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Tag: Pinot gris

Helpful Tips For Choosing The Best Napa Valley White Wine

English: A 2005 Napa Valley Chardonnay from Ro...

English: A 2005 Napa Valley Chardonnay from Robert Mondavi Winery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I’ve decided that I will accept guest posts for this blog, especially while I’m pregnant, in order to provide you with fresh wine news. Here is another post from Chuck Withers over at Two Guys Wine and Travel Blog.


When it comes to Napa Valley wines in general, there isn’t a high likelihood of selecting a bad wine. With quality soils, climate, and wineries, Napa Valley regularly produces some of the world’s finest wines. With Napa Valley as your location of choice, you can be confident of getting good quality wines.


There might be, however, some choices that might work better under different situations. White wines, for example, tend to be more conducive to certain meals than red wines. Even in the case of white wines, however, the decision can seem slightly overwhelming.


Whether you are selecting wines for yourself, or for a special group of people, here are some tips to help you choose the right Napa Valley white wine.


Setting The Mood


With their elegance and glamorous quality, particular wines can have a distinct effect, adding to the mood in nearly any event. As you consider which white wines to serve at a specific event, it can be a very good idea to have some sort of an atmosphere in mind. What type of a mood would you like to create?


If your goal is to create a sophisticated atmosphere of elegance or grace, Chardonnay may be a good option. Commonly noted as the most popular of white wines, Chardonnay can greatly enhance an elegant occasion. With crowd-pleasing flavors ranging from nutty to tropical, Chardonnay can be the perfect addition to any wedding party or stylish dinner. If Chardonnay is your choice, make sure to serve it chilled, but not too cold. Before serving, you may want to pull the bottle out of the refrigerator for a few minutes to let it warm up a bit.


If you are looking for something slightly more exciting, perhaps for a big party, you may want to consider providing multiple types of Napa Valley white wines. You may even want to consider using wine-tasting as part of your event. Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris can be great options for these types of events.


As you consider the desired mood for your particular special event, you can be well prepared to find the perfect wines to serve.


Planning Wine For A Specific Meal


Another major factor to help in your selection is the type of meal you will be serving. While some Napa Valley white wines may be versatile enough to go well with a variety of meals, there are some that go best with particular dishes.  When there is a specific menu in mind for an event, it may be a good idea to plan your wines to match.


When your meal contains lots of spicy foods or smoked meats, you may want to consider serving Gewürztraminer. This can be a delicious choice, providing a spicy enhancement to your meal. Riesling, which may be either light or medium bodied, may also be a good choice to add to your spicy dishes.


For light meals, containing dishes like chicken or salad, Pinot Blanc or Chenin Blanc may be a great choice.


Confidence In Your Choice


When surrounded by the people you care about, you can have a quality experience no matter which white wines you choose. Don’t be too stressed out about having the perfect choice every time. As you grow in experience, you will become more confident in your selection of wines. With Napa Valley white wines, any choice is a good choice.


Article courtesy of Chuck Withers of the Two Guys Wine and Travel Blog, follow him on Twitter @twoguyswine for more updates on wine, travel and many more international delights.



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Creekside Cellars’ Wine and Cheese Fest

English: Barrels of 2007 Zinfandel wine fermen...

English: Barrels of 2007 Zinfandel wine fermenting in a wine cave in Amador County, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every year, Creekside Cellars hosts wine and cheese fest. During the event, many people come in to taste wine and cheese from around the region. Wining Husband and I were curious and decided that we would attend. Boy, were there a lot of people there! We were glad we showed up a few minutes later into the event so that we wouldn’t have to claw our way through lines of people to get to a place where we could try the various wines featured by our favorite spot.

Our favorite wines of the event came from Epic Wines, Doe Mill, and Youngs Market Company. Standouts included:

  • A to Z Pinot Gris ($16) **
  • Breggo Pinot Noir ($30) ***
  • Titus Cabernet Sauvignon ($43) *
  • Elyse Morisoli Vineyard Zinfandel ($36) ***
  • Montsara Sparkling Cava ($15) *
  • Sequoia Grove Cabernet ($49) **
  • Michael David 7 Heavenly Chardonnay ($28) *
  • Treana white blend ($23) *
  • Doe Mill Old Vine Zinfandel ($24) **
  • Doe Mill Smokey Ridge Red Table Wine ($24) ***
  • Doe Mill Zinfandel Rose ($16) *
  • Doe Mill Late Harvest Zinfandel ($24) ***
  • Trefethen Harmony White ($50) **
  • Talbot Logan Chardonnay ($20) *

There really was quite a range of wines both in terms of quality and taste (the first table we visited was disappointing to us) and in terms of price point. The great thing about events like these is that you get to try out such a wide range of wines, so if you’re someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about wine, you can learn more about what you like and what you don’t like. we definitely added some of the wines to our cellar wish-list.

Creekside: A Little of This and a Little of That

Napa Valley

Napa Valley (Photo credit: Sarah_Ackerman)


This week’s Creekside Cellars tasting as a mish-mash of different wines. Of the 9 we tasted, we liked 9 of the wines. Here are our notes on the wines we tasted.


