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!

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Valerie Wathen, General Manager at Dutton-Goldfield Winery

Episode 173 | Valerie Wathen, General Manager at Dutton-Goldfield Winery
Beth and Marcy chat with Valerie Wathen about her experience at Sebastopol’s #1 tourist attraction, and how leaving a “normal job” to be in the wine business is the maverick move that many experienced wine-industry folks have done here in Sonoma County!

Wine of the Day: Dutton- Goldfield Winery 2019 Emerald Ridge Pinot Noir
Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery

Varietal of the Month: Chenin Blanc



Have you noticed that Chenin Blanc is having a moment?  Its popularity has surged lately and seems to be on every wine list by the glass and bottle. It’s a versatile white wine with great texture that can vary in style from dry, crisp and lean, to rich and plush. It’s the signature grape of South Africa and also grown in abundance in the Lorie Valley of France. In the last ten years many California winemakers have been making Chenin Blanc and seeking out the old vine vineyards where it grows.


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


Dry Creek VineyardDry 2021 Chenin Blanc, Clarksburg


The 2021 Dry Creek Vineyard Chenin Blanc from Clarksburg sets the stage for enjoyment right from the very first sniff. Aromas of honey, peach, orange blossom butterscotch and touch of salty pretzel, which some may call brioche, fill the glass. Great balance of fruit and acidity with rich crisp flavors of apples, pears and honeydew melon with a bright hint of pith and pomelo. It’s juicy, refreshing, delicious and the scent alone will transport you to your happy place—perhaps on a large verandah with a view and a dish of spicy shrimp creole. Yes indeed, that would pair nicely.


ABV 12%


Hartford Court 2021 Old Vine Chenin Blanc, JurassicVineyard, Santa Ynez Valley


The 2021 Hartford Court Old Vine Chenin Blanc hails from the Jurassic Vineyard in Santa Ynez Valley, a choice spot for Chenin with fossil rich soils and cool pacific breezes. On the nose, light white floral notes with pineapple and pear and a hint of passion fruit. On the palate it’s soft and chalky, yet lean with flavors of vanilla, ginger, lemon, nutmeg and chamomile with a bright saline note on the finish. Pair with curry chicken salad.


ABV 12.1%



Moshin Vineyards 2021 Chenin Blanc, Green Valley Vineyard,Solano County


The Moshin Vineyards 2021 Chenin Blanc is from the Green Valley Vineyard in Solano County. In the glass it’s a joyful rush of spring flowers and scents of ginger, lemon, pear, a touch of chalk. The palate echoes the nose and adds depth with layers of chalk, ginger, pomelo, citrus peel, lemon and ripe honeydew melon. Great acidity with a long pleasing finish and a note of beeswax at the end. It’s the perfect bottle to plop down with in the middle of a meadow and become one with the essence of Spring. Pair with a warm and creamy Croque Monsieur (ham and cheese sandwich.)


ABV 13%

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: Dustin Valette, Chef, Owner, Valette, The Matheson & Roof 106

Episode 172 | Dustin Valette, Chef, Valette, The Matheson, Roof 106

Beth and Marcy chat with local legend Dustin Valette about his three local restaurants, his history with food and wine, and how Sonoma County (and Healdsburg) has become such an important culinary hub in the United States.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Wine Road Podcast: J.RIckards Winery


Episode 171 | J. Rickards Winery

Beth and Marcy chat with Jim about his how his desire to leave the city and become a farmer led to his becoming a winemaker in Alexander Valley. He brings to light the importance of sustainability and how it not only impacts the land and surroundings but the taste of his wines!

Wine of The Day: J. Rickards Winery 2019 Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel, Geyserville 

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




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