Thursday, September 29, 2011
I moderated two panels this year; "OWNing Your Brand" with Erik Logan from Harpo Ent, Brian Phillips from CMT and Marc Chase of NuVoodoo Media and "Talking to Your Talent" with morning show consultant Steve Reynolds.
But let's get to the fun stuff all the great food and fine wine.
Roka Akor - Tuesday night sales dinner with CBS sales and new friends from Katz Media. Voted as one of the top 10 Sushi Spots in the US by Bon Appetit. They have a robata grill and every item has so many amazing flavors. Corner of W. Illinois and Grant across from Frontera. While they have Kirin beer on tap we enjoy some of their great wine from Napa. www.rokaakor.com/Chicago
1) Honig 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon - by the glass
2) POV 2006 from Robert Sinskey - Stands for "Point of View" a propietary Red Bordeaux Blend while his winery is in the Stag's Leap district of Napa right on Silverado Trail these grapes are from Carneros region. Fantastic. http://www.robertsinskey.com/
3) Justin - Justification 2005 - A right bank Bordeaux Blend led by Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Vineyard located in the Paso Robles AVA this wine was drinking absolutely fantastic. http://www.justinwine.com/
Petterino's - A Chicago favorite located in the Theatre District. http://www.petterino's.com/
We all had successful panels earlier in the day so its time to celebrate Wednesday night with Lori from Jacob's Media, and new friends Glenn and Bill. Their special of the night was Redfish, normally wouldn't order fish at an Italian Eatery but it was amazing and we paired it with:
1) TAZ - 2006 Pinot Noir, Fiddlestix Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills. Pinots from this region are some of the best in California thanks to hot days and very cool nights. http://www.tazvineyards.com/
Bandera - (312) 644-3524 The weather has cooled off in Chicago and I'm out with friends Frank, Mike and John as we head over to great restaurant on 535 N. Michigan Ave. that you can't even see from that side of the street because its on the 2nd floor and you'd walk right by it. Come hungry because this restaurant has big portions and an amazing wine list. Ok here are some of the must-haves on the menu; #1 Tuna Poke with Shrimp and avocado, Cornbread & Foccacia, Mac & Cheese with cornbread crumbles and the "Hacked" Chicken Salad for starters. For dinner I had the Center-Cut Filet with mashed potatoes and spinach and I couldn't even come close to finishing it....but let's get to the WINE - we are blown away from their list and we start with a battle or Pinots...
1) Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir 2008. WS 87pts http://www.meiomiwines.com/
Tasting notes: Juicy Pomegranate and plum fruit flavors. This is Frank's choice and its very nice, but we have another contender from the Sonoma Coast...
2) Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2008. WS 93 pts
This is the highest review they have ever received from the Wine Spectator and it made their Top 100 list for 2009. Some tasting notes from winery; "This fruit driven, lush, harmonious, bold, mouthcoating wine blows other Pinots out of the water! with layers of brown sugar, cedar and rose petals balance out the smooth tannins and youthful body. The 2009 is already sold-out at the winery...there is still some 2008 out there, get it while you can! This was my choice...Frank evidently forgot who he was competing against...hey I get lots of practice!
And we're not done there is an absolute gem on the menu - I always look for the best taste and value on the menu and here is an unforgettable one
3) Diamond Creek - Gravelly Meadow Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 WS 94pts
The rarest of their 3 vineyards with only 5 acres of grapes Gravelly Meadow is the their lowest yielding vineyards with the others being Red Rock Terrace and Volcanic Hill. I was just at the vineyard for barrel tastings and the winery was selling it for $175 and it was only $5 more here (I even looked up the pricing from an earlier post on this blog)...like if we called the winery right then and ordered a bottle and had it Fed-Exed it would cost more so we go for it! And with the amazing steaks this wine is one of the best I've had all year "F---ing Amazing!" The tasting notes "Earthy, Cedar, jammy and ripe blackberry with a spicy expansive finish." I'm going to have to find another bottle soon!
1) Chimney Rock - Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Tomahawk Vineyard, Stags Leap District
2) Chimney Rock - "Elevage"2007 Estate grown Bordeaux Blend led by Merlot.
