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Tag: California (page 1 of 2)

Wine Selections by the Owner

English: A photograph of a bottle of an Israel...

:  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All of the wines tasted at this time were selected by one of the owners of Creekside Cellars.  While the wine store is no longer in business, the wines reviewed here are still available at a variety of places.  The tasting occurred on March 30, 2013.

Scharffenburger Brute Rose Sparkling Anderson Valley, Mendocino County ($25) This sparkling wine received a star and exclamation point from Wining Husband and I. It was citrus-y, light and smooth. It was a bit sweet, but not overly sweet. We enjoyed it pretty well.

Duckhorn 2011 Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley ($29) We gave a  star to this wine. It was a pretty good Sauvignon Blanc. It was smoky, and had lots of citrus to it. It was very dry. It would pair well with a strawberry avocado salad or one of the pear and walnut salads that are out there.

Conundrum 2011 White Blend, California ($24) We gave this wine a star, though when you read that we thought the nose had aromas of Tidy Cat mixed with Cascade, you may wonder why. On the tasting, it was round. It was fresh, sweet, and citrus-y, and decently good.

Levendi 2009 “Red Hen” Chardonnay Napa Valley ($29) We also liked this wine pretty well, giving it a star. It was sweet and buttery with a hint of spice. It was your basic Chardonnay with a vanilla finish.

Waterbrook 2010 Sangiovese Rosé Columbia Valley ($13) Yeah, we didn’t like this one. I’m not going to share the notes that we wrote down. Suffice it to say, neither Wining Husband nor I were fans.

Guarachi 2010 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast ($60) Yeah, we didn’t like this one either. It received 93 points from Wine Spectator. Either our palates were off and we were missing something or it was just one of those wines that doesn’t mix well with our chemistries. Our notes say “rubber mallet & sweat sock, smells like a foot.” I think that about sums that one up. (As a full disclaimer, I’m not entirely sure this effect wasn’t brought on by the wine that immediately preceded it in the tasting).

Shannon Ridge 2008 Wrangler Red Lake County ($15) We weren’t much fans of this one either. We gave it a “no.” It had a wet dog quality on the nose. On the taste it was light fruit & rubber with a bit of cigar. It was okay, but it just didn’t work for us.

Clos de L’Oratoire 2010 Chateauneuf~du~Pape France ($45) We enjoyed this wine, giving it a star. It was tobacco and dry spice with a medium body. It was a versatile wine, and would pair very nicely with Wining Husband’s recipe for Chicken Valencia.

William Harrison 2007 Cabernet Franc Rutherford, Napa Valley ($44) This wine was a winner. We gave it a star and one and a half exclamation points. It was sweet and buttery with a cigar box and tobacco finish. It was rather lovely.

Murphy Goode 2000 “Brenda Block” Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley, Sonoma ($63) This wine was the winner of the lot. We gave it a star and two exclamation points. It was sweet, with butter and spice goodness. It behaves and tastes like a 2-3 year old wine instead of a 13 year old wine. It didn’t need a pairing; it was great on its own.

Have you tried any of these wines? What were your thoughts on them?

 

Tasting Notes: A Collection of California Wine and Cheese

English: Goat's milk cheese

English: Goat’s milk cheese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*These notes are from a tasting in March, 2013 at Creekside Cellars. While Creekside Cellars is no longer open, these wines can be found at a variety of places. I have a stack of tasting notes I will be sharing over the coming weeks from tastings held at this wonderful venue.*

The theme of this tasting group was “California wine and cheese,” and all the wines and cheeses collected were products of California. One of the things I will miss most about the weekly tastings offered at Creekside Cellars was the care that the owners up into pairing their weekly cheese plate with the offerings of wine for that week. While I don’t normally mention cheeses on here, I’ll give a brief overview of the cheeses that were featured during this tasting.

St. Pat – This cheese from Cowgirl Creamery in Petaluma was delicious. It was mellow, soft, and filled with flavor. It was wrapped with nettle leaves, giving it a delicious smoky, artichoke flavor.

Green Chile Chevre – This cheese came from Redwood Hill Dairy in Sebastopol. The cheese was a light and delicious goat cheese with green chilies mixed into it. I’m a huge chevre fan, so naturally I liked this as well.

Seascape – This cheese came from Central Coast Creamery in Paso Robles. It’s a mixture of cow and goat milk, cheddar like and aged for 5 months.

