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Wineries are the gem on Treasure Island

Yesterday on my company offsite we ventured a few miles away to Treasure Island for a wine tasting. I have pasted the exit maybe 100 times and never realized there was a whole wine world on the little island.

We went this little rustic tasting room called Vie Winery. Vie’s limited-production Rhone varietal and zinfindel-based wines grapes come from Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Napa, and Lake County vineyards.

We did a blind tasting of 4 reds their Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The wines were a bit lighter and jammy than one would expect from Cab or Zin however they were tasty. I enjoyed their Zinfandel most. I didn’t do so hot on the blind tasting scoring a whopping 25%, yes I am not proud but it was a good time.

They place is situated just feet away from the water and has outdoor bocce ball courts. We had a friendly bocce competition and it was good size for a large private group.

Check out this post on a few other hidden gems on the island worth visiting.

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New Year Resolution: Drink More Wine

As I embarked on my “new year, new me” mentality for 2018, I decided to stupidly not drink alcohol the whole month of January.

It is currently 10 days in and yes I did cheat this week on a Moscow mule and a glass of wine at my friends going away however, compared to my wine consumption per week that is pretty solid.

I do believe the new year brings a lot of chance for change however I regret starting my month long abstinence from the beloved juice I drink almost everyday.

Here are reasons you SHOULD drink wine and not to give it up (unless you fall into the weekday morning wine drinking category then maybe you should):

1. Health benefits alone are a reason to not stop drinking wine. Red wine is known to reduce the follow health conditions:

  • Reduces Heart-Attack Risk
  • Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
  • Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
  • Lowers Risk of Stroke
  • Cuts Risk of Cataracts
  • Cuts Risk of Colon Cancer
  • Slows Brain Decline

2. A glass of red wine is only 100-300 calories! Just think how satisfying a class of red wine is compared TO ONLY 2 BITES OF YOUR EGG MCMUFFIN. I’d take wine any day!

3. Makes a good day even better and bad day tolerable! Wine can celebrate a win or bring you up from a fail. It will make you look at the glass half full with your glass half full 😉

4) Makes you social and brings people together. Nothing beats meeting up with friends for a drink to catch up on each others lives. Otherwise you would be at home knitting, with your cat on your lap and on Instagram wishing you were out drinking with friends (me right now….).

Image result for wine with friends

5) Makes you “more”. Wine is seriously like mystery flavored candy. Each time I feel a little different. It transforms me or maybe just enhances me. Wine makes me….silly, creative, confident, smile, laugh, sleepy, relax and the list goes on.

Image result for wine makes you happy

Moral of the post, don’t feel bad drinking wine! There are plenty of good reasons to in “moderation”. So tonight I am going to have myself a nice bold Cab Sauv and hit the sack early!

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Pierce Ranch Vineyards

I was recently made a trip down to Big Sur, Carmel and Monterey. Whilst in Monterey I was told I need to stop at Pierce since most of my friend know I enjoy good wine. I honestly was surprised I haven’t stumbled upon it on my other trips south and spending quite a bit of time in Monterey.

The place is very centrally located yet almost so covered in vines and tucked back that I wouldn’t have known it was there unless I knew what I was looking for. Like a little hidden gem away from the craziness of downtown. It was empty as I walked in but the women working was very welcoming. She was attentive and immediately ready to start pouring, which is my style.

Pierce Ranch Vineyards focuses on “Iberian varietals more often seen in Spain and Portugal, such as Temparanillo, Touriga and Albariño, as well as wines from rarely-seen-in-the-U.S. grapes such as Tinto Cão and Graciano. While the Iberians may be the main focus, Pierce’s deep bench of excellent wines also includes a few Rhone-style picks and tasty examples of New World wines such as Zinfandel and Petite Sirah.”

