Author: TheWineMuse.net

Elegance in a Glass – Left Coast Estate 2016 Latitude 45 Estate Pinot Noir

By now it’s no secret how much I love Left Coast Estate. Family owned and operated, the wines are lovely.  They are well crafted, delicious, and often surprising!  Left Coast Estate is certified sustainable through LIVE, and has even partnered with the US Department of Fish & Wildlife to restore the oak forests in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.  A majority of the Estate is solar powered. They walk the walk. A few weeks ago, they sent me a bottle of 2016 Latitude 45 Estate Pinot Noir – just in time for the holidays! Sure enough, this is the perfect wine to sip during this season. The deeply hued garnet color of this wine is unexpected since Pinot Noir is usually a lighter color. The nose is intoxicating, with a bright, aromatic bouquet of flowers: roses, candied violets, and lilacs. Luscious, earthy flavors tickle the tongue: mushrooms, freshly plucked thyme, red bursting berries, and forest floor. The mouthfeel is finessed with a silky/satiny beginning and a velvety finish.  It is elegance in a glass. This …

Thanksgiving Wines

It’s that time of year again – the holidays! It’s time to make merry, to celebrate, to wine and dine! Having trouble selecting a wine for the Thanksgiving table? Here’s a quick guide: Sparkling Wine: Sparkling wine is always a good choice for the holidays. The wine itself is celebratory from the pop of the cork to the cheerful string of persistent bubbles. It can be used to greet guests, as an aperitive with cheese, as a delightful pairing for all Thanksgiving and holiday foods, and even as a beautiful way to end the meal. I sampled a 2013 Left Coast Cellars Blanc de Noir. It was light and refreshing with notes of stonefruit, brioche, lemon zest, and some lovely minerality. It would pair nicely with anything, but specifically, cheese, turkey, mashed potatoes, and chocolate. White Wine: White wine always goes well with turkey, and Chardonnay is a classic. A nice, lightly oaked Chardonnay with subtle notes of fruit can elevate the turkey and complement buttery side dishes. I picked up a 2017 Coastal Estates …

Wine Review – 2015 Opaque “Darkness”

I was feeling good.  I had tasted great wines and was having a fun, wine-nerdy conversation with Hector, a San Antonio veteran of over 30 years. “Do you want to try the wine my wife and I drink?” he asked. Of course I did! That’s when he brought out “Opaque.” He explained to me that he and his wife like bold wines, and this one was basically an “everything but the kitchen sink” type of wine. With a blend of six varietals, he was right!  I chuckled as he listed them off: Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Petit Sirah, and Petit Verdot. What an audacious offering.  I couldn’t wait to try it! Sure enough, it was everything it was promised to be: rich, dark, inky, voluptuous! This wine filled my mouth with a beautiful balance of tannins and acid. I tasted luscious fruit – ripe berries with hints of chocolate and smoke. It finished with a dusting of cinnamon, cloves, and a touch of pepper. The finish lingered, as the remaining wine painted the glass. …

San Antonio Winery Los Angeles Tasting Room

The San Antonio Winery Tasting Room in Los Angeles has a cornucopia of delicious things. Not only do they have their large portfolio of wines available for tasting and for purchase, but they also have (non-San Antonio Winery) distilled spirits for sale including a few brands of Japanese whiskey. There are gourmet food items and snacks along with wine-themed gifts. The on-premises restaurant, Maddalena, has a stunning “visual menu” of all the entrees that are available. The selection is huge! Selection seems to be the predominant theme at the San Antonio Tasting Room. There is even a selection of wine tastings, ranging in price from $5 to $15 for four tastes of wine. The $5 tasting is for the well-known San Antonio brand of sweet to semi-sweet Stella Rosa wines, while the $7 tasting is for the lesser-known and dryer San Simeon and Maddalena brands. The $15 tasting is for the Artisan wines. The guest is able to select the wines they would like to taste. While San Antonio Winery no longer grows in Los Angeles, …

San Antonio Winery – A Los Angeles Landmark in Winemaking

Did you know Los Angeles was once the main wine-producing region in California? The first grapes in the Downtown Los Angeles area were planted in 1833. By 1890, there were vineyards that stretched throughout the majority of the Southern California region, with over 80 wineries in the Los Angeles area. Unfortunately, Prohibition in 1920 wiped out most of these vineyards, since the production, sale, and transportation of alcohol was prohibited. San Antonio Winery was only three years old when Prohibition began.  The founder, Santo Cambianica found a way to adapt to the situation.  A loophole in the act allowed the production of sacramental wine. Cambianca, a devout Catholic, was able to stay in business by selling the wine for religious services. This was a turn of genius and actually established San Antonio Winery as the largest producer of communal wine in the United States. At the time Prohibition began, the winery was producing around 5,000 cases of wine.  By the end of Prohibition in 1933, San Antonio Winery was producing over 20,000 cases of wine. After …

One Last Hurrah for Merlot Month

It’s no longer Merlot month, but I did have this tasty treat during that time.   🍷2017 Bogle Vineyards Merlot from Napa Valley This was a good find at Trader Joe’s for under $10 – can you believe it? Under $10 from a 2018 Green Medal Leader Award winner, which honors the vineyard that best demonstrates environmentally sound, socially equitable and economically viable sustainable practices. Not only that, Bogle is a Certified Sustainable Vineyard and is Green Certified. Hooray for sustainability!! As for the wine itself, this Merlot has a deep garnet hue, which is almost black. Bright berry notes greet the nose, along with cherry and plum notes on the palate. This is drinkable now, but it’s a little young. I would recommend buying it now and laying it down for a couple of years to develop some more complex flavors. I paired this wine with a quickly made truffle gnocchi with cremini mushrooms, thyme, olive oil, lemon zest, and garlic. This brought out some beautiful earthy notes along with a creamy mouthfeel.

Dia de los Muertos – Tequila

“All dressed up with nowhere to go. Walking with a dead man over my shoulder…” ¡Feliz Dia de los Muertos! Today I have KÁH Tequila, which honors Dia de Los Muertos with its sugar skull bottles. Each one represents the different traditions throughout South America. The white skull is Blanco, and is honoring the Bolivian tradition of keeping the skulls of their ancestors. The yellow is Reposado, representing the Peruvian tradition of honoring the Devil to appease him and keep their loved ones safe. The black is Añejo, representing the Nicaraguan tradition of sleeping in the graveyard, next to their family’s graves. It’s all very macabre, but also wonderful. Today is the day to honor the memory of those who has passed. How much do you know about tequila? Basically, it is an alcohol created from the blue agave plant. There are basically four different types of tequila: Blanco: The purest type, it is usually aged less than two months in stainless steel or neutral barrels. Reposado: Aged between two and twelve months in barrels. …