Holiday 2015 Wine Suggestions

It's that time of the year when friends and family get together to celebrate the holidays, so Bill and I decided to come up with a few wine selections for the season. Although we didn't recommendany bubbly in this podcast, our default wine is sparkling, whether it be Champagne, Cava, Prosecco, Sektor domestic sparklers. A glass of bubbly always seems an appropriate way to kick off a celebration. We hope you enjoy the podcast. Cheers!


2014 Ritual Pinot Noir Casa Blanca Valley, Chile 

Aromas of fresh red fruit, bing cherries and raspberries, with a good wack of vanilla, bright acidity and medium bodied. In the mouth juicyblack cherries and strawberriesIf you like a fruit forward, slightly sweet style of Pinot Noir - new world all the way -  this is your wine. A definite crowd pleaser made by winemaker Rodrigo Soto formally of Benziger in Sonoma. 10,000 cs $16 - $19


2013 Lazy Day Pinot Noir - Lazy Creek Vineyards

Medium body PInot.   Like the medium body with aromas of berry, plum and some licorice in the nose.   Cherry, spice ,and berry on the tongue.   Sustainably Farmed. $26 bottle.


2014 Tin Barn Gilsson Vineyard Zinfandel

Sourced from a 65 year old vineyard east of the town of Windsor in the Russian River Valley this Zinfandel smells like a black cherry pie with lots of vanilla and oak. In the mouth it's a fruit bomb, jammy, chewy and lip smacking good. Slick and sappy with mild tannins and a delicious, long savory finish. 20% new american oak 583 cs $25 - $29


 2011 Mas Des Dames La Dame 

Imported by Vintage 59 and farmed organically by Lidewij van Wilgen. AOC Coteaux Languedoc/ 20%Syrah, 50% Grenache, 30% Carignan.  On the nose, blackfruit, mulberry, earth, leather and herbs. On the palate blackberry, mineral and savory with a medium length finish. $16 - $18  


VinoWeek Episode 24 - Wine Spectator Top 10

Are you a points chaser and you only drink wines that have scored 90 or more points? If you hurry you might be able to find some of the wines that made The Wine Spectator's Top 100 for 2015. Close to a third of them fall into the $30 and under category, so if you want you can satisfy your curiosity and find out what all the hoopla is about without breaking your budget.  

Guy Fieri is going into the wine business. As far as celebrity wines go he claims he's trying to keep a low profile, so you won't see his likeness or name on the front label. He elected to call the wines Hunt & Ryde in honor of his two sons Hunter and Ryder. The wines all reds for now will be available around Thanksgiving.   

The staff at Punch came up with a nice list of wines you might consider for your Thanksgiving dinner table.

Jon McDaniel offers some great suggestions on what type of wines to bring to the office, in-laws and neighborhood holiday parties.

Hard to believe but we have another winemaker accused of tax fraud and embezzlement. Christian Garvin is facing up to 52 years in prison if convicted.  The court sees him as a flight risk so if he makes bail they plan to hold onto his passport.

Stephanie Baker gives us the scoop on a secret underground wine vault that holds a cache worth $1.5 billion.

Thanks for listening and tell a friend about us. Cheers!


VinoWeek Episode 23 - Wine Crimes

Food Republic has put out a video detailing how fake wine is made and brought to the market. It's a super slick production, exposing the secrets of recent infamous fraudstersand explaining how confidentiality and shame perpetuate the status quo. 

One of our favorite wine retailers K&L Wines in San Francisco has moved to a new and larger location.

In an article for Vogue, Jordan Salcito, beverage director for Momofuku restaurants, shares how her pregnancy has worked to her advantage.

Is the legalization of marijuana good for the wine business? Jeremy Parzen speculates whether the emerging marijuana business will follow the path of "Big Wine". 

The wine of the week is Arianna Occhipinti's 2014 Tami' Frappato. If you've never had a Frappato here's a chance for you to stretch your palate.  Arianna farms organically and uses the natural winemaking process with wild yeast fermentations. Medium garnet in color, the wine offers up a fresh clean aroma of red berries , with a hint of smoke. I kept sticking my nose in the glass trying to figure out what was going on. As the wine opened up volcanic earth notes came into play. In the mouth it's smooth and balanced with a perfect play between the tannins and acids. Think cranberries and light cream. It's not a big wine, but it has perfect tension with good minerality, juicy fruit and spice. Arianna's Frappato would be right at home on your Thanksgiving table. 12.5% abv $13 - $16

Thanks for listening and tell a friend. Cheers!


VinoWeek Episode 22 - Rising Prices in Napa

What goes up must come down. It holds true in the stock market and real estate, but are Napa winemakers immune to prevailing market conditions? Stephen Eliot of the Connoisseurs Guide wonders if Napa Wines are too pricey? While W. Blake Gray goes straight to the source and asks wine oracle, Rob McMillan, Executive Vice President of Silicon Valley Bank, his prediction on where Napa wine prices are headed in the future. 

