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%




Thursday, June 9, 2022

Wine Road Podcast - What's New in Healdsburg with Talia Hart, CEO of Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce

Talia Hart, CEO Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce fills us in on everything that’s new, upcoming and happening in Healdsburg.

Wine of the Day: 2016 Selby Sangiovese
Book of the Day: Steven Spurrier: A Life in Wine
Fast Five: Pepperoni Bread from Bobby Terrano from F. Teldeschi Winery in Dry Creek

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Wine Road Podcast- Kathy Harsbarger, Director DTC, Jeff Cohn Cellars


Episode 150 -- Kathy Harsbarger, Director DTC, Jeff Cohn Cellars tells us about the history of Jeff Cohn Cellars, the tasting room experience and what types of wine you may enjoy there. Our Wine of the Day is 2002 Jeff Cohn Cellars 2018 Maggie’s Vineyard Zinfandel. Fast Five Recipe, Spätzle from Chef Tom Mulligan at Spoonbar in Healdsburg. Book of the Day: On California From Napa to Nebbiolo.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Rosé: Style of the Month


Rosé season is here and the annual crop of new releases practically makes me giddy. I can almost hear Ethel Merman belting out “Curtain up! Light the lights! Honey, everything's coming up roses!” But of course I hear her sing Roses as Rosés. Okay, so maybe Rosé does not conjure up Ethel for you—but Rosé can certainly spark joy with it’s easy to drink style and playful pink color; full of summer fruit flavors and a crisp, refreshing finish. By the way, I drink Rosé year-round for a fresh burst of summertime, anytime. #ROSÉALLYEAR


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


Acorn Alegría Vineyards 2021 Rosato Field Blend, RRV


Just reading the list of varieties in this Acorn field blend sets my expectations for a wine that will be both thrilling and delicious—and it is! Composed primarily of Syrah, Zinfandel, Dolcetto, and Sangiovese—the Acorn Rosato is nod to the Italian style of Rosé made from a range of indigenous Italian grapes. Initial aromas of pomegranate, strawberry and pink peppercorn are followed by notes of watermelon and fleshy ripe cherry. Balanced and complex, it’s full of juicy red fruit flavors, with a creamy raspberry finish. Pair with grilled chicken and warm goat cheese salad.


ABV 13%



Baldassari 2021 Rosé of Pinot Noir, RRV


The Baldassari 2021 Rosé of Pinot Noir is an intentional Rosé made with grapes harvested at a lower sugar rate in order to make a more delicate and lower alcohol wine. The color is the palest of pale, almost translucent. It’s a lovely balance of fruit and acid with notes of nectarine, strawberry, thyme and rose hips on the nose. On the palate, crisp favors of pink grapefruit, lime zest, and coriander predominate, with a distinct creamy peach note. The long dry finish is clean and bright with a touch of saline and rosewater. Pair with grilled shrimp and pineapple fried rice. 


ABV 12.9%



Balletto 2021 Rosé of Pinot Noir, RRV


Fermented in stainless steel, the Balletto Rosé of Pinot Noir is exceedingly crisp and bright. Pale pink in color, it opens with a delightful bouquet of crushed rose petals, carnation and strawberry-lime. Great acidity and balance with a marvelous texture and zingy flavors of watermelon, white peach, Rainier cherry and nectarine. Dry and precise with a steely finish and a lingering note of pink peppercorn and orange zest. Pair with spicy sushi tuna rolls. 


ABA 13.3%



Jeff Cohn Cellars 2017 Iris Brut Rosé Sparkling, Sonoma County


The Jeff Cohn Cellars Brut Rosé is made Méthode Traditionnelle with 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 20% Mourvèdre. In the glass the color sparkles like a pink tutu made of tulle and taffeta with a rush of bubbles that race to the top. The creamy body floats across the palate with delicate flavors of cherry, raspberry cream and wild strawberry. Refreshing and celebratory—pair with truffle popcorn or blinis with crème fraiche and smoked salmon.


ABV 12.79%



Martinelli 2021 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast


The Martinelli Rosé of Pinot Noir is a pretty pale rose color with a slight blue undertone. On the nose, wonderful aromas of rhubarb, strawberry, candied violet, cotton candy and rosewater. Juicy flavors of pomegranate, cranberry and a touch of orange peel are crisp and refreshing. The long clean finish is dry with notes of crushed rocks and a spicy pink peppercorn note at the end. Pair with Salmon cakes and Panzanella salad.


