Gabe's View

Wine: Reviews, Thoughts & Culture

Steelhead Vineyards – 2013 Sauvignon Blanc / 2013 Pinot Noir

Posted by Gabe on June 18, 2015

Steelhead_Pinot.PR_Steelhead Vineyards is owned by Katy and Dan Leese who also founded the V2 Wine Group which owns a number of properties. Steelhead Vineyards itself is committed to charity. A percentage of all their sales are donated to Trout Unlimited. This group does outreach with Northern California Wineries to help them move towards improved water practices. This includes restoration of Salmon and Steelhead habitats on their properties and more. More information can be found on their website. Hugh Chapelle, from Quivira Vineyards, is the consulting winemaker. Here’s a look at two of their current releases.

Steelhead 2013 North Coast Sauvignon Blanc ($13)

The fruit for this wine (100% Sauvignon Blanc) came from Lake County (80%), and Dry Creek Valley (20%). It was fermented in stainless steel at cold temperatures with a small amount sitting on the lees.  Just fewer than 6,000 cases were produced. Pineapple, yellow melon, mango, and lemon zest aromas are all present on the inviting nose. Apricot, white peach and a bit of spice show up on the agreeable palate which is easy going with more than sufficient depth. Minerals, hints of grass, white pepper and a hint of papaya all show up on the finish. This clean, crisp and fresh tasting Sauvignon Blanc is delicious all by itself and will pair well with creamy cheeses, light foods and the like.

Steelhead 2013 Sonoma County Pinot Noir ($15)

The fruit for this wine, all Pinot, was sourced in Sonoma County. Fermentation took place in open tanks with punch downs as well as some closed tanks with pump overs.  Aging took place in a combination of tank and barrel over 10 months. Just fewer than 12,000 cases were produced. Bing cherry, wild strawberry and hints of spice appear on the welcoming nose. A core of red fruits tinged lightly with black fruit characteristics are joined by lots of spice and mineral elements on the layered palate. Cinnamon, cloves, sweet cocoa, red cherry and bits of cranberry are all present on the above average finish. Firm acid lends structure and adds to the mouth-watering nature of this wine. Balanced Pinot Noir with good varietal typicity is hard to come by in this price range. That makes this wine a bit of a steal at $15.

These are very solid everyday wines. They’re both express their varietal quite well and provide a very impressive amount of delicious drinking pleasure for their price points. If you’re looking for a house white or red to purchase by the case, you’ll do well with these offerings from Steelhead. And you’ll also help make a difference. Sounds like a good deal for all involved.

Posted in Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Wine | Leave a Comment »

Give Mom Something Delicious For Mother’s Day!

Posted by Gabe on May 7, 2015

With Mother’s Day just days away, many of us are scrambling for the right gift. If your mom is like most, she likes a glass of wine every now and then. I just tasted through a lot of different offerings and found a diverse group that, depending on your mom’s tastes, will each hit the right spot. Whether she likes aromatic whites, reds (gentle or bold), or delicious bubbles, here are some great options. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Champagne, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Robert Mondavi Winery: An American Icon Approaches 50

Posted by Gabe on May 4, 2015

IMG_20150428_091953In 2016, the Robert Mondavi Winery will celebrate its 50thanniversary. Having just spent a couple of days in Napa Valley as their guest, I’ve been thinking a lot about the impact that the man and his namesake winery have had on U.S. wine history. Back in 1966, when Robert made the bold move of leaving the family business (Charles Krug Winery), he had audacious ideas. He believed that Napa Valley was capable of producing world-class wines on par with those from any region of the world. In particular, his standard was French wine. Back then, Napa Valley had only a small number of wineries. In fact, the Robert Mondavi Winery was the first large winery built there since prohibition. Today, Napa is home to more than 800 different wine brands of all shapes and sizes. Most of this wouldn’t have been possible without the vision, dedication, and relentless passion of one man: Robert Mondavi. Striving to make the best wine possible..Head Over to The Daily Meal to read the rest

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc | Leave a Comment »

Pinot in the City Showcases Willamette Valley’s Delicious Wares

Posted by Gabe on April 24, 2015

pinotVintners from a broad array of Willamette Valley wineries showcased their wines at New York’s City Winery recently. It has been 50 years since the first pinot noir vines were planted there, so the gathering had a festive quality. There’s an extraordinary amount of good pinot noir in Oregon — it’s what the state’s wine producers are known for. However, as the tasting clearly exhibited, it isn’t the only thing they do well. Over several hours, I sampled pinot noir in a host of styles as well as chardonnay, pinot gris, and more. It’s been a few years since I’ve made it out to the Willamette Valley, so I was glad to have this opportunity to taste through a cross section of the area’s offerings right here in New York. The bottom line is that Oregon, and the Willamette Valley in particular, has a lot of delicious wine coming out of it. Thoughts on a handful of my favorites follow. Head over to The Daily Meal to read all about them.

