Thursday, December 15, 2022

Wine Road Podcast: Roger Beery Owner, J. Cage Cellars


Roger Beery tells us about his journey from wine blogger to winemaker and how the entire family got involved in creating J.Cage Cellars. Our Fast Five Recipe is Lemon-Goat Cheese-Mushroom Pizza from Nick Stez at WoodenHead Our book of the day is Blood Form a Stone by Adam McHugh.

Wine of the Day: It’s a mystery!
Fast Five Recipe:
Lemon-Goat Cheese-Mushroom Pizza from Nick Stez at WoodenHead Wine
Book of The Day
: Blood from a Stone by Adam McHugh
Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Style 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. Sparkling wines come in a range of sweetness levels the most popular style is Brut with less than half a gram of sugar per glass. Extra Brut and Brut Nature have even less sugar resulting in a bone-dry wine.


Here are capsule reviews of Sparkling Wines along the Wine Road.



Amista Sparkling Tres, Morningsong Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley

The Amista Sparkling Tres from Morningsong Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. It shines in the glass with a bright cranberry color and a persistent stream of fine bubbles. It’s full of deep rich flavors of black cherry, blackberry, mulberry, orange zest, and cardamom spice. It’s earthy and savory with secondary notes of toffee almonds and a touch of pink peppercorn on the wonderful dry finish. Each sip brings a new layer of flavors. Pair with a spicy Jambalaya.


ABV 12.5%



Cast 2019 Brut Rosé, Dry Creek Valley

The Cast 2019 Sparkling Brut Rosé of Zinfandel is estate grown and exhibits a bewitching nose of lemon, grapefruit, allspice and creamy slated butter. Long strands of of bubbles stream up the glass with flavors of dried strawberry, citrus peel raspberry and brioche. Perfect level of sweetness balances out the clean dry finish. Pair with fried calamari and sriracha dipping sauce.


ABV 12.5%



Iron Horse Vineyards 2014 Stargazing Cuvée 

Otherworldly is not an exaggeration to describe this stunning 2014 Stargazing Cuvée from Iron Horse Vineyards. The label features the “cosmic cliffs” of the Carina Nebula from the James Webb Space Telescope. You’ll literally see stars in the tiny delicate bubbles as they fill the glass. Great complexity with bright and creamy flavors of lemon curd, grapefruit, toasty brioche, toffee, almonds and a hint of ginger. Lovely long lean finish with a whisper of white peach and orange blossom honey. Available in Magnum only, but hey, that’s only two bottles, and trust me, it will go fast! Pair with crab cakes.


ABV 13.5%

$195 Magnum


Kenneth Carl Brut, Mendocino

Zesty and bright the Kenneth Carl Brut from Wilson Family Wines is primarily composed of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with a small addition of Pinot Meunier that in my opinion gives it subtle lift and body. Opening notes of crisp yellow apple and apricot blend with refreshingly tart and tangy citrus. Full bodied and lush with a long creamy finish featuring lemon curd, marzipan and a hint of orange blossom honey. Balanced and bold enjoy with Oysters Rockerfeller.


ABV 12.5%



Pech Merle Brut Rosé de Syrah, Mendocino

The Pech Merle Brut Rosé is pale pink in color with a steady bubble stream. It shimmers in the glass and delivers juicy flavors of black cherry, cranberry raspberry, strawberry and ginger. Savory and plush mouth feel with a creamy fruity mousse, it’s pleasingly sweet and tart at once. Long dry finish with citrus peel, apple and marzipan. Pair with a spicy sausage pizza for a casual and romantic date night dinner. 


ABV 12.5%



Trione Vineyards and Winery 2016 Sparkling Brut

The Trione Vineyards 2016 Sparkling Brut starts off with aromas of hazelnuts, Bosch pear, and vanilla. Tiny bubbles dance across the palate with citrus flavors of bright lemon, grapefruit pith and lemon curd. Plush and lush it strikes a balance between creamy and lean with toasty biscuit and zesty mandarin notes on the long dry finish. Pair with a creamy cheese and mushroom omelette.


