Château Coupe Roses La Bastide Minervois 2013

I was cruising the aisles of Whole Foods looking for an inexpensive wine to pair with burgers and was pleasantly surprised to see a bottle of Château Coupe Roses La Bastide Minervois on the shelf for $14.  I have uncorked many bottles of this blend of old-vine Carignan, Grenache, and Syrah in the past and was pretty impressed with the QPR.  The wine hails from the Languedoc region of France and the family-run winery adheres to minimalist winemaking philosophies.

Chateau Coupe Roses Minervois La Bastide
Chateau Coupe Roses Minervois La Bastide

 

This is a fun and funky wine.  Fresh tastes of plum, dark berries, tar, and anise are surrounded by earthiness and bright acid.  Not too complicated yet far more satisfying than a lot of other wines in the same price range.  Perfect for grilling and just light enough for warm, summer nights! (13% alcohol)

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Adventures in the Bay Area

Our recent adventures have been pretty amazing.  There is always somewhere new to visit in the Bay Area and old favorites that you want to return to.  One of my favorite things we have been doing regularly is relaxing at the Tuesday Night Farmer’s Market in Sonoma Square.  Great music, wine, and produce!

Sonoma Farmer's Market

 

We have also been making it a priority to explore the beaches of Sonoma County.  Fort Ross State Beach is amazing.  Be sure to pack some chairs, an umbrella, and a picnic!

Fort Ross State Beach

 

We also has the chance to attend Rhone Rangers at the Golden Gate Club in San Francisco.  We had a great time sipping through California Rhone wines!

Rhone Rangers San Francisco

 

After years of wanting to visit the wine Promised Land, we finally made it to Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant in Berekeley.  An epic wine shop that should be on everyone’s wine bucket list!

Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant

 

And, one last pic from the Sonoma Coast.  We already have another trip planned for next week!

Sonoma Coast

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Rhone Rangers San Francisco – June 10-11, 2016

Hey Bay Area…Rhone Rangers is coming to town this week!  This year, there will be over 60 wineries in attendance for Saturday’s Grand Tasting along with a winemaker dinner & auction on Friday evening.  Rhone Rangers is a non-profit organization dedicated to “advancing the knowledge and enjoyment of Rhone wines produced in America” and they do a fantastic job.  The San Francisco event will be held at The Golden Gate Club at The Presidio and showcases some of the best Rhone winemakers in the US (think Bonny Doon, Two Shepherds, and Tablas Creek).  A complete list of the Friday and Saturday’s events are below!

Rhone Rangers

Friday, June 10

Winemaker Reception, Dinner and Auction – Winemakers pull out all the stops from library wines to barrel samples for the reception and dinner catered by Girl & the Fig Caterers. The auction will have you at the edge of your seat as you bid for rare and unique items only found on the auction block. Tickets are limited to the first 180 persons. Reception begins at 5 pm with dinner at 7 pm.

The list of wineries for the winemaker dinner are:

Anglim, Bonny Doon Vineyard, Caliza Winery, Jaffurs Wine Cellars, Pomar Junction Winery, Qupe Wine Cellars, Ridge Winery, Rune Wines, Summerwood Winery, Tablas Creek Vineyard, Tenet Wines, Terre Rouge, Thacher Winery, The Withers Winery, Westwood Wine Estate

Saturday, June 11
Saturday Pass – Spend the day with the Rhone Rangers and kick off your Saturday with a seminar moderated by Sunset wine editor, Sara Schneider. Join the Rhone Rangers for an in-depth look at Syrah with a panel of winemakers who push the conventional styles of Syrah across California and beyond. Join us for a lively discussion and tasting of up to 10 Syrah wines and taste the difference. Then spend the afternoon VIP style at the Grand Tasting, which gives you an early start to tasting more than 60 Rhone wineries. Seminar begins at 11 am followed by VIP Grand Tasting.

The list of seminar wines:

Bonny Doon Vineyard, Caliza Winery, Crux, Jaffurs Wine Cellars, Qupe Wine Cellars, Rune Wines, Skinner, Stolpman, Tenet Wines, Terre Rouge, Westwood Wine Estate, Wrath

VIP Grand Tasting – Membership has its privileges especially when it comes to VIP status at the Rhone Rangers San Francisco event. In addition to an early start to the tasting of more than 60 Rhone wineries, VIP ticket holders will have access to a special lounge area featuring unique wines, appetizers and seating. VIP guests may enter at 1:30 pm.

