Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pride At Harvest

This morning as I groggily made my way into my kitchen, I noticed the calendar staring right at me. It's almost October...I looked out the window at the misty rain and grey clouds and I started thinking about where I was a year ago at this time. I remember it was quite the adventure. The weather was exactly the same, dark clouds, misty rain...Only the scenery was gorgeous, the leaves were starting to turn orange and "Harvest" was in full swing! That day, a group of friends and I trekked up a mountain in Napa Valley for a visit to one of our favorite places to be, Pride Mountain Vineyards. Pride Mountain Vineyards sits up at high elevation, near the top of Spring Mountain near St. Helena. The view from up there is absolutely breathtaking and there are so many great photo opportunities. It's magnificent!

The first time I visited Pride was in September of 2006. A friend of mine here in Iowa had grown up in Northern California and knew all the great places to visit. She set up a tour and tasting for us at Pride. It was my first trip out and a memorable one. I remember feeling light-headed and dizzy as we went around the crazy hairpin turns on that mountain! My friend Jennifer would yell out, "Weeee!!!" as we made our way up and I was sitting there turning blue and wanting to put my head in a toilet! I was relieved when we finally arrived and I stepped out of the van and into one of the most peaceful places I'd ever seen. At that time, they were still conducting tastings from their tiny tasting room and there wasn't a whole lot of room to move. Our tour guide took us outside in the beautiful sunny weather for a vineyard tour. I was completely in awe of the place, taking my time, looking at all the detail. I picked and tasted the different varietals, looked at the soil and the ground, even bringing back some "terroir" in a baggie. Back in those days, Robert Foley was still the winemaker and I couldn't wait to try all those highly sought-after wines. When I look back at the photos we took, every single one of mine has me with a glass up to my nose. At one point, someone brought us one glass of Reserve Claret and we all shared it. It blew my head off! It was an amazing wine and although we were newbies and got to taste it, we were not able to purchase any. Guess you have to be on their mailing list for a very long time before that can happen. I did, however, purchase several bottles of what were current release wines at the time. I still have a bottle of 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon left and plan to open it on a special occasion.

When it came time to make winery appointments on our last group trip, we all agreed we wanted to go back to Pride. This time, our experience was completely different, but equally as enjoyable. As mentioned previously, the weather was not so good! It was raining--- something I thought I would never see on that trip. None of us were interested in doing the driving, so we hired a trustworthy limo company to get us there. The ride didn't seem as scary. A lot had happened to the winery since our first visit. They had remodeled and opened a brand new, much bigger tasting room. Robert Foley left to be replaced by a new winemaker, Sally Johnson, who joined in 2007. (See below--standing on the equipment). I think she's doing an excellent job considering the big shoes she had to fill! The day we arrived, it was crush time and they happened to be crushing Syrah. It was really great to watch them doing this. Our tour guide explained all the machinery and the process.

After watching them crush, he took us into the vineyards for a look and also into their barrel room where we were all served a late harvest Viognier that was absolutely to die for! I'm not a big dessert wine fan, but I would definitely drink that one! We tasted many varietals that day: Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and a Sangiovese (which is a limited production wine). We really enjoyed the tasting and many of us left with several bottles. I collect wine labels and they were gracious enough to take me to the room where they keep all of theirs and let me grab whatever I felt like taking home. I'm excited to say I now own a lot of their labels from the past fifteen years! We ended our visit with a picnic lunch that we supplied ourselves, courtesy of a pre-visit stop at Sunshine Grocery in St. Helena. We had wanted to do that since our first trip up. We wished the weather would have been nicer but it was interesting to be up there on a rainy, foggy day. It gives you a completely different perspective.

The next time you are planning a day or two in Napa Valley, plan to spend a day up at some of the mountain wineries. Visit a couple of them that day and take your time taking in the views and the atmosphere. And all the great wines! It's a whole other world up there and so worth looking into... Please remember many of these wineries are appointment only and some are not open all the time. Please check their websites for winery hours. (The website for Pride is Everyone have a fun and prosperous Harvest season!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blending Away With My Cabernet...

