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Summer Refresher: Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc

Frogs Leap 2012 Sauvignon BlancMy wine adventure this week went no further than the living room on a hot summer evening.  Those of us living along the I-80 corridor watch for signs of fog along the hills that separate San Pablo Bay from southern Napa County and western Solano County.  When the fog rolls in, the wind becomes a bruiser, slapping cars as they cross the Delta at the Martinez or Carquinez bridges like an airplane in heavy turbulence.  After making sure the lawn furniture is secure, I like to leave the windows open and listen to the wind, which often sounds like waves hitting the shore outside a beach-side condo on Maui.  On a warm night like this, the right wine will be cold, crisp and light.

It seems that most Napa producers of sauvignon blanc have gone through more changes in their wine from vintage to vintage recently than in past harvests.  Several of those who produced outstanding 2010 and 2011 releases fell flat in 2012.  Happily, Frog’s Leap 2012 Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc stands out as everything a great sauv blanc should be.  Dry and best served cold, Frog’s Leap stands out as my favorite for a summer refresher retailing around $20.

Tastings and tours are by appointment at Frog’s Leap.  I plan to visit soon and will report back.  In the meantime, try a bottle yourselves.

www.FrogsLeap.com

FROG’S LEAP
8815 Conn Creek Rd
Rutherford, CA 94573
Tel 800.959.4704
Tel 707.963.4704
Fax 707.963.0242

 

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Signorello Estate – A Great View And Wonderful Wines

Signorello Estate viewAs often happens when cruising wine country, my stop at Signorello Estate was a “let’s turn in here” moment as I had time available before an appointment further down Silverado Trail.  My handy iPhone winery app said tasting was available by appointment only, but a sign at the gate said OPEN, so up the hill a short drive and there we were in the small parking lot outside the tasting room.

Signorello Estate produces a small variety of wines compared to many of the big labels on the Trail, including chardonnay and cabernet.  We tried just a few and settled on two that were especially interesting.

If you enjoy cool wines on warm days that provide a hint of fruit and flowers, try Signorello’s 2011 Seta ($45).  Their tasting notes say, “The nose opens with fragrant white peach and melon aromas.”  A truly drinkable wine you could put on either end of a meal.

The newly released 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($90) is smooth with solid credentials as a hearty wine that is easy to drink.

The tasting room is cozy, with tasting bar on one side and an open kitchen on the other.  Our hostess guided us out to the patio, where 10 or 12 tables are set up where you can enjoy a view of Napa Valley that is as good as you would see from any of the $2,000-a-night resorts along the eastern slope of the Valley.  The winery hosts wine club events in the summer, where members take in the view and sample wine and food pairings.  This is a winery definitely worth a visit.

 

Signorello Estate   4500 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558

Telephone 707-255-5900  http://www.signorelloestate.com/

Tasting Room open Monday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Souerbry is a Wine Adventurer whose fearless explorations originate from base camps in Northern California’s Silicon Valley and in Wine Country.  When not knee-deep in urban jungle, swamp or vineyard, he shares tall tales and tasting notes in his Wine Adventure Journal, practices real estate, plays something that by appearance loosely resembles the game of golf, tries to fish, loses his shirt at poker, sips wine and scotch, and is a student of American Kenpo karate.  John is not affiliated with any wine industry establishments and his opinions regarding wines and wine-related destinations are completely his own.  Caveat lector.

Shameless business plug:  Wine Country, Silicon Valley, East Bay Real Estate

 

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An Excellent Sonoma County Zinfandel at B.R. Cohn Winery

An Excellent Sonoma County Zinfandel at B.R. Cohn Winery

BR Cohn 2009 Sonoma Valley ZinfandelIt’s been too long since my last journal entry, but this wine is worth the wait.  As the label says, this past weekend I ran up to Sonoma County and stopped in at B.R. Cohn Winery about 10 minutes north of downtown Sonoma in Glen Ellen.  Founder Bruce Cohen offers a wide variety of wines, reds and whites, in the $18 to $55 price range.

We picked up a few bottles of their sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and BR Cohn 2009 Sonoma Valley ZinfandelThis winery offers several great reds, but I found their 2009 Zin extra smooth with deep flavor and aroma, an excellent sipping or food pairing wine.  And a great value at $28 retail, $22.40 for club members.

Also on the grounds at B.R. Cohn are cigar and gift shops that feature Bruce Cohn’s affinity for classic cars and celebrate Bruce’s roughly 40 years as manager of the rock band The Doobie Brothers.  They also feature their own olive oils and other gourmet food items.  Next time you’re in Sonoma, I definitely recommend a stop at B.R. Cohn Winery.

