WBW#80: Four reasons to love “My Derby Wife” Rose by WineGirl Wines

wbw_logoAt the last three wine bloggers conferences, I lucked out both with amazing pre-conference excursions and great conference expeditions as well. In 2010, a small group of us  traveled on a press trip Seattle to Walla Walla and back, tasting along the way. In 2012, on our pre-conference excursion we dined at King Estates then learned about pinot noir with Robin Pffeifer, then went by TRAIN from Eugene to Portland where I was on the infamous #cuffedincarlton bus.

In 2013, I joined the Seattle to Lake Okanagan trip by way of the Lake Chelan AVA and went on the OK Falls hike where I discovered Painted Rock which I wrote about here also. When the announcement that Wine Blogging Wednesday #80 was Dry Rose, I didn’t have to think too hard about which wine I wanted to write about: “My Derby Wife” rose Continue reading

A Selection of Rodney Strong Wines: Symmetry, Sauv Blanc, Chard, Knotty Vines, Alexander’s Crown

2013-08-12 18.59.54One of our Wine Predator summer 2012 highlights was a twitter tasting that featured Rodney Strong wines. I’m guessing that this summer Rodney Strong wines will be a highlight as well!

Last summer, we tasted several Rodney Strong wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Knotty Vines Zinfandel, and Symmetry. Getting in the mood for Wednesday’s blending party with Rodney Strong wines at the Pierpont Inn, I opened their Chardonnay one night and their Alexander’s Crown Cabernet Sauvignon on another night.

To Rodney Strong Vineyards, “place matters.”  One of the oldest wineries in Sonoma County, it was started by the charismatic and handsome Rodney Strong, a retired dancer. Family owned and carbon neutral, their certified sustainable practices start with the earth with soil and water conservation and reach toward the sky with solar power (one of the largest by any winery in the world!). They are also one of the rare businesses that are committed to the Triple Bottom Line of Planet, People and Profit, meaning they are not just concerned about making money but taking care of the planet and their employees through social equity.

Below are notes on each of these wines from Rodney Strong. And watch for an upcoming post with pictures and stories from our experiment in blending! Continue reading

Experience Central Coast Wines on #CCWineDay Friday May 31, 2013

select central coast wines

select central coast wines

You’re invited to the Second Annual  Central Coast Wine Day, Friday May 31, 2013!

#CCWineDay follows in the footsteps of various #VarietalDays that have been going on for a few years. These include  Cabernet Day, Albarino Day, Tempranillo Day, Pinot Noir Day, Zinfandel Day, and even Wine Tourism Day! (As you can see, I enjoy participating in these varietal days!)

Personally, I say the Central Coast begins with Ventura County, Continue reading

Wine Predator: 50,000 views!

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Between preparing for my doctoral classes in ecopsychology and grading my students’ finals, I just had to go into hiding the past two weeks which meant while I participated in a few twitter tastings, I didn’t get any blogging done on this site and very little on my other sites (including Art Predator, Compassionate Rebel, Whisper Down The Write Alley). And yes. pictured with the Don and Sons Pinot Noir vertical from last Thursday’s twitter tasting are just a portion of the research papers and finals I was reading in order to get my grades in!

Even though I am still not completely done with my grading (and there’s another twitter tasting tonight!), today I was doing a little blogging on Art Predator and ended up checking my stats over here to discover  that about midnight last night, my blog hit 50,000 page views! Which, for a wine blog like mine, is pretty good! (In contrast, my Art Predator blog, which I started in November 2007,  is about to hit 500,000 page views and Compassionate Rebel which was born January 2010 is almost 10,000.) Continue reading

Sparkling Roses for Mother’s Day: Lucien Albrecht

MomDayLAlbrechtA toast to Mother’s! Cheers!

Pictured right to left, is my mom Suzanne Lawrence, my son, and my self from 2004. This was a publicity photo for a Living History Performance we did.

Pictured right to left, is my mom Suzanne Lawrence, my son, and my self from 2004. This was a publicity photo for a Living History Performance we did.

On Saturday, the last tuna boat of the year came in to the Ventura Harbor. We bought a whole tuna and celebrated Mother’s Day eve with fresh seared sesame oil ahi tuna on a bed of field greens with flower petals, blueberries, white Stilton with dried apricots, walnuts, plus a raw oyster! I love this meal with a silky Washington Merlot, but it also pairs well with a Pinot noir.

However since it was a festive occasion, we popped the cork on this beautiful Lucien Albrecht Cremant  D’Alsace Brut Rose, made from Pinot noir grapes.

Lucien Albrecht Cremant  D’Alsace Brut Rose is a perfect wine for Mother’s Day! Continue reading

Invite Paco & Lola to play on Albarino Day, Thurs. May 9, 2013

albarinoday2013

Like the minerality and acidity of Riesling, the body and white stone fruits of Viognier, and the floral notes of Pinot Gris?

Then you should check out Albarino–and there’s no better day than today, the Second Annual Albariño Day,  Thursday, May 9th, 2013!

The second annual Albarino Day caught me by surprise but fortunately, I have a few bottles of Albarino from Paco & Lola around. I saw it on sale and I went for it because  it is such a wonderful wine with lots of bright acidity with tangerine and lime and  that’s seafood friendly–especially with my beloved fresh raw oysters from Jolly Oyster at the Ventura State Beach!

