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Posts Tagged ‘Napa Valley’

Wine Review Snapshot

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Wine Tasting Review

Sipping for Wine Reviews

Sipping for Wine Reviews & Education

As a wine educator, I am tasked with tasting wines on a frequent basis. Yes, break out the guitar and play a blues song for me. So, since I drink wine almost daily, I thought it was time again to share some tasting notes. For another wine review snapshot, check out my post on Warm Weather Wines ideal for fall.

What follows is a wine review snapshot of wines I’ve enjoyed recently.


My Wine Tastings Highlights

Domaine Peiriere by Paul Sapin


Pays d’Oc

Salad with orange slices

Salad with orange slices

I love blends. The Viognier in this blend gives it a bit of freshness and lemon zest, while the Chardonnay brings a great golden color that hints of oak. I wish more American Chardonnay producers would blend their white wines instead of making pure single variety wines.

This wine would be a nice accompaniment to a salad with mandarin orange slices or one with pieces of avocado. The acidity would compliment the citrus while matching nicely with the creaminess of the avocado.

It’s not a complicated wine but I’d drink it again as one of my simple, everyday wines. I believe it is priced under $10.


2011 Robert Craig Affinity

Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa Valley

This wine has great legs and a beautiful deep, purple color. On the nose, I got plum and blackberry fruit. Although the wine was young, I tasted masculine dark, plum and jam-like fruits. It also had surprisingly tamed tannins.

For a Napa Cab, the Robert Craig Affinity at $39.95 is priced quite reasonable. If you can buy two bottles, you should. Then, you can drink one now and lay one down for another 3 to 4 years. This is a wine that will taste even better in a few years.


2012 Ramey

Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa Valley

This Cabernet will set you back around $50, but it is worth every penny. It tastes like a Cab that cost twice as much. And that certainly is not a bad thing given the hefty prices most Napa Cabernets.

Its appearance is an intense dark red but the nose was a bit trickier. I smelled cherry and Thanksgiving spices, which only hastened my desire to taste it. So I gave into temptation and was rewarded with beautiful black cherry and raisin flavors. The tannins were as beautiful as the wine.

After drinking this wine, I was so intrigued that I went to the website to find out more about the winemaker. Dave Ramey developed an impressive resume working in the industry prior to opening his winery  with his wife Carla, in 1996. They have a tasting room in Healdsburg, which I will surely have to visit on my next trip to the region.

To learn more about their vineyards, click http://www.rameywine.com/vineyards/


Mumm Napa

Sparkling Wine Brut Prestige

Napa Valley

Champagne Classy Enough for a Wedding

A Sparking Wine Classy Enough for a Wedding

I could drink champagne and sparkling wine every single day of my life. I love it that much.  And this sparkling is a staple in my wine captain. A Napa stalwart, it is refreshing and has a creamy brioche finish typically only found in expensive French champagnes. It is medium bodied, with a citrus flavor and the perfect amount of acidity.

Mumm’s sparkling wine is classy enough to serve at a special occasion such as a wedding; yet it won’t break the bank. The complexity will have your guests thinking you spent far more. It’s a perfect food wine that typically retails for around $17.


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Top-Rated Wines from Napa Valley, Sonoma and Santa Barbara

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Enjoy these Top-Rated Wines from Napa Valley, Sonoma and Santa Barbara

As the weather turns warmer, many people turn to white whites and these three whites from Napa Valley, Sonoma and Santa Barbara are sure winners.  I recommend these top-rated wines because they are refreshingly crisp and are fairly inexpensive but still make worthy dinner companions because of the balance of fruit and acidity they bring to the table.  For this review, I  drank two Sauvignon Blanc wines, one from Napa Valley and the other from nearby Sonoma.  Next, I tasted a Santa Barbara County Chardonnay that was perfect for casual drinking on an unexpectedly warm day.

5/5 Silverado Vineyards Miller Ranch 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
This is a classic Sauv Blanc with grapefruit, lemon/lime zestiness. That’s why it earns a  great wine review rating. It has a lovely bright and crisp finish. Between this wine and the weather, it felt like I was enjoying a hot, August day. It’s great to see some of that esteemed Napa soil being used to grow Sauvignon Blanc. Blended with Semillion, this wine is a great example of a Bordeaux-style white. $22

Hanna Sauvignon Blanc

Hanna Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma

5*/5 Hanna Estate Grown 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma
My review for this wine is an impressive 5-star with value/5 rating.  I recommended this winery to a couple heading up to Sonoma for a long, weekend getaway. This wine is a great value especially from the Russian River Valley, which can be a high-rent district for California wineries. It’s wonderfully crisp, but delicate. It has the tropical flavor of pineapple, and a bit of Granny Smith apple with a lemon finish. Don’t be turned off by the screw-cap closure. $18

5*/5 Tangley Oaks 2007 Chardonnay, Lot #4, Central Coast
Here I go again with my Chardonnay disclaimer. I don’t typically care for these wines but, of course there are always exceptions, which explains the high rating I gave this Chard.  Tangley Oaks Chardonnay is not overly oaky, the very thing I dislike about chardonnays.  What a nice touch of vanilla with a Bit-o-Honey, which was one of my favorite candy bars as kid. Maybe I liked it so much though because it tasted like a Sauvignon Blanc with creamy pear and zesty lemon. $14

Here’s an explanation of my Tasting Notes Ranking System.



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