My Favorite Wines

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.

  • Napa Wineries Visited = 75

  • Sonoma Wineries Visited = 30

  • Lodi Wineries Visited = 9

    Lodi Wineries Visited = 9

  • Lodi Wineries Visited
    Livermore Wineries Visited
    Carneros Wineries Visited
    Washington State Wineries Visited
    Oregon State Wineries Visited
    Niagra Trail & NY State Wineries Visited
    Virginia State Wineries Visited
    Texas State Wineries Visited

Favorite Cabernet
Michael David Rapture
My #1 favorite… From Lodi California. Over time it has changed, yet I still love Michael David Winery’s fleshy jammy and deeply ripe wines. This reserve Cabernet is 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 allowing it to breathe.  Drink alone or combine with food with a rich sauce or for a real POP, add chocolate flavored with black currant or cranberry!

Favorite Chardonnay
Rombauer Chardonnay
I still like the classic Chardonnay creation from rich south-sun exposed ripe fruit, fermented with Sur Lie yeast action and full malolactic acid (ML) for creamy smoothness, and then aged 1-2 years in French oak to extract flavors of vanilla, butterscotch and buttery flavors… YUMMMMMYYYYY. Rombauer Chardonnay 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, and my favorite French Oak qualities.  Scents are echoed as flavors on the full ML resulting in a creamy, rich palate.  Enjoy this wine alone, or combine with sushi, or very decadent cheesecake, pulling out a combination of the creamy and vanilla’s.   This is a CLASSIC California Chardonnay. There are others I also love in this category: like Frank Family, Clos Pegasus, Groth, William Hill reserve, Cakebread, B-Wise, Nickel and Nickel, etc. but Rombauer is a also a gorgeous property on the top of hill with wonderful memories of my first visit to Napa, so a special place in my heart. I have moved on to enjoy French Oak whites from other countries, including B2G’s Lugana Reserva, a oak-aged Trebbiano!

Favorite Sparkling
Schramsberg bubbly.. I love all of it!
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 seeing their underground cave storage of hand-carved tunnels for wine storage.  I learned that Chinese miners carved the caves BY HAND while living in small family huts on the property after RRx crossings were completed and they had otherwise became unemployed.  The cave tour ends with a romantic candlelight tasting; 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! I’ve added becoming a fan of Argyle in Oregon, prosecco’s, Burgundian and true Champagne biscuity bubblies, smooth Alsace Cremant’s and more, but continue to pick out Schramsberg on a menu.

Favorite Champagne
Cristalino Cava Sparkling, SPain
Cristalino Cava was for a long-time 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 through Traditional Methiode and second-fermentation takes place 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 fresh with lemon-lime zestiness and apple undertones and bright acidity. Cava’s serve as a reasonable price sparkling substitute to pricier French choices and I often recommend Cristalino Cava as a celebratory alternative when savings is important.  Enjoy Cava mixed with fruit puree’s for mimosa’s.  Cristalino regularly ranks in the 90’s on Wine Spectator and Top Value.

Favorite Sauvignon Blanc
CAST Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Vally CA
CAST line is sold by Bottle2Glass and I represent Eastern Cuyahoga and Lake County wine sales in Ohio for them. This is a dry white wine from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County. I wasn’t particularly a fan of Sauvignon Blanc with tart grapefruit or granny smith apple, but I LOVE this wine. Different from those tart flavors, this wine features soft fruits flavors of of melon and peach, and is toned down in the acidity to deliery a creamy flavor and smoothness more like my preferred Chardonnay. ….. so it wasn’t surprising to learn it’s because they use both new and used French oak barrels for fermentation!!! The wine remained on lees (Sur Lie, my fav) and was stirred through malolactic fermentation and allowed 11 months of aging! Everything I like and it’s a wonderful Sauvignon Blanc. Email me to get some!

Favorite Pinot Noir,

Favorite Pinot Noir
CAST Pinot Noir, Dry Creek Vally CA
Again, I’m in love with the CAST line Pinot Noir sold in Ohio through Bottle2Glass.

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