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Some “Foxen” Great Wine!

Some “Foxen” Great Wine!

Have you ever tasted wine in a hippie shack? Well, last weekend my husband and I did just that!

While visiting the fabulous Santa Barbara wine country, we knew from past experience that Foxen (one of the pioneer wineries of the area) was a must visit. Good thing we stopped, because it ended up being our favorite wine experience of the trip.

Foxen Vineyard Winery is two … two wineries in one! Well, two wine tasting experiences anyway.

They have “The Shack”, their original tasting room. Here they pour their Bordeaux and Cali-Ital style wines in a fun, funky atmosphere where I personally could hang out all day long. My favorite wine in “The Shack” was the 2014 Los Potreros Cabernet Sauvignon from the Happy Canyon AVA. This 100% Cab Sauv has lots of dark fruit, along with some licorice and pepper. I bought a bottle of this to put away in the cellar for a few years.

A hop, skip and a jump away is a completely different Foxen world! Here lies their state-of-the-art solar-powered facility that is modern, classy, and home to some “foxen” fabulous wine! This is where they pour their tasty Rhône inspired and outstanding Burgundian varietal wines.

A lover of Burgundy, I’m darned picky when it comes to Pinot Noir. Not many New World Pinots rock my boat, but there is just something about the Foxen Pinots that get me going. They’re truly special! My favorites were the ’14 Melville Vineyard (still a baby, but this has lots of tart cranberry and a wonderful herbal quality), the ’14 Block 8 from the famous Bien Nacido Vineyard (with ripe plum and a nose of roses!) and my personal favorite the ’14 Fe Ciego Vineyard (with strawberry, cranberry and some lovely earthiness).

I also enjoyed their ’16 Block UU Bien Nacido Chardonnay. This Chard has orange blossom, ripe peach, lemon and great minerality.

And then … there was more! They were offering a library tasting of some really fun wines. We cleaned them out of their 2006 Toasted Rope Syrah. In true Northern Rhône style, the winemaker blended in Viognier (15%!). Wow! I love it. It has lots of olive, smoky meat and there is still nice dark fruit on the palate.

We also grabbed a couple of the ’08 Rock Hollow Cabernet Franc. I opened a bottle the other night and paired it with a Grandma’s Pie (pizza in a pan) and kale salad! It was fabulous!

The next time you are anywhere near Santa Barbara, be sure to head to the gorgeous 2000 acre ranch property of Foxen Vineyard Winery. The views are lovely, the people are friendly, and the wine rocks!!!!

To learn more, click here: http://www.foxenvineyard.com

Celebrate Good Times (without The Hangover!)

Celebrate Good Times (without the hangover!)

Do you ever need a break from wine? What???? Have I lost my mind!?

My “go to” making dinner beverage is bubbly. Sparkling wine, that is. Sometimes it’s a lovely Cava, sometimes it’s a Prosecco or a Franciacorta, and sometimes it’s Champagne. It’s usually some tasty sparkler from California.

Those are my usual choices for the dinner prep. Meanwhile, I’m usually decanting some fabulous red to actually drink DURING dinner.  Before I know it, I’ve had quite a bit of wine. NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT. I’m at home, after all. During the week, though, it can sometimes get to be a bit much. Perhaps I should sometimes slow down on a “school” night!

So … I’ve taken to Bubly! Not THAT bubbly, but Bubly … with one capital “B” and one small “b”. My husband discovered this fun and tasty sparkling water that is lightly flavored with a variety of fruits.

Currently, my favorites are the orange and the apple. The orange has a nose of … well, ORANGE! The apple has a touch of … well APPLE on the palate! They have a slew of choices though. I can’t wait to try the cherry!

They are thirst quenching and the flavor is just right. Not too much! I even serve it in a Champagne flute to keep it festive. I feel good about myself because I’m hydrating too! AND … they are sugar-free and have ZERO calories!

Now I’ll never ever ever give up my sparkling wine, but this fun and tasty sparkling water is a lovely substitute for when I know that I’ll be drinking more wine later in the evening. Especially when I need to be responsible the next day. It’s also a great way to stay hydrated between wines at parties!

So if there are nights that you’re feeling the need to be “good”, reach for a Bubly (with one capital “B” and one small “b”)! With the wide selection of flavors, there’s bound to be some that will be as irresistible to you as they are to me!

Cheers!

https://www.bubly.com

Head To T-Vine For Some FUN Wine!

Head to T-Vine for Some FUN Wine!

When I first got into wine, I loved Zinfandel! I mean I loved loved loved Zinfandel.  Now, I’m not talking about the sweet pink stuff. I’m talking about the lovely red Zinfandel wines, the way the varietal was intended to be … in my opinion. I certainly don’t judge people who like it pink! (As long as you’re enjoying wine, you’re cool in my book!)

