Archive for the ‘Wineries’ Category

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 162: Wine Tasing at the Dionysus Dash

May 3, 2015

In this episode, Jeff explores the effects of running on how we taste wine…

Wine Tasted:

Clos la Chance 2014 Reserve Chardonnay Pure

Clos la Chance 2014 Reserve Viognier

Clos la Chance 2012 Reserve Merlot

Clos la Chance 2011 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

And here are some pictures from the race…

Jeff and Kara Before

The View from the Starting Line

The Prize Table

Your 3rd and 1st Place Divisional Champs

Stay Rad,


Alright athletes, tell us what your favorite wine and sports pairing is.  Leave a comment, and let us know.


#FLXWine to the fullest! or… Is it too soon to hashtag #WBC15? or… Sometimes Wine + Blogging Does = Wine Blogging

July 17, 2014

One week ago, I sat down to review one of several wines samples sent to me from Villa Bellangelo Winery.  In particular, I sat down to review this wine…


Bellangelo 2012 Gewürztraminer


If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that it really doesn’t take that long for me to assess and come to a conclusion about wine.  In my video reviews, you’ll see me talk about a particular wine from anywhere from five to twenty minutes… But really… It only takes me a minute or two of that tasting to form my opinion.

“So, Jeff…” you may be wondering, “Why have you been struggling with putting together this wine review?  I mean… Seriously?  You’ve been working on this post for over a week?  You’re only 147 words into this thing… And that includes this made-up dialogue.  What gives?”


There’s a couple of different things going on here.

1. I don’t do nearly as many written reviews on this blog as I used to. Go ahead and take a peek at the last ten posts.  I’ll wait…  Do you see that?  Nine of the last ten reviews I did on this site were of the video variety!

The reality is, aside from the technical aspects, video wine reviews are easier… for me anyway.  That’s one of the major reasons why I do them.

2. When I do a written piece on this site, I want there to be a theme that ties everything together.  The problem that I’ve been having with this review is that there are too many themes that I wish to include. Every time I started to write about this wine from one particular angle, a new theme would surface, and stuff would start to get all confusing.


Maybe I should just lay out some important things to consider about this wine, and see if I can piece this together somehow…

A. Chris Missick of Villa Bellangelo approached me about reviewing some of his wines near the end of June.

B. Six samples from Villa Bellangelo arrived at my doorstep at the beginning of July.


C. Hella Villa Bellangelo Samples now inhabit my refrigerator.

D. As you can see from the photo above, Villa Bellangelo specializes in cool-climate Riesling and Gewürztraminer from the Finger Lakes AVA of upstate New York.

E. While I’ve been very much aware of the style of the Finger Lakes region, I’ve never had any wines from this area.  My experience as a Californian has been that one must really search to find these wines around here.

F. Days after the samples arrived, Kara and I drove down to Santa Barbara County to attend the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference.  We had a blast!

G. I learned at the Wine Bloggers Conference that the expression “We had a blast!” is mad cliché, and should never be used.

H. On the final night of the Wine Bloggers Conference, the announcement was made that next year’s conference will be held in the Finger Lakes.

I. Since returning to from #WBC14, I’ve been attempting write a post which makes a connection between my experiences at the conference with the wines of Villa Bellangelo (and all the other #FLXWine).


Let’s give this a go.

On the opening day of the Wine Bloggers Conference, the keynote speech was delivered by Corbett Barr of Fizzle.  While not an expert at wine blogging, specifically, Corbett has made a very good living for himself as a blogger and podcaster.  I truly appreciated his take on the state of wine blogging.

Corbett is a fantastic storyteller.  One of the most memorable bits that I took away from his speech was when he talked about doing research on wine blogging.  Corbett talked the time he took a bottle of wine down to a park, drank it, and tried to blog.  He summed up his experience with the following equation.

Wine + Blogging ≠ Wine Blogging


I totally get what Corbett was saying here.  There is a whole lot more to this art form (That’s right!  I went there!).  You can’t just throw some booze in your glass and fake it… though some may try.


Sometimes you get stuck.  Seriously… It’s been 720 words in this post so far, and I still haven’t gotten to reviewing this Gewürztraminer.


