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

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%


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.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Chardonnay: Varietal of the Month

Chardonnay is planted widely around the world.  It’s sometimes called the chameleon grape given its propensity to display characteristics that reflect the particular climate and region where it’s grown. It can be coy or bold in personality and run the gamut stylistically from rich and creamy to lean and lithe. Hone your palate by tasting a variety of styles and experiment with food parings too to discover the many aspects of Chardonnay.

 Here are capsule reviews of some Chardonnay’s you may find along the Wine Road.


Baldassari 2019 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast


The 2019 Baldassari Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast opens with an array of aromas from bright to savory with notes of citrus, apple, melon, butterscotch and hazelnut. It’s juicy and creamy on the palate with delicate buttery top note and a tropical fruit through line of intense flavor that carries it to a satisfying finish. This classic wine aches for a simple yet classic snack—pop up a big bowl of popcorn and season with truffle salt.


ABV 14.2%

Cast 2021 Chardonnay, Ghianda Rose Vineyard, Mendocino


The 2021 Cast Ghianda Rose Vineyard, Chardonnay from Mendocino offers a frisson of flavor with a distinct zing that makes me think of Chenin. The lovely light nose is full of cucumber, lemon zest, and melon. On the palate it’s juicy with ripe peach, crisp apple, pineapple, white nectarine and a savory note of hazelnut. Balanced and bright, it has a long creamy finish with a pop of red grapefruit and lemon zest that persists to the end. Try this with spicy beef or chicken empanadas. 


ABV 13.5 %



Dutton Estate 2020 Chardonnay Warrens Collection, RRV


An earthly delight, the 2020 Dutton Estate Warrens Collection Chardonnay from Russian River Valley is complex and delicious. On the nose, aromas of melon, mango, yellow apple and a grounding note of coriander. The palate is creamy and pert with luscious caramelized pineapple, lemon zest, white peach, and a trace of salty almond. A long seamless finish deepens with each sip. Pair with a classic roast chicken and extra cheesy potatoes au gratin.


ABV 14.1%



Ektimo 2018 Chardonnay RRV


Inhale deeply from the Ektimo 2018 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley for a rush of scents from lemon curd, grapefruit, and apricot to an exciting floral bouquet comprised of citrus and apple blossoms. On the palate a pleasing blend of apple white nectarine, almond brittle and a creamy finish with notes of pear and honeydew melon. Great overall balance and lift of flavor. Pair with something elegant, rich and savory, like poached salmon with hollandaise. 


ABV 13.0%


The Meeker Vineyard 2021 Gamboge Chardonnay, North Coast


The Meeker Vineyard 2021 Gamboge Chardonnay from the North Coast, is best described as full of moxie and style. The wine presents with an energetic mix of flavors and aromas that is nothing short of thrilling. On the nose, persimmon, chalk, buttery croissant, honey almond and gooseberry. The palate is rich with notes of peach, nectarine and almond butter which gives the mid palate a pleasing weight and presence. The long tangy finish has an endnote of cedar and crushed rocks. It sounds like a there’s a lot going from this tasting note, but it’s truly a harmonic convergence of flavor and nuance. Pair chicken enchiladas.  


ABV 12.9%



Pedroncelli 2021 Chardonnay, Dry Creek Valley


The Pedroncelli Signature Selection, 2021 Chardonnay, from Dry Creek Valley is light and balanced and thoroughly enjoyable. On the nose, tropical notes of banana, coconut, cream, and peaches with a touch of sweet pineapple. The juicy palate has both bright and plush aspects– creamsicle like, with notes of peach, ginger, chalk and a note that hovers at mid-palate which is reminiscent of coconut cream pie. The finish is crisp, clean, tangy and ultimately quenching. Pair with charcuterie board of meats and cheeses along with good crusty bread, and invite some good friends over to enjoy it all. 


ABV 14.0%



Sonoma Jones 2019 Chardonnay RRV


This 2019 Sonoma Jones Chardonnay from Russian River Valley is a second label entry from Viszlay Vineyards that pays homage to the Jones side of the family. It has pleasing rich aromas of creamy peach, Asian pear and toasty brioche. On the palate it’s lifted and bright with notes of grapefruit and lemon curd and crème brulee. As it opens and warms in the glass, it reveals a distinct note of caramelized peanuts that reminded me of an exotic old school treat called French Burnt Peanuts, crunchy red clusters of buttery delight! Balanced and easy drinking, pair with a spicy chicken jambalaya.


ABV 14.4%


Woodenhead 2019 Chardonnay Piper Ranch Manchester Ridge, Mendocino Ridge AVA


This 2019 Woodenhead Chardonnay from Piper Ranch, Manchester Ridge in Mendocino is best described as Rubenesque —plump, carnal, fleshy and full of light. 

A gorgeous scent fills the glass with notes of ambrosia that includes coconut, melon, banana, mandarin and a whiff of butterscotch. On the palate, full lush flavors of lemon curd, white peach, guava, vanilla, and caramel flan. Deeply delicious it’s a captivating foray into what a site specific Chardonnay can deliver. Pair with Psychic Pie inspired mushroom, goat cheese, lemon pizza. 


ABV 13.6%


Thursday, July 21, 2022

Wine Road Podcast: Sebastopol 2022 UPDATE

 Episode 154 | Sebastopol Itinerary 2022 UPDATE: What's New and Coming Soon

Marcy fills us in on what’s new and coming soon to Sebastopol.
Fast Five Recipe:
Grilled Caprese Crostini from Karissa Kruse with Sonoma County Winegrowers

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Wine Road Podcast: John Viszlay of Viszlay Vineyards


Episode 152 | John Viszlay of Viszlay Vineyards.

