Monday, April 30, 2018
We have a treat for you! We have three incredible Pinot Noirs, and a number of dishes from Stark's Steak and Seafood.First we will check out the tasting notes on these wines and then Enjoy a great new audio feature,pairing these beautiful wines with the cuisine of Stark's Steak and Seafood. First we have opened the 2015 Annahala Pinot Noir.This wine offers fragrant ripe black cherry and red raspberry aromas with pleasing hints of dried rose petal and tea-leaf spice. Rich and mouth-filling on the palate, with supple tannins, its deep core of wild cherry, raspberry, plum and pomegranate flavors lead to a long, fruit-filled finish graced by vibrant cherry and berry tones, a touch of zesty spice and a vein of refreshing minerality. Appreciably bigger and richer than previous vintages of Annahala, the 2015, while delicious now, will further reveal its charms with another 3-5 years’ bottle age. Next we will open the Apple Barn Vineyard Pinot Noir from Cakebread. Displaying a firmer structure and denser, darker fruit character than its sibling pinot noir from our Annahala Vineyard, the 2015 Apple Barn Pinot Noir offers ripe black fruit aromas complemented by notes of loam, warm spices and sweet oak. Deep, lush and creamy flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and dark plum, framed by firm, yet supple tannins, grace the full-bodied palate, which culminates in a long finish enlivened by zesty spice and mineral tones. Impressive now, this opulent pinot noir will evolve beautifully over the next 3-5 years. We will also open the Two Creeks Pinot Noir. Fragrant aromas of sweet black cherry, raspberry and rose petal introduce the rich, pure fruit of this fresh and lively pinot noir. Dense mid-palate flavors of ripe black cherry, red cherry, strawberry and plum, supported by fine, supple tannins, offer a layered complexity and glide into a round, long finish highlighting bright raspberry, cherry and mineral tones. Delicious now, this lovely pinot noir will develop additional complexity with another 3-5 years of bottle age. I love the people and the cuisine of the Stark's restaurants. 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. We are ready to enjoy our new audio feature from stark's Steak and Seafood.Please join us,as we saved you a seat!Cheers! Click here and allow us to pour you three great Pinot Noirs from Cakebread .
Friday, March 23, 2018
It's Friday,and My mind is thinking about the beautiful wines we have to choose from.I have a bottle of Patz And Hall's Jenkins Ranch,and we will look up the tasting notes on this wine,and follow up with a great audio segment with wine maker James Hall. Once again, Jenkins Ranch has delivered a luscious, flowing expression of Pinot Noir with rich, mouthcoating tannins and alluring fruit. On the nose, layers of spicy cherry, moist forest floor and sea spray showcase this wine’s beautiful balance between concentration and complexity. The palate is lush and creamy, with supple tannins adding silkiness to red fruit flavors of raspberry, plum and pomegranate. Underscoring it all are hints of burnt almond toffee and cocoa, as well as an intriguing savoriness that carries the wine to a long satisfying finish. “More is produced of the 2014 Pinot Noir Jenkins Ranch (1,342 cases), which comes from an 18-acre vineyard west of the small village of Sebastopol. This is classic Goldridge gravelly, loamy soil in the vineyard, planted with Dijon clones 667 and 777. This wine tends to be a relatively rich, intense, more broodingly backward, fuller-bodied and extracted style of Pinot Noir. It has a dark ruby/plum color, a big sweet kiss of forest floor, black raspberries and black cherries, spices, and hints of cocoa and oak (about 60% new French oak is used). This is full-bodied with light tannin and should improve for 3-4 years and drink well for at least another decade. 2020 – 2030” - Robert Parker. We have the 2015 vintage,and I can't wait to open this incredible wine! At Patz & Hall, they believe that oak is an essential component of fully articulated Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The dilemma for many winemakers is that new oak barrels can easily overwhelm the wine, while used ones may not successfully balance the amount of oak with the fruit flavors in the wine. We use primarily custom French oak barrels made from our own stave wood, air dried and seasoned to our specifications for three years by the François Frères Cooperage at Saint Romain in the heart of Burgundy. These custom barrels add a very complex, spicy, sweet oak component to the wine without the drying tannins or astringent "woodiness" found in many other barrels. Stave woods dried for three or more years impart more complex aromas such as clove, cinnamon, and vanilla to the finished wines. In addition, the softness of these older and softer woods helps build beautiful texture and an extended, creamy finish to both our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay bottlings. Extended aging of the stave wood—eighteen months longer than the typical barrel stave—requires that we maintain, at our own expense, a three-year supply of wood at all times. The extra steps we take allow us to use a majority of new oak barrels, while producing fully expressive wines. Please click on the link at the bottom of the page,and we will learn more about this world class Pinot Noir from Patz and Hall!Cheers! Click here and join us,as we learn more about this great wine from Patz and Hall! .
