Thursday, September 11, 2014

Showdown at Sunset 3


How would you like to try $548 worth of wine for only $27?  Of course you would!!!
Come try my new “Showdown at Sunset” wine flight featuring:

Which Valley is the best for Cabernet?

Comparative tasting is really fun! When it is all said and done what it boils down to is which wine would you rather drink and how much are you willing to pay for it? And we have clearly experienced that beauty is in the eyes of the taster; In our last Showdown at Sunset we ended with a tie, and the wine one couple thought was the worst was another couple’s favorite!?! In our “Showdown” tasting; all bets are off and any rules are out the window...four wines are poured, two ounces each, and you tell us which one you like the most. Simple & fun!

September 12th 2014


In our last Showdown at Sunset guests votes were across the board for Pinot Noirs from the Central Coast!  In today’s tasting we are taking one grape; Cabernet Sauvignon, from two valleys, only separated by the Mayacamas Mountains.  Are these wines close together in flavor as they are in geography or are they worlds apart?


2 oz each of four wines for $27. with tasting notes. (while supplies last.)


-Silver Oak, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California, 2009   Bin#628 $132.00 
(VOTE = 2)
Dark ruby color with a purple edge and an inviting nose of ripe black plum, blackberry, baking spices and soy sauce.  On the palate, the wine is rich and full, reminiscent of the flavors of a berry cobbler. It has a long finish with fine grained tannins.  Located in Geyserville, since 1972 they have perfected the formula for elegant wine, Founder Raymond T. Duncan first visited the Napa Valley in the late 1960s, he began to buy land in both Napa and Alexander Valleys with the goal of planting vineyards. Ray partnered with Justin Meyer, to create a winery that would forever raise the standards of California wine. Without Justin Meyer the California wine industry would not be where it is today.


-Rodney Strong, "Rockaway" Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California, 2007   Bin#615    $152.00 
(VOTE = 2)
Powerful and slightly tannic with concentrated flavors of blackberry, currant and a hint of toast with a rich, full body, complex structure and a lingering elegant finish. Established 1994 Rockaway Vineyard is planted almost exclusively to Bordeaux varietals. On the eastern slope of Alexander Valley just above Geyserville, the property rises to an elevation of 750 feet, with the contour sloping northeast and southwest.  More than 50 years ago a celebrated American dancer named Rod Strong settled in Sonoma County to pursue a second lifelong passion: winemaking. The 13th winery bonded in Sonoma County.

-Lewelling, Wight Vineyard, Napa Valley, California, 2009   Bin#631  $132.00 
(VOTE = 3)
Evocative red plum, dark berry, and ruby red cherry aromas mingled with notes of anise, almond blossom, espresso, and charcoal. Blackberry, creme de cassis, and tart cherry flavors; baking spice, mineral, coffee, and cedar; full-bodied with sweet, round tannins, impeccable balance and lively acidity.  Vineyard: 1/2 mile south of St. Helena on Lewelling Lane, an alluvial fan at the base of the western foothills with soils of bale gravelly loam.  Established in 1864; one of the oldest continuously-owned family vineyards in the Napa Valley.





-Cliff Lede, Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California, 2009  Bin#751 $132.00 
(VOTE = 1)
Intense blackberry liqueur and espresso bean develop into rose and truffle oil aromas. Creamy and opulent, flavors of semi-sweet chocolate, mocha, and plum layer the front and mid-palate. Fresh minerality, archetypal Stags Leap District character, frames the long silky finish.  Established in 2002, Cliff Lede Vineyards encompasses sixty acres with a gravity-flow winery with a berry-by-berry sorting system and conical tanks commissioned using a design inspired by the tanks of Château Latour. One tank per vineyard block ensures each lot evolves at its own pace. Every step of the way; no corner has been cut.





Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Showdown at Sunset 2



How would you like to try $508 worth of wine for only $27?  Of course you would!!!
Come try my new “Showdown at Sunset” wine flight featuring:

On a scale of one to ten; which Pinot Noir is a perfect TEN?

Comparative tasting is really fun! When it is all said and done what it boils down to is which wine would you rather drink and how much are you willing to pay for it? And we have clearly experienced that beauty is in the eyes of the taster; In our last Showdown at Sunset we ended with a tie, and the wine one couple thought was the worst was another couple’s favorite!?! In our “Showdown” tasting; all bets are off and any rules are out the window...four wines are poured, two ounces each, and you tell us which one you like the most. Simple & fun!

September 5th 2014


On a scale of one to ten; which Pinot Noir is a perfect TEN?
In today’s tasting we are taking one grape; Pinot Noir, from one region; California, and grown as close to each other as possible (from our list) and see if there is one that is PERFECTION in the glass? A perfect TEN?  You decide!

2 oz each of four wines for $27. with tasting notes. (while supplies last.)




-The Ojai, Presidio Vineyard, Santa Barbara County, California, 2008     Bin#414      $96.00 (VOTE = 3)
The Ojai Vineyard, owned by Adam & Helen Tolmach, works closely with a dozen different vineyards on the Central Coast of California and produces wines which are vineyard designated wines.  Stunning wine! Aromas of raspberries with scents of earth and spices: it is quite exotic! The flavors are particularly rich and savory.  The results in this glass will make you a believer in biodynamic farming. This property located west of the Santa Rita Hills a very cool climate that preserves the distinct character of the grapes--their struggle to ripen at this windy site produces their unique personality. Biodynamic farming requires a special attentiveness to the needs of the vine, which has a direct bearing on this wine.




