Petra Zingari Toscana Sangiovese 2015

Well it is the start of grilling season for me and I can’t think of a better beginning than Portobello Mushroom Pizza’s. And what better wine to go with pizza than a Sangiovese blend from Italy.  Dark cherry, plum, chocolate with a hint of tobacco awaits your nose as you savor the aroma’s before you have that first sip.  And what a nice first sip it was!  This is a medium bodied wine with balanced tannins and acidity.  The finish was longer than expected and really got the palette ready for the mini Traegered mushrooms.  What a nice wine and the mushrooms weren’t bad either.

I give this wine 4 glasses and my mushrooms 5.     

 

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Calla Lily Vineyards

There lays a vineyard nestled in the hills of Pope Valley on the edge of Howell Mountain AVA, Calla Lily Vineyards, producing some exceptional red wines. The winery was built in 2010 and is a fully equipped and modern winery. The tasting room is unique with dark wood cabinetry, crown molding, old-fashioned gilt ceiling tin paneling with a bar you find in an old western. Just a very comfortable atmosphere. We spent some time with part owner and winemaker, Cary Gott (4th generation Napa Valley) and assistant wine maker Kelly Deianni to learn more about Calla Lily Vineyards.

When we arrived, Cary and Kelly were in the middle of tasting the 2018 lot vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Cary invited us to sample the wines from different barrels, as well as, different lot locations and give our analysis. They do this about 3 times a year before settling on the correct blend before bottling. Wow, what an opportunity! Also from these samplings they determine which Cabernet Sauvignon grapes go into their flagship wine, “Audax”.

We walked the property of 20 acres planted with 12 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon (Clone 7 – our favorite) also on two different root stocks (another story), 5 acres Petit Syrah and 1 acre each of Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Pope Valley is the last area in Napa Valley with ample undeveloped land to grow grapes but as with most areas, water plays the determining factor on receiving approval from the county supervisors which could take years.

Calla Lily produces three wines for sale, Ultimate Pinot Noir, Ultimate Cabernet Sauvignon and Audax (which means “Bold” in Latin). Calla Lily Vineyard wines can be purchased in few of restaurants around Napa Valley or on their website at www.callalilywines.com

The tasting room is not open to the public and visits are by appointment only. We appreciate the time given to us by Calla Lily’s winemaking team of Cary and Kelly.

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2016 Domaine Carneros The Famous Gate Pinot Noir

Have you enjoyed a Pinot Noir lately? We had the pleasure of tasting this Pinot on a recent visit to Domaine Carneros in Napa Valley. The Domaine Carneros château is a California wine country landmark. Inspired by the classic 18th century Château de la Marquetterie in Champagne, France. If you ever have the opportunity to visit you should reserve a time to experience this beautiful winery and their lovely hospitality!

This 2016 Pinot Noir, “The Famous Gate“, from Domaine Carneros is ruby in color with a wonderful bouquet of strawberries, blackberries and blueberries with just a hint of cocoa at the edge.  The Famous Gate feels more in line with the French Pinots than the ones from Russian River area (which we truly love).  Medium tannins and acidity, perfectly balanced with a silky finish.  This Pinot Noir can stand on it’s own, doesn’t need any pairings, it’s just that good!  We give this 3 glasses. 

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La Prevostura 2015

This 2015 Nebbiolo wine is from Italy’s Piedmont region, a La Prevostura Coste della Sesia “Muntacc”.   This Nebbiolo wine is grown on the La Prevostura hills by the Bellini brothers whose first vintage was in 2009.  The wine is aged in small barrels for 21 months (not new) before bottling.

The Nebbiolo grape is known for producing big, bold, red wines. We found this to be garnet in color with aromas of red plums, coffee and roses that is dry on the palate with a smooth tannin and medium acidity.  Just a pleasant drinking wine! We give this wine 4 glasses.  

