Friday, July 1, 2011

It 's a different kind of Independence Day, Eh?

As some of you know, July 1st is Canada Day (formerly Dominion Day), when the territories to our north became known as, well, Canada. While most people think of beer from the land of the frozen caribou, there are some stellar wines coming from Canada. Some of the regions include the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia and the Niagara Peninsula in south-western Ontario. Other great wines and ciders are coming out of Quebec as well.
While mostly a cooler climate, where one would expect Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (and there are lots of great ones), don't overlook Merlot, Cabernet Francs and the fruit wines coming from this land of plenty. I got to taste some wonderful wines from across the spectrum when I was a judge at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition earlier this year. The best Ice Wine came from a winery in Quebec (Vignoble Riveiere du Chene), but other wonderful ciders (of all styles no less) came in from several producers, and some really nice wines from across the spectrum included Skimmerhorn and Serendipity from BC, Annapolis Highlands from Nova Scotia, Black Bear Farms from Ontario and Artisans du Terroir from Quebec.
So, Give a Toast to our neighbors to the north as they celebrate their special day, and do it with some truly great Canadian wines!


One tip - while not a ton of these wines come in from the north, your best bet would be larger specialty retailers like BevMo and Total Wine & More.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How about some Cabernet with that.... Hot Dog???

OK - so once in a while I come across something that hits me - and this is one of them. 5 sommeliers (the guy who makes that great recommendation at your favorite restaurant) had a round table on wines they would pick to go with that most American of foods - the Hot Dog. Now, the Hot Dog, done right, is some of the best eatin' you can find in this country, and to pair it with some nice wine - now you're talking.

here's the link (just copy and paste it) -

SO, since we are heading into our pleasant fall weather, grill up some doggies and pop the cork!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Everything you wanted to know about Federal Wine regulations....

...but were afraid to ask! The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (known as the TTB) has released an electronic copy of the information from their seminars this past spring
(download at:
It is a wealth of information, especially regarding the reporting and record you have to keep regarding operations and such at you winery. Even if you are interested in starting a winery, this is a handy guide to have, as you can get a lot of your questions answered (without having to call, leave a message, etc.). Plus, having it in electronic format, it can live in your computer for handy reference, and save some trees to boot!
Hope you winery types find it useful!
Till next time

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why should the kids get all the summer time treats

We all remember those lazy, hot summer days when we were kids - eating a super cold pop-sickle before it melted from the heat. But now we are grown-ups and have developed a variety of tastes, and want something different, a little more...mature.
Well, here we go - Riesling Pops! This is a great idea for us in the over 21 crowd. Of course, it does give a whole new meaning to chewing your wine...
copy and paste the link -
I think this is a STELLAR idea (even if summer is stubbornly trying to by-pass western Sonoma County this year). I will be finding some pop-sickle trays and sticks and trying this out over the next few days.
Enjoy -

Friday, August 6, 2010

Move over Japan - Here comes Canadian WINE fed beef

OK, so most of us are familiar with Kobe beef - originated in Japan, where the cows are given massages and generous portions of beer every day (and, though probably the most expensive beef on the planet, there is a reason people will save for weeks and months for it), those wacky neighbors of ours to the north are one-upping the Japanese: Canadian Wine fed beef.
Yes, you read that correctly.
You can read more about this in the article -
but the just of it is one company in BC is having a rancher finish his cattle with grain, grass and about a liter of red wine a day. No word on massages, but they apparently get a bit chatty after a tipple of the grape - not to mention they are apparently tastier. I will be seeing if one of my local specialty meat places can lay their hands on this, dare I say, "pre-marinated" beef.
If our Happy California Cows make better cheese, who knows what kind of happiness from red wine will do for that next Canadian burger!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Tasting California Riesling with Other Wine Professionals

This morning I had a chance to taste a couple of wines with the winemaker who worked on the wines, as well as other wine professionals, and compare and contrast our own observations about the wines.
The wines in Question - both from Sterling Vineyards, both Rieslings. We tasted the 2008 Monterey County and the 2009 Mendocino County. Giving us the back ground was one of the winemakers from Sterling, Alison Crary. She studied and made wine in Germany, so is one of the more familiar winemakers with Riesling in California these days. Joining the group was Tom Meadowcroft, owner and winemaker of Magito Wines; Damon Dudley, Operations Manager and Winemaker with Winesecrets; Domingo Rodriguez, VP and GM with Winesecrets; Petar Kirilov, winemaker with Magito, as well as consultant with other brands; and myself.
While you think the "land of vintages every year" as California might be seen, there was a striking difference between the two, and not just from a vintage standpoint. The 2008 Monterey was fuller, softer, much more like a Pinot Blanc, while the 2009 Mendo had big up front aromatics, crisper acids, and was, well for lack of a better term, playful on the tongue.
Another interesting note was that, while both wines came across very well, and would definitely be great food wines (the 08 I would say would with white flesh fish, and the 09 with shell fish, or even slightly spicy Asian cuisine, which would pair nicely with the fruity notes), both wines were at 14.2 alcohol - and did not come across as such! This shows that each of these wines was well balanced, and would be a welcome addition to the cellar this summer. It was also nice to take some time out of the usual routine and talk with other wine people and sit and focus on just a couple of wines and talk about the vineyards the grapes came from, the processes, and how each of us described them (in case you're wondering, both wines received high praises around the table, but it was a pretty even split when one had to be picked, so both wines were really winners).
Also was told that Sterling is having a special on the 08 this weekend (Memorial Day weekend), so if you needed an excuse to go to Sterling, here ya go!!
Hope you find some great wines this weekend,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sometimes passing along the information does more good....

So, sometimes I find items that just strike me as "yeah - that's something that needs to have more people reading it", so today I pass along a couple of links that I found relevant to the current state of wine.
One is one How, even after 75 plus years, Prohibition still has sway over this country-

and another is on cork, and how closures seem to still be contentious in the world of wine-
(just copy and paste into your browser). Hope you find them enlightening and entertaining.