ABV 11.5%



Verah 2014 Sparkling Wine, Dry Creek Valley

Produced by Mounts Family Vineyard, the Verah 2014 Sparkling Wine is named in honor of Lana Mounts’ grandmother and is a tribute to the enduring bonds of family. Much like the Matryoshka doll charm that adorns the beautifully designed bottle, the Verah is full of flavors nested within each other, each sip revealing new depth.  Dreamy and engaging it floats across the palate with a creamy mousse of butter, sage, brioche, apples and pears. It’s nutty and dry with a subtle touch of sweet fig on the finish. Pair with classic caviar blinis.


ABV 12.0%



Woodenhead Natural 2019 RRV Single Vineyard

The Woodenhead Natural 2019 Brut is a Méthode Champenoise style single vineyard selection from the Russian River Valley. It’s bright, tart and lemony with long strands of pearlescent bubbles. Complex and layered with flavors of melon, ginger, citrus, and yellow apple. The finish is bone dry and savory with earthy notes of mushroom and briny oysters. Elegant and austere, like James Bond in a tuxedo—it’s a structured wine but without the pretension. Pair with Pomme frites and aioli.  


ABV 12.1% 


Thursday, December 1, 2022

Wine Road Podcast: Chris Taddei Owner and Wine Maker of Taddei Wines

Chris Taddei of Taddei wines joins us to tell us about his winemaking philosophy and how he got into making wine. He shares his Project X, 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley. Our Fast Five Recipe is Lamb Chops with Blue Cheese Compound Butter from Julius Orth from Ektimo.

Wine of the Day: Taddei Project X, 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley
Fast Five Recipe: Lamb Chops with Blue Cheese Compound Butter from Julius Orth from Ektimo. Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery

Monday, November 21, 2022

Varietal of the Month: Cabernet Franc


Have you noticed everybody is talking about Cabernet Franc lately? It’s no surprise—Cabernet Franc has medium body and moderate tannin and acidity with great texture that makes it a worthy addition to the dinner table. Cabernet Franc offers up the softer side of Cabernet Sauvignon, to which it is the parent grape.


Here are some capsule reviews of Cabernet Franc you may find along the Wine Road.


Alexander ValleyVineyards 2020 Cabernet Franc, Alexander Valley


This Alexander Valley Vineyards 2020 Cabernet Franc grown in Alexander Valley is 100% Cab Franc with a deep purple color. On the nose a distinct mocha note, reminiscent of Aztec Hot Chocolate that combines cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla, and chili powders. It’s like s’mores in glass! On the palate, tart and juicy with flavors of cherry, raspberry, strawberry, cassis and touch of black pepper along with a persistent cocoa note. Plush mouth feel with and taut fine tannins. Pair with lamb kebabs.


ABV 14.0%



Cast Cabernet Franc 2019 Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley


From Oak Knoll district in Napa, the Cast 2019 Cabernet Franc is full of energy. Notes of mint, plum and strawberry on the nose. The palate is full of texture, with juicy plush mouthfeel and taut fine tannins. Flavors of mulberry, tart cherry a touch of thyme with a savory note of nutmeg. Still young, this wine will only get better with age, but it’s delightful now. Pair with a classic French Onion soup and crusty bread.


ABV 11.4%

$ Sold Out


Colagrossi 2018 Cease & Desist, Cabernet Franc, Alexander Valley


The Colagrossi 2018 Cease & Desist Cabernet Franc from Alexander Valley will grab your attention from the first whiff with a beguiling aroma consisting of strawberry, sweet tobacco with a trace of bell pepper. On the palate, notes of gravel, boysenberry and raspberry. Great texture with fine tannins and a bright note of spice and brambles. It’s like sunlight breaking through the fog—soft, yet warm and rich. Pair with Chicken Enchiladas.