I had the good fortune of attending the 12th annual Wine & Spirits top 100 tasting in San Francisco on Tuesday October 20, 2015. I'm not sure why I haven't made time to attend this event in the past, but it's already on my calendar for 2016 and I've already invited some friends. Held at City View Metreon in downtown San Francisco, the event featured fabulous wines with the winemakers at your disposal and top local chefs trying to outdo each other,  offering some incredible food. Freshly shucked Hog Island Oysters and 2002 Bollinger Champagne R. D. Extra Brut to start and it got better from there. Certainly one of the most well curated wine tastings I have attended.  

French fashion house Chanel has entered the wine business in the U. S. with its purchase of St. Supery Winery in Napa Valley. 

Diageo is cutting its holdings in the wine industry and Treasury Wine Estates is looking to bulk up its wine portfolio. Who will end up with Chalone Vineyard?

We end this podcast with a few stories about dumb criminals. These guys must be the only people in the world that don't realize that cameras are everywhere.

As always thanks for listening and tell a friend. Cheers!

VinoWeek Episode 21 - Wine Tasting Survival

Harvesthas concluded in Sonoma County and vintners are happy with what they have tasted thus far. Bill Swindell gives us a quick look at what winemakers and farmers have to say about the 2015 vintage, one of the earliest on record.

German agri-chemical giant Bayer has acknowledged that one of its products sold throughout Europe has caused stunted development of the berries for certain wine growers. Although the cause has yet to be determined Bayer is already taking steps to compensate growers that have suffered losses.  

Danny Meyer wants to change the way employees are compensated at his thirteen full service restaurants. The most controversial part of his plan is the elimination of tipping.  Aimed at equalizing the pay differences in restaurants, between the front and the back of the house and addressing pending mandatory minimum wage price increases being proposed in the legislature, his move to emulate the European modelfor fine dining sans tipping, will have lots of restaurant owners and workers watching closely. In a very detailed piece for New York Eater, Ryan Sutton examines the pros and cons of Mr. Meyer's altruism.  

Joey Casco posted a blog titled 'The Harsh, Drunken Truth on Wine Trade Tastings'. He includes a personal story that is well, let's just say very sobering. Bill and I use his blog as a springboard to offer some additional tips on how to survive a wine tasting.  

The wine of the week is Luciano Saetti's 2014 Vigneto Saetti Lambrusco Salamino. Luciano farms organically and crafts his wines without the addition of sulphites. The color is medium garnet and shows a beautiful pink froth when poured. Aromas of black cherry, plum and a hint of cola are evident on the palate as well. Perfect acidity and balance its bone dry. 12% abv - Pair this lovely Lambrusco with charcuterie, your favorite cheeses, lasagna, pizza and Italian sausages.  $19 - $20

Thanks for listening and tell a friend. Cheers!

VinoWeek Episode 20 - Maleficence in the Wine World

Paul Prudhomme a legend in Cajun and Creole cuisine has died. Daniela Galarza profiles the accomplishments of one of America's first celebrity chefs. Prudhomme is credited with trade marking Turducken, a dish  that always graced the Thanksgiving table of NFL commentator John Madden. Be sure to check out the video of Paul explaining the essence of a southern favorite Red Beans and Rice.

Jane Anson reports that Bordeaux grape growers are planting hedges around vineyards in a effort to limit pesticide drift near schools and sports fields.

Suzanne Mustacich writes a piece for the Wine Spectator detailing how serious the problem of counterfeiting wine has become in China. The estimate of the amount of counterfeits is astonishing.

In California, two wine collectors have filed lawsuits against an established wine retailer, claiming they failed to deliver on wines purchased years ago. Peter Hellman gives a good overview of the disagreement.

Two former employees of Donkey & Goat Winery a boutique producer in Berkeley, Ca. , are facing charges of embezzlement totaling over $70,000. Frances Dinkelspiel details the allegations they face and also gives examples of other recent wine crimes.

Steve Heimoff interviews Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. They discuss wine, homelessness and the gig economy. This is part II of a three part series. All three parts are worthy reads.

Our white wine recommendation this week is the 2012 Monte Tondo Soave Classico. This vintage may be hard to locate because the current offering is from 2013. Any wine can age, but does it age well or better yet  improve is the question? The 2012 offering from Monte Tondo is a wonderful sipper to usher in autumn. Pear and honeyed lemon aromas are complimented by juicy pear and peach flavors on the palate. The finish is of medium length and very smooth . This Soave has indeed aged well.  Soave works well with appetizers, fried foods, vegetables and pasta dishes with lightly flavored sauces. 12.5% alc $15 -$17

If you're looking for a nice bottle of Malbec don't miss out on the 2012 Bodegas Colome. Opaque in the glass with a blueberry, boysenberry, baking spice nose. On palate more red fruits, cocoa, fig and spice. Firmly tannic and slightly chewy this wine calls for steak and boldly flavored meat dishes. 14.5% alc $17 - $20

Thank you for listening and tell a friend about us. Cheers! 


VinoWeek Episode 19 - Winovation

Blue Morph based out of the East Bay has developed a waterless tank sanitizing system that uses advanced short-wave ultraviolet ray technology. A unit has already been installed at one of the Jackson Family Wine production facilities in Santa Rosa, Ca., where Julien Gervreau senior sustainability managerestimates 250,000 gallons a year could be saved at each JFW facility that uses the technology.  

