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Featured Wine of the Week

Happy Wine Wednesday!  Here we are again, and I thought it was only appropriate to feature a wine that speaks of Spring, warm weather and the #superbloom!  Today I am featuring another wine from Urban Press Winery, a Grenache Blanc with the name, “Fiore,” meaning flower.

bfa3b1a9-f4c6-4ca7-9fb7-ec3f7a7c0400This wine has become my hands down favorite white at the moment.  I’ve always loved a good Grenache Blanc, since I was first introduced to it years ago at Bouchon in Santa Barbara.  At that time, I got to try a Tercero Wines Grenache Blanc.  I took a picture of the bottle and went on a hunt for more.  I wasn’t able to find it, but fast forward to a couple of years later, and I was working an event where I got to meet Owner/Winemaker, Larry Schaffer of Tercero Wines and taste his other beautiful creations.

Grenache Blanc is still hard to find, and when I find a good one, I latch on to it.  Giovanni D’Andrea, Owner and Winemaker of Urban Press, has filled that niche for me – especially since it’s so easy for me to get here in Los Angeles.  The 2016 vintage is good, but the 2017 “Fiore” is absolutely fantastic!  It’s fresh, floral and fruity.  Yum!  The scent of this wine is so delicious, I don’t know if I want to smell it or drink it.  No, that’s a lie.  I want to drink it.

So, here are the tasting notes.  Cheers!

Details:

Urban Press Winery

2017 Grenache Blanc “Fiore”

14.2% Alcohol

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County

California, USA

Tasting Notes:

9c8fbe66-df75-4052-933a-0c3ad442715cThis lustrous wine is immediately inviting, with its golden hue and intoxicating aromas.  Perfumed floral notes of honeysuckle and jasmine, with layered citrus is on the nose.  The wine has a playful, silky quality and bright acids.  Flavors of lime zest, lychee, honeycomb and white flowers round out the palate.  I recommend this wine if you’re stuck between a wanting a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc.  It is superb!

 

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Featured Wine of the Week

I had the most extraordinary experience over the weekend by visiting a tasting room I had walked by time and time again. This time, I went in. I’m so glad I did! I discovered a beautiful space with some succulent wines. I’m going to feature a few wines from Urban Press Winery over the next few posts. They were too good to feature just one!

📚Details:

2013 Urban Press Cabernet Sauvignon

Moon Mountain District

Sonoma, California

Red Wine

🍷Tasting Notes:

Deep garnet in color, this silky Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas of ripe cherries and red fruits. On the palate it has a smooth, long finish with medium tannins and good acidity. The red fruits are present along with hints of cinnamon and cloves. There is a touch of menthol and pepper.

Healthy(ish) Granola

I’ve always loved granola.  It’s my “go to” for a healthy(ish) breakfast.  I love to mix it with Greek yogurt and fresh berries.  However, it wasn’t until I had a child that I really began to appreciate it.  Oats are magical…especially if you’re nursing.  They’re a natural way to not only get things moving, but also to increase milk output.

img_0962When my baby was only drinking breast milk, I began to make my own “Boobie Bars.”  I didn’t just eat them for breakfast, I ate them throughout the day.  They were so easy to just pop in my purse and grab any time I needed a snack.

I still make Boobie Bars just because they’re great to have around, but now I mostly make simple granola.  Each batch is basically the same, but I like to change it up if I have some fun stuff in my pantry.  My family loves it – especially when I add it to ice cream or pancakes.  Yum!

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups oats
  • 1 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1 cup pecans
  • ½ cup chocolate chips or dried fruit (optional)
  • 1 cup maple syrup or brown rice syrup
  • ½ cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon flax oil

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine all the ingredients
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy clean up)
  4. Spread the granola out on the sheet
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes

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Featured Wine of the Week

It’s #WineWednesday again!  I’ve been seeing Australian wines and vines all throughout my social media feeds.  It makes sense – this time of year is the end of their harvest season.  Here in California, we’re experiencing the opposite vine cycle, bud break, where all of the vines beginning to wake up from their winter slumber.  In Australia, grapes are being plucked and are in their beginning phases of wine.  So, it seems appropriate to feature an Australian wine today.

Details:

Yalumba

“The Y Series”

Shiraz Viognier

2015

96% Shiraz, 4% Viognier

13.5% Alcohol

South Australia

Red Wine

 

Tasting Notes:

I couldn’t wait to taste this wine after I found it.  With the addition of the Viognier (a white wine varietal) to the Shiraz, I expected it to have some roundness.  Strangely enough, the place I noticed the Viognier the most was in its aroma.  It smelled earthy with a touch of vanilla and lilac.  The wine was a beautiful deep ruby color in the glass and tasted of berries with a dusting of pepper and baking spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves at the finish.  It was well balanced with strong tannins and good acid.  It would pair nicely with pork.

 

Trivia:

This wine went through cool fermentation with whole grapes that were not pressed.  There was no oak in the winemaking process.  It is VEGAN friendly!  Strangely enough, this is difficult to find in wine since most go through a fining process, where agents such as egg whites or fish oil are used in the wine to absorb unwanted particles.