They also have local musicians come , so definitely will try to get back a night where this is live music. Check out their Facebook to stay tuned: https://www.facebook.com/pierceranchvineyards/

https://www.seemonterey.com/blog/post/pierce-ranch-vineyards-the-wine-trail/

Tasting:

I was pleasantly surprised at the price of the tasting, only $5 for 5 wines and she was nice enough to pour the Rosé for us to try. Gals can’t get enough Rosé! Noticed on the menu wines range the mid-teens to the mid-twenties in price. FullSizeRender-2

We tried the following wines on the tasting menu: 

2016 Verdelho- White stone fruit  accompanied by notes of citrus and honeysuckle.

2013 Tino Cão- Notes of sour cherry, blueberry, pomegranate, and cranberry are accompanied by elements of earth, spice and florality.

2014 Zinfandel- Notes of berry compote, red cherry, and black plum combine with an herbal element and traces of spice.

2014 Touriga- Rich black currant and black cherry and plum are accompanied by traces of spice and florality.

2013 Petite Sarah- Aromas of blueberry, black currant and plum combined with a savory component and traces of spice.

To Sum It Up:

  1. Quaint space and inviting tasting room and staff
  2. MORE than affordable tastings (loved it)
  3. Unique Portugese grape varietials
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Domaine Carneros

I have driven past Domaine Carneros while passing through Sonoma into Napa SO many times and always told myself I need to make a visit. The estate is absolutely stunning and I love sparkling wine so I am not sure what took so long but I finally made it!

We made reservations for a party of 2 and it is highly suggested, seems like the staff very much prefers it and this place can get very crowded. The wines offered are two varieties, sparkling wine and still Pinot Noir. My friend and I didn’t do a tasting we decided to just get a glass since we had already done 1 tasting that day and had 2 more after.

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“In water one sees one’s own face, but in wine one beholds the heart of another.” 

-French Proverb

Visiting & Tasting:

Tastings are available daily 10am-5:30pm.
Reservations are required
and can be booked up until 5pm on the day of your arrival.
Their tastings start at $30 and go up to $40
They have 4 options:
Sparkling Wine Sampler
Red Wine Sampler
Chateau Sampler
Grande Tasting
They have cheese plates and caviar as an add on if your trying to get real fancy.
I tried two wines:
2012 Estate Brut Cuvée- $35- Aromatic notes of fresh flowers, lychee, white peach and pear make this wine irresistible. The delicate nose belies the round, full palate and exceptionally creamy finish.
The Famous Gate Pinot Nior- $80- Aromas of anise, savory herbs, black tea, and hot brick. On the palate, we find sweet cherry and cocoa powder enriched by layers of pomegranate, grilled fig, and a wisp of cigar smoke.

“Champagne is a wonderful wine: one sometimes drinks too much, but never enough.”

Archbishop of Reims (1890)

To Sum It Up: 

  1. Prettiest Estate I have visited
  2. Highest quality sparking wines
  3. Expensive!
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Barboursville Vineyards and Historic Ruins

I went to a wedding a few weeks back in Virginia and on the wedding day a few of us that weren’t apart of the wedding party was able to brake away before and head to a few wineries near the venue. I have been told about Virginia wine country and how amazing it is but really I was blissfully unaware of how many stunning wineries they have.

Our first stop was Barboursville Vineyards. This winery has some serious ties to history. In fact some presidential ties!

The wine producing estate was founded in 1976 by Gianni Zonin, an Italian winemaker from the Veneto. Part of an affiliated group of wineries owned by Zonin based in Vicenza, Barboursville Vineyards is its only American venture.

The winery is built on the grounds of Barboursville, the home of the 19th Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, James Barbour, on an estate of 870 acres (350 ha) which is divided between Albemarle County and Orange County. The home was built from 1814 through 1822 and is based on an architectural design provided by Barbour’s political ally and friend, Thomas Jefferson, since 1969 listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It draws approximately 80,000 visitors a year.

The estate is the first producer in the new era of Virginian wine history to plant Vitis vinifera since the failed attempts of Jefferson, initially through former vineyard manager Gabriele Rausse. Winery manager Luca Paschina first arrived as a consultant in 1990, now estimated among Virginia’s leading winemakers, has a stated goal to work to achieve quality consistently over several vintages.

Considered one of the leading wineries in Virginia, Barboursville Vineyards wine was selected to be served to the Queen Elizabeth II on her 2007 visit to Virginia.