After visiting B.R. Cohn, I headed south to check out Sauced BBQ & Spirits for dinner in downtown Livermore.  Luckily I got there before the dinner rush, as the entire restaurant was packed by 6pm, with large crowds waiting outside.  Sauced blends the atmosphere of a kid-friendly family restaurant with a sports bar for a great dining experience.  The menu is BBQ with several styles of sauces.  Worth trying: “burnt ends” (chunks of pork loin well done), ribs, wings and cheeseburgers.  The Mac N Cheese and coleslaw sides are also very good.  They have a full bar and feature local wines.  2300 1st Street, Livermore, CA 94550.  Tel (925) 961-1300.

 

B.R. Cohn Winery   15000 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen, CA 95442

Telephone 800-330-4064  http://www.brcohn.com

 

PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS BLOG

I appreciate your wine adventure comments and recommendations…..

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Souerbry is a Wine Adventurer whose fearless explorations originate from base camps in Northern California’s Silicon Valley and in Wine Country.  When not knee-deep in urban jungle, swamp or vineyard, he shares tall tales and tasting notes in his Wine Adventure Journal, practices real estate,plays something that by appearance loosely resembles the game of golf, tries to fish, loses his shirt at poker, sips wine and scotch, and is a student of American Kenpo karate.  John is not affiliated with any wine industry establishments and his opinions regarding wines and wine-related destinations are completely his own.  Caveat lector.

Shameless business plug:  Wine Country and Silicon Valley Real Estate

Tags: B.R. Cohn Winery, Sonoma County wineries and tasting rooms, Wine Country real estate, Sauced BBQ & Spirits

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2012 in Sonoma Wines, Tasting Rooms, Zinfandel

 

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A New Adventure At An Old Tasting Room: V. Sattui Winery in Napa Valley

A New Adventure At An Old Tasting Room:  V. Sattui Winery in Napa Valley

V Sattui 2009 Russian River Valley Zinfandel  Gilsson VineyardIf you’ve been passing by V. Sattui Winery on Highway 29 for years, like I have, you might want to try stopping in. Compared to the smaller, intimate tasting rooms in Napa Valley, V. Sattui looks like Grand Central Station with overflowing parking lots and expansive lawns filled with picnic tables and hundreds of visitors from opening time to closing.  Not usually my kind of wine tasting environment, but on a recent weekend we decided to see what makes this one of the most visited wineries in Napa Valley.

Surprisingly, a parking spot opened up right in front of the main building as we drove onto the grounds (a good sign and very helpful later). The place was packed, inside and out. The greeter directed us to the premium tasting room a little farther from the highway, saying the main tasting room was full.  It was.

The premium tasting room is a relatively small, intimate setting and there were perhaps six other visitors there when we arrived.  We were offered an option of regular or premium flights, I took the regular and my lovely finance, Barbara, took the premium.

We discovered several interesting things about V. Sattui Winery.  First, they have a very extensive offering of wines of many types and varietals, from the very sweet to very dry.  All the wines are reasonably priced and for sale only at the winery (most expensive is about $60).  We liked many of the wines we tasted, but our favorite is the 2009 Russian River Valley Zinfandel (Gilsson Vineyard).  Excellent.

We selected a mixed case and headed out for our dinner reservations at the Rutherford Grill, the perfect end to an adventure at an old winery that was a new and wonderful experience for us.  I highly recommend looking past the crowds and trying some really great, reasonably-priced wines that you’ll consider buying again and again.  While you’re there, shop in the gift shop and deli.  Lots of great, fresh, local foods perfect for a picnic at the winery or to take home.

 

V. Sattui Winery   1111 White Lane, Saint Helena, CA 94574 (fronts Highway 29)

Telephone (707) 963-7774    http://www.vsattui.com

 

PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS BLOG

I appreciate your wine adventure comments and recommendations…..

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Souerbry is a Wine Adventurer whose fearless explorations originate from base camps in Northern California’s Silicon Valley and in Wine Country.  When not knee-deep in urban jungle, swamp or vineyard, he shares tall tales and tasting notes in his Wine Adventure Journal, practices real estate, plays something that by appearance loosely resembles the game of golf, tries to fish, loses frequently at poker, sips wine and scotch, and is a student of American Kenpo karate.  John is not affiliated with any wine industry establishments and his opinions regarding wines and wine-related destinations are completely his own.  Caveat lector.