ABV 14.9%



Martorana Family Winery 2021 Rosé of Zinfandel, DCV


The Martorana Rosé of Zinfandel has a classic pale pink color with a slight tinge of onionskin orange. A profusion of aromas fill the glass including candied ginger, orange peel, dried strawberry and crushed rose petals. Well-balanced and juicy it has flavors of gooseberry, watermelon, cherry, and a hint of cantaloupe. The steely finish presents notes of creamy peach and nectarine. Pair with baked goat cheese salad and prosciutto wrapped figs.


ABV 13%



Pedroncelli 2021 Rosé of Zinfandel, DCV


The Pedroncelli Rosé of Zinfandel has a captivating medium pink hue reminiscent of watermelon juice. On the nose a bouquet of rose petals, honeydew, and strawberry with a base note of peach and vanilla. Great balance of fruit and acidity deliver flavors of watermelon, thyme and raspberry. The bright crisp finish has a mineral quality like wet slate and a lingering note of spicy coriander. Pair with barbecued spare ribs.


ABV 13.9%



Carole Shelton, Wild Thing Rendezvous Rosé, Mendocino County


Oh my, one sip and it makes you wonder, what came first—The Troggs song Wild Thing, or Carole Shelton’s Wild Thing Rendezvous Rosé? In any event this luscious Rosé made with Carignane and Zinfandel grapes, has a brilliant ruby pink color and is bursting with aromas of brambles, cherry, wild strawberry, bright raspberry and hibiscus. Zesty with great acidity and body, it pulses with fresh flavors of watermelon, red grapefruit, and orange creamsicle. The finish is dry crisp with a refreshing minerality. Wild Thing, I think I love you! Pair with your favorite old vinyl records and Chinese Chicken Salad.


ABV 13.5%



Saturday, May 14, 2022

Podcast Milestone -- 6 Years. 150 + Episodes. 3 Taste Awards!

6 years. 150 + episodes. 3 Taste Awards. And inducted into the Taste Award Hall of Fame. 

Six years ago this month I pitched the idea to Beth that the Wine Road should have a podcast. We started out recording in the warehouse and settled on a schedule of posting a show every other week. Our audience grew and we started recording episodes at Threshold studios with our sound engineer Richard Ross. 

Anyone who has a podcast knows how much work it is to consistently record and post—be it every week, every two weeks or even once a month. 

Most podcasts run out of steam after a few months. It’s easy to start a podcast it’s hard to keep it going. I’m proud to say we’re going strong and heading into our 7th year. 

Thanks to Beth Costa for believing in my crazy ideas, to Richard for making us sound so good and to our amazing sponsor Ron Rubin Winery for their generous support. And most of all cheers all our listeners! 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Wine Road Podcast-- Dan Teldeschi, Owner F. Teldeschi Wines with Bobby Terrano

Dan Teldeschi and Bobby Terrano join us for a fun filled conversation about the wines of F.Teldeschi and how they both came to be in the wine business. Wine of the Day 2002 F.Teldeschi Petite Sirah.
Fast Five recipe: Barbecued Tri-Tip from Jason Robinson of Ehret Family Winery


Thursday, May 5, 2022

Wine Road Podcast -- Healdsburg Wine & Food Experience with Karissa Kruse, President Sonoma County Winegrowers



Karissa Kruse, President Sonoma County Winegrowers joins us to tell us all about the Healdsburg Food and Wine Experience May 20-22, 2022. Wine of the Day CAST Blanc de Noirs Sparkling. Fast Five Recipe: Apple Cider Pulled Chicken from Elizabeth at Dutton Estate Winery.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Pinot Noir: Varietal of the Month


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 2019 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

On the nose the 2019 Baldassari Pinot Noir presents a bouquet of strawberry, clove and pomegranate and a hint of flint. A nice balance of fruit, acid and tannin with a plush mouth feel delivers tart cherry, hibiscus, rose hips and deep grounding notes of tobacco. It’s juicy and zingy and full of flavor with a long taut finish. Enjoyable now, but for those that can wait, a few years of bottle age will make it sing. Pair with pulled pork sliders.

ABV 14.1%

Dutton Estate 2018 La Familia Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

Deep garnet in color the 2018 Dutton Estate La Familia Pinot Noir opens with a beautiful nose of cranberry, plum, warm spun sugar, black cherry and a touch of white pepper. Well balanced with silky unobtrusive tannins that glide across the palate with lush notes of cocoa, red plums, pomegranate and wild blueberry. Great acidity and a long spicy finish with a pleasant hit of mint at the end. Pair with something classic such as a Liberty Duck confit with a cherry glaze.

