In 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 by Gabe on May 4, 2015
Posted by Gabe on April 24, 2015
Vintners 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 by Gabe on February 20, 2015
Many 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 by Gabe on February 12, 2015
Over 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 by Gabe on February 10, 2015
There 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 by Gabe on February 3, 2015
There 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 by Gabe on January 29, 2015
I 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 by Gabe on January 27, 2015
Australia’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 by Gabe on January 22, 2015
Over 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 by Gabe on January 19, 2015
On 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.