Wine Bloggers Conference – Take 1

I have had the desire to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference for years, and really wanted to go to Lodi last year. However, time was usually not the best for my schedule or other life reasons would impede me from going. This year, as they celebrate their 10th year, it is back where it began…in my back yard of Santa Rosa. I put it on my schedule early so that other things wouldn’t creep in to push it off until another year and I am excited as well as nervous to be attending!

Life within the last month has felt like it is moving at the speed of light, but pockets of joy in tragedy always shine a little sideways. Living with the different conversations after the firestorms of Sonoma and Napa counties has really reminded me why I love this community. Watching chefs, farmers, business owner, neighbors and wine makers come together to care for those in need has been heartwarming.

I feel honored to get to share my love of wine and food from our counties bounty with others as well as spend time with likeminded lovers of the vine! I’m looking forward to meeting some of you beautiful people from social to put in a little real face to face time. There are so many sessions I am looking forward to attending and it will be hard to narrow down on a few.

“Enrich Your Wine Vocabulary” should hopefully bring insight on how to stay true to my voice while delving into wine descriptors during wine reviews. How do you bring the common aromas and flavors that us wine educators share with just the right hint of your own spiced word choices? Hello, this session has the phenomenal Andrea Robinson! I have a little vine chat dream with that powerhouse!

I am looking forward to the Wine Discovery Session with Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC. As a certified sommelier, there is nothing more exciting to me as wine discoveries. As someone knee deep in studies for my CSW, I can’t wait to bring the knowledge to the forefront and learn about this region. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the region will be an honor to experience in the glass.

“Live Wine Blogging” sounds intimidating and exciting all at once. I love taking notes to share with others and I am curious to see how this will unfold for me, the lover of pen to paper. Will I take to the Twittersphere or do short posts during the brief interviews? I guess you’ll have to follow to see how this will shake down.

“Legal Issues Every Blogger Should Know” is something that I am very curious about as my day job revolves around compliance issues in finance. I am looking forward to learn how compliance relates to my blog. There are other items I hope are touched on like copy write issues with photos as well as some I may not even be thinking of right now. As odd as it may sound to some, I’m excited to learn what this power hour may unfold.

Bring on the education and camaraderie! You can follow me on twitter & Instagram @gotchabygrapes for my Wine Bloggers Conference shenanigans.

Favorite White Wine Finds of 2017

As most people in my resident Sonoma County are starting to think of rich fall foods and full-bodied wines, as always, I am doing my own thing. I am getting into the last of my favorite white wine finds of the year and mourning as they disappear from my shelves and fridges. I thought I would share my list so you can stash up on those that are still available, or begin planning amazing purchases for next year as these wines became my must have splash in a glass on sunny warm days.

I would like to say these wines are in no particular order, but I am not a good liar even in type. I love them all, but some I just can’t get enough of, some I wish I had more of and some I feel grateful I got to try them. All of them will be purchased again with the exception of the ones that will not be made anymore…insert crying emoji here!

2015 Via Giusti Sonoma County Vermentino is truly a gem of the county. The brilliant friendly aromas of young apricots and mandarin orange waft up from the glass to grab your attention. There is a refreshing apple note with youthful stone fruit flavors lingering on the palate just a little longer than anticipated. I love that this is a wine that can be enjoyed all year long! If you are looking for something out of the more traditional few varietals that can dominate a tasting menu this will deliver a unique perspective. You may begin to chase the varietal after this experience. This is a versatile wine that pairs well with many dishes from a vast option of cheeses, grilled zucchini, or garlic rosemary white fish or chicken. Order online at:  https://viagiusti.com/

 

2015 Kokomo Winery Timber Crest Vineyards Muscat Blanc is a beautiful blend of my household’s tastes. This bottle offers all the beautiful aromas you would crave of the varietal with the perfect dry character I enjoy in my white wines. The happy sunflower hues welcome you as you bury your nose into the lovely aromas of honeysuckle, pineapple and Meyer lemon blossoms. Flavors of young pineapple, white tea leaf and ripe stone fruit are wrapped up in this dry styled dream. I paired this wine with spicy kimchi and peanut Thai chicken salad. Stop in the tasting room or order online at: http://www.kokomowines.com/