Back in August, I was fortunate enough to be one of fifty people able to receive a "Fusebox", for $1.00 plus shipping. (Dead Silence) "What??? What the heck is a Fusebox?" I could just hear it now! Through a special deal on Twitter, I received this beautiful Cabernet blending kit, made by our friends at San Francisco's own Crushpad. Wow! Crushpad is a really cool place where anyone can custom make their own wine! What a great idea! Who wouldn't want a "Fusebox"? Well, maybe someone who doesn't like wine. But that's beside the point. It was a generous deal because normally the kit sells for $79.99. The box arrived at the end of August and last weekend, my friends and I finally got together to do our custom Cabernet blending session.

I've done a fair amount of wine blending in the past. In 2006, I spent an "intoxicating" afternoon blending Zinfandel at a famous Sonoma County winery. I've also made my own Zinfandel, Valpolicella, Riesling and several other varietal wines from concentrates with friends here in town. Crushpad's "Fusebox" is another way to blend your own-- you practice blending and Crushpad does the rest for you when you e-mail them the final formula.

Inside the kit are all the essentials to blend an awesome Cabernet Sauvignon: six half bottles of wine: two were Cabernet Sauvignon, one Merlot, one Cabernet Franc, one Petit Verdot and a "Mystery Wine". There are recipe cards for four of the world's top Cabernet-blends (Chateau Margaux, Chateau Montelena, Chateau Lafite-Rothschild and Dominus.) There is an aroma card, an instruction booklet, four sterile pipettes and a very nice, heavy duty corkscrew with the Crushpad logo etched on it.

We set up our blending session on the dining room table and got everything ready to start. Then we ran into a problem. Two of us had an issue blowing the cotton ball out of the pipette. After nearly a half hour of trying, I ended up breaking the tip off of my pipette otherwise I'd have been there until two in the morning trying to "get 'er done!!" Other than that, things went pretty smoothly. The first thing we did was pour a small amount of each varietal into a glass and examining it for color, aroma, taste etc. then ranking each section with a point scale. It was important to do this so everyone would know how each varietal tasted like alone and what special nuances it would bring to the final blend. Once we accomplished this, then it was on to the blending.

The first recipe, the "Chateau Margaux", was a blend of Cabernet and Merlot. This was my least favorite. The Cabernet Sauvignon alone was very young and sort of earthy and putting Merlot into it didn't help at all. EW! The second recipe, the "Chateau Montelena" was a bit better. The addition of some Cabernet Franc was a big help. The next recipe, "Chateau Lafite-Rothschild", used all the varietals and was far better balanced than the other two. My favorite was the last blend, the "faux" Dominus. It was a dream! So smooth and well-balanced and just lovely!

Once we got the hang of it, we continued on for about the next half hour, blending our own percentages, making mistakes along the way because the pipettes had very small increments of measurement on them. But all in all, it was a good time! Our decision on the best blend was unanimous--we all loved the Dominus enough to want to re-create it as our own. I will be sending the formula to Crushpad later this week so we can customize our own case of wine, even down to the label! Very cool! (Please consult their website below for pricing.)

The last thing we got to do was drink the "Mystery Wine", which was made with all the varietals we tried individually. None of us guessed the blend. We weren't even close. I personally guessed the percentage of one of the smaller varietals, but that was it! I'm not going to give it away. You'll just have to go to and buy your blending kit. We had a great time doing this and I would recommend the kit for a small party or it's a great educational tool for those who are new to wine. We had a "Newbie" amongst us and she really learned a lot. So go get your "Fusebox" and start having some fun!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Seriously "Twisted" Good Time!

A year and a half ago, when I first joined Facebook, I started micro-blogging for an application called "Wine Beagles". As I became one of the "Top Beagles Of All Time", I was approached by the application's creators about doing some side projects. One of the projects was to review wines by Twisted Oak Winery, a small winery in the Sierra Foothills of northern California. I'd never heard of them but I was willing to do the project. Unfortunately, the project fell by the wayside before its inception. But my interest in Twisted Oak Winery piqued after I visited their website and saw a very unique, wacky group of people whose sense of humor and penchant for great wines matched mine! I literally laughed til' I cried when I read the names of some of their wines, saw their mascot--a yellow rubber chicken named Ruben, noticed the crazy directional signs on their property and read their outrageous blogs on their blogsite, "El Bloggo Torcido". When I had the chance to attend the 2009 North American Wine Bloggers Conference this past July, one of the people I was looking forward to meeting the most was the winery's owner Jeff Stai. Jeff was funny, friendly and definitely a nice guy. He should be very proud of what he's accomplished--a winery that produces great wines with a cult following of fans who want to be part of the crazy fun!

