Brunello di Montalcino

We went for a wine tasting at our local wine shop, Bird Rock Fine Wines, and enjoyed an absolutely wonderful Brunello di Montalcino. This 2013 Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino wine had an elegant ruby color that did not disappoint us. It has wonderful aromas of cherries, blackberries, and strawberries with a wonderful hint of vanilla that teases you! The bold tannins and acidity aftertaste really enhance the fruit forward as it rolls ever so gently over the palate with a VERY long finish. The wine will pair well with Italian beef and chicken dishes.  How about that elegant label?

We give this wine 4 glasses. 

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Miner Family  2016 Emily Cabernet Sauvignon

My wife surprised me with a Miner Family  2016 Emily Cabernet Sauvignon. I let this wine sit in the wine cooler for a few weeks. Don’t know if other people have had issues with opening wine after shipping, but I’ve found the Cabs need a few weeks to recover from shipping. Maybe it’s me, but I’ve noticed it really helps the wine to settle down. .

Anyhow, Emily’s wine is from four vineyards, Stagecoach, Buselli, Schein and Miner vineyards. It’s 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot that has aromas of black fruits (blackberries, blueberries with a hint of chocolate/vanilla in the background. A nice balance of tannins and acidity that helps the fruity forward as it rolls across the palate with hints of coffee coming to a nice finish, not long but not short either. This needs a few more years in the cellar to reach it’s potential. I’m not saying it’s not good now, but I get this feeling that it needs more time.

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Intrinsic Red Blend 2017

It’s the weekend and you know what that means … it’s time to treat yourself to a good wine! We have it right here with a red blend from Columbia Valley! This Intrinsic 2017 blend of 51% Malbec and 49% Cabernet Franc aged for 9 months in an unique way, Cabernet Franc on Malbec skins and Malbec on Cabernet Franc skins! Winemaker Juan Munoz-Ocabhas hit the bullseye with this blend with dark purple in color, aromas of blueberries and blackberries with a hint of vanilla! We recommend that you decant for 2 hours to really enjoy the fruit forward that rolls across the tongue with a long finish! This wine just got better with each sip! We paired this with Carne Asada and it was perfect! I give this wine 3 glasses. 

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Koi Zen Cellars Baby B2 2017

We had the pleasure of tasting a local San Diego winery, Koi Zen Cellars in Carmel Mountain. The 2017 Baby B2 is a Bordeaux style blend of 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Malbec and 26% Cabernet Franc. Cabernet rules!

We popped the cork and let the wine decant for two hours, tasting it at 30 min intervals just in case it was ready to drink early, you never know. With each half hour sample the wine started to open up with the fruity aromas of black fruit, blueberries, blackberries and black currant.

Now we get a chance to let the taste buds take over! Fruit forward, juicy fruit that lingers the whole time as the wine rolls over your palate. The finish is long with just a hint of vanilla. This wine has the characteristic of Paso Robles wines that make them just enjoyable to drink with no restrictions. I feel that this wine will be even better in 2-3 years when the tannins relax and juicy fruit mellows, then boy oh boy, you have a killer Bordeaux blend!

We suggest that you make time on your busy weekend to relax for a couple of hours and enjoy some of the amazing wines being produced in San Diego by Koi Zen Cellars.

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Orin Swift Red Blend

This Orin Swift wine is called 75,864 Miles Red.  Now you’re wondering why 75,864 miles, it’s the culmination of miles travel.  From vineyards to vineyards, to different regions of California to pick the grapes and make the wines!  Orin Swift Red is made up of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache and Zinfandel grapes from the California.  The wine is dark purple in color with aromas of big black fruits with juicy forward that rolls nicely over the palate with a very nice finish.  This is a very nice drinking Napa Valley $40 dollar wine! You can pick this up in Costco. I give this 3 glasses.  


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Italics Winegrowers in Coombsville


Italics Winegrowers is located off the beaten path but not unknown! We enjoyed a tour of the estate and their 16,000 square feet wine cave built into the hillside. The ambience of the tasting room with neon lights is like WOW! What a very nice touch! What’s so unique about this property is it’s weather. The winds blow off San Pablo Bay bringing morning fog to keep it cool during the day and cool air at night.

The winery has 70+ acres with nearly 40 acres planted that has a longer growing season than that of Calistoga starting weeks before and lasting weeks past into November. The wines they produce are exceptional: the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Proprietary Red, Atlas Peak Chardonnay, Estate Petit Verdot, Oak Knoll Voignier and 16 Appellations. 16 Appellations wine is a marriage of all 16 appellations that are aged separately and then blended. Sooo good we had to take a bottle of this home.