Mezzo Secco – From Vella Cheese in Sonoma, this cheese was a medium dry jack coated with black pepper. It was served with Blue Chair’s Organic Greengage Plum Jam.

Finally on the plate was Framani Picante Salami. It wasn’t a cheese, but it came from Berkeley. It was a dry chorizo seasoned with pimenton de la Vera. It was very delicious.

Okay, now that your mouth is watering, it’s time to get down to business and discuss the wines.

Rack & Riddle – Sparkling Blanc de Blancs Sonoma ($23) – This sparkling was very good. We gave it a star. On the nose, there wer hints of apples, walnuts, and pears. On the palate, it was all apple, peach, and green grapes. It had a Perond-like taste afterwards. It paired well with the seascape cheese and the plum jam.

Brander “La Mesa” 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Rita in Santa Barbara County ($18) – This wine was good when paired with cheese. It was floral and sweet, yet dry. It went well with the St. Pat, Chevre, and Seascape.

J Vineyards 2009 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley ($26) – We didn’t have this wine during this tasting, but in the past we’d enjoyed it.

Naggiar 2011 Viognier, Sierra Foothills ($11) – This was smoke yet dry. It had spice that appeared with the Mezzo Secco, and it had hints of ancho and Anaheim peppers. We gave this wine a star.

ampelos 2011 Rose of Syrah, Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County ($18) – This wine was very nice and versatile. We gave this wine a star and exclamation mark, meaning we really enjoyed it. It tasted of barbecued watermelon, was tangy and smoky, and it had a subtle spice. It would be great with BBQ chicken or even my husband’s delicious artichoke heart pasta.

Talley Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir, Arroyo Grande Valley ($36) – This wine also earned a star and an exclamation point from us. It smelled of red fruit and licorice. There was a bit of “wet dog” on the nose which disappeared when swirled. There was also a hint of funky cheese on the nose. On the taste, it was smooth, with an understated spice. It was an excellent pairing with the Mezzo Secco cheese.

Pruett 2010 “CSP” Syrah, Sierra Foothills ($23) – This was another star and exclamation point wine. It tasted of plums, dark fruit, and cloves. It was sweet, especially with the olives. It was excellent with the chorizo.

Frank Family Vineyards 2010 Zinfandel, Napa Valley ($39) – We did not try this wine because we’d had it in the past and enjoyed it very much.

Neyers 2011 Sage Canyon Red” 45% Carignan, 25% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, and 15% Syrah, North Coast ($39) This wine was stinky on the nose. It was like a wet dog. It had a dry heat and was tannic. It went well with the chorizo.

Ladera 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($39) – This wine had butter and olive oil on the nose. It had notes of red fruit, olive oil, and butter with a slightly watery taste. It went well with the chorizo; the sausage brought out the heat, tannins, and spice in the wine.

Have you tried any of these wines? What were your thoughts on them? There were a few from this list that we’d like to cellar.

 

Notes on Wines “And the Winner Is”

English: Concha y Toro 2005 Casillero del Diab...

English: Concha y Toro 2005 Casillero del Diablo Carmenère wine bottle and glass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As promised, here are notes on wines that we’ve tasted in the past, which never made it to the blog. Creekside Cellars has since closed (excuse me while I shed a tear), but the wines are definitely worth recommending. This tasting is from February, 2013.

1. Saint Hilaire – Brut Sparkling – Limoux, France – $15.00 – This sparkling white was very nice. It had a nutty, almond flavor, and hints of vanilla.

2. Boutari – Santorini-Assyrtiko 2010 – Cycladic Islands, Greece – $20.00 – If you haven’t had a lot of Greek wines, might I recommend them to you? They are crisp, have a mineral taste to them, and are quite nice. This one had notes of olive oil as well, and would pair very nicely with some of the lighter Mediterranean dishes and Greek salads. We really liked this one.

3. Leveroni – Chardonnay 2010 – Carneros, Sonoma – $16.00 – This wine was very nice (like the Boutari, it earned a star and two exclamation points, which means given unlimited resources, we’d add it to our cellar). It was dry yet buttery and lots of oak (but in a good way). It had all these qualities balanced with cloves. It was a really robust chardonnay. It would hold up well with my chicken Swedish meatballs recipe.

