Posts Tagged ‘Stay Rad’

The 2013 Wine Blog Awards just got a little more Radder… or… I don’t know where to begin, but I’ll try.

May 20, 2013


I don’t know where to begin, but I’ll try.

This is my phone…


My Nokia

I mean…

It was my phone.

When my parents moved to a different state while I was in college, they got it for me.

I didn’t really think I needed a cell phone.  Honestly, I used to make fun of people who had cell phones.


When your folks are footing the bill, it’s tough to say no.

This Nokia became my primary form of communication from 2001 to 2002.

Then, my parents started to get upset at the roaming charges (whatever those are) that were starting to rack up on their phone bill, so they discontinued service to my phone.

Like I said, I didn’t really think I needed a cell phone, so I never bothered to set up a service plan of my own.

I did, however, hold onto the phone.  After all, I’ve got a whole lot of people’s phone numbers in it.

Truth be told, I still look up numbers on my Nokia ever once in a while.


In October of 2002, I started dating a beautiful young lady named Kara.

She would eventually become my bride…


Here’s proof!


After dealing with my not having a cell phone for 10 years, she bought me one for my birthday in 2012…


Here it is!


Even though I never really thought I needed one, I figured I could use the phone for photo and video content on the wine blog that I had just started the year before.

At this point,  can say that my phone is the most important piece of blogging equipment I own.


This morning, I got the news…

Stay Rad Wine Blog is now a finalist in the 2013 Wine Blog Awards for Best Original Photography or Video…



Needless to say, at this point, I’m stoked to the hella.

I’m especially stoked to be in the running along side some amazing blogs in the same category.

Please take some time today to dive into The Journey of Jordan, What’s in the Bottle, Chasing the Vine, and my personal favorite, 4488: A Ridge Blog.  You’ll be glad you did.  They have some killer content!

If you feel so inclined, you can vote for your favorites at

Of course, if you’re a fan of this…

or this…


or maybe even this…

I’d love to have your vote here!

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to spend it with me… Me and my phone, that is.

Stay Rad,



We Interrupt Stay Rad to Hype Up the Wine Blog Awards

March 25, 2013

It’s award season.

Namely, it’s Wine Blog Award season.

Specifically, the nominations window for the 7th Annual Wine Blog Awards has just opened up.

When I first started this blog in 2011, I found myself inspired by several of the nominees, finalists, and winners listed on

I was overwhelmed by the number of folks who took the time to nominate this blog for those same awards in 2012.


Here we are in 2013, and it’s time to nominate again.


If you like this...

If you like this…

Or this...

Or this…

Or this...

Or this…

Or this...

Or this…

Please consider checking out the list of nominees for the Wine Blog Awards.  There are some amazing blogs there.

If you feel compelled to nominate this blog for Best Original Video on a Wine Blog, Best Wine Reviews on a Wine Blog, Best Writing on a Wine Blog, or Best Overall Wine Blog, please click this link to make your nominations.

If you’re hardcore, check out the Stay Rad Archives, and nominate your favorite post for Best Blog Post of the Year.

Happy Blog-Surfing!

Stay Rad,


PS – The nominations window closes on March 31st.  What are you waiting for?  Go nominate!

It’s Christmas. What’s in your glass?

December 25, 2012

It’s Christmas, y’all!

I hope everyone out there is having a good time with their loved ones close by.

I just wanted to take a moment to share what we’re drinking right now…

This is the Artezin 2009 Mendocino County Zinfandel. I picked it up at the local grocery store this morning for 12 bucks.

Let’s see how it turned out…

Color: Dark ruby red.

Nose: Bright blackberry fruit.

Taste: That same, bright blackberry fruit is very present on the front palate. There’s a whole lot of splintery, oaky tannins with a hint of vanilla. There’s a rich of green pepper and clove on the tail end.

Score: Look… For 12 bucks, you can’t get mad at this wine.  It would do just fine with a heavy Italian meal.  I was just expecting more.  Wine Spectator has been loving the hell out of the 2010 Artezin, so if you’re thinking about picking up a bottle, try that.  As far as the 2009, with its poor use of oak, one-dimensional fruit, and thin finish… I’m giving it an 85.  You can do better.

Merry Christmas, y’all!

What’s in your glass?

Stay Rad,


The Cornerstone of a Tasty Meal 1.3

December 1, 2012

After taking a good week off from the blog to battle this cold, I’m feeling much better (Thanks for asking).

In order to get back into the swing of things, I decided to open up another one of my samples from Cornerstone Cellars while doing a little cooking…


Cornerstone Oregon 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Color: Light burgundy red with a light tomato hue at the rim.

