Month: August 2019

La Quercia Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo Colline Teramane, 2009 DOCG Riserva

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Isn’t that a mouthful? Now California Wines & Wineries about once a month goes “rouge” and writes about a wine outside of California (yes there are some!). Today’s wine is especially interesting but I want to clear up some misconceptions. First Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo and Montepulicano are two entire different wines. Montepulicano d’ Abruzzo is a totally unique and wonderful wine from the Abruzzo region in east-central Italy and not to be confused with the Montepulicano which is mainly Sangiovese grapes from Tuscany. Colline Teramane became a DOCG region (denomianazione di Origine Contraollata Garantita) in 2003. Essential by being a DOCG vs DOC, they must follow strictly guidelines in producing their wine. Only four provinces can produce this wine. The wine must be 90% Montepulicano with only 10% being Sangiovese grapes. This wine is deeply colored inky red/purple with pepper spices notes. Often it is called “rustic”. In general it is “aromatic, tannic and with low acidity”. Key flavors of earthiness, blackberries and prevalent. Often it is also beholds sweeter tannins and is appropriately paired with hot & spicy peppers and pork dishes. Its ability to age in the cellar is up to 20 years and the price point can range from $8 to $200+. A delightful treat which is often overlooked and confused with the lighter Montepulicano from Tuscany. As the winemaker Antonio Lamona states “I want to make wines that are pleasing to the body and the spirit”. For the typical California wine drinker you will pleased if you get a nice bottle of Montepulicano d’ Abruzzo.  



LangeTwins Family Winery & Vineyards Single Barrel 2013 Teroldego

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20190821_083056This is a wine from their highest quality barrels, comes a handcrafted single barrel wine. This is a limited release of some of their most prized wines. This was from barrel #2 and is bottle #266. This Italian varietal is fruit forward with texture and solid tannins to be a real winner. The grape is a dark skin, it comes out originally soft and with age develops character. Recently discovered to be a relative of the peppery Syrah thru DNA testing. On the eye it is intensely inky dark and almost black looking down into the glass. On the nose & palate, it can be a bit bitter, but paired with a solid piece of beef, it is remarkable. It is complex, spicy and chocolate flavors abound. This is not a stand-alone wine, but one to be consumed with hard cheeses, red meat and cured meat. 97% of the world production comes from Northern Italy from the Trentino-Alto Adige DOC. In California most of the Teroldego comes from Lodi, Sierra Foothills, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbera.

McKahn Family Cellars 2016 Grenache

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An awesome pairing last night of paella and McKahn Family Cellars Grenache. While McKahn Family Cellars is located in Livermore Valley, they source this fruit from Shenandoah Valley, Amador County. This wine on the eye was semi-translucent, clear and a beautiful hue of purple/red. On the nose, cherry, herbs and spices which intermingled with the paella. On the palate, red fruits abound like raspberry, cherry and strawberry. BTW, McKahn’s 2016 Grenache won Double Gold & 96 points at the 2018 Orange County Wine Competition! Also Grenache is known as a versatile grape for food pairing possessing a slight sweetness. The paella was prepared in a tradition Spanish recipe by our longtime friends, Floyd and Kathilee Garcia. Linguica, shrimp, chicken, rice, garlic, lemon, peas, tomatoes, peppers, olives, etc., and a host of spices. It tasted even better than it looked! Accompanied by fresh fruits, cheeses and pre-dinner appetizers. Thanks again for a special treat.


Jessie’s Grove 2013 Royal Tee Ancient Vine Zinfandel

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It is not often one gets an opportunity to partake in wine from vines now 130 years old. The clear delineation of this wine’s characteristics can only be summed up as astonishing! Zinfandel is believed to be the oldest varietal today. It comes from a region between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. Today it is the second most planted grape in California. Most Zinfandel’s carry a high alcohol level from 15 to 16%. This wine is 15.5%. The Royal Tee, is name for their quarter horse at Jessie’s Grove. This wine on the eyes is semi-translucent, with a beautiful red coloring, but somewhat “reserve” from the first look. But once you get the aroma and taste this nectar, it holds fantasies beyond belief. With ancient vines planted in 1888, you nose and mouth is overwhelmed with blackberry, earthiness, cinnamon, clove, cedar, spicy notes, “Swisher Sweets cigar”, cherry, dark roasted coffee, black pepper and jammy raspberry. This one simple varietal has everything in the kitchen pantry involved in a delightful and at times overwhelming sensation on the palate. A truly remarkable wine and experience. Paired with a well seasoned ribeye steak, this was a truly memorable meal. 20190819_161551



2009 Larkmead, the Lark

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2009 Larkmead, the Lark which had been sitting in the cellar for seven years came out to great us! This wine is made from a single rocky soil block at Larkmead Estate. On the eyes somewhere between a cardinal red and a dark crimson red, this is no ordinary wine with a medium-heavy viscosity. On the nose, perfumed aromatics, wet gravel, blueberries and a wash of smokiness (the good kind!). In the mouth, it is all encompassing with dark fruits, licorice and dark chocolate. The finish is complex, structured and enduring with powerful tannins. Reputable wine scorers have given it up to 98 points. Wine Searcher showed this still available at Wine Bank in Menlo Park for $315. Fortunately, I have a few more in the cellar and its time has arrived. #larkmeadvineyards #napavalleycabernetsauvignon #redwine #cabernetsauvignon #larkmeadcabernetsauvignon


Pillitteri Estates Winery Cabernet Franc

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2015 Exclamation Cabernet Franc from Pillitteri Estates Winery, Ontario, Canada. On the eye a semi-translucent crimson with a light to medium viscosity. Aromas of black pepper, black tea and bell pepper dominant with subtle blackberry. Soft pliable leather and a hint of oak evolves in the palate as well as an moist forest floor. Soft tannins makes for an enjoyable finish. Definitely a contender for this years International Division of Cabernet Franc Wine Competition to be held in December. #pellitteriestates #cabernetfranc #cabernetfrancwines #cabernetfrancday #redwine #wine #canadianwines #ontariowines


d’Art Winery Petite Sirah – Dark & Delightful

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2016 Petite Sirah from d’Art Winery in Lodi. Helen and Dave Dart have been making some very creative and tasty wines since 2000. Their wines include Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and both proprietary and small lot wines available to their Club Members. This evening was another nice treat as this just won Gold at the California State Fair Wine Competition in 2019 and scored 95 points. On the eyes, a medium heavy viscosity with royal purple hues. On the nose and palate, dark fruits, blackberries and mocha abound. A hearty wine with smooth tannins and a delightful finish.