2011 Fillaboa Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain ($17) – This wine was floral, crisp, and refreshing. It tasted of mandarins, sweet apples, and various citrus fruits.


2011 Chehalem “Three Vineyards” Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon ($19) – This wine was smokey, hazy, and buttery. It had a sweet flavor and accompanied the Purple Haze cheese quite nicely.


2010 Pine Ridge “Dijon Clone” ChardonnayNapa Valley ($30) – This wine had Dijon mustard notes. It was easy drinking but robust, with hints of butter and oak. It had a finish with multiple seasonings, but it was not overpowering. It would pair quite well with ham or fondue. (We gave it a star and exclamation mark).


2010 Morgan “Twelve Clones” Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey ($32) – This had a strange nose – it was like nail polish remover and fruit – but the wine itself was complex and sweet. There was spice that could be drawn out, it was sweet and chocolatey and was quite versatile when paired with the various cheeses. It also had that lovely cigar box finish that we love so much.


2010 Sextant “Wheelhouse” Zinfandel, Paso Robles ($20) – This wine had a Nesquik chocolate milk nose mixed with cheap jelly to be eaten with Wonder Bread. It was okay, but frankly was too jammy for our palates. 


2010 Peter Lehmann “Clancy’s” Cabernet 38%, Syrah 39%, and Merlot 23%, Barossa Valley, Australia ($18) – This was tannic with a tight nose. It had hints of leather and fruit which came out as it aerated. It was very good with creamy cheeses, which brought the spice out, and it paired wonderfully with the Purple Haze.


2010 Tamarack Cellars “Firehouse Red” Cabernet 54%, Syrah 32%, Merlot 12%, Cab Franc 10% with Malbec, Sangiovese & Zinfandel, Columbia Valley, Washington ($18) – This was the final wine we had and it was a higher end version of one of our favorite go-to wines, 14 Hands Hot-to-Trot. The wine was a classic silky red. It had notes of vanilla, chocolate, cloves, and nutmeg.



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Creekside: Proprietor’s Selections

English: Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Gris Vend...

English: Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardives 2001, a late harvest wine from Alsace (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


This week’s selection at Creekside Cellars was a combination of wines selected by the proprietors. Overall, we enjoyed the selections.  Here’s a rundown of what we tasted.


2011 Errauriz Sauvignon Blanc, Chili ($14) – This wine was very dry and minerally. There were hints of rosemary, and it reminded us of one of our favorite under $10 drinkable wines, La Ferme Julian Blanc (available at Trader Joe’s).


NV Domaines Schlumberger “Les Princes Abbes” Pinot Gris, Alsace, France ($22) – This wine earned a star and an exclamation mark from us in our notes. It had a sweet nose, and it balanced butter with paint thinner (but in a very good way) – it was strong and robust. This wine would hold up to a variety of rich dishes.


2008 La CremaLos Carneros” Chardonnay, Sonoma ($30) – This was a very nice wine, (worth a star) with hints of butter, pepper, cream, and a hint of oak. There was also ginger and white pepper on the wine’s finish. It would go well with a vegetarian dish that incorporated tofu.


2010 Lange Winery Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon ($29) – This wine was incredibly smooth, and the only cheese it paired with was the brie, which brought out a bit of its spice. It had sour cherries, paprika, and nutmeg on the finish. Honestly, it was so smooth it was almost invisible, and after the La Crema, it didn’t stand a chance.


2008 Bell Cellars “Canterbury Vineyards” Syrah, Sierra Foothills ($25) – WOW! What a wine. This wine had that cigar box flavor both Wining Husband and I adore in wines. It had notes of butter and chocolate, and its tannins were well-balanced.


2010 Charles & Charles Cabernet 51% & Syrah 49%, Columbia Valley, Washington ($15) – This was another very nice wine. It too hat a cigar box aura about it with cherries, sweet tobacco, and an oil and butter combo. It’s a great wine for under $20.


2009 Murphy Goode “Liars Dice” Zinfandel, Sonoma County ($20) – This wine was also outstanding! It was smooth and had hints of cloves.  It’s highly recommended at one star and an exclamation mark.


2009 Barnard Griffin Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington ($20) – So, this summer we were in Seattle, and we went to a place called The Purple Cafe & Wine Bar. At this bar, they had a selection of wine flights. One such flight was called “The Farm.” This flight consisted of four 2-ounce pours with the themes of “flower, dirt, vegetable, and barn.” The barn wine…well, let’s say its nose definitely smelled like a barn – and it tasted like I would imagine the floor of the barn would taste. Since then, I’ve had a “barn monster.” Why am I telling you all of this? Well, the Barnard Griffin Cab Sauv we tried was a barn wine – but it was a barn wine done right. It had a lot of spice – namely paprika and cayenne pepper. It would pair very, very nicely with curry beef.


