Baconlicous is St. Supery!

When you tIMG_8383hink of wine tasting, I am going to guess that you don’t typically think of line up like this.  Think of your comparative literature class from college, toss in some bacon, and you have St. Supery’s Bacon and Bordeaux tasting experience summed up.

Having tasted the wines at this Napa Valley stalwart several times, I knew that at the very least, I was going to enjoy my tasting experience, but this special tasting brings it to a new level.  Conducted upstairs, in the newly remodeled private tasting lounge, these special tastings are a world apart from the hustle and bustle of the normal rush in the tasting room.

For our tasting, we paired each of the Bordeaux style wines with a bacon-licious dish, each specifically made by the winery chef to play off of the wines.

IMG_83892012 Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon paired with a Quesedilla with smoked mozzarella and…bacon with green salsa verde.  Both the Rutherford estate fruit as well as my favorite Dollarhide go in to this blend which has fresh loganberry, pink peppercorn, ripe plums and ginger notes.  The quesedilla brought out dark spices and blue fruit, as well a ground black pepper.

Next, the 2010 Napa Vallely Estate Elu, which is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 4% Petite Verdot, 2% Malbec, and 1% Bacon (well, really 1% Cabernet Franc.  This is St. Supery’s signature red wine, and has a beautiful Bergemot nose with savory herbal qualities.  Dark cherries, dried lavender, and blackberries in cassis syrup were paired with a classic BLT.
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Next, the 2010 Rutherford Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, which is 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and a touch of Cab Franc and Petite Verdot, all from Rutherford.  This unctuous red wine was full of coffee and chocolate, with cracked black pepper.  Paired with a Toma Grilled Cheese with applewood Smoked Bacon, the earthy and herbal notes really sang out.

FiIMG_8391nally, the 2010 Dollarhide Elevation is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7%  Malbec.  Dense and deep blackberry notes emerge from this “accidental” blend.  While it is always a blend, it’s typically over 90% Cab to soften the punch.  The Malbec adds in a dense blue fruit, with young & lively notes of dark chocolate and espresso.  As this was our dessert course, it was paired with the “Happy Childhood” – An almond butter & estate fig jam sandwich, with cassis candied bacon.

Yum!While this special tasting experience isn’t always on the menu, be sure to call ahead and make reservations for any of St. Supery’s special tastings.  Experiences start at only $35 per person (group of 4 minimum) and are an event to remember.  I can’t wait to go back and experience another version of this event as the estate garden grows through the seasons!

A special thank you to St. Supery and Scott Tracy, Guest Experience Manager for a truly spectacular tasting experience.

 

The wine and bacon were provided by St. Supery, but all of the sound effects and accolades are purely mine!

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Last Minute Wine Gifts

It’s the 5th day of Hanukkah, and Christmas is only 4 days away.  Whatever you might be celebrating at this time of year, if you’re like me – you are scrambling for some last minute gift ideas for the wine lover on your list!

Soiree – in bottle aerator.  This is my go to wine aerator, and the pretty bottle topper makes any bottle festive.  Available in several optional gift configurations, this pretty glass topper allows wine to flow around the glass bulb, giving it time to breathe and encouraging the aeration process for any bottle of wine.

 

 

CapaBunga Capabunga – these innovative bottle toppers are handy little buggers when you want to recork something for ready access.   A reusable silicone cap that reseals a bottle of wine, the concept was inspired by the bung caps that are used to reseal wine barrels.  Once you pop a Capabunga on your wine bottle, it’s air – and wine – tight.  No more spills if you knock the bottle over!  I am impressed by the usefulness of these gems, and at $7.95 for a pair, they are also great for resealing beer or champagne bottles.  I have had a bottle of bubbles still fizzy after a day in the fridge.

Indigo Root Drink Dotz are fun and creative wine glass identification stickers, which are a great alternative to those annoying wine charms.  Do you remember Colorforms?  You know, those sticky plastic things that you could affix to anything, and reuse, stick again, etc…well these are colorforms for drinkware!    For $10, you get a set of Drink Dotz and Wine Wrapps, which wrap the bottom of a wine stem.  What a fun party gift!  With creative designs and holiday themes, these are great for your next party and last forever.  Indigo Root also sells fun temporary fabric wall squares, called Tilez, which are perfect for apartment or dorm room decorating.  In fact, I’m going to decorate my apartment with some!


The Exes in my iPod
:  A Playlist of the Men Who Rocked Me To Wine Country – a raucously good read by my wine buddy Lisa Mattson, exploring the iidiosyncrasiesof love, life, and laughter amongst great music and wine is a must read for anyone navigating wine country, dating, or just wants a good laugh with a happy ending.

