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Looking For A Great Napa Cab? Check Out Piña!

Looking for a Great Napa Cab? Check out Piña!

I have a new favorite winery in Napa. It’s not a fancy place, but that’s okay with me! The wine’s not cheap, but it’s definitely worth the price! They don’t make a gazillion different wines with a bunch of different varietals, but in my mind that makes sense!

Piña is located right on Silverado Trail, but if you’re not looking for it you’ll drive right by. The tasting room is the barrel room, which I love! To me there’s nothing more special than tasting wines amongst the barrels holding future vintages of the wine I’m drinking. Sure, the lavish tasting rooms are lovely too! There’s just something I adore, though, about the rustic authenticity of hanging out in the gut of the winery!

I’ve visited Piña a couple of times now and have had great tastings each time. Claire has helped us out both times, and although his initial impression is somewhat reserved, he opens up quickly and loves to tell us all about their wines. He even seems to enjoy our company and laughs at our jokes!

Tonight I’m drinking their 2012 Wolff Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose I smell roses: a dozen roses!!! This medium-bodied 100% Cabernet Sauvignon has smooth, silky tannins, with black cherry, black currant, some lovely earthiness and is not over the top with new world hugeness. The alcohol is 14.7% but you’d never know it. It’s not hot at all and is very well balanced. I look forward to trying more of this vintage after a few more years in the bottle!

This isn’t their only Cab Sauv! They have five different vineyard bottlings (all fabulous!), as well as a Reserve (which unfortunately I have yet to try) and a Second Wine called CAHOOTS. They also have a Chardonnay that my husband loves!

So the next time you’re in Napa and looking for a new (for you) winery to visit, be sure to stop at Piña. The experience is a fun one, and if you’re into Cabernet Sauvignon, their wines won’t disappoint!

To find them, check out their website here:

http://www.pinanapavalley.com

More to Napa Than Cab Sauv? Oh Yes!

There’s a lot more to Napa than Cabernet Sauvignon. Oh sure, Napa knows how to do “Cab”, but there are a lot of varietals that perform well in this famous Northern California AVA.

Last month I attended another great tasting hosted by Master Sommelier Matt Stamp and sponsored by the Guild of Sommeliers. We tasted three flights of great Napa wines. Today I’m going to tell you about the second flight; a somewhat eclectic group of red varietals OTHER than Cabernet Sauvignon.

The first wine I’ll highlight is a really fun one! Heitz Cellars (famous for their stellar Cabs) does a 100% Grignolino! Mostly grown in the Piedmont region of Italy, there is very little Grignolino grown outside of this region. The one small exception is California, and Heitz Wine Cellars does a great job with this unique grape in their Napa vineyards. The 2014 Heitz Cellars Grignolino is a light colored red, resembling a Gamay.  Check out the color in the photo of the flight! It is very floral on the nose, with violets, plum, strawberry and cherry! Served slightly chilled, this would be a great “patio pounder” in the summertime!

Next up is the Land & Reed “Two-Fourteen” Cabernet Franc. Two-Fourteen is the name of the clone used from Chinon in the Loire Valley. Land & Reed does a lovely job of keeping an Old World feel to this wine, with lots of blueberry, raspberry and floral. Land & Reed was one of the first wineries to do a 100% Cab Franc from a Napa vineyard.

The 2013 Farella Merlot from the Coombsville AVA is lovely. This dark ruby colored Merlot has lots of blue fruit and cherry with great acidity. It’s not a big fruit bomb, but it has softness and a depth that makes this a great food wine! This is my kind of Merlot!

I’m a huge fan of Syrah, so I was excited to see the Lagier Meredith (a favorite producer of mine when it comes to Syrah in the New World) being poured! The 2012 Lagier Meredith Mt. Veeder Syrah speaks of place. Ahhhh. The lovely earthiness is almost garrigue like! This wine has a meatiness and olive essence that I so love about Syrah. The fruit is lovely too! There is black cherry and black currant, along with some licorice. This is definitely a complex and dignified wine! I wish I had a glass right now!

So … as you can see there is a lot more to Napa than Cabernet Sauvignon. Do the Napa appellations make a great Cab? Heck yes. But this tasting reminded me that they make a lot of great wine from a lot of different varietals!

