American Wine Story: A Review

I had the opportunity to preview American Wine Story the weekend of October 10-12, 2014, and after viewing it, I saw bits and pieces of myself in the movie. I moved to Napa, California nine months ago, my own leap of faith after a divine storm that shook me awake from my comfortable, yet unsatisfying life, and led me to a career in the wine industry after an initial wine epiphany in 2008.

In my mind, I also envisioned some of my wine friends in this movie: Cindy Cosco of Passaggio Wines, Mike Anderson of MTGA WinesMichael Westerberg of Hardball CellarsKim and David Vance of Zoetic WinesWilliam Allen of Three ShepherdsCarlo Razzi of Penns Woods WineryBrad and Lele Galer of Galer Estate, and Anthony Vietri of Va La Vineyards, just to name a few.

The primary focus of the movie is Oregon winemaker, Jimi Brooks, and the pursuit of his American dream. When Jimi suddenly dies in 2004 at the age of 38, the impact of his legacy is felt as a community of winemakers come together to work his harvest. Subsequently his sister, Janie Brooks Heuck, and winemaker Chris Williams save and grow Brooks Wines into the business it is today. The winery is now owned by Jimi’s son, Pascal, who at age 18, plans to join the business after college and traveling.

Passaggio Wines: Passion In A Glass

Passaggio Wines: Passion In A Glass

The supporting cast of passion-following winemakers, owners, wineries, and distillers includes other Oregonians such as Sam Tannahill of Rex Hill/A to Z, Jim Day of Panache Cellars, Dick Erath of Erath, Scott Wright of Scott Paul Wines, Stewart Boedecker and Athena Pappas of Boedecker Cellars, Airlie Winery, Chehalem Wines, Bull Run Distilling, Ransom Spirits, as well as those from other states, such as Alan Baker and Serena Lourie of Cartograph Wines (CA), Mike Officer and Kendall Carlisle of Carlisle Winery & Vineyards (CA), Drew Bledsoe of Doubleback (WA), Luca Paschina of Barboursville Vineyards (VA), Cindy and Al Schornberg of Keswick Vineyards (VA), Michael Amigoni’s Amigoni Wines (MO), and Todd and Kelly Bostock of Dos Cabezas WineWorks (AZ).

I was happy to see some wineries from nontraditional wine states included. However, I kept thinking, “What about the Finger Lakes and other areas of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, etc.? ” There are so many American wine stories to be told.

While on the surface, the movie is about the irresistible, career-changing call to make wine, it is ultimately a movie about living life in the moment, listening to your heart, and following your passion without hesitation, regardless of your career choice. As Pascal Brooks says near the end of the movie, “I’m not afraid to die, but I’m really afraid not to live.”

The movie will be available for purchase on October 14, 2014.

Finger Lakes Rieslings continue to shine!

My 2013 Finger Lakes Riesling Lineup

My 2013 Finger Lakes Riesling Lineup

Finger Lakes wines and I go back to fall of 2012 when I found out my teaching position had been eliminated and I started taking wine certification courses. I feel blessed to have discovered this beautiful wine region. I participated in the 2011 Riesling launch in September 2012, traveled to the Finger Lakes in November 2012, April 2013, and July 2013 for the Tierce Riesling release party, then participated in the Finger Lakes Wine Month tasting on May 31, 2014. If you search Finger Lakes on my blog, two and a half pages of posts will be referenced. I miss visiting now that I am in California, but I am looking forward to the 2015 Wine Bloggers’ Conference there. I am also fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in virtual tastings such as the 2013 Riesling Launch Hour on September 27, 2014. I had a work conflict and had to miss the live tasting, but here is my roundup of the wine samples that were sent to me by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance in the order that I tasted them.

2013 Thirsty Owl Riesling

2013 Thirsty Owl Riesling

2013 Thirsty Owl Wine Company Riesling (Cayuga Lake, Finger Lakes)
Thirsty Owl and I have a history. I first tasted the 2011 Dry Riesling in 2012 and tasted the 2013 Dry Riesling in May of this year. Unfortunately, I still haven’t made it to the winery. The grapes for this Riesling, a blend of clone 09 and an unknown clone from 30-year-old vines, are 100% estate-grown and produced. It’s pale lemon in color and has both sweet and tart fruit aromatics. It has no tannin, 1.5 % residual sugar, 8 g/l acidity, and 11% alcohol. On my palate, I taste sweeter stone fruits and apple up front, followed by mid-palate zesty citrus, then a honeysuckle-like, long finish that isn’t as sweet as you would think due to its ample Finger Lakes acidity. You can drink it now, but it also has the potential for aging. Cork closure. Price = $14.95.

