Monday, May 24, 2010

Wine Allotments

Funny how getting notified that one of my annual wine allocations from either Napa or Sonoma always brings a smile to my lips. Living here now allows me moments of decadent culinary pleasures and such rarified liquid pleasures that I truly feel blessed.

I can say that so honestly now. Here I am in New York City today; downtown even, and running around my old neighborhood eating and drinking like a king.  Yet here I am writing about all of those pleasures that I enjoy so very much when I am back in St. Helena.  

I took a ride with my kids and their friend Jason last week up to Dry Creek to pick up my 2008 Zinfandel from A. Rafanelli. Getting those kids to jump in the car and cruise through Napa, Knights, Alexander Valley and then into Geyserville and Dry Creek Sonoma wasn't as easy as it looks. A bribe was offered. Stopping at the Candy Store on the square in Healdsburg for a sugar fix and the promise of real good Mexican food was accepted faster than I expected.

The ride over on a Saturday morning brought less traffic than imagined. The roads were clear, the music and scenery perfect. Leaving the kids outside I went inside to get my wine and naturally a few tastes of all the new releases. The Zins were of course just the way I like them. Full bodied, balanced dark fruit and the proper acidity that promised me it would behave in a few years and deliver back to me the most authentic Dry Creek Zinfandel imaginable.

I love these wines and 2008 looks like a very special, dark concentrated wine with a special night of barbeque in its future. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tasting Room

A few weeks ago I was introduced to a new marketing concept that I believe can revitalize both the wholesale and retail wine business. A brilliantly executed marketing tool called Tasting Room.Com. What they are able to do is take any finished wine and then in an airless chamber open and accurately refill that wine into very small sample size bottles without losing any of that wines integrity. Now you may wonder why would anyone need a sample of wine that small and so creatively packaged and then presented in these clever foam presentation boxes that look as if regulation 750 ml bottles were put through some sort of a Willi Wonka miniaturizing machine and came out the size of of an airline pour? The answer here is pure marketing genius.
The wines are handled so they stay true to the winemakers original condition and NOW, you the consumer, can sample six (6) selections from a wineries portfolio before you have to plunk down some hefty $$$ money and see if those wines are worth the price. Now if your lucky enough to be out here in wine country thats one thing, but since most people buy their wines from their local establishments, here's a great way to sample first before ordering online direct from your favorite or soon to be favorite winery. These kits offer you a chance to taste six (6) different wines from select portfolios for about the same price as one bottle of wine. You then can order directly from those wineries hopefully establishing new direct relationships with them that will bring you the wine drinker many long term benefits that only the enjoyment of wine can bring.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday Dinner in St Helena

One of the most wonderful things about living in the Napa Valley is enjoying a supper with friends. Sharing the sun setting over the vineyards from the backyard view from the magnificent home of our dear friends J & C, the "good life" couldn't be more real for the 10 of us who enjoyed this very special moment of great food, superb Napa wines and the company of interesting people. These are the days that we all have worked so hard for. This was a special moment of friendships combined with steaks, cous-cous, caesar salads, decadent desserts laced with raspberries and great vintage of Napa wines that seem to go down way to easy. This is why I am here in this valley at this juncture of my life. This is why I will stay here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Spring Rain here in Napa Valley seems more natural and more like a necessary nurturing to the environment. I never had that feeling about the rain back in NYC. The incessant stop and start of it, the sound of the heavy drops landing in patters of repeated thuds on the soil never bothers me here as it did when I would have looked out my window back east and thought "do I really have to go out in that!"
It's raining and the sun is peeking out this morning, are there rainbows in the forecast?
The forecast actually is for sunny skies starting tomorrow and that just might be the last of the rain until the Fall. Maybe it's a good day to plant all those organic tomatoes and basil plants I have just acquired from Yountville. Seems that grapes aren't the only thing that grows beautifully here in the Napa Valley.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday in Napa valley headed north on Rt 29 with the family in tow. Curving northward past Calistoga and into Knights valley and beyond to Alexander valley. The sky was clear and the road was clearer ahead. 85 degrees all the way to Sonoma where we were heading to visit friends and to taste from a few select vintners.
Driving down from Geyserville south along Dry Creek passing many of my favorites along the West Road all the way down to the River Road. Stopping at the Joseph Swan Vineyard to taste and purchase some '05 "Mancini Vineyard" Zinfandel;much lighter in alcohol at 13.9 % ,with hints of dried cherries and a wonderful pepper finish. Then on to Merry Edwards where I can't resist buying more Sauvignon Blanc. The '09 is just released and this will be the 3rd year in a row of my losing control of my wallet to buy this wine. My absolute favorite Sav Blanc and this '09 is more citrus and tropical fruit than last year's wine which was delightful with it's lemongrass notes, just can't wait to drink this '09 with friends! Of course friends were where we were headed for so it was back to Vinehill Road and dinner with Don & Patricia. Always so great to see them and always a delight to share their wine :) As you can see below in the photo, we started with the '02 DuMol "Chloe" Russian River Chardonnay. The '02 has maturity and a well integrated touch of oak, it made for very pleasant sipping as we all shared some goat, sheep and cow cheeses.
Dinner came and so did the '00 Kistler "Sonoma Coast" Pinot Noir, still big and bright with its deep cherry fruit flavor and so nice after 10 years of waiting to be appreciated. What a nice day, the kids, the wife and a day spent appreciating how wonderful it is to be living here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Swanson Rosato

Swanson Rosato on a beautiful Napa evening...delicious, perfect with everything!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Facebook Frenzy

Seems that their has been a overnight viral implosion over at V. Sattui Winery regarding the Op Ed letter denouncing Firemen and their overpaid & cushy jobs. More than 2,000 Facebooker's have started a boycott of V. Sattui & Castello da Amorosa wineries over this "foot in mouth" fiasco. It remains to be seen how many more join in the boycott by tomorrow. CBS news picked up the story this morning. I guess I should consider myself lucky to have gotten out before all of this blew up. Stay tuned!

St. Helena Sunset

The Hess Collection

Follow the Redwood Road. Who would have expected to find Francis Bacon residing up on Mt. Veeder? The art was a cultural breath of fresh and the curation of the entire exhibit delighted us all.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Time Is Now

The Wine Juggernaut will post what he tastes, witnesses and feels about wine and the wine business as he lives it here in the Napa Valley.