Grand Tasting General Admission – Join the Rhone Rangers for their annual celebration of American Rhone wines during the grand tasting. Enjoy wines from more than 60 Rhone Rangers wineries from 2:30 – 5:30 pm.

Weekend Pass – The Weekend Pass includes one ticket to the Friday, June 10 Winemaker Reception, Dinner and Auction AND one Saturday Pass.

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Gamay Time – Raisins Gaulois 2014

While I definitely don’t need a reason to sip Gamay, the recent warm weather in Sonoma is making it even easier to reach for a light-bodied red.  My house red for this summer (and for many of the past few summers) is Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois.  This 100% Gamay comes from organically farmed, young vines in Morgon and Beaujolais.  There is as little intervention as possible in the winemaking process which allows this wine to be a pure expression of the Gamay grape.

Domaine Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois
Domaine Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois

 

Raisins Gaulois pours a bright ruby color in the glass and offers aromas of jubilant, red fruit. In each sip, there are tastes of tangy raspberries, cranberries, and red cherries followed with a juicy finish.  Refreshing, lively, and delicious!  Best enjoyed slightly chilled. (12% alcohol, $13.99)

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A Week in Wine Country (and beyond)

We took our first trip to Medlock Ames in Healdsburg.  Such a beautiful property with plenty of patio space available to grab a bottle of wine and relax!Medlock Ames Patio

We were fortunate enough to be able to attend the Seven % Solution tasting in San Francisco.  This is honestly the best domestic tasting we have ever attended.  Amazing wines poured by passionate winemakers.  Don’t miss this event next year!

Seven % Solution

We ventured through some of the backroads in Sonoma and Napa Counties.  Seek out the road less traveled!

Sonoma Backroads

We also attended yet another fantastic wine tasting.  West of West Wine Festival features cool-climate wines grown on the Sonoma Coast and this year it was held at the beautiful Golden Gate Club.  We sipped some amazing Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Chardonnay!

Seven % Solution

And last but not least, we finished the week in beautiful Sonoma Square.  Sunshine, palm trees, and great wine!

Sonoma Square

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Exploring Lodi Wines – German and Austrian Varieties

When most people think Lodi wine, they tend to think of Zinfandel.  While the region is definitely well-known for big, rich Zins, there are so many other varieties being grown in the region.  Over the years, I have come to enjoy Old World-styled Cinsault & Chenin Blanc from Lodi but just had the chance to sip my way through some fantastic German & Austrian varieties from Lodi’s Mokelumne Glen Vineyard via a BrandLive tasting.  Exploring Lodi wines outside of Zinfandel has really shown me the potential the region has for making interesting, balanced wines.  Here are my tasting notes from the event:

The Lodi Lineup
The Lodi Lineup

Holman Cellars 2015 Uncharted Lodi Bacchus

Bacchus…have you ever tried it?  I hadn’t either until this tasting.  Bacchus, a cross between Riesling and Silvaner, is traditionally grown in Germany and tends to have powerful flavors.  Holman Cellars Bacchus spent 3 days on the skin and was fermented in stainless steel.  It has rich tastes of apricots, citrus, and nutmeg with surprisingly vibrant acidity for the grape.  Nice texture and complexity! (14% alcohol, $25)

Markus Wine Co. 2014 Nimmo Lodi White Wine

Markus Wine Co.’s Nimmo is incredibly interesting to drink.  This wine is a blend of 71% Kerner, 13% Gewürztraminer, 11% Riesling, and 5% Bacchus fermented with native yeasts.  Nimmo is fermented in stainless steel and aged for 9 months in 60% new French oak.  The palate is refreshing & bright with tastes of citrus, spice, and minerals.  There is also a unique texture, noticeable oak influence, and bright acid.  An interesting wine that evolves significantly with air. (13.8% alcohol, $22)

