Many believe that as spring arrives, it becomes white wine season. I’m split on the matter as I enjoy a solid white year-round, but my wife leans more towards whites in warm weather and who am I to object? I really like Riesling and this Prinz Von Hessen German Kabinett is a low alcohol (11.5%) rather dry (as Riesling goes) offering. It has the traditional apple flavor, but not in an overt, sweet manner. Rather, it’s restrained and balanced with a bit of citrus and minerality. This works well with food and without. Enjoy!
We visited Luna on multiple occasions throughout our Napa travel. On our initial trip, during the release of the heralded 2004 Cabernet vintage, we bought this bottle of cab. I can’t believe we held it for so long, but it made it until April 2011 and we enjoyed it thoroughly. This wine is devoid of any bite or harshness. Rather, it’s a full, round, vanilla with blackberry and coffee drink of wonderfulness. Like our other Luna purchases, their dedication to quality shines through. If you come across a Luna cab, this is a rousing endorsement to try it.
At the end of the Santa Barbara pier is a seafood shack that is the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company. This is the spot for great shellfish as I watched fresh crabs dropped into the giant tank as I ate my dinner. Considering that I was there by myself and waited about 20mins to grab a seat at the half bar (with a great view of the ocean), this is clearly a local favorite.
The value is clear as well. For $25, I enjoyed a 1.5lb local rock crab (which has some similarities to the stone crab in Florida) served with a cup of clam chowder and a salad. The chowder was fork-thick with a savory herb blend which I washed down with a Kona lager. The crab, easily the star of my dinner was so fresh and flavorful. Chances are that it was in the water that morning. It took me a good 30 minutes to systematically decimate the meat from each section of the crab sitting in front of me. While this was served with clarified butter and cocktail sauce, neither was needed at any point. The claw meat, which most prize was sweet, not to be outdone by the knuckles and the legs. The clusters took some doing, but provided a very clean flavor with each bite. I made a complete mess of myself as no bib was offered, but enjoyed it thoroughly. If I make it back to SB anytime soon, this will most certainly require a repeat-visit.
Rutherford Grove is a great place to stop if you’re in the Napa Valley doing wine tastings. We have enjoyed their Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in the past and this Petite Sirah is right up there. Its round flavor profile with pronounced jamminess and an interesting vanilla-coffee on the finish tees it up to pair with most anything, or nothing for that matter. There’s noting ‘petite’ about it, this is a real winner from Rutherford Grove. Cheers.
I first tasted Hanna’s wine at Press Club in San Francisco; it’s a great wine bar in the ‘basement’ of the Four Seasons. So, from that experience, I knew about their quality. This Sau Blanc is traditionally crisp with lemon and lime flavors that are perfect for spring.
What I didn’t expect, and found by complete coincidence was the pairing of this wine with black licorice. I picked up some Panda natural licorice at whole foods and had some for dessert while I still had a bit of this wine left. The creaminess of the licorice and the anise was a perfect compliment to the crispness of the wine. If you like licorice and Sau Blanc, give it a shot and let me know what you think.
This is a special bottle of wine. The 2004 vintage was a phenomenal Napa Cab vintage and this is a sample of that greatness. Beyond the special year, 2004 was also the last year that the Mondavi family owned and produced the wine from their namesake winery (it is now owned by Constellation brands). It seems like serendipity that this was such a strong year and that this wine was so well received. We purchased this when it was released and waited patiently to open it up…
Tonight seemed like as good a time as any. This 2004 Oakville Cabernet is a monster cab and a serious wine with rich, balanced fruit. Until it opened up, there was a definite raisin like flavor which has subsided and the more subdued features are coming through. I think there’s a bit of clove, coffee, and light berry in the overall mouthfeel with a nice, long finish. We toasted to Robert Mondavi and his family as we enjoyed this wonderful wine.
For anyone who is interested in learning more about the rise of the Napa Valley through the lens of the Mondavi family estate, I strongly recommend reading The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty by Julia Flynn Siler. I found it incredibly informative and educational.
Yes, it’s a long name for a vineyard specific wine, but this Arista Bacigalupi is a wonderful Pinot which showcases its Russian River home. We visited Arista on our December 2010 Sonoma trip, and it’s a must-do for anyone doing wine tasting in the Russian River Valley. Their wines are wonderful, across the board, people are welcoming, and the scenery is gorgeous.
We enjoyed this Pinot on Friday night with dinner at Caffe Casta Diva and this balanced, slightly fruit forward Pinot complimented our dinner well. There isn’t much in the way of earth undertones in this Pinot, but I found some mild raspberry and dark cherry; it’s on the richer side of Pinot and quite enjoyable. This was the last of our Sonoma trip Pinots…maybe it’s time to go back!
This Walla Walla winery has something right, both in price ($17) and flavor profile. The Waterbrook Melange is an interesting mix of fruit: Merlot (43%), Cab Sauv (30%), Cab Franc (13%), Sangiovese (13%), and Temparnillo (1%). On the nose, I think it’s earthy…like mushroom and blue cheese. Don’t be scared, that’s ok. But, it has a split personality as it tastes very rounded, with black fruits and light tanins. It’s like a heavier version of a northern california pinot noir. It’s not terribly heavy though and should provide some versatility as well.