Posts Tagged ‘Santa Cruz Mountains’

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 129: The Boy who Cried Wolff

March 5, 2014

In this episode, Jeff tries a Zinfandel/Merlot blend made by his sister’s friend and her dad.

Spoiler Alert: It rules hard!

 

Wine Tasted:

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Wolff & Father 2010 Loup de Rouge

After the Facts:

To learn more about Wolff & Father Wines and All Spice Restaurant, click here.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your favorite Zinfandel/Merlot blend?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

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This Post isn’t About That…

July 30, 2012

Yesterday, my Aunt B. and Uncle J. took Kara and me wine tasting at Domenico Winery in San Carlos…

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Domenico Winery

Domenico is an Urban Winery found just off of the 101 on the San Francisco Peninsula. I am always intrigued by the quality of wine coming from Urban Wineries like Domenico. I could do a whole series on just Urban Wineries…

But this post isn’t about that.

Although the winery is not located within the boundaries of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA, Domenico is considered to be a Santa Cruz Mountain Winery because they do make some wines with fruit sourced from that appellation. Here’s a few that we tasted…

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Domenico 2009 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

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Domenico 2008 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

I do love me some Santa Cruz Mountains fruit. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains…

But this post isn’t about that.

Domenico is more well-known for their wines made from Italian varietals. We got to try the follwing wines which are recommended by yours truly…

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Domenico 2006 Dolcetto

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Domenico 2007 Montepulciano

Although I was into both of these, I am not usually a fan of wines made of Italian grapes grown in California (with the exception of Primitivo aka Zinfandel, which technically has origins in Croatia)…

But this post isn’t about that.

Domenico also makes a fine Bordeaux style blend from Napa…

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Domenico 2005 Napa Valley Meritage

I was also very impressed with their dessert wines…

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We picked up the 2009 “White Cashmere” Malvasia Bianca Dessert Wine, thanks to my aunt and uncle.

Yup. Domenico is a pretty cool place. You should check them out the next time you’re in San Carlos…

But this post isn’t about that.

On the way home, after saying our goodbyes to Aunt B. and Uncle J., we decided to swing by Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello Tasting Room… Since it was on the way, and all…

As always, the entire lineup at Ridge was fantastic. We were hella stoked by the following…

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Ridge 2010 East Bench Zinfandel

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Ridge 2007 Syrah/Grenache

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Ridge 2006 Lytton Estate Grenache

Those wines were very good. I mean… Ridge is ALWAYS good…

But this post isn’t about that.

There were two wines that we got to taste that were just amazing…

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The Ridge 2010 Buchignani Ranch Carignane is unreal. The nose is this crazy combination of beef jerky and cake frosting. I know that sounds weird, but trust me… That smell is beautiful. The palate brings some legit blueberry and blackberry fruit. Pick it up! 92+

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Behind the counter, they had open a Half Bottle of Ridge 1993 Monte Bello, so we had to have a taste. It’s hard to believe that this wine is 19 years old. Considering that half bottles age more quickly than those that are full-sized, it was neat to see how young it still behaved. The color was a dark reddish-purple with just the slightest rustiness near the rim. The nose had this fantastic spice that Kara and I were having trouble putting a name to. Kara settled with chai tea. The spice to me was more that of nutmeg and carob. There was also a generous aroma of plum. On the palate, this bad boy brought it all. Black tea, green peppers, clove, mint, ginger, blackberries, cranberries, and leafy tobacco married perfectly. This wine, right now, is in a sweet spot. It is F-ing great! 95

Since Kara and I joined Ridge last year, I’ve probably visited the winery about 20 times (Yikes!), and I am always surprised by all the neat little gems that show up every time…

But this post isn’t about that.

After we got home, I took our dog, Angel, for a walk…

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What’s up? Dog.

While on our walk, Angel stepped on a bee.

My dog is a bad ass. She is maybe 15 pounds, and talks trash to the local pit bulls whenever she sees ’em. But, when she stepped on that bee, I’ve never seen her in more pain… Ever. She began to limp and cry, and would not stop.

Kara and I took her to the vet to get her paw checked out. They gave her a couple of shots to ease the swelling and pain, and by bedtime she was back to her bad ass ways…

But this post isn’t about that.

When I woke up this morning, I saw that my ol’ buddy, Nick TheDrummer, had created the following logo for me and posted it to my Facebook page

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Stay Rad Wine Blog: The Logo

It’s pretty cool, huh?

