Posts Tagged ‘Pinot Noir’

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 102: Storming the Castle

June 3, 2013

In this episode, Jeff sees if this destination winery’s juice can hold up to the power of this barbecue…

(Note: At the time of filming, Jeff did not realize that Castello di Amorosa sold their wines online.  Their online wine shop is, in fact, very extensive, and quite easy to use.  So… When you hear Jeff say something to the contrary in the following video, please shout back at him that he is wrong.)

Wine Tasted:

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Castello di Amorosa 2011 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

After the Facts:

1. This wine sample was provided by Castello di Amorosa for review.  Click here to check ’em out.

2. I bought this tri tip sandwich from Trail Dust Barbeque.  Click here to check THEM out.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What is your favorite destination winery?  Leave a comment, and tell us about it.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 101: Of Mushrooms and Pinot Noir

May 30, 2013

In this episode, Jeff picks out a wine to pair with his cream of mushroom soup…

Wine Tasted:

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Tendril 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Visit Tendril Wine Cellars to check out their wines.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What Pinot Noir are you drinking these days?  Leave a comment, and let us know about it.

Torii Mor on a #WineWednesday

May 8, 2013

What up, y’all?

It’s a Wednesday.

I got a wine.

Let’s do this!

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Torii Mor 2007 Dundee Hills Select Pinot Noir

I’m a big fan of Pinot Noir.  I especially love me some Oregon Pinot.  So, you’ve gotta know that I was stoked to find this bad boy in the box I got from Gary Vaynerchuk when I sent some toys his way back in September.

Color: This wine is definitely showing some age.  Reddish brown to copper at the edges.

Nose: Orange zest, lavender, cocoa powder,  mushrooms, and blackberries.  Pretty.

Taste: This is an interesting one.  Earthy components of soil and mushroom with a minty edge.  Cranberry, raspberry, and blackberry fruits are seasoned with some orange zest.  The tannins were a bit astringent at first, which gave the wine a bit of an awkward feel.  After some time in the glass, the tannins blew off and revealed some cherry cola goodness.

Score: This is a solid wine, but may turn you off if you are not patient.  87 points.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What is your favorite Oregon Pinot Noir?  Leave a comment, and let us know what you think.

Curaçao: A Dushi Place

May 5, 2013

Hello!

It’s been a little while!

Kara and I spent a bit of time last week on the island nation of Curaçao for a wedding…

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Wedding on the Beach

Of course the wedding was beautiful, so let me tell you a little bit about the island instead…

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Curaçao

Founded in 1499, Curaçao is a self-governing Caribbean nation under the Kingdom of the Netherlands.  While the official language is Dutch, the natives speak a language called Papiamentu.  Due to its proximity to South America (35 miles North of Venezuela), locals are also fluent in Spanish.  Due to the bad-assness of this country, this is also a go-to destination for American tourists, so you know that everyone speaks English too.

Basically, you could get by in Curaçao speaking any language you want.

That being said, there is one word in Papiamentu that you MUST learn…

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Dushi!

Much like Aloha in Hawaii, Dushi has many meanings in Curaçao.  Literally, dushi translates to delicious or flavorful.  On the real, though… Dushi means that something is good or awesome.

On our first full day in Curaçao, Kara and I explored the capital city of Willemstad to see why this place is so dushi…

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We stopped by the Plein Café Wilhelmina to have a Hoegaarden…

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And a Carpaccio Pesto Sandwich!

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We then took a walk through the Waterfort Arches. Bon bini means welcome, by the way.

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Willemstad is divided into two sides by the Saint Anna Bay. From the side we were on, Punda, you can have a great view of Otrabanda (translated to The Other Side).

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Here’s another shot of the streets of Punda.

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And there’s Otrabanda again!

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What’s really dushi about this place is all the random artwork you see in the streets. Check out this three-dimensional mural!

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There are plenty of water front restaurants where you can get some tasty tropical drinks…

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If you’re lucky, you’ll see some massive ships sail by.