 

MVP Wine from Charles Woodson!

I make no secret of my love of wine AND football! My friends, family and colleagues know that I’m pretty much obsessed with both! So when I discovered that one of my favorite players of all time, who also happens to have a wine, was going to be in Orlando ON MY BIRTHDAY … well guess what happened! I went!

Charles Woodson is a defensive back that played for Michigan, the Oakland Raiders and my beloved Green Bay Packers. His football stats are amazing. He won a National Championship with the Michigan Wolverines as well as the 1997 Heisman. He was the 4th overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders, where he won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He won the 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the year and Super Bowl XLV with the Green Bay Packers. These are just a few of this Hall of Fame lock’s gazillion awards and accomplishments during his football-playing career.

He now uses his knowledge, good looks and eloquence on ESPN’s NFL Countdown show!

But where am I really going with this???? HIS WINE!!!!!!! And boy oh boy has Woodson scored again! Charles has had a lot of picks in his career, but this may be his best pick yet!

The 2012 TwentyFour by Charles Woodson has bright cherry and vanilla on the nose. The palate has chocolate covered cherry, ripe dark fruit, tomato, some nice earthiness and a touch of oak! This well-balanced wine has velvety tannins and ends with chocolate on the long finish.

I was truly impressed with this lovely wine. It’s not overdone like some Napa Cabs. It is approachable now, but can lie down for another ten plus years.

Charles’ wines should definitely be included on your wine “fantasy team”!!!  The wine is fabulous, and the NFL great behind it is a really nice guy. What a nice bonus!

 

Check out Charles Woodson Wines here: http://www.charleswoodsonwines.com

Here’s the “Tell” on Patel!

I’m a Right Bank kind of girl. Don’t get me wrong. I love the power and elegance of a great Cabernet Sauvignon and the wines of the Left Bank. There’s some reason, however, that I’ve always had a soft spot for the Right Bank. Is it because I can enjoy them earlier? Perhaps! I love the soft tannins and big fruit of Merlot. Plus, I seem to love to root for the underdog! And the Right Bank and their New World versions do indeed seem to be, for the most part, the underdog!

This Right Bank Bordeaux blend from Patel Winery in Napa Valley is right up my alley.  The blend is 80% Merlot, 11% Malbec, 7% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.  The nose screams cherry, cherry cherry! Okay, it’s not just cherry! There’s some subtle oak, a touch of leather and some big time floral aromas as well. The velvety palate has black cherry and some other dark fruit, along with some spice and good acidity. This is a great food wine (I want to try this with some Swiss fondue!), but I also enjoyed a glass (or three!) sitting on my deck with a nice breeze, some great tunes, and my hubby and dogs!

Check out Patel Winery here:  http://www.patelwinery.com

 

 

Who’s Looking for a GREAT Value Chardonnay???

Good wine isn’t always expensive. The chatter of fine wine needing to cost a lot of money often frustrates me. Do I love some pricey wines? Sure I do. But there is nothing better than finding a well-made wine for a great price!

My latest “find” is from Bouchaine Vineyards & Winery in the Carneros region of Napa Valley. The Carneros AVA is actually located in both Napa and Sonoma counties and has a nice cool climate that suits Burgundian varietals very well. I’ve visited their winery a few times and have tried a lot of their wines, so when I found their 2012 Estate Vineyard Chardonnay for under fifteen bucks, I thought that there must have been something wrong. Thankfully the wine wasn’t wrong … I was! 

This Chardonnay has bright acidity with lots of lime and green apple, a touch of oak and a finish that goes on and on. This is a great example of a Chardonnay that shows it’s true fruit and character at a very affordable price. I’m truly blown away with the value of this elegant wine.

Not only does Bouchaine produce great wines, they also have a very respectable history. Bouchaine Vineyards & Winery is the oldest continually operated winery in the Carneros wine region. The winery itself is lovely, with a big barn-like structure housing the tasting room (a warm, cozy area with a beautiful fireplace). French doors off of the tasting room lead to a beautiful deck and picnic area. Sitting on their deck and enjoying the stunning view of their Carneros vineyards is was the perfect way to end (or begin!) a day of tasting, so be sure to pay them a visit the next time you’re in the Napa area!

Find out more about Bouchaine here:  http://www.bouchaine.com

 

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