Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Style of 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. From fried chicken to lobster bisque, the range of food pairings are endless, but nothing beats oysters, potato chips or truffle fries for flavor match made in heaven. Sparkling wines come in a range of sweetness levels from bone dry Burt Nature to the very sweet styles of Demi-Sec and Doux. The most popular style is Brut with less than half a gram of sugar per glass. There’s a sparkling wine to please every palate. 

Here are capsule reviews of Sparkling Wines along the Wine Road

Amista Sparkling Syrah Morningstar Vineyard 

Fresh and bright the Amista Sparkling Syrah from Morningstar Vineyard is an effervescent delight. The light garnet color shines with specks of gold in the fine stream of bubbles. Juicy and bright with flavors of pomegranate, black cherry, a touch of orange zest and all spice. It’s balanced on the palate with a fresh acidity that carries all the way through on the long dry finish. Pair with spicy crab cakes.

ABV 12.5%


Cast Sparkling Brut Nature, Estate Vineyard, 2019 Dry Creek Valley

The Cast 2019 Sparkling Burt Nature from Dry Creek Valley is made from estate grown Zinfandel grapes. Steely and lean with a steady stream of fine bubbles it has initial of notes of brioche, yellow apple, white peach, and lemon zest. A bright stony minerality is in balance with flavors of honeysuckle, peach and buttered toast. The sustained finish rings with zesty acidity. Supremely delicious. Don’t be surprised how fast the bottle empties! Pair with Oysters Rockefeller. 

ABV 12.5%


Colagrossi Sparkling Wine Rosé de Sangiovese 

The Colagrossi Sparkling Rosé de Sangiovese is made in the Charmat Method also known as the Tank method, which results in bright juicy, fruity wines with an easy and ready to drink freshness. It’s zesty with flavors of dried strawberry, watermelon and cranberry. Check out episode 186 of the Wine Road Podcast episode to hear how much we enjoyed it in studio with the winemaker! Pair with spicy seasoned tater tots and your favorite podcast.

ABV  12.5%


Emeritus 2020 Hallberg Brut, Blanc de Noir, Russian River Valley

The Emeritus 2020 Hallberg Brut, Blanc de Noir is composed of estate grown Pinot Noir fruit from the heart of the Russian River Valley. It gently glows with a golden hue as a persistent stream of fine tiny bubbles race to the top of the glass. It has a light aroma of brioche and apricot. On the palate, soft notes of ripe pear, crisp apple and zesty lemon blend with a bright top note of ginger. It’s lithe and elegant with great texture and a bracing minerality on the long finish. Pair with classic caviar & blinis.

ABV 12.5%


West Wines 2018 Seafoam Blanc de Blancs

The West Wines 2018 Seafoam Blanc de Blanc is made with 100% estate Chardonnay grapes in the traditional Champagne style, Méthode Traditionelle. On the nose, notes of brioche, lemon curd, ginger and toasted hazelnut waft up from the glass. On the palate it’s fresh and vibrant with a soft creamy mousse. Balanced flavors of lemon curd, pear, peach and orange zest mingle and linger on the finish. Pair with pomme frites and aioli.  

ABV 11.5%


Woodenhead 2013 Sparkling Wine Blanc de Blanc

At ten years of age, the Woodenhead 2013 Sparkling Blanc de Blanc is graceful with a fruity vitality that is both savory and bright. On the nose, notes of marzipan, lemon pith and butterscotch. On the palate, a soft texture with a balance of yellow apple, lemon zest, toasted almond and creamy ginger. In a word—delectable! Pair with buttermilk fried chicken.

ABV 11.2%


Thursday, November 16, 2023

Varietal of the Month: Pinot Noir


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 2020 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County

The Baldassari 2020 Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley has a palpable vitality. On the nose, an aromatic rush to the senses with crushed rose petals, cranberry, cherry, earthy brambles and a touch of bacon fat. On the palate, a well-integrated interplay of acid and tannin deliver juicy layered flavors of cherry, red raspberry, wild blueberry, fig, rhubarb and a whiff of cotton candy. It’s a delicious thrill ride with a spicy finish that’s lean and bright. Pair with wild mushroom pizza.

$ 56

ABV 14.1%

De Loach Vineyards 2020 Estate Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

The DeLoach Vineyards 2020 Estate Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley is made using eight estate clones; 115, 828, Swan, La Tache, Calera and Mt. Eden, 777 and 23. In the glass it has a bewitching elegant nose of cocoa, and raspberry with a hint of vanilla. On the palate, bright acidity with juicy notes of cotton candy, raspberry compote, and blueberry. Plush tannins deliver notes of black pepper, clove, and cherry pie with a ribbon of thyme on the long lingering finish. Great age potential; will develop further complexity over time, but simply delicious right now as well. 


ABV 14.5%

Landmark Vineyards 2021 Pinot Noir Hop Kiln Estate Russian River Valley

The Landmark Vineyards 2021 Pinot Noir from the Hop Kiln Estate in Russian River Valley has an aromatic nose composed of sweet violet, vanilla, raspberry, bright cherry and black pepper. On the palate is has great texture with initial notes of plum sauce, blood orange, raspberry. The mid palate delivers earthy flavors of mushroom, sweet tobacco and Herbs de Provence. The long bright finish is tangy and tart with notes of hibiscus and clove. Pair with spicy fajitas.


