Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Varietal of the Month: Grenache

Grenache is a medium bodied red wine with moderate acidity, and bright red fruit and strawberry flavors. The tannin structure can range from light and smooth to more pronounced and firm depending on the climate in which it is grown. Grenache is a wonderful and versatile varietal all on it’s own, but its claim to fame is its use as one of the fundamental grapes in the highly regarded French Rhone blend Châteauneuf-du-Pape.


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


Armida 2021 GrenacheChalone Vineyard, Chalone


The 2021 Armida Grenache from Chalone Vineyard is an aromatic delight with black cherry, strawberry pie and a pleasing spicy, meaty note akin to that of Slim Jim on the nose. On the palate sugarplum and ripe strawberry flavors are boosted with a hint of acidity in the guise of red apple skin. Smooth and diffuse tannins bring the bright red fruit flavors along with savory fig to a soft and satisfying crescendo. Pair with spicy pork dumplings.


ABV 14.3%



CAST 2020 Grenache AnaxVineyard, Dry Creek Valley


The CAST 2020 Grenache from Anax Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley is perfumed with candied plums, lavender, violet and cherry vanilla with a base note of dried strawberry wafting to the fore.  In the glass it shines with bright notes of strawberry, licorice, and orange peel. Secondary notes of spice and smoked meat evolve as it opens. Great texture and body with soft sandy tannins and a pop of bright acidity that gives it balance and bounce. Pair with spicy pomegranate roasted carrots and lentils with Tahini dressing.

ABV 13.4%



David Coffaro 2021Grenache, Dry Creek Valley


The David Coffaro 2021 Grenache form Dry Creek Valley is like stepping into a floral shop that also sells confectionaries. It has a wonderful scent of spun sugar, raspberry jam, lavender, black cherry and warm vanilla. On the palate flavors are equal parts juicy and savory with notes of bright juniper, strawberry, spicy Mexican chocolate, cinnamon, and fig newton. Complex and delicious with a long dry finish. Pair with classic pork roast.


ABV 15.1%

$ 35 --for 2020


Colagrossi 2021Grenache, Moon Mountain District, Sonoma


The Colagrossi 2021 Grenache from Moon Mountain District, Sonoma is a veritable moon shot to the heart of flavor. On the nose an enticing scent of sandalwood with savory notes of blueberry pie, black tea, and a touch of white pepper. On the palate notes of Mexican chocolate, warm fig newton, rhubarb, and nutmeg. Nice overall balance and texture with great length of finish. Pair with a hearty Moroccan lamb stew.


ABV 14.6%



Jeff Cohn Cellars,2018 Grenache, El Diablo Vineyard, Russian River Valley


The Jeff Cohn Cellars 2018 Grenache from El Diablo Vineyard in Russian River Valley gives me all the feels. The distinct bright scent and flavor of dried strawberry triggered an immediate sense memory of Capt’n Crunch Crunch Berries, strawberry flavored cereal from my childhood. Each sip of this Grenache brought me back to the crunch berries, albeit in a highly elevated form. Additionally, there is a lovely interplay of herbal notes with rosemary and sage on the nose. On the palate, bright and juicy notes of pomegranate, blueberry, red plum and candied red grapefruit. Lush yet balanced with a long and satisfying finish. Pair with a nostalgic food from your childhood.


ABV 15%



Mounts 2019 Grenache,Estate Grown, Dry Creek Valley


The Mounts 2019 Grenache from Dry Creek Valley unfolds in the glass with scents of Herbs de Provence, dusty cedar-sage, mocha and dried strawberry.  On the palate a rich and luxurious mouth feel with flavors of blackberry, chocolate cherry cordial and something quite exotic that reminds me of a cinnabar chanterelle – with a bright fruity, and orange peel notes. This is an elegant and compelling Grenache with loose knit sandy tannins that carry it all to the finish with grace. Pair with Liberty duck with cherry sauce.


ABV 15.8%



Peterson 2017 GSM,Dry Creek Valley, Estate Grown


The Peterson Winery 2017 GSM, Dry Creek Valley is a blend of 50% Grenache, 33% Syrah and 17% Mourvedre. On the cork you will notice a promise to the drinker with the words: nullus mortuus vina — which translates as no soulless wine—and this Grenache makes good on that promise. The nose is warm and spicy with scents of black cherry, blueberry, blackberry pie and chaparral aka garrigue. On the palate, a plush mouthfeel, with rich flavors of raspberry, dried strawberry, sweet tobacco and recurrence of the chaparral note that presents to my palate as spicy pickle juice, which I quite liked! It has a wonderful complexity but remains approachable with balanced tannin, acidity and fruit. Pair with grilled pork chops and mango chutney.


