Tag Archives: Zinfandel

Surprising Wine Values at Whole Foods

A lot of people I know refer to Whole Foods as “Whole Wallet” because of its relatively high prices on produce and other food items. I shop there regularly for health supplements and specialty foods I can’t find elsewhere. I am finding, though, that their wine department, stocked with many relatively obscure organic and sustainably grown wines sourced by their buyers from around the world, does contain some relative bargains. Continue reading

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Uruguay II: Exciting New Producers, Promising New Regions

The five producers that are the focus of the remainder of this report are all relatively new—dating back to the mid-‘90s at the earliest. All have had the benefit of consulting with and learning from foreign wine experts, including such famous “flying winemakers” as Michel Rolland and Alberto Antonini. All five are achieving impressive results, further demonstrating the tremendous promise of the Uruguayan wine industry. Continue reading

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2013 Update/Cabernet Value Recommendation

This holiday blindtasting brought home for me even further what a great value the Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Estate is for a high quality Bordeaux blend. It is designed to be drinkable much earlier than the Monte Bello, and it is somewhat ageworthy but will not go decades like the Monte Bello. Continue reading

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Bedrock Wine Co.: Wines with Real Personality from Very Old Vines

Bedrock makes a remarkable number and range of wines for a very small operation. Through 2010, Morgan has made a Chardonnay from the Brosseau Vineyard, but plans to use that fruit in the future to make sparkling wine. A Graves Blanc inspired Cuvée Karatas (named after Morgan’s dog, and formerly called “Caritas” until trademark litigation loomed) is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc from Monte Rosso Vineyard and Kick Ranch, respectively. He’s also made a Mourvèdre Rosé. On the red side, Morgan has produced a variety of single vineyard and appellation Syrahs, single vineyard and appellation Zinfandels, a Cabernet from the Bedrock Vineyard, a Russian River Pinot, and intriguing red blends based on very old vine field blend plantings. He calls the latter “Heirloom Wines.” Continue reading

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Visit to Dry Creek Valley Part III: Northern DCV and Rockpile Ridge Vineyard

The last two stops on our day-long visit to Dry Creek Valley AVA took us to the Mauritson family’s scenic Rockpile Ridge Vineyard, overlooking Lake Sonoma, where we were joined by the winemaker for Gustafson Family, and Sbragia Family’s winery and tasting room, where we had dinner with several more winemakers and winery owners. Continue reading

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Visit to Dry Creek Valley Part II: Organic and Fish Friendly Farming

I found the testimonials for organic and biodynamic farming from Michael Brunston of Michel-Schlumberger and Hugh Chappelle of Quivira, respectively, quite compelling. I was particularly fascinated to learn of the work of many Dry Creek Valley producers in attempting to restore and improve the habitat in Dry Creek and its tributaries for the endangered fish that traditionally spawn and spend their first year or two there, particularly Coho salmon and Steelhead trout. Continue reading

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Visit to Dry Creek Valley Part I: A Tale of Generations

I was part of a day-long expedition to Dry Creek and Rockpile this month sponsored by the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley Association. We tasted wines from 15 producers on our day there, and made stops at four wineries or vineyards; at three of those stops we were joined by representatives from nearby wineries as well. This trip gave me a great feel for the beauty of the area, the hilly nature of many of the vineyards, a sense of what grape varieties do best here, and the generations of winemaking families responsible for sustaining vineyards and winemaking in the valley. I also learned about the conservation practices–aimed at protecting the creek, which is a vital habitat for coho salmon and steelhead trout–and organic and biodynamic farming practiced by several producers in this appellation. And I found some new favorite producers from the area. Continue reading

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