ABV 14.4%

Longboard Vineyards 2021 Pinot Noir, Meant to Be Vineyard, Russian River Valley

The 2021 Longboard Vineyard Pinot Noir from Meant to Bee Vineyard in Russian River Valley is a Pinot lovers Pinot. On the nose, a delicious bouquet of sugarplum, vanilla and sweet cedar. On the palate it’s juicy, bright and flavorful with a nice balance of black and red fruits including blueberry and raspberry. As the layers of flavor unfold, notes of hibiscus and tart strawberry come into play with sweet tobacco, and a minty note of chaparral on the long lean finish. Pair with pulled pork sliders.


ABV 14.3%

Papapietro Perry 2020 Pinot Noir Campbell Ranch, Sonoma Coast

The 2020 Papapietro Perry Pinot Noir from Campbell Ranch on the Sonoma Coast offers a myriad of delights. On the nose, a bouquet of raspberry fruit leather, black cherry, wild blueberry and a hint of flint. On the palate, bright flavors of cherry, hibiscus, and rose hips balanced with deep notes of rooibos, cranberry, leather, and mushroom. A warm note of earthy sweet tobacco comes through on the long lingering finish. Great structure with potential to age and develop further. Try pairing with grilled eggplant or duck confit.


ABV 13.1%

Russian River Vineyards 2019 Pinot Noir, Estate Grown Austin Vineyard, Russian River Valley  

The Russian River Vineyards 2019 Pinot Noir, Estate Grown, is from the Austin Vineyard in the heart of Russian River Valley. On the Nose, a pleasing light scent of sweet violet and vanilla with an undertone of chanterelles. On the palate, flavors of cranberry, sugarplum, mocha, and all spice, merge with notes of back cherry, and cocoa. The tart, yet savory, finish has notes of clove, fig newton and sweet tobacco. Pair a tangy Thai barbecue chicken.


ABV 14.2%

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Renae Perry from Papapietro Perry

 Episode 187 | Renae Perry from Papapietro Perry

We were joined in the studio today by Renae Perry from Papapietro Perry Winery in Dry Creek - and her lovely wine! Come along as we chat about awesome restaurants, different events held both in person and virtually by Papapietro Perry, and hear about their amazing Wine Club Member cruise! Pickleball skills may be required to join. 

Wine of the Day: 2020 Pinot from Russian River Valley

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Varietal of the Month: Barbera

Barbera: Prince of Darkness, Goddess of Light—well not exactly, but Barbera is characteristically dark in color and light in taste. It’s a fairy tale of red and black berry flavors with high acidity, relatively low tannins, and a spicy finish. A charming and quaffable Italian varietal, Barbera pairs well with braised meats and roasted vegetable dishes.

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


Colagrossi 2019 Barbera Moon Mountain, Sonoma County


The Colagrossi 2019 Barbera from Moon Mountain in Sonoma County has all the earmarks of a classic. Dark ruby color with a magnificent nose of mocha, rose petals, anise, and blackberry. On the palate, a plush mouthfeel with blackberry, dark cherry, fig, plum and sweet tobacco. Fresh acidity and textbook Barbera structure carry the dark fruit flavors smoothly forward with a spicy pepper and clove spiked finish. From first sniff to last sip it’s a pleasure. Enjoy with pumpkin sage ravioli.


ABV: 14/7%


D’Argenzio 2018 Barbera Di Niccolo, Sonoma Mountain


The D’Argenzio 2018 Barbera Di Niccolo from Sonoma Mountain is deep purple in color with a light garnet rim. On the nose, light scent of pomegranate, anise, and cherry. On the palate the flavors are tart and juicy with notes of dried strawberry, blackberry, cranberry, tart cherry and fleshy dark plum. Silky, bright finish with a satisfying minty-fennel endnote. Pair with Eggplant Parmigianino.


ABV 13.5%



Carol Shelton 2022 Barbera D’Oakley Planchon Vineyard, Contra Costa County


The Carol Shelton 2022 Barbera D’ Oakley hails from the 130-year-old Planchon Vineyard in Contra Costa County, co-planted with Zinfandel and Merlot. In the glass it’s medium garnet in color. On the nose a light scent of violets, blackberry, vanilla and touch of earthy nutmeg. On the palate, a tangy juicy punch of flavor full of pomegranate and black cherry with a grounding notes of thyme and peppercorn. The blend of Zinfandel and Merlot give this Barbera a fine balance with a bright yet plush mouthfeel and notes of Santa Rosa along with black pepper and blackberry on the long spicy finish. Pair with cheesy sausage and pepper pizza.


ABV 13.5%



Orsi Family 2021 Barbera Dry Creek Valley


The Orsi Family 2021 Barbera has a medium purple hue with a slight blue tinge at the rim. On the nose, fleshy black cherry, plum and garrigue (costal aromatic herbs: think mint and sage). On the palate, it builds steadily with flavors of dried strawberry, sour cherry, cranberry, and black pepper. With time in the glass it comes alive with a juicy vibrancy that carries though to the bright spicy finish. Pair with classic Spaghetti and Meatballs or Chicken Cacciatore.