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To get from Punda to Otrabanda, there is a pontoon bridge that swings open and closed to let ships through. While walking across the bridge, I got this picture of Punda.

While walking the streets of Willemstad, I was able to pick up a nice wine from one of the convenience stores to bring to dinner…

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Baron Philippe de Rothschild 2011 Pays D’OC Pinot Noir

Now, you know that Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Chateau Mouton Rothschild makes one of the most epic Cabernet Sauvignon blends in Bordeaux, France.  If you’ve got a grand to burn, I hear that is some great stuff.  If you don’t have that kind of scratch, you may want to give this guy a try.  It was only 25 guilder (14 bucks).

Nose: Definitely old world characteristics on this wine.  Heavy on the earthy mushrooms, but with some good red currant fruit.

Taste: Oh man!  Mushrooms, soil, bacon fat, and black pepper.  There’s some good red fruit on the palate, with a long acidity that is begging for food.

Score: A great value if you can find it.  I had to fly all the way to Curaçao to get this bottle.  88 points.

The next day was the Queen of The Netherlands’ birthday, so we decided to walk around and see how the people of Curaçao were celebrating…

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I spotted some more awesome art on our walk downtown.

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The Queen wears orange. On Queen’s Day, everyone wears orange.

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We ducked into a sports bar to catch some of the ceremonies on TV.

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On the way back to the car, we walked by a party that was being set up in an abandoned lot. We were thinking about stopping, but we had a wedding to get to…

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While driving back to get ready for the wedding, we did see a little graffiti. I got a kick out of this one.

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Back at the wedding, the Champagne was flowing…

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Back at the abandoned lot, the party kept going…

Man!  This place is Dushi!

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Napa Fun Time 1.2: Everybody Must Get Cornerstone

October 17, 2012

After spending the morning in the wine cave at Del Dotto in Napa, Kara and I headed North on the 29 to the Cornerstone Cellars tasting room in Yountville.

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Cornerstone Cellars

Upon arrival, we met up with managing partner, blogger, and all around great guy, Craig Camp, who hosted us in a tasting of their current releases…

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Stepping Stone 2011 North Coast White Rocks: A dry white blend of Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer, the White Rocks brings flavors of subtle grassy notes and pineapple.  There’s a good acid and weight to this. 87

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Stepping Stone 2010 Napa Valley Riesling: Nose of honey suckle and minerality.  There’s a good medium light weight to this bone dry white. 87

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Cornerstone Oregon 2010 Willamette Valley Chardonnay: Toasty nose of lemon and vanilla. There’s a good, creamy mouthfeel that is complimented by a balanced lemon acidity. I love this wine. 91

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Cornerstone Cellars 2010 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc: Pretty nose of papaya and peach. Good lime flavored acidity and subtle grassy notes. 90

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Stepping Stone 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir: A nice, light Pinot Noir that smells of pepper and strawberries. On the palate, the pepper spice is balanced with hints of cola, cranberry, and leather. This is some good stuff. 90+

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Cornerstone Oregon 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir: Toasty nose of tomatoes and cherries are complimented by the taste of cola, cherries, sassafras, and cranberries. There is a great balance to this wine. 91+

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Cornerstone Cellars 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Dark burgundy in color, this wine has a pretty nose of strawberry and black fruits. This Cabernet has some fantastic structure with its smooth, chalky tannins. The wine has plenty of pretty black fruit, and a long finish of black olives (which may be due to the 5% Merlot blended into the wine). I’m a fan. 92

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Cornerstone Cellars 2008 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine is hella dark. It has a pretty nose of menthol and dried cherries. On the palate, it is all tannin, acid, and spice. This is definitely and age-worthy cab. Craig also poured us a splash of the 2006 to show how it ages. The wine will definitely showcase some herb notes and the tannins pull back over the next few years. This is a great wine. 92+

