Posts in Wine Reviews
Following the Vintages: Gamble Family Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

Gamble Family Vineyard 2018 Sauvignon Blanc: An impressively tropical and pristine clean expression leaps out of this glass of Gamble Family Sauvignon Blanc. Looking at the winemaking technique here, there seemingly is no stone left unturned. In 2018, there were seven different picks within ten days. The native yeast ferments were multiplied in their potential outcomes by three-quarters going into barrels and the rest lodging in stainless steel tank….

Read More
The Reliable Stable at Stoller Family Estate

Melissa Burr has been making wine at Stoller Family Estate for years. Moreover, she was born and raised Oregonian. Her wines taste like they are ready to be the centerpiece - even the host - of a great conversation. There's clearly a lot of heart, personal grit and local love that goes into her wines! 

Read More
Wine Recommendations An Unexpected "Upshot" of a Weekend at Hamilton College

I was with my husband's college friends and their spouses last weekend. While letting our husbands relive their days at Hamilton College - yes, named after the US Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton - all of the other women agreed (unprovoked by me) that they buy wine based on their favorite grape variety then on the wine label appearance. I encouraged a few to look into blends to expand their palate "horizons", and these Rodney Strong Vineyards Upshot wines are ones that I would absolutely recommend to them all!

Read More
A Dual Continent Winemaking Project: Casadei and Cline

Seven years ago Stefano Casadei and Fred Cline met over dinner for the first time. Now they are making a wine named Casadei, a total heart-throb red, together. That's not all. The Cline family is importing Stefano's Castello del Trebbio wines, too. Saluti!

Read More
Italy Meets California: Oak Farm Vineyards Fiano

This wine arrived at my doorstep with no notice, and it was a fun discovery. It is a great sip, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it anywhere to anyone. Only 376 cases were produced, so look now rather than later!

Fragrant, floral and savory, this Fiano is more expressive than most of its Campanian counterparts that have "landed" outside Italy….

Read More
The Bollinger Non-Vintages - A Toast to Celebrating Summer

I recently had the chance to taste through these two wines thoughtfully, watching them evolve for several hours after opening. The two tenants of Bollinger's style were clearly present from start to finish: the attractive oxidation from the oak barrel aging of at least half of the base wines (all vintage and reserve wines are made exclusively using oak barrels from a range of ages) and the house's signature power supplied by a majority of Pinot Noir in the two blends.

Read More
Troon Vineyard Makes a New Wine: Côtes du Kubli

This is a delicious wine made in a unique quasi-collaboration between Southern Oregon's Troon Vineyard and Cowhorn Vineyard, in which Cowhorn sold Troon grapes while Troon's vineyards are being replanted. It is the only wine from Troon not made with its own, estate-grown grapes. Not surprisingly, the spirit of farming is the same at Cowhorn and Troon: all of the fruit is biodynamically farmed. 

Read More
Flung Across the Bordeaux Region, The "Côtes" de Bordeaux

Five communes comprise the Côtes de Bordeaux, and they're a curious bunch, geographically speaking. While technically all on Bordeaux's Right Bank, they don't sit together, save Francs and Castillon. 

Read More
Reference Points from Sardinia: Olianas

Olianas 2017 Bovale Perdixi Isola dei Nuraghi: Ruby-rimmed, deeply flavorful and seriously savory, this unusual blend of 75% Bovale (aka Graciano) and 25% Carignane possesses plenty of charming top notes. Clay soils dominate the vineyard sources, so the near-grandiose breadth of the palate intensity isn't surprising.

Read More
Jordan Takes Another Step to Further Its French-Forward Identity

Jordan Winery has always embraced French wine principles, from its grape varieties and its terroir-led winemaking philosophy to its beautiful Sonoma County château. Just one factor in Jordan's red wine production that was distinctly different was its use of American oak…. After a four year ramp up that began in 2011, the 2015 is the first release of Cabernet Sauvignon aged entirely in French oak barrels. 

Read More
The Intersection of Wine and Spirits: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Red Wine

At a recent family wedding, an uncle-in-law was especially eager to chat with me. He, a life-long Scotch drinker, was excited about a wine. Not only was he excited internally, I could read it on his face and in his body language. He meant it! He told me that he and his wife were buying it by the case and telling all of their friends about it. 

Read More
Cliff Lede's Just-Released Pair

Cliff Lede 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley: This is a succulent and lush Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry, papaya and nectarine heightened by a scintillating Calvados and Key lime edge…. The judicious use of 10% Sémillon and 3% Sauvignon Vert gives this wine just the verve it needs to set it part from most other Napa Sauvignons. Not only is this a delicious white wine value overall, it is astonishingly well-priced for Napa. 

Read More
Crafting & Coaxing Sauvignon Blanc at Ehlers Estate

Laura Díaz Muñoz seems to have a way with Sauvignon Blanc. Her purposeful techniques in the vineyard (only removing leaves in contact with grape clusters on the morning sunlight side of rows) and winery (administering micro-doses of oxygen during fermentation then performing weekly lees battonage in stain steel drums for six months of aging) resulted in a fascinating wine. It's an invigorating and textural Sauvignon Blanc that is a welcome change from the usual Napa profile.

Read More
Easy-Going Reds for a Sanssouci Summer

It's easy for reds to feel ponderously heavy in the summer, especially when they are concentrated, elevated in alcohol and lavished with new oak. But, we all still want to drink red wines from time to time during warm weather. Leave it to the out-of-the-box renegade - and seriously good palate and globe-trotting winemaker - Ernst Loosen to find not only a solution but also a very gently priced one. Moreover,  the wines come from France's Languedoc, a region formerly strapped with the reputation of producing clumsy, jammy wines. 

Read More
Chef Joachim Splichal: Part II

I met Joachim Splichal when I was the National Wine Director for Smith & Wollensky Restaurant group. Smith & Wollensky was publicly traded and a hostile take-over was underway. His Patina Restaurant Group purchased the Smith & Wollensky restaurants outside of New York City, and I figured I'd never again cross paths with him.

Read More