ABV 14.7%



Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Wine Road Podcast : Tiaan Lordan, Winemaker, Hartford Family Winery

Episode 170 | Tiaan Lordan, Winemaker, Hartford Family Winery

Beth and Marcy chat with Tiann about his love of nature and how it connects to winemaking, we sip on the Hartford Family Wines 2021 Land's Edge Pinot Noir, and we hear the famous owl story too.

Wine of The Day: Hartford Family Wines 2021 Land’s Edge Vineyards Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery 

Monday, February 27, 2023

Varietal of the Month: Sangiovese


Sangiovese derives its name from the Latin  —Sanguis Jovis— meaning “the blood of Jove”. A mainstay of Italy, it’s a medium-bodied dry red wine with a range of flavors that include red cherry, black plum, sun-dried tomato, cigar box, black tea, smoke, anise, and thyme; great acidity and a nice level of spiciness typify it. Medium to high tannin make it a versatile wine, suitable for pairing with all things tomato based, especially pizza; but also great with hard cheeses and rich savory roasted meats, or even pork chops. 


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



ACORN 2019 Sangiovese, Russian River Valley

The ACORN 2019 Sangiovese from Alegría Vineyards in Russian River Valley is composed of 98% Sangiovese, 1% Canaiolo Nero and 1% Mammolo Toscano. I don’t know how those small amounts of amounts of Canaiolo Nero and Mammolo Toscano figure in the equation, but the result is nothing short of magical. The wine is rich and juicy with a delicate dusty rose on the nose. It’s full of bright tart cherry and cranberry with grounding notes of thyme, coffee and mocha. It’s savory and supple with soft fine-grained sandy tannins. Nice acidity with a long juicy, spicy finish with a hint of tomato leaf and caper. It literally makes my mouth happy to drink it. Pair with Pasta alla Norma or eggplant parmagiana.


ABV 14.1%



Colagrossi 2018 Sangiovese, Mendocino County

The 2018 Colagrossi Sangiovese from Mendocino County is a meaty delight that hits all the right notes in terms of fruit, acidity and tannin. On the nose, notes of clove, aniseed, vanilla and cherry cola. On the palate it opens with bright red fruit, and tart cherry then settles with savory earthy notes of tobacco and balsamic. Great acidity and balanced sandy tannins carry the fruit flavors to a soft pleasing finish. Pizza is a natural choice for this wine or pair with sausage calzone or a simple charcuterie. 


ABV 14.6%



Peterson 2018 Sangiovese, Dry Creek Valley 

The Peterson 2018 Sangiovese from Dry Creek Valley is shimmering earthy ode to the Tuscan varietal. On the nose, notes of sandalwood, amber, sweet tobacco and black cherry. On the palate it opens with tart cranberry and red currant followed by deep savory notes of thyme, sage and dried tomato. Marvelous balance of acidity and fine knit tannins is sure to activate the pleasure center of your brain. Spicy and lithe, pair with lasagna and the poetry of Dante.


ABV 14.6%



Trentadue 2021 Shoestring Sangiovese, Alexander Valley


The 2021 Trentadue Shoestring Sangiovese from Alexander Valley has the earmarks of classic Chianti, with medium body, sandy tannins and food-friendly acidity. On the nose, sandalwood and dusty rose petals with a hint of black pepper and marjoram.  The palate is full and bright with flavors of maraschino cherry, dried strawberry and red currant and cassis. Still young this wine will develop nicely over the next several years, but it’s absolutely tasty and enjoyable right now. Pair with tomato tart or pasta Bolognese.


ABV 14.5%



Thursday, February 23, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: 45th Annual 2023 Barrel Tasting Weekend


Episode 169 | Barrel Tasting Weekend the 45th Year!

We sip on some Korbel Sparkling wine and Beth gives us the top ten reasons you need to attend the 45th Annual Barrel Tasting event. Marcy shares a new book called Wine Style.

Wine of The Day: Korbel Natural Sparkling Wine

Wine Book of the Day: Wine Book of the Day: Wine Style— Discover the Wines You Will Love Through 50 Simple Recipes by Kate Leahy

Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Ed Morris, Winemaker at Ron Rubin Winery

Episode 168 | Ed Morris, Winemaker at Ron Rubin Winery

Beth and Marcy taste the new Pam’s Un-oaked Cabernet Sauvignon with Ed Morris, winemaker at Ron Rubin Winery, and learn more about what’s new and happening at Ron Rubin winery.

Wine of The Day: Ron Rubin Winery 2021 Pam’s Unoaked Cabernet Sauvignon

Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Monique Soltani, Host of Wine Oh! TV

Episode 167 | Monique Soltani, Host of Wine Oh! TV

Beth and Monique discuss Monique’s career path, wine, love, loss, parenting and the rediscovery of her joy for connecting with people through the world of wine as she launches a new season of Wine Oh! TV.

Wine of The Day: Alexander Valley Vineyards 2018 Chardonnay
Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery



Thursday, January 12, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible 3rd Edition.

Episode 165 | Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible 3rd Edition.