Awards
Silver Medal, New York State Fair

2013 McGregor Riesling

2013 McGregor Riesling

2013 McGregor Vineyard Riesling (Keuka Lake, Finger Lakes)
I’ve been to Keuka Lake, but have not visited McGregor Vineyard nor tasted their wines. The land for the vineyard was purchased in 1971 and the winery founded in 1980. Most of the vines are over 30 years old. It was one of the first wineries in the eastern United States to grow vinifera grapes and continues to be owned and operated by the McGregor family. The grapes for this Riesling 100% are estate grown and hand harvested. It’s pale lemon in color, has 10.5% alcohol, has no tannin, and is semi-sweet (4% residual sugar), much sweeter than the Thirsty Owl above. However the bright acidity prevents it from being cloyingly so. Sweet stone fruits like apricot and nectarine dominate the aromatics and flavors. You can drink it now, but it also has the potential for aging. 323 cases were produced. Cork closure. Price = $17.99 estimated (2012 Semi-Dry price from the website).

2013 Keuka Spring Riesling

2013 Keuka Spring Riesling

2013 Keuka Spring Vineyards Riesling, Humphreys Vineyard (Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes)
I have not visited Keuka Spring, founded in 1985 by Len and Judy Wiltberger, but vintages of this Riesling keeps appearing in wine award listings. I am very excited to have the opportunity to try this wine, as it lives up to the hype. The grapes for this Riesling are sourced from Humphreys Vineyard on the west side of Seneca Lake. It’s pale lemon in color, with both floral and fruit aromatics. This offering is dry (.7% residual sugar), with what I like to call kick-ass, cool-climate acidity, no tannin, and 12% alcohol. It’s loaded with mouthwatering citrus, green apple, and stone fruits, has noticeable minerality, and has a long finish. You can drink it now, but it also has the potential for aging. 360 cases produced. Cork closure. Price = $21.99.

Awards
Best of Class, Gold Medal, 96 pts., Los Angeles International Wine Competition
Gold Medal, 90 pts., San Francisco International Gold Medal, Riverside International Gold Medal, New York State Fair
Gold Medal, New York Wine & Food Classic
Silver Medal, Tasters Guild International
Bronze Medal, Great Lakes Great Wine

2013 Dr. Frank Dry Riesling

2013 Dr. Frank Dry Riesling

2013 Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling (Keuka Lake, Finger Lakes)
Dr. Frank was the second winery I visited on my first trip to the Finger Lakes in November 2012. The winery, founded in 1962, is humble in appearance, but Dr. Frank’s legacy is that he was the pioneer in producing vinifera grapes in a colder climate, this earning the nickname of Father of Vinifera in the Eastern United States. The grapes for this Riesling are estate-grown and produced. It’s pale lemon in color, with citrus and floral aromas. It is very dry (.4% residual sugar), with that delectible acidity (7.4 g/l), no tannin, and 12.5% alcohol. This baby is delicious, with tangy citrus and green apple flavors and a very long finish. You can drink it now, but it also has the potential for aging if the Stelvin closure will allow. Excellent price-to-quality ratio for this wine. Price = $14.99.

Awards
2013 Taster’s Guild Consumer Judging: Gold
2013 – Ultimate Beverage Challenge: “90 Points”/Gold
2013 – Denver International Competition: Gold
2013 – Los Angeles International Competition: “95 Points”/Gold
2013 – Great Lakes Wine Competition:  Gold

Cheers! Hope to see you in the Finger Lakes in 2015!
Beth

A to B with Elizabeth Smith

Beth:

My telephone interview with Douglas Trapasso and his blog, Still Searching For My First Growth! Link to the interview contained within the post!

Originally posted on Still Searching For My First Growth:

Elizabeth Smith photo

Elizabeth Smith went from her “A” job to a “B” dream career in wine – maybe you can too!

This month, I celebrated (if you want to call it that) a milestone birthday.  Yes, one of those where the second digit is “zero” (no guesses to the first one!)  In order to cheer myself up a little, I reached out on Facebook, looking for folks who went from Point A to a Point B job working in wine/hospitality, because that kind of is my dream as well.

