Broadside Wines – Pure Wines from Paso Robles

I recently had the chance to join in on a live Brandlive tasting with Stephanie & Brian Terrizzi, founders of Paso Robles winery Broadside.  Broadside focuses on producing wines that offer true varietal expression, which means they make the wines naturally, use no new oak, and focus on sustainable farming techniques.  Stephanie is a leading bio-dynamic/organic viticulturist in Paso who oversees the vineyard operations at Broadside while Brian is the winemaker.

Broadside produced its first vintage in 2006 and has since grown to making 20,000 cases annually.  Our tasting lineup included 2014 Broadside ‘Wild Ferment’ Chardonnay, 2013 Broadside Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013 Broadside Margarita Vineyard Merlot, and 2013 Broadside Margarita Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.  The overwhelming consensus of the evening was that the wines are bright & balanced and the QPR is exceptional (all wines retail for $25 or less).  Here are my tasting notes from the event:

Our Broadside lineup!

Our Broadside lineup!

2014 Broadside ‘Wild Ferment’ Chardonnay (SRP $20)

Broadside’s “Wild Ferment” Chardonnay offers pure notes of pineapple, pear, and spice along with hints of minerality.  With excellent texture and mouthfeel, it was universally well-received by everyone joining in on the tasting. (13.5% alcohol)

2013 Broadside Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $18)

Tastes of plum and blackberry are coupled with hints of black pepper and tobacco.  Simple yet balanced and very enjoyable for under $20.  Definitely allow this wine a few hours to open up before sipping.  (13.9% alcohol)

2013 Broadside Margarita Vineyard Merlot (SRP $22)

Broadside’s Margarita Vineyard Merlot has lush tastes of dark chocolate, rich fruit, cedar, and minerals.  Definitely fruit forward yet with enough finesse to make it incredibly enjoyable.  This is undoubtedly the best Merlot I have had from Paso Robles! (14.2 % alcohol)

2013 Broadside Margarita Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $25)

Well-structured with notes of black cherry, ripe plum, black currant, and black pepper.  This wine is smooth, bright, and could easily stand up against many competitors at $50+ a bottle.  Give this bottle a couple of years in the cellar for an even more enjoyable experience! (14.4% alcohol)

*media samples

Best Red Wines For Thanksgiving!

Stressed out about which red wines to sip with your Thanksgiving feast?  Wondering what wines go best with turkey and stuffing?  Great news…you don’t have to worry because we did all of the hard work for you!  Here are some of our favorite red wine picks & pairings for your Thanksgiving meal!

Happy Thanksgiving!

California Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a classic Thanksgiving wine pairing and it is also one of my favorites.  There are plenty of great Burgundies around but lately I have been impressed with cool-climate Pinot Noir coming out of California.  A lot of the bottles would be nearly impossible to acquire in time for Thanksgiving (think mailing lists, limited allocations, etc.), but lucky for all of us, Small Vines 2013 Estate Cuvee Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is available for purchase on their website.  The wine is bright, well-structured, and perfect with turkey and all of the fixings.  A fantastic wine for your Thanksgiving table! ($55 including shipping)


Gamay is often overlooked for Thanksgiving but I love it paired with turkey and stuffing!  Since I am obsessed with Le Telquel Gamay, it is an obvious choice for the holiday.  Le Telquel is from the Loire Valley and has tastes of juicy red berries and spice entwined with racy acidity.  Pure, unadulterated, and best served slightly chilled.  This is my all-time favorite Gamay for under $20 and a great Thanksgiving wine! ($16)


A bottle of Carignan will undoubtably make it to my Thanksgiving table this year.  Lioco Indica Carignan from Mendocino County is a definite crowd-pleasing pick.  The wine has harmonious tastes of raspberry, cranberry, spice, and herbs with bright acidity.  A fantastic pairing with most traditional Thanksgiving fare, including turkey! ($22)

White Wines For Thanksgiving!

It seems like so many people I know serve the same wines with Thanksgiving every year.  When I dine with friends or see pictures from Thanksgiving tables, Chardonnay seems to be the overwhelming white wine choice.  While I do enjoy a well-made Chardonnay, most people opt for a bottle that overwhelms the meal with oak, butter, and alcohol.  I recently tasted through almost a dozen white wines (tough job, I know) and came up with a few favorites for your Thanksgiving meal!

