Saturday, September 21, 2013

Tour of Napa Pt. 1 Continued! #StaglinWine #Quintessa #Darioush #PalmazVineyards

Part 2 of the Tour of Napa begins with the 2010 Staglin "Salus" Cabernet Sauvignon ($90). This wine was outstanding. The winemaker's notes are here
It's amazing to learn about each winery and how they've evolved from the past and have been reinvented to what they are today. This winery has a 130 year old heritage of viticulture, but more importantly this family has raised over $800 million to support research for mental health. What a blessing!

Staglin Cab
The fourth Cabernet was a 2010 Quintessa ($155), the quintessential wine! Amazing! When I read the winemaker's notes, I want a glass of that wine immediately! It's so well described and who wouldn't know best, but the winemaker! 

Quintessa Cab
One thing I would like to do is spend more time in Napa after attending this tasting. Now, I have been-once! Most of our time is spent in SONOMA! Which I love!

The fifth Cabernet of the tasting was a 2009 Signature Darioush ($135). Notes are here! All these beautiful fruits, licorice, and chocolates wrapped in a gorgeous bottle-how could you resist taking it home with you (on a half-price bottle night that is)! Yummy!

Darioush Signature Cab
The last Cabernet of the night was a 2008 Palmaz ($146). I love the label. It's so simple and  looks like it is handwritten! Elegant, as the wine is also! The tasting notes and other information are here. This winemaker will be at the club in October for a wine tasting dinner. Woohoo!

Thank you Aaron Benson, for sharing about your wonderful journey to Napa. We look forward for the next part of the tour and all the wine dinners that have come as a result of making relationships with these wineries. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tour of Napa Tasting, Part 1 #DCC A Night of #CabernetSauvignon #palmazvineyards #inglenook1879 #corisonwinery

Last week started off with a big bang Sunday night with the second preview of the musical CREEP written by our friend Donald Fowler. My friend, Marsha and I attended that event at the Brookhollow Country Club while Don, Marsha's husband and Cullum went to the Cowboy's game. It progressed from there to me not having a key to get back in the house, waiting for the game to be over, eating at Mi Cocina and shutting it down, then over to Patrizzi's and closing it down, and finally getting back in the house! Whew!

Getting up at 5:30am every morning has not been easy when you stay out late at night! Monday went off without a hitch. Tuesday morning, I hit the ground running up the toll to Pierce High School to drop off Cullum, back to the dentist, and then to an American Heart Association meeting at Clampitt Creative Center at noon.

That evening Don was in Chicago and I had signed up for the Taste of Napa, Part 1 presented by our sommelier at the Dallas Country Club. We had been asking him when he was going to share his travels with his members at the club. And so he did, in the Heritage room which has been redecorated to look more like the Ladies Lounge that is adjacent to it! It WAS dark in this room until recently when the club renovated it so that more members would use the room. I for one wish it had been as beautiful as it is now back in January when we used it for the food portion of our wedding reception. But, needless to say it was pretty in its own right!

Aaron Benson, the sommelier at the DCC, had beautiful tables set up where we could see the slide show of the wineries he visited this past year. 

Each place setting had 6 glasses of red wine to taste, plates of fruit, cheeses, and crackers. He presented all wines each winery as we tasted. Here are the wines from Napa!

The first one served upon entering the room was a 2011 Illumination Sauvignon Blanc ($40) from the Quintessa Vineyard Estates in Napa. This wine had peach, Meyer lemon, and jasmine notes. Tropical mouth and clean finish to this wine. So good on this hot evening!

 Beautiful label too!

As everyone begin to find their seats of choice, Aaron began his presentation of the Napa tour. The first red wine he began with was a 2009 Cedar Knoll Cabernet Sauvignon ($45) from Napa. This vineyard lay fallow for eighty six years after Prohibition. The Palmazes bought the vineyards, an old house badly in need of repairs, and the stone winery. Now the vineyards are alive, the house is a family home again, and the winery has been reinvented.
This elegant Cabernet combines dark blackberry and cassis with dark layers of cocoa and spice.  

The next wine was a 2009 Inglenook "Cask" Cabernet Sauvignon ($75) from Inglenook Vineyards in Rutherford, CA owned by Francis Ford Coppola. This wine needs to be decanted before all the elements come together. It has a nice balance between the fruit and the tannins. The chateau on the label is the actual old stone and iron structure which now houses two tasting rooms.

