2019 Taste of Howell Mountain – Father’s Day Eve

2019 Taste of Howell Mountain "Above The Fog"Father’s Day Eve may not be a real thing but celebrate it anyway enjoying food, wine and music at the 2019 Taste of Howell Mountain on Saturday, June 15th. Starting at noon, you (and Dad) will be able to taste and compare wines from over 45 Howell Mountain wineries such as AloftCADE Estate Winery, Duckhorn Vineyards, Dunn Vineyards, La Jota Vineyard Co., Piña Napa Valley and Robert Craig Winery.  The fun starts at noon in and around the historic Carriage House at Napa Valley’s oldest winery, Charles Krug Winery (2800 Main Street, St. Helena).

Rosés from Howell Mountain

Rosés from Howell Mountain

Howell Mountain is well known for its Cabernet Sauvignon and you’ll find many incredible wines from that varietal that day. But, there’s more to Howell Mountain than just Cabernet. We’ve particularly enjoyed the Arkenstone Sauvignon Blanc, Robert Craig Merlot, Black Sears Zinfandel and Retro Cellars Petite Sirah.  We’ve also found many excellent Rosés from Howell Mountain.  Last year, our favorites included wines from Red Thread Wines (crafted from Zinfandel grapes), Retro Cellars (Peloursin grapes) and SPENCE (Cabernet Sauvignon grapes).

Howell Mountain Merlot from Robert Craig

Howell Mountain Merlot from Robert Craig

Between noon and 3 pm at the 2019 Taste of Howell Mountain your group can enjoy a Walk-Around Wine Tasting, a Silent Auction and Live Music from The Hummingbirdz.  Then, from 3 pm to 5 pm it’s time to sit down and enjoy even more Howell Mountain wine as you watch (and hopefully participate in) a festive Live Auction with Greg Quiroga officiating.  Auction items this year include opportunities for wining and dining in special Howell Mountain locations, multiple bottles of Howell Mountain wine (in many sizes), and fun excursions to places such as Mammoth Mountain, Yosemite and the Oregon Coast.
–> please click here to continue reading –>

A Wine to Honor D-Day: 6.6.44

6.6.44 Wine

6.6.44 Wine

As we remember and honor people who have died while serving in the US Armed Forces this Memorial Day, we wanted to make sure you had heard about 6.6.44, a wine commemorating D-Day.  In preparation for that important day’s 75th anniversary, Boisset Collection recently released this elegant red wine made with grapes from both California and France.  The wine honors an important moment in world history and Boisset Collection is also donating a portion of the proceeds to an important veterans’ charity.

D-Day was one of the most pivotal moments in world history, when 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified coastline in Normandy, in northwest France, on June 6, 1944. The operation, including the largest seaborne invasion in history, began the liberation of German-occupied France (and later Europe) from Nazi control and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front.

6.6.44 represents a first-of-its-kind partnership between Boisset winemakers in California (Stephanie Putnam, Brian Maloney and Thane Knutson) and France (Grégory Patriat, Laurent Sauvage, Florent Georger and Jean-Philippe Perrin). This Franco-American red wine blend features Gamay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Petit Verdot grapes from the French regions of Languedoc, Rhône, Beaujolais and Burgundy. California’s contributions include Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah and Malbec grapes from the Russian River Valley and Napa Valley.

–> please click here to continue reading –>

Taste Mendocino: SF, You Should Go

Bud Break so come Taste Mendocino

Bud Break in Mendocino County

If you’re ready to plan your next trip to Mendocino County, we highly recommend you swing by Taste Mendocino in San Francisco on April 27.  Between 1 pm and 4 pm, at Fort Mason Center (in Gallery 308), you can meet representatives from this County full of striking natural beauty, friendly small towns, and excellent wineries just 90 miles north of The City.  Winemakers, brewmasters, farmers, chefs, innkeepers and other local artisans will share samples of their products and provide information about this area’s diverse offerings.