2016 Reeve Wines Anderson Valley Riesling was one of my favorite new finds of the year. This year was laced with new discoveries and the old Kachina Vineyards location now is the breathtaking home for Reeve wines. I do tend to enjoy white wines of Mendocino county and this is no exception. Just a hint of petrol on the nose that announces the varietal is muted by citrus blossoms, preserved lemons and young white peach. Flavors of apple meet lively lemon and zings your palate on a hot summer day. I got my weekend leisure day on and paired this with citrus chicken tacos, because every day should be a taco day! Make an appointment to visit this beautiful location or order online: https://www.reevewines.com/

 

 

2016 Cartograph Wines Ferrington Vineyard Gewurztraminer has a light straw yellow that reminds me of summer sunshine in a glass. Aromas of lychee and honeysuckle pull you into the glass multiple times before the first sip. Preserved Meyer lemons and honey kissed apricots embrace the palate. I paired this wine with spicy Korean chicken Bao and green bean, green bell pepper and tomato salad. This was the most enjoyable symphony of flavors as spice meets floral while creamy sauce danced with the palate cleansing dry character of this wine. Visit the tasting room or order online:  http://www.cartographwines.com/

2016 Inizi Wines Tocai Friulano was a wine I rediscovered during a spring event and gladly visited the tasting room after to purchase a few bottles. Aromas of lemon, kefir lime and young honeydew melon spring out of the glass. Flavors of lime zest and Granny Smith apples are grateful thirst quenchers on a warm afternoon. Recently I actually paired this with a homemade chicken pot pie with sage drop biscuits. The crisp, clean acidity cut through the rich creamy sauce and dense biscuit while playing well with the celery, carrot and sage flavors of the healthier version of pot pie. Order wines from the road less traveled online at:  https://iniziwines.com/

 

2015 Mounts Family Winery Picpoul Blanc was a special surprise from the makers of my favorite local Cabernet Franc. This wine offers aromas of honeydew with a touch of lemon that follows through to the palate with a fuller mouth feel then the other wines. I have one more bottle stashed with no intention of sharing. As I write this post I notice my taste has become small vineyard, family focused support, where my dollar matters more. I paired this with a sunshine on the patio moment, but it would pair well with oysters or salted white fish. Visit some of the friendliest people in the Dry Creek valley by appointment or order some amazing wines online at:  http://www.mountswinery.com/

 

2015 Quivera Vineyards Fig Tree Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc may be my last wine pick, but by no means is it the least. This bottle was my Sauvignon Blanc pick of the year for the varietal.  I enjoy the crisp refreshing ability of this varietal, but prefer when it melds with tropical flavors and this wine never disappoints. Aromas of lemongrass, young pineapple and guava bring a vacation in a glass smile to my face. Flavors of wet stone, pineapple, papaya and guava brought memories of white beaches and warm Adriatic waters to my mind with a unique palate feel as it spends a few moments in Acacia barrels. I paired this wine with pan seared chicken, creamy fairytale eggplant with charred green beans and fried oregano. Visit the lovely gardens around the tasting room or order online:  https://quivirawine.com/

Whether you want to taste this line up, or make up a mix of your own I always find pleasure when enjoying the bounty of Sonoma and surrounding counties. Cheers to a delicious line up of spectacular adventures in white wines!

 

 

Summer begins with Rose at Gravenstein Grill

I had the pleasure of welcoming summer on June 1st by attending a Pink Out event at a new restaurant, Gravenstein Grill in Sebastopol. There was a fantastic line up of rose to quaff and savor this evening, so I was all in! After pulling into the parking lot I began to walk toward the bar area that opens to a beautiful outdoor seating area on the street side of the building that wraps around to where the event was taking place. I found the space comfortable without pretension.

