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A “Spooky” Good Chardonnay

A “Spooky” Good Chardonnay

It’s Halloween and I’m drinking one heck of a great wine! I mean … it’s FABULOUS!

I’m a bit of a Chardonnay snob. I really like Chardonnay, but only when it’s done right!!! Burgundy is my favorite spot for this varietal. So when I find a Chard that I’m this nuts about, it’s definitely something special for me!

Tonight I found one!!!! I opened a bottle of 2013 Williams Selyem Chardonnay from the Drake Vineyard in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. I actually have quite a few bottles of Williams Selyem in my cellar. They’re all dang good, but this one is exceptional!

This wine is full of a gazillion different flavors. On the nose are white flowers and citrus. On the palate there is a little oak, but not too much. Let’s call it lightly buttered toast. There’s also everything from acidic citrus to ripe pear. That’s how complex this wine is. This is one special wine!

So if you see the ’13 Williams Selyem Drake Vineyard Chardonnay on a wine list, order it! If you find it in your favorite wine shop, grab a bottle or twelve! If you appreciate great Chardonnay the way I do, you definitely won’t be disappointed!

P.S. Happy Halloween!

P.S.S. If you find ANY wines from Williams Selyem … see above!

Check them out here: https://www.williamsselyem.com

 

This Oklahoma Beer Is More Than Just … OK!

This Oklahoma Beer is More Than Just … OK!

It’s that time of the year … FOOTBALL SEASON!!!! And what goes great with football???? Why BEER of course.

To quote someone in the news this week, “I like beer!”. “I like beer a lot!” And now .. I have a new FAVORITE beer! It’s called Bomb!, and it’s from Prairie Artisan Ales out of Oklahoma.

This stout is so dang good. With the alcohol at 13%, it sure packs a punch too!

In the glass, the color is dark black with an auburn colored head. There is lots of chocolate and coffee bean on the nose. On the palate is a delightful mocha flavor with vanilla, some baking spices and an absolutely delightful hint of mild chili pepper on the finish. You would never know that the ABV is so high, as it’s not hot at all and doesn’t’ have that strong alcohol flavor on the palate that some high ABV beers do.

I literally can’t get enough of this beer. So … I went to my local Lucky Market to stock up on some more, and they were out! What???? They did, however, have some Prairie Artisan Ales Paradise Stout, so I bought them out.

Wow, Paradise is a great stout too! This also pours dark black and tastes of espresso, with some chocolate and nuttiness. This beer is brewed with coconut and vanilla. There is definitely a hint of each, but it’s not too much. This is a very well-balanced stout and a delight to drink!

While my favorite is still the Bomb!, I love the Paradise too. And you’d better believe that I’ll be seeking out all of the beers that Prairie Artisan Ales produce. The next time I’m driving through Oklahoma, I’ll be stopping in for a visit!!!!!

You can learn more about them here: https://prairieales.com

The Doctor Is In … Into Rkatsiteli

The Doctor is In … Into Rkatsiteli

The doctor is in, and I hope to get a prescription for Rkatsiteli.

What? Did I write Rkatsiteli, or is this the result of a physician’s sloppy penmanship?

Nope. You read it right. Rkatsiteli is an ancient white wine grape from the Republic of Georgia. Some wine historians believe that Rkatsiteli is the oldest grape known to mankind! Considering the country of Georgia is thought to be the birthplace of wine, it sounds legit to me!

The Rkatsiteli grape is grown throughout the world, especially in Eastern Europe. Luckily for us, it’s also grown in the good old US of A!

I visited the Finger Lakes last month and one of my winery stops was the famous and well-respected Dr. Konstantin Frank. Dr. Frank had a huge hand in putting the New York wine industry on the map! He was confident that Vitis vinifera could succeed in the Finger Lakes, and in 1962 founded Vinifera Wine Cellars, began producing top-notch Rieslings, and the rest is history!