 

The Essence of Wine – while the first run of the print book is sold out, the ebook of this wonderful pictorial and educational meandering through the discovery of wine.  Pre-order a copy or order an ebook today, for enjoyment all year long.

 

Corkscrew – the ultimate in luxury corkscrews, the Legnoart or Laguiole corkscrews are weighty, balanced, and have teflon coated screws for easy manipulation in the cork.  The right corkscrew is worth $1000 for any wine lover, so they can easily and quickly open that special bottle.  While you’re at it – add in a good foil cutter to ensure that the capsules are cleanly severed at the lip, and that there are no raw edges.

For the Cards Against Humanity lovers on your list, how about a game of wine discover? Zin Zag is a fun game, complete with an excuse to open 3 bottles of wine, which challenges your knowledge and your palates.  Play with the brainteasers and blind tasting challenges and sip away!

St. Supery Red Wine & Bacon Pairing – more on this in another post, but if you’re heading up to Napa for your holiday fun, be sure to stop by St. Supery Winery in Rutherford.  Tucked away upstairs, the special experiences such as the bacon & red wine tasting.  Explore St. Supery’s specialty with five Bourdeaux blends, each paired with a tasty morsel of pure delight.  Advanced reservations required.

Happy holidays!  Want more unique wine ideas?  Let me know!

Paint the town red! With wine of course.

It’s that time again!  On April 7th, over 500 world class wines and gourmet dishes will be presented for your tasting pleasure at the annual Wine Enthusiast Toast of the Town event.  This year, it’s especially exciting because it’s being held at San Francisco’s historic city hall.  If you’ve never been to a gala at City Hall, you are in for a treat!  The glistening copper dome becomes a beautiful event space.

Toast of the Town is not just a wine tasting; it is an unforgettable experience. The gala event will have live jazz as well as over 35 restaurants to pair with your wine.  I’ve never been to this particular event, so I am really looking forward to tasting some great wines in a more formal and elegant setting.  I guess I better wash my jeans!

Toast of the Town is on Thursday, April 7th at San Francisco City Hall.

VIP tickets are $149, and include early access (6pm) to the event as well as special reserve wine tastings.  It also allows you to have time to talk to the winemakers and get all of your questions answered about what you are drinking.  VIP is worth the entry fee since you get access before general admission, and have that one on one time when the venue is a little quieter.

Grand Tasting tickets are $99 and allow access at 7pm.  This is also well worth it if you are on the fence about the VIP session.

Yes, I know it’s expensive – however, when you look at the list of who is pouring and who is cooking, you’ll want to go too!  CLICK HERE to buy tickets.

I am going to stop by Home of Chicken & Waffles, just because I want to get my inner Dirty South Wine out.  You can also never go wrong with Sondra’s vittles at The Girl & The Fig.  For juice, I expect to see my friends at St. Supery, and also sip some bubbles at Schramsberg!

 

See you on Thursday.

If you are attending and want to tweet about it, please use the hashtag #tott

 

Tickets for this event were graciously provided by Wine Enthusiast.  I hope they know I’m bringing my silly straw!

 

It’s Super! It’s Saintly! It’s LIVE!

I am really excited to be co-hosting  St Supéry for Taste Live on July 11th.  Since St Supéry has been producing outstanding wines from their 1500+ acres in Napa Valley since the early 1980’s, and since I have written about them several times before here and here, I am really looking forward to this opportunity to taste them along with you on Twitter with several groups around the country, and hundreds on line.

At  St Supéry, their wine making history stems from the Skalli family’s French roots, and Bordeaux varietals are the particular focus.  Additionally, St Supéry is well known for their Moscato and Chardonnay.

We will have the opportunity to taste through the following delights and talk live the returning star winemaker, Michael Scholz. Scholz is a 6th generation family winemaker from Australia’s Barossa Valley, and has created the distinctive style that has made St. Supéry a landmark destination in Napa Valley.  He is new to Twitter, and will be answering questions about the wines for us as we taste.

St. Supéry farms according to sustainable viticultural practices, including use of cover crops, estate composting, and natural predators.  On my recent adventure at the winery, Vineyard Manager Josh Anstey showed us how they do this, and walked us through their demonstration vineyard as well as thier practices.

In 2008, Wine & Spirits Magazine named St. Supéry “Outstanding Winery of the Year”, and it really shows!  Their signature property, The Dollarhide vineyard, is an historic cattle and horse ranch nestled among the hills of Napa Valley.  It was here that Robert Skalli, the wineries founder, planted the Bordeaux grapes in the early 1980s, and developed the Rutherford estate property as the home of the winery and their first class Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards.

These are just a few of many reasons why you should join us for our tasting on July 11th!  We will be experiencing four superstar star wines:

If you are here in the San Francisco Bay Area,  head on down to the Jug Shop on Polk & Pacific, where you can taste live some of the winery crew.  For full details, you can visit their events page here.