To aid in reviewing the Bellangelo 2012 Gewürztraminer, I’ve opened up this sample…


Bellangelo 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling + Blogging

In some ways, I feel like the 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling is a better wine to start with, if wanted to explore the wines of the Finger Lakes.

As wine drinkers, we should all be familiar with Riesling.  Now… whereas many wine lovers will geek out over all things Riesling, the typical wine drinker may stay away from it.  Many complain that Riesling is too sweet.  This may be due to the typical, almost dessert-like, domestic Riesling.  In such cases, these Rieslings are too sweet because they are grown in the wrong place, or just made poorly.

When one explores the killer, cool-climate Rieslings of Alsace, France or Germany, one can really get a firm grasp of all that Riesling really has to offer.  High acid.  A touch of residual sugar.  Balance.  They’re hecka tasty.

My hope is that the Finger Lakes show more like European Riesling versus their domestic contemporaries.


Let’s try the 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling!

Color: Light golden-yellow.  One swirl of the wine in the glass not only highlights the typical color, but also fades to this beautiful slow sloshing of the juice, highlighting its viscosity.

Nose: I love the typical oily notes that can be found in good Riesling. This wine is no exception.  I am also noticing a touch of lemon and savory herbs.

Palate: Nice tart lemon on the front of the palate are rounded out by those oily notes.  There is a touch of residual sugar (1.8%), but the 7.95 g/L of titratable acidity provides the balance that Riesling needs. You would never characterize this wine as being too sweet.

Score: The 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling is from the Morris and Gibson vineyards in the Finger Lakes.  I’m excited to see how this wine stacks up against some of the single-vineyard offerings from Villa Bellangelo.  This is a fresh and balanced number.  The perfect wine for a summer day when you’re in a blogging rut.  90 points!


Now let’s get back to the Bellangelo 2012 Gewürztraminer that I tasted last week!

Color: Pale golden-yellow.  Very similar to the Riesling (minus the sloshiness of the swirl, of course).

Nose: Honey and lemon zest dominate this nose, but there is an oiliness here (reminiscent of the Riesling).

Palate: This wine has weight.  There is a very viscous, oily palate. Good notes of honeysuckle.  There is a hint of sweetness (1% residual sugar) here.  This Gewürztraminer is Riesling-like, but with much less of an acidic backbone (5.4 g/L TA).

Score: This wine is pretty.  While easy-drinking, there is a nice floral complexity to this.  This wine was also grown from the Morris and Gibson vineyards in the same year as the Riesling.  It’s nice to see how similar these two varieties can be when one strips away virtually all the other variables that could exist from one bottle to the next. This is a tasty 89er.

Food Pairing:


The Gewürztraminer was paired with Kara’s Pasta Salad of Fusilli with Arugula, Goat Cheese, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes.

I’m a big fan of both of these wines from Villa Bellangelo.  The acid (more so from the Riesling) provides a versatility in food pairings. The sugar gives them both a pleasant sweetness, without making them overly goopy.  Try them with any food you like… I really don’t think you could go wrong with anything here.

This is #FLXWine to the fullest!

Stay Rad,


What’s your favorite wine from the Finger Lakes?  Leave a comment, and let us know what you think.

Napa in the PM

April 8, 2013

After our epic visits to Domaine Chandon and Silver Oak last Wednesday morning, Kara and I were primed to continue our Napa Valley wine tasting adventure into the PM.

Our next stop was Paraduxx Napa Valley along the Silverado Trail where we were hosted to a tasting at their outside wine lounge. Paraduxx is a sister winery to Duckhorn Vineyards. The main focus of the winery is to focus on blends… usually red… mostly including Zinfandel… and almost always just two grapes… Get it? Paraduxx.