Nose: Tomato skin (hmmmm), leather, strawberry, cranberry, and fig notes with a nice spice rack blend to round things out.

Taste: Wow!  Delicious fruits of strawberry, blackberry, and cranberry.  There’s a great component of allspice and leather that transitions into a long, luscious, velvety finish, and a great acidity that makes it a very food-friendly wine.

Score: Here’s what I love about Pinot Noir.  It’s so subtle…  It’s so reserved…  But… It’s so complex… If you take the time to think about it.  This effort from Cornerstone Oregon is a shining example of how great Pinot Noir can be.  I love this wine.  92 (I gave the 2009 vintage of this wine a 91+)


On to the food…


Farmers Market Fresh Ahi Tuna Tower of Green Onion, Chiles, Cucumber, Mango, Cilantro, Lime, and Stagecoach Vineyard Olive Oil topped with Edamame Cakes on an Okonomi and Sriracha Glaze

I guess I went a little overboard on the food, but that Pinot got me real excited.

I was very happy with how both the dish and the pairing turned out.

The wine brought out the freshness of the cucumber in the Ahi Tower, which could have been overwhelmed by the savory/spicy dish.  The savory flavors of the tuna bumped up the previously muted flavors of cola/sassafras in the wine.

With a wine this food-friendly, there was no way I was gonna waste a single bite of this dish…


And I didn’t!

Stay Rad,


Toys for Wine? I can dig it!

September 5, 2012


Some of you may know that Gary Vaynerchuk (of Wine Library TV, Daily Grape, and Crush It fame) is my wine hero.

I liked wine before I ever watched an episode of WLTV, but Gary Vaynerchuk helped me love it.

You’ve gotta know that I was stoked to find out on Twitter recently that Gary was looking for old 80’s toys… and that he was looking to trade wine for them.

I ran over to my closet, picked out some of my old toys that were gathering up dust, and hit up @GaryVee on the Twitter.

After a little negotiating back and forth, we came to an agreement, and I shipped my stuff off the next day.


Take a peek at what showed up on my doorstep today…


Twenty-One Bottles of Wine, Picked out by Gary. Why 21? Well… It’s football season, and Frank Gore is my favorite player.

Check out some of the bad boys that Gary sent my way…


Russiz Superiore 2005 Collio Cabernet Franc


Barossa Jack 2008 Shiraz


L’Argentier 2009 Vieilles Vignes de Cinsault

Hella nerdy.

Hella fun.

And I can dig it!

I’m looking forward to tasting and reviewing a bunch of these wines for y’all.  In honor of Gary, I will be referring to these wines as GV Specials.

Here’s hoping they bring the thunder.

Stay Rad,


Great Food. Good Wine. Not So Good Pairing.

September 4, 2012

Ever since Kara and I spent a weekend in Bodega Bay, I’ve been thinking a lot about Malbecs from Argentina.

Most all of them are made at Bodegas.

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while…


Bodega Norton 2010 Mendoza Malbec


The other day, I decided to make some carnitas in my crock pot.

While walking through the wine section at Trader Joe’s, I was thinking of a nice Riesling to pair with the spicy white meat of the pork, but nothing struck my fancy.

Then I was all, “I do have that Malbec at home.  I don’t think it’s gonna go that well with the carnitas, but what the hey.  I’ll give it a shot.  What’s the worst that could happen?”

So I went home and put the carnitas together…


Pork Carnitas on a Corn Tortilla with Greek Yogurt, Hot Sauce, and Cilantro

I’m usually not one to toot my own horn, but…

Toot toot!

This was the bomb!

Tender, juicy, and spicy pork.  Delicious earthiness.

Just great!

The wine wasn’t bad either…

Color: Dark red to black.  Inky.

Nose: Oak, tar, raspberry, and blackberry.

Taste: There’s a good bike tire type of note that I always like.  I like the play between all the red and dark fruits.  Cranberry, blackberry, pomegranate, and black cherry for days.  My only concern is the astringency of the tannins.

Score: This is a solid $10 Malbec.  88 points.

As good as the carnitas and the wine were, the pairing was awful.

The wine lacked the acidity to cut through the fattiness of the pork.  The spice of the dish paired with the astringency of the wine tasted reminded me of a ripe armpit… Not that I’ve ever tasted one of those.

I’ve always heard that two wrongs don’t make a right…


Sometimes, two rights make a wrong.

Stay Rad,


More #CabernetDay Fun on The Lonely Vine

September 2, 2012

A couple of hours after my last video post, I jumped over to another website to continue the #CabernetDay fun with my buddy, Jeff Eckles of The Lonely Vine.

Here’s the link to our SpreeCast hangout…

What you’ll find is about 40 minutes of us shooting the breeze about everything from Franciscan Cabernet to Vinturi Usage to Wine Snobbery.

