Fàilte! Welcome to the next installment of Exploring the Wine Glass. Mike and I are big proponents of you should drink what you like and you are the only one who can taste like you. We advocate the fact that everyone experiences the wine differently, so in these posts we do not discuss our tasting notes. Instead we include basic information about each of the wineries, and/or a bit about what was happening in our lives while we were enjoying them. With that said, if you are interested in reading our tasting notes and our ratings head on over to Delectable and check us out. We tell it as we taste it over there. Click here to see the chart we use to describe the color or if you want to see the wines themselves as they are poured, visit our YouTube Channel and watch for yourself. As always, since as oenophiles we love to celebrate #WineWednesday, our week runs from one Wednesday to the next.
Tonight’s wine was a 2013 Justin Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc from Paso Robles. We stocked our cellar with this wine when it went on sale. With Bordeaux-style blends in mind, Justin planted their first vineyard in 1981. The vineyard soil they chose was rich in fossilized limestone. Limestone “stresses” vines and allow the grapes to express their varietal character to the fullest degree. Justin Vineyards believes in hand-harvesting and small French oak barrel aging.
It’s the weekend, finally! It has been a long week, but really nothing major has occurred, so not sure why it felt so long… Oh wait, yeah, I remember the Mets lost their first two games of the World Series and the Dolphins are back to their losing ways last night against my most hated football player Tom Brady! Long nights without “W’s” in the column make for a long week. But the good new is that the Mets are on again tonight and as the song from the Black Eyed Peas says, “I’ve Got a Feeling!”
On the table tonight, we had Zucchini cheese bake [yes, we still have zucchini from the garden] and paired it with a Bianchi 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2011 vintage was a difficult one due to low yields and a predominantly cooler year. This caused late ripening which posed the concern for potential rotting with early rain in October. The estate fruit yielded only 1.2 tons per acre , so Bianchi reached out to their favorite [and our’s] Joe Plummer for tonnage. Combining Plummer’s clones of 331 and 191 along with their Estate clone 8 produced this sensational wine.
Happy Halloween! I love Halloween. I love the costumes and the little kids running around and I adore horror films! The ones that are meant to scare me don’t, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre all make me laugh. The movies that get to me are the ones like “The Strangers.” They aren’t meant to be horror films, but to me they are the scariest, because Freddy isn’t coming into my dreams, but an insane person may just knock on my door one day “Just because I am home.” [the final line in the movie The Strangers, when Liv Tyler asks the killers why.] And I’ll share a little secret with you, the all time scariest movie to me, the one that made me move my furniture when I was a kid so that I could turn my light off while still on my bed was “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.” (1973) A young girl sent to live with her father and his new girlfriend believes that she has released creatures from a sealed ash pit in the basement of her new home.
Sadly we didn’t get too many trick or treaters. I don’t know if it’s the sign of the times, or what, but I think we got a total of 10 kids. And it’s a Saturday! When I was young, I would have started trick or treating around noon, go until dinner and then change into another costume and go back out for round 2! My friends and I would then sit down and trade our candy to get our favorites. Are the kids too busy staring at their phones to have fun or is today’s society playing a role in the diminished participation. I guess that’s why you get Halloween decorations in the stores for about a week, before they switch over to Christmas completely ignoring Thanksgiving.
Well, with that semi rant over, the limited amount of door bell ringing allowed us to enjoy our dinner. It’s been a long time since we made Mexican, so we cooked up some ground turkey, added some taco seasoning, brown rice and refried beans to make some massively stuffed burritos and paired it with an A. Rafanelli Zinfandel. I have told my story about my big mouth and Dave Rafanelli and if you didn’t read it or have forgotten you can read it here.
In New Jersey, the second week of November, we get Thursday and Friday off to attend Teacher’s Convention in Atlantic City. I honestly never attend since it is mostly steered towards elementary educators, plus I know that if I was in AC I would not be sitting in on a conference, I’d be at a craps table, so we always went to Vegas instead [to be at a craps table.] This year, however, we changed it up and we went to Napa and Sonoma since Mike hadn’t been there in about fifteen years.
I’m not going to lie, there is no way I was going to sit down and write this post while enjoying myself in wine country so I am just going to post the video on YouTube and you can watch if you are inclined to do so. I will give a heads up that there is a bit of a disproportionate time at Ferrari Carano as compared to the rest of the vacation. We really were only there for about an hour but I may have been a bit camera happy. But that shouldn’t surprise anyone who reads this blog or personally knows me since Ferrari Carano is my Disneyland!
Other than visiting Ferrari Carano, we had some other highlights that I would like to share.
1-We had the distinct pleasure of officially meeting Elizabeth Smith of travelwinechick fame at her new job at Ehlers Estate. We had a wonderful time with her and our dear friends John and Karen Troisi of Jean Edwards Cellars.
2-MacRostie Winery in the Russian River Valley who are known for their Chardonnay and Pinot. What an amazing tasting. Our “guide” was stellar giving us side by side tastings and modifying the wines he poured depending on our comments of the previous wines. We highly recommend visiting and plan at least an hour and half for this tasting experience.
3- Flora Springs in Napa is a phenomenal tasting experience. Not only is their wine fantastic, they decorate for the tasting room for the holidays, and their staff is amazing. They know how to have fun while they pour their stellar wines and they have many. This winery is located on 29 so be prepared to sit in some serious traffic to get there, but oh is it worthy!
4- Cline Cellars in Carneros is a must stop. First, before you even get to their wine, you need to check out the fish in the back and view what can only be called a feeding frenzy when you drop food into the water. They have a beautiful collection of birds and of course there is Fancy and Pudding the Sicilian miniature donkeys. Now, for their wine. wow! They are known for their Rhone varieties and you will want to try them all. These guys know how to have fun and how to provide a quality experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, because they also know their wine stuff.
5- Passaggio Wines in the Sonoma Square is located in a cute area called the Wine Row. It is a side alley that is dedicated to winery tasting rooms. Be sure to stop by. We had the honor of meeting Cynthia Cosco along with another social media friend David Razzari of instagram fame! This man knows how to take pictures and another plus, they usually all include is beautiful dog in the. Cindy of Passaggio Wines decided to passion of winemaking after 15 years in law enforcement. We spent two hours with our social media friends and had a wonderful time while enjoying some phenomenal wines.
We had a wonderful 5 days in Napa/Sonoma and could not discuss all the wineries we visited, but we would be more than happy to share our experiences and give our opinions if you were interested, just leave a comment or send us a tweet/email.
Hope you have had some great wines and times these past two weeks. Remember, always Pursue Your Passion. We would love for you to leave a comment telling us what your favorite recent wine was.