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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:

On The Road Again!

On The Road Again!

I love road trips! I especially enjoy road trips that include a fun new beverage experience. Now we all know that Florida isn’t known for its wine, but there are a lot of great craft breweries popping up in the Sunshine State! My husband and I hit a couple last weekend while on our latest road trip to the Jacksonville area. My favorite of the trip??? Aardwolf Brewing Company!

Housed in a really bitchin’ old building that used to be a railroad icehouse (located in the Jacksonville’s trendy San Marco neighborhood), the atmosphere is enough of a reason for a visit. The beer??? Oh yeah … more than an added bonus!

John started out with a glass of their White Russian Stout (which ended up being my favorite of the night) and I started in on some flights!

Okay, I need to admit right here and now that we tried a bunch of different beers that night. That’s the great thing about flights though, right??? You get to try a little of everything. Well, sadly not EVERYTHING, as they have a lot of choices.

The beers that I tried that I remember best include:

Hopped Be Thy Name – I’ve been really into IPAs lately, and this doesn’t disappoint. It’s a well-balanced Double IPA with lots of citrus along with a nice creamy mouth feel!

San Marco Sour – Along with the IPAs, I’ve also recently been getting a kick out of trying sour beers. It’s a new thing for me, but not for the world! Sour beer is actually the oldest type of beer in the history of beer! Before brewers completely understood the whole pasteurization and sterilization thing, pretty much all beer was somewhat sour. Add to that, nowadays most of the well-known beers are made with specific yeast strains, not the native yeasts of yesteryear! More and more people (both in the beer world and the wine world) are using native yeasts, which can make the beverages very interesting indeed. Aardwolf’s San Marco Sour is golden in color (in fact, it looks a lot like orange juice!) with a palate of tart unripe peach and pear. It’s sour, but not TOO sour. This beer is the perfect thirst quencher for a hot Florida day. To me, it’s the beer equivalent to a nice Sauvignon Blanc!

4 Year Anniversary Beer Rye Barley Wine – Okay, so I’m a wine pro not a beer pro, and this ISN’T wine, but it is really tasty! The color is dark amber and it tastes of caramel and toffee. I could definitely drink a lot of this, but at 9.7% ABV … I should probably be careful!

White Russian Stout – Oh wow, how I love this dang beer! I can’t get enough of it. We bought three Crowlers (32 oz. can, not to be confused with a Growler) to go, but I wish I could just install a tap in my house with a direct supply! It’s super creamy on the palate with roasted coffee, chocolate, and an almost sweet vanilla bean. It’s oh so rich, smooth & silky. I absolutely adore this beer, can you tell???

Although they have a fun outdoor patio at the entrance, we bellied up to the bar when we got there and the service was phenomenal.

The vibe is really cool here, they have really great beer, AND they’re dog friendly!!!!!! How great is that? They’re also kid friendly, so there are no excuses to not pay them a visit.

Check them out here:




Wanna Join Me On The Albariño Train?

Wanna Join Me on the Albariño Train?

Are you looking to change up your wine world a little? Do you seem to be ordering the same glass or bottle of wine pretty much every night you go out? There are over 1300 varietals of grapes in the world used commercially for making wine, so why not take a risk and try something different?

If you’re searching for an alternative to Chardonnay, check out Albariño!

Rías Baixas, a region in the Galicia region of Spain, is located in the northwestern corner of this beautiful country between Portugal and France. This area has a cool & wet maritime climate, which isn’t the norm for Spain, but is exactly what Albariño likes!

At the moment I’m drinking a 2015 Vieira de Plata Albariño. I’m drinking it at an appropriate time, as Albariño is meant to drink young. This pale straw colored wine has lots of orange blossom on the nose. The juicy palate has yellow apple, tangerine, some saline and gobs of minerality. There’s also lots of lime and lemon! I kind of feel like I’m drinking “grown up” lime/lemonade! Yum!!!

Why do I think Albariño might be a fun alternative to Chardonnay? It’s full of aromatics, it has creaminess yet with mouthwatering acidity, and it pairs well with a wide range of foods! Add to that, it also works as a great aperitif at the beginning of the night!

