Sunday, June 28, 2009

Barth Beerenauslese

For a relaxing time, go to Nectar Wine Bar in SF or Burlingame. They have an extensive wine list. I had the 07 Barth Beerenauslese with a beautiful array of cheeses that the sommelier personnally paired for me. The wine was a treat and perfect for a warm Sunday afternoon. Yummy caramel and apricot on the palate enjoyed with the creamy, hard and soft cheese selection, with a bit of quince and sliced red grapes. Nectar has over 50 wines by the glass and 800 selections overall.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tejada Vineyard

I met the beautiful Nina from Tejada Vineyards at the TAPAS Grand Tasting showcasing their 06 Tempranillo and 05 Tempranillo/Garnacha Blend. With 37 wineries in attendance, Tejada stood out from the crowd. Great marketing and labeling as well as great wine. Try some of this with grilled meat Argentinian style.

Tapas Grand Tasting, Fort Mason

I attended the TAPAS Grand Tasting event at Ft. Mason on June 14 which showcased 36 North American Vintners sharing their Portuguese and Spanish varietal wines. There was definitely a range of regional tastes. The Albarino seminar featured wines from Umpqua Valley, Lodi, Monterey County, Santa Inez Valley and Edna Valley. The most notible came from Edna Valley. Local Wineries were also in attendence such as Villa Creek which had a wonderful Garnacha from the Denner Vineyard. Vina Robles White Blend was an outstanding array of flavors from a blend based on Verdelho. Randall Grahm, Bonnie Doon, was on hand talking about their Albarino. He stated that "wineries will have to produce wines that are original and out-of-the-box." Out of the ordinary grape varietals will have to be included in blends so wines stand out in the crowd. Randall says also that "wines are going into bottle too soon - more time spent on the lees, develop them slowly, will give greater potential for complexity. Climates are getting warmer and dryer. So grow grapes that are dry-farmed (grenache, monestrel). Grow grapes that are sustainable."
The Tempranillo seminar featured wines from Sonoita, AZ, San Antonio Valley, CA, Rogue Valley, OR, Lower Lake, CA and Vallecito, CA. Most notible was from Sonoita wine, 2007 Callaghan Vineyards Padres - tempranillo blend with a little petite verdot and cab franc to maintain the acidity.

All and all a nice, educational event.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dancing Coyote wines

A pleasant find is the Dancing Coyote Wines (Clarksburg CA AVA) shown at the Tapas Grand Tasting, Ft. Mason, San Francisco last Sunday (June 14, 09). I enjoyed their 07 Verdelho, very balanced acids with a creaminess on the finish. Nice combination of tropical and citrus characteristics. In addition the Albarino did have a nice acid finish. Blended with a little Orange Muscat and Gewurztraminer makes this a delicious food wine with fish or shellfish. The packaging and labeling is whimsey and compliments the experience of tasting, enjoying and entertaining. Julie McCormack (sales) pictured.

Sauvignon Blanc from Paso Robles AVA

The Sauvignon Blanc from Paso Robles is distinctive because of its fruity characteristics. It is completely opposite of the grassy, vegetal notes traditional of New Zealand Sauv Blanc. My favorites are from NZ because I like that profile. But the 06 River Star Vineyards Sauv Blanc is a delicious, refreshing summer wine that I do enjoy. It is well-made and can be paired with many different styles of foods such as the herbed chicken and yams (little butter, little brown sugar) that I had with it last night. It also drinks well by itself. Another great wine at a great price (under $15). It is a great place to visit - Say hello to Betty for me.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cameron Hughes Lot 67

I was lucky to get a bottle of Cameron Hughes Wine, Lot 67, 05 Syrah from Russian River/Sonoma blend. For under $15, this wine compares to an over $40 bottle of some of the best California Syrahs. Luscious mouthful of rich fruit, smooth tannins makes this a food friendly wine. Serve with glazed ribs with a close friend. Serve to those who appreciate premium wine but don't tell them the price.