ABV 13.9%



Peterson Winery 2019 Barbera Tollini Vineyard, Mendocino 


Wild Woodland creature indeed! Right on the label the Peterson Winery 2019 Barbera from Tollini Vineyard declares the wine possesses the spirit of a “wild woodland creature”—indeed the simile is apt. With it’s dark color and bright flavor it’s a wily but approachable Barbera. On the nose, deep earthy notes of garrigue, licorice, ripe blackberry, and mocha. On the palate, notes of tangy tart cherry with a medley of thyme, marjoram, and blackberry brambles. A plush mouth feel with soft tannins that deliver secondary flavors of fig and plum, boysenberry and slate. Balanced and beautiful. Pair with Rabbit Ragu over Pappardelle.


ABV 16.3%


Thursday, October 5, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Dr. Henry Barham from Vinotastr

Episode 185 | Dr. Henry Barham from Vinotastr

Have you ever been stumped as to what kind of wine you should try? Or maybe you’re not sure of what kind of wine you might even *like*? Dr. Henry Barham and his team have developed a science based system of test strips that help you figure out what you’re most likely to enjoy when it comes to wine! Beth is our on-air tester and we get to see how it goes for her! 

Monday, September 25, 2023

Varietal of the Month: Syrah


Syrah, a Rhône varietal, is a full-bodied dry red wine with supple tannins and savory flavor. It’s juicy and spice-driven with dark black fruits and a telltale note of black olive. If you wrote a dating profile for Syrah it might read: “Dark, rich and elegant with great character. I’m smooth and seductive and have a thing for the spicy side of life with a penchant for black olives. Call me! Or better yet, drink me!!” Yes, Syrah has all the markers for a great date, but an even better as a date wine.


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


NOTE: The wines below were tasted and evaluated 100% by a human being. No AI was harmed or used in the writing of these notes.



Acorn Axiom Syrah 2019, Alegría Vineyards, Russian River Valley

The ACORN 2019 Axiom Syrah is a field blend of Syrah inter-planted with Viognier. Before tasting, pause and raise a glass to the ACORN field-blend champions, for this 21st vintage from the vineyard is also the last. Enjoy it while you can. In the glass it’s deep garnet in color with a sage and blackberry nose and secondary notes of vanilla and cedar. On the palate a plush mouth feel, rich black fruits such as blueberry and plum predominate with a warm mid-palate note of nutmeg and dark chocolate. The long finish is juicy and lush with smooth spicy tannins. Pair with sausage pizza with arugula.


ABV 14.6%



Alexander ValleyVineyards 2019 Syrah, Alexander Valley

The Alexander Valley Vineyards 2019 Syrah is a dark purple color in the glass with a deep fragrant nose of violets, cocoa, smoky sage, mint and black pepper. On the palate it’s full flavored and earthy—mocha, leather, fig cassis, and blueberry with a wonderful spicy cured meat note. It has a sunny acidity that warmly transits across the palate. The long plush finish has soft integrated tannins. Pair with herb dusted goat cheese and prosciutto wrapped figs.

ABV 14.0%

Amista 2018 Syrah,Morningstar Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley

The Amista 2018 Syrah from Morningstar Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley Garnet is a deep ruby color. There’s a spot on the trail I frequent where on a warm summer day the scent of ripe juicy blackberries mingles with tufts of minty pennyroyal and the crushed gravel dust kicked up from my hiking boots—and that mixture of blackberry, mint and dusty gravel smells just like this Syrah. The palate has a plush mouth feel with juicy black fruits, black olive, black cherry and raspberry on the long spicy finish. Pair with Pork tenderloin with herbs de Provence.


ABV 14.7%



Baldassari 2020 SyrahNolan Vineyard, Bennett Valley

The Baldassari 2020 Syrah from Nolan Vineyard in Bennett Valley has a deep earthy nose with scents of black fruits, chocolate, clove, and crushed violets. On the palate it has a soft sensuous charm with a plush mouth feel and smooth knitted tannins. Savory and flavorful with notes of pink peppercorn, pomegranate, blueberry and secondary notes of cassis and smoky vanilla. The spicy peppery finish is long and layered with a touch of black olive. Very delicious! Pair with spice rubbed pork chops with mango chutney.


ABV 14.2%

$ 43


Balletto 2018 Syrah,BCD Vineyard Russian River Valley

The Balletto 2018 Syrah from the BCD Vineyard in Russian River Valley is dark garnet in color with scents of sweet violet, black cherry, blueberry, licorice and chocolate mint. As it opens a savory note of bacon fat emerges that is simply divine. On the palate it’s earthy and plush with flavors of graphite, plum sauce, and cardamom. The finish is a compelling vibe of warm spicy chocolate and black olive that builds and deepens with each sip. Pair with spicy lamb kabobs and fresh mint.


ABV 13.8%



Cāpo Creek 2018Syrah, Fountain Grove District, Sonoma County

The Cāpo Creek 2018 Syrah from Fountain Grove District has a deep

burgundy color in the glass. On the nose, scents of violet, crushed gravel, blueberry, plum, sweet tobacco, and milk chocolate. On the palate notes of sweet briar, fig and vanilla, which builds to a minty crescendo with smooth integrated tannins. It’s like an adult version of a Peppermint Patty! Smooth and satisfying with a spicy finish that is both fresh and savory. It’s great to sip on its own or pair simply with charcuterie board and rosemary flat bread.