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Cornerstone Cellars 2009 The Cornerstone Red Wine: This is THEE wine that showcases what good fruit and good winemaking can do in Napa Valley. This wine features 95% Cabernet Sauvignon from the famed Oakville Station/To Kalon Vineyard in Oakville, along with equal parts Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The wine is dark red, verging on black. It features a nose of strawberry shortcake and boysenberries. The palate has great fruit of blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and plum. There is a nice long acid, good green notes of bell pepper, and chalky, bike tire-like tannins. This a fantastic wine. It has the chops to go toe-to-toe with some of Napa’s finest. 93

Before we took off, Craig brought out some Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from To Kalon for us to sample…

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Yum!

The next time you’re in the Napa Valley, you’ve gotta check out Cornerstone.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

The Super Secret Stay Rad TV Bonus Episode

August 8, 2012

A couple of weeks back, I got together with my ol’ buddy, Nick TheDrummer.

Some of you may remember that he is the guy that made this sweet logo for me…

Stay Rad. A Logo.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may also recall that we were in a punk rock band in high school…

What? You’ve never heard of The Willies?

And if you’ve been really keen on what’s been going down, you may also recall that he tried to steal my Halloween candy from me once.

Anyways…

While hanging out recently, we decided to film an episode of Stay Rad Wine Blog TV.

It started out as a really cool idea…

We pooled together his two video cameras and my iPhone.  We set them up in different areas of the room, pressed record on all of them at the same time, and were set to make a supper slick three angle episode.

It was gonna be epic.

Well…

Once we started filming, Nick and I started to ignore the cameras, and really spent the next 42 minutes drinking and telling a bunch of inside jokes.

During the episode, I noticed that one of the cameras shut down.

After we were done filming, it also turned out that my iPhone only recorded the first 8 minutes and the digital audio recorder that we were using ran out of space.

What we were left with was a single camera shot of two old friends hanging out.

While I think you’re going to enjoy some of this, the episode is pretty long and does start to fall apart at the end.

I really like this episode.  I just want you to know what you are getting into before you invest 42 minutes into it, ’cause it is a bit different from the videos I usually do.

Check it out…

Stay Rad,

Jeff

PS – To those that don’t know, Nick is a pretty badass musician.  Here’s his newest single, “Better Way”…

He also owns and operates a Music and DJ service called Santa Cruz Live Music and DJ.  Check it out!

Going Sideways: The Ultimate 2-hour Pinot Noir Tasting

October 13, 2011

Have you seen the movie Sideways?

I know some of you may think it’s a silly question, considering that this is a blog about wine.

But…

I ask again…

Have you seen it?

Sideways

Released in 2004, the Academy Award Winner (best adapted screenplay in 2005) follows two buddies as they go on a road trip through Santa Barbara’s wine country.  Miles, the main character, is obsessed with Pinot Noir.  Obsessed!  He won’t shut up about it.

That being said, probably the most famous line from the movie can be found here (edited for the purposes of keeping this blog family friendly)…

In the following months and years, many a wine folk began to speculate that Miles’ love of Pinot Noir and disdain for Merlot had changed consumers’ perceptions of the two grapes.  They believed that the average wine buyer would go into a store thinking, “If Miles isn’t drinking any F-ing Merlot, then I ain’t either.”

Then, in 2008 The American Association of Wine Economists published this paper from Sonoma State University, showing that the “Sideways Effect” was a real thing.  Not speculation.  Not a belief.  A real phenomenon.

Truth be told, The Sideways Effect didn’t have much of an impact on Merlot sales declining… though they have gone down.  The greatest impact was on the increase in Pinot Noir price and case sales.

That makes sense to me.

To a new wine drinker, Merlot has a bigger name.  Pinot Noir, on the other hand, was for a long time a lesser-known hipster type of varietal.  Once Sideways opened the door to Pinot Noir, and people began to realize how delicious it was, sales went through the roof… Along with the price of the delicate grape.

