Happy 3 Year Anniversary to Wine and Good Food!

I really can’t believe it has been 3 years since I wrote my first post!   The journey has been awesome…I have met some amazing people, tasted stunning wine, and eaten incredible food along the way.  I have also grown so much since I first started blogging.  My palate has evolved, I have learned a ton about wine and wine making (still such an amateur though!), and, just recently, started to dig into the LA restaurant scene.

I am super excited about entering my 4th year of blogging.  So much is on the horizon (including my first trip to the Wine Bloggers Conference in July) and I have so much more to taste and learn.  Here is to many more years following my passions of wine and good food!

Cheers,

Bella

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Red Car Wine Company 2010 Sonoma Coast Syrah

After really enjoying Red Car’s Pinot Noir, I also wanted to highlight their Sonoma Coast Syrah.  I actually enjoyed this a bit more than the Pinot because I felt there was more depth in the palate (even though I totally liked the Pinot).  The wine is 100% Syrah with 13.7% alcohol.  It retails for around $35 a bottle.

Red Car Wine Company 2010 Sonoma Coast Syrah
Red Car Wine Company 2010 Sonoma Coast Syrah

Tasting Notes

This Syrah is rich in color with earthy aromas of dark fruit, tobacco, and spice.  The earthiness continues in the palate which has flavors of tart cherries, anise, and smoke.  Healthy acidity and balanced alcohol.  A beautiful and delicious Syrah!

Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with leg of lamb, a pulled-pork sandwich, or a grilled sirloin steak.

My Wine Rating – A-

*Media Sample

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Wine and Lobster – Two Shepherds 2011 Pastoral Blanc

I recently received a couple of beautiful Maine lobster tails from my friends at Lobster Anywhere (www.lobsteranywhere.com), so we cooked up a huge seafood feast with grilled corn on the cob.  With our meal, we enjoyed a delicious white Rhone blend from Two Shepherds.  The 2011 Pastoral Blanc is a blend of 40% Roussanne, 20% Marsanne,  20% Viognier, and 10% Grenache Blanc.  This wine really elevated the flavors in the lobster without overpowering them (by the way, the lobster was pretty darn good too!).

Two Shepherds 2011 Pastoral Blanc
Two Shepherds 2011 Pastoral Blanc

Tasting Notes

Opening with aromas of jasmine, peach, and herbs, this Rhone blend has incredible texture and balance.  The palate includes crisp, light flavors with healthy acidity that made it easy to sip throughout the meal.  An amazing pairing with our lobster as well as crab or other shellfish! ($28, 13.8% alcohol)

My Wine Rating – A-

www.twoshepherdsvineyards.com

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Mini-Review – Agostino Pavia Blina Barbera d’Asti 2010

When I came across a Barbera aged in stainless steel instead of oak, I had to pick up a bottle!  It opens with aromas of red berries and a hint of white pepper .  The palate has simple, bright tastes of cranberries and red cherries with lively acidity.  The lack of oak influence makes the wine very fresh and food-friendly.  Easy to drink and definitely worthy of mid-week sipping!  Pair with pork, game meat, or pizza.  (B+, $14, 14% alcohol)

Barbera

 

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Mini-Review – Ballentine Vineyards 2010 Napa Valley Petite Sirah

Ballentine Vineyards is a family-run winery with roots in Napa Valley dating back to 1906.  I received a bottle of their 2010 Petite Sirah in the mail a couple of weeks ago and was definitely surprised with the depth of flavor in each sip!

Ballentine

Tasting Notes

This Petite Sirah opens with enticing aromas of dark berries and spice.  The palate has layers of rich flavors that aren’t too overburdened with alcohol.  There are delicious notes of toffee, blackberry, boysenberry, dark chocolate, and spice.  A wine that should definitely be on the radar of any Petite Sirah lover!   (B+, $28, 14.3% alcohol)

*Media Sample

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A Refreshing Pinot Grigio From Luna Vineyards

One of the last times I was in Napa, my husband and I stopped into Luna Vineyards for a tasting.  They have a beautiful tasting room located on the Silverado trail in Napa (a little touristy but still a nice winery).  We tried many of their wines and brought a couple of bottles home with us, including their 2008 Napa Valley Pinot Grigio.  Today I opened up the bottle and enjoyed a glass on a beautiful, sunny California afternoon. 