Visiting:

The tasting room is open for walk-ins:

Monday – Saturday

10:00am – 5:00pm

Sunday
11:00am – 5:00pm

I did the standard tasting which was $7 for 21 tastings….THIS IS NOT A JOKE. 

There are quite a few tours and tasting options worth taking a gander before you go.

My favorites:

I am not going to go through all 21 wines but the highlights were the following:

CHARDONNAY RESERVE (2016) -$18.99- The wine is exploding with rich and complex flavors of pear, apple, and vanilla, a lavishly texured palate.

BRUT ROSÉ CUVÉE 1814– $24.99- 100% Pinot, dry (but not quite brut), nice flavor profile of lighter stonefruit and floral (along the lines of lavender / violets).

Cabernet Franc Reserve 2015 -$24.99- Dark garnet core, brilliant clarity in the glass. Intense, effusively luscious flavors of ripe red berries with caramelised notes of fig, cherry, and plum, elegantly woven together in barrel. Long-finishing and tannically vivid, yet with a remarkably soft palate.

IMG_5967 (Free tasting glass with the tasting, having too much fun a broke mine, oops!)

To sum it up:

  1. High yielding winery with cheap tasting options
  2. Options to suite every palate
  3. Strong historical ties

Ledson Winery

Oddly before I went to Ledson winery I have not yet heard of it. Upon arrive I realized what I’ve been missing. The winery grounds are stunning, acres of grapes surrounding this massive estate reassembling a castle. Who knew Sonoma had so many Castle like wineries. We didn’t have a reservation so we headed to the wine tasting room which was very rich with ornate wood and crown molding all around. We decided against doing a tasting and opted to purchase a few bottles and have a picnic. There is a store within the winery that has tons of picnic snacks and other fun wine related goodies.

In the back of the estate there is more vines, big trees that shade a few picnic tables. We sat there for over an hour eating, drinking and enjoying the fresh air.

As for wine I tried their:

2014 REDWOOD VALLEY ‘RICETTI LANE’ ZINFANDEL: $32

Stunning aromas of fresh ripe blackberry and raspberry draw you in. The palate is broad with warm blackberry, notes of vanilla, and a hint of cocoa, reminiscent of a delicious homemade berry pie. Leather and peppery spice give it a robustness with a unique, bold, and velvety finish.

2016 SONOMA VALLEY ‘FREY FAMILY VINEYARDS’ CHARDONNAY -$28

Brightly colored, it exudes pronounced aromas of Meyer lemon and white peach. Guava and green apple spill over the palate with a pure, bright mouthfeel and lengthy, refreshing finish of green apple and nectarine with a hint of biscotti.

Ledson for me was a hidden gem. It’s definitely a place I will visit again and bring friends and family so they can have their jaw drop too when arriving and seeing its beauty.

Chateau St. Jean

Visited Chateau St. Jean to try their morning bites pairing where they pair their wines with croissants, breakfast cheeses and chocolates. It was different than from what I’m used and I appreciated the change and the fact I could drink wine with breakfast. As our party arrived we were greeted with sparkling rosé and was escorted into our private tasting room.

The tasting was $30 for 4 wines and that included the bites. We were able to choose between 6 wines to accommodate those people who “don’t like whites” and “especially don’t like Chardonnay”. I picked 2 whites and 2 reds.

The whites were:

2015 Le Soul Chardonnay

2014 Reserve Chardonnay

The reds were:

2015 Le Soul Pinot Noir

2014 Cinq Cépages

I truly enjoyed the reds both the pinot noir and the cinq cépages stood out as excellent quality and balanced wines.

The service we received was great. I felt at first impressions the chateau seemed like it would come with people that had an air about them, however they were all far from it. Everyone was very welcoming and it was a relaxed atmosphere at the Chateau.

Chateau St. Jean makes you feel like your in a storybook with it’s perfectly manicured gardens and ivy covered buildings fit for a princess. It is worth heading a little north of Sonoma for this gem.

