This is a fantastic wine from DNA vineyards, Dry Creek, Sonoma county.  The winemaker is Sarah Bailey.

A soft elegant wine, a beauty in a bottle.  Highly concentrated and full of rich suppleness.   A buxom beauty with so much character.  Smooth and rich like a fine piece of chocolate, or a Cafe au Lait from New Orleans.  The aromas that emanate from the depths of the bottle remind me so much of a wonderful country kitchen.  Coffee, cassis, roasting nuts and of course all that chocolate.  If you close your eyes you can probably smell the baking bread too.

The juice journeys down your throat, take a deep breath and enjoy the nectar.  Oh the rich liquid, your eyes spontaneously close as you savor the forbidden fruit.  Plum, blackberry jam, coffee and that rich dark Swiss chocolate, coats your soul as you give in to the pleasure.  The soft tannins, elegant and fascinating just make your body tingle with delight at the thought of more to come.  Your mouth is already watering and begging for more.


Just look at this beauty.



Sometimes you just run across a wine that you want to marry, or at least keep as a mistress. Sex with wine-don’t pretend, you know you have thought about it. Well this is one of those.

Once you pull the cork you are automatically hit with oh the Garden of pleasure, violets, roses and plumeria, ( I was just in Hawaii). Smell is actually 90% of taste. All of my senses are in overdrive now, and I am already tasting, my mouth is flowing juices like an excited virgin. The immensely dark juice pours into the glass. So intriguing, inviting and yet mysterious.

As I pour the wine into my mouth I am hit with WOW just amazing amounts of fruit. Succulent and supple. The intense concentrated flavors that are packed in here are so hard to define individually. But, man oh man, you definitely get the plum, black cherry, licorice. On the end you will note coffee and chocolate. The pleasures of the body all in one bottle. The rich velvety touch of the juice touches my soul. I feel a euphoria coming over me. The long finish with ever so light tannins envelops me, taking control. I am entranced now, my body is begging for more. And more it shall have. I must go now I am about to have a relationship with my wine.

On a more serious note. The Baxter family continues to provide excellence. Phil Baxter Jr. has followed in his fathers footsteps-providing some of the best wines in Napa. Some old world nuances mixed with new world style. Beautiful.


This is one of the best wines you will ever have. Not much on the market so if you find it buy it.



The Holidays require me to open up the cabinets and put out the best for dinner.  This year brought about a dilemma, choosing one.  After careful consideration and consultation with the wife (who enjoys researching the wines), I chose Moone Tsai Napa cab 2009.  Needless to say it was a good choice.  Known as one of the “Rock Stars” of the wine world, he has solidified his reputation with Moone Tsai and his own Melka brands. He studied under some of the great wine makers of Bordeaux and Napa. Now he produces some of the best and highly sought after wines in Napa.

2009 was by all known as a great year-pretty much world wide.  Moone Tsai exhibits all of the reasons why.  Full bodied, highly aromatic balanced and intense.  I decanted for three hours–just as an FYI.

As soon as I opened the bottle I thought I had been transported back to the Garden of Eden.  Wow, just wow. the aromas took over the house, who needs pot pouri.  I could close my eyes and feel that I have been transported.

The dark juice that pours into the glass only hints at what is to come.  Slowly the juice draws into my mouth.  Instantly the saliva flows.  Oh my my.  So many flavors all at once.  Licorice, cassis, and oh so many berries.  My right leg started to shake.  Raspberry, blueberry, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, coffee, it just seemed as the kitchen pantry of spices and the fruit keeper were all passing through my senses at once.    The finish was long and in depth, never missing a single flavor note.  (I think I can still taste it).  By decanting for so long I had reduced the tannins and really opened up the flavors.  I took a single sip when it was first opened and it was definitely tight.  But the decanting process really just opened it up and softened it all around.   Pairing it with rare prime rib was just the ticket.

Hope you all had a joyous Christmas.  Cheers and



you see my choices.  All very very very good wines, and of course the prime rib.

This past weekend we celebrated my wife’s birthday.  No I will not discuss age, I still want to see another day.

Dinner was a magnificent treat made by some new, dear friends as a surprise.  Pork chops and broccoli.  Literally the best chops I had ever eaten.  Fresh hand cut chops straight from the butcher, brined in seasonings including molasses.  Wow what a treat.

I picked the wine for the evening.  I wanted something special, I chose a 2007 Barnett Vineyards Cabernet.  I had been saving  this one, oh was it well worth the wait.  David Tate is the winemaker at Barnett, and man what an artist he is.  Tongue-gasms (yes my made up word, but you get the meaning).  The wine opens a bouquet that just fills the room.  Oh my.  The anticipation of the things to come.  The color-rich, deep, dark purple.  Just adds to the magnificence of the wine. (big words now).  Big words are indeed needed to express the flavor of this wine.  The lush juice immediately hits your tongue, all kinds of berry.  Blackberry, cherry, currant and licorice with a very long finish, a very long finish, let me say again, a very long finish.  Little notes of spice, pepper and very light tannins-yes it is 10 years old.  The exceptional fruit forward but very balanced style of this wine is well-EXCEPTIONAL.  One of the best wines you will ever have at any price.


Usually this is where I end.  I am after all a wine blogger, (well I try to be).  But tonight, even with this magnificent specimen before me, one of the best wines I have ever had, from one of the most spectacular vineyards your eyes could ever behold, (if you have the chance to visit the vineyards- it is as close to the garden of Eden that a mere mortal will ever have-please go).