Narrowing down the choices…so many great white wines to choose from for Thanksgiving!


Riesling is one of the most food-friendly wines and is a great pairing with many Thanksgiving dishes.  I recently tasted 2013 Famille Hugel Riesling and discovered it’s not only delicious, but it’s also a killer value at $12.  This dry Riesling from the Alsace region of France is filled with tastes of lemon and orange blossom along with naturally bright acidity and hints of minerality.  Pair with everything from yams to mashed potatoes to turkey & stuffing! ($12)

Chenin Blanc

One tradition we keep at our Thanksgiving table is making sure there is a place for seafood.  Oysters and Dungeness Crab always seem to work their way into our meal.  Dry Chenin Blanc is one of my favorite pairings with shellfish.  Chenin Blanc is made in many styles so look for a bottle that has nice acid and texture.  One bottle that recently grabbed my attention is 2014 Lo-Fi Chenin Blanc from the Jurassic Park vineyard in Santa Barbara County.  With bright citrus, stone fruit, and a rich mouthfeel, this wine is a great match for shellfish! ($26)

White Rhone Blends

If you come to our house for Thanksgiving, you will always find a White Rhone Blend poured with your meal.  One of my favorite domestic bottles is 2013 Two Shepherds Pastoral Blanc, a blend of 50% Roussanne, 25% Marsanne, 13% Viognier, 6% Grenache Blanc, and 6% Grenache Gris from the Russian River Valley.  The wine is beautifully balanced and bright with incredible texture.  It will really brighten up heavy dishes and is a staple at our Thanksgiving table. ($30)

Domaine La Manarine Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2013

I drink a lot of Grenache yet it is often hard to find a well-made, reasonably priced bottle.  That is why I was pretty impressed when I stumbled across a bottle of Domaine La Manarine Cotes du Rhone.   Domaine La Manarine is a small, family-owned winery established in 2001.  The grapes for this Cotes du Rhone Rouge hail from Southern Rhone and the vines average around 35 years in age.  This naturally made wine is 100% Grenache and I have actually seen several bottles in retail shops across Southern California.

Domaine La Manarine Cotes du Rhone Rouge

Domaine La Manarine Cotes du Rhone Rouge

Domaine La Manarine Cotes du Rhone Rouge immediately grabs your palate’s attention with lots of spice.  As the wine opens up, notes of red and dark berries begin to appear and the palate smooths out.  The result is a rich and robust wine, balanced with healthy acidity.  Not super complex but definitely enjoyable.  Think grilled meats with this Grenache! (14% alcohol, $13)

Celebrating Harvest in Healdsburg – Harvest Lunch at Jordan Winery

Harvest is undoubtedly the most beautiful time of year to visit Sonoma County.  The vineyards are stunning and you can feel a sense of excitement and anticipation at each winery you visit.  A couple of weeks ago, Brandon and I headed to Sonoma County to experience harvest for ourselves.  The entire trip was awesome but the highlight was our Harvest Lunch at Jordan Winery in Healdsburg.  Each year, Jordan hosts a 5 week harvest lunch series in September and October.  The lunch celebrates the French tradition of wineries providing a daily lunch for harvest workers.

Jordan is one of the most beautiful estates in Sonoma County.  As you drive up the winding driveway, you see Jordan’s magnificent chateau.  We met our lunch group in the stately Bacchus Courtyard and Lisa Mattson, Director of Marketing & Communications at Jordan, guided us to a beautifully appointed lunch table overlooking Alexander Valley.  We mingled with lunch guests around us as we were poured a glass of Jordan Chardonnay.

Jordan Estate Chateau

Jordan Estate Chateau *credit Jordan Winery

Bacchus Courtyard

Bacchus Courtyard

This Harvest Lunch was a special one as it marked the 40th vintage for both Jordan Winery and winemaker Rob Davis.  The lunch, prepared by Executive Chef Todd Knoll and staff, showcased an abundance of local ingredients, both from Jordan’s farm and other local Sonoma farms.  The menu changes regularly depending on available ingredients and we were able to indulge in an array of dishes that included a beautiful heirloom tomato & burrata salad and delicious roasted quail.  Our meal was paired with three wines from Jordan; 2013 Jordan Chardonnay, 2011 Jordan Cabernet, and 2008 Jordan Cabernet.  The wines were balanced, elegant, and really showcased the beautiful fruit used in each vintage.