I sampled many tasty Dr. Frank wines on this visit. I really dig their sparkling wines! This 2017 Rkatsiteli is also fabulous!

The color is a bit deceiving. It has such a super light straw color that it almost looks like water! The nose and the palate???? Wow! Totally different story! There’s so much going on!!! On the nose are lemon, grapefruit, basil and a touch of white flowers. The palate explodes with unripe honeydew, grapefruit, and tart lemon. It is thirst-quenching, finishes dry, and the fabulous acidity makes me want to keep drinking more and more!

I wish I’d bought a case, as Rkatsiteli is known to age well and I’d love to see how it evolves over the next few years. I may need to give Dr. Frank a call! Dang, too bad Dr. Frank doesn’t make house calls!

If you’re a lover of wine and have yet to visit the Finger Lakes, be sure to put it on your list. Oh … and don’t forget to make an appointment with “The Doctor”!

You can find out more about that here:

http://www.drfrankwines.com

Mission Possible … On Old Mission Peninsula

Mission Possible … On Old Mission Peninsula

Last month my husband and I were on a mission … an OLD mission in search of great wine!

Traverse City, Michigan is a fun, hip, bustling city! If that’s not enough, only 15 minutes away is pure paradise … the Old Mission Peninsula! Old Mission feels like Sonoma about 30 years ago. You feel isolated from the rest of the world, but it’s right there, 15 minutes from this fabulous big little city! We fell in love!

This 22-mile long peninsula juts out into the middle of Grand Traverse Bay and in some areas is only one mile wide, offering gorgeous views of water both east and west, with lovely vineyards in between.  And these vineyards are producing some dang good wine!

Our first stop was 2 Lads Winery.  They have a 10,500 square foot facility with a fabulous tasting room, offering amazing views while checking out their wines. They sustainably farm their vineyards producing some really tasty stuff! I especially enjoyed the 2017 2L Vineyard Riesling and the 2015 Sparkling Rosé. The sparkler is 100% Pinot Noir and has strawberry, cranberry, and really nice acidity.  They close it with a crown cap, which I thought was pretty cool!

Another winery I really liked was Bonobo. If you’re a watcher of HGTV you may know one of the owners … Carter Oosterhouse. He and his brother Todd and their wives Amy (an actress who I happen to love!) and Caroline, opened Bonobo Winery in 2014. You can tell that the chic, rustic, cozy tasting room (with multiple fireplaces and comfy sitting areas) was designed by a pro! Their wine is darned good too! I really dug the 2017 Rosé and the Chablis-like 2017 Chardonnay C. My husband bought a couple of the oaky and fruity 2017 Bonobo Red, a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Merlot, which he looks forward to enjoying with a cigar! They also have a nice food menu.

What are my two favorite things about Bonobo Winery??? #1 – The deck behind the tasting room is FABULOUS!!!! I wish we’d visited when there was a chill in the air so that we could have sat by the fire with a bottle of wine and taken in the gorgeous views. #2 – They support the Bonobo Conservancy! Bonobos are an endangered small chimpanzee and this organization helps protect them and their habitat! Here’s a link: https://www.bonobo.org

My favorite winery we visited on Old Mission? Mari Vineyards!

Looking back at my tasting notes, I pretty much rave about all of the wines, so I’ll fill you in on three of my favorites!

2017 Ramato – Wow! 100% Pinot Grigio, this wine had been fermented on the skins (like an Orange Wine!) for 35 days. The skins’ already pink hue along with the long maceration results in an awesome colored wine! Is it a cross between a rosé and an orange wine? Perhaps. They call it a “copper” wine, and has baking spice, dried tropical fruit and will pair with a ton of dishes! Seek this out if you can find it!

2016 Bel Tamonot – This is a blend of 40% Merlot, 35% Sangiovese, 15% Cab Franc and 10% Refosco. This wine is well balanced with bright cherry and plum!

2016 Asa Nisi Masa – 40% Malbec, 33% Nebbiolo and 20% Syrah, this has dark chocolate shavings, dark fruit, and good tannins.