For those beer lovers out there, we rounded things off by tasting the Allagash “Black” Belgian Style Stout Beer from Portland, Maine ($15) It was very nice, and tasted of coffee and Guinness. It’s highly recommended!





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To Zin or Not to Zin? There is No Question!

Zinfandel Grapes


This week’s wine tasting at Creekside Cellars featured a selection of Zinfandel wines. It’s always fun to do comparisons of wines, since each has its own unique qualities that it brings to the table. Here’s a list of the wines that we tried.


NV Codorniu Cava, Spain ($10) – This wine was sparkling and had a citrus and wheat bouquet to it.


2010 Ventana Pinot Gris, Monterey 2010 ($12) – This was pretty good. It was floral and sweet with an almond flavor. It would pair well with a pear and candied walnut salad I make.


2010 Talbott Logan “Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay,” Santa Lucia Highlands, ($20) – This wine was filled with notes of butter and spice. It also had hints of dry mustard when paired with the Red Dragon cheese.


2011 Doe Mill Vineyards Dry Rosé of Zinfandel, Sierra Foothills (Butte County) ($16) – This wine had a cheesy, almost sweaty gym sock nose. On the tasting, it had notes of watermelon, being similar to a Jolly Rancher.


2010 Sextant “Wheelhouse” Zinfandel, Paso Robles ($20) – This wine was quite good. It was both light and spicy and had lots of tannin. It also had notes of cashews and berries.


Laurel Glen 'Terra Rosa' Malbec, Mendoza Argen...

Laurel Glen wine (Photo credit: Renée S.)


2009 Laurel Glen “Za Zin” Old Vine Zin, Lodi ($19) – We did not care much for this wine. It reminded us too much of a “barn” wine that we had at Purple Wine Bar and Cafe some months ago. It was sweet and almost like Play-Dough. It did have notes of allspice, chocolate, cream, and cloves.


2009 Green & Red Vineyards Chiles Canyon Zinfandel, Napa Valley ($24) – This wine was pretty good. It went with everything on the cheese plate, and it had ink and paint on the nose, but became tannic on the swirl. It was buttery.


2009 Joel Gott “Dillian Ranch” Zinfandel, Amador ($27) – This wine was also quite good. It had flavors of vanilla and berry, but at the same time there was a lot of spice and tannin to balance the wine.


2009 Rock Wall “Julie’s Vineyard” Zinfandel, Sonoma ($23) – This wine was outstanding. It had notes of dark chocolate and raspberries. While it was richer than some of the other wines, it was also easy drinking and a bit spicy. It would pair wonderfully with the smothered pork chops I shared with you the other night.


2009 JC Cellars “Sweetwater Springs Vineyard” Zinfandel, Russian River Valley ($43) – This wine was also amazing. It had a french roast coffee nose, and it was filled with spices and allspice. If you’re looking for a wine for a special occasion, this is your wine.



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Creekside’s Hazy Days Tasting


Baby Grapes

Baby Grapes (Photo credit: AdamLogan)


This week’s tasting featured some nice wines. The theme was the “Lazy Hazy Days of Summer” – and the wines were nice wines to complement the theme. This week’s tasting featured nine wines, we tasted eight of those wines.


2011 Voss Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley – ($19) – This wine had a hay and Cheerios bouquet on the nose. It had hints of grass as well as raw egg and peach.


Pinot noir grapes have a much darker hue than ...

Pinot noir grapes have a much darker hue than the bluish-gray coloring of Pinot gris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


2010 Benton Lane Pinot Gris from Willamette Valley, Oregon – ($17) – This was a good generic white, it had apricot notes and paired quite well with the Petite Agour cheese (sheep’s milk cheese with a nutty brown butter flavor from the French Pyrenees) that was served.


2009 Sbragia Chardonnay from Dry Creek, Sonoma – ($27) – This chardonnay was a lovely combination of oak butter, and cream. It would pair well with the creamy Swedish meatball dish I make. It also had some subtle hints of cantaloupe during the tasting.


2011 Muga Rose of Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain – ($13) – This rosé was sour with a watermelon nose. It had notes of grapefruit with a bit of kick and spice. It was a bit like a sour Jolly Rancher.

2009 The Dreaming Tree “Crush” Red Blend from the North Coast – ($17) – This wine was very nice and balanced. It had a cigar box feel to it with berry notes. It was sweet with a bit of a bacon fat taste – but in a very good way. This wine also carried notes of pluots – it was very good and very nicely crafted.

2008 St. Amant Tempranillo from Amador County – ($18) – This wine was wow. It’s nose contained hints of the ocean and a forest and cigar box taste. It was just lovely as a wine.

2008 Cooper Vineyard Zinfandel from Amador County – ($26) – This wine was also very nice. It was big, beefy, yet at the same time it was a balanced and well-rounded Zinfandel. There were notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and plums. It would pair very well with beef bourguinon, steak, or beef tacos.

2009 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley – ($38) – This wine was smooth. It had sweat on the nose, but somehow that smelled good. On the tasting there were notes of chocolate, coffee, and hazelnut.

Have you had any of these wines? What did you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments.




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