If you want to host your own Taste Live with St Supéry, you can find out how by going over to the website now!

See you in the Twittersphere at 6pm PT on July 11th!

 

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To learn more about Twitter Taste Live, click the logo!

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All in the family!

France!  Varietal labels!  Two levels!  Oh boy oh boy!  I can’t tell you how excited I was when I got the invitation to taste two labels, Robert Skalli and Fortant, in a wine bar that I have been dying to check out, CAV. Since I have not had a lot of exposure to old world wine, and Old World wine that I enjoy, I was excited to learn about these two labels with the winemaker, Laurent Sauvage.

Robert Skalli began his career in southern France in the 1970s, where he earned his stripes before setting the French wine world on it’s ear in the 80s by throwing the establishment to the wind by producing France’s first single varietal wines.  Until he came along, France was dominated by centuries of classic blending techniques.  The upstart Skalli wanted to showcase the quality of the fruit while simplifying the wines for the new wine drinker.  The second label, Fortant, was created to showcase premier wines at a price that anybody could afford.  This was a foreign concept in the mid 1980s.  The introduction of varital specific wines to the South of France was an interesting prospect, since there was a lot of unexplored territory in wine growing regions.  This was a revolutionary idea that was quickly adopted by many wine growers.  It’s interesting to note that the Skalli family also owns St. Supery, located in the Napa Valley – which I recently wrote about HERE. I have a greater appreciation for producers that have multiple houses, because I think it gives them a full understanding of the different styles of wine that are produced in the wide variety of physical locations.

Here in the States, we are used to having varitally specific wines.  I think this is one of the reasons why old world wine can be intimidating to the average American consumer, because we don’t’ know what goes in to the detailed AOC labeling process.  Producing single varietal wines makes it easy to showcase the stars of a region, while simplifying the buying process for the consumer.

Skalli and Fortant wines are creations of the Languedoc.  This is the largest of the growing regions in the south of France, which is rich in micro climates and terroir.

The Languedoc wine region is included in the much larger Vin de Pays d’Oc.  This region overs the southeastern coastal Gulf of Lion, from the border of Spain to the famous South of France region of Provence.  The total production is approximately 700,000 hectares (1 729 737 acres).  It is the largest wine producing region in the world, and produces more than a third of France’s total wine production.

While historically, the Languedoc has been known for producing many of France’s bulk wines or Vins Ordinaries” there are increasingly, new stars being discovered in this region.

All of the wines we tasted were value priced, ranging in price from the steal of $6.99 to the moderate $18.99.  While I enjoyed all of the tastes, I particularly recommend the Fortant Merlot and the Robert Skalli Côteaux du Languedoc for their outstanding flavors and value.

2006 Fortant Chardonnay – $6.99

Pineapple, stone fruit, guava.  Creamy spice.  No oak is used in the Fortant wines, which strive to focus on the fruit.  The true expression of the grapes is the ultimate goal.  Honey & Tangerine, with a nutty finish.

2006 Robert Skalli Chardonnay- $15.99

This wine sees 6-8 months in oak, and smells like creamy sandlewood.  There is a lot of oak spice from the 1/3 new oak, 1/3 1 year old oak and 1/3 2 year old oak barrel aging.  I found this very spicy and yet a light chardonnay.  Grapefruit and lemon citrus, with crisp fruit.  Slight fig undertones.  IT was almost Sav Blanc like to me.

2007 Fortant Merlot Rose – $6.99

Strawberry lemonade, hibiscus flowers.  Cranberry juice cocktail with rose petals and lavender.

2006 Robert Skalli Piot NOir – $15.99

Earthly wet leaves & mushrooms.  It is unusual to have Pinot Noir crowing in Corsica, an island off the west coast of France, where this wine is from, but this particular parcel has very cool influences that allow for this wine to blossom.  I tasted tobacco and earth, with prunes and smoked meats.  Slight gamey aftertaste with plums and dried cherries.

2006 Fortant Merlot – $6.99

This was the first stand out wine for me at this tasting.  I tasted plums & cocoa, with blackberry juice flavors.  With no oak aging, the beauty oft he fruit really came through.  At this price point, this really is a winner for an everyday but extraordinary wine.

2006 Fortant Cabernet Sauvignoin – $6.99

Vanilla, currents, blackberries.  A lot of black pepper on the tongue, but smooth & rich without being overdone.  Fresh blue and black fruits that did not have oak aging made this a delicious fruit froward cab.

2006 Robert Skalli Cabernet Sauvignon – $15.99

This cab had 30% of the finished wine aged in oak for 6-9 months, which was then blended with the rest of the wine.  I tasted cassis, beef jerky and hickory smoke a well as plums.