But this post isn’t about that.

This post is about the kindness of people…

It’s about my wife coming on wine adventures with me.

It’s about my aunt and uncle inviting us to lunch, treating us to a wine tasting, and buying us a bottle of wine… Just because.

It’s about the people at Ridge Vineyards always making fantastic wine, and bringing a great wine tasting experience every single time. I would continue to love their wine even if they were jerk faces, but they are far from it… And that’s just keen.

It’s about my dog, showing me nothing but love… Always.

It’s about perfect strangers showing nothing but love for my dog, even when she tries to bite their faces off.

It’s about Nick taking the time to make a logo for me just because he thought I would like it.

It’s about people taking the time to read what I have to say just because…

It’s about how much I love and appreciate you all.

That’s what this post is about.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Where did everybody go? A lazy Sunday at Sarah’s Vineyard.

January 16, 2012

I know.  I know.

Sundays tend to be pretty quiet… for many a reason.

Fridays and Saturdays are meant for staying up late.  For going all out.

I get it.

Sundays are all about rest… recovery… relaxation.

You’ve got to recharge for the work week.

Sundays are meant for TV’s and burritos.

But not this Sunday.

Not in the middle of the weekend when we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Not when we have Monday off.

Not all of us.

Not most of us.

But many of us.

At least more than usual.

Not on a clear day in the mid sixties in the middle of January.

On days like this, you must go wine tasting.

You must.

How else are you going to celebrate life… That, and a Forty Niner victory.

So, when Kara and I showed up to Sarah’s Vineyard in Gilroy, I just had to wonder…

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Where did everybody go? A lazy day at Sarah's Vineyard.

When we walked through the doors of the tasting room at Sarah’s Vineyard, we were shocked to discover that we were the only guests there.

At one o’clock.

On a Sunday.

During a three-day weekend.

When the wine is this good!

Here’s how it went down…

Sarah’s Vineyard 2010 Jour de Joie:

This is a very clean white Rhone blend of Roussanne, Marsanne, and Grenache Blanc.  Nice floral notes, with a touch of oak.  A bit oily, but in a good way.  Give it an 86+.

One thing that’s neat about the location of Sarah’s Vineyard is that straddles both the Santa Cruz Mountains and Santa Clara Valley appellations.  Both growing their own grapes, and sourcing from nearby vineyards, they have the ability to display the microclimatic influences of fruit that is grown just a few miles apart.  This is never more true when we were able to compare two of their current Chardonnays.

Sarah’s Vineyard 2009 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay:

This Chardonnay has some good red apple and asian pear fruit, rounded out by lemon-flavored acidity and custard.  A food-friendly wine that can stand on its own.  87+

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Sarah's Vineyard 2009 Central Coast Chardonnay

Sarah’s Vineyard 2009 Central Coast Chardonnay:

In contrast with the Santa Cruz Mountains effort, this Central Coast Chardonnay is a citrus-driven wine.  Think grapefruit juice and orange zest.  There is a beautiful, creamy finish to this one.  Give it a solid 88.

Sarah’s Vineyard 2008 Cote de Madone:

A Silver Medal winner in the 2011 SF Chronicle Wine Competition, one could consider the Cote de Madone Rhone blend to be their flagship wine.  This blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignane, and Counoise brings a dark red to purple color to the glass.  There is a huge nose of cherry and leather.  The palate is loaded with dark fruit, spice, and a rich, meaty finish.  Good stuff!  89

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Sarah's Vineyard 2007 Fifty Fifty

Sarah’s Vineyard 2007 Fifty Fifty:

Sometimes, you don’t have to over-complicate wine.  Sometimes you just do an even blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and let the fruit speak for itself.  This wine is simple.  This wine is reserved.  This wine has depth.  Cherries and blueberries up front give way to a long finish of leather and spice.  The subtle use of oak allows the Santa Clara Valley to speak to your palate.  My palate likes what it hears.  89+

Sarah’s Vineyard 2007 Santa Cruz Mountains Merlot:

A great nose of soil and chocolate.  The palate is dominated by juicy dark cherries and fine tannins.  A very nice cool-climate Merlot.  89

To finish off our flight, our server poured us something special…

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Sarah's Vineyard 2007 Nuits d'Enfer... Yeah... It's special.

