Wednesday, February 7, 2018
We have been enjoying summer like weather,and I have been enjoying a few "Great Whites" from Balletto vineyards and Winery.These are incredibly well made wines,and will fit perfectly with your next feast.Before we sit down at the table,let's check out the tasting notes on these special wines.Let's start with the Sauvignon Blanc,this is a dry, crisp and lovely expression of Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is understated and elegant with a driving acidity that’s quenched by a generous and surprisingly lush mid-palate that brings a tense, perfect balance to this wine. The aromas are graceful with a combination of limy tropical fruit and a touch of classic Sauvignon blanc earthiness. It’s bright and savory, tart and lush all in the same package. The wine is completely dry with zero residual sugar to hide behind. It’s a pure example of how good Sauvignon Blanc can be. The cool southern third of the Russian River Valley is an ideal location to make Sauvignon blanc. Cold nights help maintain natural acidity and the warmer days nudge grapes toward fresh, bright fruit. The Balletto estate vineyard on Hall Road has two blocks of SB. The south block, with its high acidity and fresh fruit, makes the majority of the blend with the rich and savory north block adding richness and savory elements for the remaining 20 percent of the final blend. Sauvignon Blanc Winemaking Philosophy: The overall ideal is to make a serious wine that’s fresh, focused and delicious to drink. The grapes for the Balletto Sauvignon blanc are hand picked in two separate lots as soon as the green and grassy aromas have faded. The grapes are loaded into a press as whole clusters and pressed lightly. The resulting juice is settled and shipped directly to neutral barrels for fermentation and five months of aging on the lees before bottling. Twenty percent of the barrels are sent through complete malolactic fermentation to add weight.Our next white wines is the 2016 Gewürztraminer.I agree that is a mouthful. Balletto is making some fun, brightly crafted whites, like this floral, waxy one, that are not to be ignored amongst all its other estate offerings. Honey and white flower scents punctuate the nose before light, bright layers of lychee and orange flavors come through on the palate. Founder and owner John Balletto started the business after the untimely death of his father in 1977. When the family needed him the most, he put their needs before his own and relinquished several college athletic scholarship offers so he could stay home and help his mother, Hazel, run the small five-acre farm. The Balletto family was determined to make the business a success, and throughout the 1980s and 1990s they purchased parcels of land to gradually increase vegetable production. One of those properties is where the Balletto Vineyards winery stands today. By 1995, the Balletto family had grown the business into the largest vegetable farm in Northern California, growing more than 70 different vegetables on 700-plus acres. More than two million cases of mixed vegetables moved through the premises per year during its peak. Despite the success, John and Terri, John’s wife, could foresee challenges presented by California’s growing water shortage and the vegetable business in general. While the two contemplated how to address the impending issues, good friend and neighboring farmer Warren Dutton of Dutton Ranch suggested the Ballettos start growing wine grapes, which are less water dependent compared to other crops they were farming at the time. Seeing a bright future for wine grape growing in Russian River Valley, John and Terri transitioned a small portion of their land to vineyards later that year. We will now pour a glass of each of these beautiful wines,and listen to our feature!Care to join us,we saved you a seat.Cheers! We will now learn more about the white wines of Balletto Vineyards and winery. Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories Balletto Vineyards and winery.
Saturday, February 3, 2018
It's time for Football,and all weekends are BETTER with Zinfandel.Today we have two great Zinfandels,and i think you should join us as we go to our table at Stark's Steak and Seafood.First let's check out the tasting notes on these special wines. The 2014 Zinfandel from Handley Cellars will be one of your favorites....shortly. This wine is warming like the golden rays of light of an Indian Summer. Aromas of caramel and anise meld with brambly red fruit in this wine. From Kazmet Ranch, these mature head pruned vines are dry farmed providing concentrated brambly berry, red raspberry, and cassis flavors with hints of spice. Aged for 18 months in 20 percent new oak barrels. It is full bodied and round on the finish. Our Zinfandel BBQ sauce on slow-cooked Pork Ribs is one of our favorite pairings. The Zinfandel from Balletto Vineyards is another great wine. Balletto has their own style of making great wines. Balance and elegance are the two qualities we aim for in our wines. This usually translates into wines that are lower in alcohol, higher in natural acidity and have varied and subtle flavors. Wines where new oak barrels are used sparingly to enhance the wine, not dominate it. We make it this way because the wines we most love are ones that compliment a meal, as well as, change and evolve in the glass throughout dinner. Out of our 600 acres of Russian River Valley vineyards, we currently harvest an equivalent of only 60 acres to make the Balletto wines. By selecting only the top 10 percent of everything we grow, we are able to maintain a consistent quality and style. Our goal is that you enjoy drinking our wines as much as they enjoyed making them. Stark's steak and Seafood is the chosen restaurant tonight.Chef Luc Latouse will join me,and may I suggest you do the same!!?? Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Handley Cellars and Balletto Vineyards,along with Stark's Steak and Seafood.