3) Scherrer - Chardonnay 2007 Helfer Vineyard, Russian River Valley
Frontera - Home to chef Rick Bayless and creator of Frontera gourmet foods - love his salsa.
Yes there is an amazing Mexican restaurant in Chicago on 445 N. Clark Street, just across the street from Roka Akor. It is absolutely packed on Friday, but luckily a couple leaves the bar and we get the seats. Can't go wrong with the Chicken Tacos, but the Haberno salsa is so much hotter than the one at the grocery store - more Pacifico's Porfavor!
And any trip to Chicago would not be complete without a visit to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs. Sadly we won't hear "Hello again everybody Harry Caray from Wrigley Field and its a beautiful day for baseball" we miss you! Its a quick cab ride from Wacker and tickets are still available at the box office - just 7 rows off the field from 1st base. You can't go wrong with a Brat and some Old Style beer. Its warmer today the sun is out and the CUBS Win 2-1!
Its funny I got into radio with the goal of making it to Chicago and I never have, but Chicago is my kind of town and I love it! of course before winter.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
851 Magnolia Drive in Healdsburg. Proprietor and winemaker James MacPhail has worked for some of the valley's best producers including Merry Edwards so he's learned a thing or two about making amazing Pinot's. Tastings in the barn (not his cool house next door) by appt only and James does the tasting himself and I was impressed with his knowledge, business skills and marketing savvy to get so much positive press on his wines. But after tasting his Pinot's I now why there is such a big buzz. He oversees 23 different vineyards for his grapes of his wines. Highlights: 2009 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay-Gaps Crown $45 white Burgundy style this is his 1st Chardonnay. 2010 Rose Pinot Noir this very limited wine is fantastic and he is leading the charge for a "Rose Renaissance" in the valley, I'm on board! 2009 Pinot Noir Ray's Vineyard from Anderson Valley Mendocino $49 only 8 barrels made. 2009 Pinot
In Rutherford on Hwy 29 is one of the prettiest tasting rooms in the Valley.
Highlights include 2010 Unoaked Chardonnay $36, 2009 Chardonnay $58, 2010 Rose $28, 2008 Napa Cab $84 and 2008 Prop. Red $88. www.aowinery.com (707) 963-9999
1695 St Helena Hwy 29. Rutherford
Purchases: 2007 Winemakers Reserve on sale $30, 2007 Rutherford Cab Sauv $45 and the 2008 Cab Franc $35. www.provenancevineyards.com (707) 968-3633
2970 Monticello Road, Napa - up in the hills is a great cave that contains Jarvis.
The Cave tour is $40 and includes a sit town tasting and you get to see an inside waterfall that helps regulate the temperature and humidity of the cave.
Jarvis produces some outstanding award winning wines. Highlights of the tasting included; 1) 2007 Estate Chardonnay $48 sold out, 2) 2008 Unfiltered Chardonnay 92pts WS $95, 3) 2007 Will Jarvis Science Project 92pts WS $105, 4) 2007 Merlot $75, 5) 2007 Lake William Blend $115, 6) 2005 Cab Sauv $95 and 2006 Cab Franc $65. I was so impressed with the quality of their wines that I joined their club and received an invite to the Emerald Masquerade Ball on Saturday, Oct 8th, 2011. www.jarviswines.com (707) 255-5280
They have two tasting rooms in Napa one on Hwy 29 and the original one on Atlas Peak road. Bar tastings for $30 and Cave Experience/Barrel Tasting for $50. Highlights - 2007 Napa Valley Cave Blend 80% Merlot, 10% Cab and 10% Sangiovese their take on a super Tuscan. Plus a 2009 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Cinghiale Vineyard $75 and 2009 Napa Valley Cab Franc $85. www.deldottovineyards.com
1500 Diamond Mountain Road, Calistoga. During this year's City of Hope Charity Wine Dinner the big winner was a bottle of Red Rock Terrace Cab so I've really wanted to visit the winery. And this weekend they were doing a big open house up at the mountain lake, where had I know you can pack a picnic, go fishing and swimming too and make a whole day out of it. Diamond Creek makes exclusively Cabernet Sauvignon from three regions of their estate; Red Rock Terrace, Volcanic Hill and Gravelly Meadow. After the tour the highlights is tasting the barrel samples from the 3 different vineyards which I seemed to like Red Rock and Gravelly Meadow the best. Special wine offered that day 2003 Red Rock Terrace , 2005 Volcanic Hill and 2006 Gravelly Knoll all $175 and some really special bottles 1999 Volcanic Hill $225, a 1999 Lake $400 a wine they have made only 13 times and 1.5L Lake for $800. I found it interesting how they achieve natural blending and that Merlot and Cab Franc is planted along side the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and ends up being in the blend every year as determined by Mother Nature. They do have a separated Petit Verdot vineyard to complement the blends. I'm going to plan ahead for the next open house and bring the suit and fishing rod. firstname.lastname@example.org (707) 942-6926.
