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Head To T-Vine For Some FUN Wine!

Head to T-Vine for Some FUN Wine!

When I first got into wine, I loved Zinfandel! I mean I loved loved loved Zinfandel.  Now, I’m not talking about the sweet pink stuff. I’m talking about the lovely red Zinfandel wines, the way the varietal was intended to be … in my opinion. I certainly don’t judge people who like it pink! (As long as you’re enjoying wine, you’re cool in my book!)

That being said, as time went by, my palate changed and most Zins (not just the pink ones) became too much for me. So many are too big, too jammy and too oaky for me.

On my last visit to Napa, I discovered a Zin that I like a lot! Now don’t get me wrong, this Zin is NOT small! It’s full of fruity wonderfulness, but it’s not TOO much! I really enjoyed it! Perhaps my palate has come full circle?

T-Vine Winery is located in Calistoga and has a very cool tasting room.  It’s super modern, has gorgeous vineyard views, and is a perfect size. My husband and I bellied up to the tasting bar and enjoyed all of their wines. Heck, we ended up buying a case!

My favorites included their Petite Sirah, Grenache and this Zin from the Black Sears Vineyard.

In the glass, the Zin is bright garnet in color, with aromas of blackberry, plum, and licorice. On the palate, there is lots of blackberry pie, raisin, and some spicy pepper.

The ’14 T-Vine Black Sears Vineyard Zinfandel is velvety smooth and not overbearing! The high elevation of Howell Mountain is a great spot to grow Zinfandel, and this wine is a testament to that!

The next time you’re in Napa, be sure to check out T-Vine Winery. If your travel plans aren’t heading that way anytime soon, check out their website. You can order all of their wines online, and they have some killer shipping deals!

Check it all out here:


I Love Rock ‘n Roll … and Cliff Lede!

This is why you wait.

There are wines to be drunk young, and there are wines that need time. Too many people drink a beautiful bottle way too early. Okay, they bought it, they like it young, fine! But I do question if they KNOW what the wine will become if they just hold it for a few years.

My husband and I just got back from Napa.  We did our usual tour of some new (to us) wineries as well as hitting some of our favorites.

One of the favorites is Cliff Lede, who has great wine and a great tasting experience! Their tasting room is fun and cozy at the same time! The crackling fireplace is perfect on a chilly spring day. Add the fun wine pros, the great tunes filling the airwaves, the beautiful grounds full of rock and roll artwork and blocks named after Cliff Lede’s favorite rock n roll songs, and you’re in store for a very special time!

We tasted some of their wonderful current releases and bought a few. We also bought one of their library wines, and cracked it open tonight!

The 2006 Cliff Lede Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon is SINGING! I am in love with this wine! It still has lots of dark fruit and a velvety texture with smooth tannins. Prune, tobacco and a little spice lead to a nice long finish of dark chocolate. Oh, if only I’d bought a case.

Definitely check them out the next time you’re in Napa. The tasting experience is special, and the wines rock!

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:



What Vintage Are YOU Celebrating?

A fun way for a wine lover to celebrate an anniversary of any kind is to crack open a bottle from that specific year. My husband and I did just that to celebrate our wedding anniversary a few nights ago. We were married in 2001, so we selected a 2001 Napa Valley Silver Oak to toast 15 years of marriage!

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I feared an over-aged thin wine with no fruit. Thankfully my fears were not founded AT ALL. The 2001 Napa Silver Oak is singing right now.  On the nose are cassis, cherry and some tobacco. The palate reflects the fruit and has beautifully integrated tannins. We were thrilled! We may need to hunt down another bottle for our 16th anniversary!

Interestingly, Silver Oak uses American oak for both their Napa Valley and Alexander Valley bottlings. The reason? They feel that American oak imparts less wood tannin than French oak! In fact, as of last year they have acquired full ownership of A&K Cooperage in Missouri. They purchased 50% in 2000, but feel that a full ownership will help them to maintain the barrel making standards they desire.

I love that Silver Oak waits to release their wines. While a lot of Napa 2013 wines have already been on the shelves for months, Silver Oak is just now releasing their 2011s.

I also love that Silver Oak has been using sustainable methods for 40 years! From the usage of solar, Integrated Pest Management and water conservation to obtaining multiple “Green” certifications and more, Silver Oak is one of the “good guy” wineries in Northern California.

To find out more about their Sustainability practices, along with their wines and winery, click here:

Looking for a Great Merlot???

I love finding wines that taste like they’re SUPPOSED to taste!  So many Merlots from California just don’t taste like Merlot.  The 2011 Neyers Conn Valley Merlot, however, does!

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend a tasting at Tim’s Wine Market in Orlando where Barbara and Bruce Neyers, the owners of Neyers Vineyards in Napa, presented some of their wines.

They do a great Chardonnay, some great Cabs and one of the best Zinfandels I’ve had in a very long time.  My favorite of the night, however, was probably the Merlot.

Made with Merlot grapes from their own certified organic vineyards surrounding their home, the Neyers and their talented winemaker Tadeo Borchardt have produced a wonderful Merlot.

The ruby colored wine has aromas of cherry, black raspberry and some chocolate shavings.  The palate is beautifully balanced with layers of the raspberry, cherry, along with some plum and licorice.  Blended with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine has a lovely velvety finish and is more reminiscent of a Pomerol than a California Merlot. 

At 13.8% alcohol, this isn’t one of those huge Napa Merlots that have forgotten what they are meant to be.  It’s a lovely wine that I could drink every night of the week.  Coming in at about $30, this wine is definitely worth its price.

To learn more about Neyers Vineyards, or to purchase some of their wines, go to there website here:

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