ABV 14.9%


Longboard Vineyards2019 Savage Côast Syrah, Russian River Valley

The 2019 Longboard Savage Côast Syrah from Russian River Valley is dark magenta in the glass. On the nose a characteristic rotundone note—the aromatic peppery quality of peppercorns, marjoram and oregano found in Rhône grown Syrah. Additional scents of blueberry, cassis, violet, black cherry, leather and gravel give it a grounded earthy heft. On the palate a soft mouthful with sassafras (aka root beer) black olive, cranberry, sweet tobacco, clove, espresso and a cured meat note. The spicy finish is long and taut with balanced supportive tannins. Pair with Grilled Sausages and Peppers.


ABV 14.5%



J. Rickards Winery2019 Syrah, Furlong Vineyard, Alexander Valley

The J. Rickards Winery 2019 Syrah from Furlong Vineyard in Alexander Valley is dark garnet in the glass. On the nose a rush of scents including blueberry, clove fruitcake, sweet cherry, cassis, cocoa, leather and a meaty note like cured sausage.

Fresh and fruity it has great complexity, texture and flavor. On the palate notes of sage, chocolate, herbal cherry and blackberry compote with a zingy hit of black olive. Silky tannins and lush long finish build to an exhilarating finish with juicy blackberry and black cherry notes. Pair with Moroccan Chicken Tagine.


ABV 14.6%


Peterson 2016 Syrah,Gravity Flow Block, Sonoma County

The Peterson 2016 Syrah, Gravity Flow Block has serenity and a tension that makes me think of the moment just before the conductor drops the baton and the music begins. That suspended moment of anticipation is mirrored here in the way the flavors build coalesce into a singular harmony. Medium garnet in color it has a lovely potpourri nose of violet, sage, spicy black carnation, blueberries and plum with a minty-chocolate-anise note. On the palate, a plush mouthfeel with blueberry, sweet tobacco, chocolate mint, leather, graphite and black pepper. The fine tannins carry the complexity of black fruit flavors through to the end with a trace of black olive on the finish. Pair with classical music and Chateaubriand.


ABV 14.7%


Thursday, September 21, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Dr. Clinton Lee, Wine & Etiquette Master at APWASI


Episode 184 | Dr. Clinton Lee, Wine & Etiquette Master at APWASI 

Join us while we chat with Dr. Lee about how APWASI (Asia Pacific Wine And Spirit Institute) helps the international community learn about wine, food and spirits as well as etiquette skills through their courses to bridge cultural gaps. Cheers!

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Erik Miller, Owner & Winemaker at Kokomo Winery & Breaking Bread Wines


Episode 183 | Erik Miller, Owner & Winemaker at Kokomo Winery & Breaking Bread Wines

Sponsored by Ron Rubin Winery

Erik brought three (!) bottles of wine to share while we learned about his journey through winemaking from Kokomo Winery to his newest venture Breaking Bread Wines. He wants to share his wonderful natural wines with the world and we’re here for it!

Wine(s) of the day:
2022 Breaking Bread Pet Nat
2022 Breaking Bread Al Dente
2022 Breaking Bread Cabernet Franc

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Mary Babbitt and Mary Orlin from Sip, Sip, Hooray!


Episode 182 | Mary Babbitt and Mary Orlin from Sip, Sip, Hooray! Podcast 

Sponsored by Ron Rubin Winery

This week we have had the absolute pleasure to host Mary Babbit and Mary Orlin (the Marys!) from Sip, Sip, Hooray Podcast! We learn how their wine journey led them from an Emmy-Award winning TV show "In Wine Country" to their own podcast, Sip, Sip Hooray!

Style of the Month: Orange / Skin Contact

Orange wines aka skin-contact or amber wines are having a moment. An ongoing moment that started 8,000 years ago. Simply put, orange wines are white grape varieties made in the manner of red wines with extended contact on the skins, resulting in wines full of texture that are both elegant and complex as well as bright and quaffable. They range from light and bouncy to deep and savory and pair exceptionally well with food.


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


Anthesis Wines AllaVecia 2016 Falanghina Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County


You don’t come across too much Falanghina locally, but its’ thrill when you do. Falanghina lends itself well to orange style winemaking and this example showcases the complexity of flavors. Deep dark amber in the glass, the Anthesis Alla Vecia 2016 Falanghina is a delight with aromas of honey, mango, dried pineapple and a touch of tomato leaf. On the palate, it’s lyrical and layered with notes of citrus peel, and nutmeat, like almond. It has a long lingering spicy clove finish. Pair with ceviche or garlic prawns.


ABV 12.5%



Breaking BreadMarmalade 2022 Skin Contact Wine


The Breaking Bread Marmalade 2022 Skin Contact Wine is a many splendored thing composed of 70% Muscat Blanc, 15% Chardonnay and 15% Sauvignon Blanc. In the glass the color is a soft butter yellow, like diffused sunlight. It’s super bright and vibrant with a beguiling scent of orange blossoms, grapefruit and honeysuckle. It smells so good you may be tempted to dab a bit at your pulse points in lieu of fragrance – but resist the urge and pour a glass instead. On the palate waves of savory flavor come though with mandarin and butterscotch, ripe peach, and a sunny hit of gooseberry and grapefruit. It has a magical quality and vitality that shimmers to a satisfying finish. Simply delicious! Pair with California sushi rolls.