John Viszlay joins us to talk about what’s going on at the vineyard and introduce us to his new second label –Sonoma Jones. We also hear from Jessie Poshepny Vallery’s with her Fast Five recipe for Strawberry Gazpacho.

Wine of the Day: 2019 Sonoma Jones Chardonnay, Russian River Valley

Book of the Day: Press for Champagne Guide: A Guide to Enjoying The World’s Greatest Sparking Wine by Christopher S. Ruhland.

Fast Five: Strawberry Gazpacho from Jessie Poshepny Vallery at Trione Vineyards

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Wine Road Podcast - Jess Poshepny Vallery Director of DTC, Hospitality & Marketing Communications at Trione Vineyards and Winery


Episode 152 | Jess Poshepny Vallery Director of DTC, Hospitality & Marketing Communications at Trione Vineyards and Winery. We sip on some amazing Sauvignon Blanc and learn the history of the Trione Family and how Jess got into the wine business. Plus what’s new at Trione and what tasting experiences await you.

 Wine of the Day: Trione 2021 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley
Item of the Day: Sonoma Magazine
Fast Five: Pulled Pork Sandwich from Kathy Harshbarger at Jeff Cohn Cellars

Friday, June 24, 2022

Cabernet Sauvignon: Varietal of the Month


Probably the most famous of all the varieties—Cabernet Sauvignon is King of the grape world. It grows in practically every wine region and is noted for it’s concentrated flavors and ability to age gracefully for decades. Its hearty body and tight-knit finely grained tannins make it pair worthy with a variety of foods. Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon from cooler sites, deliver wines of balance and harmony with great texture and characterized by rich black fruit flavors and minty herbal notes with long lasting tannins.


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


Alexander Valley Vineyards 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley


This 2018 Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and made with certified organic grapes. In the glass it presents a minty and floral scent that deepens with notes of licorice, rhubarb, leather, eucalyptus and clove. On the palate it’s full black cherry, blackberry, olive, leather, mocha and cassis with a long minty finish. It’s bright, beautiful and balanced, with juicy flavors and classic fine grained tannins. Pair with Beef Empanadas.


ABV 14.0%



Colagrossi 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley


Soft, savory, and smooth with a bright finish, the 2018 Colagrossi Cabernet Sauvignon is a delight. On the nose you’ll find blackberry, vanilla, and graphite. On the palate, juicy black fruits and notes of tobacco, along with rhubarb and plum that culminate in a long spicy finish. Pair with Wild Porcini Mushroom Risotto.


ABV 14.7%


Ehret 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Bavarian Lion Vineyards, Knights Valley


The 2017 Ehret Cabernet Sauvignon from Knights Valley opens with a bright and bewitching nose with notes of blueberry, eucalyptus, fig, and black cherry. On the palate deep flavors of licorice black olive, and cassis merge with a soft smoky cedar note. Lovely balance of acid and tannin, with a long lingering spicy finish. Pair with Jason Robinson’s Tri-Tip. You can find the recipe on episode 149 of the Wine Road podcast.


ABV 15.0%




Jordan 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley


The Jordan 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is pure splendor in the glass. It smells so good, bright and aromatic with notes of black cherry, mocha, dusty cedar, mint, baking spice, and graphite. Lovely and lyrical it has classic structure and flavors of cassis, ripe black cherry and smooth silky tannins with hint of cedar and eucalyptus that slowly fades. Pair with pork loin and potatoes au gratin. Great age ability over the next decade or more. 


ABV 13.8%



Longboard 2019 Rino Chaser, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley


The Longboard, 2019 Rino Chaser, Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley is a delicious expression of texture and flavor. It’s chock-a-block with scents of boysenberry, cranberry, and mocha. On the palate lush flavors of cassis, mocha, sweet blackberry and mint with a savory note of warm vanilla. The fine-grained tannins are taut, long lasting and bright on the finish. Great overall balance and structure makes this a fine candidate for aging. Pair with Duck confit.


ABV 14.5% 



Carol Shelton 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Rockpile Reserve, Rockpile Vineyard


Gorgeous, juicy and full-bodied the Carole Shelton 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Rockpile Reserve, will captivate you from the very first sip. On the nose, notes of cedar, cherry, fig, graphite, and tobacco. On the palate a wonderful rush of cassis, blackberry, black cherry and deep mocha, glide upon rails of long lingering tannins that slowly fade to a satisfying finish. Pair with Classic Cheese burger, rare! Or if you are local, pair with the Ruben sandwich from Troubadour sandwich shop in Healdsburg. 


ABV 14.8% 



West 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Ridge Block, Dry Creek Valley


Smooth and harmonious the West 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon from Dry Creek Valley offers a spicy bouquet on the nose with notes of mint, green bell pepper, eucalyptus, rhubarb, and baking spice. On the palate a silky mouth feel with flavors of juicy black cherry and blackberry along with clove, black olive, leather, mocha, and a tantalizing hint of tomato leaf. Finely textured tannins deliver a bright licorice and minty finish to this elegant and engaging wine. Pair with a lamb chops and chutney. 


ABV 13.5%




Robert Young 2018 Scion, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley


Bold and full bodied, the 2018 Robert Young Scion, Cabernet Sauvignon is a fine example of Sonoma meets Bordeaux in style. Classic notes of leather, mint, black cherry, mocha and cassis are on the nose. On the plate, plush flavors of fig, mocha, and black fruits, with clove and graphite. It opens softly and builds gradually with great structure and taut spicy tannins. Pair with filet mignon. Lovely to drink now or cellar for future enjoyment.  

ABV 14.7%





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