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Wine Diamonds

Have you ever seen these crystals in the bottle or glass of your wine?  I once had a server at a restaurant try to explain it as sediment in my white wine.  That’s not what these are.  They are tartrate crystals, also known as wine diamonds.

img_4705These wine diamonds are nothing to fear.  They are a natural occurrence that happens from time to time, and are safe to drink.  They are formed from a natural component, called tartaric acid.  Tartaric acid is found in grapes, apricots, apples, avocados, tamarinds, citrus, and bananas.  You can find it in among spices and is commonly used as cream of tartar that can be added to eggs to increase their thickness.

When you see them in wine, it is due to the tartaric acid binding with potassium when the wine is chilled.  They form the white crystals that can stick to the bottom of a cork and can be found in the last pours of a bottle.

img_4704These crystals can occur in both red and white wine.  However, they are most commonly found in white wines due to the low temperatures white wine is normally served and stored in.  They can be diminished in the winemaking process with filtering or cold stabilization, where the wine is held just above its freezing temperature for a few weeks.  However, both of these techniques can affect the flavor of the wine.  Plus we’re seeing a trend of winemakers working harder to interfere less with the natural processes of the wine.

So, the next time you see these in your bottle or glass, you’ll know you’ve been graced with wine diamonds.

Featured Wine of the Week

Happy Wine Wednesday!  We’re half way through the week.  Today I’m featuring a Tempranillo from the Toro region in northwest Spain. “Grab the bull by the horns.”

Details:

2016 Toro Tempranillo

100% Tempranillo

14.5% Alcohol

Toro DO, Spain

Red Wine

Tasting Notes:

This medium bodied wine is reminiscent of crushed velvet in the glass.  Its deep garnet color is reflective of its succulent bouquet of ripe fruit, cherries, boysenberries, smoke, and leather.  Flavors of cherry, smoke, and a pop of unripe plum carry this wine into a long, lingering finish.  This fruity wine would be paired well with chocolate and salty cheeses.

Trivia:

Toro is a region in northwest Spain that borders the Atlantic ocean.  It is best known for Albarino, a crisp, white wine.  Due to this cooler climate, this Tempranillo tastes young.  It is a lighter Tempranillo, and most likely will continue to taste younger as it ages.

The Art of Wine and Love

Early on in our courtship, my husband surprised me with a romantic weekend getaway to Napa Valley.  Of course, this act solidified my love and admiration for the man.  After all, he understood my passion for wine, even if it was not his.  He was happy just to see me in my element.

At that time, I had been working in the wine industry for a little more than a year, and I was thrilled to finally get to visit in person some of the wineries that up to this point I’d only known by their wines and representatives.  Our first stop was a VIP tour and tasting at Hall Wines.  What a start!

img_4676We arrived on the mountaintop in Rutherford and were surrounded by awe-inspiring views of Napa Valley.  It was a foggy autumn morning, with wispy clouds hovering along Mayacamas mountain ridges.  It was absolutely breathtaking.

As we approached the door to the main house, we passed a delightful metal sculpture of two figures in play – the first piece of art we would get to appreciate that day.  Then we were welcomed with a luscious sauvignon blanc as we mingled with the other guests.

We talked about the wine we were drinking, the views of Napa and the treasure trove of art in the home.  It was this moment that I began to understand something about my husband – he has a fantastic palate!  He and I discussed the flavors in the wine, the mouthfeel and even the brix, or sugar in the wine.  He was speaking my language – and he wanted to know more!  I was definitely in love.

2a8eab25-f0a5-4b4f-993e-6cc280f49ed5The tour began, and we were guided to the wine cave.  Painted barrels lined the walls and small sculptures adorned specially lit alcoves.  The ceiling was lined with antique Austrian bricks.  I was impressed…but the best part was about to come…

We were led to the end of the cavern that opened up into a stately banquet room.  A massive chandelier dripping in Swarovski crystals hung over a large banquet table, crafted to resemble the roots of the grapevines above.  This was heaven.

And then we got to taste!

Photo by @luiscon3

Unfortunately, my tasting notes are long since gone, but I remember the voluptuousness of the exquisite red wines.  They were powerful and delicious.  We walked away with a bottle of 2009 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon.

At the time, I appreciated what we had, but I wasn’t aware of the journey that bottle was about to take.  We waited seven years, one wedding, two cross country moves, five different homes, and one child, all the while in less than ideal storage conditions, before we finally opened it.

I was afraid this fantastic bottle of wine was ruined.  Most of our wine collection had been from one cross country move alone.  The cork even broke as I turned in the corkscrew.  However, as I poured the wine, I could smell its intoxicating bouquet.  I breathed in the aromas of cherries, ripe fruits, pepper, and tobacco.  It had all the indications of a California Cabernet Sauvignon, without any of the heat or cork taint I was expecting from its travels.  It smelled fresh and delicious.  I couldn’t wait to try it!

img_4601Sure enough, the wine held up!  It had a strong tannic structure with gorgeous legs that painted the glass.  This was an extremely well crafted wine, with 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec.  My mouth was filled with flavors of chocolate, baked berries, and subtle tones of menthol and anise.  There was a nice acidic balance.  However, the velvet mouthfeel of the wine took it to the next level.  It was elegant and lovely.

When I tasted this divine Cabernet Sauvignon, I was instantly transported back to that dreamy morning of views, art, enchanting caves, and the most decadent wine that I got to share with my lover at a time when we were just discovering each other.