You may be wondering how Mari can have such good success with some of these warmer climate grapes. They use a growing technique called Nellaserra, setting up temporary greenhouses over sections of their vineyards giving these grapes about four more weeks hang time. Pretty fascinating, right? Here’s a link to their process: https://www.marivineyards.com/wines/nellaserra-wines

After our tasting with Renee (who was fabulous!), we headed out to the deck. I really wanted a glass of the 2016 Simplicissimus (a sparkling Riesling) which they don’t sell by the bottle). We ordered a delicious cheese plate to go with our wine, sat on their deck, enjoyed the view of their vineyards and Grand Traverse Bay and didn’t want to leave. Seriously, we didn’t want to leave. But all good things must come to an end, so we forced ourselves to move on!

As I said earlier, we fell in love with Old Mission Peninsula. Traverse City is a blast, there are lots of great restaurants and breweries nearby, the area’s wineries are making some top-notch wine, and the place is GORGEOUS! If you’re on a mission for some great wine in a gorgeous setting, put this peninsula on your bucket list.

https://www.2lwinery.com

http://www.bonobowinery.com

https://www.marivineyards.com

 

Stop To Smell (& Taste) Nathaniel Rose’s Wines In Michigan!

Stop to Smell (& Taste) Nathaniel Rose’s Wines in Michigan!

Are you ready to live in an Airstream to fulfill your dreams? Anyone who knows about the wine industry understands that owning a winery is a lot of HARD WORK, and doesn’t come cheap.

My husband and I are currently touring the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail in the Northwest of Michigan’s lower peninsula, and I have to say that I’m impressed. We have tasted a lot of very tasty wines and ciders the past couple of days. Saturday’s favorite? … Nathaniel Rose!

Interestingly, my husband and I are touring the Midwest in OUR recently purchased RV (a new passion of ours), but we’re NOT the ones living in the Airstream! That would be 33 year old Nathaniel Rose, making his dream a reality by living on the low and producing some fabulous wines!

Courtney, who is super knowledgeable, passionate about the wines, and a lot of fun, greeted us in the tasting room! Don’t have your heart set on a hoity-toity tasting experience here! This is not one of your fancy schmancy tasting rooms. You can tell that all of the money (and heart) goes into the wine.

The first wine of the tasting was his 2013 Marsanne, made as an orange wine! How cool is that??? If you’ve never had an orange wine, it’s definitely something to seek out! No … there are no oranges used in making this wine!!!! Basically, it’s a white wine where the grape skins are left on during maceration, like in red wine production. This produces an amber (sometimes orange, hence the name) color along with some tannin, which makes it very special indeed. This Marsanne is well done and was a fun way to start the tasting.

We tasted a bunch of great wines, but another fun one that sticks out in my mind is the 2012 Chelois. Chelois is a rare, high-quality French-American hybrid varietal created by viticulturist Albert Seibel in the 1920s. Rose leaves the grapes hang until they are partially raisined, producing a rich and powerful wine.

Nathaniel Rose also makes some killer Syrah! His ’13 La Blonde is co-fermented with Viognier, á la the Rhone Valley! His ‘13 Double Barrel Syrah has a wonderful funky nose, with some tart cherry chocolate on the palate. Good stuff indeed.

My favorite wine of the tasting? That would be his 2012 Right Bank! 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Franc (fashioned after the wines of the Right Bank of Bordeaux), this wine can hold up to a lot of Bordeaux wines I’ve had. Lots of cherry, currant and some earthiness make this my kind of wine!

If I had more wine storage in our RV, I would have bought a bunch, but I’m happy that I could at least grab a couple to take back to Florida and share with some of my fellow wine geek friends.

So … if you find yourself on the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, be sure to stop at Nathaniel Rose. The tasting room is just outside the quaint village of Suttons Bay, and has a lovely water view out back!

http://www.nathanielrosewine.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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