[PHOTO: Purchased]

Company samples are listed with each wine.


  1. HEART ~ THE WINERY: This information came from the wineries’ notes.
  2. SCIENCE ~ WINEMAKING ~ From the winery.
  3. SOUL ~ Jo’s Musings

The early bird arrived with all of these samples. Each one holds an important special memory, a unique time and place, flavors of wine in that time. We’re entering the most fun time of the year… A time of giving, caring, sharing in very generous ways. Family, friends. expanding the table, rearranging furniture to accommodate everyone… Giving Thanks. We’ve made it this far into the year. It’s now time to celebrate the good, the bad and let the ugly take a backseat for a short period. We’ve seen it all. We’re all hopeful, feeling the peace sign circling back again, the olive branch shared, and it’s our time of deep commitments and caring.

So, the following samples were brought to a group of friends gathered to enjoy the wines that I said, “Heck, I’ve got a lot of wine to open. Once opened, I’m going to taste each one with my own notes, and I’m willing to share the names with notes, and if you want to write your own notes, that’s very cool, too. In exchange, you can each take some wine home. It would be a shame to waste it.”

They let me also borrow their notes, which I’ll review, to get to the “soul” of what they were all feeling… But only for curiously sake. I’ll be writing my own impressions here, then privately review theirs for my own curiosity. I won’t be sharing, since I don’t do group tastings publicly.

Consider what each “SOUL” delivers, AND think about your own menu. You’ll might get some ideas for fun food and wine pairings this year. These are white options…



NV Valentin Bianchi S.A., New Age White, San Rafael, Mendoza Argentina


Bodegas Valentin Bianchi is a fourth generation, family-owned Argentine winery founded in 1928 (and is among the oldest Argentine wineries still owned by the same family).   It is renowned for traditional Argentine wines.  After almost a century of hard work and success, Valentin Bianchi still shines with the legacy of the family, seeking to keep alive its passion for wine, crossing borders via export to most of the world, and constantly exploring new horizons, on both the winemaking and marketing sides of the company.


  • 90% Torrontes, 10% Sauvignon Blanc
  • 10.6% Alcohol
  • $12.99

Valentin Bianchi wines encompass the exponents of the best terroir locations in Argentina, with a philosophy that encourages a constant exploration for the ideal terroir for each wine. Its philosophy is to find the unique and unparalleled aspects of each one of the winery’s estates to interpret the vine’s intent and provide the market with variety and excellence in each and every wine they produce.


The Valentin Bianchi S.A., New Age White is like witnessing sparkling diamonds in the sky, with a bit of tiny bubbles still enjoying their time in the bottle. Consider that this one is only 10.6 percent alcohol… It’s definitely one for those who are wanting to start out slowly, with some delicious appetizers to bring it all together.

Some Italian parents cut the wine they give their children with a bit of water. I refer to that as wine with training wheels; i.e., a starter wine, just right for anyone who is new to wine and it’s Thanksgiving, again. This one? That person might even finish it and look for a bit more, please and thank you.

For those of us who love cheese as an appetizer? Given the right pungent cheese, I believe this (with it’s bit of residual sugar) will complement it and be delightful.

HEART lead in

2016 Stella Pinot Grigio Wine 

This one was a canned wine and I decanted it, so it was in disguise, because I wanted honest reactions. My age demographic can be set in its ways. I wanted no judgments on the can, just the wine. Everyone “liked” the wine, and we all agreed it was an entry wine. It was quite pleasant, and we all agreed that the canned wine is just right for their target audience.


Estate founded: 1986, Pinot Grigio grapes were grown in the mild Mediterranean climate of Sicily, in various vineyards locations. The soil composition is clay. The vines are trained on spur-pruned cordons, at an elevation of 382 feet.  Stella’s vineyard has 1,133 acres at 1,133. Exposures vary, and were planted from 1982 to 1995. Harvest time was August through September 2016. The first vintage of their wine was in 1996, and there were 57,000 cases of Stella Pinot Grigio produced.

Winemaker Danilo Chini fermented this wine in stainless steel tanks for 10 days, and the temperature was 64°F.


  • 100% Pinot Gris
  • 5% Alcohol
  • $32.00
  • Winery production: 850,000 Bottles
  • Region: Sicilia
  • Country: Italy



Would I have it by the pool? Most assuredly. My pool has all ages swimming in it. This Stella Pinot Grigio Wine is as refreshing as a salt water swim in a pool. No nasty chlorine to take over the fun, just the spirit of the wine… young, vibrant, easy, fun… Did I mention refreshing and something to just float with. It’s how I enjoy taking parties… just floating through them, snagging the spirit. This one is the spirit of Stella!

Okay, so this is Thanksgiving and how are YOU going to use it?

2017 LÜK Chardonnay, Willamette Valley, Oregon


Van Duzer Corridor- Willamette Valley… a wine brought to us by Aberrant Cellars. This is soon to be the newest sub-AVA within the Willamette. For decades, winemakers and winegrowers have extolled the virtues associated with the influence of the afternoon winds coming inland from the Pacific Ocean, and being funneled through a gap in the Coast Range mountains. This “Van Duzer effect” has a significant impact of style for the wines of this, and some neighboring, regions.


