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  • pinitbutton J Vineyards 2007 Vintage Brut   Wine of the Week Review
j vintage brut 97x300 J Vineyards 2007 Vintage Brut   Wine of the Week Review

J Vineyards 2007 Vintage Brut

Price: $48

Rating: 14.5/20

Region: Russian River Valley, California

Varietals: 64 percent Chardonnay, 34 percent Pinot Noir, 2 percent Pinot Meunier

Production: 700 cases

Alcohol: 12.5 percent


Tasting Notes: Not one to live in the shadow of her father, who founded Jordan Winery, Judy Jordan struck out on her own as a specialist in sparkling wine. Her simply named J Vineyards and Winery makes fine bottles of bubbly using traditional Champagne varietals and winemaking techniques. The 2007 J Vintage Brut was aged on the lees for more than five years, giving it a soft, creamy mouthfeel. On the Continue reading “J Vineyards 2007 Vintage Brut – Wine of the Week Review” »



  • pinitbutton Farm to Tequila: A Visit to Casa Herradura

coleccion de la casa 2013 332x500 Farm to Tequila: A Visit to Casa Herradura

by Jeff Hoyt


There is some dispute as to who first said, “No one should see how laws or sausages are made.” But there’s no dispute that seeing how Tequila is made is a fascinating experience.


Vodka can be distilled from potatoes, wheat, grapes or other substances. But Tequila is only made from blue agave, one of the 200 known types of agave.  On a recent trip to Amatitán, Jalisco, Mexico, I got to visit the Herradura estate where blue agave is grown, harvested and transformed into Mexico’s finest export. 

Continue reading “Farm-to-Tequila: A Visit to Casa Herradura” »


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A Taste of Aquaoir

on December 04th, 2013
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04

Dec

  • pinitbutton A Taste of Aquaoir
aquaoir two pack 500x500 A Taste of Aquaoir

An “Aquaoir” box of Mira Winery 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon


by Barnaby Hughes


Mira Winery made headlines earlier this year when it aged four cases of its 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon underwater in Charleston Harbor for three months. When the wine was later brought to the surface and tasted, Mira winemaker Gustavo Gonzalez was quoted as saying, “It’s not better, it’s not worse and it is definitely different. The land wine is tighter versus Aquaoir-aged wine, which is more complex and broad, more open and relaxed. The result is proof certain that we have more to learn.”

Continue reading “A Taste of Aquaoir” »



  • pinitbutton Tuck Beckstoffer 2011 Melée   Wine of the Week Review
tuck beckstoffer 100x300 Tuck Beckstoffer 2011 Melée   Wine of the Week Review

Tuck Beckstoffer 2011 Melée

Price: $35

Rating: 15/20

Region: California

Varietals: 95 percent Grenache & 5 percent Syrah

Production: 2,200 cases

Alcohol: 14.5 percent


Tasting Notes: The son of renowned wine grower Andy Beckstoffer, who owns and farms some of the finest vineyards in Napa Valley, Tuck Beckstoffer has distinguished himself as a winemaker. His eponymous winery produces a variety of wines under five different labels: 75, Hogwash, Mockingbird, Semper and Melée. The 2011 Melée is a rich and expansive Rhône-style Grenache. It features luscious flavors of Continue reading “Tuck Beckstoffer 2011 Melée – Wine of the Week Review” »



  • pinitbutton Susana Balbo 2008 Brioso   Wine of the Week Review
susana balbo brioso 90x300 Susana Balbo 2008 Brioso   Wine of the Week Review

Susana Balbo 2008 Brioso

Price: $45

Rating: 15/20

Region: Mendoza, Argentina

Varietals: 60 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 15 percent Malbec, 10 percent Merlot, 10 percent Cabernet Franc & 5 percent Petit Verdot

Production: 600 cases

Alcohol: 14.5 percent


Tasting Notes: Having worked as a consultant winemaker for 20 years, Susana Balbo struck out on her own in 1999 by founding Dominio del Plata. The winery produces a variety of wines under four different labels: Benmarco, Crios, Nosotros and the eponymous Susana Balbo. The 2008 Brioso is a well-balanced Bordeaux-style blend. It offers earthy aromas Continue reading “Susana Balbo 2008 Brioso – Wine of the Week Review” »



