocino County. We make small, handcrafted lots of eleven wines for a total of 2500 cases per year. their award winning wines are produced by sustainable farming practices from vineyards in Mendocino County. We have opened the Zinfandel,and I hope you are hungry!?? On their site is says " We pride ourselves on making very approachable Zinfandel. This is not an over-the-top jammy or high alcohol style. 2012 was an exceptional growing year: not many big temperature swings, little frost, and no rain. Blackberries, cherries, and soft pepper spice with a lingering finish and brambly aromas. The higher acidity makes it a versatile food wine. This is our first wine from this vineyard and we are expecting great things. 100% vegan. "Most people have heard of Morimoto Napa,and Tonight we dine in one of the greatest restaurants in the world.So sit back,pour a glass of your favorite Anderson valley wine,and join us!We saved you a seat!Oh by the way... I will see you next weekend at the 2017 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival! Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Anderson Valley. Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Anderson Valley. Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Anderson Valley.
Friday, May 12, 2017
I recently stayed at Handley Cellars Suites,and visited with winemaker Randy Shock.Staying over night at the suites was amazing!We opened all the new releases from Handley Cellars,and talked about the up coming Pinot Noir Festival coming up May 18th thru the 21st of May.There are still tickets left,although not many.We have a great new feature with Randy shock,but first let's check out the website and the tasting notes for these beautiful Pinot Noirs from Handley Cellars! The 2014 harvest was even earlier than the early 2013 vintage. Warm and dry conditions during winter and spring forced early bud break and bloom. We had drained and repaired our pond at the end of 2013, and had little rainfall that winter. We did not have water in reserve for frost protection and little was available for irrigation. Luckily, we avoided frost damage in our Estate Vineyard and no rains fell during bloom. Summer temperatures were moderate. As a result our yields were also moderate, but the grapes were intensely concentrated. This blend was largely sourced from the Handley Estate Vineyard, located at the cooler end of Anderson Valley, closest to the Pacific and subject to coastal influence. Our vineyard is usually one of the last in the valley to be picked. The fruit our old vines produce is nicely perfumed, especially in warmer vintages, and still maintains good acidity which provides structure to the wine. The grapes from our Estate Vineyard were combined with fruit from Ferrington and Helluva vineyards. These two sites are located in the warmer end of Anderson Valley and contribute fleshy red fruit flavors and soft texture. We also added grapes from our mountaintop RSM vineyard because of their dense dark fruit character and complexity. Our 2014 Anderson Valley blend has aromas of freshly baked Bing cherry pie, dried rose petal, and baking spices. With the concentrated ripe fruit flavors indicative of this warm vintage, it’s juicy and full on the palate with black cherry, raspberry, and sour plum, with hints of violets and nutmeg. The finish is long and lingering punctuated by bright acidity. We have 5 different Pinot Noirs being released,let's take a look a one more. The 2014 vintage was amazing,and This wine is composed of Pommard clone from Helluva Vineyard located at warmer end of the valley near Boonville. It has aromas of cherry cough drops, herbal horehound, and pie crust, with bright red fruit flavors of candied ripe red cherries and a long plush finish. GOLD: DanBerger Wine Competition. Cases produced: 210.We will follow up with more on these wines after Pinot Festival,and their releases.For now let's pour a glass of one of these beautiful wines and listen as Randy Shock shares more on the up coming Pinot Noir Festival,and the release of these great wines from Handley Cellars!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Anderson Valley.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
We are up early today,and headed up into Anderson valley.We will stop in Boonville,and visit Penny Royal Farm,then stop by Phillips Hill Winery for a few great wines.At the end of the day we will visit Handley Cellars,and stay in their beautiful guest house,located in their amazing vineyards.We do have extra room,would you care to join us?Our first feature is with Penny Royal Farm.The farm and vineyards are located in the town of Boonville,so let's check out the website and a little background on the wines,and cheeses. Penny Royal Farm is located in Boonville, California, in beautiful Anderson Valley. their estate vineyard includes 23 acres on the Boonville bench, planted in Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. Pennyroyal Farm is committed to producing handcrafted wine and farmstead cheese, and our cheese is produced exclusively from the milk of goats and sheep that are raised here on our family farm. Our pampered, beloved animals munch on wild grasses and pennyroyal mint that blanket the property. The milk is transformed into fresh and aged cheeses just steps from the animal pastures which allow Pennyroyal cheese, like our grapes, to reveal a strong sense