Gabe's View

Wine: Reviews, Thoughts & Culture

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 Bullz-Eye.com to read the rest.

Posted in Australia, Bullz-Eye.com, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Syrah/Shiraz | Leave a Comment »

Visiting MacPhail Family Wines Tasting Lounge at the Barlow

Posted by Gabe on January 22, 2015

Macphail bottle 002Over in Sonoma County in the town of Sebastopol sits The Barlow. It’s a series of former warehouses that has found new life as an open-air mall of sorts. More than a mall, though, it’s a destination for shopping, eating, drinking ,and plain-old hanging out. There are many reasons to go there, but my favorite is the MacPhail Family Wines Tasting Lounge.

The focus at MacPhail is largely on pinot noir. They source fruit from distinct vineyards and use it to produce a wide range of wines. Most of them are single vineyard offerings, a few are region specific. There are several tasting options available at MacPhail, some of them require reservations; most of them do not. In my opinion, it’s always a good idea to make an appointment anywhere you go for best results. The atmosphere fostered by general manager and long-time Sonoma Wine Guy Jim Morris at MacPhail is welcoming, laid-back, and informative. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Posted in Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, Winery Visit | Leave a Comment »

Darioush: A Warm and Inviting Napa Valley Palace

Posted by Gabe on January 19, 2015

4Darioush_DarioushKhalediPortraitOn a recent trip to Napa Valley, I scheduled time with producers I’ve never visited and a handful I have been to previously. In one case I’d been several times prior, but not in a few years, and it was time to correct that and see what they were up to. That particular producer is Darioush, a fairly small winery in terms of production size. In all, they make about 20,000 cases of wine each year and roughly half of that is their best-known wine, a cabernet sauvignon.

Darioush sits towards the southern end of Napa Valley’s Silverado Trail. Of the two main thoroughfares in Napa, Silverado is the less densely populated, slightly quieter one. Darioush’s physical structure is one of the more lavish and ostentatious in the valley. It was founded by Darioush Khaledi, an Iranian immigrant who made his fortune with a family-owned grocery store chain in Southern California. As you drive up, it’s difficult not to be enraptured by the gorgeous property and winery building. In fact, the building is so incredible that you… Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Posted in Napa Valley, Winery Visit | Leave a Comment »

Four Roses Bourbon: A Kentucky Legend Reborn

Posted by Gabe on January 10, 2015

small batch_2013I recently spent several days in Louisville Kentucky as the guest of Four Roses Bourbon. In addition to visiting their warehouse and distillery I ate at several terrific restaurants, imbibed at a couple of killer cocktail bars and generally soaked in all things Louisville. It was a memorable time, punctuated by lots of tasty Bourbon in a variety of different settings.

Four Roses Bourbon has a long and winding history that starts with being bonded all the way back in 1888. Over the years they’ve been owned by several larger companies and managed in a variety of styles. One of those owners made them an export-only producer. For that reason, over a period of many years, Four Roses was only available internationally. Japan has for decades been their largest export market and Four Roses produces several selections exclusively for release there. Therefore it’s no surprise then when their previous owner went belly up, and Four Roses was for sale, a Japanese firm purchased them. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Posted in Bourbon, Whiskey | Leave a Comment »

Acorn Winery: A Russian River Valley Treasure

Posted by Gabe on January 5, 2015

Acorn_2011_Medley_300dpi_BtlAcorn Winery is a labor of love for owners Betsy and Bill Nachbaur. They’ve been farming their property, Alegría Vineyards, sustainably since 1990. On their 32 acres in Russian River Valley, they grow 60 grape varieties. From that they bottle approximately 3,000 cases of wine each year; every one of them field blends. Their commitment to environmentally sound practices even includes doing away with foil capsules on the bottle. I’ve been a fan of what they do for years now and try to visit them whenever I can. I was out in Sonoma County recently and I spent some time with them, chatting and of course tasting through their latest releases. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Posted in Cabernet Franc, Dolcetto, Red Blends, Russian River Valley, Sangiovese, Syrah/Shiraz, Wine, Zinfandel | Leave a Comment »

Mud House is Producing Distinct New Zealand Wines

Posted by Gabe on December 17, 2014

MHSauvignon blanc is what New Zealand is best known for, though pinot noir is has fast become a close second. Numerous brands in all price tiers have made their mark around the world, particularly in the U.S., and both grapes thrive there, in different regions, and there are a host of excellent examples from the value category all the way on up to the luxury tier. I recently sat down to discuss this over dinner in New York City with the brand ambassador of Mud House, Jack Glover, and tasted through some current releases. The three below made a particularly strong impression. Head over to The Daily Meal to read The rest.

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

Gabe’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

Posted by Gabe on December 15, 2014

GiftGuideCover_AmandaJeanBlackIf you’re not sure what to get someone as a gift this year, consider a good bottle of wine or spirits —‚ always in season. Anyone who drinks alcohol will certainly appreciate a well-chosen bottle to enjoy, be it alone or with friends (my hope is that it’s with you). Throughout the year, I’ve tasted a number of the best bottles in both the wine and spirit categories and compiled a list of my 24 favorites — any of which would make excellent gifts for a variety of budgets. A few of the bottles are particularly great values, while others are luxury beverages that will really impress the lucky person who receives them; no matter the price, every selection in this guide is delicious and well made. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Posted in Australia, Barbera, Blends, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Champagne, Champagne, Chardonnay, Chile, Dry Creek Valley, Irish Whiskey, Italy, Napa Valley, Red Blends, Rosé, Rum, Single Malt Scotch, Syrah/Shiraz, Tempranillo, The Daily Meal, Whiskey, Wine | Leave a Comment »

Chile’s Viña Koyle: Wines of Irrepressible Passion

Posted by Gabe on December 11, 2014

It’s a lot of fun to discover a musician or band at the very beginning of their career, before they’re a household name. If you do that, when they achieve success it’s likely you’ll feel a stronger connection than in the case when you stumble across an already well known artist because you heard all their hits. In essence, that’s how I feel about the wines of Viña Koyle. I’ve had the pleasure of drinking them since their first vintage. That has given me the opportunity to watch them grow. The vines have aged and already good wines have gotten better one vintage after another. Winemaker Cristóbal Undurraga is constantly tinkering and refining his winemaking approach, adding varietals to blends, using new techniques, and launching new wines. I’ve had the opportunity to taste his wines with him on numerous occasions and each encounter has been a treat. In part that’s because the wines are really, really good, yet still improving all the time. However, it’s also because the raw passion Cristóbal has for winemaking is palpable the moment you encounter him. Whether he’s speaking about sustainable and biodynamic farming practices, aging wine…. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Chile, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, The Daily Meal, Wine | Leave a Comment »

 
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