  • pinitbutton Brooks 2011 Janus Pinot Noir   Wine of the Week Review
janus pinot noir 116x300 Brooks 2011 Janus Pinot Noir   Wine of the Week Review

Brooks 2011 Janus Pinot Noir

Price: $35

Rating: 14/20

Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon

Varietal: 100 percent Pinot Noir

Production: 2,014 cases

Alcohol: 12.3 percent


Tasting Notes: Although he’s not old enough to legally buy the wines he produces, 17-year-old Pascal Brooks is the sole owner of Brooks Winery. Together with his Aunt Janie, who acts as Managing Director, he continues his late father’s commitment to organic and biodynamic farming. The 2011 Janus Pinot Noir is appropriately named for the two-headed god of beginnings and transitions. Boasting earthy fruit flavors of black cherry and rhubarb with hints of Continue reading “Brooks 2011 Janus Pinot Noir – Wine of the Week Review” »



  • pinitbutton Affordable Bordeaux to Warm the Holiday Spirit
holiday wine dinner 500x333 Affordable Bordeaux to Warm the Holiday Spirit

Holiday dinner with affordable Bordeaux wines


by Patricia Mack


The wines of Bordeaux are not usually thought of as affordable celebratory wines, but come this holiday season, there are selections that even Scrooge can love. Daniel Johnnes, the James Beard-award-winning wine director of chef Daniel Boulud’s family of restaurants says that Bordeaux are not only easy on the pocketbook but perfect for the holiday table.

Continue reading “Affordable Bordeaux to Warm the Holiday Spirit” »



  • pinitbutton Cesari 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC   Wine of the Week Review
cesari amarone 121x300 Cesari 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC   Wine of the Week Review

Cesari 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC

Price: $63

Rating: 15/20

Region: Veneto, Italy

Varietal: 70 percent Corvina, 20 percent Molinara & 10 percent Rondinella

Alcohol: 14.5 percent


Tasting Notes: Gerardo Cesari founded his eponymous winery in 1936 with the goal of making outstanding Amarone. Today, his son and grandchildren carry on the family business. The 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico is made in the traditional manner from indigenous grape varietals partially dried for three to four months before pressing. Aged in Slavonian oak barrels for three years and in the bottle for at least eight months, the result is impressive and full- Continue reading “Cesari 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC – Wine of the Week Review” »



07

Nov

  • pinitbutton Beyond the Pale   Book Review

The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

By Ken Grossman

(Wiley, 2013)

buynow Beyond the Pale   Book Review

sierra nevada Beyond the Pale   Book Review

Beyond the Pale: The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. by Ken Grossman


It’s easy to forget how revolutionary Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. was at the time of its creation by Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi. In 1980, there were just 40 breweries in the U.S., mostly brewing bland lagers in industrial quantities. The idea of creating full-flavored, hoppy beers that could compete with long-established German imports (at least, in terms of price), was a daunting prospect. Fortunately, Ken was an incredibly hardworking, entrepreneurial and resourceful guy. He was always building things and building businesses, beginning with bicycles (he managed a few bicycle shops in Chico) before focusing entirely on beer.

Continue reading “Beyond the Pale – Book Review” »



  • pinitbutton Viña Alicia 2009 Las Compuertas Malbec   Wine of the Week Review
vina alicia malbec 115x300 Viña Alicia 2009 Las Compuertas Malbec   Wine of the Week Review

Viña Alicia 2009 Las Compuertas Malbec

Price: $30

Rating: 14/20

Region: Mendoza, Argentina

Varietal: 100 percent Malbec

Production: 2,000 cases

Alcohol: 14.5 percent


Tasting Notes: Many of the most highly rated Malbecs, including this Viña Alicia offering, come from Luján de Cuyo. Designated as Mendoza’s first appellation in 1993, Luján de Cuyo is a cool, high altitude region in the foothills of the Andes. The 2009 Las Compuertas Malbec is a dense, full-bodied and unfiltered wine. It features dark, earthy flavors such as blackberry, fig and mocha with Continue reading “Viña Alicia 2009 Las Compuertas Malbec – Wine of the Week Review” »



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