May 31, 2011

Wine Growers Worried About Erratic Spring Weather in California


The Sacramento Bee has an interesting article about how wine grape growers in the Sacramento region, along with those tending other perishable crops like cherries and strawberries, are struggling through a series of fluke frosts and hailstorms. YIKES! Given all the bad weather the US is seeing, we're hoping the fruit crops aren't the next victims. They say the cool, wet spring - for the second year in a row - has delayed growth, increased the threat of some diseases and snarled the harvest, as well as crushing, packing and shipping schedules.

We'll keep our fingers crossed and see what happens to the wines and fruit later this year.

Read More in: Wine News

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May 31, 2011

Paco & Lola Albarino 2009

Thumbnail image for paco-lola.jpg
VARIETAL: Albarino
REGION: Rias Baixas, Spain
PRICE: $15

I could very easily get stuck in a wine rut with this one. It is a ray of sunshine in a glass and it seriously taps into my bygone scratch n sniff addiction. Incredibly aromatic with lovely summer stone fruit notes like white peach and nectarine tempered with bright, zesty citrus peel. I could swirl and sniff all night. Of course I don't. Just sniff it, I mean. How could you? It just begs to be sipped and slurped and sipped again. I admit I have a soft spot for albarino, but this one really rocks. I first tried the Paco & Lola in a restaurant that utilizes tiny, single serve carafes to serve their wines-by-the glass--probably a good thing because had I seen the cutesy polka-dot label and unconventional burgundy bottle on a shelf in a wine shop, I likely would have mocked it instead of trying it.

Buy it at Liquorama or The Spanish Table.

Read More in: White Wine | Wine Tasting Notes

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April 12, 2011

Passover Wine Picks from a Pro - Rogov's Guide to Kosher Wine

Did you know that not all Kosher wines are from Israel? And not all Israeli wines are Kosher! Daniel Rogov, well known for his guide to the wines of Isreal now has a fantastic little guidebook of his recommendations for Kosher wines. Just in time for passover.

Rogov's Guide to Kosher Wines $13.71

It's finally here: an authoritative guide to kosher wine from around the world. Compiled by Daniel Rogov, a leading, international wine critic, this definitive work examines the booming, international kosher wine industry for the very first time. In it, Mr. Rogov describes, sorts, and ranks more than 500 kosher wines from 14 countries, discusses what makes wine kosher, and includes a glossary of terminology. Rogov's Guide to Kosher Wines is a comprehensive, up-to-date guide to one of the most exciting and fastest growing sectors of the wine industry.
(via Amazon)

Read More in: Wine Accessories

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April 11, 2011

Passover Wine Guide 2011

I have been out of the wine business for some time, and sadly no longer have the opportunity to taste a wide variety of Kosher wines on a regular basis. So I am relying on a trusted source for this years picks:

Rashi Moscato d'Asti 2010 $9.75
Delightfully fresh, semi sweet, with outstanding floral, melon, pear and tangerine aromas and flavors. Moscato is a fantastic way to start or end your evening.

GamlaSB.JPGGamla Sauvignon Blanc 2009 $13.49
Produced entirely from Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown in the Golan Heights. The cool fermentation retains the round fruitiness and crisp herbaceous qualities characteristic of this variety. Shows off bright guava lime and kiwi notes rounded out with hints of citrus fruits and fresh flowers. Ready to drink and is best enjoyed within a couple of years from the harvest date.

HagafenSB.jpgHagafen Sauvignon Blanc 2010 $18
Produced from a well-established vineyard in the Eastern foothills of the Napa Valley, where hot days and cool nights are ideal for creating crisp, clean, long-finishing food friendly wine. On the nose, the Hagafen shows lemon, grapefruit, and kiwi. This crisp, bracing, mouth-watering wine fills the palate with a well integrated mix of bright fruit, including lemon drops, limes, grapefruit, and citrus zest.

daltonviognier.jpegDalton Reserve Viognier 2009 $15.95
Silky smooth white wine with delicate nuances of honey, peaches and apricots. A brief period in barrels has accented those flavours with sweet notes of vanilla and caramel.