It might be all fun but don't be fooled. They make some serious and seriously good wines. Recently, I was brainstorming and decided I hadn't tried enough alternative white varietals, so I threw the idea out on Facebook. Who could help me come up with some enjoyable whites that weren't your everyday, run of the mill varietals, such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay? Every wine drinker knows these varietals by heart. Jeff Stai sent me a message stating that he had some unique whites made from Rhone and Iberian varietals and to let him know if I'd be interested in trying them. Pretty soon, a nice box containing some samples arrived at my door. I received three bottles: Viognier, Ruben's Blend (a Marsanne-Roussanne blend) and Verdelho. I was in for some mighty good tasting!

2007 Ruben's Blend (Sierra Foothills)--A unique blend of Marsanne, Roussanne, Vermentino and Viognier. Named in honor of Ruben, the rubber chicken (the winery's ambassador) whose story of how he was saved from his untimely demise in the $1.99 bargain bin is tattooed on the back of the bottle and is sure to bring a smile to your face! A nice blend of stone fruit flavor, medium-bodied with a lingering nutty finish. Ruben says, "Great Stuff!" You should believe him!

2008 Verdelho (Silvaspoons Vineyard-Lodi)--Easy drinking, fruity, tropical. Peaches, pears, apples. I'm never going to have to ask what wine I can pair with Mexican food, Spanish tapas, Chinese food, sushi etcetera...I found it! Make sure you read the back of the bottle. Uncle Fester wrote the notes. Really funny stuff!

2008 Viognier (Calaveras County)--Oh my God! I just said that because this wine creeped up on me like a surprise! I'm sure you've all had Viognier before. But not this one. This one is like no other. When I think of most Viogniers, they're very floral. This one is lush and tropical. I was tasting pineapple and guava and orange peel. I felt like I was surfing in it, like a big wave of fruity goodness washing over me. I drank the entire bottle in an hour's time and though it's not recommended you become an alcoholic because of this wine, it certainly gave new meaning to the word "lush" as far as I was concerned! A very beautiful wine. Highly recommended!

And those are just the whites! They also make some terrific reds (none of which I've tried yet but hopefully I will soon!) with some crazy titles such as "*%#&@!", "Murgatroyd", "The Spaniard", and "River Of Skulls". They even make a port called "Pig Stai"! Visit their website and you'll be reading and laughing for an hour! They even found a way to make their legal link at the bottom (called "Boring Legal Crap") funny! If you get a chance to visit their winery in Vallecito, you'll be in for a great time. They occasionally do some unique events on their property, like a Rubber Chicken Roast and "Release The Spaniard"--I noticed people in costume for this new release party! Until then, wines can be ordered on their website at They also do some limited distribution here in the U.S. so you'll have to check out their link and see if your state qualifies.

Check out their blog at for even more hilarity, reviews, videos, contests, the list goes on... I want to thank Jeff Stai for bringing these wonderful wines to my attention. I hope I can make it up there some day to visit. I think it will be a trip well worth taking!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wine Tasting With Robert Craig

Yesterday, I got a wild hair and decided to start getting into planning mode... This means I will be planning my next big vacation to wine country and when I do this, watch out...I will be in full planning mode. My friends have been asking me, "When are we going to Howell Mountain???" And that got me thinking about a tasting I did recently with a very esteemed winery owner, Robert Craig. Bob Craig has a tasting room in downtown Napa but he also owns a property on Howell Mountain. When I found out he was visiting us here in Iowa, I made plans to attend the tasting.

The day started off very strangely. A few minutes before I left to go, I got a call from some friends of mine. They asked if I wouldn't mind being interviewed for a reality show they wanted to be contestants on. Hmmm...Interesting. So I arrived at the wine shop a couple minutes early. Bob was alone waiting for the tasters so I walked up and introduced myself. Twenty minutes later, we were still engaged in conversation. He was a wonderful storyteller and gave me the entire history of the winery and his family. Just then the camera guy showed up and it was time for me to be interviewed. Bob filled my glass with the 2006 Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon and away we went! He was such a good sport! I think he may have even gotten on camera!!!

Anyway, we tried some lovely selections- five out of the seven current offerings he has:

2007 Chardonnay Durrell Vineyard Sonoma Valley--Excellent! About as comparable to a good French white Burgundy as it can get! It was rich, without being overly oaked, lovely flavors of apple, pear and stone fruit, with some caramel toast on the end.