Long Meadow Ranch, a Taste Mendocino participant

Long Meadow Ranch

Over 30 Mendocino County wineries will be pouring their best wines for attendees, paired with small bites from the region’s top chefs. Participating wineries will include Alder Springs Vineyard, Barra, Brutocao, Campovida, Fathers + Daughters Cellars, Goldeneye Winery, Handley Cellars, Husch Vineyards, Long Meadow Ranch, Maple Creek Winery, Navarro Vineyards, Parducci Wine Cellars, Seebass Vineyards, Theopolis Vineyards and Waits-Mast Family Cellars.
–> please click here to continue reading –>

Tasting Room Spotlight: Outland Tasting Room in Napa

Outland Tasting Room wines

Outland Tasting Room

Spring brings many welcome things to Napa Valley: warmer weather, an abundance of wildflowers, and expanded hours at the Outland Tasting Room in downtown Napa (at 920 Franklin Street). This 3-wineries-in-1 tasting room features delicious wines from POE WinesForlorn Hope and Farella Vineyard. Starting this month, they are now open Thursday to Monday from 1 pm to 7 pm. The wines produced by those three wineries may cover an array of varietals, but the winemakers share a common belief that wines should be produced with minimal interference and allowed to show their unique varietal characteristics.

The founding winemakers of the Outland Tasting Room are Samantha Sheehan (POE Wines), Matthew Rorick (Forlorn Hope) and Tom Farella (Farella Vineyard). On any given day your white wine tasting choices could include Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Sémillon, Pinto Gris and Chardonnay. For red wine, you’re likely to find Pinot Noir, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, and/or Cabernet Sauvignon. The tasting room itself has an open, contemporary design and was created to allow the Napa community, and visitors, to experience high quality wines while also fostering wine education.

Outland Tasting Room – The Stories of POE Wines, Forlorn Hope & Farella Vineyard

After being inspired by the wines of Burgundy and Champagne, Samantha Sheehan founded POE Wines in 2009. Here, she tries to create wines which are vineyard specific, age-worthy wines reflective of the terroir of California. POE Wines are vinified with minimal intervention without any additives and a judicious use of sulfur. Each wine is made in very limited quantities. FYI, the name “POE” was inspired by the ravens which inhabited Samantha’s backyard as she grew up (and Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” was actually filmed nearby).

POE Wines at Outland Tasting Room in Napa

POE Wines

–> please click here to continue reading –>

bASH 2019: For the 10th Time, Enjoying Wine with Food

Steamed Bao Buns, the type of dish to expect at bASH 2019

Steamed Bao Buns with Braised Beef Cheeks

If you enjoy awesome wine, food, and wine-and-food pairings then you should clear your calendar now for bASH 2019 on Saturday, March 30. More than just a wine tasting event, this annual showcase for Napa Valley’s Appellation St. Helena has over 30 premium wineries joining forces with local culinary talent to compete for your vote for best wine and food pairing of the evening. This is the 10th time this delightful event has happened, giving attendees the power to select the winners. That’s right: if you attend bASH 2019, you get to eat, drink AND judge.

Appellation St. Helena Wines

Appellation St. Helena Wines

We are huge fans of wines crafted from varietals grown in the St Helena appellation. Last year’s bASH allowed us to savor outstanding Cabernet Sauvignons from Anomaly Vineyards, Calafia Cellars, Ehlers Estate, MC4, Mending Wall, Pellet Estate, Raymond Vineyards, St. Helena Winery, Taplin Cellars and Trinchero Napa Valley. However, we also had the pleasure of enjoying other wines such as the Ballentine Vineyards Maple Station White Blend, Charles Krug Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Benessere Vineyards Aglianico and Prager Winery & Port Works Royal Escort Port.