A beautiful setting for Harvest Lunch!

A beautiful setting for Harvest Lunch!

Jordan Cabernet and Chardonnay

Jordan Cabernet and Chardonnay

After lunch, we were invited on a tour of Jordan Winery.  As we toured the estate, it was easy to notice the careful attention to detail.  Every part of the winery was thought out long before production reached its current capacity.  We had a chance to see the barrel room and the staff hard at work (mostly cleaning the tanks as 2015 was an early harvest).

Jordan Winery

Jordan Winery Tour

Jordan Winery Tour

Jordan Winery Tour

If you are in Sonoma County, I definitely suggest heading to Healdsburg to visit Jordan Winery.  They offer an array of tours and tastings by appointment that include a gourmet wine tasting with food pairing in their private library, a walking tour through their iconic chateau, and an epicurean excursion across their property.  I am sure you will find your experience at Jordan to be just as wonderful as we did!

Wine Event – Rhone Rangers is coming to Los Angeles!

Hey LA…one of my favorite wine events is rolling into Downtown LA November 6-7, 2015!  This year, there are going to be 50 wineries in attendance.  Weekend events include a series of in-store tastings and winemaker dinners on Friday evening, as well as a seminar and a walk-around tasting reception on Saturday.

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.  Their event in Los Angeles showcases some of the best Rhone winemakers outside of France (think Qupe, Two Shepherds, and Tablas Creek).   A complete list of events is below.  For tickets, visit Rhone Rangers.  Use discount code “GrenacheIsGroovy” for $10 off of VIP tickets.

From last year's Rhone Rangers

From last year’s Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting


Whole Foods, 225 Lincoln Boulevard, Venice CA, 5-8 PM. Join us for a tasting of Rhone-varietal wines with Bonny Doon Vineyard and Michael-David Winery. For more information contact the Wine Department at Whole Foods, (310) 566-9480.
K&L, 1400 Vine Street, Hollywood CA, 5:30 – 7 PM. Join us for a tasting of Rhone-varietal wines with Quivira, Qupe and Vina Robles. For more information contact the store at (323) 464-9463.
WINEMAKER DINNER, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 6:30 PM, Parkway Grill, Pasadena. Featuring the wines of kukula, Pomar Junction and Ridge Vineyards.  This will be an intimate dinner hosted by Sommelier Emmanuel Gonzalez, and Winemaker Kevin Jussila from kukkula, David Gates, VP of Vineyard Operations at Ridge Vineyards, and Mark Stern (CSW, CS), Director of Hospitality and Sales at Pomar Junction. You’ll enjoy a 3-course seated dinner at Parkway’s private dining room; to make a reservation call the restaurant at (626) 795-1001 and ask to reserve a seat at the Rhone Ranger Dinner on November 6th. This will sell out, only 24 seats available, don’t delay!

WINEMAKER DINNER, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 7 PM, Redbird, downtown LA. Featuring the wines of Eberle, Kita and Tablas Creek.  Chef Neal Fraser, Bravo TV Top Chef, has designed a 3-course seated dinner for you at The Nest, Redbird’s private dining space and outdoor deck overlooking the LA skyline at Vibiana. Sommelier Ben Teig will be featuring the wines of Eberle, Kita and Tablas Creek for you to enjoy with Chef Neal’s special pairing menu. This is an intimate dinner for just 30 guests, along with representatives from each of the wineries. Reservations may be made by calling the restaurant at 213-788-1191, and asking to reserve a seat at the Rhone Ranger Dinner November 6th. This will sell out, do not delay!

SEMINAR: “GRENACHE ON THE RISE.” SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 10:30 AM. This seminar will focus on Grenache Blanc, Grenache Noir and Grenache-dominant blends. Our moderator will be Patrick Comiskey. Winery participants include Andrew Murray, Bernat, Kenneth Volk Vineyards, Lightning Wines, Mounts Family Winery, Petrichor, Tablas Creek Vineyard, Tercero Wines, Terre Rouge and Vines on the Marycrest .

GRAND TASTING, VIP TICKETS, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2-6 PM. This event takes place at The Reef, 1933 S Broadway in downtown Los Angeles.Taste from over 200 wines poured by more than 50 wineries. Bid on wine and wine-related items at the silent auction; a portion of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the Rhone Rangers Scholarship Fund. Winery participants are listed to the left.