Friday, February 2, 2018
Tonight we dine at the beautiful Bird and The Bottle,in Santa Rosa,Ca.A beautiful menu filled with small plates that are all world class!Let's check out the winemaker notes on the wine and take a quick look at the restaurant. Texture and persistence define this Pinot Gris. It’s focused with bright fruit and crisp acidity yet still maintains a powerful weight and presence throughout. Aromatically, the wine opens with stone fruit and citrus surrounded with savory elements. The mouthfeel is a contrast of zingy lime, perfect viscosity and subtle tannins that add texture and extend the wine for an incredible and lengthy finish, both in terms of texture and flavor. The grapes are grown on a magnificent eight acre vineyard located about 10 miles from the cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean. This Sebastopol Hills vineyard, planted exclusively to Pinot Gris, slopes toward the south and allows for excellent exposure and produces distinct and precise Pinot Gris. Pinot Gris Winemaking Philosophy: Pinot Gris is the close cousin to the famed Pinot Noir, with only small mutations to make bronze-colored grapes as opposed to black (noir). With this in mind, it’s obvious why site selection is key to producing distinct Pinot Gris. Balletto Vineyards has planted their Gris in one of the most prime Pinot Noir locations in Sonoma County, the hills southwest of Sebastopol. To showcase this site, there is minimal winemaking intervention. The grapes are picked early, whole cluster pressed and fermented in neutral oak for texture and length, The final blend captures the site and the palate. This is world class Pinot Gris. The Bird and the Bottle is a modern tavern celebrating the American melting pot, James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur semifinalists Mark and Terri Stark’s newest restaurant brings intriguing interpretations of street food to life. The menu incorporates flavors from Asia, the American South, the East Coast, Jewish comfort food favorites, and a wide variety of fresh seafood, all with chef Mark Stark’s singular style. The open kitchen, with its wood-fired grill, turns out large and small plates designed for sharing in one of three cozy dining rooms or two decks. Wines, craft beers on tap and by the bottle or growler, and signature cocktails by the glass or by the shaker to share. Located just east of downtown Santa Rosa in Sonoma County wine country. Open 7 days.But for sure we will be spending extra time there tonight.We are celebrating life with many great dishes,starting with this world class Pinot Gris from Local super star winery Balletto Vineyards! Please join us...We saved you a seat! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Balletto Vineyards and The Bird and the Bottle.
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
We have two great wines from Handley Cellars and a great chef to pair different cuisines with these beautiful wines.First to the tasting notes !Starting with an amazing sparkling wine,from Handley Cellars. the 2015 BLANC DE BLANCS ESTATE VINEYARD ANDERSON VALLEY. The sparkling wine contains grapes sourced from our CCOF certified organic estate vineyard. It is comprised of 100% Chardonnay selected from our block 3B planted in 1987 with cuttings selected from Ordway Valley Foothills Vineyard. These were some of the first vines planted in Anderson Valley and some of the first vines planted on the Handley Estate property. Anderson Valley was a relatively unknown wine region at the time so Milla Handley sought out plant material that was already proven to succeed here. These older vines have leaf roll virus and are planted in a cold spot on the valley floor exposed to afternoon winds. These combined factors delay sugar accumulation and maintain acidity while developing ripe fruit characters making them ideal for making sparkling wine. IN THE CELLAR The grapes were delivered to the winery in the cool early morning. They were loaded into the press full cluster and a long gentle traditional méthode champenoise press cycle was employed. Juice yields were on the order of 110 gallons a ton. VL1 yeast was selected for fermentation of the base wine to release floral terpenes and provide fruity flavors. The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks and malolactic fermentation was completely avoided. A more traditional selection DV10 yeast was used for the tirage culture. The wine was aged en tirage on the yeast for 16 months prior to disgorging. A very small dosage of sugar was added at disgorging to soften the wines crisp acidity. IN THE BOTTLE The resulting wine is new world in style dry yet fresh and fruit forward. It is light and crisp on the palate with bright citrus and tropical fruit notes effusing from the fine and persistent bubbles. It finishes with more traditional notes of yeasty brioche or hints of fresh baked dinner rolls. We will also enjoy two great white wines including Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. The Pinot Blanc was picked by hand and gently pressed whole cluster. The juice was allowed to settle for three days in a stainless steel tank and then racked off the solids to