ABV 12.9%



CAST 2021 GrenacheBlanc Front Porch Farm Russian River Valley


The CAST 2021 Grenache Blanc, Front Porch Farm from Russian River Valley is a light caramel color in the glass. On the nose, bright lemon zest with peach preserves and honeysuckle. On the palate it’s juicy with subtle notes of juniper and clove. As it opens and warms notes of jasmine tea, lemon peel, eucalyptus and a captivating spicy linalool note as well. It’s ever evolving in the glass. On the finish, notes of apple, grapefruit peel and toasty almond. In short it’s an exciting kaleidoscope of flavors with great vitality and harmony. Eminently pair-able, enjoy with Pad Thai.


ABV 13.3%



DeLoach Vineyards 2021 Ribolla Gialla Russian River Valley SonomaCounty


The DeLoach Vineyards 2021 Ribolla Gialla from Russian River Valley is light amber in color. On the nose, lemon and thyme with a touch of brioche and honey. On the palate, great body and texture with a cascade of flavor from orange marmalade, and marjoram, to notes of butterscotch. The long finish is zesty with crisp apple and herbal tea and a pleasing note of thyme. Enjoy now but with some age the flavors will develop and deepen. Pair with chicken piccata with extra lemon and capers.


ABV 14.5%


Thursday, August 10, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Keith Hammond - Winemaker at Emeritus Vineyards

Episode 181 | Keith Hammond - Winemaker at Emeritus Vineyards

Today we had Keith from Emeritus Vineyards tell us all about his introduction into the world of wine and how he came to be the Winemaker there. We also learn of Marcy’s love of their property, it’s her secret sanctuary! 

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Wine Enthusiast : The Last Drop

An excerpt from my Italy memoir Come For the Wine Stay for the Surgery is in the Last Drop section of Wine Enthusiast August / September 2023 issue on newsstands now!

This was excerpted from a 1600 word chapter. I'll post the full essay soon. Stay tuned!


Thursday, July 27, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Giovanni Balistreri, Owner & Winemaker at Russian River Winery


Episode 180 | Giovanni Balistreri, Owner & Winemaker at Russian River Winery
Join us as we welcome back Gio Balistreri from Russian River Winery! We chat about all of the exciting happenings at his Winery and in Sonoma County, and enjoy TWO Wines of the Day for this extra-long episode!

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Varietal of the Month: Zinfandel

You can’t come to Sonoma and not taste Zinfandel. Well, you could but why would you? Especially since the area is one of the premier Zinfandel growing regions where the grape has been grown since the 1800’s. 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, and spice are common as well. Medium tannins make Zinfandel a versatile food pairing wine for a wide range of dishes from pizza to barbecue. 

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


NOTE: The wines below were tasted and evaluated 100% by a human being. No AI was harmed or used in the writing of these notes. 


Acorn Heritage Vines 2019 Zinfandel, Alegría Vineyards, Russian River Valley

The Acorn Heritage Vines 2019 Zinfandel from the Russian River Valley is a field blend of 78% Zinfandel along with 11% Alicante Bouschet and 9% Petite Sirah. I implore you to get a bottle and see the 16 other varieties that make up the remaining 2% —it’s astounding and it’s also what makes Acorn field blends so enigmatic and pleasurable.  On the nose, notes of mocha, blackberry tea, Santa Rosa plum and garrigue—which are herbaceous shrubs found in the Mediterranean. On the palate, multiple layers of flavor come into play. Soft medium tannins support notes of salty licorice, blackberry and plum that offer both juiciness and depth with a bright spicy finish.  


ABV 14.5



Carol Shelton Rockpile Reserve 2019 Zinfandel, Florence Vineyard, Sonoma County 


The Carol Shelton Rockpile Reserve 2019 Zinfandel hails from a region famed for the grape and is grown at an elevation of 1400 feet. On the nose a light dusty scent of sage, crushed violet, and briar with a vanilla-mocha note like warm s’mores. On the palate it’s a rush of flavor with rhubarb, raspberry, plum, mocha and all-spice. Taut tannins build to a long satisfying finish with lively acidity and spicy earthy notes of thyme and cedar. 

ABV 14.8%



DeLoach Vineyards 2019 Zinfandel, Wild Creek, Dry Creek Valley 

The DeLoach Vineyards 2019 Zinfandel from Wild Creek in Dry Creek Valley checks all the boxes for a classic Zinfandel. On the nose, chocolate covered raspberries interspersed with notes of white pepper, butterscotch and sweet tobacco. It’s both earthy and bright. On the palate juicy acidity with notes of plum sauce, ripe strawberry, and peach preserves. Multi layered finish with deep flavors of sweet briar and blueberry pie ride upon soft plush tannins with notes of black pepper, cinnamon and sweet tobacco. 


ABV 14.5%



Dry Creek Vineyard 2019 Zinfandel Farmhouse Vineyard 


The Dry Creek Vineyard 2019 Zinfandel, from the Farmhouse Vineyard, almost brought a tear to my eye in gratitude and appreciation. It’s a marvel of balance between fruit, tannin and acidity. On the nose, bright strawberry, all-spice, black cherry, blueberry and a seductive meaty note that was thoroughly enticing. On the palate a harmonic convergence of peach preserves, strawberry and an herbal sage note that gives it depth and continuity. It’s buoyant, balanced and complex with hints of white pepper and dark chocolate on the long fine finish. 