4. Belle Glos – “Meiomi” Pinot Noir 2011 – Monterey, Santa Barbara, & Sonoma Counties, California – $27.00 – This wine was very good. With the nose, we were concerned that it would be very rubbery. It’s funny how this wine developed. After the swirl, it had more of a wasabi nose, and upon tasting, it was filled with cloves, vanilla, and peppers. It did very well with the cheeses that had big flavors, and I’d definitely pair it with spicy food and foods with a lot of punch.

5. Kokomo – Zinfandel 2011 – Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma – $27.00 – this wine was decently good. We felt it tasted a lot like Hickman Family Vineyards’ Zinfandel, and given the choice, we preferred the Hickman wine over Kokomo’s.

6.  Perry Creek – “Altitude 2401” Petite Sirah 2009 – El Dorado County – $22.00 – This wine was also a star and one and a half exclamation points wine. It was high octane! It was very tannic, but it had a good fruit balance. This wine would pair well with comfort foods. The cheese plate we ordered had hush puppies, and it went very well with those.

7. Mitolo – “Jester” Shiraz 2010 – McLaren Vale, Australia – $22.00 – This wine was decently good. It had hints of mint, coffee, chocolate, and the tannins were noticeable.

8.  Concha Y Toro – “Marques de Casa Concha” Cabernet – Puento Alto, Chile – $ 24.00 – On the nose, we thought this wine would be too sweet and that it would be almost like plastic. On the taste, it was not bad; it went well with the hush puppies. It had an understated spice to it. It would be nice with spicy Mexican dishes.

We did not taste the d’Arenberg “Hermit Crab” because we’d previously had it, and enjoyed it very much. In fact, we have some in our cellar.

Have you tried any of these wines? Please share your thoughts about them in the comments section.

December Wine Events Around the North State

Wine-tasting

Wine-tasting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are you looking for something to do that’s wine related? Are you winery, cellar, or restaurant that would like publicity for wine events? If you are interested in having your event featured, please email us at events@winingwife.com. We would like to offer our readers a full list of wine events across the country. The deadline for each month is the last Thursday of the month preceding (i.e January’s deadline will be December 27th and February’s deadline will be January 31st.) Please email for information on how YOU can have your wine event featured on Wining Wife today!

Butte County, California

Creekside Cellars – Thursday, Friday, Saturday Weekly – Wine tasting – there is a different theme each week; tastings are priced by the half glass and glass. A cheese plate is specially prepared to accompany each week’s featured wines. Upcoming themes: A Little of This a Little of That; Christmas Dinner Selections; Wines to Give, Wines to Receive

Hickman Family Vineyards Holiday Open House – 11am-5pm December 8th and 9th

Grey Fox – Wine Club Christmas Party – 5-7pm December 8th

Sierra Oro Holiday Farm Tour 11am-5pm December 15th and 16th – featuring Long Creek Winery, Bertagna, Hickman Family Vineyards, Grey Fox, Gale, New Clairvaux, LaRocca, and Honey Run – There is no charge for the tour; $5 for wine tasting, refundable upon purchase of wine.

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Sierra-Oro Farm Trail – Day One

The Sierra-Oro Farm Trail, like the North Sierra Wine Trail, is quite the North State event. There are many wineries and farms on the trail – 22 stops altogether – so it makes it difficult to see everything in the two-day schedule. So, we had to prioritize. We covered most of the Chico area today. Here’s a rundown of what we did.

Mooney Farms – This w as our starting point, and it was a good thing. We got in lunch from all of the samples they offered. Bella Sun Luci, makers of sun-dried tomatoes and olive oil had a plethora of samples for us to try. Out of their samples, we liked their Rustico Balsamic Olive Oil, Rustico Garlic Olive Oil, and Regular Olive Oil as well as the butternut squash – sun-dried tomato risotto they offered.

They also had Skylark Ranch there serving their pomegranate products. Their pomegranate fruit spread and grenadine were quite delicious.

The Basque Norte Marmalade was really good. As was the Brannen Gourmet Pepper Sauces and barbeque sauces. We also enjoyed the California Habanero Blend sauces.

Odyssey Winery and Vineyards –  We’re no strangers to Odyssey’s wines. We were there a few months back, and we enjoyed their selection. This time, we tried two new ones. Their Cabernet Sauvignon was very nice, fruity, light, and oakey. Their Fidieux was a very robust version of a rose wine. It is a Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon mix and was very good.