Here’s what we had…


The Migration 2011 Russian River Valley Chardonnay had a beautiful golden hay color to it. The nose was all floral and honey. On the palate, the wine was almost Sauvignon Blanc-like with its grassy green apple flavors. The creamy finish from the 100% French Oak reminds you that it is all Chardonnay. This Chardonnay was the goods. $30. 90+

Next, we got into the red blends…


The whole lot of ’em…

The Paraduxx 2010 Z Blend is 63% Zinfandel, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 8% Merlot. Fruits of strawberries and figs dominate the nose. On the palate there’s a good minerality, some nice tobacco notes, cranberry and red apples. Nice. $48. 91

The Paraduxx 2010 C Blend consists of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Zinfandel. The nose is blackberry fruit with a touch of brown sugar. On the palate, apple cores and raspberries give way to a long acidity that is sprinkled with black tea notes. This is good stuff. $52. 91+

The Paraduxx 2010 Rector Creek Vineyard is a single-vineyard blend of 65% Zinfandel, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Merlot. Think about cranberries. On the nose, you’ve got cranberries and herbs. On the palate, it’s all juicy cranberry and blackberry fruit. Cranberries, y’all. $78. 91

Now… The Paraduxx 2010 Howell Mountain is my jam. 65% Zinfandel. 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose is of menthol and blackberries. The palate is all tobacco, herbs, and oranges with some good red fruit throughout. This wine is mad approachable right now, but it’s got the structure to lay down for the next 10+ years. This wine is great. $78. 93

While at the tasting lounge, we tried a couple other wines from the Duckhorn family…


The Goldeneye 2010 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir has the nose of red apples and cranberries. On the palate, you’ve got some more of that red apple with some nice tobacco notes. At 14.5% alcohol, this is a big Pinot Noir that Cabernet Sauvignon lovers will hella dig. $55. 91


Wine is food. This flight was a meal. Every meal should end with dessert. The Duckhorn 2011 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc is a great dessert. Super orange and gold in color. Nose of oranges, hay, and honey. The palate is much of that same orange, hay, and honey flavor with the addition of some tasty yeast notes. $45 (half-bottle). 91

As much as it pained us to have to leave the beautiful wine (and surroundings) of Paraduxx Napa Valley, there was still plenty of daylight left… So…

It was on to the next stop…

During the day, as I checked in on Twitter, I noticed quite a few people talking up Flora Springs, so we hit up their tasting room in St. Helena…


The Tasting Room

All the wines were nice. This one was an especially tasty treat…


Flora Springs 2010 Poggio Del Papa

We finished off our day at one of my favorite Napa Valley wineries…

They’ve got some killer wines. If you saw this video when I posted it a few months back, you would have already known that.

The highlight of the tasting was their EJ Church 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. If you ever feel like getting me an early Christmas present, please feel free to hook me up with this earthy, herby, menthol, and eucalyptus fun.

As the sun set over the ranch, we knew it was time to bring the day’s tastings to a close…


The Ranch in the Setting Sun

That’s not to say we didn’t keep the good times rolling in the Napa Valley after dark…

Stay Rad,


Be sure to check in next time when Jeff and Kara taste some epic food in the Napa Valley after dark.

What’s your favorite red blend? Leave a comment and let us know.

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First Friday: A 3 Vintage Ridge Vertical

February 10, 2013

Since becoming members at Ridge Vineyards, one event that Kara and I really like taking advantage of is First Friday at Monte Bello.  On the first Friday of each month, they present a members-only tasting that usually highlights a new release.

The Friday before last, Kara and I headed up the mountain in Cupertino to taste a 3 vintage vertical of Carmichael Ranch Zinfandel.  Let’s take a look at how this Alexander Valley fruit has changed over the last couple of years…


The Ridge 2007 Carmichael Zinfandel had a jammy nose of strawberries and blackberries. On the palate, this Zin had loads of bright, candied fruits of blackberry and cranberries. There was a nice funkiness to this wine as well.


The Ridge 2009 Carmichael Ranch Zinfandel had a pretty nose of blackberries, blueberries, and tomatoes. The palate was mad earthy, and mad balanced.


Newly released, the Ridge 2010 Carmichael Ranch Zinfandel was my favorite. The nose of mushrooms, plums, and blueberries was hella complex. The palate had a bright acidity, powdery tannis, and flavors of plums and Earth. This was a real treat.

And that was First Friday.

Don’t worry…

It won’t be the last.

Stay Rad,


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