Sonoma: Part Three of My California Wine Adventure

Wine room at Joseph Swan

After our morning of wine tasting at Iron Horse we went to Mary Edwards, Joseph Swan and Cline.

Mary Edwards was the first stop after Iron Horse. While it’s always fun to go tasting I was not a huge fan of Mary Edwards. It was by far the least attractive of all the wineries we went to. It felt very corporate. My other issue was that it just felt pretentious. I’m all for hearing why the wine maker did things the way they did and what you might get from this wine but I hate being told how I should feel about a wine. Give me the tasting notes and then let me determine if I agree or not. Read the rest of this entry

Iron Horse: Part Two of My California Wine Adventure

While on my trip to the bay area my family and I spent a day wine tasting in Sonoma. We went to 4 wineries and tasted a lot of wine! The first winery we went to was Iron Horse. Iron Horse does manly sparkling wines and has a gorgeous outdoor tasting room that overlooks the vineyards. We were actually doing a tour here so we got to hear about how they grow their grapes and actually got to see part of the sparkling wine making process.

On the tour they took us down into the production area and we actually got see how the sparkling process works. There are several different ways to get the fizz into sparkling wine. One way is simply injecting CO2 like they do in soda, this produces larger bubbles that fizz out pretty quickly. Iron Horse uses the traditional method in which the wine goes through a second fermentation process. Read the rest of this entry

Let’s Talk Turkey (and Wine Pairings)

Thanksgiving Image

Its almost here! Thanksgiving, a day to celebrate family, friends, and food. Of course wine is always something I’m thankful for, in fact I usually thank the wine gods at almost every meal. However, the Thanksgiving meal is different. Hard work has been put in by moms, dads (maybe), or your local caterer. What wines should you pair with turkey and all the trimmings?

Well don’t assume a dry white wine will bring an extra something to the holiday table. If you like red wines you should bring that along. Here are some wines that will go beautifully with your turkey this Thanksgiving.

Iron Horse 2007 Classic Vintage Brut
This will be a crowd pleaser because its a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Its a beautiful taste of apple and pear with just a hint yeast. Amazing with a turkey dinner

North Valley 2009 Pinot Noir
Pinot Noirs are my favorite but this particular bottle has a beautiful flavor of cherry and raspberry and ends with some amazing spice.

Navarro Vineyards 2011 Dry Gewürztraminer
Normally a Riesling is the wine people confuse with Gewürztraminer. But Gewürztraminer actually has more floral aromas and citrus. When you have a cranberry and turkey combination this wine will make everyone at the table smile.

Northstar 2008 Columbia Valley Merlot
The movie Sideway gave Merlot a bad name. Who would have known one line could give such a bad connotation to Merlot. But no worries this Merlot has a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot which gives a great fruit forward taste and ends soft tannins.

Mostly importantly remember to enjoy time with your family and friends this holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Napa Valley: Part One of My California Wine Adventure

Chateau Montelena

Chateau Montelena

I finally made it out to the Bay Area to visit my sister. Now obviously the most important part of the trip was spending time with my sister but wine tasting was definitely an added bonus! It was a pretty great trip not only did I get to see my sister but my parents came out at the same time. We went to a couple wineries in Napa and a few more in Sonoma. We also spent a day at Alcatraz and a day drinking wine and eating fresh oysters on the beach. All and all a pretty fabulous trip!

So let get down to the important stuff, wine! I’m going to split this into multiple post since there is some much to cover. Let’s start with Napa. Read the rest of this entry

Bobal Varietal #28

Pasion De Bobal

I can mark Bobal off my Wine Century list. I picked up the 2009 Pasion de Bobal at Binny’s and drank it on a recent trip to a BYOB restaurant.

This Spanish wine is 100% Bobal. It has lots of ripe fruit along with notes of spice and a hint of smoke. The Tannins make it slightly rough around the edges. It’s not a very complex wine but it is a nice, inexpensive meal wine ($14.99 at Binny’s). It went better with the food then on its own and it had a nice balance. It’s ready to drink now, but might be even better with a few more years of aging.

Harvest Fest at Bin36- Blend Your Own Wine

Harvest Fest

It’s fall and that means it’s harvest season. Here in Chicago there isn’t exactly a lot of winemaking going on, but Bin36 doesn’t let its patrons miss out on harvest activities. Every fall they host a Harvest Festival. This year was the 2nd time I have gone. It’s a chance to blend your own wine. You heard me blend your own wine. It’s a fun experience and your newly blended wine is a cool gift idea and arrives in time for the holidays.

Here’s how it works. There are 3 stations a smelling station, a blending station and a buying station. Read the rest of this entry

Liatiko: Varietal #27

On a recent trip to Bin 36 I had the Domaine Douloufakis, 2010 Liatiko from Crete. It was quite the start to my wine century challenge, a varietal that was not marked on my initial list and one that my dad has yet to try (a feat with the 147 varietals currently on his list).

I have to admit that I choose the Liatiko because it was a grape that I was sure I had not had. I wasn’t too worried that I would like the wine because the description said that it had similarities to a Pinot Noir and I usually like Pinots, even if I sometimes find them to be a little thin. The notes on the wine said it exhibits qualities of black tea, subtle spice a red fruit. A quick Google search indicates that this seems to be a pretty standard description of what you can expect from the Liatiko varietal. Read the rest of this entry

Wine Century Club

I’m starting a new wine endeavor. My parents recently told me about the Wine Century Club, it’s a challenge to try 100 different varietals of wine. My dad and some of his wine friends are doing it and I figured why not. With my initial look at the list I was able to check 26 wine varietals off the list immediately. I know i’ve had more varietals on the list but I’m not counting it if i can’t name a specific wine I’ve had the varietal in. The application asks you to check off the varietal and then right down the name and vintage of the wine. Read the rest of this entry

Enamore: Argentina’s Answer to Amarone

Last time I went home to see my parents my dad gave me a bottle of Allegrini & Renacer Enamore to take back to Chicago with me. He gave me this particular bottle because it’s made in the same style as an Amarone and he knows I absolutely love Amarone.  If you hadn’t already figured it out, it’s probably my favorite type of wine.

Read the rest of this entry

Wine and Cupcakes… a Match Made in Heaven?

Cupcakes & Wine

I don’t know about you but when I think of pairing wine pretty much the last thing in the world I think about pairing it with is cupcakes. It just doesn’t seem to be a match to me. That being said, I was intrigued when I saw a sign for a wine and cupcake pairing at D.O.C Wine Bar. It was not anything I ever would have thought of but hey, I like wine, I like cupcakes, why not?

On a Thursday evening my friend Allison and I stepped into a very crowded D.O.C for our foray into the world of wine and cupcakes. The cupcakes were being provided by Molly’s a Cupcake Shop, just down the street from D.O.C. and though I’d only had cupcakes from there a few times I’d never been disappointed. Read the rest of this entry

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