Emerald “C” Vineyards – This is a newer winery in the area. The history of the vineyard (it’s where Errol Flynn hung out during his Robin Hood filming days) is more fascinating than the wines, which were okay.

New Clairvaux – This winery is a local favorite, and they produce, consistently, very good wine. We were just there a few weeks ago and tasted the same wines. Their wines come strongly recommended.

Roney Wines – This was quite a find in terms of their Cabernet Sauvignon wines. We started off by tasting their 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel from Butte County. The wine had a tight nose, and had notes of sour cherry. It was slightly smokey, spicy, and tannic, and it had a finish of red pepper flakes. ($17)

The 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel from Amador had a fruity, tight nose. It was sweeter and smoother and had a vanilla and cloves finish. ($20)

The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon barrel tasting had notes of vanilla and cloves. It was a very young wine, but it was also very good. I look forward to seeing how this one ages with time.

The 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was tanic and smoother with a blackberry finish. ($38)

The 2010 S&P 500 Napa Wine was a sweet dessert wine. It was dry for a desert wine and had milk and dark chocolate notes.

Maisy Janes – This is a neat little store. They have almonds, marinades, and a lot of local organic goodies.

Bertagna Son Kissed Vineyards – This is a family-owned winery, and they do great wine. We love their Sangiovese Rose.

2011 Pinot Grigio ($11) – Crisp, apples, some spices – overall, it’s sweet and yet very balanced.

2010 Sangiovese Rose ($11) – Apples, almost a bubbly wine – spice, oregano and basil finish.

2010 Sangiovese ($14) – This one has a buttery nose and olive oil notes. It was light  with a cherry and raspberry finish.

2010 Barbera ($14) – This wine was spicy, and tasted of dark blackberries and apricots. It was big and bold.

2009 Petite Sirah ($16) – This one was sweet with notes of butter and spice. It had a red onion and basil finish.

2008 Vino Rojo ($16) – This wine was a Barbera and Cabernet Sauvignon mix. It was smokey and had a spicy nose as well as notes of paprika.

2008 Vino Dulce ($20) – This wine was sweet, but not too sweet. It was quite enjoyable.

Gale Vineyards – This was our last stop on the first day of the tour. After Bertagna, it’s hard to compete. Their winery is gorgeous. There were two weddings going on there at the time, and with good reason. Here are my notes from the tasting.

2011 Sauvignon Blanc ($12) – This had a wet dog nose. After swirling, it dissipated some, and it was a light and easy drinking wine with notes of citrus and grapefruit you expect from a Sauvignon Blanc.

2011 Rose di Primitivo ($12) – This wine had a tight nose. It was watermelon and paprika with notes of cumin and oregano. It would be a nice summer picnic wine.

2009 Temperanillo ($16) – This had a burnt coffee and smoke nose. It would pair well with brats. It had a hazelnut/almond finish to it.

2010 Primativo – This had a nice color. It had notes of almonds and walnuts and Italian seasoning or Herbes de Provence. It would pair well with salami or sourdough with tapenade.

2010 Melage – This wine was 50% Petite Verdot and 50% Primativo. It was okay, but frankly, we had a lot better wines on the trail.

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – This one had a fruity nose with strawberries. It was a bit jammy with a vanilla finish. It would go well with teryaki steak.

We definitely made out like bandits after our first day on the farm trail. Here’s a preview of the goodies we brought home with us.

Emerald "C" Vineyards wines we picked up on the Farm Trail

Emerald “C” Vineyards wines we picked up on the Farm Trail

2012-10-07 20.36.19

Roney Wines we brought home with us

2012-10-07 20.37.16

New Clairvaux wines we brought home with us.

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Celebrate! September is California Wine Month

Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California (Photo credit: the_tahoe_guy)

 

This week’s tasting at Creekside Cellars was in honor of California Wine Month, and all wines were from California vineyards. As always, there were some real stars of the show and there were a couple of wines that were fine, but would have specific uses (for example, as an end of summer wine). Here are our thoughts on the eight wines we tasted.

 

2011 Honig Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley ($17) – We have had this wine before, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a decent wine. It had notes of honeydew and a sweet nose. It had hints of clove-like spices and it was light and summery.

