Sunday, December 29, 2013

October Wine Trip-Winery #3 #MauritsonWinery

Our driver continued on the trail of wineries that I had researched before coming to California. The next stop was Mauritson located at 2859 Dry Creek Road. This was where we had lunch out under the red umbrellas with yummy foods from the Dry Creek General Store just right down the road. It's one of our favorite places to stop along the wine trail in Dry Creek. 
Mauritson Wines are out of this world! We ended up joining their wine club and that says volumes for their wines. With so many years of winemaking in the family, which is a very interesting story, their wines can't help being award-winning, outstanding wines! Check out the family history of wine making at their website.

One of the first wines we tasted was a 2012 Sauvignon Blanc ($21). This wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel, so it comes out clean and smooth. They fondly refer to it as their porch wine. This wine is light and to be paired with light appetizers, salads, or seafood dishes. I especially love it in the hot summers in Dallas!

The next wine we tasted was the 2012 Chardonnay ($27). This wine was barrel fermented in only 10% oak and is amazing. It's everything you would expect a great Chardonnay to be.

We tasted a well-balanced 2011 Zinfandel ($29) that was aged primarily in French Oak barrels. Although Don prefers big red wines, we thought this one was excellent.

A 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($37) was outstanding. We both loved it! Click on the name for the winemaker's tasting notes. But wait, there's more Cab!

We also tasted a 2010 Rockpile Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon ($47) was is currently sold out! This wine was a winemaker's dream come true working with five Bordeaux varieties. It too was amazing. You must read the story about the Rockpile.

We also had 2010 Rockpile "Buck Pasture" Red Wine ($41) which is also sold out. Why such an unusual name? Back in the old days, when you wanted to find a big buck, this is the part of their ranch that you would go to. It's described as very steep with plenty of feed for the deer. It also has the best views on the property. This blended wine has the traditional Cabernet flavors complimented with Merlot and Petit Verdot. So good! Yum!

The last wine we tasted and bought was an amazing 2011 Charlie Clay Pinot Noir ($40). The famous Chef Charlie Palmer collaborated with Clay Mauritson and came up with the Charlie Clay Pinot Noir. Read the story here-very short, but sweet!

You must visit Mauritson Winery when in Healdsburg. It is WELL worth your time and money for this amazing wine and wonderful staff in their tasting room.

A fun picnic outside of the tasting room!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

October Wine Trip-Winery #2 Mill Creek Vineyards and Winery

Mill Creek Vineyards and Winery is located in the Dry Creek Valley on Westside Road in Healdsburg, CA. It's a small estate winery established in 1965 and still owned and operated by the Kreck family. There are two large picnic areas with a working water wheel and millpond. 

The tasting room/sales room is in the building shown above. There we tasted several wonderful wines. The first two were a 2012 Reserve Chardonnay ($32), and a 2012 Chardonnay UnOaked ($23) which was absolutely superior. We both preferred the unoaked, so we bought two of them. Flavors are of melon, quince, and lime with a spicy, crisp finish.

We also tasted two different Merlots and two different Zinfandels.
One Merlot was a 2009 Alexander Valley Merlot ($28) and the other was a 2006 Reserve Merlot ($38) from the same valley. The later was definitely superior to the first. We bought two reserve Merlots.

The two Zinfandels-(I liked them) were good (2008 and a 2009), but Don prefers a big red wine, so we tasted and bought two 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($38.50) from the Alexander Valley.

Here are the Zinfandels in case you love that varietal and want to try some!

That was our second tasting room for the day! On to the next one!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Winery Visits #1-October Trip to Sonoma! Viszlay Vineyards in the Russian River Valley!

October was a very busy month for me. I was in California more than I was in Texas, which isn't that bad considering that CA is where all the great wineries are located-just my opinion! (Just so happens that my oldest daughter, her hubby, and my two oldest granddaughters are located there too!) 

We boarded a flight from DFW to LA where business was taken care of by the hubby, while I ventured to The Grove to spend time shopping and dining. 

That same evening we boarded another flight to San Francisco and headed to Healdsburg Hotel on the Plaza, my favorite place to stay! Thursday morning we hit the road running with our driver, Nicholas! I had a very intense list of wineries to visit in one day. We began with
Viszlay Vineyards for a private tasting.

This is a small Russian River boutique winery nestled among 10 acres with 12 varietals planted. Their wines are amazing and John and his daughter Abby are so sweet. Here's what we tasted.

