Grateful for Exciting Sparkling Wine From Franciacorta Italy

Today is the second Franciacorta twitter tasting that I’ve had the opportunity to participate in, thanks to Balzac Communications.

Before September, I don’t think I’d ever tasted this sparkling wine from Italy that rivals Champagne in quality, but is much lesser known. You’d be amazed at the quality that you can get for the money–I know I was!

Tune in to twitter #Franciacorta to see what we think about today’s line-up. Post to follow soon with more tasting notes.1474638_10151785497985924_997366342_n

I’m also planning on spending some time with that massive map they sent to learn more about this region that I hope to visit one day soon!

PS And no, I am NOT going to let my son saber the bottles with his new Minecraft sword because Rusty Ginger fought him off!

Celebrating Zinfandel Day with Lodi Wine at Cantara Cellars

What’s my favorite wine for Thanksgiving? ZINFANDEL! It’s magical with turkey and ham, and it can stand up to all those crazy rich side dishes.1461699_10151785584630924_330197425_n

So what better time to celebrate zinfandel day but in November as we’re preparing for Thanksgiving and figuring out the wines we want to enjoy on this special day?

Today I’m heading over to Cantara Cellars in Camarillo CA where we will taste zinfandel from the Lodi region as well as other wines from Lodi that you might want to consider sharing with your friends and family on Thanksgiving, or other special occasions. We’ll be posting pictures and tasting notes with the hashtag #lodiwine if you want to follow along.

These are the wines that were sent to me as samples for the twitter tasting that we will be opening today from 5-6pm:

2011 Klinker Brick Winery Bricks & Mortar Cabernet Blend $30
2012 St. Amant Winery Marian’s Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel $24
2010 Mettler Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon $25
2010 Harney Lane Winery Lizzy James Old Vine Zinfandel $35
2009 LangeTwins Winery & Vineyards Centennial Zinfandel $60
Read more recommendations for wines for Thanksgiving turkey here and wines for Thanksgiving ham here.

Today (especially!) is Champagne Day!

Cheers!

In my book, every day is Champagne Day! But last Saturday was a super special occasion, my husband’s birthday, and Ima Zin’s, so we opened up this grand lady–a 1983 Cristal! (A report on that later!)5829_10151709885625924_913664121_n

Today, Friday,  October 25, 2013 marks the fourth annual Champagne Day, where wine lovers around the globe raise a flute to the quintessential wine of celebration, good cheer and toasts everywhere: Champagne. There will be terrific opportunities for Champagne lovers to celebrate in wine stores, restaurants, bars and in spontaneous gatherings with friends.

Share the love! Post about your experience celebrating with the #ChampagneDay hashtag.

In 2011 and 2012, I organized Champagne Day events where we paired sparkling wine with oysters at the Ventura State Beach. In 2011 we raised over $500 to contribute to reopen McGrath State Beach. At least 50 people came to the beach with picnics and bottles of sparkling wine to share and pair with oysters. 

In 2012, in addition to celebrating Champagne Day at the beach with oysters, we also held a twitter tasting for #PlanetBordeaux of a group of stellar Sauvignon Blancs and roses. This year we are taking our Champagne and heading to some hot springs!

Initially created by Vintuba wine blog to recognize and appreciate the sparkling wine that comes exclusively from Champagne, France, “Champagne Day offers the perfect opportunity to pop open a bottle, explore the beauty these wines have to offer and turn a moment into a 1378573_10151721292520924_320235983_ncelebration while remembering that Champagne only comes from Champagne, France,”  stated Sam Heitner, director of the Champagne Bureau, USA

Today, Champagne Day brings millions of wine lovers worldwide together to celebrate in a host of events, retail opportunities and a large-scale online celebration of all aspects of this unique bubbly. Consumers across the U.S. will have many special opportunities to enjoy Champagne today with a host of Champagne Day-only deals at retailers, tastings and menu pairings at restaurants and other spontaneous celebrations.  To find some of the events happening around the world and learn more about how to participate in the online celebrations, visit the official Champagne Day event page: http://bit.ly/19EIh4L.

For more information about #ChampagneDay or the worldwide effort to protect the Champagne name, please visit http://bit.ly/19EIh4L or www.champagne.us. Remember, if it doesn’t come from the Champagne region of France, it’s not Champagne!

PS If you love sparkling wines like I do, and you live in the Ventura/Santa Barbara/LA area, be sure to watch for the Tasting at the Ventura Wine Company and Cave! That afternoon, you can taste real Champagne from France as well as local sparkling wines and sparklers from other parts of the world too! (I hopet eh get in some wines from Franciacorta Italy! Those sparklers ROCK!)  If you can’t wait until Sunday, December 8, they’re doing a Holiday tasting on Novembe993413_10151725546708434_1673351765_nr 10. Get your tickets now–it will sell out!

7 Reasons Why I Love Grenache for Grenache Day!

I love grenache. I love it alone, and I love it blends. I love old vines, and new. I love grenache as an ice (seriously!) and as a rose.

Picture of Grenache noir grapes from a vineyar...