The next wine presented was a 2006 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa ($85). For some reason, I didn't see that bottle on the table, so the picture is from the internet.

Cathy Corison with be at the club in February, so this is a wine dinner we must attend. Any chance we get to meet the winegrower, we take it! Her tasting notes are here! The wine was excellent.

That is my part of Part 1 of Tour of Napa Tasting! The other wines will come in the next blog.

I have to get up at 5:30 two more days! Then my long-term sub job will end. I am retired after all. Too much work while retired might make me want to go back full time! (haha)


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Wine Times in Big Dallas! #MercuryGrill #Caymus #CakebreadCellars #Talbottwines #terravalentine #RameyWineCellar

Don and I recently attended the International Wine and Food Society social at Timothy Oulton Design Studio. We met some lovely couples and branched out from there to one of their homes last Saturday evening. It was a fun time for all meeting again and sharing our favorite wines from our personal collections. I wanted to share with you the wines we tasted that evening (some of which were not new to me, but who cares, right!).

The purpose of the night was to stay in touch and enjoy wines! We began with a wonderful champagne provided by the homeowners and served with fresh strawberries and blue cheese-stuffed figs wrapped in proscuitto. 

Champagne Chanoine Freres' Grand Reserve Brut ($41) from Champagne, France. This is from a 1997 harvest and reserve wine and is a very generous and balanced champagne-a champagne of the heart!

One couple brought two different Cakebread Cellars wines to share. The one on the left is a 2008 Chardonnay Reserve signed bottle from Carneros Napa Valley ($59). This vintage is sold out. At the International Winemaker's Challenge in San Diego, January 2012, 21 judges from over 12 countries tasting more than 800 wines names this bottle of Chardonnay the "Best Chardonnay" for the entire competition. 

The chardonnay on the right is the 2008 Cakebread Cellars from Napa Valley ($49). This is deliciously fresh and delectable now and for another 3-5 years. I loved drinking both of them in one evening and comparing the two.They were so different, yet lovely.

From the library of this home, we moved into the kitchen and enjoyed another couple's wine. Bill and Elizabeth, the homeowners served the rest of the wine with cheeses, crackers, and baked hors d'oeuvre.
The wines served in the kitchen were as follows:

We share a 2010 Forth Cabernet Sauvignon All Boys ($27) from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma. Don and I are great friends with Jann and Gerry Forth and will be visiting them this October at their winery. Toasty oak and subtle tannins make this a delightfully accessible Cabernet.

Another couple shared their 2005 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon ($55) from Napa Valley. This is a good, full red wine to be served with red meat! Drinks well now. 

Last but not least at all (in fact, the most expensive bottle of the night) was a bottle of
 2001 Special Selection Caymus Vineyards ($199). As you might have guessed, this is a cabernet sauvignon that has been awarded points by of 93 and up by all of the noted wine people such as Robert Parker, etc. This wine is said to keep for another 15 years! WOW! It was beyond outstanding!
We ended the night by traveling to a sophisticated but casual restaurant around the corner to eat and enjoy fellowship with new friends. The highlight of the travel there for me was that I got to ride in an Aston Martin-whoa-really amazing, fast ride so close to the ground. We were the first ones at Mercury! Mercury has an awesome chef that uses influences from French and Mediterranean cooking to create award winning American cuisine.

Fine cars and wine go together! (Thank you for the ride John!)

Here we enjoyed Talbott 2011 Pinto Noir "Sleepy Hollow Vineyards" ($42) from the Santa Lucia Highlands, 13 miles south of Monterrey, CA. This is a full-bodied wine and rich textured with flavors of Bing cherries and red plums. Very nice!

And last was a bottle of 2010 Terra Valentine Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon from Spring Mountain in Napa Valley ($45). The word for this wine is balance. Neither the juicy fruit or soft tannins dominate. It was delicious.

Well, needless to say, we had plenty of wonderful wines Saturday night! I can't wait to see what we have the next time we get together. It can only get better, right!


