Rainy Day Reading

After a few dry days, we’re back to winter rains with a forecast for an “atmospheric river” next week.

Yesterday, Eric Asimov of the New York Times published his review of some Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs he was able to purchase on the East Coast.

We enjoy working with a number of Pinot Noir vineyards and vineyard owners in Sonoma County.  Asimov reviews some great wines and wineries in the area.  Happy reading and sipping. Our family favorite pairing is Pinot Noir with Mexican food.  What’s yours?

Time to prune

As the rains start to slow (though we’ve got another storm rolling in the end of this week), we’re back in the vineyard and starting to prune the vines and get ready for the growing season.  Here are some photos from this week from a Pinot Noir vineyard in Sonoma County:

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Expanding Our Palates: Domaine Le Sang des Cailloux

We are fortunate enough, as folks who work in the wine industry, to bring home extra bottles. A little of this and a little of that.  At this point they are mostly ends, rest, maybes.  So the question every other evening is, do we have any good wine??  In other words, wine for a Wednesday evening.  Not the bottles we’re saving for a special occasion, not the bottles that are questionable risk with no frame of reference for what we might be getting into, but a trusted wine. One that will enhance the evening and help us relax, slow down a bit, and enjoy.

Out here in California, the prospects of finding a quality wine that’s not made in California are slim.  This evening, we had the pleasant surprise of going French with our selection.

Domaine le Sang des Cailloux

AZALAÏS – 2012

Total case production for Le Sang des Cailloux is about 5000 cases a year. This particular wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Sryah, and 10% Mourvedre and Cinsault. Oh, the possibilities. Fermented in concrete, bottled without fining or filtration.  Much lighter bodied than the California Grenache we’ve had (which given the weather difference is to be expected.) Juicy front, intensive mid palate with a delicate finish. Fruit and minerality on the nose at first, that softened quickly. Would be interested in trying this again in a couple years. Too bad we only had one bottle.


Harvest on the Horizon

The grapes are turning color! Which means that harvest is in sight.  And we’re rounding the home stretch of another vintage.  These are Pinot Noir grapes.  Once the grapes have gone through veraison (changing color) they’ll start to develop sugars.  It’s these sugars that will later be turned into alcohol/wine.  Salut!




The Wine. The Dinner.

Sauvignon Blanc is the latest grape gaining respect here in Napa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is still king and commands the highest price. Many of the top or cult wineries in the valley have added a stand out SB to their portfolio.

What I like about this change is the opportunity to taste site-specific SB’s that due to selective vineyard sites show unique traits and elegance beyond the crisp, refreshing wine we enjoy. I hinted at this in our post about Rudd’s Mt. Veeder Sauvignon Blanc. I also recommend checking out this article published in The Wall Street journal last year about serious SB’s.

This leads to me to the SB we enjoyed this week with dinner.

IMAG1432The wine: SR Tonella Cellars Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc 2014. This wine is unique in that the grapes were sourced from the west bench in Rutherford and that the wine was aged in a combination of neutral French Oak, Acacia, and Stainless steel – resulting in a lovely SB with light aromatics, a round, lush palate, with minerality and acidity on the finish that won’t tire your palate.

The dinner: Vegetable curry served with fresh cheese, lime wedges, and tortilla chips.


Salut! Covenant Cabernet

Sometimes, a special not-so-little bottle doesn’t need a food to pair with, just a little introduction.

This week we enjoyed a glass of Covenant Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004.  Covenant Wines is located in Berkley and produces natural wines made with indigenous yeasts, and with out fining or filtration. Lush with refined tannins, beautiful color, and subdued red fruit flavors, this Kosher wine is ready to share.



From Our Table to Yours

I love nights when culinary inspiration strikes our kitchen and my mood lends itself to a great pairing.  Tonight’s wine: Rudd Mt. Veeder Sauvignon Blanc 2012.  If you ever have an opportunity to enjoy this wine, take it.  It is spectacular and not your every-day Sauvignon Blanc.  The pairing: Salvadorean Pupusas with Pickled Cabbage.  Yum.


This takes a little time, but is well worth the effort for this little satisfying meal.  So pop the cork, pour yourself a glass, and make the beans ahead of time.  We prefer pinto beans.  Rinse the beans, and boil them for a couple hours until tender. Don’t forget to add a little salt. (Can be done the day before and stored in the refridgerator)

Tonight I started with the Pickled Cabbage Salad.  I used 1/4 the ingredients for our dinner for two, and this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Pupusas – I used a reduced version of this recipe: Fried the beans, made a mixture of corn meal and water, and lightly fried the pupusas in canola oil. No cheese, no onion, no masa. Delicious.



Good Wine


Kale Wines

We have a unique opportunity here in Napa Valley – access to small production, high quality wines.  From our dinner table to yours, we thought we’d start including some of our recent favorites.

Good wine: Kale Napa Valley Dry Rosé 2013

Juicy, lush, refreshing.  This wine was an excellent accompaniment to dinner and enjoyable on its own to sip and relax.

“Who makes wine from kale?”  Luckily, the answer to that is still, no-one, that I’m aware.  Turns out Kale is the name of the winemaker; Kale Anderson (whose resume includes Colgin, Cliff Lede, and Pahlmeyer) produces wines with his wife Ranko under their own label Kale Wines. “I make wine with my senses, and I use science to gauge risk.” – Kale

This Rosé is comprised of 68% Grenache and 38% Syrah.  The fruit was sourced from Rutherford and Atlas Peak.  The wine was bottled unfined. Only 176 cases produced.