ABV 14.6%



The Meeker Vineyard 2018 Cabernet Franc, Dry Creek Valley


Warm and welcoming, like pulling on your favorite sweater, the Meeker Vineyard 2018 Cabernet Franc from Dry Creek Valley is a spicy sipper for winter nights. On the nose you’ll find juniper, pink peppercorn, lanolin and a faint note of cherry blossom. On the palate an array of flavors with bell pepper, jalapeño, and clay pot. The fine tannins and long bright finish carry through with notes of red currant and tart cherry. Supple and alive now, but will age beautifully over the long term. Try pairing with mushroom and sausage lasagna.


ABV 14.9%



Mounts 2018 CabernetFranc Dry Creek Valley


The Mounts 2018 Cabernet Franc from Dry Creek Valley bursts from the glass with earthy scents of dried strawberry, raspberry, cayenne, crushed gravel, sweet briar, and saddle leather. It giddy-yaps across the palate with grace. Plump mouthfeel with great texture and tannin structure featuring balanced flavors of sugarplum, chili pepper, boysenberry, licorice, and tart cherry. The long finish is deep and rich with notes of bright cranberry at the end. Pair with pork tenderloin.


ABV 15.8%



Peterson 2014 Cabernet Franc Bradford Mountain Estate Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley


The Peterson 2014 Cabernet Franc from Bradford Mountain Estate in Dry Creek Valley is comprised of 80% Cab Franc 15% Merlot 5% Petit Verdot. It’s a magical confluence of fruit and tannin with aromas of cherry, dried strawberry, vanilla, chaparral (sage and cedar) and mocha. Soft and lovely on the palate it has both lift and depth with rich flavors of sweet tobacco, Aztec Chocolate, red plum, strawberry and a whiff of petrichor. Pair with maple cherry glazed Duck Confit.


ABV 14.4%



Ramazzotti 2018Cabernet Franc, Pigoni Ranch, Alexander Valley


The Ramazzotti 2018 Cabernet Franc, Alexander Valley, from the famed Pigoni Ranch vineyard is a gorgeous deep garnet in the glass. On the nose it’s bright and aromatic with scents of raspberry, strawberry, sweet briar, coffee bean, cola and a faint note of fennel. On the palate, it opens with juicy raspberry, followed by paprika, thyme, tart cherry and a heavenly note of mochaccino on the long finish. Soft tannins make this an easy sipper that will pair great with dishes as varied as Chile Rellenos to Moroccan Beef stew.


ABV 14.5%



Robert Young 2019Cabernet Franc, Alexander Valley


The Robert Young 2019 Cabernet Franc from Alexander Valley has an awesome cherry cola scent that reminds me of Mr. PiBB!—a spicy, cherry pepper mix that’s simply fabulous along with soft notes of caramel and sweet bell pepper. On the palate, it’s soft and plush with warm notes of dried tobacco, sage, black cherry and bright cranberry on the long finish. Still quite young, this wine will benefit from a few more years of age. Hold on to it if you can—this wine is going places and you will want to be there when it arrives! Only 16 barrels produced. Pair with a majestic crown roast of pork; its inherent drama will be equal to the wine. 


ABV 14.4%


Thursday, November 17, 2022

Wine Road Podcast: Sparkling Discoveries with Vicky Farrow of Amista Vineyards and Joy Sterling of Iron Horse Vineyards

Vicky Farrow of Amista Vineyards and Joy Sterling of Iron Horse Vineyards share their beautiful sparkling wines with us and tell us about the new website created by Vicky called Sparkling Discoveries a community for sparkling wine lovers devoted to all things bubbly – the people, places, and world of sparkling wines and Champagnes. We pop a magnum of the Iron Horse special edition 2014 Brut Stargazing Cuvée Sparkling Wine that is truly out-of this world! Our Fast Five recipe Barbecue Ribs from Mitch Blakeley at Pedroncelli Winery.