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Carmel Valley Ranch #Carmelvranch #KionaWine #TalbottWines #CandCWinery

I seem to be reminiscing these days of being somewhere cool (probably because it is so hot here in Dallas). Looking back at past vacations over breaks such as Christmas and NewYears brought back memories of being in Carmel, California. Planning should being right now for those kinds of getaways, so maybe I should start working on the hubby about that! The last time we were in Carmel, we celebrated New Year's Eve at Carmel Valley Ranch. What an amazing resort like none other! And we didn't even stay there! 

New Year's Eve at Carmel Valley Ranch is an evening to remember. The menu for the evening began with an appetizer and proceeded through four courses including dessert. I won't bore you with the details of the winter black truffle risotto or the buttered parsnips, but I will share the fine fabulous wines we had during each course!

The first course of salmon and caviar was paired with a 2010 Napa Valley Bridesmaid Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon ($25). This blend tastes of honeydew melon, ripe peaches, cream and a touch of apricot. Pairs well with chicken, fish, and soft cheeses.

The second course of winter black truffle risotto was paired with a 2010 Claiborne and Church Gew├╝rztraminer, Central Coast ($21). This wine is "bursting with fresh, fruity aromas, a nice tangy citrus note on the palate, and their famously dry finish."

The third course of Sonoma duck breast, filet of beef, or herb roasted Alaskan halibut was paired with a 2010 Talbott "Sleepy Hollow" Chardonnay form the Santa Lucia Highlands ($39). "Rich and very ripely flavored, this Chardonnay is so ripely flavored that it tastes sweet (pineapple, honey). Luscious and intense, with a long finish—unusually fruity in style.” 

We also had another choice of a 2010 Luli Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands ($19). This wine has a "nice balancing freshness from the cooler year. Cherries, strawberries and black tea dominate the nose and carry over to the palate, which is spiked with spice and a nice youthful grip."

The fourth course was dessert-honey sea salt pot de creme, apple crisp or lavender ice cream. It was paired with a 2008 Kiona late Harvest Riesling, Columbia Valley ($25). This wine has "honey and apricot aromas leading to honeysuckle and floral notes that mesh well with mouth filling, well-balanced varietal fruit flavors that linger on the palate."

It turned out to be quite a fun filled night with lots of food and wine, families with children dancing on the floor of the ballroom, and memories in the making!

Friday, September 6, 2013

#GeorisWinery 2006 #LaChapelle #CarmelBytheSea #CasanovaCarmel

This is an amazing story rich in history of an old run-down shack owned by a small black lady who once cooked for Charlie Chaplin. In 1977 this old shack was bought, renovated and is now Casanova, the most romantic restaurant I've ever dined in. It is known for having begun the idea of flavored dipping oils for breads, and for serving Cafe' au lait and Lattes in large country French bowls. Guests have even taken their designers and architects to capture the Casanova flair. It has the most amazing cuisine, wines, and staff!

Front door of Casanova
Once inside, you feel as though you have been transported to another country such as France or Italy! There is a private room, named the Van Gogh room, that is home to the table Van Gogh sat at while painting his last painting, the church at Auvers. This table was given to Walter Georis while vacationing in Paris. Now anyone can enjoy dining at that very table.

Now, if you go to either of these websites you will see they are very much alike, which led me to believe they must be owned by the same family. I was right! Georis Winery was established by Walter Georis, who also established Casanova Restaurant. 

While dining that night, we had 2006 Georis Estate "La Chapelle" ($25 half bottle). It was so amazing and perfect for our meal. If you want to get it, you can go to their website and contact them for older vintages of wine. They have a 2009 vintage of the same name and it sounds really good. I wouldn't pass it up! This is probably the first red wine I ever fell in love with.

Georis Winery has two tasting rooms, which we didn't make it to on this trip. They are located on 4 Pilot Road and Carmel Valley Road, Carmel, California.

Holding my empty bottle of Georis!
Enjoy lunch or dinner with reservations for sure!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Remembering #Ireland #Wines!

Kinsale, Ireland

It's been almost a year since we went to Kinsale, Ireland, a small fishing village in Cork County. Located some 25km south of Cork City on the coast near Old Head, it sits at the mouth of River Bandon. We were fortunate to be there with about 12 others from my husband's paper company. This group of people won a contest by specifying a certain brand of paper from a well-known paper mill on the east coast. It was the most exciting trip I have ever been on, and since I had never been across the pond, that made it so much more inviting. We toured many famous sites such as the Timoleague Friary, Old Head of Kinsale (where the ladies had private golf lessons, company meetings, and the men played the course), the Blarney Castle (and no I didn't kiss the stone-it looked gross), Jameson Whiskey Distillery, and the Drombeg Stone Circle. We even drove over to Cobh (in 1912 it was called Queenstown) and saw where the Titanic stopped for the last time before making its fateful journey to New York and the beautiful St. Coleman Cathedral.