Hagafen Ripken Vineyard Roussanne 2008 $19.99
This Roussanne is produced from grapes grown in the Ripken Vineyard, a site renowned for its ability to lend white varietals complexity and fruitiness, qualities required for a food friendly wine such as this one. The addition of a small amount of Marsanne adds hints of almond to complement the bouquet of sweet citrus, wild flowers, and tea. This mouth-watering wine fills the palate with a well integrated mix of lemon, grapefruit, almond, and bitter melon. Long-aging, this wine should be enjoyable for many years and is an ideal accompaniment for a range of dishes.

Joseph River Chardonnay 2009 $10.15
This Chardonnay has a clean banana tropical fruit nose supported by good natural acid The wine is well balanced with oak and has a long lasting finish.

Teperberg Meritage 2009 $15.95
taboradamacab.jpeg70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. This classic Bordeaux blend is full of dark fruits, like black cherry, blackberry and currant. Recommendation: Roast Beef, chicken or stews.

Tabor Adama Volcanic Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 $14.99
Dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with fine grained tannins integrating nicely. A ripe, supple and harmonious wine showing currant and blackcherry fruits, those supported by hints of near-sweet cedar wood and dark chocolate. On the long finish an enchanting hint of licorice.

Binyamina Yogev Cabernet-Petit Verdot 2009 $13.59
80% Cabernet/20% Petit Verdot - Exhibits bold color, rich structure with fresh fruit aromas. Full bodied, fruity, blackberries on the palate and dry long finish.

Weinstock Cellar Zinfandel 2007 $20
These grapes were hand harvested by sustainable growers in the warm Central Valley of California. Following pressing, the wine was aged for eight months in French oak. Medium to deep red color, rich and intense. Loaded with chocolate, cherry, wild berry and spice flavors. This full bodied, dry red wine is accented by a wonderful smoky, toasty oak finish.
Borgo Reale Pinot Noir 2009 $12.69
The Apulian vocated clay soils and sea breezes make Pinot Noir one of the most intriguing wines among the wide range of Borgo Reale selection. The color is an intense red, but it is on the nose that the uniqueness comes out. You can feel sweet notes of berries and cassis yet a warm sensation. The palate is elegant, harmonious and well structured.

Jerusalem Hills Cabernet-Shiraz 2009 $13.99
This Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz matures gently in the warm days and cool nights of the Judean Mountains, surrounding Jerusalem, close to maritime breezes coming straight from the Israeli coastal plain. This ideal climate allows the fruit to reach its entire flavor potential, offering rich varietal flavors delicately balanced by a generous savory finish.

barkanpetitesyrah.jpgBarkan Classic Petite Syrah 2009 $9.95
Deep ruby color, with chunky, country-style tannins and a few cherry-berry fruits. A great lush wine that goes well with almost any food you can imagine.

For more Kosher wine recommendations check out Kosher Wine Society and The Jewish Week

Top image from Yarden Inc.

Read More in: Red Wine | White Wine | Wine Recommendations

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March 22, 2011

Rattlesnake Bottle Holder - Creepy or Kitschy?


For some reason I want to call this thing the Snakes of Wrath. I don't know why. Just sort of stuck in my head. It looks remarkably like taxidermy and I suppose it might be an interesting addition to southwestern (or maybe wild western) decor. If you have a snake loving oenophile in the family, or perhaps a wine loving collector of reptilian kitsch, this just might be the perfect gift.

How far would you go to get that bottle of wine? Normally you wouldn't have to go any further than the supermarket in your neighborhood but if you freak out at the very mention of snakes then getting your hands on the bottle of wine may be a task if it's held securely in the Rattlesnake Wine Bottle Holder. The Rattlesnake Wine Bottle Holder is realistic enough to rattle your senses; it is beautifully hand painted poly resin and features amazing detail. It can hold a standard 750ml bottle of wine and is a great conversation starter on topics like fears and snakes. (Gizmodiva)

Find the Rattlesnake Bottle Holderon Amazon

Image and text via Gizmodiva

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March 21, 2011

Sedara Donnafugata 2008


Varietal: About 50% Nero d'Avola, blended with merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah
Region: Sicily, Italy
Price: $6.99

Southern Italian and Sicilian wines can be fantastic values. Generally speaking you get a whole lot of rustic flavor for under $15. The hot dry climate and terrain in Puglia and Sicily tends to yield wines that are strong and spicy with rich dried fruit notes. Nero d'Avola is one of those local Sicilian varietals that can be intense and brooding, and occasionally downright belligerent. I guess that's why more producers are choosing to temper the intensity by blending it with smoother, more consumer friendly friendly grapes like cab, merlot and syrah as Sedara did with the Donnafugata.