Plus just a few days ago I picked up two bottles of Old Creek Ranch Winery’s Albarino de Moto (regularly $22) at my son’s school fundraising silent auction! (Old Creek Ranch Winery is a my local pick for Wine Tourism Day; read more about it here).

Unfamiliar with Albarino? Probably because most of this dark green, thick-skinned grape is grown in Spain, with very little of it found in the US. Albariño accounts for 90% of plantings in the Rías Baixas region of Spain. But as it grows in popularity, expect to find more of it here!

Want to join in celebrating Alabarino? Continue reading

SoCal Ideas for Wine Tourism Day, Sat. May 11 2013

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This Saturday, May 11 is Wine Tourism Day, a day to celebrate North America’s wine tourism industry and all those who enjoy the experience of visiting wine country.

According to organizers, “Local wine industry folks in their respective regions — including wineries, hotels, restaurants, and other wine-related businesses — have created special events for people who love anything to do with wine, food, events, travel and fun!”

Events can be anything from wine pairing dinners to music events to structured tastings. Search for an event near you or register for the Great Wine Tour Giveaway.

Or create your own event! You don’t have to visit Napa–head out on Saturday to a winery near you and celebrate! You may be surprised by what you’ll find in a few hours drive. Please post in the comments and tell us which wineries are YOUR favorites to visit?

Read on for Wine Predator’s picks of places to prowl! Continue reading

Malbec Madness!

Malbec Madness!

Join the Celebration Weds April 17

In anticipation of Malbec Day Weds. April 17, Annie AnyDay, Ima Zinner, ChamPan, and I gathered on my sunny deck to taste four 2011 Malbecs: 2011 Trivento Reserve, 2011 Ruta 22, 2011 Conquista, all from Argentina, and from Chile, Concha y Toro’s 2011 Casillero del Diablo. (Reviews below).MalbecMadness

As Malbec and Malbec blends now account for almost half of the entire Argentinean wine category in the U.S., you’d think my first Malbec crush would be one from South America.

But the first Malbec that made a memorable impression and wowed my palate was actually a barrel sample from Basel Cellars that I tasted while on a visit there during the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla Washington.  

I remember clearly the lush blueberry that flooded my palate, and even now, I desire to repeat that experience. The following year when I re-visited Walla Walla, I found myself driving by the impressive gates of the even more impressive Basel Cellars estate, but unfortunately the tasting room was closed…and we were on our way to Oregon so I have yet to taste this Malbec in the bottle (and, btw,  Steven Tanzer awarded 89 Points to the 2008 Chelle Den Millie Malbec which retails for $32).

Malbec grapes on the vine in the Cafayate wine...

Malbec grapes on the vine in the Cafayate wine region of Argentina. This pic also demonstrates the trellising vine training used with drip irrigation system running along the bottom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the folks at Creative Palate, in the 1860s, Malbec was brought from France to the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Mendoza, Argentina where the constant sun and heat helps the grape to achieve optimal ripeness; Malbec thrives in the hot, dry weather and high elevations of Mendoza creating a typically ripe and lush wine with smooth tannins.

Malbec has also found suitable terroir on the other side of the Andes in the consistently hot and dry Rapel Valley of Chile.

Please join me in raising a collective glass to toast this newly “discovered,” newly beloved versatile and delightful varietal–regardless of where it comes from North or South America! Follow along with the fun on twitter by searching and tweeting using #MalbecMadness! Continue reading

Part 2: Rafters, Mammoth CA & 2 LaRochelle Pinot Noirs

LaRochelleKissIn part one in this series of posts, I review two white wines from Steven Kent Wines, the luscious LaRochelle Chardonnay (pictured) and the lively Lola, a Bordeaux blend, and I wax enthusiastic about Rafters Restaurant, which is one of three restaurants and four bars at the Sierra Nevada Resort in Mammoth Lakes CA.

We were up in Mammoth for a holiday weekend ski trip where I also had a twitter tasting with Steven Kent Wines and Jim Demetriades, owner of Rafters hosted me! And what a gracious host! I was able to use a beautiful side room for the tasting, sommelier Chip Irmish set me up with the correct glasses I’d need as well as a dump bucket, and an ice bucket. Staff brought water, and either Chef Kerry Mechler or various staff brought out the six dishes that chef had chosen to pair with the six wines.

Here in Part 2, I’ll move from the whites on to the Pinot Noirs, one from Carneros and one from Santa Lucia Highlands, near Monterey. (Want to read about the Lola and the Dutton Chard?)

Continue reading

Rafters, Mammoth CA: Steven Kent Tasting–Lola & Dutton Chardonnay

Last month, after a bluebird afternoon on the slopes at Mammoth Mountain, I participated in a fantastic Twitter Wine tasting featuring Steven Kent Wines hosted by The Rafters Restaurant at the Sierra Nevada Resort 202 Old Mammoth Road, Mammoth Lakes, CA. Established in 1967; Rafters was recently reborn as a world class restaurant with a 7000 bottle wine list!

Sommelier Chip Irmish had glasses ready and the wines chilled perfectly for me when I dashed back after a few quick turns on the slopes. Continue reading

Celebrate NZ Harvest & CA spring! Villa Maria Thirsty Girl Tasting Weds!

It’s Harvest Time in New Zealand and Spring Time in California! Celebrate both with the first Thirsty Girl #TGTaste Twitter Tasting of 2013 set for Wednesday March 27 at 5 pm PST  (8 pm EST). You’re invited! Continue reading

Wine Predator to Do Steven Kent Tasting at The Rafters, Mammoth!