of place. By integrating animal husbandry and viticulture, we avoid many of the pitfalls of monoculture- each farming endeavor enhances and compliments the other. Our brand new tasting room is open 10 am to 5 pm daily and we also offer fun and informative tours daily at 10am and 2pm with advance reservations. Join us on a tour of the creamery, milking parlor, our solar-powered barn to meet the animals, and to learn the methods behind our handcrafted wines and cheeses. We conclude the experience with a cheese tasting for everyone, with juice for kids and wine for those 21 and up. Call us at (707) 895-2410 or (800)956-8909 to reserve your spot. The Penny Royal farm also produces a few very good wines,and we will open and taste each of the wines with Sarah Bennett. We will then drive up into Anderson valley and visit the tasting room of Phillips Hill Winery,the home of great Pinot Noirs! Toby Hill,A native Californian and grandson of a grape grower, Toby Hill earned a BFA from the California College of the Arts – San Francisco. After honoring the Phillips side of the family with his artistic pursuits and profession in the visual arts, Toby found a new obsession within a new medium, Pinot Noir. In 1997, Toby Hill purchased land in the Mendocino Ridge appellation, overlooking the Anderson Valley. Trusting in his sense of balance and composition, and with support from local winemakers, he made his first wine using 2002 Pinot Noir grapes grown on Oppenlander Vineyard, nearby in Mendocino’s Comptche. Pilgrimages to Burgundy, France, have influenced Toby's pursuit of a refinement and elegance in style. Here he established collaborative relationships with Burgundian winemakers. Using old world winemaking practices from new world vineyards, he aspires towards terroir driven wines. Using native yeast, less intervention, and believing less is more, Toby’s intent is for each wine to be a genuine expression of the land. Natacha Durandet, Phillips Hill WineryFiancé and partner Natacha Durandet brings a wealth of sommelier experience and market expertise to Phillips Hill. Originally from the stunning Loire Valley Region of France, her passion for tasting and collecting wines began at an early age. Natacha has had the opportunity to work at some of the finest resorts in the country, alongside esteemed master sommeliers. Versed in culinary arts, Natacha offers guests an elevated wine tasting experience at their new Tasting Room in Philo, seeking creative French-inspired pairings to accentuate the subtleties of the wines. We will taste three of the wines from this great Anderson valley winery,and then head toward Handley Cellars to stay for the evening.Tomorrow morning ,we will introduce you to the winemaker of Handley Cellars,Randy Shock.For now let's pour a glass of great Pinot Noir,and enjoy these new features from Anderson valley!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines,cheeses, and stories from Anderson Valley. Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines,cheese, and stories from Anderson Valley.
Monday, May 8, 2017
We have a special trip planned today! we are headed toward the Mendocino coast and will stay a couple days in Anderson valley.I always stay at Handley Cellars,one of the best wineries in this fabled valley.We will stop off and visit Navarro Vineyards.Navarro Vineyards is no longer a secret,as these wines have become very popular world wide.!Today we have three great features with Deborah Cahn! She is one of the owners and I can't wait for you to hear these great new features.First let's check out some history and a few wines that we will be opening with Deborah Cahn. Alsatian-style Gewürztraminer, along with old-vine Zinfandel, estate-grown Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling and sweet Muscat are what you can find and taste at the family-operated Navarro Vineyards. The winery tasting room has an ideal setting overlooking their vineyards in Anderson Valley. The tasting room is an attractive wood-sided and shingled building down the hill from Highway 128. There are lawns, rose bushes, picnic spots, a great deck and plenty of wine. The tasting room is cozy, yet large enough to have two galvanized tasting counters and an attentive staff. A deli case provides simple picnic supplies, including artisan cheeses and locally smoked salmon, crackers and other snacks. In addition to the dry Alsatian-style Gewürztraminer and Riesling, Navarro grows lots of Pinot Noir. In their vineyard are nine different sites dedicated to Pinot Noir with many different clones, rootstocks and trellis systems. Because of the diversity of fruit from this vineyard, the winemaker ferments and ages as many as 37 different lots of their estate-grown Pinots. Later, he blends these to create various styles of wine. We will look at a few wines and if you like...we will open them all...only if you are willin to help! We have three features,and each is different.we will cover the whites first,and then move on to the Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.After we will open a late harvest dessert wine,and enjoy all!let's join Deborah Cahn,and begin our visit into Anderson Valley! Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Navarro Vineyards. Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Navarro Vineyards. Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Navarro Vineyards.