Prettiest Rosé in the Garden

Given we are just beginning rosé season I thought I’d share some beautiful rosé wines to drink this spring & summer or if you are willing to share they make the best gifts. I know your not “supposed” to judge a wine but it’s label however sometimes it’s just best of both worlds scenario and they are blessed with looks and taste. Enjoy the following list of rosés that I personally thought were some of the prettiest out there:

Summer in a Bottle Rosé 2017 by Wolffer Estate Vineyard – $25

This unique shiny coppery rosé gold color stems from its blend of 51% Merlot 23% Chardonnay 9% Gewürztraminer 8% Cabernet Franc 5% Cabernet Sauvignon 4% Riesling. This isn’t called summer in a bottle for nothing. It’s the bright fruit, melon and lychee that make you feel like you are drinking summer. Made and bottled in New York!

Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses Rose 2016 -$15.99

This peachy Rosé is from Languedoc-Roussillon, France.  

The bouquet releases aromas of summer fruits, cassis and redcurrant. Floral notes of rose along with hints of grapefruit complete the picture. The finish is fresh, offering notes of candy. On the palate the impression is fresh and full, with great aromatic persistence and balance.

Notorious Pink 2016 Grenache Rose   -$ 16.99

This rosé is pale pink in color that exudes floral orange blossom aromas. Made from 100% Grenache from the South of France, we use mature berries to balance the flavors of ripe berries that gives it a wonderful acidity and soft minerality. I received this one from my amor for Valentines Day and truly the bottle is so feminine and pretty. Sleek opaque glass with a glass cork epitomizes class and elegance.

J Vineyards Sparkling Rose    –$31.99

Made in Cali (whoop whoop). This rosé yields aromas of strawberry, nectarine and juicy red apples. On the palate, the wine opens with flavors of cherry, orange, citrus peel and the tropical star fruit that are underlined by a bright acidity that keeps the impression delightfully fresh with a lively, lingering finish. This simplistic design is perfect for anyone you know that has a name that starts with J.

Armand de Brignac Rose –$ 439.97

Made in Champagne, France with a champagne in France price point. A stunning wine, with aromas of strawberries and toast layered over a creamy palate filled with apple tart and fresh berries. Elegant, supple and rich, with a balanced finish and fine mousse. One of the top Champagnes to be found today. This wine is for a very special occasion or if you have money to throw around. Not your average summer pool party rosé.

 

Cavicchioli 1928 Rosé Spumante Dolce is made from 100% Lambrusco grapes. In the vineyard, the vines are raised with a Guyot training system, with spurred cordon pruning, on loose mixed soils. When poured and tasted, white and evanescent foam; fine and lingering perlage; bright and pale pink “candy” color; fresh and fruity aroma; sweet, slightly spicy and aromatic taste with red fruit notes with a lingering aftertaste.

Tsarine Brut Rose NV -$49.99

Aromas of red fruits with hints of brioche; this Champagne brings layers of fruit and creaminess on palate with bright freshness leading to an elegant finish. This twisted glass bottle makes for a elegant gift to a friend worth giving a $50 bottle of rosé. Not your average summer picnic wine.

Romeo Vineyards and Cellars

My husband and I headed up to the sleepy quaint wine town, Calistoga, only a day before the fires broke out. We stayed at an adorable bed and breakfast in town. As we were walking around town I was mesmerized by Romeo Cellars.

They have a rustic gate lead you to Jasmine and Rose adorned arches lead to the 1800’s Carriage House  – Romeo’s tasting room. They had wonderful staff members who were very kind and happy explain or let us try which ever we wanted since we were just buying a glass. The tables outside are shaded by century old Giant Redwoods and Cedars.

Tasting:

Choose from a selection of tastings from $20 for 5 x 1oz pours – the purchase of wine compliments the price of a tasting.

Check out their current wine selection

We just decided on two wines:

2012 Malbec-$45- Blueberry and raspberry notes rise out followed by cedar and vanilla

2014 Reserve Chardonnay- $38- I truly felt like I learned how to taste and smell the buttered popcorn that everyone talks about in Chardonnay. Given that I am a popcorn advocate it was weird enticing. However I can see why people don’t care for it. Although it was buttery it had a refreshing finish which was nice.

To Sum it Up:

  1. Most romantic gardens
  2. Quite expensive wines
  3. Grown and produced in Calistoga