Tapas Grand Tasting, Fort Mason

The 2nd annual Tapas Grand Tasting at Ft. Mason, SF showcased 36 North American wineries specializing in Spanish varietals. The seminar before the tasting focused on regional differences of Albarino and Tempranillo. One outstanding medal winning wine, the Tempranillo from the Rogue Valley, Red Lily, is hand-crafted by Rachael Martin. The winery is locate outside of Medford, OR Limited production. Great food wine, soft tannins, light strawberry. The event was lots of fun and worth the time spent exploring Spanish varietals from all around the West Coast.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

2003 Piocho, Happy Canyon Vineyards

I just pulled out an 03 Piocho blend from Happy Canyon Vineyards. It's a blend of Cab, Cab Franc and Merlot. It was very good and is sold out. The 06 is available for $30, over the recession affordable pricing but worth the money. I would lay down the 06 for 2 more years though. This is a high quality wine produced by Barrack, Los Olivos, CA. Gravelly loam soils and the finest barrels attribute to its quality.

06 Zin Cooper Vineyards

Located in the Shenandoah Valley, California, Cooper Vineyards 06 Zin won the blind tasting at last Sunday's event at the Back Wine Bar in Folsom CA. I also voted for this Zin, candied apple, cinnamon, smooth finish/tannins. It is an excellent wine for $23 bucks. Mike Roser is the winemaker of this award winning wine.

Tudal Family Winery

06 TractorShedRed, by the Tudal Family Winery, Napa is a very recession proof wine. It's $7 bucks at Costco but it's $12 at the winery. The blend of Sangio, Merlot and Zin make this a good, full-bodied, every day wine you can afford. It serves with grilled meats and veggies. Normally a wine at this price point can be OK but not that great or memorable. Tractor Shed is is a decent everyday wine that won't break the budget. You won't be disappointed. This wine does have several Gold Medals.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sierra Foothills

I was told that Cooper, Z and R, and Jeff Renquist wine are the top wineries in the Sierra, CA. Can anyone confirm which are their favorites?

05 Petite Sirah, Gold Note, Fairplay

O5 Petite Sirah, Godl Note, Fairplay AVA. Hearty black cherry and exotic spice with smooth tannins. I give it 90 points. This wine is full-bodied, dark and rich. You will love it just to sip on it. This time, food may get in the way.

Back Wine Bar

The Back Wine Bar (named after Jeff Back) is located in Folsom off Riley. Went to one of their blind wine tasting events and thought that is was nicely organized. Check out events at and sign up for their events schedule. I'm certainly going back to their next blind tasting, with a theme, that is held once/month. The wine list but the taste and glass if very good. I had a Petite Sirah from Gold Note (gold medal winner). In addition, to a great tasting wine list, they offer appetizers. The Ahi Poke $13 was to die for. I think I can go there at least once/week and sample wines with this appetizer. The owners are a hip couple, with lots of energy, great hospitality. There is a side patio for dining al fresco. I will be a regular now that I am residing in Folsom. To get on their newsletter, go to

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Cameron Hughes Lot 110

OK the lot 110 from Cameron Hughes is hard to find but it is out there. Just release, 07 Pinot Noir , Los Carneros, smokey, light pinot, strawberry and smokey, a bit Burgundian but yet stays true to California with with berry fruit and slight tannins. A great drinkable now wine. Will be good also in 3 -4 years.

Friday, June 5, 2009

There is not much left of Cameron Hughes' Lot 113 - 06 Mt. Veeder Syrah. Huge fruit bomb with gorgeous aromatics of dried dark cherries, black pepper, caramel, and sweet toffee. It is as rich on the palate, with good firm tannins and coffee-toffee, dried cherry, black tea, and black pepper flavors that linger. For $15, you can't beat this wine that is the quality of a $50 Napa style wine.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Awards for Cameron Hughes Wine

Check out the awards that Cameron Hughes Wine received at the 2009 Internatioal Critics Competition at

Critics Silver 2007 Garnacha, Lot 128 Campo de Borja $20.00Critics Platinum 2007 Garnacha, Lot 129 Campo de Borja $20.00
Critics Gold 2007 Pinot Noir, Lot 110 Los Carneros $18.00
Critics Gold 2007 Zinfandel, FWM $13.99

Check the website to see where these wines are sold. These are amazing wines for the price point.