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%

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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

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Wine Road Podcast: Janae Franicevic, Owner and General Manager, Sunce Winery & Vineyard

Janae Franicevic from Sunce Winery and Vineyard joins us to share a bottle of Sunce 2020 Malvazia Nera with us while we learn her family and what’s happening at the winery where there are over 40 wines to choose from when you visit. Soon you will say the wines at Sunce are divine! Fast Five Recipe is Linda’s Salad from Mysty Stewart.

Wine of the Day: Sunce 2020 Malvazia Nera
Fast Five Recipe: Linda’s Salad from Mysty Stewart.
Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Wine Road Podcast: Lynn Fritz Owner, Lynmar Estate Winery


Lynn Fritz is living his passion and tells us about the many splendors of the Lynmar Estate, being a steward of the land, and his philosophy behind building a community around people and place. Plus he shares a bottle of the 2018 Lynmar Pinot Noir from Quail Hill Vineyard. Our Fast Five Recipe is Ahi Poke from Carole Shelton.

Wine of the Day: 2018 Lynmar Pinot Noir, Quail Hill Vineyard
Fast Five Recipe:
Ahi Poke from Carol Shelton

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%



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