A longtime Facebook friend, Elizabeth Smith, volunteered herself for an interview, which I hope will be the first of many. Her current roles are as the Tasting Room Coordinator at Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards and also the Travel Manager for Trentadue Winery (which I kept mispronouncing in my interview – sorry about that, Elizabeth!)  She also blogs as the Traveling Wine Chick.

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A week in the life of Traveling Wine Chick

Pennsylvania Rainbow

Pennsylvania Rainbow

It’s been a month since I last posted. I’ve been working, traveling, attending chiropractic sessions, assisting a friend with her new business venture, oh, and surviving the Napa earthquake. I can’t believe it’s September already.

Regarding the earthquake, I was very fortunate to have not sustained any damage, just some stuff was moved, including large appliances, and I had to deal with a terrified cat who didn’t want to come out of his carrier. He’s also become a good indicator of aftershocks, as he will stand still with his ears back and his eyes wide open.

Anyway, I had the very good fortune to do some awesome things this past week and I wanted to share them with you!

Tasting at Galer

Tasting at Galer

Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery

Labor Day weekend Sunday, I had the honor of visiting two exemplary examples of Pennsylvania wineries with a friend of mine, a local wine columnist and blogger. The first stop was Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery. The winery’s philosophy, Blending Nature, Science, and Art, is the perfect descriptor of what I discovered. The winery is owned by Dr. Brad Galer, M.D., and his wife, artist Lele Galer, who purchased land for the winery in 2005 after considering a winery start in Sonoma, California. The winery has multiple vineyards, including the Galer Home Vineyard, Red Lion Vineyard, and Folly Hill Vineyard, and they also source grapes from within a 30-mile radius.

Side-by-side Galer Chardonnay tasting

Side-by-side Galer Chardonnay tasting

Over the past nine years, the winery has received more than 60 awards for their wines, which have included Albariño, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Rosé, Cabernet Franc, Vidal Blanc and Cabernet Franc Icebox Wines (ice wines), as well as some white and red blends. Former winemaker, Catrina North, produced the 2013 wines and earlier. Galer now has a new winemaker, Virginia Mitchell, who will begin a new legacy with her 2014 vintage. While there, my friend and I each chose different wines to taste so that we could taste eight wines instead of four. However, we were treated to additional barrel and bottle tastings, including a Viognier and different Cabernet Francs. We also were lucky enough to taste a wine that Virginia produced prior to her arrival at Galer, a rosé produced from Erie area grapes for her recent wedding.

Galer Albariño

Galer Albariño

What most impressed me about Galer was not just the quality of the wines, but the expression of terroir in every wine. I am sure that I could recognize it in a blind tasting, it was so remarkable. I was particularly enamored with the Albariño, which demonstrated a balanced expression of citrus, tropical fruits, and noticeable minerality, almost salty on my palate, and that is the wine I chose to take home with me.

Va La's Little Vineyard

Va La’s Little Vineyard

Va La Vineyards
The second winery we visited last Sunday was Va La Vineyards, a winery I had been wanting to visit for a while now because I had heard such good things. Winemaker and owner Anthony Vietri, The Farmer Va La, who once had a career in film production, also considered starting a winery in California before deciding upon returning to Avondale, Pennsylvania, the site of his family’s farm. Vietri produces only four wines from his aptly called little vineyard of 6.73 acres and he only produces enough wine to sell directly to the consumer at the winery. No shipping, no distribution, no middle man. Vietri has created a simple dream that sustains his family and provides to those of us who are lucky enough to visit some of the most gorgeous and unique wine blends I’ve ever tasted.

Silk and Castana

Silk and Castana

Both the tasting room design/décor and the vineyards are understated, but the tasting experience is amazing. Our visit was especially nice because Anthony joined us and told us his story and stories about his family. Guests taste the four wines paired with local cheeses and chocolate. The wines are elegant blends of white and black Northern Italian grape varieties. The blends vary based upon what nature offers each vintage. The wines are meticulously made for later consumption, except for one, but all can be consumed now with decanting. They include:

2011 La Prima Donna: A white blend comprised of Malvasia Bianco, Petit Mansang, Pinot Grigio, and Tocai (Friuliano). It is aged for 17 months sur lie. Should peak in years 4-8.

2011 Silk: A dry rosato produced from free-run juice and aged 12 months in barrel. Grapes include Corvina Veronese, Barbera, Carmine, Petit Verdot, and Nebbiolo. Drink now through 2018.

2013 Castana: A special summer red blend to be consumed young. Grapes include Barbera, Petit Verdot, Carmine, Lagrein, Sagrantino, and Teroldego.