 

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2016 Domaine des Escaravailles “La Ponce” Rasteau

We really enjoyed this 2016 Domaine des Escaravailles “La Ponce” — a nice Grenache/Syrah blend from Rasteau, a parish in the southern Rhone valley located 15 miles northeast of the famous Chateauneuf-du-Pape (famous for Grenache/Syrah).  Domaine des Escaravilles was founded in 1953 by Jean-Louis Ferran with his sons, Jean-Louis and Daniel.  The Domaine is currently run by Daniel’s son, Gilles who uses sustainable and organic practices and all grapes are manually harvested.

The Grenache (80%) and Syrah (20%) blend (aged in concrete) is full bodied with aromas of  blackberries, blueberries, cherries and violets that display a richness that increases with each sip.  The 2016 wine has very balanced tannins and acidity that leads to a very nice finish.  Regions – Rasteau, Cairanne, Roaix and Saint Roman de Malegarde are up and coming and Domaine des Escaravailles is one of the top producers. We suggest pairing with beef, lamb or venison and give this wine 4 glasses.  

This wine is carried by Bird Rock Fine Wines for a steal for $24!

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Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

For the Cabernet lovers out there, we are talking about the 2015 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon today! Whitehall Lane Winery and Vineyards is a local family-owned and operated winery in Rutherford Appellation of Napa Valley, dedicated to growing and making some great wines. This Cabernet really delivers with aromas of the black fruits with hints of licorice and spices. Perfectly balanced (tannins and acidity medium to high) but it doesn’t affect the finish which was very smooth. We found this gem at Costco for under $30. It’s ready to drink now and most likely the next 5 years. We really liked the 2014. The 2015, in our book is an improvement. Great job Whitehall Lane! Giving this wine 4 glasses.  

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Faust Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

We learned that grapes 🍇 from the Quintessa vineyard that aren’t used in their wines make their way to Faust Vineyards (they keep the grapes in the family). This wine is young and might not be at the Quintessa level, but I feel in time it will get better and make a name for itself. Cherries, plums and other dark fruit give this wine character. It needs a good 2 hours of decanting, in fact, it was better the second day than the first! It has a nice fruity feel in the mouth with hints of chocolate on the palate and a nice finish. For less than $40 at Costco, it’s a good buy for a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. We give this wine 3 glasses. 

🍷 Who else is enjoying a glass of wine outside on this gorgeous weekend?

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Brunello de Montalcino 2012 from La Colombina

What’s better than pizza and red wine, not any red wine, but a Brunello de Montalcino 2012 from La Colombina? 🍷 This Tuscany Sangiovese wine is aged for 30 to 40 months in very large French/Slavonian oak barrels. It has a garnet color with dried cherries and vanilla aromas, perfectly balanced with a very long finish. This is just a great drinking wine that got better with each glass, even after decanting for 2 hours! I’m glad I have a few more of these great wines in the cellar — highly recommend! You can pick this up at Costco. 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷

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Silverado SOLO Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

We always like to bring out the big, bold Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon to get the weekend started. We selected one of our favorite vineyards, Silverado, to enjoy winemaker Jon Emmerich’s best Cabernet, “Solo”. This is our wives favorite too! This 2012 Stags Leaps District Cabernet has dark ruby color with strong aromas of plums, cherries and hints of vanilla, tobacco and leather. This wine is well balanced with medium tannins and soft acidity that transform into a velvety elegant finish. There was a nice vanilla taste at the end which really made this wine very enjoyable. This is a wine that could be drank alone or with hearty meats and cheeses. We also enjoyed this with fish. I would give this wine somewhere between 4 to 5 glasses!  

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Anonymous Red Blend 2015 by 1849 Wine Co.

If you are looking for a “great” Napa red blend, stop looking and keep some of your money! This 1849 Napa red blend, Anonymous 2015, is an exceptional blend with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Syrah and Zinfandel.  It has been aged for 27 months in French Oak which gives it a very nice finish.  Blueberries, blackberries, plums with a nice hint of vanilla give this wine aromatic flavors that transform into a juicy fruit forward and nice finish.  You can find this wine at Ralphs for under $40. Giving this 4 glasses.

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