But at night (or any time for that matter), we ate at the most amazing restaurants in Kinsale. Now, Kinsale is known as the foodie capital of Ireland and is also a popular holiday resort for Irish and foreign tourist. It even holds an annual "Gourmet Festival". 

I wanted to share some of the places we ate and wines we drank so that if you ever have a chance to go to Ireland, you'll know where to nosh!

The first place we ate was "Crackpots", a restaurant in town down the street from our hotel, which was also amazing. I recommend the Perryville House, a Manor House Hotel. It's like a bed and breakfast, sort of. Sweet place to dine, and a fabulous gift shop attached to it.

Courtyard of the Perryville House
I wanted to share the wines we drank at each restaurant in this blog. They were all exceptional and worth sharing! At Crackpots, we had this bottle of wine.
Masi Costasera Amarone Classico 2007 ($64) is an Italian wine from the Veneto region with an outstanding pedigree from RP, WE, and WS. This is a full-bodied wine for grilled or roasted red meats and game, and strong cheeses.

The next wine I remember having was at a private home of the company that took us to Ireland. 

This is a 2010 La Lancelotta Gavi ($20-25), a product of Italy. It is a dry white wine from the Piedmont region where Cortese is the primary grape grown. This grape has a moderate acidity and light flavors making it a favorite for pairing with local seafoods caught off the coast of Genoa.
One restaurant we ate at was The White Lady. With 14 people eating and drinking we had so many wines that I didn't get a really good picture of this one.
Pic via the internet
This is a nice, low priced (under $20) Beronia Rioja Crianza 2008 from Spain. This is a wonderfully deep, complex Rioja, where bright, juicy blackcherry fruit is overlaid with more earthy notes of licquorice, leather and coconut. The wine is underpinned by a smooth, sleek texture and fine tannins which provide the perfect backdrop to highlight the rich, ripe dark-fruit flavours and toasted vanilla finish.

Another place we ate was called Man Friday. Here we had two different wines that I have good photos of.

 This is a excellent Bordeaux blend from France. Chateau Vieux Chevrol Lalande de Pomerol 2008 ($19). Good luck finding it! 

The last bottle I have a picture of from our trip is this Contessa Giovanna Manci Pinot Grigio 2010, ($20) an Italian wine. Nice wine, worth the money. I can't find it anywhere though!


Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Weekend! Park City, Utah!

Labor Day has come and gone and I hope everyone was able to celebrate our nation's observance of the day! We were in Park City, Utah enjoying the holiday hiking, eating, visiting with old friends, and meeting new friends. We were visiting a friend of my oldest daughter back in July and they were serving the most amazing wines that I wanted to share with you!

The first one Jeff and Ellen served was a Bond Estate 2009 Matriarch Napa Valley Red Wine ($150). Click on the name to take you to the Bond Estates website. It's like no other website I've ever seen. This wine was outstanding, as all their wines are. They all score in the 90's by everyone I saw online. "According to KPB on Cellar Tracker,  this wine is richly colored: plummy red/black. Very aromatic with red currants and cassis, stone dust, leather, tobacco, and vanilla. The new oak is evident on the nose right now. Tannic but in a soft, chewy way; balanced acidity, long finish." Bond wines are all Cabernet Sauvignon based.

The second bottle they opened was an Owen Roe 2009 Abbot's Table ($20). Winemaker notes - "Always a favorite, and always just a little different! This Abbot's Table is very reflective of the beautiful warm growing season in Washington during 2009. With long warm days the fruit developed fabulous ripe, deep, rich flavors. This very balanced and smooth Abbot's Table has the signature velvety mouth feel with a lattice of gentle tannins to support generous ripe flavors of bold red and black fruit, plums, and dark cherries. There's just a hint of spice and white pepper to give the finish a lasting lift."

 Thanks Jeff and Ellen for a wonderful pre-July 4th wine tasting! I know Natalie was glad to see you! We enjoyed your company as well! Fun people-fabulous wines!