Vijay Singh a biochemical engineer has created a new fermentation device that cuts down on water usage and the manual labor associated with winemaking. Dana Nigro provides some of the details in a piece for Wine Spectator.

A high speed railway proposed for Sauternes has vintners in the area anxious. More troubling than that are concerns over higher than normal rates of cancer in small children in the same area.

Jeremy Parzen has been doing a great job of keeping us up to date on the latest wine adulteration scandal in Italy. The scandal has prompted the editors of the 2016 Gambero Rosso to suspend some Frulian producers of Sauvignon Blanc from their list of Tre Bicchieri.   

Fresh off the sale of her successfulJ Vineyard and Winery, Judy Jordan is making an investment in Oregon viticulture. Instead of getting out of the wine business it looks like she's just changing business addresses.  

If you're wondering what to get that special wine lover in your life for Christmas here it is. Coravin has just introduced their second generation model.

Thanks for listening and tell a friend about us. Cheers!



VinoWeek Episode 18 - Fast Food Wine

Amazon has started selling beer, Champagne, wine and spirits in France.  While I'm still not sure it's for real, Burger King looks to be giving away wine to celebrate its four decades of business in Spain. Starbuck's is no longer just a place to get your morning caffeine jolt.  Elin McCoy checks our their new evening program of adult beverages and small plates.  The trend of fast food joints offering wine to go with your meals continues to expand.

Writing for Business Insider Libby Kane asks Jorn Kleinhans, owner of The Sommelier Company, to recommend ten words to look for on wines under $25 dollars. It's a good read with lots of good information.

Whether you're looking for a new way to open a bottle of wine or a way to treat those pesky red wine stains, 14 simple hacks every wine drinker should know is bound to give you a few new ideas.

If you haven't heard Bill and I get on our soapbox and talk about the importance of serving wine at the proper temperature, here we go again.  This time we have a little help from the folks at Tablas Creek, who issued a re-post on said subject to help hammer the point home.

This week'swine recommendation hails from Cantina Tramin of northern Italy. For some of you this may be drinking out of your comfort zone, but it's textbook Gewurztraminer. If you're a Gewurztraminer fan put this one on your bucket list.

Thanks for listening and tell your fellow wino friends about us. Cheers!


Vinoweek Episode 17 - Changing Times in Beer and Wine

Taco Bell is setting its sights on the urbanites of Chicago and San Francisco. Their first pilot stores Taco Bell Cantina, are slated to open later this month.  Specifically targeting the millennial demographic these restaurants will feature a revamped menu, digital menu boards, TV monitors and mobile ordering and pick up apps.  The kicker is these new locations will be serving margaritas in Chicago and draft beer and wine in San Francisco. Steve Heimoff offers his take on Taco Bell's new concept. The San Francisco location is near the AT&T ballpark area and with that location it looks like it will be a home run.

Costco heir David Sinegal acknowledges that he loves,  "the art and act of making things that are unique and special".  Elin McCoy shares what he's doing with his new venture Sinegal Estate in Napa Valley.

Have you tried wine from a keg yet? Adam Teeter writes an article about the recent phenomenon of wine on tap. It a good jumping off point for Bill and I as we discuss the pros and cons of restaurants serving wine on tap.

Do you buy wine online? How do you know its been handled properly during transport? In Entrepreneur Magazine Tracy Byrnes offers some tips on precautions you should take when shipping wine.

Sarika Chawla writes a post about the newest way to tour wine country in SoCal. If you're a tech savvy traveler this is right up your alley.

We had a terrible wildfire in Lake County, California which is just north of Napa Valley. If you would like to help those in need here are some links.

Is there more consolidation in the future for breweries? It seems almost certain. We also have a quick update on the Napa Wine Train fiasco.

Thanks for listening and tell a fellow wino about us. Cheers!

VinoWeek Episode 16 - The 2015 Harvest is in Full Swing

It looks to be an excellent vintage for Champagne according to Claude Giraud. If the weather holds there will be lots of smiling wine growers throughout France. The harvest of Cabernet Sauvignon has started in Napa Valley.  Growers are seeing lower yields but the quality thus far appears to be excellent.  Jessie Duarte fills us in on what's happening in the regions up and down the valley.

W. Blake Gray finds an intern working at a Napa Valley winery to explain what one does in a winery at harvest time. The mystery writer, fresh out of a four year program of viticulture and enology with several harvests under his belt, already seems to have a fairly good grasp of how the wine business works. It's a good read.

The Sonoma County Wine Auction set a new record this year. All the proceeds go to charity and in this article by Peg Melnik you can see who the big spenders were.

Cynthia Sewell writes an article about wine exclusives in the state of Idaho and asks, "Are Idaho Officials Enforcing the Rules?".

Over the last few months we've seen some consolidation in the wine business.  Now it seems as though we may start seeing consolidation in the beer business. Bill Swindell reports for the Press Democrat on the Lagunitas, Heineken partnership.  Bill and I kick around a few ideas on what this partnership could mean for the craft beer business.

Thanks for listening and tell a fellow wino about us. Cheers!