Posts Tagged ‘zinfandel’

Wine and Hockey Under the Moon

February 22, 2015


Last night, my uncle took me to a hockey game…

There’s nothing really out of the ordinary about that.  My uncle and I have been to a lot of hockey, football, and baseball games together.

What made last night special was that the hockey game, in which my San Jose Sharks hosted the L.A. Kings, was played at Levi’s Stadium, home of my San Francisco 49ers, as part of the NHL Stadium Series.

Here’s what it looked like from our seats…

Levi's Stadium hosting a hockey game

Levi’s Stadium: Home of the Sharks?

Now, look…

I’m not going to get into the details of what happened in the game. Who cares if the stupid Kings won?

This blog is about wine, right?

So here’s what I had for dinner at the game…

Wine and a Frank

Wine and a Frank. One of these things cost $11.

Now, let’s get into this wine…

Fetzer Crimson 2011 Red Blend

Fetzer Crimson 2011 Red Blend

This red blend from Fetzer comes in a 187 ml (just over 6 ounces) Zipz cup.  Perfect for a stadium environment, the individual plastic cup has a resealable lid, so you don’t have to worry about spilling it everywhere when you’re carrying it back to your seat.  It’s $11 at the stadium, and available in stores from $3 – $6.

Now, let’s talk about the juice in the plastic glass…

Color: Dark ruby red.

Nose: Nice!  Notes of cranberry, orange juice, and a little lime zest. On some level, this wine reminds me of a young, thinned out version of a Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

(Side Note: Zipz are filled to the top with wine, if you’re used to sticking your nose in the glass, like I am, you may end up with wine in your nose… like I did.)

Taste: The Fetzer Crimson is a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon (along with some other stuff).  It’s very fresh on the palate.  Bright notes of cranberry and raspberry fruit.  There is a nice richness to this wine, though it may, in part, be due the the plastic vessel I drank it from.

Score: Not bad!  This wine is what it is.  A nice, fresh, red wine that comes in a plastic cup.  I can’t really get mad at the $11 price point. You’re never going to find your favorite cult wine in a plastic cup at a hockey game… or if you did, you’d pay through the (wine covered) nose for it.  I’m giving it an 83.

You could do worse…

Much worse…

You could be a Kings fan.

Stay Rad,


We want to hear from you.  Let us know how you feel about wine in plastic cups.  Leave your comments below.


Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 150: #BrownZin

December 29, 2014

In this episode, Jeff tries his Uncle Frank’s favorite wine…

Wine Tasted:

Brown Estate 2012 Napa Valley Zinfandel

Brown Estate 2012 Napa Valley Zinfandel

Stay Rad,


What’s your favorite Napa Valley Zinfandel?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

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:


Wolff & Father 2010 Loup de Rouge

After the Facts:

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

Stay Rad,


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

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 110: Pinot Noir and Zinfandel with Dave TheVegetarian

July 7, 2013

In this episode, Jeff and Dave TheVegetarian taste a few wines before dinner…

Wine Tasted:


XYZin 2011 Old Vine Zinfandel


Big Basin Vineyards 2009 Coastview Vineyard Pinot Noir

Food Tasted:


Homemade Bread with a Trio of Compound Butter


Linguine of Asparagus and Garlic

Stay Rad,


What’s your favorite 15 dollar Zin? What’s your favorite wine region for Pinot Noir? Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 103: Stay Rad Turns Two!

June 11, 2013

In this episode, Jeff celebrates the second anniversary of Stay Rad Wine Blog with a blind wine tasting.  Let’s see how he did?

Wine Tasted:


You’re always trying to cheat, aren’t you? Scroll down if you want to see the wine.


Brazin 2008 Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi

Stay Rad,


Have you ever had this wine?  What did you think of it?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

If Jalapeño Jelly can’t salvage this day-old Zinfandel, I don’t know what will.

April 17, 2013

Yesterday, Kara and I opened up this bottle of wine from Trader Joe’s…


Trader Joe’s Reserve 2011 Lot #71 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel


You know I’m a big fan of these Trader Joe’s wines.  At $10, it’s tough to go wrong.  This wine looked really intriguing, not only because it’s from the Dry Creek Valley (a great spot for Zin), but also because it was a lot-specific wine.  I was really hoping for this wine to blow me away.


I gotta be honest…

This wine came off as a one-dimensional fruit bomb.

We only drank a little bit of it last night.

