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July 15, 2013 | JD DANIEL

Wines that make you go hmmmmm… and then yummmmm!

Do you ever have a wine varietal which you just can’t seem to find much within the bottle that you enjoy? Tasting with other wine professionals and novices alike I think everyone has at least one. I feel that it is important to see a wine for what it is and what the winery or winemaker is trying to achieve with each individual style, but that doesn’t mean that I will like it. However, for me, the one varietal that I can't seem to pallet has been Zinfandel. The alcohols can seem intrusive up in to the 16% level. The wines have so much juicy extraction with flavors of prunes, and sweet baked fruit. For this reason when I was given my Zinfandel assignment I held off for as long as possible. On the upside I did see that the bottle was from Maroon Winery and I have always appreciated the classic nature of their Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. I thought to myself, would this Reserve Old Vine Zin be one that I can truly enjoy and welcome with open arms? To my pleasant surprise the alcohol was in check at a modest 14.5%, the color was gleaming and translucent, and the nose had a pleasant balance of toasty oak and dark briery fruit. After all the time I have spent knocking Zinfandel, maybe I have not given this wine enough promise as of late. This wine was impressive in balance that boasts nice acidity and a more refined complex flavors then the other versions I tried in the past. The wine had great finesse and led to an evening of rack of lamb, which I believed would be the perfect pairing. Wow! Not kidding, when you order this wine venture down to the local butcher and grab a rack… of Lamb. I make a relatively simple lamb especially when the butcher French cuts the lamb. Just rub it with salt and pepper, pan sear it browning each side, then rub it with minced garlic and Dijon mustard, put it in the oven for about 12 – 15 minutes at 450 degrees and then eat delicious medium rare lamb. Serve with a little caramelized onion chutney and a glass (or bottle) of Maroon Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel for full enjoyment. I had given up on Zin and this was my own fault, as I gave up too soon. I probably have tried less than ten Zinfandel over the past 7 years and this mainly coming from my naive youth in the wine industry. I was trying what could be seen as the wrong zins as many were from those main stream brands and not these lesser known, small production, and handcrafted wineries. Not only will I give Zinfandel another chance, but maybe I will try to get over my paranoia of Viogner as well. So thank you Maroon for opening my eyes.  Continue »

Time Posted: Jul 15, 2013 at 8:56 PM
July 9, 2013 | JD DANIEL

Silver Oak & Baseball

Silver Oak and Baseball In talking with my co-worker yesterday, we were discussing the memories that wine can create. Which wines you drank during special occasions and the great moments that are associated with such wines. She told stories of her father’s favorite winery, Silver Oak, and the treasured memories the wine created for her family. Growing up my parents were enthusiastic, but amateurish when it came to wine they consumed, it wasn’t till a trip to Napa later in life that changed their outlook on high-end wines. To put it into perspective I had to compare her treasured moments to my family’s love of baseball and all the memories that I shared with my father growing up. I have been a diehard NY Mets fan far as long as I can remember, and watching the Mets beat the Giants in a 16 inning drag out fight last night was amazing (Sorry Giants fans). The connections we can make between all passions in life are amazing. As I began thinking about Silver Oak and this blog last night while at the game, I thought of some of the great storied franchises in Major League baseball and the storied Silver Oak winery being a staple in Napa Valley for producing epic Cabernet Sauvignon for ages. It brought memories of the NY Yankees in the 1930s, & NY Giants in the 1920s. These dynasties can be considered exactly what Silver Oak has achieved in the wine industry; remarkable consistency for winning over a significant time period. The only thing that is not consistent is that sometimes these baseball franchises go dormant for a few years, ala my NY Mets for the past 10+ years, but with Silver Oak they make outstanding wines year in and year out. With Napa we have consistently seen good to great vintages, with poor vintages happening once in a 20 year span. However, even in these substandard vintages, Silver Oak Winemaker, Daniel Baron, has been able to turn out great wines. There is a phrase for this, “Great Winemakers make great wines in bad vintages.” This phase stands up for all of Silver Oak’s years in the business. The 2008 Vintage was phenomenal at Silver Oak and that was despite a small crop that was caused by a drought followed by frost, then a heat spike as harvest began. Most winemakers that I have spoken to regarding the vintage mentioned that the additional stress did create wines of exceptional quality and that the only effects of the climatic challenges were the disappointment of low tonnage. As a matter of fact, Wine & Spirits awarded the Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 94 points, and I must agree that the vintage was the best that I have tasted from Silver Oak and one of my top Cabernets from the 2008 vintages. To tie this all together, the 2008 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is my version of the 1986 NY Mets; a gritty, over performing team that showed promise through adversity, and won the World Series despite the challenges that were laid before them. I highly suggest getting your hands on this vintage while supplies last as it is the end of the vintage and it will not be around long. With its additional bottle aging this wine is drinkable now, but could be cellared for around 15 additional years to really enjoy the intricacies of this spectacular wine.  Continue »

Time Posted: Jul 9, 2013 at 10:53 AM
November 7, 2012 | JD DANIEL

What do Kistler, Kosta Brown and Wine Spectators #1 Wine of the year have in common?

That would be Olet'te Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir of course! VinFormant has picked the Olet'te Pinot Noir as their Thanksgiving Pinot Noir feature. Pinot Noir weather fruity and light or rich and powerful is the top wine reccomended for Thanksgiving and this was our #1 pick this year. Olet’te was born from a vision to craft ultra premium vineyard designate wines of excellence. By remaining small they are able to focus on the subtle nuances of each vine and barrel. The Olet’te wines are sustainably farmed, hand harvested and basket pressed. And The proof is "On the Palate" You are going to love this Pinot. This prestigious wine is from the Terra De Promissio vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. Terra De Promissio is one of the most exclusive Pinot Noir vineyards on the Sonoma Coast with top Pinot Noir producers in the world that include Kosta Browne, Kistler and Sojourn. The Wine Spectator picked Kosta Brown’s 2009 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from Terra De Promissio as the #1 Wine of the Year essentially making it the best Pinot Noir Jim Laube had reviewed in 2011. Wait until you taste this fruit forward, cherry coated beauuuutiful wine! You will order more and that is a PROMMISSIO!!!!  Continue »

Time Posted: Nov 7, 2012 at 5:20 PM
December 18, 2010 | JD DANIEL

Chattin about Kaz, Sonoma, Just Bekaz

Chit-Chatin' about Kaz Just Bekaz!   Continue »

Time Posted: Dec 18, 2010 at 8:52 AM
February 9, 2010 | JD DANIEL

Pasadena Pinot Festival!

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Time Posted: Feb 9, 2010 at 9:22 AM
January 28, 2010 | JD DANIEL

Great Friends, Great Wine, & Great Food

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Time Posted: Jan 28, 2010 at 10:26 AM
January 27, 2010 | JD DANIEL

Hendry Primitivo & Hendry Block 7 & 22 Zinfandel – The same grape?

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Time Posted: Jan 27, 2010 at 10:32 AM
January 26, 2010 | JD DANIEL

Tasting Rooms: Friends or Foe?

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Time Posted: Jan 26, 2010 at 10:37 AM
January 24, 2010 | JD DANIEL

California to Lange

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Time Posted: Jan 24, 2010 at 10:39 AM
January 21, 2010 | JD DANIEL

Hail, Cabernet & Girls Night

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Time Posted: Jan 21, 2010 at 10:43 AM

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