Italics is a must visit winery (appointments only). You will be amazed by the property and enjoy some awesome wines from this Coombsville winery! Special Thanks to Italics Winegrowers for hosting MyRedWineGuys!

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Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

From Saint Michelle Wine Estates and Columbia Crest comes a new brand, Intrinsic and new experiment to making red wine. Juan Muñoz Oca, head wine maker at Columbia Crest and the wine making team decided instead of removing the skins after 7 to 10 days, how would the wine taste if we left the skin together with the juice for 9 months? This gives birth to a new way of making wine! The 2017 Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon was sent as a #sample for us to try. We love trying new wines out of Washington State and this is definitely a new wine. First produced in 2014 and it really seems like they have perfected the process.

At first it really didn’t open up after 2 hours, but at 3 hours, it was ready. The wine has an inky black color with aromas of dark cherries, fruity but not too fruity. The taste was of soft raspberries with a hint of caramel and the tannins were soft for such a young wine. The finish reminded me of a Zinfandel with hints of spice. This is a wine that won’t break the bank, runs about $22 a bottle.

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Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Hill 2014

Traveling Tuesday brings us back to Napa Valley for a visit we made to Rutherford Hill Winery and brought home a 2014 Limited Release Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon. We opened this baby up, let it decant for 2 hours and boy was it ready! Aromas of black cherries and blackberries with hints of coffee bean and vanilla that correlates into a black fruity juice forward that floats like velvet over the palate. The tannins and acidity are perfectly balanced given to a nice long finish with that Rutherford dust flavor.
This wine went perfectly with the ribeye steaks (sorry no picture, it was half way gone when I thought about the pic). It tasted just like the sample that Jimmy,our wine ambassador, gave us at Rutherford Hill! I don’t know how many times I’ve loved a wine in the tasting room and once I open it at home, it didn’t taste the same.

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San Antonio Winery

Have you visited San Antonio Winery, the oldest winery in Los Angeles? Founded in 1917, this is the most awarded winery in California.  Richard remembers going there with his parents in the 60s, a five hour round trip drive, just to pick up a case of jug wine (San Antonio Burgundy).  Today, the  Winery has expanded to twenty brands with vineyards in Paso Robles, Monterey, and Napa Valley as well as their Stella Rosa label (celebrating 15 years) which is made and bottled in Italy.


Our visit began with a welcome sampling of the Stella Rosa Orange Moscato a 92 point wine (above). Dominic (below), our wine ambassador, started us off with a glass of Stella Rosa Prosecco, then moved us right along to the Windstream Pinot Noir, Opaque Zinfandel, San Simeon Petite Sirah, Opaque Malbec, San Simeon Cabernet, and Stormwatch a Bordeaux blend. (Wine reviews to follow.) Many thanks to Dominic for hosting MyRedWineGuys for a really awesome wine tasting!

Dominic gave us a wonderful behind the scenes tour where we saw the huge original redwood vats that have been retired for the stainless steel tanks used for fermentation and the thousands of oak barrels that are aging the wine. The bottling line which processes over 700,000 cases a year was quiet this time of year but impressive none-the-less.  Private rooms for banquets and meetings are also available.

We concluded our visit with dinner and live music at the Maddalena restaurant located in the winery. They offer a great variety of dishes including pasta, lamb chops, and a seared ahi tuna salad.  We had a beautiful 2012 Opaque Petite Syrah which was wonderful.


On the way out,  don’t forget to browse through the extensive gift shop.  We had so much fun shopping and browsing the wonderful gourmet foods, desserts, and wine accessories.  This historic popular winery should be added to your must visit list when you are in Los Angeles.


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Calla Lily Ultimate Red Pinot Noir 2014

We tasted one of the better Pinot Noirs this summer in Napa Valley while visiting Calla Lily Estate in Pope Valley.  Now you are probably thinking that Pope Valley is known for their Cabernets, you’re right.  This 2014 Calla Lily Ultimate Red Pinot Noir comes from Carneros AVA, aged for 10 months in French oak.  Aromas red fruit (raspberries, cherries and strawberries) with a hint of vanilla and this red fruity aroma continues across the palate with a velvety texture.  The acidity was high which made you want more of the wine after each sip.  This wine can be enjoyed easily for the next 10 years.

We think winemakers Cary Gott and Kelly Deianni knocked it out of the park on this Pinot Noir!

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