But tonight, Sorry Mr. Tate, you were upstaged by a 14 year old and a purple cake.  As I stated before it was my wife’s birthday celebration.  Our friends had prepared the fore mentioned meal.  Too top it off their 14 year old son (yes 14) made her a birthday cake.  A wondrous sight to behold, three colors of purple, 3 tiers of chocolate.  Extraordinary.  I am not a baker, so I cannot do justice to the intricacies of creating such a piece of art.  I can only say that it was the most beautiful cake I have ever seen, and one of the most delicious too.

I hope that someday the two artists of this evening will have the chance to meet and share their respective art.  But until then, I will.







Altra cabernet hails from Atlas Peak, Napa.  It is the “child” of Margo Culcasi and Gerry Moffit, a fitting tribute to a long lasting friendship.  Gerry is the winemaker and is also associated with Kapcsandy, Blankiet and Grace Family.  These wines are of course some of the premier wines of California. So my expectations were high going into this.

Whoa, the nose just about rips through your soul.  The smell of freshly pressed fruit erupts through the air making the nostrils quiver.

Once you pour the juice into your mouth, the rich depth and complexity overloads the senses.  The mouth is watering uncontrollably.  So much is going on.  The taste of cherry, casis, chocolate with hints of wood (cedar) all explode in the mouth.  You would expect big bold tannins that make you pucker.  Instead you have these soft, lovely elegant tannins  that are just beautiful to the mouth.  And, all of these flavors very gradually recede…over like a month.  This is been one of life’s most pleasant experiences.




Well I did it.  Last night I asked HR to go pick out a bottle for me.  There it is, the girl brings up a 2009 Baldacci Stag’s Leap, Black Label.  Forget it….the earth shook and the heavens opened up.  What a spectacular wine.  The small winery has put forth some exciting and spectacular wines.  The winery is nestled into the stag’s leap district, a few acres snuggled in  with a cave.  A must see for anyone heading out to Napa.

The winemaker for Baldacci is Rolando Herrera.  He is a story unto himself. But, undoubtedly one of the best winemakers of the past 50 years.  One day I would really like to just tell his story. But tonight is all about the wine.

This is probably the softest, silkiest wine you will every have..and full bodied to boot. The nose is pure red fruit.  Cherry jumps at you then plum, raspberry followed by a little smokiness.

But oh the taste.  The full richness envelopes you as you pour the juice into your mouth.  The depth reeks havoc on your senses.  Your body quivers as tears slowly role down your cheeks.  Simple perfection.  The tannis are so silky just leaving that velvet glove touch in your mouth. I cannot put into words the beautiful pleasure.  You must  try, and you know my motto.  “Everyday is a special day.”




Just look at that. My mouth is watering now.

Truth be told I am a huge fan of the Boisset family wines.  I have never had one that was anything less than exhilarating , I have had the pleasure of visiting their wineries in California and Burgundy.  The Christophe series is from vineyards in Oakville.

The nose is full of currant, plum and cassis. The juice is concentrated, full bodied, well balanced and rich. What can I say.  It has a slight earthy note on the tongue.  Featuring notes of vanilla, and cocoa.  Long finish with very bold tannins.  It requires protein to build on. A great dinner wine.  Make it a great meal.





Have you seen anything so dark and rich.  20160210_172458.jpg

When  most think of cabernet, California comes to mind automatically, mainly Napa but sometimes Sonoma.  What about Washington state, or Idaho? Idaho are you kidding me?   No, pinot maybe,-noir or gris- but cab?

What if I were to tell you about a little winery in Columbia Valley that makes a phenomenal cab.  The winery is owned by Kimber Gates.  It is uniquely located in Coeur D Alene, Idaho, with vineyards in Washington state, mainly Columbia Valley.

The wines are SPECIAL!!!!! Very small production with a total commitment to quality.

I had the extra special pleasure of the 2010 Cabernet.  Pedigreed with cabernet grapes from the Bacchus vineyards, and cab franc from McKinley Springs Vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills.  Can  you imagine this lineage.

The wine is so deep and rich. Cherry and mocha notes right off the bat.  Wow, the wine is so supple and full.  Full bodied with long muscled tannins.  SUPREME!  Chocolate and cherry, who can resist.  Plain out damn good…




Contado Mankas, not a name you hear often. Produced by Mankas Hills vineyards and owned by MGR Partners.  Coming from an AVA you definitely do not hear everyday, or even a few times a year.  Suisun Valley.  Located in Solano County it was made an AVA in 1982.  The owners of Mankas Hills are committed to producing high quality wines even if it means limited production.  They have achieve their goals.

Contado Mankas is a beautiful cabernet that exhibits all of the characteristics of its proud Italian namesake.  100% cabernet grapes.  Aged mainly in French oak for 24 months giving that extra flavor and depth.

The nose gives a fresh fruity aroma, enticing and pleasant.

The mouth blows away.  Full bodied, so many layers coating the tongue and cheeks.  Rich ripe fruit,  cherry, raspberry,  a delicious bounty.  Spice notes come at the end with tannins that seem to start soft and then grow.  Drinking this wine makes me think of doing something naughty but oh so much fun.  You know what I mean.  The pleasure of enjoyment.  A true guilty pleasure.

Enjoy $$$

Contado Mankas cabernet