another stainless steel tank to begin fermentation. The juice was inoculated with VL1 yeast which was selected for its ability to enhance the terpenes naturally present in this varietal. A small amount of Riesling was blended in post fermentation to add structure and a hint of sweetness. Both the Pinot Blanc and Riesling were prevented from undergoing any malolactic fermentation to preserve their bright fruity characters. The wine was sterile filtered and no eggs, dairy, or animal derived products were used in the production of this wine. Next we will open the crisp Pinot Gris. The fruit for this wine was sourced from Helluva and Romani vineyards located at opposite ends of Anderson Valley. Helluva Vineyard was picked on the second of September at 22.5 brix, and Romani was picked on the 21st of September at 24 brix almost three weeks later. Moderate rainfall returned in the 2016 vintage but a warm spring resulted in early bud break and bloom. The warm weather continued through spring and early summer and we feared that we might pick earlier than the 2015 vintage the earliest on record here in Anderson Valley. Luckily, the weather cooled just as we moved into harvest and we picked approximately one week later than in 2015. With closer to normal soil moisture levels brix, acidity, and fruit morphology was more closely aligned as we are accustomed. We picked the Helluva Vineyard to preserve acidity, and to provide herbal and mineral components. We allowed the Romani Vineyard to hang longer to achieve ripe stone fruit flavors. We have two different cuisines which Chef Luc Latouse has chosen to pair with these three perfect wines made by Randy Shock.We saved you a seat,please join us!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Anderson Valley and Stark's Steakhouse and Seafood and China Garden.
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
We have enjoyed many great wines with Chef luc Latouse,and today we take that to another level!We will enjoy another great dish from a local restaurant,and pair them with two great Pinot Noirs!Do I have your attention?we will travel to the Bird and the Bottle and Chef Luc has one of his favorites picked out for us.First let's look at our wine notes and the website for this great Santa Rosa restaurant.We have two flagship wines to share with you,the first is the 2015 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir from Handley Cellars. The grapes for this wine originate from three very different vineyards bringing a cornucopia of fruit flavors. Following two years of successive drought, the 2015 vintage was another very early vintage here in Anderson Valley. We were concerned that sugars would rise before full fruit maturation. Luckily, with little water available, the vines responded with extremely concentrated fruit flavors. Still young and somewhat shy when first opened, given a little aeration this wine shows aromas of berry patch mingled with creaminess and toasty spice notes. Helluva Vineyard provides the candied red cherry and cinnamon Red Hot flavors. Our deep end winery estate vineyard contributes raspberry and boysenberry flavors and bright acidity. And our hilltop RSM vineyard adds blueberry, redwood forest notes, and root beer. This elegant and polished wine is full on the palate with smooth milk chocolate tannins and hints of cedar with fresh acidity focusing the fruit and encouraging another sip. Serve with game hens and mushroom gravy or veal saltimbocca. Our second Pinot is the Russian River Pinot Noir from Balletto Vineyards. This ruby-colored Pinot Noir has an intense aromatic profile that begins with equal parts bright red fruit and warm savory elements. Then, theres a touch of dark toast and forest-floor earthliness that round out the aromas and give it extra depth. The smells are complex and ever-changing in the glass over time. In the mouth, the brambly fruit aromas reappear and are surrounded by a perfect viscosity that has plenty of weight without going over the top. A crisp acidity keeps the wine lively and intertwines nicely with the structure. Its full across the palate with fine, coco-like tannins and a nice dose of astringency that lends additional grip and structure to this wine. Overall, the wine has struck the fine balance between delicate and structured, and will improve with bottle aging during the next three to five years (or more). It is undeniably Pinot Noir grown and made to be distinct, elegant and delicious. Our dish comes from The Bird and the bottle,another great restaurant from Stark's Restaurants. A modern tavern celebrating the American melting pot, James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur semifinalists Mark and Terri Stark’s newest restaurant brings intriguing interpretations of street food to life. The menu incorporates flavors from Asia, the American South, the East Coast, Jewish comfort food favorites, and a wide variety of fresh seafood, all with chef Mark Stark’s singular style. The open kitchen, with its wood-fired grill, turns out large and small plates designed for sharing in one of three cozy dining rooms or two decks. Wines, craft beers on tap and by the bottle or growler, and signature cocktails by the glass or by the shaker to share. Located just east of downtown Santa Rosa in Sonoma County wine country. Open 7 days. So we are ready! Please join us as we enjoy the great food and wines pairing from Chef Luc Latouse!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Handley Cellars,Balletto Vineyards,and The Bird and the Bottle.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
