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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

 

Next Exit? Buellton!

The Hitching Post II is a great restaurant in Buellton, CA, a small town smack dab in the middle (maybe not literally, but dang close) of the Santa Ynez wine region in California’s Central Coast AVA. You may know of The Hitching Post from the 2004 hit movie Sideways! If you’ve had the pleasure of seeing the movie, you undoubtedly know of the wines associated with this popular restaurant too!

Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post Wines is the collaboration of two good friends who seem to have very different backgrounds. Gray Hartley (a former professional fisherman) and Frank Ostini (chef and owner of The Hitching Post) first made “home wine” in 1979. Their first Pinot Noir came in 1981, and their wine “project” moved to a winery in 1984. Initially the wines were made exclusively for The Hitching Post, but now the country is happy to have them distributed so that we can enjoy them even when we’re not visiting California!

My husband and I have visited Buellton and The Hitching Post II several times, and we’re always sure to stock up on some of their wines to bring home with us. They make a fun Rosé, some nice Merlot and Syrah, and an interesting (and very affordable) red blend called “Gen Red”. Their specialty, though, is killer Pinot Noir!

The other night I pulled a Hartley-Ostini 2012 Pinot Noir Highliner out of our cellar. Their flagship wine, this Pinot Noir has a beautiful nose! With aromas of violets, cherry, raspberry and some wet earth, this wine rocks. The velvety palate has bright cherry, raspberry, pomegranate, and that lovely earthiness that I pray for when cracking open a Pinot. This is one heck of a wine!

Whether you enjoyed the movie or not, definitely check out The Hitching Post II and the lovely Hartley-Ostini wines! The Santa Ynez Valley is a fabulous wine region to visit, so if you haven’t been, definitely put it on your bucket list. The fabulous wines, the delicious food and the gorgeous scenery will entice you to go back time and again! Just make sure that you’re not chewing gum while tasting!

Check out the Hartley-Ostini wines here:

https://store.hitchingpostwines.com/storefront.aspx 

 

Pair a Pinot With a Fall Salad!

One of my favorite things about wine is pairing it with the right dish. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m definitely not one of those “Pairing Police” who freaks out when someone wants to drink their favorite Merlot and they’ve ordered fish! I am a true believer in drinking and eating what one wants, whether it’s an “acceptable pairing” or not.

I do, however, appreciate that some wines taste better with certain dishes and vice versa! Plus, it’s really fun to try different wines with different foods.

Last night for dinner I made a wonderful vegetarian Cobb salad with Gala apple, crispy mushrooms, pecans, avocado and a creamy chive dressing. I paired it with the 2012 Weatherborne Pinot Noir from the Santa Rita Hills AVA, and it was a great match!

This Pinot is bright and fruity with snappy Bing cherry, fresh raspberry and plum, and pairs well with the wine-friendly Gala apple. Along with the fruitiness of the wine is also some great Old World-like earthiness, a perfect match with the oyster mushrooms. Roasted with smoked paprika and smoked Maldon sea salt, the mushrooms also compliment a smoky quality in the wine.

The wine itself is lovely and certainly doesn’t NEED food! I can definitely see myself sipping a glass of this on an upcoming fall evening while hanging out with friends by a fire. It would also be the perfect wine with Thanksgiving dinner!

Weatherborne Wine Corp is the child of Cris Carter who originally followed in his father, uncle and grandfather’s footsteps and planned to be a pilot. While studying at UC Davis his love of chemistry and his interest in wine ultimately prepared him for a life in wine! His 2012 Pinot Noir is his winery’s inaugural release, and the ’13 and ’14 are now available on his website!

Be sure to check out this winery, and stock up for Thanksgiving!

http://www.weatherborne.com

This Wine is “Fergalicious”!

I’m having a “ME” night tonight. The hubby is off working and I’m on my own with a good book and a hopefully good bottle of wine. So I went into our cellar and pulled out a bottle of 2011 Ferguson Crest “Fergalicious”, knowing only that it’s a blend of 56% Syrah, 25% Merlot, 13% Grenache and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. I’m a huge lover of Syrah (in case you didn’t already know that) and the price wasn’t outrageous (I feel guilty opening an expensive bottle with my husband off working), so I grabbed this bottle thinking that it was the perfect wine for the night.

I popped and poured it without decanting … and actually really liked it right off the bat! I’m used to Syrah from the Rhone Valley, which this is NOT! Well, of course it’s not! This is only 56% Syrah, and it’s from the Santa Ynez region of California’s Central Coast AVA. The “Fergalious” is an interesting blend of Rhone varietals with Bordeaux varietals. It’s a lush, full-bodied wine with lots of dark fruit, violets and some spice on the nose. On the palate are the ripe dark fruit, mocha, olives and sweet tannins.

Holy crap! After reading up a bit on this wine, I realized that it’s a family-owned boutique winery established by Pat Ferguson (whose passion for years has been growing many different types of fruits) and his daughter Stacy Duhmel. In case you don’t know, that’s THE Fergie! Yes, THAT Fergie, the vocalist from Black Eyed Peas. I had no idea that she has a wine!!!!

I want to try to find a few more of these, hold on to them, and see how they taste after a few years in the bottle. I can’t help but think that they’ll get even better than they already are. I also look forward to trying some of Ferguson Crest’s other wines!

Meanwhile, I’ll be sure to save the other half of this bottle for my husband to try tomorrow night! It’s right up his alley, AND he thinks that Fergie is hot!

If you want to learn more about Ferguson Crest, check out their website here:  http://www.fergusoncrest.com

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