This wine looks intense in the glass. It is fairly opaque and if you give it a good swirl you get whiffs of saddle leather and pipe tobacco, with spicy cassis and black cherry. Unfortunately, it is significantly more aromatic than flavorful, but I did get some dusty dried fruit flavors. It is pretty smooth and easy drinking--especially considering where it comes from. But frankly I like my Sicilians to pack more of a punch. I like my Nero d'Avola to taste like Nero d'Avola and not some generic red blend. That said, for what I paid, though it is unremarkable, this wine was a pleasant everyday pour that would definitely be a crowd pleaser at a pizza party. Which is exactly how I enjoyed it.

I picked mine up at Cost Plus World Market but you can also find it on

Read More in: Red Wine | Wine Tasting Notes

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February 14, 2011

Finally... Something to Send Your Ex on Valentine's Day

Leper wine.jpg
If you're feeling embittered rather than romantic this year, you might find this tidbit interesting: evidently sending your ex a bottle of wine made by lepers is becoming a trend among jilted Europeans. I LOVE this! You can send a snarky non-valentine and help a leper colony sustain itself. Hmmm... I wonder how we crass Americans might put our spin on this.

Disgruntled lovers are snapping up bottles of one of Europe's most exclusive vintages to send to their ex lovers on Valentine's Day - a secret wine produced entirely by residents of the continent's last leper colony. Hidden for years from the public eye by Romania's former communist regime, the lepers of Tichilesti on the Danube Delta have continued an ancient tradition of wine-making stretching back to the Middle Ages. Now the St Lazarus Leper Wine - named after the patron saint of sufferers of the disease - is being sold world-wide to raise funds for the community and its remaining residents.

The wine was inspired by the late mayor of the colony Cristache Tatulea, who inspired the villagers to become more self sufficient and reach out to the world. "When I arrived there were hundreds of lepers here and it was a desolate place. There were ramshackle wooden huts with mud floors and nothing in the way of any amenities. Together we built proper houses, raised crops to earn extra money for luxuries and restoring the vineyards were a personal project of mine," he explained in his last interview before his death.

Cristache often spent days in the field protecting the vines from birds before leading the harvest of the sweet, red grapes that go to make up the full-bodied wine. Now the wine he produced is available at after his friend David Rogers arranged for it to be sold through shippers in Austria.

via Nothing To Do With Arbroath

Read More in: General News | Red Wine

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January 3, 2011

Wine on the Wagon - Vignette wine Country Soda

I don't know about you, but once again I found myself enjoying a fairly gluttonous holiday season. I ate my way through holiday parties and imbibed more than my fair share of holiday cheer. And now that the cold reality of January has set in, I have decided to take a break from the vino--at least for a day. For those of you who are dedicated winos, but are feeling the need for a reprieve, check these out:
Vignette Wine Country Soda is the uniquely refreshing non-alcoholic beverage sweetened only with the juice of California varietal wine grapes. Available in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Rose' varieties, these all-natural beverages are lightly sparkling, not too sweet, and simply delicious.

The Pinot Noir is bright with berries, the Chardonnay is light with subtle fruit, and the Rosé blushes with balanced sweetness. All varieties are sweetened only with varietal wine grape juice from California vineyards.

  • All Natural

  • No Added Sugar

  • Non-Alcoholic

  • 50% Varietal Juice

  • No Added Colors

  • Lightly Carbonated

  • No Preservatives

More info: Wine Country Soda
Buy it:

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November 8, 2010

The really huge, Monday, Monday, Attitude Adjustment Wine Glass


I good friend forwarded this to me a while back and I had a good chuckle, then maybe a chortle, and then of course I snobbishly poo-poo'd it. Well, it has been a Monday and I dare say if I had one of these ridiculously gigantic wine glasses in my arsenal, I wouldn't have to settle for the old crazy-straw-in-the-bottle trick.