2006 Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley---Gorgeous and my favorite of the five! Rich, powerful, berries, chocolate, cassis! Nice Bordeaux blend!

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder---Nothing rugged about this Cab, it oozed berries and violets, very floral and smooth.

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain--Complete opposite of the Mount Veeder! Leather, earth, tobacco, dark fruit, big tannic backbone--will age beautifully!

2006 Zinfandel Howell Mountain--This is a really different Zinfandel. I've had nothing like it before. It's meaty, earthy, huge! Definitely needs a big meaty dish with it!

Wow, I was pretty impressed! I brought the Affinity home and will open it on a special occasion! Bob signed bottles and chatted with everyone and he was such a nice guy! We walked away happy, with an invitation to visit the Howell Mountain property and that is where I am starting the planning! We plan on spending a day up there, visiting the wineries and enjoying the view. It's going to be great!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Summertime Pink And Blues...

It's a beautiful sunny Saturday. Football games are all over the television. Looking outside I see a few leaves turning color. I should be happy but I'm not. All these things only tell me one thing--Summer is about over. Changing over to thoughts of Summer, nothing screams Summer more than a cool glass of Rosé while I lounge on the patio.

I had a hard time finding a good Rosé this year. Especially here in the Midwest where the handcrafted, small-production wines I crave are few and far between. One trip to a local grocery store sparked what I call the "Rosé Debacle." I asked the liquor dept. manager to point me in the right direction. I just wasn't seeing any. He pointed me to a wall of White Zinfandel. When I said "Too sweet", he argued that Rosé was sweet. So much for education, huh? I wanted better than that. I just needed to start hunting. Anyway, I went into a friend's wine shop recently and he suggested I try a new wine he was carrying. It was a Rosé. Bingo!!! I think I hit the jackpot.

2008 Lioco Sonoma Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir. I'd never heard of this brand before so I did a little research. Lioco is a combination of the founders' two names: Matt Licklider and Kevin O'Connor. Seasoned wine biz veterans, they decided to start making wines that are handcrafted, natural with little or no manipulation and always deliver more for your money. These days money is tight, so you have to be more choosy. It seems this wine was very true to its description so if all the wines in their portfolio are that way, they'd be an excellent choice, in my opinion. So good, so far...

"Refreshingly unique" is a good description of this wine. A beautiful hue of dark pink with an appealing aroma of cherries and watermelon. Reminded me of hard candy like Jolly Ranchers. Very fruity flavors of rhubarb and strawberry. Dry(13.0% alcohol), with fruit that keeps lingering, a virtual cornucopia... Beautiful. Price? A whopping $15 or so.

I checked out their website and realized they make quite a bit! I'll continue my hunt and seek out some of their other wines as well. I believe Matt and Kevin are really on to something. They've embraced their project and given it 200%. Their website,, has an online store and a list of distributors/wine shops nationwide that carry their wines. I hope you'll go and seek out a bottle and experience it. I plan on it again soon, but until then I will wallow in my post-Pinot depression until next Summer or until my next great wine discovery comes along. Now I need to run and check the football score...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Taste Of Americana

Seeing as we just celebrated Labor Day this past weekend, I've decided to write about something "All-American." When I think of wine in the "All-American" frame of mind, I have to think of Zinfandel. I know, I know--you're thinking "Didn't she just do a piece on Zinfandel?" Well, yes, but after I did that, I received even more requests to review Zinfandels! And I'm forever grateful for that because as everyone already knows---I live and breathe for this particular varietal and will forever and ever, Amen... Now--back to my Zinfandel story. When I think of the "All-American" story, I think of a family in small town America, the country house with the white picket fence, planting crops and gardens.

