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Saturday, 30 August 2014 13:04

August 29, 2014 Wine Pick of the Week

Ferrari Carano pinot noir SHR Picmonkey

2012 Sky High Ranch Pinot Noir

 

Ferrari Carano

Mendocino Ridge

Alcohol: 14.5%

Suggested Retail: $48

 

“This is a powerful example of what a California Pinot Noir can be. Stopping well short of the unfortunate, too-big style some winemakers have taken with this variety, the Ferrari Carano Sky High Ranch still delivers plenty of punch. Aromas of blackberry, dark cherries and a little cedar precede layered flavors that demonstrate the breadth of the Pinot Noir palette. Dense berry flavors (blackberries, blueberries) are prominent, with some mocha and dark chocolate in the background. There's a fullness in the mouth and a long-lasting finish.”

Food Affinity: “After tasting, reviewer decided to serve with enormous pork T-Bone chops, that were first seared, then slowly baked in the oven. The choice seemed appropriately substantial to come up to the heft of the wine. Other directions could be taken, of course. Duck with cherries would be one possibility. Anything accompanied by a ragout of wild mushrooms would also intrigue.”

Saturday, 19 April 2014 18:09

April 18, 2014 Wine Pick of the Week

Ferrari Carano Middleridge PN bottle Picmonkey

2012 Middleridge Ranch

 

Pinot Noir

 

Ferrari-Carano

Anderson Valley

Alcohol: 14.6%

Suggested Retail: $ 42

 

“When the 2012 Middleberg Pinot Noir debuts a little later this year, it will be Ferrari-Carano's first release from this vineyard. The winery made its mark with Fumés and Chardonnays in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley, but in recent years has expanded northward, building a second winemaking facility in Mendocino County, where all the company's red wines are now made. The Anderson Valley is a cooler region, which has earned a reputation for producing great Pinot Noir grapes and Ferrari-Carano is now producing three separate bottlings sourced from Anderson Valley fruit. The other two are labeled, “Anderson Valley” and “Sky High Ranch”.

“The Middleridge Ranch Pinot Noir is plush. First impression is dense black cherry and raspberry. The fruit is fairly intense and there's a cola-like background underpinning it. Like its sibling Pinots from this producer, it is a big wine, but not without some subtlety. It will be interesting to track all three of the Ferrari-Carano entries in this category as they develop.”

Food Affinity: “Try with grilled beef that's been marinated in red wine, some pomegranate juice and tiny bit of cocoa.”

Monday, 24 February 2014 13:05

February 21, 2014 Wine Pick of the Week

 

Lazy Creek Gewurz Picmonkey

2012 Gewürztraminer

 

Producer: Lazy Creek Vineyards

Appellation: Alexander Valley

Alcohol: 14.5%

Suggested Retail: $22

 

“It has been a while since we tasted a Gewürztraminer and longer still since we tasted a really good one. This Lazy Creek example reminds us how delightful top-quality Caliornia Gewürz can be. This white grape variety can produce wine in styles varying from dry to quite sweet. Grown in many parts of the world, its primary homes are Germany and the Alsace region of France. When applied to Gewürztraminers from other places such as California, the phrase Alsatian style is usually code meaning the drier version. Lazy Creek is located in the Anderson Valley of Mendocino County on California's northern coast. It's an idyllic area known for fine Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, but it also produces equally fine Gewürztraminers.

“Floral and spicy are descriptors often applied to this grape variety. In the 2012 vintage of this wine we found aromas of peach blossom, honeysuckle and roses—perhaps dried roses. In the mouth we sense white peaches or nectarines and maybe just a bit of pineapple or mango. The 'spicy' component is here, but even at the relatively high alcohol level (14.5%), spicy doesn't mean 'hot.' It manifests itself in the seeming presence of clove and cinnamon or nutmeg. Though not an Alsace-grown Gewürztraminer, the Lazy Creek displays in abundance the traditional virtues of the variety.”

Food Affinity: “Chinese and Indian cuisine are frequent suggestions for this variety, but we chose to pair the Lazy Creek Gewürztraminer with our own attempt at Alsatian cooking—a slowly-roasted, herbed pork shoulder. Nutty and smokey-flavored cheeses would be natural, as would many sausage dishes.” 