Light drinkers beware! This Giant Wine Glass holds a whole bottle of wine! If you think you have what it takes to down a whole bottle of wine in one sitting, then this is definitely the glass for you. Why bother constantly refilling your small wine glass when what you really want is a proper sized goblet? Well you don't have to anymore. Now you can fill your glass with the whole bottle at one time and spend your energy enjoying your spirits. Standing about 9 inches tall, this extra large wine glass eliminates your need to get up for refills. With a capacity of 750 ml, this glass really does hold the whole bottle.

Giant Wine Glass - Holds a Whole Bottle of Wine!

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October 4, 2010

Portable Wine - Klean Kanteen Wine Karafe


Sometimes you want to take your wine with you. But what do you do when getting to your destination means climbing a few thousand vertical feet, a bike ride through busy city streets or a paddle to an uninhabited island?

Whether it's up a ridge to your favorite picnic spot or along a beachside trail, replace that glass bottle with a lightweight, shatterproof Wine Karafe™. When you get there, make a toast knowing that the glass of wine you raise retains its true flavor.

The Wine Karafe™ was designed to hold a standard, 750ml bottle of wine and is made from high quality, 18/8, food-grade stainless steel that's totally free of BPA and other toxins. Because stainless steel itself is safe, we don't need to coat the inside of the bottle with a plastic or epoxy lining, which is one of the main differences between a stainless steel Klean Kanteen® and aluminum bottles.

Food-grade stainless steel is used in the brewing, food and winemaking industries too. It's the material of choice because it doesn't retain or impart flavors. No matter how many times you refill it, no matter what you put into it, your Klean Kanteen® will keep your drinks fresh, crisp and clean tasting.

The large mouth makes it easy to fill or pour from, and it's a cinch to clean. Just rinse it with mild soap and water and give it a quick scrub. Your Pinot Gris will never know you were drinking a Zinfandel yesterday.
Brushed Stainless $20.95 or 2 for 39.90

Image and copy via Klean Kanteen

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September 13, 2010

Wattle Creek Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc 2009

VARIETAL: Sauvignon Blanc
REGION: Mendocino, California
PRICE: $19

One sip of the Wattle Creek sauvignon blanc and you can just tell it comes from a cooler climate. This zippy sipper just screams refreshment--from the lovely green-gold hue to the bright, grassy nose. Lots of mouthwatering grapefruit and lime zest punctuate the soft stony backbone. This wine is the perfect foil for a 108 degree September day. But for those of you who don't live in the desert, I'd serve it with a simple salad of mesclun greens, heirloom grape tomatoes and pan seared [insert light white fish of choice here].

I picked this one up on a bit of a whim... I'd never seen it before and had never even heard of it, but was quite pleasantly surprised. I'll definitely be investigating some of the other Wattle Creek wines, including some from their Alexander Valley vineyards. I love that it is a family owned operation and most importantly, I love the juice. It retails for about $19 on the Wattle Creek site, but I found mine at a local market for about $15.

Wattle Creek Winery

Read More in: White Wine | Wine Tasting Notes

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August 24, 2010

La Ferme Julien Rose 2009


Do you remember what it was like to open up the fridge on a hot summer day and see it there... that bright red, wiggly, jiggly dish of fun? I just loved when mom made jello and that is the memory reserve I tap into when it is 110 degrees outside and I open my fridge and see La Ferme Julien Rose. It just makes me grin. Same vibrant color, same promise of fruity fun. This is totally my go-to wine in the summer. Bright, strawberry red juice that is so crystal clear it seems almost shiny in the glass and vibrant red berry and cherry flavors that zing your tongue. I love that it is a little fuller bodied with a clean layer of acidity that keeps it balanced and super refreshing. And at 13% alcohol, there is not even a hint of sweetness. You can easily polish off this bottle if you're not careful.

Serve it with just about anything. Seriously, it is ridiculously food friendly... shawarma and hummus, burgers and dogs on the grill, BBQ chicken chopped salad, potlatch seasoned and planked salmon... the options are endless. Just be sure you don't serve it too cold. If you open it and it seems sort of bitter and flavorless, let it warm up just a teensy bit and enjoy. At $5.99 a bottle at Trader Joe's it can easily become addictive.

Read More in: Rose Wine | Trader Joe's Alert!

