Hungary,Imports,White Wine,Wine,Wine Appreciation,Wine Century Club,Wine Ed,Wine Education,Wine HIstory,Wine Importer,Wine of the Week

Welcome to Hungary with Count Karolyi’s Grüner Veltliner 2016 ~ Wine of the Week

Sample wines provided by Quintessential Wines ~ Count Karolyi Grüner Veltliner 2016


My structure:

  1. World Regions ~ FIRST
  2. HEART ~ THE WINERY: info is coming from the company’s own statements
    1. I can’t make up their history
    2. Nor am I to try
    1. I can’t make up their history
    2. Nor am I to try
  4. SOUL ~ Wine Blog’s SAMPLE NOTES FOR
    1. Quintessential Wines


World Region ~ PANNON, HUNGARY

Count Karolyi Grüner Veltliner 2016 – 100 percent Grüner Veltliner


Dr. Herold Binderer founded the company Binderer St. Ursula in 1951, and worked tirelessly until his late eighties. His son, Peter, who took over the business, carries on the family tradition. After the fall of the “Iron Curtain,” Peter decided in the mid- 90’s to buy one winery in the north, and to build another winery in the south of Hungary. He knew about the long tradition and excellent potential of Hungarian wine making. Together with Lazlo Károlyi, a Hungarian aristocrat with a turbulent life, shaped by escape from war and comebacks in different continents, Peter created his first white wine in 1998. Since then, quality and innovative concepts have been the key factors in the success of these two gentlemen. As Lazlo loves the taste of the important white wine variety Grüner Veltliner, he gave his name “Count Karolyi” to create this brand. This fresh white wine has a real varietal character. Enjoy its lemony aromas with a spicy, peppery touch typical of Grüner from Pannon, south west Hungary – a region spoiled by sunshine.


The grapes are picked in the cool of the morning, at optimum ripeness, de-stemmed and lightly crushed before being transported to the press, where the free-run juice is collected and grapes gently pressed. The juice is then left to settle for 24 hours at cold temperatures. The clarified juice is fermented at approximately 18º Celsius in temperature-controlled tanks to keep all the wine’s freshness and fruitiness. After fermentation, the finished wine is left on the fine lees for between four to six weeks to increase complexity.


From the Embassy of Hungary, in a search for “history of Hungarian winemaking,” because to understand wine, one first needs to understand the history and culture of any wine region…

Learning about wine is an ever expanding and opening lotus blossom. The more you know, the more you know you don’t know. There’s no end to it, there just isn’t. And in that process you come across different flavors, each wine has its own characteristic. So, let’s explore just a bit, to broaden our own wine souls…

The tradition of viniculture, is a key asset in Hungary’s national heritage. Wine played a major role at the time of the Hungarian tribes. Travellers [sic] and 5th century Byzantine encyclopedias, mentioned the high number of vineyards planted by Hungarian tribes, which drank milk and wine as their two staple beverages. Major agreements and treaties were regularly accompanied by “wine blessing,” which confirmed the commitments of signatories.

It’s interesting to note, milk coming from a cow is not contaminated (or at least wasn’t then) by toxins. And, wine is antimicrobial… It was definitely more advantageous to drink these two beverages, than risk whatever was coming downstream. Nature provides what people haven’t destroyed… And so here we are searching out the soul of the Hungarian Grüner Veltliner.


In terms of an art paring, I’m going with a photo image from Brooke Lark.

Count Karolyi Grüner Veltliner 2016 is a mélange of citrus aromas and flavors. Imagine yourself, mountainside, and each morning you go to your citrus orchard and pick your fresh vitamin C, to start your day. Will it be the Meyer lemons, the limes, or the grapefruit?

Later in the day, you pick your fresh citrus wine to enjoy with your seamless Vitamin C flavors for your final meal of the day. If you started your day with zest, end that way with it, too. Make it a 2016 Count Karolyi Grüner Veltliner… It’s that fresh and exciting, and, it’s a lovely pairing of a food and wine experience to end that zesty day. I’m very partial to this dry white wine, light lemony yellow aromas with light green hues, and that added hints of spice on the finish. The Count Karolyi Grüner developed into attractive nuances and produced an engaging, spicy finish.

Highly Recommended.

If it’s not on your Wine Century Club list, and you love tangy whites, what are you waiting for?

