Sunday, June 1, 2014

2004 La Crema Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast--Built to Last!

When I bought this wine I had no intention of holding it, but somehow it got stashed in the cellar with my "Big" pinots and it was forgotten.

So when I went to drink it I assumed it would be past its prime and opened it to drink with some leftover pasta and crawfish pie.

Wow! This wine showed beautifully. It was a touch clear of the rim but nothing alarming and from first sip to last it was exceptional, particularly for a pinot noir that once retailed for a modest $22.00.

It had enough fruit and acid to go against the spicy crawfish pie yet the the mouthfeel was soft and the bright fruit flavors remained through to the finish. Had I blind tasted this one I would never have guessed its age.

Would I suggest holding it a few more years? No. If there is any more of this wine lingering in your cellar, liberate it, drink it now, and enjoy!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dom Gone Bad

I know you have one. That bottle you've been saving for that special occasion. What are you waiting for?

An special anniversary, your 50th birthday? A child's graduation?

Don't. Last month, friends used the occasion of an Easter pot luck to open a bottle of 1990 Moet & Chandon Cuvee Dom Perignon.

It was 24 years old and it could still been lively and delightful champagne, as many of these reviewers on cellar tracker have experienced. But sadly, it was not.

For every 24 year old bottle that survives and draws a great review there is another that gets dumped down the drain.

This bottle suffered the latter fate. While it still had some slow bubbles at first pour, it went flat soon after and was clearly oxidized. As you can see the color resembled a yellow diamond without the sparkle.

The moral: Don't wait. Surely you can find a good reason to drink a nice champagne at least once a year--First date night with Hubby in months, nasty boss got fired, pay raise that you didn't expect, a scratch lotto ticket that finally paid off. You get the idea...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Beautiful and Affordable Piedmont!

Piedmont was on the bucket list. Why? Because the region is rich with wine and food culture. Vineyards as far is the eye can see. Farm to table dining. The region that birthed the Slow Food movement. Need I say more?
I have been to Italy more than a few times. I love Italy. Who doesn't? But Piedmont offered the trifecta of grape, delicious food, and people who are passionate about all of it. And affordable dining and lodging.
Recently I had the pleasure of spending five days leading a tour of women from the US (We called ourselves the Grape Girls!).

We stayed at Ca Brusa, an agriturismo just outside of Monfort D'Alba, one of the 11 Barolo villages. We scheduled 3 tastings a day, shopped the local markets, toured the castles, explored the hill towns and ate our way through the villages. I will post the wineries on the website so you can have access to the same great hospitality we experienced!
Don't just take my word for it. Read this article from Wine Enthusiast.
See what this region has to offer!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Taste of Things to Come

Ahead of the Inaugural Grape Girls Wine and Food adventure in the Piedmont wine region, in Italy I bought a few bottles of the regions wine, including this bottle of 2010 Le Orme from producer Michele Chiarlo, a DOCG wine from Barbera d'Asti.

I found it to be very drinkable now. Fruity and light in body, it paired beautifully with New Orleans style crawfish pie and caesar salad. Even without food it presented well, with good balance and a lush mouthfeel.

I hope to try more from Michele Chiarlo when I get there. So far I have booked appointments with Tenute Rocca, Ceretto, Conterno Fantino, Rocche Costamagna, Vietti, Marchesi Di Gresy and Marchesi di Barolo. 

Check back with us on the website to find our favorite stops posted, including our stops in Milan and Lake Maggiore.

Fino ad allora...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Grape Girls go to Piedmont Italy!

I am in the planning stages of organizing a women's trip to the Piedmont (Piemonte) wine region in the northwest part of Italy for one week Sept 14-21, 2013. This is the perfect time to go and visit this region as there are two major foodie and wine fests taking place during this time, and it's the prime hunting season for the famous white truffles that this region is known for. This package will be a land only package starting in Milan for one night then spending five nights in the heart of the wine country of Piedmont at and ending up in Milan for one night. We will be lodging at Agriturismo Ca Brusa in Montforte d'Alba which is owned and managed by the Ca Brusa wine-making family and home to one of the best restaurants in the area.
If you are interested in finding out more please contact Laura through the website
More details to follow... 

Monday, March 18, 2013

2011 Man Vintner Chenin Blanc

Here in Tampa, Florida we are finally starting to enjoy warmer weather and with it--white wines.

I recently featured the 2011 Man Vintner Chenin Blanc at two Wine Safari educational events to rave reviews.

This is not a steely, lean, minerally French Chenin Blanc but a South African. A different animal. Lush, viscous, made from free-run juice with a good amount of exposure to the lees, resulting in a hedonistic mouthfeel and a full expression of fruit flavors including tropical, green apple and guava.

And a great bargain too. I recently found this on sale at Whole Foods for $6.95, thought it normally retails around US$11. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Touring with Travelogues

Outside of wine, travel, photography, and storytelling have been passions of mine. Recently I decided to combine all four in a series of travelogues I will present in Florida this spring, starting with a travelogue at The Wine Exchange in Tampa, FL on February 12, 2013.

In March, I will be headed to Estero, FL to present a wine safari travelogue and tasting at the Rapallo community. I look forward to the chance to share my travels and adventures in wine with other wine enthusiasts and travellers.

Below are some of the slides from trips to France, South Africa, Italy, Napa, and Spain. Check back as I update this site to include the details of these trips and links to help you plan your next wine trip.