Thursday, May 4, 2017
As we drive into the Anderson valley we have stopped for lunch in Boonville.A few miles up the road is Philo and the home of Balo Vineyards.I have three great features for you,and all new wines from this great winery.let me introduce you to Alex Crangle,and we will open a few wines and enjoy the Anderson valley afternoon.First let's check out the history for this beautiful winery, and then get into these great wines.In 2006 we completed the tasting room project and we broke ground in June of 2011 on the winery. Working with local architects and builders we designed a winery building and master landscape/hardscape plan that will complement the existing tasting room and honor the local agricultural architecture. The most distinctive feature is a pair of vents above the roof line meant to echo the most significant feature of the few remaining apple dryer barns in the valley. These vents will be functional as they will provide our night air cooling. We purchased this bucolic 14 acre property in 2003, named it Balo Vineyards and began a comprehensive re-development of the vineyards, irrigation systems and structures. After 13 years of steady progress we are pleased to share our dream of producing world class wines with you. We start with the Pinot Gris. Upfront aromas of gooseberry, pressed white flowers and bee pollen followed by mouthwatering stone fruit and waxy-honeycomb with a long finish that hints of crisp, fresh yogurt and lemon curd. A perfect wine to start with,crisp and great up front fruit,and a perfect finish. Next onto a couple interesting wines. Structured layers of fresh stone fruit, white garden flowers, and a hint baking spice give way to notes of lemon custard and juicy apple. Lean and dry with a lingering minerality, subtle complexity is sewn into every sip.The Pinot Noir Blanc kinda caught me off guard,and so much that I came back for another glass! The rose speaks for itself!Rose of Pinot Noir from Anderson valley...need I say more?Aromas of freshly harvested alpine strawberry and tropical fruit compliment the dry, refreshing watermelon, cranberry and grapefruit. Layered with a precise minerality, this Rose is the perfect summer wine! We had to stop for lunch and dinner,all in one!As we opened the Pinot Noirs! Three great wines,but you know I'm up to the task! Forward aromas of dried cherry, baking spice, and oolong tea bend to fresh mulberry and forest floor. Dark, red fruits balance vibrant, floral notes. Ripe pomegranate, black cherry, and wild blueberry are grounded in duxelles, slate and earth.I think we have done enough talking...it's time for some great food and wine with winemaker Alex Crangle! Take a moment and listen with us as we enjoy these great new features on Balo Vineyards!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Balo Vineyards. Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Balo Vineyards. Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Balo Vineyards.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
As we start into this great valley,I take a deep breathe,and relax as we enter the town of Boonville. As I pull into the tasting room for Philo Ridge Vineyards,remind me to ask about the Tractor Butt.on Fred's card...We have a great feature with Fred and an amazing winery, which makes incredible wines.We will check into a little history and also the wine notes from their website,and then enjoy a glass of their great wine as we listen to this new feature. the winery is situated 5.33 miles up a dirt road from the floor of the Anderson Valley. This is where Fred R. Buonanno and Heather A. McKelvey decided to plant their roots, so to speak, and begin our venture into the wine business. We had looked at properties for over four years, until one Sunday evening, we looked in the Sunday classified section of the San Francisco Chronicle. There, under the heading of Farms and Ranches, was a five line ad for a For Sale By Owner. It described a 50+ acre property with a vineyard and room to plant more. We called that evening and made arrangements to meet the next Saturday. After looking around the property for about an hour, we made an offer on the most beautiful piece of property we had seen in our four years of searching. We took possession of the property in August of 1999. There were already three acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot planted just below the house. The vineyard was planted in 1976 by the original owner of the property, Vernon Rose of Christine Woods Winery. The property was their original winery as well. There were an additional seven acres of plantable terraced land just yards from the original vineyard. As we open the Pinot Gris,The crispness of the wine is perfect.100% tank fermentation. Start with a nose of freshly squeezed citrus. Taste fresh picked Bartlett pears, with hints of grapefruit and mineral notes. 100% Vegan. Fred and Heather suddenly found ourselves in the wine business. It was quite thrilling and equally terrifying. Neither of them had ever actually farmed. We had read a great deal and we were well schooled in the wine aspect of the business, but we were lacking in that get-your-hands-in-the-dirt, practical experience. One of the first things we did was ask Norman Kobler to be our vineyard manager. Norman has many years of hands-on knowledge about almost everything to do with putting something in the ground, watching it grow, and making wine. Norman planned and supervised the installation of our Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris vineyards in 2000 and has worked hard to continue our education. We decided to become a bonded winery in 2001 and we released our first vintage in January of 2004: 167 cases of 2001 Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. We were very pleased when our first submission – our 2001 Syrah – won a Silver medal in the San Francisco Chronicle competition. Since that time, we have entered a number of competitions with our wines and have done very well, including 90 points and Editor's Choice for the 2006 Pinot Noir in the July 2010 Wine Enthusiast. We also received Editor's Choice for the Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris in the same edition. Our production is now up to 2200 cases and we continue to ratchet up our production. But we still make each wine by hand in small batches of between 90 to 450 cases each. Our goal is to make great wines that have complexity and exemplify the best their varietals have to offer your palate. Pinot Noir is our primary wine, but we have added Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Viognier to the mix for white wines and Zinfandel, Vino di Mendocino, and Coro Mendocino in the reds.We have a few features with Fred and hopefully more on the way,love the wines and the story!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines from Philo Ridge Vineyards. Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines from Philo Ridge Vineyards. Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines from Philo Ridge Vineyards.
