All posts tagged: Wine

Featured Wine – 2018 Ampelos Viognier “Phi”

Yesterday was such a bummer. I moved my wine collection and found a couple of mystery bottles that I thought would be fun to blind taste.  However, I quickly found out they had gone bad. So, I decided I needed to open up a bottle of wine I’ve been saving: Ampelos 2018 Viognier “Phi”. First, let me start by saying, I have a very high affection for Ampelos. They really take the environment seriously and have certifications in organic, biodynamic, and sustainable farming. Their website states, “In growing grapes, we believe in taking care of and respecting the environment and that our vineyard needs to be in balance with nature…” From that, they have produced some extraordinary wines, and this Viognier is no exception. Fresh and aromatic, the 2018 Ampelos Viognier has intoxicating aromas of honeysuckle and jasmine with orange marmalade, melon, and papaya. The first sip is greeted with bright acidity and notes of stone fruit and white flowers. It’s a luscious wine that immediately makes me feel like I’m running through a field …

Featured Wine of the Week – Solminer 2018 “Rubellite”

Happy New Year and welcome to our first Featured Wine of the Week for 2020! Today we’re drinking a wine from Sominer called “Rubellite.” This wine is 72% Syrah, 27% Grenache, and 1% Riesling. It’s from Santa Ynez Valley in California. If you’ve been following me, you know this is my type of wine. I love wines from this region, and especially Syrahs. So, let’s dive in! Solminer is a labor of love between a husband and wife team. They were Certified Organic in 2014 and Demeter Certified Biodynamic in 2018. Their focus is on natural wines. They use chickens, donkeys, sheep, bees, fruit trees, native plants, compost, and herb teas(!) to encourage the health of the vineyard. The most notable varietals they planted were the Austrian Grüner Veltliner and Blaufränkisch, which have flourished. Solminer even makes a skin contact “orange” Grüner! The Rubellite Syrah/Grenache blend we’re drinking today is described as “an experiment gone incredibly well.” It was fermented with natural yeast and spent seven months in neutral French oak. It is unfined and …

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 …