JOHN ANTHONY VINEYARDS
1440 First Street in downtown Napa. Tasting room open until Midnight Thursday - Saturday nights. Tastings include Sauvignon Blanc $20 to a 2006 Cab at $84.
BOON FLY CAFE at the CARNEROS INN
4040 Sonoma Hwy, Napa Cuvaison Napa Carneros Chardonnay 2009- 1/2 bottle with Fish Tacos (Rock Cod) www.thecarnerosinn.com (707)-299-4821
6480 Washington St, Yountville. Just down the street from French Laundry. Lobster Risotto, Skate, Scallops and nectarine Arugula pecan salad. Shibi Knoll 2009 Pinot Noir. Great food and great prices on their wine list - a definite repeat. (707) 944-2222 http://www.reddnapavalley.com/
Downtown Healdsburg in Sonoma County. People are waiting to enter and I can see why the Kobe burger was amazing, but broke up the wine tasting with Lagunitas IPA. Very cute place.
Italian Restarant located across First Street from the hotel. Serving quality artisanal pizza, cooked in an imported a wood-fueled Acino oven from Naples to bake authentic pizza Napoletana. Great pizza, but sadly no California wines by the glass. (707) 252-1022
DEAN & DELUCA
On Hwy 29 in St. Helena. They have a great new wine section - see Allan Bree the in house wine specialist. They have assembled an amazing collection of great California wines. This is a great place to get breakfast or lunch than walk next door to Flora Springs, sit out back and do your tasting while enjoying your sandwich. (707) 967-9980
Located inside the Westin Hotel on 1314 McKinstry Street in downtown Napa. This is the cafe sister to LaToque. You can sit at the bar or outside by the firepit. Try the Miner Chardonnay and the Etude Pinot Noir by the glass. This would be another great hotel to stay at in Napa.
Other Places to check out in downtown Napa:
• Oxbow Market
• Bounty Hunter
• Carpe Diem
And several great Mexican Restaurants located in walking distance of the hotel.
1450 First Street, downtown Napa. Have never stayed in downtown and was pleasantly surprised how nice it is, next door is a winery tasting room John Anthony that stays open late on Friday and Saturday nights. The Oxbow Public Market is a few blocks away and there are great restaurants all over. 707-224-3900 www.aviahotels.com
Napa River Inn
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
This is the 10th annual Grand Tour for Wine Spectator and I've been lucky enough to attend the last 6, but this year it stops in
Here are the wines in tasting order and than a list of faves.
And what better way to start than a big
1) Chateau Margaux - 2004. WOW!
2) Robert Mondavi - Cab Sauv Reserve 2007 - Another WOW!
3) Rubicon Estate 2007 from Francis Ford - very nice
4) Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac 2005 - it doesn't get any better.
5) Caymus Special Select 2008 - has 15% Merlot and very nice.
6) Chateau Pontet - Canet Pauillac 2008
7) Chateau Rolan de By - Medoc 2008 - I'm really developing a French palate in the last few years. This is amazing and its under $30 for a Wine Spectator Top 100 - Nice.
8) Chateau Smith-Haut-Lafitte - Peassac-Leognan 2008
9) Casa Lapostolle 2008 -
10)Vina Cobos Malbec 2007 - This is Paul Hobbs from
11) St. Clement Cab Sauv Oroppas 2007 - This blend is
13) Hall Exzellenz - Rutherford 2007 - Have loved Kathryn's cab, but this the 1st blend I've tasted from Hall and its amazing.
