Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Navarro Vineyards/Crush In The Anderson Valley

A few weeks ago I visited Debra at Navarro Vineyards.It's that time of the year...CRUSH 2017!It's amazing how much work it takes to make these great wines,and I love the wines from the fabled valley.Let's check out the tasting notes on a couple wines from Navarro Vineyards,and also take a look at our destination tonight,as we dine at Stark's Steakhouse! Let's start with the amazing Pinot Noir ! Navarro's Deep End Pinot is stylistically different from the Méthode à l'Ancienne bottling, much the result of growing grapes up in the hills versus down in the valley. Navarro's regime for the Méthode style developed between 1983 and 1996; during that period we produced many experimental lots to figure out how to maximize wine quality produced from Pinot Noir grapes grown down on the valley floor. In the mid 90's we decided to expand our Pinot Noir production by creating new vineyards up on the hills. The microclimate in our upper vineyards is cooler than the valley floor, with a longer growing season; the vines bud out earlier and the crop is generally harvested later. We began our experimentation again. The regime that we developed for the Méthode wine was our starting point and over the years we've tweaked that recipe for the Deep End fruit. The first bottling from the upper vineyards was in 1998.We also have a great Zinfandel from Navarro Vineyards! Early in the 1991 season Navarro Vineyards made several trips to the Ukiah area to find mature, well-tended Zinfandel vineyards planted on sites conducive to high quality viticulture. Not every site or grower are equal, so every year since then, they purchased fruit from multiple vineyards and growers to ascertain which sites and growers produce fruit that results in the best wines for Navarro. In 1999, they made their first wine from Al Tollini's block, planted in 1932; we were so pleased that the wine produced from his vineyard has been in every subsequent Navarro Zinfandel vintage. In 2004, we made our first wine from Ed Berry's 60 year-old Zinfandel vines and, like Tollini, the wine produced from Berry's vineyard became a constant in Navarro's Zinfandel production. The long term respect that has developed with these two growers is beneficial to Navarro. Not only does Navarro have access to the grower's best fields, but since Jim, Navarro's winemaker, spends a lot of time walking the vines with Al and Ed, they both know exactly the fruit quality that Navarro expects and can adjust their farming practices to that end.To maximize quality from any particular vineyard site, the winemaker has to make wine from that site over several vintages. After fermenting for about ten days, the 2014 must was pressed and the first squeeze was racked to seasoned French oak barrels to finish fermentation and age for ten months. These wines are perfect for most meat dishes and tonight we will enjoy the steaks from Stark's steakhouse and Seafood.We will get to the seafood...another day! 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. Now we will dine with these great wines from this world class winery from Anderson valley!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Anderson Valley and Stark's Steakhouse.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Penny Royal Farm/Anderson Valley/Best in Wine and Cheese

I recently spent a great couple days in the Anderson Valley.I stopped in at penny Royal farm,and picked up the sampler pack of their amazing cheeses,and a bottle of each of their wines.I stay in the valley at Handley Cellars,and opened the cheeses and wine.Honestly,I needed very little else. a perfect match,and more!Let's check out their website,and learn more about this great attraction,and must stop,in the Anderson valley. Fall on the farm means heavy rains, lush pastures, and milk that becomes rich in fat and protein… perfect for making cheese for holiday tables! Our Holiday Cheese Sampler features a rich and creamy 6oz Laychee, a gooey Velvet Sister, a wedge of our Boonter’s Blue, and a trio of Boont Corners wedges, 2 Month, Vintage (aged 5+ months), and Reserve (aged 12+ months). There’s something for everyone, so you can deck your table with the perfect plate of cheese for any holiday party or meal. Also makes a fabulous gift for the epicurean or cheese enthusiast in your life!A great stop in Boonville,and even the kids will want to return often.The goats and sheep are named and the whole concept is fabulous! Sampler Includes: Laychee (6 oz.): Soft, fresh chèvre-like cheese from pasteurized goat milk with a tangy, citrusy zing. Velvet Sisters (6 oz.): A camembert style surfaced-ripened cheese. Bright and creamy with a hint of mushroom. Boonters Blue, (6 oz.): Gentle, minerally blue with grassy, floral notes and thick veining that doesn't overpower. Boont Corners, 2 month (6 oz.): Made from fresh raw goat milk into three pound wheels which are aged over two months. Boont Corners, Vintage (6 oz.): Made from fresh raw goat and sheep milk and aged 5 months; sharp and tangy flavors. Boont Corners, Reserve (6 oz.): Aged over 180 days from fresh raw goat milk, the texture is hard and the flavors multifaceted. The Penny Royal Farm new tasting room is open 10 am to 5 pm daily and we also offer fun and informative tours daily at 11am 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. Adults $20; children 5 and up $10. Our cheeses and cheese sampler pack are available for quick home or office delivery through our sister farm, Navarro Vineyards. To order a current Pennyroyal Farm Cheese sampler visit Navarrowine.com and check out the Wine Shop. If you would like to order our wine, or would like to individualize your cheese order, please call us at (707) 895-2410 or 1-800-956-8909, or send us an email at sales@pennyroyalfarm.com. Pennyroyal cheese is also available at Farmers' Markets on Thursday morning in San Rafael, most Saturday mornings Marin Country Mart in Larkspur, and Center Street in Berkeley, and on Sundays you can find us on Clement Street in San Francisco, and at the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael. Please send us your name, address and email to sales@pennyroyalfarm.com to get the latest news about Penny Royal Farm. They planted seven fields employing two Pinot Noir clones that have produced excellent wine in Anderson Valley in addition to three recently imported fine French clones of Sauvignon Blanc. The white wine being offered is our 2014 Sauvignon Blanc. The juice from estate-grown grapes was cold-fermented and aged sur lie for eight months in French oak ovals, which were expressly constructed in France for Pennyroyal whites. The 2015 Rosé of Pinot Noir was produced from estate grown grapes grown in Block 1. The fruit was harvested at night and, after destemming, the skins and juice macerated for merely an hour to add a little color and body. After a miserably cool and wet 2011 vintage, we were delighted to harvest Pinot Noir at full ripeness in 2012; the grapes were picked at night when the fruit was cold, destemmed, then fermented in small bins with twice-daily hand-punchdowns to keep the tannins soft and gentle. After fermentation, the must was pressed, and the juice racked to a mixture of new and seasoned French oak barrels to age for almost a year. It's time to enjoy a glass of Pinot Noir and listen to our new feature with Penny Royal Farm!Cheers! Click here and join us as we enjoy great wines and stories from Anderson Valley. Can I pour you another glass of one of these great wines from Penny Royal Farm?Just help yourself to the cheeses...

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival/May18th Thru May21st/Great Food and Wine

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

Handley Cellars/Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival/May18th thru May 21st 2017/New Releases

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

Anderson Valley Wine Country Excursion/Penny Royal Farm/Phillip Hill Winery

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

Navarro Vineyards/Northern California/Anderson Valley

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

Balo Vineyards/Anderson Valley/Philo California

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.