2011 Mahogany: A red blend of Barbera, Malvasia Nero, Charbono, Petit Verdot, Carmine, Teroldego, Lagrein, and Sagrantino aged 27 months in barrel. Should peak in years 6-12. If consumed now, decant at least 4-12 hours.

The Farmer Va La and me

The Farmer Va La and me

Truth be told, I wanted to take every one of these wines home with me, but I ended up settling for La Prima Donna and Mahogany. Now I just have to figure out when to return to get my Va La fix.

Sunrise over the vineyard in Lake County

Sunrise over the vineyard in Lake County

My First Harvest
This week, my friend, winemaker and owner of Passaggio Wines, Cindy Cosco, texted me and asked if I could join six others to pick her 2014 Sauvignon Blanc at a vineyard in Lake County, California. I’ve always wanted to experience harvest, but at the same time, have been a bit afraid since I am allergic to bees, sunburn easily, and I am not really a “get dirty” kind of gal. All of these reasons are exactly why I said yes. The quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, Do one thing every day that scares you, has become one of my mantras.

Lake County Sauvignon Blanc

Lake County Sauvignon Blanc

I stayed overnight with the harvest team in Sonoma Friday night. We departed Saturday morning at 4:30 a.m., arrived in Lake County around 6:30 a.m., then began picking. The most important lesson was cut away from your hand, which served me well all day. I also dressed appropriately: old jeans, a thermal underwear T-shirt with a flannel shirt on top, old tennis shoes, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat. I never wear hats, but today I was thankful for that and being covered up from the elements, even when it got very warm towards the end of the five and a half hours. In that time, we picked around a ton of Sauvignon Blanc. I got my hands dirty, but got smart and put on a spare pair of gloves after having to rinse my hands about halfway through. Bees chased me and I ran. My hat protected me as I literally stuck my head into the vines to cut grape bunches. By the end, I was dirty, dusty, sweaty, and had terrible hat head. I did it. I conquered my fears and discovered a sense of pride within me.

Taste Our Terroir Part 3: McGrail Vineyards

McGrail Vineyards

McGrail Vineyards

During my second and final day of Livermore Valley’s Taste Our Terroir, sponsored by Visit Tri-Valley, I had the great honor of visiting McGrail Vineyards and experiencing From Vine to Glass: Through the Winemaker’s Eyes with winemaker Mark Clarin.

Time for class!

Time for class!

What made this visit so special is that Mark is passionate about Livermore Valley and winemaking. He is also a wine educator, whether he realizes it or not. However, since we received an academic-like handout to take with us, I think that seals the deal. I’ve visited many vineyards during the eight years I’ve enjoyed wine at a serious level, but this time, after having taken three Wine & Spirit Education Trust certification courses, everything clicked.

Vertical Shoot Positioning at McGrail Vineyards

Vertical Shoot Positioning at McGrail Vineyards

We started out in the vineyard where Mark discussed vineyard management – the impact of site choice, elevation, the Mediterranean climate, the rain shadow, and Livermore Valley’s East-West orientation – as well as the clones planted, soil type, vertical shoot position trellises, drip irrigation, and North-South row orientation. He made my inner wine geek come alive.

Cabernet Sauvignon Véraison at McGrail Vineyards

Cabernet Sauvignon Véraison at McGrail Vineyards

Although McGrail produces a variety of wines – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon – we primarily focused on the estate-grown and produced Cabernet Sauvignon during our tasting experience in the barrel room of the winery. The best part of the visit was that we had the opportunity to taste Cabernet Sauvignon aged in Hungarian, American, and French oak to show the effect that various oak choices have on the wine. McGrail typically ages their Cabernet Sauvignons 30 months in oak.

Tasting Cabernet Sauvignon at McGrail Vineyards

Tasting Cabernet Sauvignon at McGrail Vineyards

Our first Cabernet Sauvignon was the 2010 A Jo Elet, which means The Good Life in Hungarian. This wine was big and bold, with lots of blackberry, plum, baking spices, and tannins. The second was the 2011 The Patriot, aged in American oak. It exhibited aromas and flavors of plum on the front of the palate, black cherry and vanilla mid-palate, and firm (but softer than the A Jo Elet) tannins on the finish. Next, we tasted the 2007 James Vincent, which Mark fondly called the shizzle. This wine was aged in French oak. It was smooth and supple, with great structure and tannins, and aromas and flavors of blackberry and plum. As Mark noted, wine is a living thing, and continues to develop in the bottle. Our final wine of the tasting was the 2011 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in a blend of barrel types. I tasted red berries on the front of my palate, rich black fruit mid-palate, then substantial tannins on the finish.