Heck, I’m a lover of a good Chardonnay, as you’ve probably noticed in my previous blog entries. With a vast array of wine grapes in the world, however, I love to change things up and try fun and different things!!! Come along for the ride and check out some new wines! At only about $18 a bottle, you can’t lose with the Vieira de Plata Albariño! Cheers!

Liquid Farm … It’s A SOLID Hit!

Liquid Farm … It’s a SOLID Hit!

My husband loves poker the way I love wine! So while he’s off playing in a tournament tonight, I decided to crack open a nice bottle!

I’ve been eyeing a bottle of Chardonnay that I bought a couple of years ago while visiting the Santa Ynez Valley. I remember falling madly in love with it during the tasting, but wanting it to have some more time in the bottle before I opened this gem. Hoping that it’s ready, I decided to go for it tonight.

Before my visit to Santa Ynez in early February of ’15, I had been hearing a lot of buzz about a winery called Liquid Farm. I’m a huge lover of White Burgundy and I’d been reading that Liquid Farm focuses on Chardonnay and that they’re true believers in the fact that what happens above and below the ground produces the liquid in the bottle. Hence … Liquid Farm!!! Great name or what??? I love New World wines that adopt some of the Old World wine making philosophy.

I remember the tasting at their facility well, not only because Anna and Assistant Winemaker Tanner (and their awesome wine dog named Button) took great care of, but because of the wonderful wines! We tasted through 5 different Chardonnays that day, and there wasn’t a dud in the group! My personal favorites were the 2013 Golden Slope, named for the famous Côte-d’Or of Burgundy France and the 2013 Bien Bien, which had a wonderful finish and reminded me of a Chassagne-Montrachet! I’m a sucker for Chassagne-Montrachet, so you can imagine how much I loved this wine!

Tonight I decided to open the Golden Slope! I want that ’13 Bien Bien to sit a bit longer!

Light golden in color, the nose has white flowers, lemon, melon and pear. The well-balanced palate has a medium body, great acidity, lemon curd, a touch of oak! I’m munching on some brie cheese while drinking this (which is a great pairing!), but keep wishing I had a big plate of pasta with an Alfredo sauce. Something creamy like that would be another fabulous match with this Chardonnay!

So while my husband was doing something that HE loves, I was too! I just found out that he WON … and so did I, with this 2013 Liquid Farm Golden Slope Chardonnay. And … I still have half a bottle left to share with him tomorrow night!

Are you interested in learning more about Liquid Farm and their wines? Click here:


Take Time To Smell The Rosés!

Take Time to Smell the Rosés!

There’s still summer weather ahead, especially here in Florida! And what’s a good wine for warm weather???? Why rosé of course!

Last week, while in Oregon for the Society of Wine Educators annual conference, one of the wineries we visited was Stoller Family Estates. Not only is this a beautiful property with a gorgeous tasting room, but they also have some darned good wine!

I couldn’t get enough of the rosé! My friends couldn’t either. We kept asking for “one more taste” and we each purchased multiple bottles to take home with us. I cracked one open last night, which was very easy because of their use of the Stelvin closure (also known as a screw cap), which I love, especially on a rosé! The wine was as delicious as I remembered.

Made of 100% Pinot Noir from their Dundee Hills vineyard, there is tons of grapefruit on the nose and palate, along with a touch of strawberry and some lime. The screaming acidity makes it dance in the mouth and enables it to pair with a plethora of dishes! I had it with a summer salad and it was a great match! Not only is this wine fun to drink, it’s delightful to view! The pretty pink color makes it as visually appealing as it is delicious.

So if you’re looking for a fun wine to enjoy while counting down the days until Fall, or heck THROUGHOUT the Fall and into Winter if you like (this would be a great paring with holiday meals!), check out the 2016 Stoller Family Estate Pinot Noir Rosé! And if you’re headed to Oregon, be sure to stop there for a tasting. The modern tasting room is happening, and the views are spectacular. They even have a huge outdoor fire pit and a tire swing hanging from an old oak tree for some extra fun!

Check them out here:

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