Dutcher Crossing 2019 Zinfandel Bacigalupi Vineyard 


The 2019 Dutcher Crossing Zinfandel from Bacigalupi Vineyard, is bursting with the vitality and verve that I’ve come to associate with Bacigalupi fruit. Upon opening, the nose has faint earthy notes of sweet briar and brambles along with dusty gravel and saddle leather. As it evolves in the glass, scents of strawberry waft up along with a warm tendril of vanilla and mocha. On the palate, a plush body with flavors of black cherry, blueberry and blackberry and a hint of clove. The soft tannins deliver a spicy finish with grounding notes of dark plum and soft sage. It’s sleek and smooth and savory. 


ABV 15.1%

$ 41


Ehret 2021 Zinfandel Knights Valley


The Ehret 2021 Zinfandel form Knights Valley is a beguiling beauty. On the nose, a clean scent of fresh picked strawberry, and a delightful mix of vanilla, butterscotch, peach and fleshy bing cherry. On the palate there’s a savory meaty note along with rich voluptuous flavors of blueberry and boysenberry. The long soft finish has hints of licorice and sage. Great balance of tannins and acidity make this a sure thing for a variety of pairings. But nothing beats a classic pairing like some low and slow smoked maple barbecue ribs. 


ABV 15.5%



J. Rickards Winery 2019 Old Vine Zinfandel, 1908 Brignole Vineyard, Alexander Valley


Three cheers for field-blends and old vines! The J. Rickards Winery 2019 Old Vine Zinfandel from the 1908 Brignole Vineyard in Alexander Valley is another great example of how even tiny quantities of a varietal can add to the overall shape, tone and texture of a wine. Add to the mix the immeasurable value of gnarly old vines, and you have all the makings of a mythic wine. The grapes in the blend are 80% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignane, 4% Mataro and a 1% Alicante Boushet, Muscat Canelli and Golden Chasselas. On the nose, notes of strawberry, red cherry, blueberry and spicy carnation. Full bodied with flavors of red and black currant, and secondary notes of mocha and vanilla. The spicy finish rings long and clear to the end with notes of strawberry and rhubarb.  


ABV 14.8%



Kelley & Young 2017 Zinfandel Alexander Valley, Robert Young Vineyard

The Kelley & Young 2017 Zinfandel from the Robert Young Vineyard in Alexander Valley is comprised of 96% Zinfandel and 4% Peitie Sirah. It’s multi-faceted with a rich fruit and balanced tannins. On the nose, scents of chocolate covered blueberries and raspberries with a spot of black licorice and black pepper. On the palate it’s opulent and sultry with notes of blueberry, butterscotch, and spiced peaches. The vibrant finish sallies forward with of notes of tart cherry, sage and blackberry. It’s a meaty meal of a wine that would pair beautifully with a roasted leg of lamb.


ABV 15.8%



Limerick Lane 2021 Zinfandel Russian River Valley


The Limerick Lane 2021 Zinfandel from Russian River Valley is both feisty and profound. And you gotta love a wine that quotes Aristotle right on the label — “In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.” This wine is marvelous indeed, with a perfumed nose of hibiscus, blackberry, cedar incense, sweet tobacco, boysenberry and wet gravel. Notes of chalk and dusty cocoa are present as well. On the palate, punchy flavors of tart cranberry, thyme, blackberry, and red plum. Fine balance of acid and tannin bring a fruity freshness and vitality to this varietal with a minty snap of spice on the long lingering finish. 


ABV 14.9%

$ 46


Tadddei Wines 2021 Zinfandel Ioonnatti Vineyard Dry Creek Valley

The Tadddei Wines 2021 Zinfandel from the Ioonnatti Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley is a wine of grace and structure. The nose is a potpourri of strawberry, raspberry, clove and a subtle touch of nutmeg and sweet tobacco. On the palate, soft tannins with an abundance of red and black fruits and plump chocolate covered raisins, aka Raisinets—an old-school theater favorite. It’s rich and supple with a fresh minty-herbal note on the finish. Pair with good friends and deep conversation.

ABV 15.5%



Woodenhead 2019 Zinfandel 1925/1939 Old Vine, Alexander Valley 


The Woodenhead 2019 Zinfandel, from Alexander Valley is another fine example of a dazzling field-blend with great depth and nuance. The wine is one-of-a-kind, the product of a confluence of circumstances that led the winemaker to acquire the old vine grapes before the vineyard was sold to a new owner. On the nose, ripe boysenberry and black plum with a touch of sweet briar, sage and rooibos tea. The palate is full with flavors of just picked strawberry, blueberry, rhubarb and grounding notes of mocha and nutmeg. The long taut finish recalls the herbal qualities first detected on the nose and rounds out with a gingery note of cardamom. Unfined and unfiltered it’s an honest expression of the varietal with no pretense. The “just right” tannins leave you thirsting for the next sip. 


ABV 15%

$ 35




Thursday, July 13, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Chef Helena, Owner of Baked on the River

Episode 179 | Chef Helena, Owner of Baked on the River 

Today we were joined by Chef Helena and got to learn about all of the yummy goodies that she makes at her restaurant and discuss the fun things to do while you're visiting the river - even if you're not into wine, you're bound to find excitement!

Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Larry Willis, The Gables Inn

Larry Willis shares the history of his Inn, and the ins-and-outs of being an Innkeeper with his wife Pam. We also chat about the yummy foods and wonderful experiences to be had at their Inn. 

Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery

Friday, June 23, 2023

Varietal of the Month: Sauvignon Blanc


Sauvignon Blanc is one of the Noble Grapes noted for its high acidity and aromatics. Flavors range from lean, green and grassy; to creamy with notes of passion fruit and fleshy peach depending on climate and how the wine is aged be it in stainless steel or oak. Texture is the name of the game with Sauvignon Blanc, serve cold and prepare to be refreshed. When it comes to food pairing—Sauvignon Blanc is the ultimate flex, versatile and accommodating to a vast array of foods from oysters on the half shell to cheese and charcuterie, and even tomato based dishes. 

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

J. Bucher 2022 Bucher Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley

The J. Bucher 2022 Bucher Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc from Russian River Valley shines in the glass with a bright straw gold color. On the nose a profusion of bright scents including honeydew, peach, guava, marigold, and passion fruit. On the palate the first word that comes to mind is—Yummy! It’s rich with flavors of grapefruit, creamy peach, ginger and salty lemon with a light acidity that ties it all together like the rug in the Dude’s apartment. Both sweet and tart with a soft mouth feel and a hint of salted butter on the finish. Pair with Scallop Ceviche.

AVB 13.0%

David Coffaro 2022 Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley

The David Coffaro 2022 Sauvignon Blanc from Dry Creek Valley is a pale gold in color. It has a beautiful soft scent with notes of guava, white peach, chalk, passion fruit and a touch of warm spun sugar that is immensely engaging. On the palate initial hints of chalk and grapefruit make way for juicy, crisp notes of nectarine, peach and ginger with a wonderful salinity. Complex and exciting, 9% of Riesling gives it a great lift and balance to the zesty citrus acidity that is characteristic of Sauvignon Blanc. Pair with Panzanella Salad.

ABV 14.4%

Dry Creek Vineyard 2021 Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley

The Dry Creek Vineyard 2021 Sauvignon Blanc from Dry Creek Valley, is blended from the clones of Sauvignon Musqué and Sauvignon Gris and is a veritable Master Class in texture and classic flavor profiles. On the nose creamy peach, warm amber passion fruit, ginger and guava with a spicy note of pink peppercorn. On the palate it’s juicy, bright and vibrating with spikey acidity, featuring flavors of honeydew melon, peaches & cream, tart citrus and a light kick of jalapeño. Go with a classic pairing—oysters on the half shell.

ABV 14.1%

Orsi Family 2021 Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley

The Orsi Family 2021 Sauvignon Blanc from Dry Creek Valley has a pale yellow color with a slight green tinge at the rim. Tropical notes of grapefruit, pineapple and guava co-mingle with a chalky salinity that brings to mind saltine crackers. On the palate the flavors coalesce with with notes of ginger, honeydew melon, a bit of grapefruit pith and a lithe herbal quality that rings of pea shoots and sage. Pair with Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Chimichurri.

ABV 13.5%

Pedroncelli 2022 Giovanni & Giulia Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley

The Pedroncelli 2022 Giovanni & Giulia Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley is a pale yellow gold color, with qualities both bright and savory. The nose is a sensory wonder wall with notes of lemon peel, ginger, warm peach cobbler, and tropical notes of pineapple and guava. On the palate, a quenching combination of grapefruit pith, bold tart citron and a jalapeno-honey note that gives balance and grounding to the acidity.  Pair with Peach Caprese Salad.

ABV 13.9%

Selby 2022 Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley

The Selby 2022 Sauvignon Blanc from Russian River Valley raises the question—What wizardry is at play here? It’s like a trip to the boardwalk with the scent of the salty sea and warm peachy cotton candy with vanilla and spicy ginger swirling in the air. On the palate, a soft mouth feel with notes of creamy peach and Bartlett pear with a crisp pop of acidity on the clean and fresh cucumber-sage like finish. Pair with Grilled Mango Chicken.

ABV 14.0%

Sonoma-Cutrer 2022 Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley 

The Sonoma-Cutrer 2022 Sauvignon Blanc from Russian River Valley is a pale golden straw color with a tint of green. On the nose a compelling blend of honeycomb, peach, basil and buttered sourdough. On the palate, zesty bright notes of grapefruit and jalapeño are balanced out with notes of wet chalk, vanilla, guava and peach. Great texture and acidity with notes of limestone, green olive, and fresh cut grass on the finish. Pair with warm tomato and goat cheese tart.

ABV 12.2 %

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Natalie MacLean, Wine Writer, Author & Instructor


Episode 176 | Natalie MacLean, Wine Writer, Author & Instructor

Natalie joins Beth and Marcy to talk about her new book Wine Witch On Fire.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Rebbeca Germouls

  Episode 175 | Rebecca Germolus, Wine Marketing Maven, Writer for Along the Wine Road Blog

Wine of the Day: Pedroncelli 2021 Rosé

Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery

Friday, May 19, 2023

Style of the Month: Rosé

Are you ready to Think Pink? It’s time to roll out the Rosé and slip into the warm embrace of summertime. Although Rosé has become a year-round choice—it shines brightest in the summer. Light and lively, with flavors of strawberry, watermelon and spice—Rosé is the crisp and refreshing choice for your table as well as the picnics and barbecues that make the season special. Depending on the varietal it’s made from, the color can range from deep salmon to a translucent onionskin to barely there pale pink.