 

2011 Pine Ridge 79% Chenin Blanc and 21% Viognier, Clarksburg, California ($17) – this is a nice end of summer wine. It is a heavier and rounder wine than the Honig. It had more of a cantaloupe bouquet than a honeydew melon bouquet. Overall, it was pretty good.

 

2010 Sextant Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands ($30) – This wine had almost a paint thinner nose – but in a good way (oh, come on, admit it sometimes there is something alluring about the smell of paint thinner!). It had notes of walnut and oak, and it was quite smokey. It would be a lovely wine to accompany Wining Husband’s feta-green pepper bagel dish.

 

glass & bottle of Syrah rose

glass & bottle of Syrah rose (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

2011 Ampelos Rosé of Syrah, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara($18) – This was a pretty good rosé that held up well to both cream and sweet cheeses and fruits. The wine was smokey and spicy. It was a nice, easy-drinking wine.

 

2009 Leveroni “Seven Oaks Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Sonoma ($20) – This wine was peppery, tannic, and yet smooth. It had notes of cloves, nutmeg and plums. It would pair very well with teriyaki steak.

 

2010 Morgan “Cotes du Crow’s” 55% Syrah, 45% Grenache, Monterey County ($18) – This was a nice wine, but it would be interesting to see whether it would open up over time. It was light and had a grape-like flavor (think Welch’s Grape Juice). It was perhaps a little two smooth and needs more spice. I’d be interested in trying it after it was decanted to see what happened.

 

2009 Three Saints Syrah, Santa Rita, Santa Inez, and Santa Maria, Santa Barbara ($18) – This wine was tannic and had a bit of a rubber note to it (but not in a way that detracted from the quality of the wine. It had a lot of spice – both in the form of paprika and cloves. It also had hints of semi-sweet chocolate.

 

2008 Carol Shelton “Karma” Zinfandel, Sonoma County ($33) – This wine had notes of hazelnut, vanilla, and coffee. It was a cigar box and had a lot of spice. This was a wine we enjoyed very much.

 

2010 Educated Guess “Hypothesis” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($40) – This was our favorite wine of the tasting. It was smooth and spicy with notes of brown sugar, maple, espresso, and chocolate. This wine would be absolutely lovely with filet mignon with an olive tapinade.

 

 

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Worldly Selection

Pinot noir grapes growing in late August in th...

Pinot noir grapes growing in late August in the California wine region of Anderson Valley, Mendocino county. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This week’s wine tasting at Creekside Cellars centered on wines from around the world. We tasted eight out of nine of the wines. The only wine we didn’t taste was the d’Arenberg “Hermit Crab” and that’s only because we’ve had it before, loved it, and purchased it for our cellar. Here are our notes on the tasting.

 

Jeio Sparkling Cuuvee Rosé, Veneto, Italy ($15) – This wine was sweet with a buttery nose. It had honey notes and reminded us as a Gewurztraminer. It also had hints of dried apricote, mango, and spice on the end.

 

Unoaked Morgan “Metallico” Chardonnay, Monterrey, California ($22) – We’ve had the oaked version of this wine, so the unoaked was an interesting adventure. IT was nutty and had hints of cashews. It needs a strong taste for pairing. It would pair well with tabbouleh or a citrus salad.

 

2010 Nautilus Pinot Noir Marlborough, New Zealand ($30) – This wine was buttery, and honestly, it was very Merlot-like It was plums, straw, and raspberries, but very good. It’s one that’s going on our wish list.

 

2009 Spice Route Pinotage, Swartland, South Africa ($20) – This wine had notes of cloves, tobacco, vanilla, cocoa, and a hint of amaretto. It was also tannic. There was a lot of heat on the end of the wine. It was a pretty decent wine, but we’ve had better wines that were comparable in nature.

 

Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

2008 Numanthia “Termes” Tempranillo Toro, Spain ($30) – We were on the fence with this wine. On one hand, it seemed very good. On the other hand, we weren’t sure whether we liked it. On the nose, it had olives and must. When sipping, we picked up notes of black pepper, paprika, oregano. It was a very unique and interesting wine.

 

2008 Bell Cellars “Canterbury Vineyard” Syrah Sierra Foothills, California ($25) – This wine was creamy, vanilla and floral. It was spectacular, full-bodied, and very nice. It comes with a high recommendation.

 

2011 Achaval Ferrer Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($25) – This wine is very full, heavy and tannic. It had hints of cherries. It pairs well with cheddar to smooth it out and one it down. This wine can be very good and spicy.