Monday, May 1, 2017
It's one of the first warm days this spring,and I'm pulling into Husch Vineyards.We have three wines and a great new feature.This winery does make many wines but today we will open three and decide which direction we should go to make three great pairings with these wines.First let's check out a little history and a little on the wines. Founded in 1971, Husch is the oldest winery in the picturesque Anderson Valley. The vineyards are comprised of some of the earliest varietal plantings on the valley floor. In 1967 Tony and Gretchen Husch bought the 60-acre Nunn ranch between Philo and Navarro on Highway 128. The land was well known for growing apples and grains. They soon planted eight acres of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Gewurztraminer grapes on the cool slopes of the property. The plantings sweep down towards the pristine Navarro River. The first official crush was in the fall of 1971. In 1979, Hugo Oswald Jr. bought the 6,000 case Husch Winery from the Husch family. The Oswald family had been growing pears in the Santa Clara Valley, but when the area was expanding they sold the land and headed for the southern tip of Mendocino County. Today Husch Vineyards remains owned and operated by the 3rd Generation of the Oswald family: Zac Robinson and Amanda Robinson Holstine. Winemaking is under the direction of Brad Holstine and Jeff Jindra. Al White, in charge of all viticulture operations, has been with Husch since 1974. Through the years Husch has modernized and expanded, but it has never lost its initial rustic charm or reputation for great wines. Now let's open our first wine. Hard to pronounce, yet easy to drink, Husch’s 2015 Dry Gewurztraminer is an instant classic. Lovely aromas and flavors of rose petal, grapefruit zest, juicy fruit, lychee, ginger, and allspice make this wine joyful to sniff and sip. Each taste provides a crisp refreshing mouthfeel and sustained enjoyment. Perfect on its own, but will match beautifully with Asian cuisine, chicken habanero sausage, Muenster cheese. Take a sip then say "gu-werz-tram-eener".We also have open a great Pinot Noir! Enrich your life with a bottle of our 2014 Pinot Noir. Layered aromas of black cherry, cranberry, blood orange, cedar, sweet herbs and toffee continually unfold with every swirl of the glass. Savory and delicious, each sip of wine fills your whole mouth with flavor. Bright fruit flavors add length to the finish. Tasty on its own, or pair with food such as mushroom tortellini, stuffed pork chops, cured meat, or Toma cheese. Cheers! We may end up drinking our dessert tonight,although...Pineapple upside down cake does sound very good..... One of the four noble grapes from the Alsace region of France, Gewurztraminer has a long history as a late harvest wine. Yet for any given year, a successful late harvest is far from guaranteed. Only in those years when the weather is cooperative, the fruit set ample, and the winemaker patient will a successful late harvest wine be possible. Extravagant notes of honey, dried apricot, orange marmalade, jasmine, and clove spice dominate the aromatics of this wine. The sweetness is balanced with brilliant acidity. Husch’s Late Harvest Gewurztraminer will continue to gain complexity and richness over the next 7-10 years. Enjoy this wine as an aperitif with strong cheeses such as Roquefort and Munster, or roasted walnuts, pineapple upside-down cake, or apple crème brûlée tart.Incredible food and great wines have made this day a short...work wise.....Let's take a few minutes and enjoy this new feature!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines from Husch Vineyards.