ABV 14.4%

Ektimo 2017 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

The Ektimo 2017 Pinot Noir is perfumed with crushed rose petals and violets and a heavenly scent of wild strawberry. Bright and fruity with good acidity featuring primary notes of ripe cherry, plum sauce, and spicy carnation along with savory notes of fig and cocoa that linger on the finish. Great balance and structure make this a sure bet for cellaring, but who wants to wait? Enjoy now with a baked Brie or warm goat cheese salad alongside a rotisserie chicken.

ABV 13.5%

Furthermore 2017 Gaps Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir, Petaluma Gap

The deep garnet color of the 2017 Furthermore Pinot Noir, from Gaps Crown in the Petaluma Gap AVA, portends what’s to come. On the nose you’ll find earthy scents of mushroom and tobacco, with notes of cocoa and ripe Bing cherry. Bright fruit flavors sashay across the palate with juicy red raspberry, black plum and tart pomegranate. The spicy finish offers notes of clove, baking spice and candied ginger that is savory and long lasting. Pair with mac and cheese for a high/low combination that is both elegant and satisfying.

ABV 14.7%

Russian River Vineyards 2017 Horseridge Vineyards Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

There used to be an airline slogan “Something special in the air…” and that’s what came to mind as I inhaled the complex scents of this Russian River Vineyards 2017 Pinot Noir. It was an aromatic rush to the senses of strawberry, leather, clove, vanilla, cigar and plum. Balanced and well-integrated interplay of acid and tannins deliver tart layered flavors of cherry, red raspberry, wild blueberry, smoky fig, rhubarb and a dusting of cocoa. Pair with a fine cigar or something decadent like black truffle risotto.

ABV 14.5%
$90 (Library Wine)

Trione 2017 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

On the nose, the 2017 Trione Pinot Noir has scents of sweet briar, cherry, cranberry, clove, mushroom and plum sauce. Soft silky tannins provide a seamless backdrop to the juicy flavors of strawberry, pomegranate and a wonderful note of bacon fat. The long spicy finish has a touch of rose hips and raspberry. There’s a lot going on here but it all comes together in perfect harmony. Great to drink now and I suspect it will be rewarding well into the future too. Pair with bacon wrapped Scallops or cedar plank salmon.

ABV 14.6%

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Wine Road Podcast-- Elizabeth Miller, Hospitality Manager for Dutton Estate Winery


We sip on some Dutton Estate Chardonnay and chat with Elizabeth Miller about what’s new and happening at Dutton Estate in the heart of the Russian River Valley. Plus the book of the day --Wine: A Tasting Course from Grape to Glass by Marnie Old, and a Fast Five recipe, Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn from West Wines.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Wine Road Podcast-- Robert V. Camuto, Author, Wine Journalist, Contributing Editor for Wine Spectator


We go all Italian on this episode with Robert V. Camuto, author of South of Somewhere: Wine, Food, and The Soul of Italy, plus our with the Wine of the Day--Orsi Family Biancolella d’Ischia, and the Fast Five Recipe--Negroncelli cocktail from Pedroncelli Winery.


Thursday, March 24, 2022

Wine Road Podcast-- Craig Colagrossi, Owner & Winemaker Colagrossi Wines

We chat with Craig about his wine program focusing on Italian varietals and what’s new and upcoming at Colagrossi Wines on Artisan Alley in Windsor. Plus our Fast Five recipe from Jesse Malvesti of David Coffaro Wines.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Zinfandel: Varietal of the Month


Zinfandel is know as the All American grape and has been grown in California since the 1800’s. Yet the grapes true roots are in Croatia where it’s known as Tribidrag. In Italy Zinfandel is called Primitivo. Although the majority of California producers label their wine as Zinfandel, you may see a few Tribidrag’s and Primitiov’s too. Zinfandel is a medium-bodied dry red wine with a range of dark fruit flavors that include raspberry, blueberry, red and black cherry, and plum. Notes of tobacco, brambles, hickory and spice are common as well. Medium tannins make it a versatile food pairing wine, with flavors ranging from juicy and jammy, to lean and elegant depending on climate.

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

Acorn 2018 Heritage Vines Zinfandel, Russian River Valley 

The Acorn 2018 Heritage Vines Zinfandel is a field blend of 78% Zinfandel, 11% Alicante Bouschet and 9% Petite Sirah fermented with eight other varieties including Carignane, Trousseau, Sangiovese, Petit Bouschet, Negrette, Syrah, Black Muscat, Cinsaut, and Grenache which comprise the final 2% of the blend. On the nose a rush of mocha and peppercorn rise up from the glass with a prominent note of rooibos. Generous body with bright initial notes of blueberry and menthol is balanced with deep lush flavors of blackberry and mocha. Lovely balance of tannin and fruit with long gentle finish that rings with spice. But do those eight other varieties that make up the 2% of the blend matter? I say yes! It brings a certain something, a je ne sais quoi, not easy to define, but ultimately delicious. 