GRAND TASTING, GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 3-6 PM. This event takes place at The Reef, 1933 S Broadway in downtown Los Angeles.Taste from over 200 wines poured by more than 50 wineries. Bid on wine and wine-related items at the silent auction; a portion of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the Rhone Rangers Scholarship Fund.

2011 Bodegas Muga Reserva Rioja Unfiltered

I have to be honest…I don’t drink much Rioja.  However, every time I do, I am reminded of how delicious a well-crafted bottle can be.  Last week, I participated in a Twitter tasting and among the wine lineup was 2011 Bodegas Muga Reserva Rioja Unfiltered.  Bodegas Muga was founded in 1932 and they follow relatively old-fashioned winemaking processes.  The Bodegas Muga Reserva Rioja Unfiltered is a blend of 65% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 10% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo.  It is fermented with native yeasts and aged for 6 months in wooden vats, 2 years in 60% French and 40% American oak barrels, and at least 12 months in the bottle.

2011 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva Unfiltered

2011 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva Unfiltered

The nose of Bodegas Muga Reserva Rioja Unfiltered has aromas of rich, dark fruit, oak, and spice.  The juicy palate has balanced acidity with tastes of dark berries, black cherries, licorice, and sweet oak.  It’s a bit fruit forward but not to a fault.  A great bottle of classic Rioja for around $25! (13.5% alcohol)

*Media Sample

Charcuterie Wine Pairing – Yves Cuilleron Les Vignes d’à Côté Syrah

If you are coming over for dinner or to watch a football game at our house, you can pretty much bet on enjoying a charcuterie plate.  I love to swing by Belcampo Meat Co. and pick up some delicious meats for guests to feast upon.  When it comes to wine pairing, I often uncork a bottle of cool climate Syrah.  One of my favorites for under $20 is Yves Cuilleron Les Vignes d’à Côté Syrah.  The naturally made wine from Northern Rhone is an excellent companion for charcuterie!

Yves Cuilleron Les Vignes d'à Côté Syrah

Yves Cuilleron Les Vignes d’à Côté Syrah

The nose of Yves Cuilleron Les Vignes d’à Côté Syrah offers aromas of pepper, savory herbs, and red & dark fruit.  The palate is not overly complex but it delivers with notes of violets, black currants, plums, pepper, and smoked meat.  Bright, savory, and delicious…definitely give this bottle a little bit of time to open up! (12%, alcohol, $18)

Les Terrasses d’Eole Ventoux Rouge 2013

It’s definitely still BBQ season in SoCal (isn’t it always?), so Brandon and I are throwing burgers on the grill for a quick mid-week meal pretty regularly.  As for the wine to pair…Les Terrasses d’Eole Ventoux Rouge is an easy pick!  For under $11, the blend of Carignan, Grenache, and Syrah from the Rhone Valley is an impressive value.

Les Terrasses d'Eole Ventoux Rouge

Les Terrasses d’Eole Ventoux Rouge

The nose of Les Terrasses d’Eole Ventoux Rouge has aromas of ripe, red fruit along with herbs and spices.  The palate is packed full of rich fruit, savory herbs, and licorice.  Definitely not shy as far as alcohol is concerned but the wine maintains balance and an old world style.  Simple, satisfying, and great with grilled meats! (14% alcohol, $11).

Domaine Guion Bourgueil Cuvée Prestige 2012

It’s been pretty hot throughout California (by hot I mean sweltering), and I keep finding myself reaching for a light-bodied Cabernet Franc.  When it comes to finding a great Cab Franc for the price, it’s hard to beat bottles coming from the Loire Valley.  The latest bottle to grace my dinner table was Domaine Guion Bourgueil Cuvée Prestige.  I fell in love with the wine’s clean, delicate flavors during my first sip.  It’s 100% organically farmed Cab Franc made naturally.

Domaine Guion Bourgueil Cuvée Prestige

Domaine Guion Bourgueil Cuvée Prestige

“Cuvée Prestige” opens with aromas of black cherries, pepper, herbs, and a bit of earthiness.  The palate is incredibly fresh and fruity with fine tannins, healthy acidity, and nuances of minerality.  It has an addicting purity, making it super hard for me to put down my glass.  Best served slightly chilled and with dishes such as pork chops or rack of lamb! ($16, 12% alcohol)