Tonight, Kara made this awesome dish…


Jalapeño Jelly Slow-Cooked Chicken

The chicken has a little bit of sweetness with a nice, spicy kick.  It reminds me a little bit of Jamaican Jerk Chicken.


I’m sitting here, eating the chicken, and thinking to myself, “Self.  You know what would be good with this chicken?  A nice fruit bomb of a wine.  I wonder if there’s any of that Trader Joe’s Zin left.”

Sure enough, there was.

The wine still had a ripe, brambly type of red fruit to it on the front palate.  There was a good acid to the wine.  What was nice about this day-old wine was that some of the over-the-top fruit had given way to some nice herbal qualities.

With the chicken, the wine started to show some pretty green notes.

This wine still may not blow many of you away, but if it’s not your cup of tea, just get you some Jalapeño Jelly.

Stay Rad,


Prospecting and Mining for Gold: The Component Tasting at Ridge Vineyards

March 9, 2013

You know I love me some Ridge Vineyards.

In 2011, Kara and I became members of their Monte Bello Collector program.

Along with being able to purchase their epic Monte Bello Bordeaux blend at a deep discount, as members, Kara and I get to go to some pretty awesome events.  Saturday, we went to the First Assemblage and Component Tasting at their Monte Bello estate in Cupertino.  It’s a chance for prospective Monte Bello buyers to taste the individual varietal components of the blend, as well as a sneak peek at the 2012 vintage before it gets bottled up.

Here’s how it all went down…


At check in, we were treated to a glass of the 2011 Estate Chardonnay. It’s loaded with lemon and minerals, all wrapped up in a cloud of creamy goodness.

Onto the components of the Ridge 2012 Monte Bello…


This is the 2012 Petit Verdot. It’s got coffee and cocoa on the nose. The mouthfeel is mad grippy. Some initial green flavors transition to fruit of cranberry and orange zest.


Here’s the 2012 Merlot. Super mocha and espresso on the nose. Big fruits of cherry and cranberry, with just a touch of grapefruit. Wow.

While sipping on this killer Merlot, we took some time to check out the food…


Charcuterie from Fatted Calf, Bread from Gayle’s Bakery, and Cheese Selections by Kirstin Jackson (Author of It’s Not You, It’s Brie)

More components…


The 2012 Cabernet Franc had a super espresso and toffee nose. The wine was bright and fun, with a whole lot of raspberry and cranberry fruit.


On the nose, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon gave notes of chocolate candy oranges. The palate was super bright with orange and raspberry fruit. Hella tasty!

After tasting the components, I was excited to be among the first civilians to taste the primary assemblage of the 2012 Monte Bello.


Here it is. This is the Ridge 2012 Monte Bello, poured by one Paul Draper. I asked Paul if he was excited about this vintage. He said he was very happy with the big fruit notes on this wine. According to Paul, this wine will rival the 1997 and 2001 vintages of Monte Bello (That is a REALLY good thing). The wine is composed of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 8% Petit Verdot. Of course, this young Monte Bello has espresso on the nose from the toast of the American Oak. There is some massive bright red fruit on this wine, evened out with notes of tobacco and menthol. This wine is great.

The Component Tasting is also the first chance for the public to taste the 2010 Monte Bello.  If you bought futures for this wine in 2011 (like we did), this is also an opportunity to pick up your wine.


The 2010 Monte Bello has aromas of blackberry and plum. The wine has a great acidity, tasty cranberry fruit, and herbaceous tobacco notes. Mad sophisticated.


Kara and I took our time enjoying this one.

Back in the tasting room, Ridge had more treats for us…


The 2010 Estate Merlot shows aromas of bright red fruit and baking spices. The palate has bright cranberry and raspberry fruit with some nice herbs.


Here’s the 2010 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Big. Bright. Great mouthfeel. Pound for pound, this is one of the best Cabs around.


The 2007 Monte Bello has menthol and tobacco herbs, along with tomato and cranberry fruit. Very good.


The 2008 Jimsomare Zinfandel is a rare treat. Bright and concentrated fruits of cranberry, blackberry, and raspberry, with an earthy balance. Good stuff.

What a great event.

I even brought some gold back from the mountain…


This magnum of Ridge 2010 Monte Bello fits perfectly in my wine fridge. Check back in 2035, and I’ll tell you how it turns out.

Stay Rad,


What’s your favorite wine event?  Have you ever purchased wine on futures?  Leave a comment, and tell us what you think.

Find wine and wine-related products on Amazon.

