Live Blogging: RIOS de Chile Carmenere

After tasting the value priced Sav Blanc yesterday, I’m excited to try the Carmenere today.


The vineyard is just at the foot of the Andes, and the vines struggle.  The nose on the wine is very spicy and green, which is different than the palate.  The palate has black pepper, earthy and spicy, and would be amazing with east Asian food with a spicy backbone.

Carmenere is a misunderstood grape, and this is a great example that is pure and honest — and is not pure green pepper.  At $12.99, I would buy this every day!

Live Blogging: Vineyard 511 Diamond Mountain Cabernet

The 2010 Vineyard 511 Cab is distinctly Diamond Mountain.  I love hillside fruit, and this is no exception.

Rich and lush, but with a beautiful bright note hiding under the blackberry, this cab has dusty notes of coffee and chocolate.

The tiny production of 160 cases will not last long, so go get this lush gem!

Live Blogging: Garnet Vineyards Monterey Pinot Noir

I happen to be very lucky and I know Alison Crowe well.  She is a vibrant, energetic and influential winemaker as well as blogger.  I am happy to call her a friend.

This $15 pinot, is a fun, fresh and youthful wine made from Central Coast fruit.  As a Santa Barbara County native, Alison was educated at UC Davis and worked her way up through jobs at Chalone and other well known wineries.  She now has her own brand, Garnet and also consults with Saintsbury.

Pinot Noir is the easiest grape to show true expression of the fruit, and Alison loves to play with it.  The Monterey fruit is different than all the other pinots as it’s a classic Central Coast wine, with fresh, savory red fruit.  Crowd pleasing and inexpensive!

Viva la Garnet!

Live Blogging: Consilience Syrah

I have been exposed to Consilience for over 10 years, and it’s been so wonderful to be able to taste the development of these wines.


This 2011 Santa Barbara County Syrah is under $30, and is a blend of Tierra Alta and Estelle Syrah, as well as a touch of this and that.

This is juicy and fresh, with cinnamon, clove, and cracked black pepper.  I love syrah and this is yum!

Live Blogging:

Wines with a accent!  The Brecon Estate tasting room is only 3 months old and we are tasting the Cab Franc, which is also brand new.

Classic Cab Franc flavor profie, full of green leafy vegetables and hard spices.  Black pepper, green pepper corn, and mouthwatering lavendar.  You don’t typically see Cab Franc from Paso Robles, so this is a refreshingly fun wine.

The calcareous soils are from the highest point of the estate, at 1400′, which helps the vine struggle and produce amazing wine.  Planted in the 80s, now the vines are producing wines of elegance and style that I just love!


Viva la Cab Franc!

Live Blogging: Labyrinth

Based in Santa Maria Valley, Labyrinth Presqu’ile Clone 667 Pinot noir is a Santa Maria classic.

The winemaker from Australia, has been making wine here since 1997.  His wife was the original winemaker for Hitching Post.

The clone 667 is from the south side of Santa Maria Valley, which is the cool zone and you can tell by the beautiful acid in this wine.  Bright tangy cherry, 100% whole cluster, rich brown sugar, and zingy fruit.

I love this pinot!  The tangerine notes on the finish make it a winner!  Retailing for $50, it’s a great splurge and I love the salinity on the finish.


Live Blogging: Taken Wine Co Red Wine

Taken Wine Company is based in Napa and has 3 blends.

This one is Taken Napa Valley Red Wine, a Bordeaux style blend, made from Cab and Merlot.

This is a rich cab based wine, with deep purple fruit, blackberry, and smokey dried blueberry.

The budget friendly $30 makes this an everyday enjoyable wine from Josh Phelps, who is part of the Phelps family.

Live Blogging: Trione Red Wine

The 2009 Trione Red Wine is a Bordeaux style wine, from Alexander Valley in northern Sonoma County.