Hatton Daniels 2015 Lodi Zweigelt

I drink Zweigelt from Austria somewhat regularly but I never knew the grape existed in Lodi.  Hatton Daniels did a terrific job with this zero-sulfur wine.  Light-bodied with tastes of juicy, red fruit and pepper, this wine is a perfect warm weather sipper.  Serve slightly chilled and be prepared for it to disappear quickly! (11.9% alcohol, $24)

m2 Wines 2014 Belle Étoile Blanche

I love ending a meal with dessert wine and strong cheeses so I was excited to try m2 Wines late-harvest Belle Étoile Blanche.  It is a blend of 35% Reislaner, 25% Weissburgunder, 20% Riesling, and 20% Gewürztraminer aged in stainless steel & neutral oak.  The palate offers ripe tastes of apricot and citrus wrapped in sweet honey.  Crisp, clean, and delightful at the end of a meal! (13.3% alcohol, $24)

*Media Samples

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Domaine de Fontsainte Corbières Gris de Gris Rosé 2015

Today is the first Tuesday Night Farmers’ Market of the season in Sonoma and I cannot wait to go.  The whole community comes together in Sonoma Square to enjoy wine and food while listening to live music. Rosé is a mainstay in our cooler and we are kicking off the first farmers’ market celebration with a bottle of Domaine de Fontsainte Corbières Gris de Gris Rosé.  It is a blend of 50% Grenache Gris, 20% Grenache Noir, 20% Carignan, 5% Cinsault, and 5% Mourvèdre from the Corbières appellation in the Languedoc region of France.  The wine is made with minimal intervention in the winemaking process and is imported by Kermit Lynch.  It is a Rosé I come back to vintage after vintage and it never seems to disappoint!

Domaine de Fontsainte Corbières “Gris de Gris” Rosé
Domaine de Fontsainte Corbières “Gris de Gris” Rosé

The 2015 vintage of Domaine de Fontsainte Corbières Gris de Gris Rosé pours a beautiful salmon color in the glass.  The wine has aromas of red berries with hints of citrus. The palate is vibrant and juicy with tastes of strawberries, cherries, and tart cranberries.  A fun and refreshing Rosé that we will undoubtedly be enjoying throughout the farmers’ market season! (For all of you fellow Sonomans, Whole Foods Market in Sonoma sells this bottle chilled and ready to sip)

 

 

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This Week in Sonoma…

Began with a visit to Preston Vineyards.  We enjoyed a bottle of Rosé and hung out with the roosters and baby goats on their beautiful property!
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We also went to The Girl and the Fig to enjoy some incredible Rhone wines.  It’s one of our favorite restaurants in Sonoma Square.

Girl and the Fig

We also went to Unti Vineyards for their Rosé release party.  Great wines, live music, and a lot of fun!

Unti Vineyards

And we wrapped it up with a bike ride through Sonoma.  There are so many beautiful roads to take through the vineyards!

Scribe Winery

 

 

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Rosé All Day – Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé 2015

I drink Rosé year round but it is hard not to pop open a bottle even more frequently as the temperature rises.  There are so many great bottles of Rosé to choose from however there is one I return to year after year when I am looking for the most bang for my buck…Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé.  The wine hails from the Languedoc region of France and is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Carignan.  The wine is aged in stainless steel and retails for somewhere in the neighborhood of $11 (a steal!).

Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé
Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé

Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé is fresh and fruity.  There are tastes of strawberries and red raspberries with hints of minerality.  There is also plenty of acidity and a crisp, refreshing finish.  This is type the wine I want to enjoy on a Tuesday evening in Sonoma Square or on a warm Saturday afternoon at the coast.  Buy this wine by the case if you can find it because you will want some to sip all summer! (12% alcohol)

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This Week in Wine Country…

This week in Wine Country…

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We stopped by Jacuzzi Family Vineyards to spend some time on the property with friends.  A beautiful property where you can grab a bottle and sip it in the vineyards!

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We drove to Windsor to taste Two Shepherds’ new releases.  The tasting room is open on Saturdays from 11am-4pm and they make some of our favorite wines from Sonoma County!

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We made our first trip to The Barlow in Sebastapol and tasted the entire lineup at Woodfour Brewing Company.  A great place for sours and they have some pretty tasty food as well!

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We headed to Cadet to kick off the weekend.  Featuring mostly natural wines from small producers, Cadet has one of my favorite wine lists in Napa.

Model Bakery English Muffins

And we wrapped it up with English Muffins from The Model Bakery.  If you are anywhere near Napa, you have to try them.  On my list of the top breads I have ever eaten!

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