Beth and Marcy chat with Karen MacNeil—speaker, wine authority and award-winning author— about the 3rd edition of The Wine Bible, the essential resource for wine lovers.

Fast Five Recipe: Baked Brie and Preserves with Walnuts from Janae Franicevic, Owner and General Manager, Sunce Winery & Vineyard

Book of The Day: The Wine Bible 3rd Edition by Karen MacNeil

Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery

Style of the Month: Port & Late Harvest

Port style and Late Harvest wines have sweeter profiles than other wines. Port, is traditionally made with Portuguese grape varieties such as Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz. Alcohol, usually grape brandy, is added during fermentation, which fortifies the wine. Late harvest wines are made from grapes high in brix/sugar content that are left to hang on the vines and harvested late for concentrated flavor. Both styles have higher alcohol levels but are exceedingly delicious and can also be kept longer after opening than traditional wines. 

Here are capsule reviews of Port style and Late Harvest wines you may find along the Wine Road.

Cast 2017 Late Zinfandel Fortified

The whimsical logo on the bottle of the CAST 2017 Late Zinfandel is a hint to the magical delights within. Made with Watson Old Vine Zinfandel grapes and blended with 191 proof distilled spirits, the Late is a marvel of fortified fruity finesse. On the nose toffee, vanilla coffee bean, black plum and spicy black carnation. The palate is full and bright with flavors of baking spice, dried cherry, praline, brandied pear and marzipan. Pair with an array of aged cheese’s that will balance and enhance the rich flavors of the wine.  

ABV 18%

Dutton Estate 2017 Sweet Sisters Late Harvest Syrah, Russian River Valley

The Dutton Estate 2017 Sweet Sisters Late Harvest Syrah is a sumptuous mélange of scents and flavors. On the nose, deep aromas of caramel, blackberry, black cherry, mocha and clove. On the palate, the Syrah shines bright with flavors of mint, dark chocolate, eucalyptus, rum raisin, and raspberry. It’s like a liquid version of the Thin Mint! Velvety, yet light, this wine shows how subtlety and balance is the key to late harvest richness. Pair with S’mores or a dense Orange Olive Oil cake. 

ABV 14.2 %

Pedroncelli 2016 Vintage Port Four Grapes Dry Creek Valley

The 2016 Pedroncelli Vintage Port Four Grapes is an authentic representation of the style using a field blend of traditional Portuguese grapes—30% Tinta Madera 30% Tinta Cao, 20% Souzao, and 20% Touriga Nacional. Smooth, rich and velvety it’s like a warm embrace. On the nose notes of caramel, brown sugar, baking spice, fig newton and blackberry preserves. On the palate balanced flavors of mocha, black cherry, cinnamon, toffee and molasses with a hint of clove on the finish. It’s a great pleasure to drink now, yet it will continue to develop with age. Pair with a classic Blue Stilton cheese. 

ABV 19.5%

Ramazzotti 2013 Rapport Zinfandel Red Dessert Wine 

The Ramazzotti 2013 Rapport Zinfandel Red Dessert wine is fortified with Everclear—the grain alcohol, not the band. The Zinfandel grapes combined with the high proof alcohol create a fresh and fruity wine that’s a little bit Port and a whole lot of Zin. It’s wonderfully balanced and light with the scent of sun-warmed berries and light mocha. On the palate black cherry, molasses, caramel apple, warm toffee, ripe fig and baking spice. Easy, smooth and mellow, sip after sip. Pair with a decadent chocolate bread pudding.

ABV 18%

Trentadue 2019 Zinfandel Port, Alexander Valley 

On the nose the 2019 Trentadue Zinfandel Port has an engaging light scent of violets with secondary aromas of mocha, coffee, ripe black cherry and plum. On the palate it presents flavors of Raisinets, the classic chocolate covered raisin treat and notes of chocolate covered caramel, much like Rollo’s (the elegant cousin to Milk Duds). It’s a veritable trip to the movie house concession stand for all the nostalgic favorites. The long warm finish lingers with notes of dried fruit, black plum and molasses. At only four years of age it’s still very young and will certainly deepen and develop over time. Pair with your favorite old movie. 

ABV 18%

Trione Vineyards and Winery 2010 Fortified Zinfandel, Rockpile Peak Vineyard, Sonoma Coast 

What a treat this is. The Trione Vineyards 2010 Fortified Zinfandel from Rockpile Peak Vineyard is well aged at 13 years old! On the nose brandied cherries, chocolate covered raisins, and toffee. It’s rich and heady. On the palate it’s full of lush flavors of chocolate covered cherries, mocha, caramel apple and fruitcake—really high-end fruitcake. Not the kind of fruitcake that gets re-gifted from year to year, but one you’ll want to keep. Warm and luscious with a long mellow finish. Pair it with a roaring fire and a good book—it’s all you need.

ABV 18%


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