The menu lures you in with options for everyone in a truly relaxed Sonoma vibe and I can tell you from experience, nice portions as well. I could also see this space as being a comfortable place to grab a cocktail or a glass of wine from the impeccable list of local libations and nosh on house made charcuterie while chatting it up with your friends. Check out the calendar for future wine events and winemaker dinners. I know I’m going back for crispy stuffed squash blossoms soon! Preview the menu before you go, if you’d like here: http://www.gravensteingrill.com/

With my hydration game in check I was ready for some rose! Here were some of my favorites from the event:

2016 Sidebar Rose is a lovely side project from David Ramey of Ramey Wine Cellars that focuses on grape varieties and wine making style to be enjoyed in their youth. So, lay down your Ramey Wine Cellars purchases for awhile so you can sip on the Sidebar collection in the interim…sounds good to me!

This 100% Syrah rose is sourced from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County is truly a breath of fresh air! Perfectly dry for summer the glass lures you in with aromas of raspberry and dustings of light pepper. The palate invigorates your taste buds with raspberry and cherry hinted with a muted spiced note. Drink and clink all summer long!

2016 Kokomo Grenache Rose is an annual staple in my house so I was happy to see this wine in the lineup. The winery exudes a laid back and relax style that reminds you that family wineries are true hidden treasures.

This 100% Grenache rose is sourced from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County and has brilliant quenching acidity for warm days. I have been known to enjoy this wine all year long though, well when I buy enough. Strawberries and melon lure you gently into the glass and mingle with white peach notes on the palate. It is that peach and strawberry combo that keeps me coming back for more.

2016 County Line Rose hosts my vote for the most beautiful color. This wine label is produced by winegrower, Eric Sussman of Radio-Coteau, and focuses on truly expressive flavors of cool-climate appellations sprinkled through northern California.

This rose is sourced from a Champagne clone of Pinot Noir located in Anderson Valley and with 12% alcohol this is an easy all-day sipper. Backyard or beach views through this bottle would look fabulous, but really you will want to grab a glass and relax at Gravenstein Grill. It would be worth every sip to taste the delicate white peach notes that intermingle with raspberry. There is a fresh small hint of white floral bouquet on the nose that inspires a flower in the hair country garden stroll.

2016 Kobler Estate Winery had two offerings this evening and I wanted to tuck a bottle of each under my arm and run away like I stole a secret. I have enjoyed trying these wines at different events lately and desperately need to find my way into this tasting room soon.

The rose of Grenache showed glimmers of orange hues dancing through the pink beckoning glass. I enjoyed hints of young sweet cherries and raspberry that was warm evening quenching. The rose of Pinot Noir showed apricot and yellow peach notes with a subtle cherry flavor within. I would do curls on the beach with crazy straws with both of these wines so don’t ask me to choose.

2016 Acorn Winery Rosato from their Alegria Vineyards is a beautiful field blend. The winery is located relatively close to my house and owned by two of the nicest people I know, Betsy and Bill Nachbaur. Bill traded in the law books for the vine life in the early 90s and I am so grateful that he did. It is a true pleasure to geek out on grape varietals with him and their wine love is infectious.

This rose is a blend of Dolcetto, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. This wine is a true food wine that can pair with so many of summers favorite staples. The flavors of bright cherry meld beautifully with red apple skins and a hint of peach. I love the crisp dry quality of this wine, but the flavors can lend itself to the perfect year-round sipping rose. So, enjoy in summer, but stow some away for fall and winter too!

Thank you Chris Sawyer for the invite to this fantastic event. Looking forward to future events and delicious meals in my future!

Cheers to summers pink drinks and sunny sippers!

2011 Ilocki Podrumi Grasevina

Pronounced more like Ilochkey Podumi Grashevina, this beautiful white wine found me craving something new. This was one of the few souvenirs of the vine I brought back from Croatia and wish I had more of.

Upon first exploration danced with banana hints playing dress up in citrus on the nose. Bright acidity similar to a sauvignon blanc (since people keep asking, “what’s it like”). Young mango and guava on the palate. Perfect sunny sipper!
As I let the air begin to influence the glass this wine opens settling into grapefruit and papaya notes throughout. Sunshine brightens every cell within me as this vino drips through my veins. Happy wine discoveries!

Cheers to traveling in a glass!