Posted in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir | Leave a Comment »

Marc Mondavi and Family Present Aloft

Posted by Gabe on February 20, 2015

aloftMany members of the Mondavi Family have been involved in the California wine industry for generations. Their two largest and best-known wineries are Charles Krug, part of the Peter Mondavi family, and the Robert Mondavi Winery, which was started by Peter’s brother Robert. While these are tentpoles in Napa Valley, various Mondavi family members have started and maintained all sorts of other projects of varying scope

One of those projects is Aloft,. created by Marc Mondavi and his family. Marc, one of Peter’s sons, conceived this wine with the help of his wife and daughters. All of the fruit comes from their own Cold Springs Vineyard, which sits on Howell Mountain in Napa Valley. I recently sat down with Marc’s daughter Alycia and tasted the 2009 vintage of Aloft. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, The Daily Meal | Leave a Comment »

Clayhouse Vineyard: Home to Distinct Paso Robles Wines

Posted by Gabe on February 12, 2015

ClayhouselogoOver the last decade the Paso Robles region in California has really emerged as a resource for excellent wines. Paso contains a number of distinct sub-regions and very wide arrays of different grapes thrive there. Producers of all sizes are making interesting wines. Clayhouse Vineyard is a producer I’ve been familiar with for a number of years now. As a whole they make wines that are well priced, full of character and available around the country. Here’s a look at 5 current releases that I heartily recommend. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Posted in Paso Robles, The Daily Meal, Wine | Leave a Comment »

10 Storytelling Wines for Valentine’s Day

Posted by Gabe on February 10, 2015

snoothThere are countless delicious wines you could enjoy with your Valentine this year, but this special holiday calls for more than just outstanding. You need a wine that tells a tale; one preferably told over a candle-lit dinner. With this in mind, here are ten terrific Valentine’s Day bottles that provide intrinsically romantic stories — in addition to a good drink.

Vallformosa Origen Brut Rosada ($20)
The color red is everywhere on Valentine’s Day, including this Cava. And everywhere you look these days, you’re seeing Cava. Exports are surging largely thanks to the Millennial generation’s affinity for the beverage. Red flowers, strawberry and a bit of crème fraiche light up the nose. Red cherry and strawberry lead a cavalcade of … Head over to Snooth to read the rest

Posted in Snooth, Wine | Leave a Comment »

Visiting Napa’s Round Pond Estate

Posted by Gabe on February 3, 2015

2012RutherfordCab750ml_FrontThere are literally hundreds of ways to taste wine in Napa Valley. The classic tried and true way is to bump up to the bar and enjoy a range of current offerings. Napa started doing that way back when and allowed Vintners to showcase their wares. The idea was and still is that if you liked one or more of their wines you’d take some home to enjoy later. At most wineries you can still do this. Many tasting rooms, all over now, also offer additional ways to enjoy wine. This can be as simple as a wine and cheese pairing or as involved as a helicopter flight to a mountain top tasting.

Round Pond Estate has chosen to allow guests to enjoy the bounty of their property and all that encompasses in a number of ways. Depending on how much time you want to commit and what parts of Round Pond you’d like to see you can spend as little as half an hour there, or as much as a day. For my recent visit I cut it right down the middle and spent more than 2 hours there. My guest and I took part in Round Pond’s Il Pranzo Lunch ($120). Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc, The Daily Meal, Winery Visit | Leave a Comment »

LangeTwins: Farmers, Vintners, and Ambassadors of Lodi, California

Posted by Gabe on January 29, 2015

2013-Estate-SauvBlanc-LargeI just had the pleasure of dining with Randy and Charlene Lange, two of the owners of LangeTwins. Over the course of an evening, I learned quite a lot about their story as well as the LangeTwins wines. The Lange family has been farming in Lodi, California for five generations. For a large part of that time, they were mainly grape growers. About a decade ago, they decided to make their own wine, and thus LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards was born. They farm the property sustainably and are certified as such. This has a positive impact not only on the grapes they grow, but pretty much every aspect of what they do. They have been recognized in the industry for their efforts and it’s obvious how proud they are, not only of their wines, but equally so of the property that they shepherd. In addition to considering themselves farmers first, they pride themselves on being generational. Passing the property down the family tree is something they have palpable zeal for. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Posted in Lodi | Leave a Comment »

Australia and California meet with Jacob’s Creek new Two Lands line

Posted by Gabe on January 27, 2015

Jacob's Creek Two Lands logoAustralia’s Jacob’s Creek has just launched a new line of wines that represents a collaboration with California winemaker Ehren Jordan. For 18 years, Ehren made the wines at Turley, and he has a Napa-based label (Failla) where he produces his own portfolio. He’s worked with numerous others over the years as well. The team at Jacob’s Creek, including chief winemaker Bernard Hickin, reached out and recruited Ehren to work with them on a range of wines made from Australian fruit but with a California sensibility. I recently sat down with both winemakers over lunch in New York City at Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse to taste these new releases.

All four wines below have a few things in common. The fruit for all of them came from vineyards in South Australia. Every one of them is a single varietal wine. They’re available widely throughout the United States. Head over to to read the rest.

Posted in Australia,, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Syrah/Shiraz | Leave a Comment »


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