One such family is the Wycoff family, hailing from Calistoga on the northern end of the Napa Valley. (Anyone who's ever visited Calistoga will agree it is a typical small American town with many landmarks and friendly people.) Jim and Susie Wycoff had a dream to grow grapes and make wine on their property. They worked toward mastering the art of winemaking for fifteen years as they raised their "All-American" family (two sons and a daughter), starting off with a small vineyard but eventually expanding and learning on their own. The family created its first vintage in 2005 -- which included the first release of their Grant Street Vineyards Zinfandel along with a 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Mind you, when I think of Zinfandel, Napa Valley does not ring first however I am learning quickly that there are many great Zinfandels coming from this area and I'm happy to see that. The Wycoff family was brought to my attention by their son Ryan. He offered me a sample of their 2006 Zinfandel to try and I jumped at the chance! I have to say their Zinfandel is very unique and they seem to be on to something very special. Sourced from fruit originating from rootstock of Navone Ranch--Oakville, this Zinfandel is bursting with berries and has almost a floral, herbaceous component I've never sampled in this varietal before. Not jammy or overly alcoholic (14.3%), it has a smooth mid-palate and finishes very spicy making it a great wine to serve with barbecued meats and red-sauced pasta dishes. Really unique flavors. So, where can you find this piece of Americana? The family has a website, and it can be purchased for $22 per bottle at their online store.

I enjoyed it very much and definitely recommend trying it. A great example of a small production, handcrafted labor of love. In a way, this represents the All-American success story. Really touched by this story, I hope they continue building their legacy for many years to come.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Bordeaux-blend for the Faithful

About a year ago, I became aware of a winemaker named Nick Goldschmidt. Born and raised in New Zealand but currently living in California, Nick had been working hard--toiling away at his craft for over twenty years. A lot of people do not know Nick or what he does, but they should. Nick is a master at making some outstanding, highly rated wines--regardless of price point. I have been drinking one such wine for about four months now. This wine has managed to keep me purchasing it month after month. Everytime I drink a bottle, it speaks to me, seduces me and keeps me coming back for more...

2006 Goldschmidt Vineyards "Fidelity" , hails from Crazy Creek Estate in the Alexander Valley of northern Sonoma County. Nick says this land has all the perfect components coming together to help him handcraft such a wine. Predominantly Merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, it is a rich, layered wine with luscious dark fruits (plum and currant) and is spicy and supple with a long finish. I know what you're thinking. What is all this bountiful goodness going to cost me? Depending on where you purchase it--oh, between $9 and $12 a bottle. What??? How he can make such a beautiful wine and sell it for pennies a bottle is beyond my comprehension. Yes! I was completely stumped.

Nick has managed to create a gem. He sure had me fooled! Guess all of his years of driving around the Alexander Valley and surveying the land has paid off. And although these aren't small production bottles (Nick made 12,000 cases--thank goodness!), once people find this wine, it'll be gone in a flash. Where can you buy it? Well, here's the tricky part. I've hunted unsuccessfully for on-line sites and haven't seen it in grocery stores. I purchased mine at one of those super club stores. Recently, a wine magazine gave it a very good score so you may want to check online again.

If you find this wine, stock up and don't let go! I'm going to keep drinking it until there is no more... On the back label, Nick mentions "Try drinking just one glass....Impossible!" My sentiments exactly!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cellarmistress Goes To The Big House

Well, not really...Can you imagine me in jail? OK, let's not go there...I did visit the Big House recently, but it was only to taste some interesting wines at bargain prices. I received a few samples from The Wine Group in Livermore, California. These are wines I'd seen before but had never really tasted. Nor did I know much about them before now. I love a new challenge so I set forth to familiarize myself with them. The trio of wines I received were 2008 Big House Pink, 2008 Big House White and 2007 Big House Red.

First up was the 2008 Big House Pink. I know what you're thinking. Show someone a bottle of pink wine and immediately they are running the other way--away from the big banner that says, "If it's pink, it must be White Zinfandel." Well, I have some news. Not only is this not White Zinfandel, but it is a unique blend of juice from eleven varietals. ELEVEN. Can you name them all? Probably not. Can you distinguish one from the other? Probably not. Should you just stop thinking and try it? Yes. How many Rose' wines can you say have Charbono, Grenache, Tannat, Barbera, Syrah, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Cinsault, Sagrantino, Petite Verdot and Zinfandel in them? This one has a ripe flavor of strawberries and other red fruits, low residual sugar-- 13% alcohol--and makes for a cool, tasty beverage on a hot day. Just released in July, it can be found in most grocery stores, along with its two cohorts which I will talk about next. Around $10 a bottle. A nice party wine for Girls Night Out, late Summer barbecue, a picnic or just quick and easy patio sipping.