Taplin Cellars Terra 9 Cabernet Sauvignon

Taplin Cellars Terra 9 Cabernet Sauvignon

We’re not sure which wines those folks will be pouring this year, but we’re glad all of those wineries will be returning for the 2019 bASH. Other participants so far include Chase Cellars, Crocker & Starr, HALL Wines, Revana Family Vineyard, Robert Biale Vineyards, Rombauer VineyardsSpottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery, Stanton VineyardsTitus Vineyards, Tuck Beckstoffer Estate and Varozza Vineyards. Their wines will be served alongside delicious food offerings from participants such as Chef Jonathan Bodnar (Smoakville), Market Restaurant and Sunshine Foods.
–> please click here to continue reading –>

2019 Vineyard to Vintner – SLD’s 30th Anniversary

Taylor Family Vineyards, a 2019 Vineyard to Vintner participant

Taylor Family Vineyards

Cabernet Sauvignon lovers should grab their credit cards because tickets are now available for the 2019 Vineyard to Vintner (V2V) weekend. Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District (SLD) is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year!. So, they have reimagined their annual event to ensure attendees enjoy rare library selections, decadent meals, in-depth education opportunities and exclusive vintner access. This is a perfect opportunity to revisit the stellar Cabernet Sauvignons from producers such as Chimney Rock Winery, Clos Du Val, Shafer Vineyards, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Taylor Family Vineyards.

While the Stag Leap District region’s reputation for premium wines had been critically acclaimed for decades, it was back on January 27, 1989 that it was awarded formal ATF appellation status. Bordered by the Vaca Mountains on the East and the Napa River on the West, the District was the first in the United States to be approved based on the distinctiveness of its soils. Today, it remains the smallest producing Napa AVA by acreage.

Steltzner Vineyards

Steltzner Vineyards

The district’s fame may be based on Cabernet Sauvignon but we have found plenty of stellar wines here made from other varietals. Some of our favorites at prior Vineyard to Vintner (V2V) events have been the Taylor Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Regusci Winery Mary’s Cuvée Chardonnay, Malk Family Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir,  Clos Du Val Cabernet Franc, Stags’ Leap Winery Petite Sirah, Steltzner Vineyards Malbec, Ilsley Vineyards Seis Primas red wine blend and Silverado Vineyards Late Harvest Semillon.
–> please click here to continue reading –>

Winery Spotlight: Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Winery

Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Winery

Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Winery

Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Winery in Napa Valley is a hidden gem, offering outstanding wines and a nostalgic tasting experience in a beautiful natural setting. Founded by Stuart Smith, Smith-Madrone has been producing top quality wines since its first vintage in 1977. The winery sits on top of Spring Mountain in Northwest Napa Valley on steep slopes, with elevations between 1,300 and 2,000 feet, surrounded by a huge array of natural beauty and wildlife. Although Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Winery is on a 200-acre ranch, just a small portion of the estate is planted to grapes and the winery only produces about 4,000 cases per year.

Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Winery – The Story

Stuart Smith, with a partnership of family and friends, acquired the property which became Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Winery in 1971. Two years later, Stuart’s brother Charles Smith joined the winery and became its Winemaker. The name Smith-Madrone is a tribute to the Smith Brothers and the predominant tree on the ranch: The Madrone, an evergreen tree with red-brown trunk and branches that bear lily-of-the-valley-like flower clusters in the spring and orange-red berries in the fall. In 1972, Smith-Madrone planted its first vineyards with Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir (the Pinot Noir was eventually grafted to Chardonnay in 1989). However, the ranch was originally planted with vines in the 1800s by George Cook, the first owner of the property. Today, the vineyards consist of about 37 acres and Cabernet Franc and Merlot have been added to the plantings.

Grapes at Smith-Madrone Vineyards and WineryAll of Smith-Madrone’s wines are made entirely from the winery’s estate vineyards. Although drip irrigation was used to establish the vineyards, today the vineyards are dry-farmed. This forces the grapevines to send their roots deep into the soil to search for water and nutrients, resulting in small berries with a large skin-to-juice ratio. In addition, the cooler mountain climate, mostly deep-red Aiken Stoney Clay loam soils and the rugged property conditions (with some slopes angling up to 35%) also help to produce grapes which have intense flavor, structure and longevity. From these grapes, combined with winemaking practices blending traditional methods from France and Germany with new techniques developed in California, Stuart and Charles are able to produce mouthwatering small lot wines reflecting the uniqueness of their mountain terroir.
–> please click here to continue reading –>