Here are some capsule reviews of Rose wine you may find along the Wine Road.


Martinelli 2022 Roséof Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast


The Martinelli 2022 Rosé of Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast is rich and full flavored. On the nose, orange peel, strawberry and a hint of thyme. On the palate, brilliant acidity with juicy notes of grapefruit, citrus zest, and crabapple, in balance with grounding notes of black olive and cayenne. The long satisfying finish has an earthy cohesion. Both Ying and Yang, this delicious Rosé of Pinot Noir is not to be missed. Pair with barbecue spare ribs.


ABV 14.8%



Merriam 2022 Rose of Pinot Noir, RRV


The Merriam 2022 Rosé of Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley has a delicate pale pink color. On the nose scents of rose petals, strawberry and peaches with touch of cranberry. It’s refreshing and bright with bracing acidity and flavors of juicy watermelon, strawberry, peach and crisp apple. Lively spicy finish with notes of grapefruit and kiwi. Like the potato chip dare—you won’t be able to stop at one sip. It may be cliché to say —but it’s truly summer in a glass. Pair with goat cheese and pear salad.


ABV 13.9%



Moshin Vineyards 2022Rose of Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley  


The Moshin Vineyards 2022 Rosé of Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley softly glows with a light pink-salmon color. An enticing floral nose with notes of amber, lavender and grapefruit fills the glass. It is full of rich and juicy flavors of strawberry, cherry lemonade, and bright ginger. It evolves and deepens as it warms, showing red apple and quince and a touch of basil as it glides to a long spicy finish. Pair with grilled shrimp and pineapple fried rice.


ABV 13.5%

$ 32


Pedroncelli 2022 DryCreek Valley Rose of Zinfandel


The Pedroncelli 2022 Rosé of Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley shines in the glass with a pink-marmalade color. On the nose an aromatic parade of rosebuds, strawberry, rhubarb and raspberry. The palate is precise and clean with notes of cinnamon, raspberry, watermelon and all spice. It has bright acidity with a core of fresh red fruits that packs a wallop of serious flavor into a fun and easy drinking Rosé. An earthy brambly note emerges on the long spicy finish. Pair with spicy tuna sushi rolls.


ABV 13.9%

Peterson 2021Bradford Mountain Rose, Dry Creek Valley


The Peterson 2021 Rosé from Dry Creek Valley is many-splendored thing comprised of 66% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, and 16% Grenache. It’s a medium pink salmon color with a spring-like scent in the glass, most notably the alluring fragrance of freesias. Complex and multilayered with a medley of strawberry, peach and citrus flavors on the palate. Each sip brings a new dimension. The spicy finish has a touch of anise and quince under the persistent creamy strawberry flavor. Keep sipping and enjoy the ride. Pair with Salmon cakes and Panzanella salad.


AVB 12.7%



Sonoma-Cutrer 2022Rose of Pinot Noir, RRV


The Sonoma-Cutrer 2022 Rosé of Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley is an ode to summertime. In the glass it’s a barely there blush of pink that belies it’s bounty of flavor. On the nose a floral bouquet of grapefruit, orange blossoms, rose petals and a pleasing herbal touch of thyme. On the palate it’s bright and fresh with great acidity and flavors of watermelon and strawberry, with a minty-ginger note on the finish. It’s like a spa treatment for your taste buds. Pair with Feta, mint and watermelon salad.


ABV 11.9%


Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Saturday, April 22, 2023

15 Years of Come for the Wine!

Fifteen years ago I began writing this blog with my first post titled In Real Life.

I started Come for the Wine to record and share my adventures in and around Sonoma. I would never have believed that this humble blog could led me to so many amazing opportunities. From press trips around the world to elegant wine dinners and guided tastings, to podcast host! Most importantly my blog led to making contact with industry leaders, wine makers, editors and lasting friendships with fellow wine lovers. 

It kinda goes with out saying, but wine people are some of the best people. Curious, engaged, fun, and of course very opinionated. They are also some of the most generous people.

Oh yeah, this blog led to wine samples too! So many wine samples that I had to employ a strict no sample policy unless I requested them. It was just too much.

Additionally this blog led to many speaking gigs and well paying writing opportunities with a variety of publications. Even a fellowship to the 2017 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood in Napa Valley

Because of this blog I've had the opportunity to travel to wine regions in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Croatia, Croatia (!) Austria, Germany, Sicily, Switzerland, Hungary, British Columbia, Ontario, Montreal, and even Lativa, to the one experimental vineyard that was there at the time. And the many wine regions in the US including Oregon, Washington, California, Virginia, Texas, and New York.

Having a wine blog has been a trip --literally!

Also because of the blog and the inherent networking opportunities it created, I can add Award Winning Podcast host to my credits.

For a while there I thought maybe blogging was dead, but in the last few years it feels like it's more important than ever. 

Cheers to the wine blog and long may it wave!


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