Today, it is tough to find a good bottle of Pinot Noir under 15 bucks.  And, dare I say it, not even worth your money to gamble on a bottle under 10.  Today, the “value” is found in the 15 – 25 dollar range.  Even nuttier than that, the big boys of Pinot Noir are in the 45 – 80 dollar range.

We are talking about Pinot Noir, right?  The “Black Pine” (translated from French) is one of the lightest, most delicate red wines that you could possibly drink.  Most are ready to drink the day you bring it home, and you wouldn’t want to cellar any of ’em for longer than 5-7 years (and that’s pushing it).

But I have to say…

Pinot Noir is delicious.

It’s one of my favorite grapes.

The problem is that they are so expensive, it would cost a fortune to taste ’em all.

At least…

That’s what I thought…

Now THAT's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

Last Saturday, Kara and I hit up Cin-Cin Wine Bar in Los Gatos to do a little Pinot Noir tasting.  For 35 bucks, we got to taste the best Pinot Noirs from several distributors in the area…

Folks lined up to get their Pinot On.

Plus there was food!

See? Food!

Here’s how it all went down…

Table One

Pelerin 2008 Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands $29): This is an EARTHY pinot.  Lots of mushroom with a hint of rosemarry and bacon.  90 points.

Pfendler 2008 Pinot Noir (Petaluma Gap, Sonoma $40): Right away, you get to know how versitle a grape this is.  The Pfendler tastes nothing like the Pelerin.  This has loads of bright red fruit on the palate with a smokey finish.   89+ points.

Ryan 2009 Silacci Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Range $42): This is a well structured, well made Pinot Noir.  It tastes expensive.  The problem is that it’s not my cup of tea.  Unlit cigar (nice) with bright red fruit (nice).  It just didn’t work for me.  Still a good Pinot… Just not what I’m into.  88+ points.

Cipaiaux Cellars 2009 Pisoni Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands $44): Bell pepper and leather.  Nice.  89 points.

Table Two

Chateau de Beauregard Bourgogne Rouge 2007 Memoire du Terrior (France $24): The more I get into all these big, bold, wines, the more I’ve come to appreciate the subtleties of a nice, light, Burgundy.  Light strawberry fruit, with good acidity and minerality.  88+ points.

Firesteed 2007 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley $25): Sweet tarts and nerds for days.  This is a fun one.  89 points.

Mohua Pinot Noir (Didn’t catch the vintage = (  Central Otago, New Zealand $23): Bright fruit with good acidity.  88+ points.

Papapietro Perry 2007 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast $46): Candied strawberries and smoke.  Very balanced.  90 points.

Emeritus Vineyards 2008 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley $32): This is loaded with DEEP fruit flavors.  Bright red fruit and berries.  Hella smoke.  This is a very nice bottle of wine.  Very nice!  91 points.

Table Three

Easton 2008 Pinot Noir (Sierra Foothills $28): A light Pinot Noir with hints of bacon smoke.  88+ points.

Paoul Hobbs 2009 Crossbarn Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast $34): This wine has a smokey nose with tons of ham on the palate.  Very nice.  89+ points.

La Follette 2009 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast $28): Smokey nose (there’s something about table 3).  There is a nice sugary strawberry fruit with pork and tomatoes.  Dope!  90 points.

Soter 2009 Mineral Springs Pinot Noir (Yamhill-Carlton $45): Sugary bright fruit.  Mushrooms.  Bacon fat.  This wine was delicious!  92 points.

Table Four

Now…

Table four, here…

This is my jam!

Louis Latour Santenay Rouge 2005 (France $23): This was a fun bottle.  You are not going to find many 2005 Pinots just lying around.  Bright cherry fruit with a lively acidity and cinnamon and clove spice.  90 points.

Faiveley Mercurey Rouge 2008 (France $24): This was one of the more tannic Pinots of the day.  Good strawberry fruit.  A very laid back wine.  89 points.