Another Quintessential White Wine Import for 2018.


Green Valley,History,Russian River Valley,Sonoma County,Wine

Green Valley in Russian River Valley Has Unique Historical Terroir

Influencers of Green Valley of Russian River Valley

The Central Pomos, Yegor Chernykh, and Luther Burbank are legendary proof of Green Valley being the Green emerald in Russian River Valley’s crown, and a preeminent wine grape growing AVA, most-worthy of boundless distinction.

FIRST MIGRATION – The Bering Strait

Migration, for what would become Green Valley, began with the Bering Strait. Why go back 15,000 years? In order to explain the route allowing for the first migrations filtering into Russian River Valley.

During the Ice Age, a lot of earth’s water was comprised of glacial ice, forcing sea levels to drop. This created the Bering Land Bridge, from Asia and Eastern Europe into Alaska. Grazing animals followed the delicious new grasses, and so did the first migratory humans. About 3,400 years later, the Bering Land Bridge disappeared again beneath the Bering Sea, as global changes caused water levels to again rise.


About 6,000 years ago, an exodus of the first people from the Bering Strait crossing completed their trek from Asia into North America. They continued to move down the coastline, eventually turning inland, to avoid cool, Pacific breezes. These immigrants finally arrived in Green Valley and settled in the Laguna de Santa Rosa area.

The Laguna region still has an abundance of different foods available, due to the richness of the land, and considerable protection from the elements by a Redwood forest. The Pomos, as they called themselves, lived in harmony in small tribes around the edges of the Laguna. The Natives mostly gathered their food from plants and ground acorns into flour. This became their most important staple. Fish, deer, and rabbits were their easily hunted sources of protein.

RUSSIAN RELEVANCE ~ Fur Trapping, Trading, and Yegor Chernykh

The second significant landing of settlers in Sonoma County’s North Coast are responsible for Russian River Valley’s name.

Colonization of the Americas, by Russian fur traders, began in 1732 and lasted until 1867. This was during the time when Russian Empire invaders took possession of the Pacific Northwest territories in the Americas. In 1812, they brought grapevines to the valley from Lima, Peru. It’s believed that by 1817, those vines were first planted. Then in 1836, the government sent Moscow-trained agronomist Yegor Chernykh, to the Sonoma Coast. Yegor came to improve crops grown for government officials based at Fort Ross.

Also searching for ideal growing conditions, Chernykh settled in Green Valley. He established a farm along Purrington Creek, between the towns of Occidental and Graton. Yegor erected barracks for workers and five other structures, where he grew fruits, vegetables, wheat, and grains. Chernykh also developed a large vineyard, and introduced the first wine grapes to Sonoma County.

The Russians left California in 1841, because finding more fur and growing more food crops to deliver back to Alaska had become difficult. Everyone, including Yegor, returned to his homeland, ending Russian pioneering days in North America; but, not their viticultural history. This effort began and continues to define Russian River Valley’s terroir, most especially in Green Valley. (SIDE NOTE: The Russian’s missed the Gold Rush, by only eight years.)

TERROIR CONTINUING DEFINITION ~ Luther Burbank (1849–1926)

Born in Lancaster, Massachusetts, the thirteenth of fifteen children, Luther Burbank was raised on a farm in New England. He was a self-educated horticulturist and botanist, when he made the across country journey, from Massachusetts to California. Burbank’s efforts in Green Valley include successfully developed more than 800 new strains and varieties of plants. He went on to become one of America’s most famous and prolific horticulturists. We’re all enjoying fruits and vegetables that Burbank developed, mostly created in Green Valley of the Russian River Valley. This is due to ideal the location for growing fruits, vegetables, flowers, and last – but not least – Vitis vinifera wine grape vines.


Arneis,Imports,LANGHE,Luca Bosio Langhe Arneis D.O.C.G.,Piedmont,Quintessential Wines,Value Wine,White Wine,Wine

Quintessential White Wines Imports for 2018 ~ Luca Bosio Langhe Arneis D.O.C.G.

HERE All of these wines tasted were delicious and puntando.