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Recently on a rainy day in Sonoma County,I traveled down to the town of Sonoma,and enjoyed a few wines with James Hall.The tasting room is incredible,and should be at the top of your list of places to visit,on your next wine country excursion.Today we have a great feature with the Alder Springs Vineyard 2014 Chardonnay. After we check out the history and the wine maker's notes,we will pour a glass of this special wine and enjoy our audio feature. A favorite variety of many winemakers, Chardonnay allows the characteristics of the vineyard and vintage to be fully articulated through the craft of wine making. From intriguing mineral flavors and wet stone aromas to lush, tropical fruit tastes, Chardonnay has a tremendous range of expression. A hallmark of the Patz & Hall wine making program is the distinctive character of each of our Chardonnays, each beautifully rendered. After pressing, the juice, with all of the lees, is racked into 100 percent French oak barrels, where, after several days, it begins to ferment. The barrel fermentations typically progress very slowly, often finishing in early winter. This extended fermentation gives rise to wines with great depth of flavor and roundness. During this period, the wines are stirred weekly to extract the toasty, roasted aromas from the grape solids and yeast remaining in the barrel. At the same time, we top the barrels weekly to protect the wines from oxidation. All Patz & Hall Chardonnays undergo malo-lactic fermentation and then develop in barrel for eleven months before being bottled without filtration. The yeast particles that remain further guard the wines from oxidation, so they continue to age favorably in bottle. Gently transferred from barrel to bottle, unfiltered wines do not undergo "bottle shock," consequently, Patz & Hall Chardonnays are delicious upon release and continue to evolve in bottle over time. This wine“Offers a lively, vivid mix of lemon-infused green apple, white peach, nectarine and tangerine flavors, ending with a long, juicy finish and a touch of pithiness in the aftertaste. Drink now.” - James Laube .Robert Parker wrote; " The 2013 is powerfully aromatic, with an alluring nose of cherry blossom, peach, green apple toffee and smoke. Though rich and round on the palate, there is also an unmistakable and complexity on display that makes this wine a treasure. We have a bottle of the 2014 Alder Springs Vineyard Chardonnay. The 2014 Chardonnay Alder Springs Vineyard emerges from a high-elevation, 2,600-foot-altitude vineyard in Mendocino. Patz & Hall were one of the first vignerons to exploit this sensational site, which is clearly one of the great vineyards of Mendocino. This wine sees slightly more new oak at 60% new French oak, and offers gorgeously pure citrus oil, poached pear, cinnamon, clove and hints of white peach and pineapple. There is a lot going on in the aromatics as well as the flavor profile of this full-bodied wine, which has dazzling fruit purity, texture and length. The acidity gives it focus and grip. Drink it over the next 5-6 years." I think we have a special treat in front of us,please join us as we enjoy a glass of this world class wine.We saved you a seat!Click below and enjoy our audio feature with James Hall and Patz and Hall Alder Springs Vineyard 2014 Chardonnay!Cheers! Click here and join us for this special tasting with Wine maker James Hall of Patz and hall .