Picture of Grenache noir grapes from a vineyard in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why?

  • 1. Grenache has nice body, heft, weight.
  • 2. Grenache is supple and rich.
  • 3. Grenache has lots of strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry fruit.
  • 4. Grenache can have a nice spicy kick to it!
  • 5. Grenache has a pretty rosey garnet color.
  • 6. Grenache goes great with pink and white meats like lamb, pork loin, salmon, but you can also enjoy it with a beef stew.
  • 7. Grenache blends well with other wines.

One of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties on the planet, grenache vines get better with age.

Today is a great day to celebrate all things grenache because Continue reading

Discover Loire Valley’s Touraine Sauvignon Blancs 9/17/13

BUZVm8uCUAA0AzLSauvignon Blanc is one of my favorite wines–it’s flexible, affordable, and a great wine with some of my favorite foods like oysters, chevre goat cheese and french bread, ceasar salad, and pesto with pasta. It’s my go to wine, my always in the fridge or on the shelf wine.

When in doubt, I get the sauvignon blanc out!

After participating in a number of industry tastings, I’m a huge fan of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand-even the ones that feature a fair amount of gooseberry or cat pee.

Living in California, it’s easy to find locally grown Sauvignon Blanc; a favorite of mine is by Adam Tolmach for his winery, Ojai Vineyards. Continue reading

Join us tonight! Rieslings from the Finger Lakes 2012 Vintage Part 1

BUT7mYHIYAE7SPGSometimes when it rains it pours–wine that is!

Following Friday’s phenomenal Franciacorta tasting of six sparkling Italian wines, today it’s time to switch gears and open up five newly released Riesling from the Finger Lakes in NY, followed by Tuesday’s Touraine tasting of five different examples of Sauvignon Blanc form the Loire Valley.

Tonight’s tasting will be streamed live on USTREAM (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/finger-lakes-wine-virtual-tasting-series) where wine makers and winery reps will share their expertise and answer our previously submitted questions as well as respond to questions and comments on twitter using the hashtag #FLXWineVT. Continue reading

Franciacorta, Italy: Here We Come!

Some people might think that Friday the 13th brings bad luck.

JulieannecaseNot me!

Yesterday’s Friday the 13th brought me bubbles–and lots of them!

Yesterday, I was very grateful to be a wine blogger as I popped all of these corks of Italian Sparkling wine from Franciacorta to taste and tweet with Julieanne Case and toast the birthday of my good friend Helen O’Neil.

Here’s Julieanne hard at work on her tablet! Continue reading

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

Rodney Strong: A Blending Party

rodney-strong-estate-knotty-vines-zinfandel_1On Wednesday, August 14, a select group of Southern California social media influencers will participate in a blending party, er, class at the Pierpont Inn in Ventura.

UPDATE 8/14/21 We will be using the hashtag #RSVSYM for tweets related to the blending class.

Robert Larsen from Rodney Strong will be leading the class Continue reading

“Blurred Vines” –new video parody from Jordan Winery

Do you remember Wine Country Gangnam Style?

Well the same folks at Jordan Winery who did that parody have a new one out for the summer “Blurred Vines” which asks the question: who gets the girl–the  wine geek or the wine dude?  “Geeks obsess over wine lists, wine scores and winemaking techniques. Dudes love their wine but don’t take it too seriously.” So who gets the girl? Watch “Blurred Vines” to find out. #blurredvines  (PS You can see my Gangnam Style parody “Chile Style” here!)

Here’s the original Robin Thicke video “Blurred Lines.” Here’s another fabulous parody of it by Mod Carousel, a Seattle based boylesque troupe. And this “Blurred Lines” parody with Jimmy Kimmel is hilarious.

Thanks to Jordan’s Lisa Mattson for showing us how to have fun with wine! And congrats to Jordan for being willing to take risks like this! Hmmn, I really should have been drinking and reviewing a Jordan wine while I posted this! Next time!

And remember that August 14 is the return of Wine Blogging Wednesday! Dry rose!

The Return of Wine Blogging Wednesday: #80 is Dry Roses

Once again  Lenn Thompson of LENNDEVOURS (now New York Cork Report) and Tim Elliott (of Winecast) have resurrected Wine Blogging Wednesday (WBW). Hatched in 2004 by Lenn,  each month a different blogger “hosts” a virtual tasting by developing and publicizing a theme. Participants write on that theme and post the results on their blogs on the designated Wine Blogging Wednesday and let the host know.  Then the host posts a summary soon after linking to the participating blogs.

Wine Blogging Wednesday seemed to run smoothly enough for about five years then it ran out of gas. (See my December 2010 posts about whatever happened to Wine Blogging Wednesday.) WBW was tuned up, but again seemed to be headed for the junk yard when Lenn and Tim Elliot responded to continued interest by  myself and others as well as a conversation on twitter about whether  Drunken Cyclist’s wine round-up with voting for best post could replace WBW and conversations on Facebook among women wine writers about how we’d run it..

So where are we headed for Wine Blogging Wednesday #80 on Aug.14, 2013? Continue reading