-Surh Luchtel, Garys' Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands, California, 2009  Bin#427   $96.00 (VOTE = 1)
The famed vineyard gets its name from the owners Gary Pisoni and Gary Franscioni. Seventeen year old vines growing on sandy loam soil and blown by strong coastal winds off the Monterrey bay. The average summertime high temperatures are in the mid 70's. Concentrated, with silky tannins and lively acidity. It has its signature aroma of red fruit - stewed black cherries, ripe raspberry, tobacco, tea and spice. It is a kind of wine that we like to enjoy over many hours and watch it develop. Surh Luchtel wines are the result of collaboration between two long time friends Don Surh and Gary Luchtel.


-Sandhi, Santa Rita Hills, California, 2010     Bin#433   $96.00 (VOTE = 2)
Showcasing all the exuberance of Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir. A blend of vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills with over half the fruit from 40 year-old vines at the Sanford & Benedict vineyard! The rest coming from younger vines at Rita’s Crown and Bent Rock. It has bright, shiny, crunchy black raspberry fruit with great aromatic lift of fruit, flowers and cola spice.  Sandhi is an exciting joint venture by Rajat Parr, the wine director for Michael Mina Restaurants, Charles Banks, the former owner of Jonata and Screaming Eagle, and the talented winemaker, Sashi Moorman. Their goal is to produce distinctive high quality wines from select vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills of Santa Barbara County.





-Sea Smoke, "Ten" Santa Rita Hills, California, 2010   Bin#429   $220.00 (VOTE = 2)
Not for the faint-of-heart, A brooding and intense wine that has been known, on occasion, to convert even the most fanatic Cabernet lover. Ten is named for the ten Pinot Noir clones in the Sea Smoke estate vineyard, but, it may as well be the rating on a scale of one to ten.  The aromas begin with notes of noble fir, ganache, dusty blueberry and blackberry cobbler. Firm, mature tannins followed by a long, velvety finish. 100% French Oak—65% New Barrels.  Sea Smoke’s vineyard site has high altitude, southern exposure, rich clay soils, low crop yields and the unique microclimate of the Santa Ynez River canyon, ideal for growing premium Pinot Noir.






Friday, August 29, 2014

Showdown at Sunset


How would you like to try $480 worth of wine for only $27?  Of course you would!!! Come try my new “Showdown at Sunset” wine flight featuring:
"Which $120 Red Wine on our list is the BEST?"

Comparative tasting is an enjoyable pursuit. We often try the same variety side by side, or wines from the same region. When it is all said and done what it boils down to is which wine would you rather have and how much do you want to pay for a wine.  In our “Showdown” tasting; all bets are off and any rules are out the window...four wines are poured, two ounces each, and you tell us which one you like the most.  Simple & fun!

August 29th 2014

July and August we featured our French wines on the list; guest who had the Syrah from St. Joseph said; “It was so good we did not leave a drop.”  We know it is a great wine and a good value.  How does it compare to other red wine that sell for the same price?

2 oz each of four wines for $27. with tasting notes.
(8 oz of wine valued at $38.40)


-Syrah, Paul Jaboulet Aîné, Domaine de La Croix des Vignes, St.-Joseph, Rhône, France, 2009
“2009 will mark the full and complete resurrection of Paul Jaboulet Aîné to the highest level of quality in the northern Rhône!” Robert Parker, March 2011
From a tiny 3.75-acre estate and aged in 50% new oak, shows terrific raspberry and mineral-laced black currant and cherry fruit intermixed with aromas of flowers.  Complex, elegant, pure—Syrah!
The Paul Jaboulet story is of a magical encounter between a generous land on a hill along the Rhone river and a family passionate about growing vines and making wine. Founded in 1834 generations have helped these vineyards soar as beautiful and profound wines for the world.



-Malbec 75% Petit Verdot 25%, RAVEN, Becker, Texas Hill Country, 2010. (VOTE = 2)
“Look no further, you have found Texas’ Greatest Wine!  Dark and brooding colors in the glass with pleasant aromas of oak and vanilla over Texas’ characteristic ‘Trail Dust’.   The flavors are big, rich and juicy, with blackberry, black cherry, a creamy coco tease over the vanilla laced oak and smoke notes.  In the complex layers chestnuts, spice and woodsy flavors emerge, followed by a great finish.” -Steven Krueger, Resort Sommelier
Established in 1992 by Richard and Bunny Becker.  In addition to the grapes planted on site they buy grapes from great Texas growers like Drew Talent.  His vineyards in Mason County are the excellent source for the grapes that make this wine.



-Cabernet Sauvignon 83%, Merlot 8%, Malbec 5%, Cabernet Franc 4%, Orin Swift, "Palermo"  Napa Valley, California, 2011 (VOTE = 2)
Only the third vintage of Palermo; this wine represents years of experimentation with different lots, varying grape maturity levels, complex  French cooperage programs, and some proprietary intuition, they call “separate among equal parts.”  As time has passed, Orin Swift has carefully assembled a diverse network of vineyards to work with, in an ongoing effort to make better wines. The spirit of Palermo resides in an allegorical catacomb that stands to honor the past, cloaked in deference to the vine, and strives to artfully frame what the harvest yields every year.


-Zinfandel, Turley, Dragon Vineyard, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California, 2012 (VOTE = 2)
Dragon Vineyard is an estate-owned and certified organic vineyard. Planted at 2400 feet at one of the
highest points on Howell Mountain, the vineyard sits well above the fog line and faces east.  These important features, along with the rocky, red volcanic soil, make for a very unique, full-bodied and powerful Zinfandel.
Turley Wine Cellars makes single vineyard designate Zinfandels and Petite Syrahs.  Focusing on old vine vineyards in Turley aims to both create and preserve California’s unique winemaking culture.

Make reservations at Francesca's at Sunset in La Cantera Resort.

(Showdown ended with a three way tie!  The only looser being my beloved Syrah.  This showdown exercise is fun and tough.)