  • 100% Chardonnay
  • 9%
  • $30.00

Temperatures are dramatically affected with 20-30 degree drops in the late afternoons. Longer hangtimes throughout the season are a necessity, to incorporate these swings in temperatures; and, more often than not, flavor development is ahead of sugar development. This offers lower potential alcohols. Grape skins end to become thicker from the winds, resulting in less juice to skin ratio, and often provide wines which have a savoriness and display tightly wound energy at their cores.


I know Aberrant Cellars firsthand regarding the soul of this wine. Eric Eide (pronounced as I.D.) is the owner winemaker, and one of our clients. Before Eric decided to have his own brand, he had a successful career as a wine salesperson. He not only knows what he wants, but he also knows what YOU want. Quality and great value for the price is his credo, and tasting though his wines, including the comments of the big dog wine critics on the block, these wines are SOLID. It’s tremendous to work with someone whose intentions are pure, as are his wines. These wines are soulful, just rock solid soulful… actually why I love working with Eric. He trusts us, we trust him. You can trust his wines, too.  Smooth Chardonnay, really smooth. Great with a Thanksgiving day turkey; especially with white meat and delicious gravy. Think wild rice stuffing, home made cranberry sauce with a raspberry vinaigrette… and Lük Chardonnay… All a match made in heaven.

2017 Ironstone Vineyards Chardonnay, Lodi, California


Ever since the first gold nugget was discovered in the Sierra Foothills, the region has attracted dreamers, innovators, and pioneers. The Kautz family settled in Lodi, CA in 1926 and founded their first winery, Bear Creek, in 1968 – the same year they planted their first vineyards. Over the next 20 years, the family expanded its vineyard holdings to more than 5,000 acres of vineyards in the Sierra Foothills and Lodi. Today, the second generation of the Kautz Family is making wine and operates a state-of-the-art winery, which produces acclaimed wines. They’re located in the Sierra Foothills town of Murphy, in the heart of California’s scenic Gold Rush Country.


  • 90% Chard, 5% Viognier, 5% Chenin Blanc
  • 5% Alcohol
  • $13.99

For more than 30 years, the Kautz family has been committed to sustainable viticulture practices that improve the health of the vineyards and the larger environment. With more than 6,000 acres of vineyards in the Sierra Foothills and Lodi, the Kautz family has been an essential part of the region’s winemaking history. Ironstone’s Leaping Horse Brand represents value-driven everyday wines from the family’s best vineyards throughout the Lodi appellation.


The soul of Ironstone Vineyards’ wines rests with matriarch and patriarch, Gail and John Kautz. I worked with the Kautz family from 1998 to August 31, 2001. It was john and Gail who taught me their graciousness and their farm ethic. Good honest people, who are committed to delivering the best wine for the value of the wine. Tasting their 2017 Ironstone Vineyards Chardonnay was like entering a time machine. All of these years later and I can still recognize their wine. New to it is the Chenin Blanc and Viognier; still, it’s a winemaker Steve Millier wine. It’s got his signature all over it; that would be great structure, fantastic flavors, and another great wine for the turkey. With this Chardonnay blend, I’d want it with turkey’s succulent dark meat, with a bit more weight.

2017 Luca Bosio Vineyards, Piedmont, Italy  


Luca Bosio Vineyards, now in it’s third generation, was established in 1967 by farmers Egidio and Angela. Their son, Valter Bosio married Rosella and along with their son Luca, a graduate winemaker, work tirelessly to keep up the family tradition. Luca has brought a wave of freshness and novelty both in technical and commercial areas. After the success of his innovative and progressive ideas, and under the constant support of the family, the company has taken the name of Luca Bosio Vineyards.

In the centre of the Langhe, among the hills celebrated in Cesare Pavese’s poems, you can find LUCA BOSIO VINEYARDS winery, in a world where technology and rural tradition coexist.

It was 1967 when Egidio and Angela decided to start a work and a life full of fatigue and satisfactions; like every good farmer Egidio started step by step, with humility and tenacity, not pretending to reach success immediately and knowing that working hard and paying attention to the quality of the products would have given him results. Now, in the XXIth Century, the company includes 60 acres of vineyards, divided in the typical cultures of the zone. The plots of land are mainly in S. Stefano Belbo but also in Castiglione Tinella, Mango, Costigliole d’Asti and Castagnole Lanze. The property of the company is only a little part of the entire panorama, in fact hundreds of farmer organizations give their grapes to our factory so we have a total annual production equal to 1000 acres of surface; grapes come from different part of Piedmont, like Langa, Monferrato, and Roero.


  • 100% Arneis 100% D.O.C.G.
  • 13% Alcohol
  • $17.99

Luca Bosio Vineyards winery is located in the center of the Langhe region of Piedmont. The company has 60 acres of vineyards and sources additional grapes from vineyards in Piedmont.


This is a very fetching wine… It’s smooth as silk and has tons of floral notes and an ample supply of fruit flavors. The wine also has perfect well balanced acidity, so it’s great with foods. I would open with this one as people arrive. You’ll have more time to explain what this Arneis is all about. It’s flavorful with more stone fruit, as its a warmer climate type wine… Golden delicious apples and peaches dripping with honey flavor. It’s also got a bit of a nutty flavor. Cheeses and crackers with your appetizers, served with Luca Bosio Vineyards Arneis. Not into cheese and crackers? Try stuffed mushroom caps. This one will get any party going, it’s that much fun.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!