Rose Views

I have always loved to drink pink, I just don’t like to wear pink. If I wear it I call it burgundy and God forbid I spill the wine pink on me to “wear” by over swirl. I enjoy a little extra skin contact for a darker blush or bolder varietals for the winter weather months. Who knew pink came in so many hues?!  I have been taking joy in observing others as they are embracing the fact that rose is no longer just a summer sipper. With the lovely shade of wine becoming more popular around summer now I have to get a jump on things to ensure all my friends aren’t sold out before I can procure a few bottles. I sure enjoy taking advantage of the increasing diversity in this category as it grows in popularity. However, the quick selling of some of my favorites has provided a gentle nudge to try more new producers, well more than I usually hunt down and find new loves.

For those of my friends that have openly state that they won’t drink pink I plea to open your mind and palate to embrace all that is available. Think of what it is that you did not enjoy before and try to search out the opposite. Don’t like sweet – go dry. Don’t like strawberry flavors – go grapefruit and hints of raspberry. I have enjoyed some beautiful Pinot Noir roses that have a little extra skin contact that showed the flavors of red apple skin dancing across my palate. I have salivated over the flavors of bright cherry from a Cabernet rose. Really my point is…more options, create more choices, so there is truly no reason to upturn your nose. This year I have fallen particularly hard for rose of Grenache on top of my other favorite usual suspects.

To my friends with the upturned nose, learn how different methods impact flavor. Where the grapes picked with lower sugars destined to be a purposed rose by the maceration method leaving them on the skins for a short time for color (under 20 hours).  Was the rose the byproduct or second thought to the voluptuous red by being produced via saignee method, where some of the juice is bled off for rose production while the remaining becomes the concentrated red it was meant to develop in to.  I have enjoyed both styles, but I have always felt that wine (or anything really) that is crafted with intent seems to hold a little extra love in it.

I enjoyed accompanying a friend to a rose industry tasting that showed some best of the best from around the globe. Here were my favorite from the tasting:

2016 Apriori Cellars, Rose Sangiacomo Vineyards – Sonoma Coast

Available for $25.00 https://www.aprioricellar.com/Wines

Upon first sip this wine reminded me of the invigorating juicy bite of a ripe pomelo with a little pith drenched in juice. It begins to mingle with light raspberry and strawberry making it stellar for any day, but quite quenching on a warm summer day. I think I may need to restock some of this one!

2013 Gloria Ferrer, Brut Rose

Available for $50.00  http://shop.gloriaferrer.com/product/2013-Brut-Ros-

This bottle of bubbly would be a refreshing beginning or end to any day. You will enjoy the brightness of grapefruit and strawberry upon the nose while the palate entices with creamy meyer lemon infused raspberry dreams. A beautiful glass of pink bubbly that makes every day better! Sometimes you just need to toast to getting through it all gracefully.

2015 Domaine de Baccari, Premiere de Baccari Cuvee Rose

This wine is a lovely blend of 60% Cinsault & 40% Grenache that offers beautiful strawberry and slight citrus notes. I’m not usually too interested with bottle embellishments, but the bottom of this bottle does have a bow that would be supper cute for sipping with the girlfriends. This wine could be one that you have a hard time putting down and almost seems to invite social sipping.

2016 Bonterra Rose, Mendocino County

This wine is currently sold out, but feel free to look at other offerings on: http://www.bonterra.com/

This wine had the most delicate pink hue that instantly pulls a smile to ones face. Aromas of strawberries in a bed of slightly aromatic white rose petals calls you into your first sip. The palate entertains with strawberry and a hint of white peach flavors that linger into watermelon sips.

2016 J. Richards Winery, Rose of Aleatico

Available for $24.00 https://shop.jrwinery.com/white–ros-wines-c5.aspx

This wine is a fun blend of 80% Aleatico and 20% Syrah that makes me crave a charcuterie board on a warm afternoon. The wine has a watermelon notes that meld with red berries that scream summer sipper. I enjoy the wines from this location and they are truly “Darn Fine Barn Wines” that you must check out if you have never been.

 

Thank you Rose Today for sharing your love of all things pink! If you want to learn more about this great movement check out: http://rosewinetoday.com/

Cheers to all the beautiful shades of rose!