That being said, as time went by, my palate changed and most Zins (not just the pink ones) became too much for me. So many are too big, too jammy and too oaky for me.

On my last visit to Napa, I discovered a Zin that I like a lot! Now don’t get me wrong, this Zin is NOT small! It’s full of fruity wonderfulness, but it’s not TOO much! I really enjoyed it! Perhaps my palate has come full circle?

T-Vine Winery is located in Calistoga and has a very cool tasting room.  It’s super modern, has gorgeous vineyard views, and is a perfect size. My husband and I bellied up to the tasting bar and enjoyed all of their wines. Heck, we ended up buying a case!

My favorites included their Petite Sirah, Grenache and this Zin from the Black Sears Vineyard.

In the glass, the Zin is bright garnet in color, with aromas of blackberry, plum, and licorice. On the palate, there is lots of blackberry pie, raisin, and some spicy pepper.

The ’14 T-Vine Black Sears Vineyard Zinfandel is velvety smooth and not overbearing! The high elevation of Howell Mountain is a great spot to grow Zinfandel, and this wine is a testament to that!

The next time you’re in Napa, be sure to check out T-Vine Winery. If your travel plans aren’t heading that way anytime soon, check out their website. You can order all of their wines online, and they have some killer shipping deals!

Check it all out here: https://www.tvinewinery.com

 

The 2012 Socré Barbaresco: An Italian Queen!

The 2012 Socré Barbaresco: An Italian Queen!

I love the Piedmont region of Italy! The beautiful landscape and lovely people are added bonuses to the glorious wines found throughout the region.

My husband and I were there a few years ago, and we absolutely loved it. We tasted in many of its regions, but visiting Barolo and Barbaresco was a dream come true!

While Barolo is often considered the “King” of Piedmont’s wines, Barbaresco is its “Queen”. Both 100% Nebbiolo, Barbaresco tends to be a bit more graceful and feminine than it’s Barolo counterpart.

For dinner last night I made fresh spaghetti with marinara sauce and burrata cheese, and I was determined to open a nice Italian red with which to pair it! So I went to our cellar and found a 2012 Socré Barbaresco. I was happy with my decision.

The wine has cherry, violet and baking spices on the nose. On the palate are the cherry, cinnamon, licorice and smooth tannins. This Barbaresco is very approachable right now and is nicely balanced. It’s easy to drink and yet complex as well, and paired beautifully with the simple marinara sauce on the pasta.

My husband gave me thumbs up on dinner last night, and I give Socré a definite stamp of approval on their 2012 Barbaresco! This pairing was a match made in heaven!

To find out more about Socré, check out their website: https://www.socre.it/en/homepage/

My New Summer Wine? Pecorino!

My New Summer Wine? Pecorino!

The warm weather is already here in Florida. Yes … already! Along with warming weather comes the dwindling days and nights remaining to enjoy sitting on my deck at home with a glass of wine. Warm temperatures also mean starting the search for some fun and different white wines to enjoy along with the deck’s view! So I headed to my favorite wine store to see what they had.

I found a bunch and I cracked one open the other night for dinner. I couldn’t have been happier with my choice.

Pecorino is a white grape variety from Italy. Grown for hundreds of year in the Marche region, it was slowly replaced by more “productive” grapes, particularly Trebbiano. Rediscovered in the 1980s, Pecorino has made a comeback and is producing some lovely wines.

From Abruzzo’s subregion Colline Pescaresi, the 2015 La Valentina Pecorino is very aromatic with white flowers, pineapple and Meyer lemon on the nose. On the palate is exotic rich fruit, but with such great acidity, the richness is not at all overbearing. The palate also has some green apple, lemon, great minerality and an oily texture. Plus, the light golden color makes it look very pretty in the glass!

This wine sees no oak, and the richness is undoubtedly due in part to sur-lie aging, as well as some skin contact before fermentation. What’s not to like about a full-bodied complex white wine with great acidity that makes you keep wanting another glass?

For dinner, I had made a white pizza with roasted cauliflower and spinach. The acidity of the wine cut beautifully through the richness of the Béchamel sauce on the pizza. The fruitiness of the wine complimented the mozzarella and the vegetables. The pairing was a success!

If you want to change up your white wine world, and perhaps are looking for something other than a Sauvignon Blanc, check out Pecorino. In fact, why not try the La Valentina Pecorino. I can attest to it being a really nice wine, and at below $20, it’s also a great bang for the buck.

You can find out more here: http://www.lavalentina.it/en/

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