Friday, September 23, 2022

Varietal of the Month: Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer is a medium body, dry white wine lighter than a Chardonnay and heavier than a Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigo. Gewürz means spice in German and the grape hails from Alsace the French wine region bordering Germany. It’s a cool climate grape that exhibits great aromatics and texture with refreshing spicy flavors such as lychee, passion fruit, cinnamon, clove and ginger with a dry, crisp finish.

Alexander Valley Vineyards 2021 Gewurztraminer, Mendocino County


The Alexander Valley Vineyards 2021 Gewürztraminer from Mendocino is made from Organic grapes and has a pale straw color like a muted sunbeam. Inhale deeply and be swept away by the heady bouquet of rose petal and orange blossom with tropical notes of lychee and guava. On the palate it’s bright, fresh and fruity with great texture and full of flavors of bergamot, Bosc pear and spicy apple cinnamon that I found reminiscent of Apple Jacks. Balanced and round with a tart yet silky finish and final note of elderflower. Pair with red Thai curry.


ABV 13.25


Balletto Vineyards 2020 Gewürztraminer, Russian River Valley


The Balletto Vineyards 2020 Gewürztraminer is grown in Russian River Valley and has a pale translucent yellow tone in the glass. It’s soft and aromatic on the nose with scents of lychee, peach and a wonderful toasty base note of warm marshmallow. On the palate a plush mouth feel with creamy round notes of peach, guava, ripe pear and hint of spicy ginger. Pair with Spring rolls and Hoisin dipping sauce. 


ABV 13.9%



Mill Creek 2021 Gewürztraminer, Dry Creek Valley


Pale rose-gold in color, the Mill Creek 2021 Gewürztraminer from Dry Creek Valley, truly sparkles in the glass. A wonderful clean dry scent of freshly laundered linen on the nose with notes of rose petals, peach kernel, honey and ginger. Soft and plush it has great balance with rich flavors of bosc pear, bergamot, Turkish delight (rose water) white peach and a spicy cinnamon note on the finish. Pair with flaky white fish steamed with ginger, garlic, soy, and scallions. 


ABV 14.7%


Optima 2021 Gewürztraminer, Dry Creek Valley


The Optima 2021 Gewürztraminer from Dry Creek Valley is a veritable garden of delights with intense aromatics on the nose comprised of passion fruit, rose petals, white nectarine, and spicy notes of cinnamon. The palate is opulent and viscous, opening with notes of honeydew, ripe pear, lychee and peach. The finish is spicy and bright with lemongrass, cardamom, honey, clove, and ginger. Dry and delicious, pair with an old school classic—Gruyère, or gouda cheese Fondue.


ABV 14.1%


Joseph Swan Vineyards 2019 Gewürztraminer Saralee’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley


The Joseph Swan Vineyards 2019 Gewürztraminer from the famed Saralee’s Vineyard in Russian River Valley has a thoroughly captivating nose of perfumed rose petals and sandalwood. Dry yet full flavored on the palate with bright notes of honey, pink grapefruit, creamy peach and spice. Wonderful balance overall with a spicy finish. Pair with bratwurst and sauerkraut for a hearty dish of old world flavor.


ABV 13.3%


Friday, September 16, 2022

Wine Road Podcast: Nikolai Stez Winemaker and Co-Owner, Woodenhead Winery

Episode 158 | Nikolai Stez Winemaker and Co- Owner, Woodenhead Winery

Nikolai tells us how he got into winemaking, the origins of the name Woodenhead, and the wines made at Woodenhead. We sip on the Woodenhead 2017 Pinot Noir, Buena Tierra Vineyard, E Block, Clone 115.

Wine of the Day: 2017 Woodenhead Pinot Noir, Buena Tierra Vineyard, E Block, Clone 115
Book of the Day: Concise Guide to Blind Tasting by Neel Burton.
Fast Five Recipe: Vinegar Chicken with Crushed Olive Dressing

Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery

Monday, September 12, 2022

Wine Road Podcast: Bonus Episode--Grapefest 2022 & Marcy Visits Ron Rubin Winery

Beth and Marcy will be representing Sonoma County Wine at The 36th Annual GrapeFest in Grapevine, Texas on September 15-18, 2022. Come say hello if you are in the area. Plus Marcy tells us all about her visit to Ron Rubin Winery during harvest.

Wine of the Day: Ron Rubin Pinot Noir
Book of the Day: The Grapes of Ralph by Ralph Steadman
Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Wine Road Podcast: Julius Orth, Director of Hospitality and Tasting Room Manager, Ektimo Winery


Julius regales us with stories from his fascinating life and tells us what to expect when visiting Ektimo for a tasting while we enjoy the 2019 Ektimo Estate Mount Eden Pinot Noir.

Wine of the Day: 2019 Ektimo Estate Mt. Eden Pinot Noir.

Fast Five Recipe: Salad Dressing by Richard Ross of Threshold Studios

Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Varietal of the Month: Barbera

Barbera is one of Italy’s five most planted grapes and the fifteenth most planted varietal in the world. In California, Barbera is characterized by high acidity and fruity exuberance with medium tannins and a spicy finish. A charming and quaffable varietal, Barbera pairs well with fatty fare that serves to balance the buoyant acidity.

Here are capsule reviews of Barbera you may find along the Wine Road.


Amphora 2015 Barbera Clarksburg, Heringer Vineyard


The 2015 Amphora Barbera from Clarksburg AVA in Amador County is dark and savory with a fresh floral nose of violets, and spicy note of fennel bulb. On the palate a dance of licorice, black fruits and blueberry jam, with a smooth plum finish. At first sip it reminded me of Cab Franc, but quickly opened into its full Barbera expression with bright acidity and medium tannins that deliver a mouthful of deep lip smacking flavor. Pair with Ragu alla bolgnese over egg noodles.