14) Chateau Palmer - Margaux 2004. Only a few bottles left and we get a taste. Get my travel agent on the phone going to
15) Joseph Phelps Insignia 2006 - My Absolute Fave - and stands up to everything tonight.
16) Chateau Giscours - Margaux 2005 - I have to travel to Margaux region of
17) Chateau Brance-Cantenac - Margaux 2003 - ready to book my flight to
18) Chateau du Tertre - Margaux 2005 - This was my other Value Deal of the night - amazing Margaux for under $50 and it has 20% Cab Franc -LOVE IT.
19) Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2005 - South African blend of 69% Cab, 9% Merlot and my fave 22% Cab Franc - had no idea they were making these great blends on that continent.
20) Chateaux Lynch-Bages - Pauillac 2005 - This may have to be the other region I visit in
21) Sterling SVR Reserve -2007 - Back to
Food and water break -hydrate, hydrate
22) Signorello Estate Padrone - 2007 - Very nice
23) Beringer Private Reserve 2007 - last year they were pouring a '96. This wine is amazing and have to get more.
24) Provenance Cab Sauv Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard - 2007. Wine from some of the best terrior in
25) Cliff Lede Poetry - Stags Leap District 2007 - 1st time I've had this wine and will make a point to visit this winery in Yountville. This was another WOW!
26) DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Red -
27) Kosta Browne Pinot Noir - Russian River 2009 - this is huge Pinot.
28) Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir - Dundee Hills Oregon 2008 - had to compare these side by side. More floral than Kosta, but like both...would really depend on the food, choose this one for Alaskan Salmon.
29) Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir - Dundee Hills Oregon 2007 - really starting to like these Oregon Pinots.
30) Maison Louis Latour -Chateau Corton Grancey 2008 - A Grand Cru Pinot Noir based wine.
few more whites and it clears the palate and helps with the purple teeth. :)
31) Gunderloch German Riesling - 2007 - Das Gut!
32) Domaine Chandon Brut - Napa/Sonoma Chardonnay Reserve - Only Chardonnay grapes in this Californian Sparkling Wine - this would be very refreshing on those hot summer days.
33) Roederer Estate Brut Rose' -
34) Gloria Ferrer Brut -
35) Schramsberg J. Schram - North Coast 2003 - one of the best from
36) Louis Roederer Brut Champagne Premier NV - Great Champagne and its great to try all of these side by side.
37) Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay - Sonoma 2007. One of my favorite Chards from
38) Planeta Sicilia Cometa - 2008
39) Hess Collection Chardonnay -
40) Dow Vintage Port - Quinta Senhora da Ribeira 2008.
And we're done - where are the sliders?
Some of the biggest wines of the night are highlighted - really loved Chateau Margaux, Insignia, Beringer Reserve, but was really impressed by two
Next Wine Spectator Event this October in
Monday, June 06, 2011
Even though the resort was a capacity you'd never know it - its so secluded and peaceful with white sand beaches plus a Greg Norman 18 hole golf course with an amazing back 9 holes along the ocean.
The radio station is in town for a 2 day live broadcast and they treated us to 2 amazing dinners.
Salad - Roasted Portabella Mushroom with Balsamic & Walnut Oil
Soup - Butternut Squash with King Crab Flakes
Main - Duet of olive oil poached Jumbo Shrimp & Rosemary scented Beef Tenderloin, Potato puree and veggie medley.
Dessert - Mousse Trio of Flouress Chocolate Cake.
Paired with the Beringer Chardonnay and St. Clement Oroppas blend.
Barefoot on the Beach:
Salad - Barefoot house salad. Local farmed assosted lettuce, bamboo shoots, hard boiled eggs, marinated tomatoes and onions.
Soup - Lobster, Shrimp & Crawfish Bisque.
Main - Grilled Grouper. Habernaro mango butter, bean cassuolet, Lobster Bisque and baby Bok Choy. Or
Hand Cut NY Strip - Maytag Bleu Cheese butter with crispy onions.
Dessert - Mango Mousse with Chocolate Chiffon cake.
Paired with Kunde Chardonnay and Duckhorn Merlot.
