Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Style of the Month: Sparkling Wine

Sparkling wines are not just for holidays and celebrations, they make a fine choice for everyday meals and pair exceptionally well with a variety of foods. From fried chicken to lobster bisque, the range of food pairings are endless, but nothing beats oysters, potato chips or truffle fries for flavor match made in heaven. Sparkling wines come in a range of sweetness levels from bone dry Burt Nature to the very sweet styles of Demi-Sec and Doux. The most popular style is Brut with less than half a gram of sugar per glass. There’s a sparkling wine to please every palate. 

Here are capsule reviews of Sparkling Wines along the Wine Road

Amista Sparkling Syrah Morningstar Vineyard 

Fresh and bright the Amista Sparkling Syrah from Morningstar Vineyard is an effervescent delight. The light garnet color shines with specks of gold in the fine stream of bubbles. Juicy and bright with flavors of pomegranate, black cherry, a touch of orange zest and all spice. It’s balanced on the palate with a fresh acidity that carries all the way through on the long dry finish. Pair with spicy crab cakes.

ABV 12.5%


Cast Sparkling Brut Nature, Estate Vineyard, 2019 Dry Creek Valley

The Cast 2019 Sparkling Burt Nature from Dry Creek Valley is made from estate grown Zinfandel grapes. Steely and lean with a steady stream of fine bubbles it has initial of notes of brioche, yellow apple, white peach, and lemon zest. A bright stony minerality is in balance with flavors of honeysuckle, peach and buttered toast. The sustained finish rings with zesty acidity. Supremely delicious. Don’t be surprised how fast the bottle empties! Pair with Oysters Rockefeller. 

ABV 12.5%


Colagrossi Sparkling Wine Rosé de Sangiovese 

The Colagrossi Sparkling Rosé de Sangiovese is made in the Charmat Method also known as the Tank method, which results in bright juicy, fruity wines with an easy and ready to drink freshness. It’s zesty with flavors of dried strawberry, watermelon and cranberry. Check out episode 186 of the Wine Road Podcast episode to hear how much we enjoyed it in studio with the winemaker! Pair with spicy seasoned tater tots and your favorite podcast.

ABV  12.5%


Emeritus 2020 Hallberg Brut, Blanc de Noir, Russian River Valley

The Emeritus 2020 Hallberg Brut, Blanc de Noir is composed of estate grown Pinot Noir fruit from the heart of the Russian River Valley. It gently glows with a golden hue as a persistent stream of fine tiny bubbles race to the top of the glass. It has a light aroma of brioche and apricot. On the palate, soft notes of ripe pear, crisp apple and zesty lemon blend with a bright top note of ginger. It’s lithe and elegant with great texture and a bracing minerality on the long finish. Pair with classic caviar & blinis.

ABV 12.5%


West Wines 2018 Seafoam Blanc de Blancs

The West Wines 2018 Seafoam Blanc de Blanc is made with 100% estate Chardonnay grapes in the traditional Champagne style, Méthode Traditionelle. On the nose, notes of brioche, lemon curd, ginger and toasted hazelnut waft up from the glass. On the palate it’s fresh and vibrant with a soft creamy mousse. Balanced flavors of lemon curd, pear, peach and orange zest mingle and linger on the finish. Pair with pomme frites and aioli.  

ABV 11.5%


Woodenhead 2013 Sparkling Wine Blanc de Blanc

At ten years of age, the Woodenhead 2013 Sparkling Blanc de Blanc is graceful with a fruity vitality that is both savory and bright. On the nose, notes of marzipan, lemon pith and butterscotch. On the palate, a soft texture with a balance of yellow apple, lemon zest, toasted almond and creamy ginger. In a word—delectable! Pair with buttermilk fried chicken.

ABV 11.2%


Thursday, November 16, 2023

Varietal of the Month: Pinot Noir


Pinot Noir is synonymous with Sonoma County as one of the flagship wines of the Russian River Valley region. Light bodied with moderate to high acidity gives Pinot Noir a structure that makes it eminently pair worthy with a wide range of foods. A cool climate grape, Pinot Noir can be finicky and difficult to grow, but it is also most expressive and reflective of the place where it’s grown. Here in Sonoma County, in the Russian River Valley and along the Sonoma Coast, we have some of world’s best vineyards and growing conditions for producing classic Pinot Noir of elegance and complexity.

