Le Cantine di Indie Polpo Rosso 2013

There is something I love about everyday wines coming out of Sicily lately.  They are fresh, lively, and often lead to great conversations with friends.  Le Cantine di Indie Polpo Rosso definitely fits the mold for this casual and enjoyable style of wine.  It is 100% Nerello Mascalese, a grape native to Sicily.  The wine is made naturally and is aged in stainless steel.

Le Cantine di Indie Polpo Rosso 2013

Le Cantine di Indie Polpo Rosso 2013

In the glass, Le Cantine di Indie Polpo Rosso offers delicate floral aromas with hints of red fruit.  The palate is vibrant and youthful with juicy flavors of strawberries and nuances of spice.  This simple wine is definitely made more in the style of a Rosé than in a traditional red wine.  Serve chilled and enjoy!

(12% alcohol, $13, pair with causal Italian food or grilled chicken)

The Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure 2015

The 3rd Annual Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure is coming to the Santa Ynez Valley March 27-29th.  This year, the festival will be held in Solvang and will feature over 60 of the area’s hard-to-find, micro-production commercial “garagiste” winemakers.


The festival will feature smaller, more intimate events beginning Friday, March 27th that include:

  • Happy Yeast Make Better Wine: an educational (but fun) winemaker symposium sponsored by Laffort, and featuring Cal Poly professor and winemaker Matt Brain of Baker and Brain (5:00 – 6:30pm).
  • No Repeats: Rare & Reserve Winemaker Mixer: where winemakers bring out the best of their best for attendees, including Club Only, Library and Pre-Release bottles, and compete in the “Big Red Shootout,” a friendly competition in which they blind-taste each other’s wines and vote for the best red in the room. (7:00 – 9:30 pm).

There will also be a Grand Tasting on both Saturday, March 28th and Sunday, March 29th.  Each Grand Tasting features 30 different wineries:

  • Winemakers on Saturday Include: Apical Cellars, Archium Cellars, Baehner Fournier, Bellissimo Cellars, Bradley Family Winery, Brophy Clark, Carivintas Winery, Carucci Wines, Clos Des Amis, Cordon Wines, Cotiere, Crawford Family Wines, Dascomb Cellars, Ferguson Crest, Kessler-Haak Vineyards, La Montagne Winery, Larner Vineyards, Levo Wines, No Limit Wines, Pence Ranch, Press Gang Cellars, Roark Wine Co., SamSara Wine Co., Scott Cellars, Seagrape Cellars, Section Wines, Solminer Wines, Turiya Wines, and Weatherborne.
  • Winemakers on Sunday Include: Alta Colina Vineyards, Ascension Cellars, Barbieri Wines, Big Tar Wines*, Central Coast Group Project, Center of Effort Wines, Cloak & Dagger Wines, Conarium Wines, Dilecta Wines, Dreamcote Wine Co., Falcone Family Vineyards, Graef Wines, Imagine Wines, J. Brix Wines, J. Ludlow Vineyard*, Mattina Fiore*, MCV Wines, Mount Dorado Winery, Pace Family Wines, Ryan Cochrane Wines, STANGER Vineyards, Tercero Wines, Tierra y Vino, Vines on the Marycrest, Vino Vargas, Wandering Dog Wines, Workman Ayer, and Zeppelin Winery.

For more info and tickets, visit The Garagiste Festival.

Broc Cellars 2012 Central Coast Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is a wine that, if made properly, is elegant and beautiful.  Broc Cellars nailed this style with their 2012 Central Coast Cabernet Franc.  This new release is made naturally with Cabernet Franc from the Central Coast of California and is reminiscent of Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley in France.  If you are used to sipping big and bold Cabernet Franc, this wine will make you rethink everything you know about the grape.

Broc Cellars 2012 Central Coast Cabernet Franc

Broc Cellars 2012 Central Coast Cabernet Franc

The wine begins with an enticing perfume of red fruit and herbs.  The palate is juicy and delicious.  There are fresh tastes of cherry and cranberry mingled with violet and thyme.  Not overly complex, but both graceful and gulpable! (12% alcohol, $22)

Tendu 2013 California Red Wine from Matthiasson

I love drinking Matthiasson Wine, but due to the price (their Napa reds are often upwards of $60 a bottle), I generally only enjoy the wines on a special occasion.  Given Steve Matthiasson’s recent project called Tendu, this has all changed.  Tendu is Matthiasson’s version of an everyday table wine.  Made with grapes from less expensive growing regions in California, the wines are both delicious and affordable.