Argyle 2009 Nuthouse Pinot Noir (Dundee $61): Quite possibly the best Pinot Noir I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.  The gentleman serving the wine informed us that the Nuthouse vineyard used to be a nut farm.  In the wine, you can definitely taste the earthy flavors from the soil.  There is a bigtime macadamia and marcona almond presence in the mid-palate of this wine.  Plenty of herbaceous notes on the finish… particularly rosemary.  You have to try this.  93 big ass points.

Thomas George 2009 Pinot Noir (Russian River $41): This wine was a real crowd pleaser.  Sun-dried tomato with tons of herbs.  I loved this one too.  It reminds me quite a bit of the Pinot Noir of Willams-Selyem.  Very awesome!  92+ points.

Paraiso 2009 Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands $23): This is a DARK Pinot.  Smokey and rich.  88+ points.

Table Five

This is the La Rochelle table.

This is also when time started to run out for the event, so we had to speed up our tasting…

La Rochelle 2010 Pinot Noir Rose ($19): Grapefruit.  Nice.  88+ points.

La Rochelle 2008 Dutton-Campbell Vineyard Pinot Noir ($45): Buttery.  90 points.

La Rochelle 2007 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir ($72): Buttery with balance.  The most expensive wine of the day.  Good, but NOT worth it.  90 points.

With one minute left, we skipped table six.

So…

Table Seven

Au Bon Climat 2009 Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara County $25): This was the only wine left at table seven, but I am glad we got to try it.  The Au Bon Climat is exactly what I expect a Pinot Noir to taste like.  Light, bright strawberry fruit.  Dope acidity.  Balance for days.  Nothing major.  Just goodness.  Get yourself this 9o point wine.  Enjoy it now with someone you care about… like I did.

For those counting, that was 22 wines we tasted… all Pinot Noirs.

After that much wine, the only thing left to do is lay down on the couch…

SIDEWAYS!

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Bundled up in Gilrory. Music by Naked in Vegas.

June 18, 2011

Sarah's Vineyard is in Gilroy... but not really.

On Friday, Kara and I decided to head over to Sarah’s Vineyard in Gilroy.  Sarah’s is a small winery, tucked into the Santa Cruz Mountains.  The breezy climate makes it perfect for Burgundian and Rhone varietals.  I am a big fan of their light style of wine making.

The reason for the trip was to attend their Summer Music Series.  They have a neat patio and lawn area where different local bands will come to play.  The tasting room stays open late to sell their wines by the bottle to enjoy with the music.  You can bring your own picnic, or buy something to eat from whichever catering company is there (it changes from week to week).

Kara and I brought homemade Brie Paninis with Mango Chutney, Turkey (for me), and Spinach.  We also bought a bottle of the Sarah’s Vineyard 2006 Central Coast Pinot Noir for $15.

Sarah's Vineyard 2006 Central Coast Pinot Noir and Kara's foot 2011.

Color:  This Pinot had a cloudy dull red color.  You could recreate that color by mashing a bunch of over-ripe roma tomatoes into a paste and adding water and a pinch of dirt.  I know that doesn’t sound very appetizing, but I must say it looked fantastic.  See…

Tomatoes and Dirt and Awesome!

Nose:  There was a nice whiff of smoke, butter, and pepper.  As I took a bit more in, I noticed a rubbery cola aroma.  Nice!

Taste:  This Pinot Noir had a very meaty and buttery taste on the palate, rounded out with a touch of cherry cola.  On the finish, a touch of cranberry and walnuts became present.

I really liked this wine.  I also appreciate that Sarah’s did not jack up their prices for the event.  I give it a solid 87.

As the sun began to set, the wind really started to pick up. It got hella cold, hella quick.  The cover band, Naked in Vegas, was alright.  They were not, however, good enough to keep our cold asses at the vineyard after we had finished our bottle of Pinot Noir.

Naked in Vegas? More like bundled up in Gilroy!

Don’t worry, Sarah’s Vineyard, we will be back.

Stay Rad,

Jeff


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