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

Baldassari 2020 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County

The Baldassari 2020 Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley has a palpable vitality. On the nose, an aromatic rush to the senses with crushed rose petals, cranberry, cherry, earthy brambles and a touch of bacon fat. On the palate, a well-integrated interplay of acid and tannin deliver juicy layered flavors of cherry, red raspberry, wild blueberry, fig, rhubarb and a whiff of cotton candy. It’s a delicious thrill ride with a spicy finish that’s lean and bright. Pair with wild mushroom pizza.

$ 56

ABV 14.1%

De Loach Vineyards 2020 Estate Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

The DeLoach Vineyards 2020 Estate Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley is made using eight estate clones; 115, 828, Swan, La Tache, Calera and Mt. Eden, 777 and 23. In the glass it has a bewitching elegant nose of cocoa, and raspberry with a hint of vanilla. On the palate, bright acidity with juicy notes of cotton candy, raspberry compote, and blueberry. Plush tannins deliver notes of black pepper, clove, and cherry pie with a ribbon of thyme on the long lingering finish. Great age potential; will develop further complexity over time, but simply delicious right now as well. 


ABV 14.5%

Landmark Vineyards 2021 Pinot Noir Hop Kiln Estate Russian River Valley

The Landmark Vineyards 2021 Pinot Noir from the Hop Kiln Estate in Russian River Valley has an aromatic nose composed of sweet violet, vanilla, raspberry, bright cherry and black pepper. On the palate is has great texture with initial notes of plum sauce, blood orange, raspberry. The mid palate delivers earthy flavors of mushroom, sweet tobacco and Herbs de Provence. The long bright finish is tangy and tart with notes of hibiscus and clove. Pair with spicy fajitas.


ABV 14.4%

Longboard Vineyards 2021 Pinot Noir, Meant to Be Vineyard, Russian River Valley

The 2021 Longboard Vineyard Pinot Noir from Meant to Bee Vineyard in Russian River Valley is a Pinot lovers Pinot. On the nose, a delicious bouquet of sugarplum, vanilla and sweet cedar. On the palate it’s juicy, bright and flavorful with a nice balance of black and red fruits including blueberry and raspberry. As the layers of flavor unfold, notes of hibiscus and tart strawberry come into play with sweet tobacco, and a minty note of chaparral on the long lean finish. Pair with pulled pork sliders.


ABV 14.3%

Papapietro Perry 2020 Pinot Noir Campbell Ranch, Sonoma Coast

The 2020 Papapietro Perry Pinot Noir from Campbell Ranch on the Sonoma Coast offers a myriad of delights. On the nose, a bouquet of raspberry fruit leather, black cherry, wild blueberry and a hint of flint. On the palate, bright flavors of cherry, hibiscus, and rose hips balanced with deep notes of rooibos, cranberry, leather, and mushroom. A warm note of earthy sweet tobacco comes through on the long lingering finish. Great structure with potential to age and develop further. Try pairing with grilled eggplant or duck confit.


ABV 13.1%

Russian River Vineyards 2019 Pinot Noir, Estate Grown Austin Vineyard, Russian River Valley  

The Russian River Vineyards 2019 Pinot Noir, Estate Grown, is from the Austin Vineyard in the heart of Russian River Valley. On the Nose, a pleasing light scent of sweet violet and vanilla with an undertone of chanterelles. On the palate, flavors of cranberry, sugarplum, mocha, and all spice, merge with notes of back cherry, and cocoa. The tart, yet savory, finish has notes of clove, fig newton and sweet tobacco. Pair a tangy Thai barbecue chicken.


ABV 14.2%

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Renae Perry from Papapietro Perry

 Episode 187 | Renae Perry from Papapietro Perry

We were joined in the studio today by Renae Perry from Papapietro Perry Winery in Dry Creek - and her lovely wine! Come along as we chat about awesome restaurants, different events held both in person and virtually by Papapietro Perry, and hear about their amazing Wine Club Member cruise! Pickleball skills may be required to join. 