Tendu 2013 California Red Wine

Tendu 2013 California Red Wine

Tendu Red is a blend of Aglianico, Montepulciano, and Barbera.  The wine is aged in stainless steel, fermented with native yeasts, and is bottled unfiltered.  The nose offers aromas of bright red fruit and a bit of earthiness.  The palate is filled with vibrant cranberries, cherries, and raspberries.  There are also herbal undertones along with healthy acidity that balance the fruitiness of the wine.  So juicy and delicious, you will have a hard time putting down your glass.  Brilliantly bottled in a 1 liter size, this wine is perfect wine for a family style Italian meal or burgers! (12.5% alcohol, $19.99, serve slightly chilled)

Petillant Naturel – Los Pilares 2013 LaDona’s Sparkling Muscat

My experiences with Muscat from San Diego County have been underwhelming to say the least.  Overly sweet and poorly made are the most common thoughts that come to mind.  When I heard the buzz about what Los Pilares had masterfully created with their Sparkling Muscat, I had to find a bottle.

Los Pilares 2013 LaDona’s Sparkling Muscat is a Petillant Naturel (bottled during primary fermentation, capturing the naturally released carbon dioxide, without the addition of outside sugars).  The wine is naturally made with native yeast fermentation and no added SO2.

Los Pilares 2013 LaDona’s Sparkling Muscat

Los Pilares 2013 LaDona’s Sparkling Muscat

LaDona’s Sparkling Muscat is mesmerizing in the glass…cloudy and almost reminiscent of grapefruit juice in color.  The nose is very floral with hints of ginger and stone fruit.  There is an explosion of flavor when the wine hits your tongue.  Notes of citrus, passion fruit, and wild flowers are followed by a bitter, dry grapefruit-filled finish.  A fantastic Pet Nat and a wonderful example of the potential of San Diego County wine!

Petillant Naturel – Salinia “Twenty Five Reasons”

I don’t think I have ever started off a post with this way, but there is a first time for everything – Wow.  I drank my last sip of Salinia “Twenty Five Reasons” almost a week ago and I am still thinking about it!

Kevin Kelley is the winemaker behind Salinia’s “Twenty Five Reasons”.  It is a skin-fermented (14 days) Sauvignon Blanc from organically farmed vines in Mendocino County.  All parts of the grape, including stems, were used.  As with all Pet Nats, the secondary fermentation occurred naturally in the bottle.  The wine is both unfined and unfiltered.

Salinia "Twenty Five Reasons"

Salinia “Twenty Five Reasons”

In the glass, Twenty Five Reasons is golden and very cloudy.  The aromas of the wine are intriguing and unravel with time.  The coolest part about this wine is how it constantly evolves in your mouth and with air. Before too much air, the wine features tastes of minerals, apples, and white peaches.  With a little time, the palate delivers an invigorating, grapefruit filled punch.  As the fruit notes begin to fade, the flavors transcend once again, leaving you with a dry, yeasty finish.

This is undoubtedly one of the most interesting wines I have had in a while.  If I were you, I would find a bottle so you can experience the dynamic potential of California wines.  (12% alcohol, $22.99)

Old is New Again – Petillant Naturel

Petillant Naturel…have you heard of it or tasted it?  Petillant Naturel (or Pét-Nat, as it is often casually referred to), is a sparkling wine made in a completely different style than that of Champagne and other common sparkling wines.  The wines are bottled during primary fermentation, capturing the naturally released carbon dioxide.  The process produces bubbles organically, without the addition of outside sugars.  This age-old winemaking style has been making a comeback over the last several years.

More notes on these Pét-Nats this week!

Tasting notes on these Pét-Nats this week!

This week I am going to highlight a couple of excellent Pét-Nats that I have fallen in love with.  The wines, which vary in taste profile, are quirky, unusual, and hard to stop thinking about long after the bottles are gone.  Stayed tuned for tasting notes and tips on where to find these delicious wines!

Exploring the Wines of Fattoria Casabianca

Fattoria Casabianca is an estate winery located in Tuscany that spans over 1500 acres.  The property hosts beautiful vineyards along with well-appointed farmhouses that are available as vacation rentals.  Fattoria Casabianca focuses on popular Italian varieties as well as lesser-known grapes from the region.  The grapes are farmed organically and the wines are well-made and approachable.

I recently had the chance to taste through some of Fattoria Casabianca’s recent releases and really enjoyed the diversity of the wines.  I don’t know how readily available they are in the US but I definitely recommend exploring the wines if you come across them.  The wines seem to be available in Europe for under the equivalent of $20 (other than the 2008 Belsedere), so they definitely offer a great value!