This sparkling Prosecco ($36) was wonderful and is made in a drier style than other Italian versions you might have had before. The winemaker said it tastes much like the 2008 version that won Best of Class in the North of the Gate Wine Competition in 2010.  

We also tasted two different  2010 Chardonnays- one being a reserve and the only way you could tell the difference before tasting was the foil around the neck of the bottle. Notice the last bottle in the row has a white foil. That is the reserve Chardonnay, which is sold out now.
The one next to it in a gold foil was just as wonderful. It sells for $36 a bottle. Both Chardonnays have a nice acidity with a smooth finish and a citrusy aroma. 

We tasted  a 2007 Petite Sirah ($42) that was classically dark and delicious with big fruit-forward aromas, but not overly oaky. So good!

Our next two wines to taste were the 2008 and 2009 Five Vines ($42 each). These wines are a Meritage of five Bordeaux varietals grown in their Estate vineyard. Each one leads with a Merlot, followed by a Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. Each of these were aged in neutral oak barrels. These are a must to purchase!

We had a great time visiting with John and Abby. Another couple from the Dallas metroplex showed up with their driver and joined us for the tasting. They were early for their tasting, but we told them the more the merrier!

On our way to the car, we took pictures and Abby gave me a cluster of Prosecco grapes to enjoy during the day. I ate them before we left! I love grapes!!!!!

Enjoy Viszlay Vineyards wines!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Schweiger Vineyards #subzerowolf #dallas #schweigerwine

What an amazing evening at Sub-Zero & Wolf Appliance Showroom in Dallas last night! Being a volunteer for the American Heart Association wine auction committee has given me some very interesting and fun events to attend leading up to the Cotes du Coeur this coming March 2014.  

This is one beautiful showroom that no one should miss seeing. Located on Lemmon Avenue, the tri-level showroom has breathtaking vignettes featuring their appliances with outstanding kitchen designs by international cabinet makers. This showroom also features a state-of-the-art cooking demonstration kitchen where our 4-course dinner was prepared last evening by Executive Chef Garth Blackburn. 

Schweiger Vineyards is the Tete du Cuvee Honoree this year for the Cotes du Coeur. Diana Schweiger was present to engaged the attendees in their wines paired with Chef Blackburn's dinner. 

We began with a 100% 2012 Sauvignon Blanc ($28) before the cooking demo which allowed guests to roam the building and view the awesome appliances in the vignettes. This is a wonderful, very crisp and refreshing wine best served at 52 to 58 degrees! This was served with some delicious passed hors d'oeuvres as the first course of the night.

 The guests begin to descend the staircase to the lower level cooking demo area. Once seated, Diana introduce herself and began to talk about their vineyards, how they got started and where it it today as a family business. I had been to the vineyards in 2012 and must say it is gorgeous, offering views of the parent's home in the distance from the porch of the tasting room. That's where we met Andrew, the winemaker and Diana's brother.

Chef Blackburn served butternut squash soup with our next wine, which was a 100% 2010 Chardonnay ($30). This wine was amazing, with no malolactic fermentation, and Andy Schweiger says is "more reminiscent of a classic Mersault than a typical California Chardonnay".

Our next course was a 6 oz. Heartland Brand tenderloin filet, broccolini bundles, and gold and white potato stacks. This was served with a lovely 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($58). Oh my goodness, this wine was like drinking velvet with essences of dark berries, plum, dark chocolate, and toasty oak. I don't know its current availability, but Diana thought we were served the 2008. What a pleasant surprise to us all when we found out it was a 2007! Yum!

The last course served was raspberry and blueberry white chocolate bread pudding with sweetened whipped cream. A solera aged, Cabernet Sauvignon based Port ($50) was served with this dessert. I'm not a Port drinker because I am usually so full at this point, I can't even eat a dessert, but I forced myself (haha)! The Port was excellent!
Hats off to Diana Schweiger from Schweiger Vineyards and Sub-Zero along with Chef Garth Blackburn for an amazing night of wine and food in a gorgeous setting! 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Gala at the Fairmont Hotel #DalChildrenThr

Saturday evening before we left for Sonoma, we attended a benefit for Dallas Children's Theater at the Fairmont Dallas. Carol J. Bufford (amazing) was the guest singer at this Cabaret Gala. Because Clampitt Paper is a contributor, we got pretty good seats at a table near the front of the Venetian Room.  
Before the show we attended a cocktail gathering outside the Venetian Room in the lobby and guess who I ran into!