 

 

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Wednesday Night Wine Flight at Christian Michaels

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Photo taken at Skil...

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Photo taken at Skillogalee Winery in the Clare Valley in 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Wednesday nights are wine nights at Christian Michaels Ristoranté, where you can get 25% off your wine order. We went in thinking that we would take advantage of this, but then we saw that they offered flight tastings. We decided to try out the flights to see what wine we might prefer. Here are our notes from the flights offered.

 

The theme of the first flight was “Light and Bright.”

 

2007 Pacific Rim Dry Riesling, Columbia Valley ($24) – This wine was dry on the nose. Tasting it, it presented a wheat and oat flavor and was smokey and complex.

 

2010 Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough ($36) – This wine was drier and green. It had notes of bell peppers, white pepper, Anaheim pepper, and spice.

 

2010 Cline “Cool Climate” Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast ($30) – This wine had a latex and paint thinner nose, and a butter and oil taste when drinking. It was very distinctive. It would pair okay with calamari or food, but it was not great on its own accord.

 

The second flight we tried was “Drink Me.”

 

2010 Coppola “Votre Sante” Pinot Noir, California ($28) – This wine was light no the nose. It had a tobacco and sour black cherry taste to it. It was almost inky, but that was kept in check. It would go very well with spaghetti.

 

Coppola wines terrace view

Coppola wines terrace view (Photo credit: Chasqui (Luis Tamayo))

 

2008 Cosentino Cabernet Franc, California ($38) – This wine was all butter and spice and curry. It was very smooth. It would go well with something like the Indian Butter Chicken dish. It reminded me of cardamon and chai tea, and it had a lot of red pepper in it.

 

2010 Trinedo Malbec, Mendoza ($31) – Sweet and minty, this wine also had hints of spice, vanilla, and plum.

 

The final flight was the “Big Bold Reds” flight.

 

2007 Jade Mountain Merlot, Napa ($31) – Initially, this wine had a chlorine nose and smelled like a swimming pool. Upon swirling, this nose disappeared. It changed into a smooth and fruity nose after the swirl. On tasting, it had notes of cloves, nutmeg, cherries and plums.

 

2009 Sobon Estate “Rocky Top” Zinfandel, Amador ($36) – This wine was a cigar box in a glass. It also had hints of blackberries, cashew nuts, black currents, butter and oil, raspberry and spice. It went very well with bruschetta.

 

2007 Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley ($39) – This was the star of all the flights. It was fruity and vanilla on the nose, but otherwise very tight. It had a green beans and leather bouquet on the tasting. Upon ordering the bottle, with the larger red wine glass, this wine opened up more and showed notes of chocolate cake, artichoke, and was much smokier with a buttery finish. This one is quite a star.

 

 

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Taste the Gold!

A glass of sauvignon blanc wine from unknown o...

A glass of sauvignon blanc wine from unknown origin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This week’s tasting at Creekside Cellars focused on Gold and Double Gold winners from the 2012 California State Fair. We tried all 10 wines this week, and there wasn’t one that we thought was bad out of the lot.

 

NV Korbel Brut Rosé, California ($14) – We’re not big champagne or sparkling wine drinkers, so it is difficult to be partial when writing about sparkling wine. This one was pretty good as a champagne, and if we were looking for something for a New Years Eve toast, we might consider it.

 

2011 Estancia Sauvignon Blanc, Pinnacles Ranches, Monterrey County ($17) – This was very nice. The nose was filled with the bouquet of Douglas Fir Trees. The wine had notes of apricots and pluot. It wasn’t too filled with citrus. It also was much warmer than most sauvignon blancs. This is one of those wines you want to try if you’re not sure you enjoy the traditional Sauvignon Blanc that has a lot of citrus in it.

 

2011 Brassfield Estate Winery “Serenity” White Wine, Blend of Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer, High Valley, California ($17) – This wine had notes of Granny Smith or Fuji apples, and strawberries. This wine was very approachable and easy drinking. It would be a great wine to serve at a book club night.

 

2010 Landmark Vineyards “Overlook” Chardonnay, Sonoma County ($30) – This wine was big and buttery but still light with hints of cloves. It would go very well with an Easter ham, and it is an outstanding choice for those looking for a chardonnay. It was a lovely balance of cream and oak, without being over the top like many of the California chardonnays are.

