Month: August 2019

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.


Thomas George Rosé of Grenache

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2016 Thomas George Estate Rosé of Grenache. While Thomas George Estate is well known for their Pinot Noirs, this Rosé showed some strong character. 85% aged in concrete for 4 months and 15% aged in stainless steel.  This resulted in a low pH level of 3.12 with the Grenache grape varietal still present.  On the eye, light viscoscity, a beautiful hue of salmon and copper. On the nose and mouth, rhubarb, strawberry, soft melon provide a mouthful for this Rosé. A short but clean finish makes this a delicious summer patio wine.



Krames: Leonetti & O’Shaughnessy Wines

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A rare treat this last week at the home of the Krames on their remote and enchanting 300 acre estate. Here is a picture of the appetizers. Home grown tomatoes with fresh spices, marinated olives, hard salami and two unique cheeses: Burrata and Lebni (actually a Lebanese firm sour cream). The wine was a beautiful and silky smooth 2007 Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon. Also had a glass of  2014 Krames Viognier, with  mouth filling textures of minerality, flowers and chalkiness.  No picture of the meal as we were too busy devouring Bbq’ed ribs, artichokes, salad, vegetables, etc. You know it was exquisite if I didn’t take any pictures!! We feasted overlooking the Joshua’s Starry Night Vineyard from which the Krames produce their wines. We brought a 2009 O’Shaughnessy Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon which also paired delightfully with the ribs.20190811_114705 

Runquist Cabernet Franc, Bertapelle Sauvignon Blanc & Krames Family Vineyard

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Had a remarkable food and wine pairing last night. Meal included a BBQ marinated Tri-tip, fresh squash and zucchini salad, rice fine noodles with vegetables and seasoned baked salmon. The first wine was Jeff Runquist’s 2017 Cabernet Franc, which is unfortunately sold out! This wine was remarkable with medium weight, smoked peppers and dark cherry for the tri-tip. The second wine a 2014 Bertapelle Sauvignon Blanc with green and earthy notes with acidity for the salmon. We also did a side by side comparison of a 2009 and 2010 Krames Family Vineyard Rhone blend. The Joshua 2009 which consisted of 66% Mourvèdre, 33% Syrah and 1% Viognier won hands down!!

Sacramento’s River City Wine Week

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Kick off party last night called “Pop & Pour” in Sacramento. 30+ wineries supporting River City Wine Week ( a week long event with various venues with wine, art, food and music. Benefits Well Space Health for medical assistance in 3 counties and St John’s Programs for mental health. Great participation & conversations by wineries and staff including Robin Gerber-Spotlight Brands, Michael Kahn MK Library, Kelly Bria Honig, Karen McGillivray Dono dal Cielo, Jana Harvey Scott Harvey Winery, Stephanie Simunovich Skinner Winery, Trevor Robinson Take Me With You, Jennifer Hunt Starfield Vineyards, Mackenzie Casino Mine Ranch and many more. Thanks Carrie Boyle for the invite!

Glasses waiting in anticipation! Appetizers by Bella Bru Café.

One of my newer favorites Maritana Vineyards was serving. (see article )   Also a light but refreshing Grenache by Skinner Vineyards.

Trevor Robinson has a new approach with wine called >Take Me With You Wine”. Scott Harvey provided a wonderful Reserve Zinfandel.


Michael Kelly

Wood Family Chardonnay & Swordfish

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A wonderful food and wine pairing last week at Gardin’s. Wood Family Vineyards 2017 Chardonnay, Double Gold Winner two years in a row from SF Chronicle Wine Competition, 2018 & 2019. This wine burst with lemon and pear, followed by butterscotch and as Rhonda Wood states “crackerjack flavors”. Paired with a twist inch cut of Swordfish, cooked in capers, olive oil and garlic. Chicken and a tomato medley as sides. #wine #whitewine #chardonnay #woodfamily #rhondawood
#woodfamilyvineyards #livermorewines



Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

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From the cellar one of my all time favorites, 2006 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Cabernet Franc. On the eye medium viscosity, with deep crimson and purple hues evident. On the nose and palate, blackberries, mocha flavors and dark berries. This leaves a plush, opulent & elegant finish in the mouth. Tannins are perfectly matched for this 15.5% alcohol wine which is silky smooth. #mondaviwinery #napacabernetsauvignon #napavintners #mondaviwine #redwine #napavalleycabernet https://californiawinesandwineriescom