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Ribbons & Bows And Plum On The Nose!

Ribbons & Bows and Plum on the Nose!

I’m a little crazy about Christmas. My husband and I absolutely love the holidays and we decorate our house from top to bottom. We love to relish in the festivities of December and the holiday season.

After bringing up all of the boxes of decorations, we pick out some fun bottles of wine to enjoy while beginning the long (but fun!) process of turning our Florida home into a winter wonderland.

This year we started with a bottle of bubbly from one of my favorite wineries in Sonoma, Iron Horse Vineyards! I personally think that EVERY day is a great day for bubbles, so how could I possibly begin decorating without a great glass of bubbles?

We chose a bottle of 2014 Iron Horse Harvest Moon from the Green Valley of Russian River Valley appellation. 72% Pinot Noir and 28% Chardonnay, this wine has very fine bubbles with toasty brioche on the nose and apple and pear on the palate. This beautifully balanced sparkling wine was a great way to start the evening!

Not only does Iron Horse make some wonderful wines, they are located in an absolutely gorgeous spot!  Their rustic outdoor tasting room has a magnificent view and is a must visit spot if you’re in Northern California Wine Country!

After our bubbles we poured ourselves some 2013 Sixteen Appellations. Now a part of the Italics portfolio, Sixteen Appellations began in 2002 when several Napa vintners got together with the idea of using grapes from all of the Napa appellations (then 13) and blending the grapes into a single wine. They wanted a wine to represent the entire Napa Valley. Cool, right??? As appellations were added, the name changed. In 2012 the 16thAVA (Coombsville) was added, thus the 2013 name of Sixteen Appellations!

This Bordeaux blend consists of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot.  The color is deep ruby. After an hour or so decant, on the nose are red cherry, currant and some coffee. On the palate the fruits are riper, with plum and cherry leading the way, complimented by baking spices and good acidity. This is a really fun wine and I’ll be buying more!

I absolutely love the month of December. The holiday season truly is my favorite time of the year and I love to drink some of my favorite wines and discover some new favorites along the way!

So cheers to you all! I wish you happy decorating and happy drinking!

 

 

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.

To learn more about the Traverse City area, check out this link: https://www.alltherooms.com/vacation-rentals-traverse-city

https://www.2lwinery.com

http://www.bonobowinery.com

https://www.marivineyards.com

 

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