Saturday, 23 November 2013 11:31

November 22, 2013 Wine Pick of the Week

 

Bonterra Chardonnay Picmonkey2012 Chardonnay

Producer: Bonterra

Appellation: Mendocino County

Alcohol: 13.8%

Suggested Retail: $13.99

 

“Chardonnay can come in many styles. At opposite ends of the taste spectrum would be the lean, perhaps subtler, wines like French Chablis and the big oaky and creamy versions more common in California. This Bonterra wine strikes a nice balance between the two. Made of organically-grown grapes, it exhibits tasty green apple and Bartlett pear flavors which give it a richness. This is offset—perhaps complemented would be a better way of saying it—by a bit of minerality and some bracing citrus qualities. Seventy percent was fermented in oak barrels and the balance in stainless steel. The stainless steel fermentation tends to let the fresh and crisp aspects come through and the small percentage of new oak (winery says 16%) gives some vanilla characteristics.

“The 2012 Bonterra Chardonnay isn't a 'stunner,' but is a good example of a versatile style that will please many and is well-worth the $14 price.”

Food Affinity: “Some sort of baked chicken dish involving a creamy sauce and served with morels and topped with sliced almonds.”

Sunday, 10 November 2013 13:56

November 8, 2013 Wine Pick of the Week

 Bonterra  Zinfandel Bottle Picmonkey

 

2011 Zinfandel

 

Producer: Bonterra Vineyards

Appellation: Mendocino County

Alcohol: 13.5%

Suggested Retail: $15.99

 

“Today's Pick of the Week is produced from certified organically-grown grapes. Bonterra has been a pioneer in producing wines from organically-grown fruit and believes it produces better quality wine.

“We've tasted some excellent wines made from organic grapes. We've also tasted some lousy ones. The 2011 Bonterra Zinfandel belongs in the former category. However, we chose it for its taste rather than its green pedigree. There's a whiff of raspberry and finely ground pepper in the nose, which is followed by flavors evoking blueberries and Santa Rosa plums. Again in the taste, there's the presence of ground pepper (the seeming presence, we should explain, not the actual presence of added pepper). This Zin is rich, but not overpowering and has a moderately long finish. Rather restrained when compared to the bloated, more-is-better, style of Zinfandel, the Bonterra Zin is subtle and sophisticated .”

Food Affinity: “Zinfandel has been grown for a very long time by Californians of Italian ancestry. This Zin could be a good part of a Saturday afternoon if served with aperitivi (snacks) of prosciutto, Calabrese salami, crostini and cheeses. To accompany a main course, we'd suggest serving it with lamb chops which have been rubbed with garlic, rosemary and a little olive oil and grilled to medium-rare.”

Friday, 12 July 2013 18:40

July 12, 2013 Wine Pick of the Week

Bonterra Viognier Picmonkey 2 

 2012 Viognier

 

Bonterra

Appellation: Mendocino County

 Alcohol: 13.9%

 Suggested Retail: $16

 

“Aromas of honeysuckle, lemon blossom and apricot in this wine made of Mendocino County organic grapes. It's quite fragrant, but flavors of nectarines and white peaches take over and are more apparent than apricot. There's a little spice in there, too. Some oak aging—six months says the winery—gives a vanilla quality that enhances, but doesn't overpower, its fresh and sprightly nature. Simultaneously crisp and creamy, it reminded one reviewer of of Dreamsicles enjoyed in the summers of his youth. Long finish.”

Food Affinity: “Chicken curry. Portuguese dishes combining both shellfish and pork. Similar fare from Brazil that includes coconut milk.”

South Coast Jim Carter PicmonkeyJim Carter. proprietor of South Coast Winery (left), accepts his Winery of the Year Award from Wesley Chesbro, Chairmman of the Assembly Select Committee on Wine, and Noreen Evans, Chair of the Senate Select Committee on California's Wine Industry.

Sacramento, CA June 25, 2013. Chief Judges Rick Kushman and Mike Dunne joined representatives of state government this morning in announcing winners of California's State Fair wine competition. Originally scheduled to take place on the west steps of the Capitol Building, ceremonies were moved to a conference room indoors because of the most unseasonal summer rains.