69% Cabernet

12% Merlot

7% Petite Verdot

6% Malbec


This elegant and velvety wine was fermented separately and then blended after vinification.  Classic flavors of cassis, blueberries and deep blue and red fruits this is a great bottle for a steak.  $48

Live Blogging: Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay

Wente was one of the first vineyards in Livermore California, and is the oldest continuously operating winery in the state of California.  It is still family owned, and the Wente Family is the first family of Chardonny.  many of the clones that are in California today are Wente or derivatives of Wente Clones.


The Riva Ranch Chardonnay is a single vineyard wine from the Arroyo Seco AVA in Monterey.  The deeply golden color comes from 8 months in French and American oak, and the spice of the barrels really comes out while the acidity is maintained.

Baked pears, baking spice, golden delicious apples with a rich, rounded finish.

Live Blogging: J Vineyards PInot Gris

J Vineyards is a women owned and operated winery in the Russian River area of Sonoma, specializing in sparkling wine but also Pinot Gris and Pinot noir.

The 2013 Gris is stainless steel fermented, with no malo, and is sourced from all over the state of California.  Retailing for $14, this is a wonderful example of the grape, that is expressive and unique.  Pears, Asian pear, Meyer lemon, grilled pineapple and savory spices all blend together to create a wonderfully creamy full bodied white.

Live Blogging: Grassini Wines Sauvignon Blanc

Grassini Winery is located in downtown Santa Barbara, and is a family owned winery with very limited production of 2500 cases, of entirely estate owned and produced wines.  It is a family owned and operated winery, that is running sustainably, and are using solar power as well as reclaiming all waste water.  Keeping in mind that sustainability is also about the community, they have kept the same vineyard team since inception, and they are gifted several rows to make their own wine.

The Sauvignon Blanc is a classic style of crisp, citrus driven dry white wine, with lemon zest, lime, grapefruit and floral notes.

Live Blogging: Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc

Ferrari Carano is a bastion of Sonoma County, and king of Dry Creek Valley.  With a focus on white wines, this Fume Blanc is the driest style of Sauvignon Blanc, that was “invented” or coined, by Robert Mondavi in the 70s.


Aged in 35% older French oak and neutral oak for the remainder, this luscious white is full of melon, lime zest, and citrus notes layered over tropical aromas.

Live Blogging: Danza del Sol Vermentino

Vermentino comes from Sardinia, and is also grown in other places in Italy and is one of my favorite white varietals from outside the US.

Bright and fresh, with grilled peaches, and also a taste of the seaside.  You really can’t compare this with any other varietal because it’s so unique but it’s delicious.  I’m happily surprised that this wine is from Temecula, where it can be very difficult to grow grapes and hard to create wines of distinction.

I enjoy the acidiy on this wine, and the tropical, citrus driven flavors.

Live Blogging: Aridus Malvasia Blanca

Aridus Wine Company is a custom crush facility.  Today, he is pouring an unusual Malvasia Blanca, made from New Mexico grapes.

Malvasia is typically grown in Croatia, parts of Italy, and western Europe but is unusual to see it here.


Intensely aromatic, there is a huge amount of perfume on this wine that almost detracts from the fruit flavor underneath.  There is a touch of baking spice hiding underneath it, and it blows off a bit after opening.

Live Blogging: 2012 Jordan Chardonnay

Lisa Mattson is well known in the blogging community, and is an engaging and energetic Communications Director for Jordan Winery in Alexander Valley, in Northern Sonoma County.

The 2012 Chardonnay is all Russian River fruit, with a little bit of time in French Oak.  Classic Russsian River Chard, sourced from 8 vineyards.  The gravelly soil lends itself to the mineralality of the wine.  Fresh and clean, with classic RRV fruit profile.  Slight pear notes, green apple, lemon, and fresh strawberry leaves.

Paired with Jordan’s famous crustini,


The Estate Tour and Tasting is an amazing experience that I highly recommend.  You can read about my experience here!

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