20181028_165359-1.jpgAnd along comes flavor.  Kimberly Jones is a well-known wine broker.  She has put together some of the most sought after craft wines ever.  When I found out she had partnered with – perhaps my favorite wine maker of all, Anna Monticelli, I just had to find a bottle and try. Anna makes wines for several wineries but one of my faves is of course Pina.  It took awhile to find a bottle, they are in high demand and not in many places.

The 2014 is, well, a slide into decadence.  The fruit bursting flavor that pops when you open the bottle, dark cassis, blackberry, chocolate-continues to pop inside your mouth.  Just the perfect balance of fruit and acid that makes the mouth water uncontrollably.   Rich textures of velvet and satin coat the mouth and throat.  The rich dark fruit of blackberry, chocolate with notes of toasted oak.  Light tannins that just aide and enhance the experience.  WOW what a wine. All of this and under 50$. It is way too easy to drink the whole bottle, but just settle in and do it.  Believe me you will not regret.  Just stay put though..

Enjoy this wine with a fine meal or just by itself.




The Titus brothers continually amaze. I am not a domestic Chardonnay fan. But folks this one is an exception. It has all the right components, butter, oak, fruit, but the balance is what is impressive. Too many CA chardonnay taste like gnawing on cardboard and are all together flat.

This one is perfection. Rich, smooth and creamy. Notes of tree fruit, apple, pear and peach. What a delicious combination.

Enjoy $$


This was a real crappy day.  Rainy, cold and just yuck and to top it off I spent too much of my day off doing work. YUCK  On days like these I tend to need a real comfort food kinda evening.  One of my favorites growing up was sausage and rice.  My Mom would make this really heavy meal, filling and comfortable and it would make me feel so much better.  So tonight I made this meal and I am really happy to say that me daughter and wife also find it to be a comfort meal.   On this night I paired it with Lloyd Chardonnay.

Rob Lloyd is as they say a wine “rock star”.  He worked his way through the ranks, starting out in the tasting rooms and then after graduation at La Crema and Rombauer.  He started his own consulting company and wine label “Lloyd”.  His credits are Butter, JAM cellars and Lloyd cellars.  He is a consultant on many wines too.  Tonight I am enjoying the 2015 Chardonnay.

The 2015 Chardonnay is rich, creamy and buttery.  Full bodied with lots of ripe Carneros fruit, notes of vanilla that soften it up.  Hints of oak linger at the finish but not overpowering.  Loads of texture, a beautiful example  of what chardonnay could be.

Sausage and rice with Lloyd Chardonnay.  A great combination.



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.



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.




This sultry Pinot is, well Damn good.  Titus has proven again that he is a master of his craft.  And, as a  winemaker at Chappellet he knows how to turn grapes into beautiful wines. Sonoma Loeb as well as his own label- Titus- are to die for.  But today my focus is on Sonoma Loeb. 
I can’t help but just love this wine.  The nose is full of floral notes, violets and roses.  Combine this with cherry and plum and who can resist.  The room fills with these  aromas making good you at our cell feel at ease and tranquil.
When the juice hits your tongue the senses overload.  Mouthwatering  is not enough to describe what is going on.  At once those cherry anes thd plum flavors pop, then oh then the chocolate comes through. Yes, I said chocolate, who can resist that.  There is so much happening here.  Spices; clove and a little pepper are on the end.  But the end just keeps going.  WOW.  Such intensity, depth,  structure.  This wine has it all.  Definitely  not your normal west coast pinot. Drinking ,ore like a hearty burgundy.  I close my eyes and just enjoy the rapture. 




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

A totally unique blend.  Pinot Noir, Syrah, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay to top it off.
The nose gives off reminders of the holiday. Orange, nutmeg, pepper and spice. 
The wine hits your tongue and the complexity of flavors throws the mind into free fall.
Bright red fruit, cherry, strawberry and even a note of plum.   I know plum sometimes gives that note of stewed fruit…kinda like that cabernet from Paso Robles.
Perennial is best known for pinot blends.  I am not positive this blend works.   It is a decent wine, but for the price I wanted more.  I am not saying it is bad, and I would have it again, just not great.


Happy New Year to everyone, hope you all had as nice a holiday season as me.  I pretty much took the period from Thanksgiving to New Years as a little holiday from blogging too.  Too much goin on ya know.

In keeping with my resolution to enjoy every day and not wait for that special occasion to enjoy that special wine I  now share with you Pina Cabernet D’Adamo.  My personal favorite cab., and my thoughts as to what the others strive to be.

Pina winery sits on the Silverado trail just out of Rutherford, who could ask for a better pedigree.  The winery is owned and operated by four brothers. The family history in Napa goes back generations.  A leading and very well respected family in many different aspects of wine making and vineyard management.

Anna Monticelli is the wine maker.  And what a pedigree she carries.  Degrees in viticulture and enology, honing her craft in Bordeaux and studying under some of the best known names in wine.  She is also married to Mario, the winemaker at Trinchero.  Oh to be a fly on the wall when they are  enjoying a glass.

Now to the wine.  The nose exudes fresh ripe fruit; cherry, strawberry, a touch of leather and earthiness.  Just to give it that added something. The wine fills the glass with a color reminiscent of ravens wings flapping in the night.

And oh the joy that permeates my body as I partake of this treasure.  My mouth wants to explode, so many flavors going on- how can I define them, will have to take another sip.  That rich dark fruit, abundant in this wine.  Cherry, currant, hints of ripe blueberry.  The flavors erupt in my mouth and send shivers through my body.  A hint of oak adds more depth and structure and more flavor.  The soft, silky, velvet tannins  linger in the mouth just long enough, I absently take another sip.  The satisfaction of enjoying perfection.  Such depth, such structure, such…perfection.  Baccus never had it so good.  Thank You Pina.