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Say it with me... "New-Ee Dawn-Fair!"

Sarah’s Vineyard 2007 Nuits d’Enfer:

Have you ever “painted the town red”?  That’s what it means when a French dude talks about the “Nights of Hell” (the literal translation of Nuits d’Enfer).  This red wine is mainly Merlot, with a touch of Charbono and Cabernet Sauvignon.  There is a BIG hit of blue and black fruit on this nose.  On the palate, the wine is powdery fine with its tannic structure.  Good blueberry fruit gives way to tobacco and spice.  At 20 bucks, this is a great wine if you plan on tying one on… Or… if you just wanna taste something really good.  You should get this.  90+

We had a great time as Sarah’s Vineyards, and you will too.

Lazy Sundays be damned.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Two wines. Two days. Can you dig it?

July 11, 2011

Sometimes, you decant a Trader Joe’s 2010 Grower’s Reserve Zinfandel for 3 hours.

Sometimes, that’s a bad idea.

Sometimes, you use the word “sometimes” at the beginning of a sentence, to set a mood.

Trader Joe's 2010 Grower's Reserve Zinfandel. Sometimes, you just gotta.

Look.  We got this Paso Robles zinfandel on Sunday afternoon for $4.99.  Kara asked if she should decant it.  I was like, “Sure”.  She popped it and poured it into the decanter.  Then I looked at my watch.

It was 2 o’clock.

We weren’t planning on having dinner until 5 at the earliest.

Listen.  I know that it never hurts to decant a wine.  It always helps.  Many times I’ll leave a bottle open overnight, and see improvement the next day.

But if you don’t know the wine…  It’s structure…  How it changes….  If you’re not sure about how it will last…  I would never go longer than an hour.

Eventually, all wines will fall apart.  The better the wine, the longer it takes for that to happen.

Do you feel me?

After making a T-Joe’s type of dinner, I sat down to try the wine.

BBQ pulled chicken w/ dijon broccoli slaw. Montel Jordan would be all, "Shadadada dap dabadahhhh. This is how we do it!"

Color:  This wine was straight purple.  When pouring it into the glass, I noticed that it was almost a light pink.

Nose:  Dusty strawberries and wood.  Hmmmmm.

Taste:  Jammy fruit.  There were these mouth-coating smooth tannins, a sharp cranberry, and a touch of cherry fruit roll-up.  Not bad.

But then…

I started diving into the food…

The dish I made was quite sweat in nature.  A Texas style, if you will.  After going back to the wine, the sweetness of the BBQ wiped out the jammy fruit.  What was left of the wine was this unpleasant acidity.  I figured that maybe it was just a bad food pairing, but after the meal, I went back to the wine and all I could taste was that same hollow gross acidity.

Score:  I was gonna give it an 86, but had to change it to an 84.

Sometimes, decanting is a good thing.

Sometimes, food and wine go together.

Sometimes, a wine falls apart on you.

Sometimes, food reveals flaws.

Shall we move on?

Today, Kara whipped together a really neat looking and tasting dinner…

Tabouleh cucumber romaine split and a simple salad w/ goat cheese. Pee Wee Herman would be all, "Mmmmmmm. Vegetably."

With it, she served up the Bruzzone 2009 Estate Chardonnay from the Santa Cruz Mountains.  This wine was a gift from Thevegetarians for Kara’s birthday, so I didn’t bother looking up the price (that’s rude).  I’m sure you can find out how much it was by clicking the link on the wine.

Bruzzone 2009 Estate Chardonnay next to some balls.

Color:  Light gold.  This wine looks like chardonnay.

Nose:  Pear.  Apple.  Petrol.  Toast.  Not bad.

Taste:  The first thing I noticed was the mouthfeel.  This wine is THICK!  Very viscous.  It’s almost oily.  Also… this wine is a spicy oak bomb.  There are nice notes of apple and peach.  Like the zin from yesterday, I’m also noticing a fruit roll-up flavor in there.  There is a little custard on this wine.

This is a BIG chardonnay.  Almost too big, but not.

It did not pair well with the tabouleh.  I would love to try it with some vanilla ice cream.

Score:  I’m not going to give this wine a score, since it was a gift.  I did like it, however.  If I were going to score it, I’d give it an 87.

So there you have it.

Two wines in two days.

Sometimes, that’s how I roll.

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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