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August 23, 2010

Clos Du Val Winery Declares Its Vindependence


I know you're wondering why I'm posting about a piece that was so obviously crafted in July, so I will tell you. For the past 6 weeks I have been up to my eyeballs in moving boxes. Packing them, hauling them and most importantly, unpacking them. I've been a little distracted by all that cardboard and as a result my inbox has been filling up with tasty little tidbits that I've recently been trying to catch up on.

This one strikes my fancy because I just love the message... and the discount is a pretty good incentive too.

When, in the course of events, it becomes necessary to stand up for what you believe in, to bravely swim against the tide, to do what you think is right even if it is contrary to the opinions of others, to not allow yourself to be swayed, bullied or bargained with.
At Clos Du Val, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that our commitment to such principles is at the very foundation of all we do and all we have done since our founding in 1972. That to manipulate these principles in a manner inconsistent with our dedication to balance, elegance and grace would demonstrate a lack of respect for each other, our vineyards and our consumers.
We, therefore, as a winery and as individuals, and in recognition of these principles set forth by our founders nearly four decades ago, on this day in July in the year 2010, declare our independence which, in the spirit of individualism, shall forever more be deemed 'Vindependence.'
To the spirited individuals who share these principles, we ask you to join our revolution and declare your own Vindependence today and, in doing so, you will receive access to exclusive content and giveaways, as well as 15% off any on-line or tasting room purchase through 2010.

I can't honestly remember the last time I had a Clos du Val wine, so I'll have to do my due diligence and get back to you on that one. I do remember the price point being just over our Cheap Fun limit (in the low 20s?) so perhaps I'll save them for a Swanky Wine Friday... nothing wrong with a little budget-friendly swank, right?

Sign the Declaration of Vindependence

Check out Clos du Val Wines

p.s. I signed the declaration just prior to posting this and I already received a discount code to use for the remainder of the year.

Read More in: General News | Wine News

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August 13, 2010

Friday the 13th actress unveils 'Crystal Lake' bottle tonight at the winery

fri13th wine.jpg

If you are a wine loving fan of Friday the 13th, you should check out Crystal Lake Wines, a private label offering from Valley View Winery in Oregon. And enjoy this piece, courtesy of the Mail Tribune:

The original Final Girl pulled a mauled and blood-caked hockey mask from an old box Thursday and proudly displayed it in Valley View Winery's otherwise cheery tasting room.

Adrienne King, the star of the first cult classic, placed the mask beside her artwork, which features eerie snapshots of her character just before a young Jason Voorhees tears out of Crystal Lake and drags her under the surface during the film's final sequence.

The horror of Crystal Lake has returned once again -- on a bottle of high-end wine.

"This combines all my passions," King said. "My acting, my artwork and wine."

King is promoting Crystal Lake wine, named after the spot where Jason slaughtered armies of sex-obsessed teenagers for three decades.

Valley View Winery will host a showing of the original "Friday the 13th" tonight -- which just so happens to be Friday the 13th -- to celebrate the new vintage and the 30th anniversary of the film's release. A showing of the slasher classic will accompany a fan meet-and-greet with King. The proceeds will benefit Applegate Valley Fire District 9.

Crystal Lake wine sells for $20 a bottle and includes a personalized autograph with each bottle.

by Chris Conrad. Copy and Image via Mail Tribune. Read the full article here.

Read More in: Celebrity Wine | General News

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August 6, 2010

Swanky NYC Restaurant Replaces Their Wine List with an iPad


Well, this is just another reason why I love New York. This already-swanky spot ups its cool factor with iPad wine lists... Check it out. From Chip Chick:

Looking for a cool way to dine in NYC - especially during restaurant week? Well the South Gate restaurant is the first New York City restaurant to launch custom designed iPad wine tablets. The iPad is now being offered as a way for customers to navigate South Gate's extensive wine list of over 650 bottles. Their new iPad "wine tablet" provides customers with detailed information about the major wine regions and varietals, and it also automatically updates the wine list as labels sell out, so that the inventory is always accurate. South Gates' sommelier will use the iPad "to educate patrons on over 650 bottle wines available or invite guests to instantly access the information themselves from the iPad's fully customizable SmartCellar application with the touch of a finger." If you ask us, with the iPad doing all of this work now, who needs the sommelier? But anyway, yes folks, it's happened! Get ready to get wasted, courtesy of your iPad.

via Chip Chick

Read More in: General News | Swanky Wine Fridays

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