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Recently I traveled into the town of Sonoma,and spent some time with winemaker great James Hall. At Patz & Hall, their approach to wine making champions quality, at every stage of the process. From our partnerships with the finest vineyards to the custom-made French oak cooperage used to age our small-lot Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, we bring together an array of artisan and cutting-edge techniques to create benchmark wines. In our state-of-the-art winery—which was designed exclusively for producing Chardonnay and Pinot—we apply a consistent winemaking style that allows us to find the voice of each vineyard and vintage, while achieving exceptional quality year after year. when enjoying these wines,I think it is very important to remember the amount of work that it takes to make world class wines. Today we have two great wines from the same vineyard. We will start with some wine making notes on the wines and then join James Hall in our double audio feature. A favorite variety of many winemakers, Chardonnay allows the characteristics of the vineyard and vintage to be fully articulated through the craft of winemaking. From intriguing mineral flavors and wet stone aromas to lush, tropical fruit tastes, Chardonnay has a tremendous range of expression. A hallmark of the Patz & Hall winemaking program is the distinctive character of each of our Chardonnays, each beautifully rendered. Our grapes are hand-harvested in the cool of the early morning and immediately sorted in the field. Leaves, imperfect fruit and under-ripe clusters are discarded. These hand-harvested and selected grapes are taken to the winery, where they are meticulously sorted again. The remaining fruit is immediately "whole cluster" pressed. This process produces juice containing very little tannin and preserves the delicate aromatics and full flavors of the Chardonnay fruit. While we end up with less wine this way, the quality and age-worthiness make it worth it. This beautiful wine will make you come back to Chardonnay and embrace the amazing structure that this wine has. Salt rock, caramel and quince combine effortlessly in this medium-bodied wine with a wealth of elegance and structure. The soft texture provides a framework for its balanced complexity and length of baking spice.James and I will now have a chance to enjoy a great pairing with this wine.After we will move on to the Bootlegger's Hill Pinot Noir from Patz and Hall. A sensitive grape, Pinot Noir requires gentle yet decisive handling. Truly, only the most skilled winemakers are able to extract the full flavors of the fruit, while preserving the personality of the individual clones and allowing the terroir of the vineyard site to express itself. We focus on wine making techniques designed to create depth, power, and drama balanced by the finesse of silky tannins and delicate layers of flavor.The Bootlegger's Hill Pinot Noir is just another expression of perfection from wine maker James Hall. After hand picking, the grapes are sorted both in the vineyard and at the winery. The small vineyard lots are put into open-topped fermentors designed specifically for Pinot Noir. We let the fermentation begin slowly in the cool conditions under which the fruit arrives at the winery. Full, round and deep, with soft, sweet tannins, this is a rich and sumptuous Pinot that flows across the palate. At the same time, because Bootlegger’s Hill is just 8 miles from the Pacific, there is lovely acidity to add energy and lift to lush layers of red fruit, licorice, brown sugar and chocolate. The super-long finish reveals hints of smoke and salty sea air that gives this coastal wine a wonderful sense of place. All of our Pinot Noirs are produced using "whole cluster" additions. Usually, 20 percent of the clusters go directly into specially designed fermentors with no de-stemming or crushing at all. The remaining 80 percent will be carefully de-stemmed only. In this way, we allow the intricate fruit flavors and aromas of Pinot Noir to begin developing during fermentation. To further extract color and flavor components, we use a proprietary "punch-over" device to thoroughly break up the cap two to three times per day. Then, when fermentation is complete, we empty the tank with care to capture just the free run juice. The press wine is only incorporated after James evaluates it, rejecting it if it is coarse or overtly astringent. I'm sure you are as excited as I am to open these bottles and enjoy the hard work and passion it took to make these wines. Now let's join James Hall and listen as he tells us of the vineyard and the process it took to make this all happen.Click below and join us.We did save you a seat!Cheers! Click here and join James Hall and myself as we enjoy the wines from Patz and Hall .
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.