Mark Clarin, kick-ass winemaker/educator

Mark Clarin, kick-ass winemaker/educator

This visit was by far the best vineyard tour and tasting I’ve experienced to date. Mark Clarin is a gifted winemaker and teacher. His passion for winemaking and his love of Livermore Valley make a tour and tasting at McGrail Vineyards an unforgettable experience.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I want to thank Visit Tri-Valley again for the opportunity to visit and the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association for an outstanding slate of activities for this year’s Taste Our Terroir.

Cheers!
Beth

P.S. Mark, if you read this, that’s my water cup in your hand! This is the reason I was taking all the photos!

Bolen Family Estates

August 1, 2009: My Bolen Merlot Moment!

August 1, 2009: My Bolen Merlot Moment!

On August 1, 2009, I was visiting Napa for the second time in my life. I was staying at a friend’s home and we were tasting lots of wines that afternoon. Among those wines on the table was a Merlot that none of us knew anything about. It was almost a collective exclamation of astonishment when we tasted it. The friend with whom I was staying turned to Eric Bolen and said, “This is YOUR Merlot?” It was amazing. I will always recall that tasting as my definitive Merlot Moment.

Bolen Family Estates Selections

Bolen Family Estates Selections

Over the course of the past five years, I have purchased every vintage of what has been fondly called The World’s Best Merlot and I have my own vertical, 2006-2010. I think the phrase originated with Bolen, but found its way into a blog post by my friend Josh Wade, owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA, publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine, owner of nectarMEDIA, and writer at drinknectar.com. I remember reading Josh’s post in 2010 and thinking to myself, “Hell, yeah!” The phrase seems to have stuck and remained a goal of Bolen Family Estates, who has relentlessly focused on crafting the Best Merlot in the World. The winery is a partnership between Eric Bolen, his father, Mike Bolen, and Patrick McEvoy. The grapes come from the well-known Beckstoffer Orchard Vineyard in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley.

Cave Tasting at Bolen Family Estates

Cave Tasting at Bolen Family Estates

Fast forward ahead to 2014 and finally, living in Napa, I was able to schedule a visit. Tastings at Bolen are always hosted by Eric or Mike, so they are only by appointment eight to ten times per month. Guests are vetted as buyers and collectors that are financially comfortable with the purchase prices of the wines, which start at $90 per bottle for the 2010 Merlot. The visit is personalized and intimate, taking place in their wine cave on property. All barrels used are French oak. Currently, the tasting includes:

Bottle:
2009 Merlot – 80% neutral oak, 20% new medium toast.

Barrel Samples:
Bolen keeps all wines in neutral oak for the first year. Then in the fall of each year, they do oak trials to make a decision regarding the toast levels and percentage of further oak aging.
2013 Merlot – This wine was still in neutral oak the day I visited.
2012 Merlot – 75% neutral oak, 15% new heavy toast, and 10% new medium toast.
2011 Merlot – 85% neutral oak, 15% new medium toast.
2010 Merlot – 85% neutral oak, 15% new medium toast.

Barrel Tasting with Eric Bolen at Bolen Family Estates

Barrel Tasting with Eric Bolen at Bolen Family Estates

When I was there, Eric allowed me to taste the wines in different oak barrels – neutral and different new oak toast levels – so I could experience the Merlot’s building blocks in various stages of aging. The Merlot is aged 36 months before release. For the 2010 and 2012 vintages, strong vintages for Napa Valley, Bolen held back some of the wine to spend 48 months in oak, and those wines will be referred to as their Long Barrel Reserve selections upon release.

The newest additions to my vertical: 2010 Bolen Family Estates Merlot!

The newest additions to my vertical: 2010 Bolen Family Estates Merlot!

All vintages of the Merlot are simply stellar. The grapes stay on the vine longer, resulting in lush, bold fruit aromas and flavors. Just the right amount of French oak at different toast levels gives the wines great spice, tannins, and structure. I hope that no one reading this is afraid of Merlot or thinks they dislike Merlot. However, if you are one of these people, I suggest trying Bolen Family Estates, as you may just be astounded at how incredible Merlot can be.