South Coast Winery from Temecula was named Golden State Winery of the Year in recognition of winning the greatest number of medals by a single winery. Best of Show among all red wines entered was the 2010 Cabernet Franc from Sonoma County's Imagery Estate Winery. Best of Show for whites was a sparkling wine, the non-vintage Blanc de Noirs, Méthode Champenoise of Korbel, also located in Sonoma. Barefoot Cellars non-vintage Moscato was picked as Best Value, while the Cluster Select Late Harvest 2012 Gewürztraminer of Mendocino County winery Navarro Vineyards was deemed the Best of Show from the dessert category.

Visitors to the State Fair (July 12 to July 28) can enjoy many of the winning wines, including the Best of California selections, in the Save Mart Supermarkets Wine Garden.These wines can also be experienced at California’s Grape & Gourmet, a wine and food event, at Cal Expo on Thursday, August 22. Tickets are on sale now at bigfun.org.

Other wines selected from among the 2600 entries as Best of California 2013 in their categories include:

Cabernet Sauvignon, Shed Horn Cellars, Lake County, 2010, 98 points, $29

Chardonnay, Rutherford Ranch, Napa Valley, 2011, 98 points, $16

Pinot Noir, Rodney Strong Vineyards, Estate Vineyards, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, 2011, 98 points, $25

Zinfandel, Macchia Winery, Adventurous, Linsteadt Vineyards, Amador County, Lodi, 2011, 94 points, $26

Barbera, Cardella Winery, Fattoria Cardella – L‘aquedotto Vineyard, Mendota, 2010, 94 points, $17

Sauvignon Blanc, Schug Winery, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, 2012, 98 points, $20

Pinot Grigio, CRU Wine Company, Arroyo Seco, Madera, 2012, 98 points, $18

Malbec, Fenestra Winery, Ghielmetti Vineyard, Livermore, 2009, 94 points, $28

Merlot, Oak Grove Winery, Reserve, California appellation, Alamo, 2011, 98 points, $7.99

Petite Sirah, Chacewater Wine, Red Hills, Lake County, 2010, 94 points, $21

Tempranillo, Red Soles Winery, Paso Robles, 2011, 98 points, $32

Syrah, Crystal Basin Cellars, Reserve, El Dorado County, 2010, 98 points, $24

Cabernet Franc, Imagery Estate, Sonoma County, 2010, 98 points, $39

Bordeaux Red Blend, Halter Ranch, Ancestor, Estate Reserve, Paso Robles, 2010, 95 points, $50

Sangiovese (tie), Boeger Winery, El Dorado County, 2009, 94 points, $15

Sangiovese (tie), Windwalker, Estate Bottled, El Dorado County, 2010, 94 points, $22Imagery Estate Winery Mike BenzigerJoe Benziger accepts Best of Show-Red for his Imagery Estate Cabernet Franc

Gewürztraminer, South Coast Winery, Carter Estate Vineyards, Temecula Valley, 2012, 98 points, $14

Riesling, Trinchero Family Estates, Wine Cube, California Appellation, Napa Valley, 2012, 98 points, $16.99

Sparkling Wine, Korbel, Blanc de Noirs, Methode Champenoise, Sonoma County, non-vintage, 98 points, $11

Rose, Chacewater Wine, Sierra Foothills, Lake County, 2012, 94 points, $14.99

Fortified Wine, Pedroncelli Winery, Vintage Port, Sonoma County,   2008, 95 points, $19

Muscat, Barefoot Wine Cellars, Moscato, California Appellation, Modesto, non-vintage, 98 points, $6.99

Other White Varietal, Dancing Coyote Gruner Veltliner (Estate Grown), Clarksburg, 2012, 96 points, $11.99

Other Red Varietal, Michael David Tannat (Inkblot), Lodi, 2010, 94 points, $35

Red Varietal Blend, Imagery Estate, Pallas, Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, 98 points, $65

Red Generic Blend, Coppola Rosso & Bianco, Rosso, California   Appellation, Sonoma County, 2011, 94 points, $11

Region: North Coast     City: Laytonville     Contact: www.katewolfmusicfestival.com

Region: North Coast     City: Anderson Valley area      Contact: http://www.avwines.com/

Sunday, 06 January 2013 02:43

March 18-19, 2017 Ft. Bragg Whale Festival

Region: North Coast     City: Ft. Bragg     Contact: www.mendowhale.com

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