Sonoma Sparklers Tour

For this theme tour, we’ll visit five Sonoma wineries with backgrounds different to those found in Napa. Instead of French Champagne houses, we’ll visit a Spanish Cava house and a German family ~ perhaps not such an obscure concept when one considers the role of Krug, Bollinger, Deutz, and Heidsieck in the history of Champagne. Once you take this SPARKLE TOUR, I want you to … Continue reading Sonoma Sparklers Tour

Sauvignon Blanc Smackdown Tour

Enjoy this theme tour. All the wineries will have other wines as well, so it’s not one-dimensional, in case you’re unsure Sauv Blanc deserves your entire focus. If you try all three days, it takes you completely through Napa, northern Sonoma, and out to the beautiful Sonoma coast. That’s a lot of really great countryside driving. At the end you will be in wonderful shape … Continue reading Sauvignon Blanc Smackdown Tour

Roussanne ~ My Quaker Moment in the Rhône

Twenty-plus years ago I was traveling with a bunch of friends in the southern Rhône Valley. We went to visit an art academy in a tributary valley called the Luberon ~ a district subsequently given a big dose of notoriety by Peter Mayle. We stayed in the little village of Gordes, a couple thousand feet above the valley floor with a magnificent view, and an … Continue reading Roussanne ~ My Quaker Moment in the Rhône

New World Albariño. Hope You’ve Got a Thick Skin.

Albariño grapes have been written about in Spanish monastery records for 800 years. The name may translate as “White Rhine,” but frequent attempts to stitch together comparisons with Riesling have generally struck me as promotional twaddle ~ fanciful at best. Let’s not forget Semillon was called “Hunter Valley Riesling” in Australia for much of the 20th Century. Actually Albariño is carving out a niche all … Continue reading New World Albariño. Hope You’ve Got a Thick Skin.

Grigio Style: Pinot Gris Dances with Asian Flavors

Chardonnay is the king of white wine in America. Sauvignon Blanc used to be a distant second, but it was passed by Pinot Gris in 2002. Popularity is a double-edged sword though. Any grape variety needs to reach a threshold of consumer recognition and interest for wineries to continue putting money and effort into artistic examples. Consumer acclaim, however, breeds high-volume low-cost imitations (cf: Yellowtail … Continue reading Grigio Style: Pinot Gris Dances with Asian Flavors