Over the past fifteen years, I have been to California wineries in Napa (x75), Sonoma (x30), Lodi (x9), Livermore (x6) and Carneros (x12). Based on the total number of wineries open in Napa as of 2018, this means I still have 150 wineries to visit in just Sonoma and Napa!
I have visited wineries in many other states as over 10 in Oregon, 40+ in Washington state, 40+ in New York State and Niagara Trail in Canada, Virginia, Texas, and of course Ohio where I reside! I am working on visiting over the pond to France and Italy! Suffice to say, I enjoy wine in person and on-location and hope you enjoy learning along with me.
My #1 favorite... From Lodi California. This Cabernetis rich with layers of flavors that keeps opening the longer it aerates, and is heavy with deeply ripe fruit of sweet blackberry, black currant and layered with oak. This wine never fails to satisfy. Enjoy after aerating and opening. Drink alone or combine with rich roasts of pork. Make it a dessert and add chocolate for an exceptional thrill, especially chocolates flavored with black currant or cranberry!
A classic Chardonnay creation of rich French oak exchanging flavors of vanilla flavors from bright ripe fruit sourced out of Carneros, California. This wine has had 100 point reviews in it's history. Enticing aromas of vanilla, peach and mango are layered with apricots, creme brulee, butter and vanilla, my favorite French Oak quality. Scents are echoed as flavors on the full ML resulting in a creamy, rich palate. Enjoy this wine alone, or combine with sushi (my favorite) or very decadent cheesecake, pulling out a combination of the creamy and vanilla's. This is a CLASSIC California Chardonnay. .
I love bubbly and my favorite is everything Schramsberg produces, including their Rose. I'm particularly fond of the Brut and Extra Dry variations of champagne, and love the soft fruit flavors of Schramsberg, They gained popularity after the wine was served at President Nixon's inaugural dinner. I fell in love after touring their miles of underground caves, naturally carved out of the property, creating tunnels of wine storage. I learned that Chinese miners carved the caves BY HAND, living in small family huts on the property after RRx crossings were completed and they became otherwise unemployed. The caves provide a romantic tour ending in a candlelight pour; however, it's more impressive that these 1930 caves store over 5 million bottles underground, naturally cooled by the cave walls. At this level of storage there's plenty of Schramsberg for the future!
Cristalino Cava is my favorite go-to inexpensive bubbly, great for mimosa and peach bellini summer drinking. And at $10 a bottle it's a steal! CAVA is a Spanish version of French Champagne, made exactly like traditional methiode in that it is fermented in the bottle. Like champagne, it is made with three possible grapes (i.e., Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Menuier); however, Spanish CAVA is made with a blend of regional grapes: Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo. They are ligh and, fresh with lemon-lime zestiness and apple undertones. I find them a remarkable sparkling wine for the price. Enjoy Cava mixed with fruit puree's for mimosa's, breakfast, appetizers or shellfish themes. Cristalino regularly ranks in the 90's on Wine Spectator and Top Value. I often recommend Cristalino Cava as a celebratory alternative when savings is important.