 The Cat in the Hat is on stage now until October 27. It is a must see for little ones! I taught first grade for 12 years and Dr. Seuss was always in my reading lessons. In fact, he has a lot to teach adults as well in my opinion!

After the cocktail hour, we were ushered into the Venetian room where the beautiful tables were adorned with desserts and champagnes, wines, and gifts bags for each attendee. Sweet! Guess who was standing at the door greeting the guests!!!!

Ruth Buzzi-famous actress/comedian on Rowen and Martin's Laugh-In in the 60's. Well, I was very young then, but I do remember her! She was born in Westerly, Rhode Island where Don and I stayed last weekend. Small world!

Anyway, I'm getting to the wines we had that evening. At the cocktail hour, I had a 2011 Acacia Unoaked Chardonnay ($15). Acacia was one of the first California Wineries to establish a reputation for vineyard designated Pinot Noir based on purchasing grapes. Today the winery produces highly-styled wines from single vineyards. It continues to honor the principle that only true reserves are those that undeniably express a distinctive vineyard. This wine is light and crisp, with notes of pear and apple. Easy to drink!

One wine we had in May was a 2011 NIght Harvest Chardonnay ($6) by R. H. Philips in Napa Valley, more specifically Esparto, CA. I could only find one page of a website about this winery, but it's listed in the Napa Valley wine list. Good luck finding it!

I've also had a nice Sauvignon Blanc in the hotel bar one evening after we had dinner. It was a 2011Terre di Gioia Grave del Friuli ($40) a family production of small quantity from the northern hills of italy - bright & lean. Very nice!

I've included the front and back label so you can read the description of the land where this was grown. Sounds romantic! We must make it to Italy!


Sharing Chardonnays and Cabernets! #4 #fearingsdallas #joelgott #RedMareWines

When Don Clampitt asks me where my favorite place to eat is, I always say Fearings! He's taken me there several times and I love it every time. I love downtown Dallas, the Ritz-Carlton is beautiful, and Fearings is a place to enjoy that special occasion with someone you love! 

This is my favorite place to sit in Fearings!
I don't always take pictures of the wines we drink there, but I have two that I'd like to share, and one other Cabernet that I had at my daughter's home in Beaumont this past summer.

Don and I keep crossing paths with Dean lately. I ran into the dry cleaners off Lovers Lane not too long ago, and there was Dean. Don jumped out of the car and ran into the dry cleaners with a bottle of wine for him. It's not too often that a chef/restaurant owner/famous guy goes to pick up his cleaning and comes out with a bottle of wine.

We had had the 2012 Wine Label Competition judge's dinner at Fearings back in the Spring of 2012 and Dean was one of the judges himself. What a wonderful time we had in his private room right off the main dining room! The food was fabulous and the paper menus were very elegant. So a year later, Dean finally gets his bottle of Paper the cleaners!

Last week I was driving into the parking lot of Tom Thumb on University and Inwood and there's Dean and his son! It's just meant to be that Fearings is my favorite place to eat!

So what did we have at Fearings besides fabulous food, an exceptional wait staff, a gorgeous patio, and a beautiful dining room?

2009 Red Mare Cabernet Sauvignon ($46 avg.)  from Napa Valley. "This wine is a ruby color with aromas of cherry, blackberry, raspberry and oak. It's somewhat balanced and has flavours of cherry, blackberry, raspberry, black currant and cedar with a full body. Round texture - Very nice now and will get much better." It should cost way more than it does.

I ordered a 2011 Joel Gott Unoaked Chardonnay ($17)-Monterrey, Napa, and Sonoma! Vines from all three appellations complement each other. I loved this Chardonnay!

The other Gott wine I wanted to share was one I bought in a little town in Southeast Texas that has just been able to have a liquor store in the last few months. I was visiting my two precious, youngest granddaughters, Rayleigh and Adelyn. We cooked one night and wanted a Cabernet Sauvignon that would go with stuffed bell peppers. 

We found a 2010 Joel Gott "815" Cabernet Sauvignon ($18) and it was simply delicious! I would definitely buy this again! "This wine has aromas of plum, raspberry and cherry cola with hints of anise, cocoa, leather and dried herbs. Bright acidity on the front of the palate leads to a complex mid-palate and soft tannins on the finish. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon."

 Minus the cheese, but ready to bake!

Our dessert! An angel food cake, sliced in crosswise layers, filled with a lemon curd, cream cheese filling, with layers of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries! Yummy!