Carol Shelton Wines 2019 Wild Thing Old Vine Zinfandel, Mendocino County

The OG* Zinfandel—Carol Shelton’s 2019 Wild Thing Old Vine Zinfandel is a love note to the grape and an astounding value to boot. On the nose you’ll find notes of plum sauce, and sweet briar with touch of cedar. As the wine opens there is a wonderful layer of bacon fat and mocha too. Wild Thing is zippy and alive with juicy flavors of raspberry, clove, fennel, and blackberry crumble.  The long round finish walks a savory tightrope of texture between creamy and bright. Pair with Moo Shu Pork for a savory call-and-response interplay of flavors. NOTE: *OG =Original Gangster, slang for someone/something incredibly exceptional, authentic, or “old-school.” 
ABV 14.5%

Ehret 2020 Zinfandel, Knights Valley

In the glass the 2020 Ehret Zinfandel is deep dark purple with a pinkish rim. Juicy with an intense with black fruits and a savory quality of smoked meat and bacon fat too! Spiky tannins hit all the pleasure points with a peppy sour cherry finish. A lot of oomph going on in this 2020 youngster and I find it reminiscent of Primitivo, the doppelgänger of Zinfandel in Italy. Expect this to age and blossom with elegance, yet it’s eminently quaffable right now. Pair with spicy food and your most finicky guests, as this will surely gain their attention and respect. 
ABV 15.5%
$ N

Pedroncelli 2019 Zinfandel Bushnell Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley

The Pedroncelli family has been producing wine for close to a century and the 2019 Zinfandel from Bushnell Vineyard is a great example of their decades of experience. On the nose toasty nutmeg and clove intermingle with lush aromas of black and blueberry crumble and an intriguing note of butterscotch. Full bodied and rich with primary flavors of cola and spicy strawberry preserves. The bright and bouncy acidity delivers a ribbon of red fruits and raspberry fizz that merges seamlessly into a creamy long elegant finish with taut tannins. Pair with a classic sausage pizza.
ABV 16%

Peterson 2017 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley  

The 2017 Peterson Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley is a blend of 82% Zinfandel, 7% Petite Sirah, 6% Carignane, and 5% Grenache. On the nose a heady bouquet of garrigue – aka a veritable potpourri of juniper, thyme, rosemary and sage, with a fresh minty-herbal top note. Lush and delectable, it has deep flavors of tobacco, dark plum and earthy brambles, with secondary notes of cherry and rhubarb that are both bright and savory. It’s a shape-shifting marvel of fruit, acid, and tannin. Pair with something tangy and saucy like barbecue ribs or try a savory slow roasted pork shoulder. 
ABV 15.5%

Seghesio 2019 Zinfandel Todd Brothers Ranch, Alexander Valley

The 2019 Seghesio Zinfandel hails from the storied Todd Brothers Ranch in Alexander Valley. On the nose sweet briar and graphite mix with blackberry jam and a touch of vanilla. Very soft and plush mouth feel with concentrated flavors of mocha, black cherry, and all spice with a dash of smoked hickory wood. Great texture and body. Taut long tannins balance the rich black fruit flavors with notes of leather and sweet tobacco. Pair with rich mushroom risotto or hearty lasagna. 
ABV 15.6%

Taddei Wines 2018 Zinfandel Ionnatti Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley 

Deep dark and alluring in the glass the Taddei 2018 Zinfandel from Ionnatti Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley is both engaging and enigmatic. The nose is a riddle of sassafras, cinnamon, black plum, tobacco and sweet briar. Lots going on here with a yin and yang of plush sweet notes and tart bright flavors that slowly build to a power punch of strawberry jam over crushed gravel, dotted with white pepper and clove. Tannins so long they extend into the next week! Pair with a suitcase packed for adventure because this wine will take you somewhere unexpected. 
ABV 15.2%

Trione 2016 Zinfandel Flatridge Ranch

On the nose, the 2016 Trione Zinfandel has deep earthy aromas of sage, blackberry preserves and nutmeg. On the palate it has plush juicy flavors of plum and olallieberry, followed by bright notes of raspberry and rhubarb. Soft and balanced tannins deliver a long spicy finish of tart red cherry, pink peppercorn and a touch of thyme. Pair with spicy beef empanadas or slow roasted barbecue short ribs. 
ABV 15.5%


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