Wine of the Day: Iron Horse special edition 2014 Brut Stargazing Cuvée Sparkling & Amista Sparkling Tres a Rosé of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvédre.
Fast Five Recipe: Barbecue Ribs from Mitch Blakeley at Pedroncelli Winery.
Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery


Friday, October 28, 2022

Varietal of the Month: Viognier


Viognier is a full-bodied white wine originally from the Northern Rhone Valley in France. Viognier differs depending on the climate be it cool or warm. Cool climate wines tend towards bright citrus notes, while warm climate wines exhibit deeper floral notes and ripe stone fruit flavors. Depending on the style, California Viognier can walk the line between a warm climate Riesling and a traditional Chardonnay.  Pronounced [Vee-ohn-yay]


Frick 2021 Viognier Estate Gannon Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley


The Frick 2021 Viognier Estate Gannon Vineyard from Dry Creek Valley comes alive in the glass with a bright lively nose of honeysuckle and orange blossom. On the palate, tart apricot and juicy ripe peach with fresh zesty lime. A touch of almond and beeswax adds lift and balance to the lovely dry and slightly salty, yet fruity finish. Pair with a simple charcuterie board of creamy cheeses and let the wine take the spotlight.


ABV 15.0%


Mounts Family Winery Verah 2021 Viognier Dry Creek Valley


Verah means Faith in Russian, and this Mounts Family Winery 2021 Verah Viognier from Dry Creek Valley will make you a believer in Viognier!  All the earmarks of a classic Viognier starting with the floral notes of lemon, honeysuckle, peach along with beeswax and caramel; to the pleasing full body and vicious oily mouthfeel. Great balance and long finish with notes of caramel, peach, and lemon peel. Pair with Panzanella salad or Grilled Peach salad.


ABV 15.0%



Carol Shelton Wild Thing 2021 Viognier Placer County


Carol Shelton’s 2021 Wild Thing Viognier from Placer County mirrors its striking label of a vine in bloom with a wine of great zest and vitality. On the nose notes of citrus, rose water, honeysuckle, white peach and honeydew melon fill the glass. On the palate bright and tangy flavors of pineapple, tangerine, melon and a grounding note of crushed gravel that ties it all together. (Much like how the Dude’s rug in The Big Lebowski tied the room together!) Great weight and balance with nice seamless finish. Pair with Honey Walnut Brie crostini or Pad Thai. 




Trattore 2020 Estate Viognier Dry Creek Valley 


The Trattore 2020 Estate Viognier from Dry Creek Valley was fermented half in barrel and half in tank, which gives it both bright and plush elements. On the nose scents of orange blossom, peach, nectarine and a clean fresh note of beeswax. On the palate, great viscosity and weight with beeswax and creamy mango, followed by a light note of ginger and almond on the finish. Balanced and rich, pair try pairing with creamy polenta and 5 Spice roast chicken.


ABV 14.4%


West Wines 2020 Viognier Dry Creek Valley


The West Wine 2020 Viognier form Dry Creek Valley is dry yet juicy and full of flavor. On the nose bright notes of pineapple, peach, caramel and lime zest. On the palate good acidity and bright clean flavors of citrus and pineapple. Wonderful overall balance with a soft note of honeysuckle and caramelized pears on the finish. Pair with something spicy and rich like grilled ginger prawns.


ABV 13.0%



Robert Young 2020 Viognier Alexander Valley


The Robert Young 2020 Viognier from Alexander Valley opens with notes of white peach, honeysuckle and honeydew melon on the nose. On the palate initial notes of lime and lemon give way to plush and creamy peach. Nice medium weight and balance with pleasing notes of beeswax and caramel on the long seamless finish. Pair with Chicken and Spicy Mango salsa. 


ABV 14.1%


Thursday, October 27, 2022

Wine Road Podcast: Jenna McDaniel, Hospitality Manager & Tasting Room Princess at Pech Merle Winery, Geyserville.


Jenna McDaniel delights us with her story of how she found her way to working in the industry, her awesome marriage proposal that involved her favorite wine and a life changing pizza, all while we enjoy a bottle of the Pech Merle Sparkling Brut Rose of Syrah. Our Fast Five recipe is Baked Ricotta with Honey Appetizer from Liz Pembroke of Pembroke Design Studios in Healdsburg.

Wine of the Day: Peche Merle Brut Rose of Syrah
Fast Five Recipe: Baked Ricotta with Honey Appetizer From Liz Pembroke of Pembroke Design Studios
Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery


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