Next up was the 2008 Big House White or the bout between the Italians and the French. Huh, what? The reason why I say this is because this wine is made of four varietals--the Italians: Malvasia Bianca and Muscat Canelli vs. the French: Viognier and Roussanne. I have to admit it tasted very floral to me but the four varietals blended very well to make a dry, perfumy white wine that pairs well with seafood, salads and chicken. 13.5% alcohol. Pretty easy to drink. Crisp acidity from stainless steel fermentation. $10. Having this wine started my lust for finding other American alternative white wines. I'm on the hunt!! This is a great example of what you can find out there when it comes to white blends and something out of the ordinary.

The third bottle in this series is the 2007 Big House Red. I was most impressed by the fact that this wine has the largest amount of varietals in it--a whopping big sixteen! In addition to the varietals in the above mentioned Rose', this one also contained Montepulciano, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Malbec, Touriga, Aglianico, and Nero D'Avola. They all blend together to make this easy drinking, fruity and slightly spicy wine. This wine makes a great table wine, everyday wine, great with pasta and pizza kind of wine. And see? You don't have to spend a lot! $10, that's it...

All these bottles have some unique artwork on them, from the label to the screwcap. And check out their website at How's that for fun! Full of the same artwork! Give these bargain wines a try the next time you're entertaining friends or having a party. But remember to keep everything under control so you don't end up in the Big House!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Syrah Soiree Part Two: Tale Of Two Syrahs

Oh boy, I believe we may have created a monster... As you read in my last post, I was literally afraid of Syrah--too scary, too complicated, or as an old friend would have jokingly put it, "That don't make no never mind!" Let's just forget about it. Obviously that's the wrong answer! After my initiation into proper "Syrah Tasting", I decided to venture forth, palate first into the somewhat unknown... But now, I realize I've plunged into the deep end and there's no going back! And that, my friends, is a good thing... What better way to share great wines than with friends. I want to extend a special thanks to my friends Jen and Jeff who have supported me through all of this and are happy to be my friends because of my crazy wine habit! And to my friend Emily, who is a budding photographer and a great one at that! Thanks for photographing these bottles! OK, now on to the wines!

I recently received a couple samples from James David Cellars, a small producer based in the Sacramento area of California. With owner David Cole's help, I've learned to love Syrah even more than I did before. David and his immediate family are relatively new to winemaking, having purchased their first grapes in 2007. I believe the two Syrahs I sampled are the first of the wines they are offering. But, don't let that fool you. Winemaking has been in their family for awhile and the proof is evident when you try their wines. Please take the opportunity to visit their website and learn more about them. I predict big happenings in their future!

The first wine I sampled was the 2005 Central Coast Syrah. I know what you're thinking---2005--it's been in the bottle for awhile, yes? That would be a big NO. It was just bottled in May of 2009. This wine is young and has a long time to evolve and gain complexity. Color? Dark (but I'm getting over that now). Aroma is terrific. First taste, a little alcohol bite, a lot of chocolate/mocha and firm tannins. Let it sit in your glass for awhile and it starts to open up. You may even want to decant it for a half hour to an hour. It will open up and show its true colors: lots of ripe berries and chocolate. I really found it to be delicious and it paired nicely with my hangar steak. This is a wine I wouldn't mind trying again in a year, just to see how it comes along. Either way it's an enjoyable wine and I was seriously thinking it was a little more pricey than it is. Coming in at $21.00, the pricepoint had me stumped! Really! What a nice deal! Small production--only 350 cases made.

The second wine was the 2005 Mendocino Eagle Point Vineyard Syrah. This is a single vineyard Syrah and believe me, I've never had a Syrah this decadent and luscious--ever! The word "caramel" has never been a word I would associate with Syrah, yet here I am telling you it's all about the caramel. I guess it is setting a precedent! Wow, this wine was amazing and I could not stop "oohing and aahing" about it. In fact, I talked and tasted and almost completely forgot about dinner. Ended up taking most of my dinner home for the next day. I love food and eating at restaurants so when the wine is the spotlight, I know I've found something special! This Syrah is completely different than any other Syrah I'd ever had before. Medium bodied, lush and decadent with lots of berries, spice and-- caramel. There's nothing out there like this one! If there is, I'd like to know about it! And the price will blow you away, it's $24! My jaw dropped when I saw the price point for this wine. Wow! And at 125 cases, it won't be around long.

Seriously, folks! Talk about handcrafted, small family wines--these are not to be missed!
They can be found at! Their motto is, "Our Passion Is In The Bottle."