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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: http://www.liquidfarm.com

 

A Not To Miss Tasting In Sonoma? Balletto!!!

They hadn’t been on my list. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of them before! A staff member at Gloria Ferrer (who’s become a friend because I visit so often!) told me about her favorite rosé in the world. She told me that she just couldn’t get enough of it! So … I had to check them out!

Balletto Vineyards is a family owned winery located in the Russian River Valley AVA in Sonoma County. Started as a successful vegetable farming company, in 1999 they started the shift from vegetable farming to vineyards. Today they sell 90% of their grapes to other wineries, using the other 10% producing their lovely Balletto Vineyard wines!

So, the day after visiting Gloria Ferrer last month, my husband and I stopped by Balletto for a tasting. I couldn’t wait to try their rosé! This pretty pink wine (made of 100% Pinot Noir) has strawberry, a touch of rose and lively acidity to balance it perfectly. I can see why my friend finds it difficult to not finish the bottle in one sitting!

Rosé, however, is not all they do at Balletto! I also made sure to buy a couple bottles of their lovely (not too oaky) 2014 Sexton Hill Vineyard Chardonnay. They also make some rockin’ Pinot Noir (we bought some Burnside that tasted like Strawberry Twizzlers!), Syrah and Zin! A super nice bonus is that their prices are very fair!!!

Looking back I’m surprised and disappointed that I hadn’t heard of them before, but boy oh boy I’m thankful that I know them now! I also want to spread the word about their really nice wines and great tasting experience!

Don’t only PUT them on your list … bump them to the TOP of your list!

http://www.ballettovineyards.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

 

Looking for a “Green” Winery With Wonderful Wines??? Check Out Frog’s Leap!

My husband and I recently returned from another adventure in Napa and Sonoma. Our goal was to visit wineries we’d never hit before, and for the most part that’s what we did. There’s one winery, however, that we couldn’t drive by without stopping, and that’s Frog’s Leap.

“Why?” you ask! Well, there are a few reasons.

Firstly, it’s just so darned beautiful there.

Secondly, the tasting is very special. When the weather is nice, tastings are held outside when possible. The tasting includes yummy local cheeses, crackers, and some jams made from fruit grown on the property.

Thirdly, and most importantly, the wines are WONDERFUL!!!

As we arrived for our tasting, we drove alongside beautiful vineyards of dormant vines surrounded by the beautiful mustard know in the region at this time of the year. The historic Red Barn, which was originally built as the Adamson Winery back in 1884, welcomes the winery visitors on the drive in. Today, this “ghost winery” not only inspires their wine tasting guests, but also Frog’s Leap’s winemakers John Williams and Paula Moschetti.

John Williams (a former diary farmer from upstate New York, NOT the music composer famous for film scores with the same name!) moved to Northern California in 1975 to study Enology and Viticulture at UC Davis. After working at Glenora Wine Cellars in the Finger Lakes region of New York, and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Spring Mountain Vineyard in Napa, he started Frog’s Leap Winery in 1981. It is located along Mill Creek in a spot known as the Frog Farm. Frogs were raised here around the turn of the century, providing the very appropriate name!

Here are some of the wines we tasted on the lovely wrap-around porch of The Vineyard House overlooking the vineyards:

2014 Napa Valley Chardonnay – A lovely Chardonnay with great acidity, the green apple and Meyer lemon flavors are balanced beautifully with the floral aromas and the toasty element from eight months of sur lie aging.

2013 Napa Valley Zinfandel – One of my favorite wines of the tasting, this Zinfandel is what a Zinfandel is SUPPOSED TO BE! It has a beautiful transparent color, not one of those deep purple colors that shouldn’t represent Zin at all! A field blend of 77% Zinfandel, 22% Petite Sirah and 1% Carignan, the aromas and flavors include brambly fruit, licorice, some Southern Rhone type garrigue and has a nice long finish.

2013 Rutherford Merlot – One of my favorite Merlots of the New World, Frog’s Leap always knows how to do this varietal right. With ripe plum and cherry flavors, this wine has soft tannins and isn’t too big! It’s what a Merlot should be; elegant and nicely balanced. (82% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc)

2013 Rutherford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – This lovely Cab has black cherry, blackberry and cassis, along with the dusty earth of the Rutherford soil. This needs some time, but it’s going to be wonderful! (89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot)

The thing that probably impresses me the most about Frog’s Leap Winery is that they truly care about our planet. Frog’s Leap produces some wonderful wines, while keeping the planet healthy through the production of solar and geothermal power. In 2005 they built their Vineyard House according to the goals of the U.S. Green Building Council. They even insulated it using old blue jeans. Talk about recycling!!!

Health of the vineyard is achieved though organic farming and the use of biodynamic methods. Along the rows of vines are borders of specially selected plants, which attract butterflies and beneficial insects.

So if you want tasty wine, made true to the varietals and green conscious to boot, pick up some wines from Frog’s Leap Winery. Or if you’re heading to Napa, pay them a visit.

Here’s a link to their very fun site:  http://www.frogsleap.com/

My Husband’s Favorite Kind of Chardonnay, And I Like it Too!

I’m usually afraid of Napa Chardonnay. I know I know … that sounds snobbish. It’s just that many Napa Chardonnays are way overdone! Too much oak masking the fruit makes me very uninterested.

The other night, however, I opened a gem. My husband was off playing poker with his buddies and I had big plans on the sofa with my dogs, a chick flick, some popcorn and a wine to compliment it all.

I cracked open the 2013 Lewis Chardonnay. This wine is not for the faint of heart, but with the right pairing it can be stellar. This is rich stuff, and along with my super duper buttered popcorn and some truffle cheese, I was in pure heaven.

This golden colored wine has ripe pear, ripe golden delicious apple, pineapple, and toasty brioche on the nose. The medium plus bodied palate confirms the fruit, with some lemon curd, vanilla, baking spices and medium acidity. This is a complex wine and the perfect pairing for my buttery popcorn. It would also pair beautifully with lobster dipped in butter and a lot of other things!

This IS my hubby’s favorite style of Chard, so I saved him some. We enjoyed a glass last night, and it was delish. In fact, I liked it even more LAST night. So I saved one more small pour for tonight (the third night). Wow, it keeps getting better!!!! It is very well balanced and I’m definitely going to buy some more of this and lay it down. This Chardonnay has some time!

My husband is off playing in a poker tournament tonight! This smidgen I saved and am enjoying on the deck while the sun sets is tasting so darned good that it makes me want to open another Chardonnay, but I fear that it won’t compare. Hmmmm. What’s a girl to do???!!!!

To learn more about this Chardonnay, and the other wonderful wines made by Lewis Cellars, check them out here:  http://www.lewiscellars.com

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