Bolen is sold out of the 2006-2008 vintages of Merlot, but they still have some 2009 ($105/bottle) and the 2010 is their current release ($90/bottle).

2008 Bolen Family Estates Red Field Blend, Mt. Veeder

2008 Bolen Family Estates Red Field Blend, Mt. Veeder

Bolen also now offers a very small production Bordeaux-style red blend, whose grapes come from the estate vineyard in the Mt. Veeder District of Napa Valley. The 2012 Red Field Blend is 35% medium toast new French oak. The 2010 Red Field Blend is 50% new medium toast French oak. They still have some 2008 ($180/bottle) and the current release is the 2009 ($160/bottle).

Beginning with the 2014 vintage, Bolen will add a white wine to their offerings, a Bordeaux-style white blend, with the grapes coming from the Gamble Family Vineyard in Yountville.

To schedule your visit, please contact Mike Bolen at 707-294-7540 or visit@bolenwine.com.

If you are a true oenophile, collector, and buyer, and are in search of some quality, small-production wines to add to your table or cellar, I recommend Bolen Family Estates. After all, as they say on their website, Our Legacy is our wine!

Cheers!
Beth

Livermore Valley’s Taste Our Terroir Part 2

Blending With Wente's Winemakers Studio

Blending With Wente’s Winemakers Studio

Blending With Winemakers Studio

When I last left everyone, I had departed Double Barrel Wine Bar and was on my way to Taste Our Terroir‘s next session, Blending With Winemakers Studio at Wente Vineyards. Thank you again to Visit Tri-Valley, who sponsored my attendance at this session.

Blending With Wente's Winemakers Studio

Blending With Wente’s Winemakers Studio

For those who may not know, Wente’s history dates back to 1883. The winery is still family owned and certified sustainable and the grapes are estate grown. Wente was the first winery in the United States to produce varietally-labeled Chardonnay (1936 vintage) and is known as California’s First Family of Chardonnay™. Karl D. Wente is Wente’s fifth-generation winemaker.

My blend

My blend

The winemakers blending session was nothing short of fabulous. There were six of us and our instructor in the session. Our instructor gave us an introduction to Livermore Valley’s climate, so that we understood the impact of its east-west orientation between the San Francisco Bay and Central Valley. We tasted through our building block red wines: four Cabernets from different vineyards ranging from cooler to warmer climates, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot and Malbec. My favorite Cabernet was from the Smith Vineyard and yielded lots of red and black fruit and acid. My favorite non-Cabernet was the Petit Verdot. I was very tempted to make a 100% Petit Verdot, but the label said red blend, so I opted to the follow the rules. However, I was reminded why I love Petit Verdot: it’s a big wine with loads of dusty tannins and dark berry and chocolate flavors. I selected the Petite Sirah primarily for color and the Malbec as the wine that bridged the flavor gap between the cooler-climate Cabernet and the Petit Verdot. I played with three blends and finally decided to go rogue with 55% Petit Verdot, 25% Smith Vineyard Cabernet, 10% Malbec, and 10% Petite Sirah. We bottled our blends, then added the cork, foil, and label. It was my first attempt at blending, so it will be interesting to see how it turns out after the bottle shock wears off.

Photo op with Owner-Chef Eduardo Posada

Photo op with Owner-Chef Eduardo Posada

Dinner at Posada

My Visit Tri-Valley host, Emmy, picked me up for dinner that evening and had selected an off-the-beaten-path place to try. I probably would have never discovered Posada if it weren’t for her. Posada, the catering company and restaurant, was founded by Eduardo Posada, a man who followed his passion for cooking for the past 30+ years from his humble beginnings to where he is today:

Posada got his first taste of a culinary career in the early 1980s, making and selling breakfast burritos for $1.25 from a cart he attached to the back of his 1976 Ford LTD in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Fresh Tilapia Ceviche

Fresh Tilapia Ceviche

Posada offers innovative and fresh Southwestern cuisine paired with wines from Livermore Valley. My host and I enjoyed a selection of tapas, including BBQ Duck + Blue Corn Cakes + Red Cabbage Slaw and Duo of Mahi Mahi Tacos + Watermelon Salad. Emmy selected a local Chardonnay and I selected a local Grenache Rosé. For dessert, we had churros paired with Mexican hot chocolate.

Churros and fruit paired with Mexican hot chocolate

Churros and fruit paired with Mexican hot chocolate

What a delicious end to a fantastic day! Day 2, I head to McGrail Vineyards.

Stay tuned!

Cheers!
Beth