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,


The Good Charlotte of Wine: Results for the Stay Rad Interactive Wine Tasting Vol. 1

October 8, 2011

Warning: What you will find below are my results for the Stay Rad Interactive Wine Tasting Volume 1.  If you would like to participate, please read my previous post and get a hold of the Folie a Deux 2009 Menage a Trois first. 

If you have the wine, please decant it for 30 minutes before tasting.

Don’t worry…

I’ll wait…



Now, feel free to taste and make notes before you read on OR taste along with me as I attempt to guide you through this wine.

C’mon everybody… Let’s have a “Menage a Trois”!

A long time ago, Kara and I were prepping for a day trip to Napa.  As I often do, the day before the trip I printed of some coupons from Wine Country this Week and  Cheers 2 Wine.  One of the coupons was for a free tasting at Folie a Deux, a small tasting room that sits right along Highway 29 on the South end of Oakville.  We had driven by that place several times in the past (you really can’t miss it), so we decided to give it a go.

On the way into Napa, we made our regular pit stop at the Napa-Sonoma Visitor Center in American Canyon to have a morning wine tasting and to ask for some recommendations…

“Where are you guys planning on going?” the gentleman behind the counter asked us, as he poured me a taste of Riesling.

“We’ve got a coupon for free tasting at Folie a Deux…” I responded.

“Well… I guess that’s a reason to stop there,” he responded as he shook his head in disapproval.

I’ll never forget those words.  I’ll never forget the look on his face.  It was all I needed to know.  Folie a Deux get’s NO respect in Napa.

No respect.

You can’t call it the Rodney Dangerfield of wine.  Although Rodney always claimed that he got none of it… He was, in fact, a well-respected comedian.

So, let’s compare it to punk rock…

Let’s imagine that Napa was the punk rock capital of the planet.  Let’s say Napa was home to the Ramones, the Stooges, X, and The Clash.

The Stooges = The Ridge Vineyards of Punk Rock

If the wine of Napa is punk rock, Folie a Deux would be Good Charlotte…



I don’t hate Good Charlotte.  They’ve recorded some catchy tunes.

Remember the time they ripped of this Steve Miller song…

and made this steaming pile of crap?

(By the way, if you are wondering where Steve Miller is on the wine spectrum… He’s Two-Buck Chuck.)

What I am saying is this…

No fan of music would ever consider Good Charlotte to be a punk band.  They have a lot of fans.  A lot!  Way more fans than I have on Facebook.  But… They are not respected as a punk band.  You know… ‘Cause they’re not punk.  They’re about as punk as discussing who is punk and who isn’t (which ain’t punk at all… Or is it?).

Did I ever mention to you that I used to work for a record store when I was in college?  Well I did…

So, one day I was at the store on an early Sunday morning, filing CD’s in the punk section.  As I was organizing the Dickies row, I looked over to my right to see the singer (or the guitar player… They’re twins right?) of Good Charlotte spending a lot of time in the G’s of punk.  A lot of time!

At first I was all, “Maybe the guy from Good Charlotte really likes Good Riddance”.  But then it came to me… “This fool thinks that we are filing his album in the punk section!”  I approached with caution, and asked if he needed any help.

“Nope.  Just browsing, bro.”  He then quickly ducked his head in shame and walked out the door.

Now look… If the guy from Good Charlotte doesn’t know that his own band isn’t punk, then how can any of us know how do define and classify music… or wine, for that matter.


In spite of the wine guy’s disapproval, we headed over to Folie a Deux to do some free tasting…

The first thing you will notice is that the tasting room is home to two wineries… Folie a Deux and Napa Cellars.  On top of that, Folie a Deux has a side label called Menage a Trois.  So if you think about it, there are THREE wineries in one tasting room!  And if you want to add to the confusion, all of these wines are owned by Trinchero Family Estates.  So really, in spite of all the different labels, it is all just ONE winery.

To be honest, I don’t remember much of the wines we tasted.  It was a long time ago, and I didn’t take any notes.  The one thing that did stick in my mind was that they did have a red blend that they were pushing pretty hard… and it had a pretty cute name…

Menage a Trois!

The Folie a Deux 2009 Menage a Trois is a blend of three red grapes; Zinfandel, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Get it?  It’s called Menage a Trois ’cause there are three grapes in it!  As you read in my last post, I got this wine for $7.97 at Wal-Mart.


Let’s give her a taste!

Folie a Deux 2009 Menage a Trois in the decanter.

Don’t Forget: This wine was decanted for half of an hour.  You should do this too.

Color: This is a dark red.  When you hold your glass up to the light, you’ll see a red brick color around the edge of the rim.  Do you see it?