ABV 13.7%



Colagrossi 2019 Barbera, Pauli Ranch, Mendocino


When I was a kid there was a commercial with the line “Mamma Mia, that’s one spicy meatball.” This 2019 Colagrossi Barbera, Pauli Ranch, Mendocino made me exclaim “Mamma Mia that’s one spicy Barbera!” From start to finish it exudes plucky acidity with good tannin structure and savory rich flavors that open with plum and licorice and then develop further to reveal notes of mocha, tobacco, blackberry and fruitcake—like a classic pannetone. It glides to a long spicy finish with a hint of juicy sour cherry. Pair with cheesy sausage and pepper pizza.


ABV 14.7%



deLorimier 2018 Barbera, Dry Creek Valley


Right out of the gate, the deLorimier 2018 Barbera will capture your attention and captivate your palate with vivid flavors and taut grippy tannins. As the tannins soften they dovetail with the bright acidity to deliver a smooth Sen–Sen like flavor profile with a profusion of licorice, vanilla, lavender and luscious blackberry. Bright, balanced and enjoyable sip after sip. Pair with Eggplant Parmigiana.


ABV 15.6%



Peterson 2018 Barbera Tollini Vineyard, Mendocino 


The Peterson 2018 Barbera from Tollini Vineyard, Mendocino is lively, fruity and fresh with notes of cherry, mulberry and chaparral on the nose. Flavors of plum and blackberry slowly build and gather momentum as they race across the palate and stick the landing with a long spicy finish. Bright and bouncy, pair this Barbera with something creamy and earthy like truffle mac and cheese.


ABV 13.9%



Portalupi 2020 Barbera Shake Ridge Ranch, Amador County


The Portalupi 2020 Barbera is grown in Amador County, a hot spot for Barbera that hosts an annual festival in celebration of the grape. On the nose you’ll find scents of cherry, violets and strawberry. On the palate it springs to life with vivid acidity and lush notes of blackberry and black cherry. Secondary flavors of plum, mocha, vanilla, spicy fig and licorice coalesce with a spicy finish supported by supple tannins. Pair with a simple charcuterie plate of salami and creamy rich cheeses.


ABV 14.8%



Ramazzotti 2019 Barbera Dry Creek Valley


The Ramazzotti 2019 Barbera, from Dry Creek Valley, has an enchanting nose of vanilla and mocha reminiscent of the dust at the end of a box of Count Chocula cereal—soft and wonderful! On the palate it has all the earmarks of classic Italian style Barbera with great acidity and loads of licorice, black plum, strawberry, cherry, and an earthy note of tobacco. The initial grippy tannins mellow with time in glass. Easy to love and fun to drink, pair with a creamy mushroom risotto.


ABV 14.5%



Seghesio Family Vineyards 2019 Barbera, Home Ranch Vineyard, Alexander Valley


The Seghesio 2019 Barbera from Alexander Valley is pert and alive with an aromatic nose of cherry, lavender and strawberry. A fresh purity of flavor predominates across the palate with notes of vanilla, nutmeg, plum, blackberry, and dried strawberry. Juicy and bright it has a persistent oomph and grip with medium tannins, high acidity and a long spicy finish. Pair with classic Spaghetti and Meatballs or Chicken Cacciatore.


ABV 15.2%



Carol Shelton 2021 Barbera D’ Oakley, Planchon Vineyard, Contra Costa County


Harvested from the 130-year-old Planchon Vineyard, this 2021 Carole Shelton Barbera D’ Oakley is blended along with vineyard mates, Zinfandel and Merlot. The nose is a soft bouquet of mocha, dusty blackberry, nutmeg and earthy tobacco. Tart and bright with zingy acidity it’s flush with flavors of black and red cherry, plum, licorice, leather and black pepper. The tannins transform from grippy to silky with a long spicy finish. Enjoy with pumpkin sage ravioli.


ABV 13.8%


Taddei Wines 2018 Barbera Pauli Ranch Mendocino


The Taddei Wines 2018 Barbera from Pauli Ranch, Mendocino has a nose comprised of licorice, black pepper, cherry, plum, blackberry pie and vanilla with a touch of clove that makes me think of Chowards’ Violet Scented Gum. On the palate notes of prune, plum, iris, mocha, violets, spicy carnation and a pleasing note of minty graphite, much like garrigue. Great overall balance and tannin structure with a light grip and long finish of spicy-herbal-menthol-cherry, (think Ricola) that is quite delicious and intriguing.


ABV 14.8% 


Thursday, August 18, 2022

Wine Road Podcast: Mitch Blakeley, Operations Manager, Pedroncelli Winery

 Episode 156 | Mitch Blakeley, Operations Manager, Pedroncelli Winery

We chat with Mitch, 4th generation working at the winery, about his duties at Pedroncelli where it’s truly a family affair as approach their 95th Anniversary! We sip on the 2019 Pedroncelli Mother Clone Zinfandel.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Wine Road Podcast: Cloverdale & Geyserville UPDATE 2022

Episode 155 | Cloverdale & Geyserville Itinerary 2022 UPDATE

Beth gives us an update with Itinerary suggestions for Cloverdale & Geyserville. Our Fast Five is Grilled Goat Cheese Toastette from Christine Lilieanthal from Sonoma County Wine Grape Commission. Wine of the Day- Kelley & Young Rose.


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