2007 Robert Skalli Côteaux du Languedoc – $18.99

This was my other standout winner of the evening.  Even at almost $20, this Grenache – Syrah blend really knocked my socks off.  I tasted Coffee, chocolate, espresso, pepper, deep blue fruit and plums with allspice and anise.  I would drink this wine all the time if i could!

IN closing, it pays to do your research about French wine.  I have long held a bias that I don’t like Old World wine because they aren’t made int he style that I prefer.  That said, I now know that I can seek out wines from the Languedoc and get great QPR as well as great wine!

Special thanks to Benson Marketing Group (especially Tia Butts) for the blogger tasting, and to Laurent for taking the time out of his schedule to hang out with us!

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St. Supery reigns supreme over Napa Valley

Oh what a beautiful day!  The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and I was off to Napa at the dreadfully early time of 10am.  At first I grumbled my way up 121, but as I enjoyed the mellow ride through the Carneros countryside, I realized, that I should be grateful that I live here and that I am able to attend the Blogger Summit at St Supery.

When I arrived, I was greeted by my blogging buddies DrXeno, Shana, Russ, Lisa, Jim, and the ever late but still entertaining Brix Chicks (Janesta, Liza & Xandria).  As they poured the Sauvingnon Blanc, we meeted and greeted, until I was drawn by the sense of bacon.  Thank god!  The St. Supery team, and specifically Lesley Keffer Russel (@lesleykeffer) had kept close tabs on us on Twitter, and knew the power of the bacon upon bloggers.  Additionally, we had croissants of all flavors, and a quiche that was stunning.

Once we were fed and happy, we meandered in to the front yard.  Ok, the vineyard, where Josh Antsey who had been up all night, guided us through the inner workings of vineyard management and the finer points of terroir in terms of the Napa Valley.  After our nature walk, we went upstairs to the tasting gallery, where we were treated to a tasting of their winery only exclusives, a rare treat.

  • 2007 Semillion – this 100% semillion was a rare treat, with honey, apricots, crisp but still rich.  I tasted a lot of citrus fruit, specifically Meyer lemon.  It was very refreshing with a long lingering finish.  With only 30% new oak, this wine had a great balance of fruit, with a touch of spice.  Only 607 cases were made, so you better run out and get some!  $24
  • 2006 Malbec – 75% Malbec 25% Cab Sav. Lots of plum and dusty blue fruit.  Malbec is a persnickety grape, and not very people grow it in the US.  It is prone to rot on the vine when it get wet, and can cause a lot of issues.  However, this was a lovely wine.  The addition of the Cab gives this fruit bomb a backbone, and the ripe cherries were touched with a hint of oak.  $40
  • 2006 Cab Franc – 75% Cab Franc 14% Cab Sav 11% Merlot.  Lots of leather and tobacco.  Plums, dusty blackberries, and earth.  This wine was plush and soft, but still bold.  I enjoyed the dusting of cocoa at the end.  $50
  • 2006 Rutherford Merlot – 93% Merlot 7% Cab Sav.  Blackberries, pepper, and purple!  Flavors of black cherry and baking spices.  I have really come to love merlot, and this is no exception.  $55
  • 2006 Petite Verdot – 89% Petite Verdot 11% Cab Sav.  Chewy and rich, with lots of plum and cassis flavors.  This is a huge wine!  $50
  • 2005 Rutherford Cab Sav – 87% Cab Sav 8% Petite Verdot 5% Merlot.  Classic Rutherford dust.  Dark plums, leather, smoked meats, cedar.  This is a great wine that is rich and elegant.  I love a good Rutherford cab and this is no exception.  Yum!  This wine, I didn’t spit.  $80

After our all too brief session upstairs, we went outside under the giant oak, where we were greeted by a 3 course lunch prepared by the vineyard chef, Ron Barber.  Our wine pairing lunch was absolutely delightful in the cool shade of the tree, and GG the winery dog made fast friends with me.

For lunch we had:

  • Cheese Souffle with 2006 Virtú – Spicy and rich.  Preserved lemons, lime leaves.  Rich mouthfeel with juicy stone fruit.  A bit of mineral on the finish.  $28
  • Game Hen with 2004 Élu – Spicy smoke that paired perfectly with the hen.  Cherries & blackberries, silky & rich.  Complex but approachable.  Also came home with me!  $70
  • Cheese Plate with 2005 Dollarhide Cabernet Sauvingon – Blackberry, cassis, espresso.  This was delicious with both the cheese and the homemade truffles.  Really opened up after a few minutes and was firm and plush.  $80

Thanks so much to the graciousness of Leslie, Ron, Emma, Josh, and Michaela who spent the time teaching us about St. Supery, the family, the wines and the land.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and didn’t really want to leave.  I can’t wait to go back!

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