Friday, March 11, 2011
"CHARDONNAY CHALLENGE" Napa vs. Sonoma
Cakebread Cellars – Chardonnay 2007 Napa Valley
Ripe and vibrant, with a mix of green apple, melon & pear with a touch of light spicy oak. 89 pts WS.
Lewis Cellars – Chardonnay 2009 Sonoma Russian River
This opulent full-bodies Chardonnay is crafted from the oldest Dutton Ranch plantings. A citrus menagerie of tangerine, orange rind and lemon cream pie with blossoms, honeycomb and floral spice. Only 1,200 cases made. 95 pts WS. we also had Grigch Hills and Flowers Chardonnay in this battle
Chasseur – Pinot Noir 2007 Sonoma Coast Joyce
Complex in flavor and balance, at times spicy with floral rose petal, black cherry that ends with a nie mix of acidity, fruit and tannins. Only 795 cases made. 92 pts WS.
Mueller – Pinot Noir 2007 Russian River Valley Emily's Cuvee
Complex and earthy, showing mineral, plum, black cherry and anise notes that are full bodied with delicate, floral scents of wilted rose petals. Only 1,125 cases made. 91 pts WS.
2001 considered BEST YEAR in Napa since 1997: Let's Find Out
Whitehall Lane– Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 Napa Valley
Wonderful intensity with flavors of ripe, juicy plum, black cherry and wild berry fruit with hints of anise, fresh earth and herbal notes with a long rich, persistent aftertaste. 1999 vintage was #5 on Wine Spectator Top 100 93 pts WS.
Dalla Valle – Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 Napa Valley
Rich, chewy currant, blackberry, wild berry and cedary oak flavors. It packs a wallop, but on the finish the fruit pours through to reveal lots of depth and complexity. Only 2,000 cases made. 91 pts WS.
Spottswoode – Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 Napa Valley
Elegantly framed, with rich herb, currant, chocolate and black cherry finishing with firm, well-integrated tannins. 4,8256 cases made. 94 pts WS.
Diamond Creek – Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 Napa Red Rock
Firm and concentrated with mint, sage, currant and earthy berry flavors that slowly unfold. Has a lot of richness and detail in the finish. Only 800 cases made. 92 pts WS.
BATTLE OF THE BLENDS "MERITAGE"
(created by merit + heritage) Red Meritage Wines must be a blend of at least two of the following: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab-Franc, Malbec or Petit Verdot. No single grape may make up more than 90%.
Opus One – Napa Valley Red Wine 2007
Tight and firm, with a chewy edge to the dried currant, graphite, blackberry and mineral notes. Full-bodied and intense without being weighty, this is well-structured with a complex, persistent finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. 94 pts in WS.
Viansa - Ossidiana – Sonoma Red Wine 2005
Full bodied, deeply concentrated with a mix of dry cedary oak, currant, anise and sage. Ends with a wall of chewy tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc and Merlot. Only 500 cases made. 90 pts WE.
Cakebread Cellars - Dancing Bear Ranch 2004 Howell Mt. Napa
Intense aromas of Bing cherry, brambleberry and spicy dark plum fruit with enticing floral, sage, tobacco and chocolate, revealing a pronounced minerality with a long persistent finish. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot & 10% Cab Franc. 92 pts WS.
Joseph Phelps – Insignia 2003 Napa
Mild tannins with complex range of rich currant, berry and cherry fruit, cedary oak, hints of anise and sage. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Merlot. Drink now - 2011. 90 pts WS.
Flora Spings – Trilogy 2002 Napa Valley
Elegant with a pleasing mix of earth, anise, currant and wild berry that ends with a touch of mineral earthiness. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. 92 pts WS.
Pahlmeyer - Jayson 2001 Napa Valley
Rich, vibrant and intensely concentrated with bold currant, plum, black cherry and spicy flavors accented by spicy, toasty oak and finishing with a firm wall of tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cab Franc. 92 pts WS.
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
There are two tasting sessions one at 3pm and the second at 8pm.
Not sure I could handle both... but with this winter weather its almost worth a try...LOL.
Enjoy a special live Jazz performance on the stage and wines from all over the world, but you know you'll find me at the California tables.
for more info and tickets www.wcbsfm.com & www.nywinefestivals.com
See you there,