The wines of Fattoria Casabianca

The wines of Fattoria Casabianca

2013 Fattoria Casabianca Roscato 

A lovely Rosé of Sangiovese that features soft, refreshing notes of strawberries and red currants.  Balanced acidity with a great mouthfeel.  One of my favorite wines of the tasting! (13% alcohol)

2013 Fattoria Casabianca Cleo Toscana 

This blend of 75% Vermentino and 25% Viognier offers bright citrus flavors along with notes of pear and jasmine.  Crisp, vibrant, and really enjoyable!  Paired incredibly well with a shrimp scampi recipe that we served alongside the wine. (13.5% alcohol)

2011 Fattoria Casabianca Loccareto Canaiolo

This was my first experience with 100% Colorino, a grape that is primarily used in blends.  Tastes of raspberry and cassis are surrounded by nuances of oak and spice.  Easy to drink and food-friendly. (14% alcohol)

2013 Fattoria Casabianca Colli Senesi Chianti

The 2013 vintage is made with 80% Sangiovese and a blend of 20% Cabernet, Canaiolo, and Colorino.  The wine offers tastes of red cherry and cranberry along with notes of red currants and spice.  Soft tannins and balanced acidity.  A great wine to pair with hearty Italian pasta dishes! (14% alcohol)

2011 Fattoria Casabianca Colli Senesi Chianti Riserva

Colli Senesi Chianti Riserva is a harmonious blend 85% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot, 5% Canaiolo, and 5% Colorino.  Cherry, blackberry, cranberry, and dark currants mingle with hints of vanilla and leather.  Well-integrated tannins and a lengthy finish.  This wine will likely improve with a bit more time in the bottle.  (14.5% alcohol)

2008 Fattoria Casabianca Colli Senesi Chianti Riserva Belsedere 

This 100% Sangiovese is the most well-structured wine of the lineup.  Flavors of cherry, licorice, and leather are met with prominent tastes of oak and vanilla.  A little too oaked for my palate but still a nicely made wine.  Pair with meaty dishes.  (14% alcohol)

 *Media samples

2013 Fattoria San Lorenzo Il Casolare Rosso

If you are looking for a great value to kick of the New Year, look no farther than Fattoria San Lorenzo Il Casolare Rosso.  This blend of 50% Montepulciano and 50% Sangiovese is a declassified Rosso Piceno, which helps keep the price point low.  The vineyards, located in the Marche region of Italy, are farmed biodynamically and organically and there is minimal intervention in Fattoria San Lorenzo’s winemaking process.

Il Casolare Rosso

Fattoria San Lorenzo Il Casolare Rosso

Il Casolare Rosso offers fruity notes that are juicy and not jammy.  There are also notes of herbs and spice along with a pure finish.  Balanced and food-friendly.  I have tasted a lot of values over the years and I think this wine earns a spot in my top 10!  Such a fantastic wine for the price! (12.5% alcohol, $12)

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Picks for New Year’s Eve

Sparkling wine is an essential part of any New Year’s Eve Celebration.  We always enjoy bottles with oysters to begin the night as well as with our midnight toast to welcome in the new year!  Here are 3 picks at different price points that are sure to start 2015 off right!

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!!

NV Domaine Brazilier Méthode Trad Brut

One choice that is a favorite at Wine and Good Food for under $20 is NV Domaine Brazilier Méthode Trad Brut.  This blend of Chenin Blanc and Pineau d’Aunis from the Loire will draw you in with aromas of fresh-baked bread and baked apples.  The palate is equally delicious with tastes of apples and nutmeg along with vibrant acidity.  A definite crowd pleaser! ($15)

Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Brut

Franciacorta is a region in Italy producing excellent sparkling wine at price points that are usually far below the price points of Champagne.  Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Brut is a blend of 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Blanc, and 10% Pinot Noir.  The palate offers soft, creamy notes of citrus and fresh-baked bread with floral undertones.  A great value, especially for those who don’t want an exceptionally dry sparkling wine.  ($35; sample)

NV Charles Dufour Champagne Extra Brut Bulles de Comptoir #2

Rounding out the New Year’s Eve picks is one of my favorite Champagnes for under $100 (and it’s way below $100); NV Charles Dufour Champagne Extra Brut Bulles de Comptoir #2.  This blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, and 10% Pinot Blanc is sans soufre and absolutely delicious.  The Champagne has clean flavors of apple and pear with hints of yeast and minerals.  Bright acidity and fine bubbles make it an excellent match for oysters.  ($45; if you are local to Los Angeles, Domaine LA may still have a few bottles on the shelf)