All posts tagged: Wine

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.

Furlani “Joannizza” Pét-Nat

Grown in the alpine city of Trento, Italy, “Joannizza” is created from Joannita, a grape created in 1968 from a cross of Riesling, Seyve-Villard, Rulander, and Gutedel.  This varietal is fungus and disease resistant…and rare. It is only grown in a few places, mostly in Germany and Switzerland. The Furlani family vineyard has 2.5 acres of Joannita. This vineyard is currently in the hands of Matteo Furlani, a 4th generation winemaker. While the family has always practiced organic farming, Matteo has also introduced some biodynamic techniques. Additionally, wines are fermented with no yeast or sulfur, in cement tanks and small glass jugs with no temperature control. The wines are placed outside in the snow to settle. This hands-off, small-batch approach is reflected in the wine. With a week of fermentation on the skins of the grape, the secondary fermentation is completed in the bottle with conserved grape must, resulting in lovely and persistent medium-sized bubbles. The hue is a bright and cheerful lemonade yellow, with strong aromas of yeasty baked bread, unripe apricot, and toasted …

2015 Predator “Six Spot”

A ladybug with six spots symbolizes a bountiful harvest. “Six Spot” is the perfect name for this enticing red blend from Predator Wines, by Rutherford Ranch.  With 48% Petite Sirah, 30% Zinfandel, and 22% Malbec, this wine fills the mouth with delicious flavors of raspberries, blueberries, ripe dark fruits, sugared plums, and mint. It is a cornucopia of luscious, silky flavors with an equally aromatic bouquet of perfumed cassis, red licorice, and juicy blackberries. It is deep, it is rich, it is bodacious! What’s better than that? Predator Wines is committed to sustainable farming practices, including introducing ladybugs to the Vineyards to keep out harmful pests. They also use reclaimed water (such an important practice in drought-prone California) and solar power. Cheers to that! Stats: 2016 Predator Wines “Six Spot” 48% Petite Sirah, 30% Zinfandel, 22% Malbec Lodi, CA, USA 13.5% Alcohol      

Left Coast “Cali’s Cuvée” 2016 Estate Pinot Noir

I like surprises.  I enjoy it when something is not quite what I was expecting – especially if it is interesting and thought-provoking.  This is what I experienced with Left Coast’s “Cali’s Cuvée” 2016 Estate Pinot Noir. It began with the color.  When I poured this Pinot Noir in the glass, it was a deep, rich color of purple, almost black.  The perfumed cassis aroma was intoxicating, and the flavors were unexpected. I tasted roses, violets, boysenberry and rich, dark fruit. It filled my mouth with a luxurious silkiness and left me wanting more. At $24 for the bottle, this wine is a steal. Grown in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, Left Coast Estate is known for its role in creating sustainability. They explain on their website: “We take a holistic approach to everything at Left Coast, sustainability being at the core of all we do. We received the largest USDA grant in Oregon in 2008 to go solar, and the vast majority of our estate’s electrical needs are supplied by the ground and roof …

Bele Casel Prosecco ColFòndo

The natural wine movement is in full swing, and I’ve been on a hunt for a trendy “pét-nat,” or a sparkling wine that has used the pétillant naturel method. What is the pétillant naturel method? Basically, it is the process of bottling a partially fermented wine and completing the fermentation in the bottle, which produces the bubbles. The wine placed in the bottle is raw and often unfiltered – it is “natural.” This is considered the simplest way to produce effervescence, but it also has the most risk.  Since the wine in the bottle is unfinished, it’s always a gamble as to how it will turn out. Given the popularity of pét-nats, it was fairly hard to find one.  Finally, I found a cool, local wine store that had not one, but two pét-nats.  I purchased both and decided to try the Prosecco first. However, I quickly found out this Bele Casel Prosecco is not a traditional pét-nat. This one is made like a Champagne, with finished (versus unfinished) wine completing fermentation in the bottle.  Unlike …

Featured Wine of the Week – Sextant Wines 2014 “Portolan”

I heard today is National Red Wine Day.  And it’s Wine Wednesday!  I love every type of wine and tend to drink mostly white wines due to allergies.  However, my favorite single varietal is Syrah.  There was one time when my wine collection had a ridiculous amount of Syrahs.  I’ve been told Syrah is a “wine drinker’s wine,” so this makes sense.  It seems it doesn’t tend to sell well in general.  Syrah is not a well-known varietal to those who don’t drink wine regularly, Syrah is big and bold.  It’s an action-packed wine, filled with great fruit flavors, along with some spice.  It is definitely not a wine for those who want something that is simply easy drinking.  This may be one reason it’s not known well.  However, I like full-bodied wines.  I enjoy the character of them and the feeling that there is a story in every glass. The wine I chose to feature today was given to me by a dear friend when I had to cancel a wine trip to Paso …

Featured Wine of the Week – Left Coast Wines Chardonnay

It’s Wine Wednesday, and it’s the season to drink white wine!  I had the opportunity to drink and share 2017 Left Coast Estate Truffle Hill Chardonnay last week with two of my closest girlfriends. It was a balmy Southern California evening, and this was the perfect wine for such a night.  We dined poolside, where we caught up and told the type of stories that only close friends relate to each other. We laughed a lot and simply enjoyed the evening. Without further ado, here are the details: Description: Left Coast Estate Truffle Hill Chardonnay 2017 13% Alcohol Rickreall, Oregon, USA Willamette Valley   Tasting Notes:   This Chardonnay welcomes with a deep golden hue and gorgeous aromas of butterscotch, papaya, and elderflower.  Tropical fruit flavors of pineapple, lychee, and papaya are layered with creamy vanilla and poached pear.  There is bright acidity and a luscious, silky mouthfeel.  All in all, this is a delicious wine that is a great complement to any outdoor summer eating.   Estate Information:  Left Coast Wines prides themselves on being environmentally …

Featured Winery of the Week – Ampelos Cellars

I’ve been a longtime fan of Ampelos Cellars, but I had never been to their tasting room at the Wine Ghetto in Lompoc, California.  On my quest to discover more about biodynamic wines and farming, my Partner in Wine, Adrienne and I made a trip there and arrived just as they opened.  There is nothing better than having the tasting room all to yourself if you want to have a conversation with the person behind the bar. The wine lineup did not disappoint.  We tasted through a Viognier, Rose of Syrah, two Pinot Noirs, Grenache, Syrache (Grenache/Syrah – read my review here), and a Syrah.  I hoped to try the new bubbles, but none were open.  The tasting notes provided were fantastic and fun with descriptions like, the Pinot Noir is “your best friend from childhood.  The one who never told your mom.” Ampelos Cellars is known for using organic, sustainable and biodynamic farming techniques, and was the first vineyard in the US to be certified in all three. This means they focus on what …