In spite of the 1 second delay (which leads to a couple of moments of silence), this is one of the funnest wine videos I’ve ever taken part in.

Check it out.


Stay Rad,


Getting Over It

August 20, 2012

I’m a wine blogger.

I also happen to be a teacher.

Last year, around this time, I wrote a post about how I feel about making the transition from summertime back to school.

You could read the post by clicking here, or you can just trust me…

The end of the Summer makes me sad.

That being said, last week was the first of the new school year, and my first back in the classroom.

It came and went… And I felt just fine.

This was quite possibly the smoothest transition back to school I’ve ever had.

I’ve been searching my memory banks as to why I don’t feel the same way I normally do, and I just couldn’t come up with any reason why it’s been so easy…

Then I took a peek at some of the pictures I took the week before school started.  They reminded me of the day when Kara and I decided to do a little weekday wine tasting at two of my favorite Santa Clara Valley wineries…

Our first stop was Clos La Chance, where I got to taste this bad boy…


Clos La Chance 2008 Lila’s Cuvee Rhone Blend

This is a beautiful Rhone style blend that consists of 36% Syrah, 34% Petite Sirah, 28% Grenache, 1% Mourvedre, and 1% Carignane.  It retails for $50.

Color: Inky dark red.

Nose: A really fun play between deep blueberry and chocolate with hints of graham crackers and mint.

Taste: Cranberry and raspberry fruit.  Cocoa powdery tannins, and mad tobacco flavor.

Score: This is a silky smooth wine that everybody can enjoy, but it’s got the kind of complexity that will make some of you geek out hard core.  This one is great!  91+

Later on, we hit up Sycamore Creek to try this one…


Sycamore Creek 2009 Flagship Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Sycamore Creek makes some really good Bordeaux style wines.  This Flagship Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon has a touch of Petit Verdot.

Color: Dark burgundy red.

Nose: Plum and cassis fruits up front are rounded out by mint and tobacco.

Taste: Dark and dense plum and tobacco dominate this wine.  The mid-palate transitions from cocoa and mint to black pepper spice and coffee notes on the finish.

Score: This is a super solid and fun wine.  I would plant my flag on this wine too.  91+

I’m glad that Kara and I live so close to a bunch of really cool wineries…

And with juice like this, it’s hard to feel blue about going back to school.

Stay Rad,


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…


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…


Domenico 2009 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay


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…


Domenico 2006 Dolcetto


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…


Domenico 2005 Napa Valley Meritage

I was also very impressed with their dessert wines…


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…


Ridge 2010 East Bench Zinfandel


Ridge 2007 Syrah/Grenache


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…


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+


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…


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


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,


I’ve seen the View, and I like what I see.

June 18, 2012

Creekview Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery in San Martin, California.  I’ve been aware of their wines for a while.  They usually participate in local wine events, and I’ve even been to their tasting room in Downtown San Jose.


I’ve never been to their actual winery.

They, like many Santa Clara Valley wineries that are located in residential neighborhoods, are only open for tasting on the third weekend of each month.

This past Saturday, Kara and I realized that they were open (thanks to our friend Barrel Bill), so we headed on over to the winery…


Creekview Vineyards Winery / House

The winery is also the home of the owners, Greg and Teri Peterson.

After parking on the street, we followed the signs to the back of their house.


This way…

As we walked up, we were greeted immediately by Teri and Greg, and were poured a taste of sparkling white wine…


What a way to start the day.

After our first glass, the hits just kept on coming…


Creekview 2010 Chardonnay


Creekview 2010 VCR Merlot

While enjoying the Merlot, I took a peek around their backyard, which they have set up perfectly for wine club events…


Creekview’s Kitchen, complete with a pizza oven.

When you’re there, it’s almost impossible to recognize any evidence that their house is a fully functioning winemaking facility…

Until you take a look beyond their outdoor kitchen…


Yup… They make wine here.

Back to the wine…


Creekview 2009 Melodious is their Bordeaux Blend.


Creekview 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon


Creekview 2009 Old Vine Mourvedre


Creekview 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel


Creekview 2009 Syrah


Creekview 2008 Zinfandel


Creekview 2007 Late Harvest Zinfandel

I’ve gotta say that all these wines were really good.

Kara and I picked up a bottle of the 2008 Zinfandel.  It’s probably the best Santa Clara Valley Zin I’ve ever tasted.  Where many tend to be overly ripe and hot on the palate, this one is very reserved.

Do yourself a favor the next time you find yourself free on the third weekend of the month…

Head on down to the Santa Clara Valley and hit up some of the smaller tasting rooms.

You’ll be glad you did.

Stay Rad,


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