Shameless business plug:  Wine Country and Silicon Valley Real Estate

Tags: V. Sattui Winery, Napa Valley tasting rooms, Wine Country real estate

 

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A Bottle Opened: Black Stallion Winery 2009 Chardonnay

Black Stallion 2009 chardonnayDriving home through Napa Valley with a little spare time and a couple bucks in my pocket often leads to tasting room visits.  On this particular day, I had been looking at vineyard land for sale in central Napa Valley and was on the lookout for a tasting opportunity.  As I drove south on Silverado Trail I noticed the Black Stallion Winery sign and thought about how long it had been since I’d been in their tasting room.  At least a year.  I pulled into the parking lot.

Even though few cars and no buses were parked outside, the tasting room bar was full.  I wedged in and started tasting, hoping to find something to fill a few empty spaces in the wine rack.  Early in the flight it appeared – Black Stallion’s 2009 Chardonnay ($32).  This is a crisp, clean wine that is the polar opposite of the heavy, “oakey” chardonnays.  Great with foods you’d normally pair with chardonnay, but also great on its own.  Wine guys that find every fruit in the rainbow in wines will find some pear and other stuff, but mostly just great wine that is best served moderately chilled.

If you find yourself near Napa, drop in the Black Stallion tasting room and try all their wines.  But if you see bottles of the 2009 Chardonnay on a wine list or in a shop, try it – you’ll like it. 

Black Stallion Winery   4089 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558

Telephone (707) 227-3250

www.blackstallionwinery.com

PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS BLOG

I appreciate your wine adventure comments and recommendations…..

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Souerbry is a Wine Adventurer whose fearless explorations originate from base camps in Northern California’s Silicon Valley and in Wine Country.  When not knee-deep in urban jungle, swamp or vineyard, he shares tall tales and tasting notes in his Wine Adventure Journal, practices real estate, plays something that by appearance loosely resembles the game of golf, tries to fish, loses frequently at poker, sips wine and scotch, and is a student of American Kenpo karate.  John is not affiliated with any wine industry establishments and his opinions regarding wines and wine-related destinations are completely his own.  Caveat lector.

Shameless business plug:  Wine Country and Silicon Valley Real Estate

Tags: Black Stallion Winery, Napa Valley tasting rooms, Wine Country real estate

 

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A Bottle Opened: Round Pond Estate 2009 Cab

Round Pond Estate 2009 cabernet sauvignonSomeone once said:

“For a bottle of wine to be good, it just needs to be open…”

Either that fellow never owned more than one bottle or he had no sense of smell, taste or sight. Some wines are certainly good, others don’t quite meet that standard.

This weekend I went to the rack and pulled out a bottle from a recent wine club shipment,* Round Pond Estate 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon ($50). I’ve been a member there less than a year and have only visited a few times, so my knowledge of their wines is just beginning to develop.

We normally decant California reds for at least a couple hours, but on the evening I opened this bottle we’d been out during the day and I’d forgotten to pull the cork before we’d left. It didn’t matter. After a few minutes in the glass, this wine had opened up nicely and was ready to drink. A truly wonderful wine.

Let’s face it, wine is made from grapes, yeast, hard work, love, and magical pixi dust. There is no chocolate, anis, cherry, blackberry, pear, or grapefruit in wine made from grapes. But wine critics like to use those (and other) terms to describe the individual components they derive from a tasting. I’m not a wine critic, but I’ll borrow one term to apply to this wine – chocolate. As my fiance remarked after a glass (I paraphrase), “it’s like drinking chocolate that thinks it’s fine wine.” She meant it as flattery and I had to agree with her. For our tastes, Round Pond hit this one out of the park. Very, very smooth while still packing the punch of a wine that tells you what it is without having to read the label. It has a little Petit Verdot (5%) and Malbec (1%) blended in.

When in wine country, put this Napa Valley tasting room at the top of your “must see list.” But call several days ahead, tastings are by appointment only and not just a flight poured at the bar. We had our first tasting on their 2nd floor open-air veranda overlooking vineyards all around. Small plates of cheese and fruit were paired with the various wines. A top notch experience with fantastic wines.

Round Pond Estate, 875 Rutherford Road, Rutherford, CA 94573 www.roundpond.com

*We belong to only four wine clubs, more on that in future blogs.

 

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CNBC Reports California Wine Prices Likely To Rise Due To

CNBC is reporting “Wine Prices Set To Rise Amid California Grape Shortage” (click to read article).

To those in Wine Country who observed the most recent harvest, this is not news. But interesting to see that the world is taking note.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Wine Industry

 

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