About the Wine- From the Winery

Luna's Tasting Room in Napa

Luna 2008 Napa Valley Pinot Grigio is aged in stainless steel tanks (96% of the juice) and French oak barrels (6% of the juice).  It is 95% Pinot Grigio and 5% Chardonnay.  The Luna has 14.1% alcohol and retails for $18 (but can easily be found for $10-14) .  For more information see www.LunaVineyards.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Luna 2008 Pinot Grigio pours a white gold in the glass.  The nose is crisp with notes of citrus and pear.  Refreshing tastes of grapefruit, green apple, and guava fill the palate.  The Luna is a smooth and balanced Pinot Grigio.  Overall, it is easy drinking and perfect for this summer afternoon.  It would pair nicely with grilled scallops or a pizza topped with shrimp.  Cheers!

My Wine Rating- B+

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A Wine That Makes Me Proud I’m Italian- Massolino Dolcetto d’Alba 2008

I was cruising around one of my favorite wine shops in OC and a bottle of Dolcetto caught my eye.  It’s not a wine I drink often, but after talking with the wine shop’s owner, I was convinced I was long overdue for a glass or two. 

About the Wine- From the Winery

Massolino Dolcetto d’Alba 2008 is a Dolcetto from Serrlunga D’Alba in Italy.  The wine has 13.5% alcohol and retails for around $20.  For more information see www.Massolino.it

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The Dolectto pours a brilliant ruby color in the glass.  It has an intoxicating, fruit forward nose filled with dark fruit and floral notes.  At first sip, my mouth is in heaven.  Tastes of black cherry, dark chocolate, blueberry, and violet awaken my taste buds.  The wine is silky, smooth, and balanced.  A beautifully made wine that I will savor until the last sip. 

My Wine Rating- A-

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Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel 2009

I enjoy many of Bogle’s wines.  They almost always deliver an incredible amount of value and taste for around $10.  I often recommend Bogle wines to friends as a great everyday wine that they can find in almost any grocery store.  Their current releases of Petite Sirah and Chardonnay are among my favorites.  I have never tried the Old Vine Zinfandel but the bottle caught my eye while I was in Trader Joe’s this past weekend.   

About the Wine- From the Winery

Bogle 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel is from Lodi and Amador Counties in CA.  The wine has 14.5% alcohol and retails for around $10.  For more information see www.BogleWinery.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel has an intense, fruit forward nose filled with jammy blackberry and dark cherry.  The wine has sweet flavors of blackberry, raspberry, and cherries with hints of tobacco and spice in the finish.  I miss the big spicy finish that I always look for in Zinfandel but it is still a decent wine for $9.99.  If you try a bottle, let me know what you think!

My Wine Rating- B-

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Columbia Crest 2008 Horse Heaven Hills Merlot

I have a friend who religiously drinks Horse Heaven Hills Merlot from Columbia Crest as her mid-week wine so I thought I would take her advice and have a glass or two.  Columbia Crest is one of Washington’s most popular wineries and they have a reputation for making great wines at affordable prices. 

About the Wine- From the Winery

Columbia Crest 2008 Horse Heaven Hills Merlot is a blend of 96% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Malbec.   The wine comes from Washington and has 14.5% alcohol.  It retails for around $14 and for more information see www.ColumbiaCrest.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The Columbia Crest pours a deep reddish-purple in the glass.  It has a nose filled with ripe blueberries, black cherry, cocoa, and a hint of tobacco.   The fruit forward Merlot is bursting with flavors of blackberry, black cherry, and spices.   A silky and incredibly easy to drink Merlot for under $15.  This is an impressive casual wine that is perfect for a summer BBQ.  Grab a bottle and enjoy…cheers!

My Wine Rating- B+

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Wednesday Wine Pick- Smoking Loon 2009 Syrah

I love the Wednesday Wine challenge I have set for my blog.  It’s fun to seek out inexpensive wines that are worthy of drinking (even if I have to go through a couple of bad bottles to get there).   This week I decided to seek out an inexpensive Syrah.  I just enjoyed a wonderful bottle of Whetstone Napa Valley Syrah, which retails for a hefty $50, so I thought it would be fun to find a Syrah for under $15 that would still put that same smile (or at least similar smile) on my face. 

About the Wine- From the Winery

Smoking Loon 2009 Syrah

Smoking Loon’s 2009 Syrah is from California and has 13.9% alcohol.  It retails for $1o (although Trader Joe’s has it for $6.99) and you can find more information at www.SmokingLoon.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Smoking Loon Syrah pours a deep plum in the glass.  It has a nose of packed full of sweet, ripe strawberries, cocoa, and herbs.  Tastes of strawberries, cranberries, and oak are followed with a peppery finish.  A really nice wine you can find for under $10…I almost can’t believe how enjoyable it is considering I just drank the Whetstone last night.  A great pick for your Wednesday Wine!

My Wine Rating- B

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