 

2010 Forefront (by Pine Ridge) Pinot Noir ($23) – This wine would pair well with anything, and was definitely a wonderful choice for the menu. It had a balance between fruit and tobacco, as well as paprika. It was phenomenal with the salami that was served on the cheese plate.

 

2010 Red Rock Winery Winemakers’ Blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah, California ($13) – I was surprised to find out the price of some of the wines on the list this week, and this one was no exception. It was fruity and had notes of blackberries, creme de casis, dark fruit, and sun dried tomatoes. It would pair well with a bold marinara sauce.

 

Sonoma County Grapes

Sonoma County Grapes (Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn)

 

2009 Vino Noceto “Dos Oakies” Sangiovese, Shenandoah Valley, California ($30) – This wine was just beautiful. It had notes of almonds, vanilla, and raspberries. The wine had a heavy, full body and was quite creamy. It would pair well with pizza and would be phenomenal with Mexican food.

2008 Carol Shelton “Karma” Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley ($33) This wine had roses, coffee, and milk chocolate on the nose. It was creamy and had notes of red fruit and black pepper. It was a very good wine, and would cellar very well.

2009 Doe Mill Vineyards Smokey Ridge Red Blend of Zinfandel Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Sierra Foothills, California ($24) – This wine was absolutely amazing, and was the star of the night’s tastings. It would pair perfectly with  filet mignon. It was absolutely amazing and rich and bold.

2009 Napa Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley This wine was full bodied, creamy, and had notes of dark chocolate and espresso It would be lovely paired with creme brulee.

 

 

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Creekside Summertime Wines

Ripe Sauvignon blanc grapes.

Ripe Sauvignon blanc grapes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This week’s theme at Creekside was summertime wines. We tasted eight out of nine of the offered wines, and we liked all but one of the wines (and that one was still pretty good. All of the wines were meant to be refreshing and fun – the perfect wines to accompany a late summer barbecue.

 

2010 Domaine des Corbillieres Sauvignon Blanc from Touraine, Loire Valley, France – ($18) – This wine had a hint of apples to it. It was dry like Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider (except for the fact that it was a crisp white wine). This wine would be a great accompaniment to brie and apples as an appetizer. We liked it a good bit.

 

2011 Pine Ridge 79% Chenin Blanc and 21% Viognier from Clarksburg, California – ($17) – This wine had a stone fruit nose, and on tasting, we sensed white peaches and pepper. It went very well with the blue cheese from the cheese plate (Roaring Forties Blue). This wine was also very nice.

 

2011 Chamisal Vineyard Unoaked Chardonnay from Edna Valley, San Luis Obispo, California – ($17) – This wine was also nice. It had hints of paprika and spice. It was a dry white wine.

 

2011 Waterbrook Rose of Sangiovese from Columbia Valley, Washington – ($16) – This wine was buttery, lemony, and spicy. It would go well with a sweet and sour type dish. We liked it okay, but thought that Bertagna’s Rose of Sangiovese outshone it.

 

2007 Monte Antico “Toscana” 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet and 5% Merlot from Tuscany, Italy – ($13) – Even though the composition of this wine only included 5% Merlot, you could taste the fruit forward done right qualities. This wine had the cigar box qualities we love with notes of black pepper. If you love caprese salad (who doesn’t?), this would be a perfect pairing.

 

2009 Ancient Peaks Merlot from Paso Robles, California – ($16) – This wine was filled with notes of berries and spice. It was very robust and went great with the blue cheese. It’s strongly recommended.

 

2009 Kingston Family “Lucero” Syrah from Casablanca Valley, Chile – ($18) – This wine as phenomenal. This wine had a mushroom finish to it. It would be a wonderful pairing with a stroganoff. It also had a coffee finish and hints of truffles and cigar box qualities. This wine is on our must-purchase list.

 

2009 Yalumba “The Scribbler” 61% Cabernet Sauvignon and 39% Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Australia – ($19) – If you only try one wine from this list, you might want to make it this one. This wine was sour, hazy, and also had a lovely cigar box quality to it. It was spicy, and the finish reminded me of pumpkin pie spice – something I love to sprinkle over fruity summer deserts. It also has some hints of olives to it, and it turned smooth with the creamy cheeses. It was simply wonderful.

 

 

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