Wine of the Day: 2020 Pinot from Russian River Valley

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Varietal of the Month: Barbera

Barbera: Prince of Darkness, Goddess of Light—well not exactly, but Barbera is characteristically dark in color and light in taste. It’s a fairy tale of red and black berry flavors with high acidity, relatively low tannins, and a spicy finish. A charming and quaffable Italian varietal, Barbera pairs well with braised meats and roasted vegetable dishes.

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


Colagrossi 2019 Barbera Moon Mountain, Sonoma County


The Colagrossi 2019 Barbera from Moon Mountain in Sonoma County has all the earmarks of a classic. Dark ruby color with a magnificent nose of mocha, rose petals, anise, and blackberry. On the palate, a plush mouthfeel with blackberry, dark cherry, fig, plum and sweet tobacco. Fresh acidity and textbook Barbera structure carry the dark fruit flavors smoothly forward with a spicy pepper and clove spiked finish. From first sniff to last sip it’s a pleasure. Enjoy with pumpkin sage ravioli.


ABV: 14/7%


D’Argenzio 2018 Barbera Di Niccolo, Sonoma Mountain


The D’Argenzio 2018 Barbera Di Niccolo from Sonoma Mountain is deep purple in color with a light garnet rim. On the nose, light scent of pomegranate, anise, and cherry. On the palate the flavors are tart and juicy with notes of dried strawberry, blackberry, cranberry, tart cherry and fleshy dark plum. Silky, bright finish with a satisfying minty-fennel endnote. Pair with Eggplant Parmigianino.


ABV 13.5%



Carol Shelton 2022 Barbera D’Oakley Planchon Vineyard, Contra Costa County


The Carol Shelton 2022 Barbera D’ Oakley hails from the 130-year-old Planchon Vineyard in Contra Costa County, co-planted with Zinfandel and Merlot. In the glass it’s medium garnet in color. On the nose a light scent of violets, blackberry, vanilla and touch of earthy nutmeg. On the palate, a tangy juicy punch of flavor full of pomegranate and black cherry with a grounding notes of thyme and peppercorn. The blend of Zinfandel and Merlot give this Barbera a fine balance with a bright yet plush mouthfeel and notes of Santa Rosa along with black pepper and blackberry on the long spicy finish. Pair with cheesy sausage and pepper pizza.


ABV 13.5%



Orsi Family 2021 Barbera Dry Creek Valley


The Orsi Family 2021 Barbera has a medium purple hue with a slight blue tinge at the rim. On the nose, fleshy black cherry, plum and garrigue (costal aromatic herbs: think mint and sage). On the palate, it builds steadily with flavors of dried strawberry, sour cherry, cranberry, and black pepper. With time in the glass it comes alive with a juicy vibrancy that carries though to the bright spicy finish. Pair with classic Spaghetti and Meatballs or Chicken Cacciatore.


ABV 13.9%



Peterson Winery 2019 Barbera Tollini Vineyard, Mendocino 


Wild Woodland creature indeed! Right on the label the Peterson Winery 2019 Barbera from Tollini Vineyard declares the wine possesses the spirit of a “wild woodland creature”—indeed the simile is apt. With it’s dark color and bright flavor it’s a wily but approachable Barbera. On the nose, deep earthy notes of garrigue, licorice, ripe blackberry, and mocha. On the palate, notes of tangy tart cherry with a medley of thyme, marjoram, and blackberry brambles. A plush mouth feel with soft tannins that deliver secondary flavors of fig and plum, boysenberry and slate. Balanced and beautiful. Pair with Rabbit Ragu over Pappardelle.


ABV 16.3%


Thursday, October 5, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Dr. Henry Barham from Vinotastr

Episode 185 | Dr. Henry Barham from Vinotastr

Have you ever been stumped as to what kind of wine you should try? Or maybe you’re not sure of what kind of wine you might even *like*? Dr. Henry Barham and his team have developed a science based system of test strips that help you figure out what you’re most likely to enjoy when it comes to wine! Beth is our on-air tester and we get to see how it goes for her! 


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