Nose: As far as fruit goes, there are some tart cherries and raspberries on the nose.  This wine is a little tight, so if you really want to smell what’s going down, jam your nose right in the glass.  After a bit, you will pick up some blueberry fruit.  There is a minerality to this nose.  Think of green tea and chalk (I love chalk!).  Do you smell it?

Taste: When you give this wine a whirl, swish this baby around in your mouth for a good thirty seconds.  There is a medium weight to this wine that may remind you of milk in its density…  You should get some strawberry and cherry fruit.  There is a tart acidity on the mid-palate that reminds Kara of a cheap sort of wine.  I tend to agree with her, but it is quite pleasant overall.  There is a little bit of smokey ham and bell pepper on the back end.

Score: Look… This is a gimmicky wine.  It’s like Weird Al and the Offspring did a guest spot on The Simpsons.  But… For what it is… At eight bucks a bottle, it works.  Give it an 87+.  Bring it to a party.  You may not get rave reviews, but you may not get dissed either.

So, there it is…

What did you think about the wine?

How would you make this better?

Leave a comment, and let me know.

You have the power…

Raw Power!

Stay Rad,


It’s all good: A two day extravaganza @ #RidgeVineyards

July 6, 2011

Chillin' on the Ridge.

I’m just gonna say it.

Somebody has to.

It may as well be me.

Ridge Vineyards is the raddest winery in the history of all that is awesome.

A couple of months back, after visiting their Monte Bello tasting room in Cupertino, Kara and I decided to become members.  The membership allows us free tasting, discounts on wine, and the ability to buy futures of their Monte Bello at a DEEP discount.  One of the really neat things we’ve discovered since joining Ridge is how many cool members-only events we get to take part in.  Recently we were able to go to two different events on back-to-back days.

Here’s the rundown…

July 1st: First Friday at Monte Bello

During the summer season, the Monte Bello tasting room will serve a special flight to club members on the first Friday of each month.  Although Ridge is most known for their zinfandel and Bordeaux blends, for July, they offered a vertical tasting of chardonnay.

Who says white wine can't age?

The tasting consisted of the 2003 and 2004 vintages of the Monte Bello Chardonnay, as well as the 2005 and 2006 vintages of the Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Charonnay.  The great part about this tasting was seeing just how well chardonnay can age.  The two Monte Bellos were very much smooth and balanced.  They both had really nice acidity.  The 2005 Estate was a crowd-pleasing chardonnay with a beautiful creamy finish.  The 06 Estate had this amazing smell of figs, but the taste did not live up to the nose.  The winner of this throwdown was…

The 2003 Monte Bello Chardonnay. Class in a glass.

After the chardonnay vertical, I had a hankering for a zinfandel and a picnic.  Now, if you’re talking zins, Ridge has ’em.  Based on a recommendation, we got a bottle of this bad boy…

Ridge 2007 Carmichael Zinfandel and a picnic.

This zin had a nice spice and ripe fruit, without being too jammy.  It was a great way to cap off the day…


Seeing this thing on the road on the way back was pretty cool too…

If my car were just a little bit smaller, I'd have tried to drive under this thing.

July 2nd:  Zins, Blends & BBQ

For an early 4th of July celebration, the next day, Ridge offered barbecue paired with many of their fine wines.  Here’s what we had…

Check in with a glass of 2009 Mikulaco Chardonnay. Don't mind if I do.

2009 Geyserville paired with a bomb ass North Carolina Pulled Pork sandwich.

2006 Mazzoni Home Ranch with Kansas City Baby Back Ribs and a bunch of forks.

2007 Lytton Estate Zinfandel w/ California Tri Tip and Blue Cheese Potato Salad. Yum!

I found this 2008 York Creek Zinfandel hiding in the corner with Texas Beef Brisket. This York Creek has become one of my favorite zins in the Ridge collection.

After these pairings, there were three more wines for us to try in the main tasting room…

"Would you like to try our 2009 Jimsomare Chardonnay?" "Does a bear poo in the woods?"

The 2009 Buchignani Carignane. So nice, I had it twice... You'll see.

2006 Lytton Estate Syrah done in the true Côte-Rôtie style with 8% viognier.

We were such fans of the Buchignani Carignane that we got another bottle to have with our picnic leftovers from the day before.

I told you.

And there you have it!

13 wines.

4 barbecue dishes.

2 picnics.

1 dope time.

The shadows of Kara and JeffIsRad on the Ridge.

Stay Rad,


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