Blog Archives

What Should Cabernet Sauvignon Taste Like?

Seems like a pretty basic question, huh? An iconic and omnipresent red wine grape like Cabernet Sauvignon should be pretty easy to identify taste-wise. Yet both winemaker and wine drinker have a wide variety of ideas on what Cabernet Sauvignon should give you in the glass and in your drinking hole. Taste is subjective, after [More]

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Charbono is Cool

I like the underdog grapes and Charbono definitely fits the bill. If you’re looking for it in Napa Valley you’ll have to seriously crane your neck as their are only around 50 acres. Out of 43,000+ of vineyard acres in the region. What is the Charbono in Napa Valley? Some say it’s Bonarda, which today you’ll find [More]

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Smith-Madrone: Stu Smith on Wine and the Ephemeral Sense of Art

Post-Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, all I wanted to do was eat tacos and drink cocktails. And guzzle beer. But I am very glad I took a trip up to the top of Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain to visit Smith-Madrone. A few months prior, I’d had the wines–a Chardonnay, Cabernet, and Riesling–sent to me and [More]

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Grassi Ribolla Gialla at Cook in St. Helena

Sometimes after all that Napa Cabernet, you crave refreshment. And not just beer. Enter the 2012 Grassi Ribolla Gialla. To call this Italian white wine grape obscure (and especially in Napa) would be an understatement. But a few producers are waving the flag for RG either in blends or all on its own. The Grassi [More]

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Napa Valley: Outdoor Eating and Drinking in St. Helena

I’ve been in Napa for the past week attending the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers which was held at the lovely Meadowood Resort. Now I’m on my own, staying at the much less posh but very convenient El Bonita in St. Helena. It’s easy to walk to the heart of the town for eating and [More]

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The Pleasure of Wine: A Lesson From Poet Billy Collins

This morning I heard Poet Billy Collins give the Creative Keynote at The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley. Many things he had to say about wine and writing resonated deeply with me, but none more than this: “Obvious joys of wine get buried in the analysis.” So on that note, it [More]

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Spring Mountain Cabernet from Smith-Madrone: The Perfect Gift

  There is something special about Spring Mountain. Leaving behind Napa Valley’s floor, you carefully wind your way up to higher altitudes where a new world unfolds. And it’s not just scenery that is transformed; the distinctiveness of the wines bear out that change as well. I was recently sent a trio of samples from [More]

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10 Thoughts About 40 Years of Joseph Phelps Vineyards

When your Mom wants to visit the place that makes her favorite wine, Joseph Phelps Vineyards Insignia, there’s only one way to respond: “Let’s go!” An iconic Napa Valley winery, it’s a short, windy-road drive to get to Joseph Phelps from the storied Silverado Trail road. We rolled into the winery and sat down with [More]

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