Month: July 2018

Paskett Vineyards & Winery – Great wine for summer time!

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Secluded in the Acampo area, this charming and quaint facility hosts the tasting room for Paskett Vineyards & Winery. It is owned and operated by Lorraine Paskett. Stacey Caton is the tasting room manager and was our host extraordinaire when visiting.

Paskett Winery produces estate wines and has selected vineyards in the Lodi AVA. Estate wines include Cabernet Sauvignon and Charbono. Their non-estate wines are Albarino, Barbera, Verdelho, Malbec and Petit Verdot.
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Two wines which caught my attention were the 2016 Verdelho the 2016 Albarino —both excellent wines for summer. First the 2016 Verdelho. Not one of more common grapes in the USA, Verdelho is a white wine grape grown in Portugal, especially on the island of Madeira. Verdelho is a traditional varietal gown on Pico Island in the Azores. In Spain it is called Verdello. It is also grown in Australia as Verdelho. Portugal grows 58% of the world varietal production and Australia 36%, followed by the USA doing 3%. With each area having its own “regional taste”, but the predominance of lime, honeysuckle and honeydew melon is the standout aroma and taste. Some may show more pear or tropical fruits, but all tend to have good acidity and clean freshness both to the palate and eye. The Paskett 2016 Verdelho was on point to these traits and a welcome change of pace for the warm weather!
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The Paskett 2016 Albarino is also a lesser known but an intriguing varietal growing in popularity. It is known to grow best in sandy or clay soils-perfect for Lodi AVA. The wine is known for its botanical flavor including notes of orange and acacia blossom, lemon grass, honeysuckle, peach, apricot and nectarine, passion fruit and jasmine. It is most often paired with seafood. This wine is aromatic and possess high acidity. The Paskett 2016 Albarino again hit the target, especially for an alternative summer wine.

Enjoy these “lesser known” gems from Paskett Vineyards and Winery this summer or for that matter anytime!



Hanna Winery & Vineyards

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The name Hanna means different things in various languages. For example Hanna in Kurdish means hope, in Persian the name means flower and in Arabic it means happiness for example. Those various meaning might just sum up the experience of Hanna Winery—hope, flower and happiness. Hope the vision and expectation of winery founder Dr. Elias S. Hanna. Christine, his daughter is today the President of the Winery. Flower in that the bouquets of Hanna wines are fresh and lively and all their wines extoll happiness on those who experience them on their palate.


In June 2018, I had the opportunity to visit and discuss the operation and wines of Hanna Winery. I became aware of Hanna Winery from a press release that they had announced their 2015 Alexander Valley Saint Macaire. For background, Saint Macaire is the missing varietal from the Old World Bordeaux. This along with Carmenere grapes have long been excluded from the fine Bordeaux’s coming out of France. I had heard about Saint Macaire years ago with only one other winery using a small percentage in their Bordeaux version on Howell Mountain. So the hunt was on to taste and experience something that was thought to be lost! Currently in the Unites States, only one acre of Saint Macaire is planted and in production. Hanna Winery has 50% of the production with a half-acre planted.


Earlier this year, a tasting panel scored the Saint Macaire at 95 points. The uniqueness of the wine couple with distinct flavor profiles, made this the find of the visit to Sonoma Valley. The mix is 77% Saint Macaire, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec and 2% Merlot. On the eye it is has a dark purple hue and possess a bright glow. Having never tasted a Saint Macaire, I was anxious with curiosity. It produced as their winemakers notes stated, “peppercorn, sage leaf, saddle leather and Darjeeling tea. By mouth fruit emerges as kirsch and grilled fig”. What I got most of the taste was the medium to medium heavy viscosity in the glass and a long lingering finish lasting thirty seconds or more on the back of the throat. This finish was definitely in class by itself. This also scored my highest marks thus far in 2018.
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The grounds and tasting room of Hanna Winery were spectacular in the views of Alexander Valley and uncommon, was their ability to produce a robust and quality wine across all varietals—Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and a few unique blends.

In closing Hanna Winery & Vineyards delivered as its meaning with “hope (bringing back a lost varietal), flower (bouquet and aromas) and happiness (the pleasure of tasting)”. Truly, one winery that should be sought out on your next visit to Alexander Valley.