We have found your turkey wine...A special wine from Foursight Wines.All their wines are estate,and this one is amazing.Known for Anderson valley Pinot Noirs,Foursight Wines is a small, family owned and operated winery in the cool, coastal region of Anderson Valley. Founded in 2006 by Bill and Nancy Charles - long-time winegrowers - together with daughter Kristy Charles and husband Joseph Webb, we craft small lots of estate-grown Pinot Noir, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc each year. Our name - Foursight Wines - signifies both the number of generations of our family to live and work on this one piece of land in Anderson Valley, and the aim of our efforts: to look forward and provide for the future generations of our family. Each and every day you will find one of us working in the vineyard, tasting our wines, or tending to the day-to-day tasks of the business. We believe that good wine is made in the vineyard, and, in the best years, no intervention at all is needed to produce the highest-quality, small-lot wines.This small family winery has produced a couple very good white wines also.Let's check out the tasting notes and also figure out where we are going for our great food and wine pairing today. Charles Vineyard Semillon The 2015 Semillon is estate-grown and -produced, and with only a handful of wineries in California crafting a stand-alone Semillon, it's fairly unique. Aged in a combination of French oak barrels (20% new) and stainless steel, this crisp, food-friendly wine is great year-round. It was fermented with wild yeast and wild ML strains, then bottled unfined and unfiltered. The hint of toasty oak balances the crisp stonefruit and minerality -- perfect for pairing with seafood with butter and lemon, cream sauce pastas, or a cheese platter at a summer picnic. We also have opened their 2016 Charles Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc . The 2016 Sauvignon Blanc balances beautiful stonefruit in the bouquet with that crisp, refreshing quality that we love for food pairing or simply enjoying on a sunny day. We harvested estate-grown fruit in the cool of the morning, then pressed it in our traditional, wooden basket press. This wine was fermented with wild yeast and wild ML strains, and aged in a combination of stainless steel and older French oak barrels. The 2016 vintage offered a nice, even growing season and the Sauvignon. Casually elegant with an upscale feel, Stark’s Steak & Seafood serves up classic fare with a modern approach. Stark’s features sustainable seafood, Certified Angus Beef® brand, Prime and Natural, in-house dry-aged beef, and American Kobe. All beef is hand selected by owner/executive chef Mark Stark and served à la carte. Guests may choose from an extensive list of local and international wines, many in half bottles. Full bar features signature and well cocktails and over sixty whiskeys. thrived -- a relief after several low-yielding vintages that left us consistenly sold out of this release. We have made plans to join friends at Stark's Steak and Seafood! Care to join us? Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Anderson Valley and Stark's Steakhouse and Seafood.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
It's a rainy Thursday,and When it rains I seek out great Zinfandel and great steaks.We will head on down to Stark's Steak and Seafood,with these great wines from Philo Ridge Vineyards.First let's check out the tasting notes and history of these very special 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. Our award winning wines are produced by sustainable farming practices from vineyards in Mendocino County. Philo Ridge Vineyards takes pride in 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. We also opened the Primitivo and Pinot Noirs from this amazing winery. The Primitivo is an old world varietal that gives a nose of blackberry, cinnamon stick, and mulled apples. The mouth is ripe mixed berries, dark chocolate, and a spice finish. A wine to pair with hearty dishes, pizza, and anything Italian. 100% Vegan. i enjoy the great cuisine at Stark's as often as I can. Casually elegant with an upscale feel, Stark’s Steak & Seafood serves up classic fare with a modern approach. Stark’s features sustainable seafood, Certified Angus Beef® brand, Prime and Natural, in-house dry-aged beef, and American Kobe. All beef is hand selected by owner/executive chef Mark Stark and served à la carte. Guests may choose from an extensive list of local and international wines, many in half bottles. Full bar features signature and well cocktails and over sixty whiskeys.Let's enjoy a great pairing at Stark's,please join us! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Anderson Valley and Stark's Steakhouse and Seafood.