Sample wines provided Quintessential Wines ~ Luca Bosio Langhe Arneis D.O.C.G. 2016


Wine samples come to to me as a single bottle. Some arrive in a package of two or three. On other occasions, a case (or there about) arrives. This is one of those instances. I’ll be breaking this two into two days of Whites and then red wines. They’re my wines for this week, and they come from all over the globe. I’m enjoying (and learning) so much about wines from around the world. This is a lovely experience, and so worth sharing. So, enjoy the ride.

  1. World Regions ~ FIRST
  2. HEART ~ THE WINERY: info is coming from the company’s own statements
    1. I can’t make up their history
    2. Nor am I to try
    1. I can’t make up their history
    2. Nor am I to try
  4. SOUL ~ Wine Blog’s SAMPLE NOTES FOR
    1. Quintessential Wines ~   




Luca Bosio Langhe Arneis D.O.C.G. 2016 -100 percent Arneis: The Luca Bosio Langhe is made from Arneis (are-NAYS) grapes grown on the Bosio Estate in the Roero region (which is in the Southeastern part of Piedmont, close to Turin, in the foothills of the Alps). It starts with a clean, floral nose, with captivating hints of pineapple, apricot and peach that follow through to the palate and refreshing finish. This wine is made from Arneis grapes grown on the Bosio Estate in the Roero region (which is in the Southeastern part of Piedmont, close to Turin, in the foothills of the Alps). It starts with a clean, floral nose, with captivating hints of pineapple, apricot and peach that follow through to the palate and refreshing finish.


WINEMAKER: the Arneis grapes for this wine come from vineyards located in the Langhe sub-region, at 200 to 400 feet above sea level. The average age of the wines is 20 years and they are grown on southeast and southwest facings in sandy soil, at a density of about 5,000 plants per hectare. After harvesting, the grapes spend 24 hours at low temperatures in contact with the skin to increase the complexity of aromas. They are then pressed and the must is fermented in temperature controlled steel tanks. The wine spends five months in contact with its own years after fermentation. There is a final three months ageing in bottle before shipping. his wine is made from Arneis grapes grown on the Bosio Estate in the Roero region (which is in the Southeastern part of Piedmont, close to Turin, in the foothills of the Alps).


The Arneis grape is seeing a bit of a revival, which I really enjoy. I’ve always been partial to this variety from its first sip.  My first Arneis experience happened, while working at Kendall-Jackson Winery. It left memories of aromas and flavors that continue to easily linger. (And, a taste of it again helps.)

With this 2016 Luca Bosio Langhe Arneis, I was also reminded of its wonderfulness. It’s delicate and enticing, (like a Monet) delivering everything you’d want, via aromas and flavors… Add a canvas? Sensational.

Every Yin has a Yang in our world, through my eyes… and vice versa.

  • Piedmont’s Yang is red wine.
    • Masculine
    • Powerful
  • Piedmont’s Yin is ~ yeah, you guessed it ~ white wine.
    • Feminine
    • Persuasive
It starts with a clean, floral nose, and follows into beguiling hints of stone fruit with some palms waving int he breezes – yes, a bit of the tropics. All that in a bottle of wine. This never ceases to amaze me.
Highly Recommended


Education,Wine,Wine Education,Wine tasting,WSET

Hybrid Wine Faults class debuts at Cabrillo College


When I attend one event, I’m invariably drawn into more fascinating things in the making. This story is one of them. I recently got to see Deborah Parker Wong at a Petaluma Gap Wine Growers Alliance tasting. This is her story.

SIDEBAR: My blog also serves the public, besides delivering wine info. Having been in FM radio and keeper of the public file, public service has become a big part of who I am, as well as the writer/publicist. This is why I take time to advocate for others in my field. It’s a big field and it’s filled with marvelous people.

Deborah Parker Wong is today’s wine educator you should get to know

From her Website, because I can’t condense this any better than she has:

Deborah Parker Wong, DWSET  (Wine & Spirit Education Trust with Distinction) is an opinion-leading communicator, journalist and author who specializes in the wine and spirits industries. As Global Wine Editor for m-dash Publishing’s The Tasting Panel, SOMM Journal and Clever Root  magazines, she writes monthly industry columns and reports on the global wine and spirits industries with an emphasis on technology and trends. She is the co author of “1000 Great Everyday Wines” and contributes thought-provoking content to industry trade publications including the former Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine, Spirited and Drinks Business which you will find posted to her archive site www.deborahparkerwong.com.

Deborah has an upcoming class on Hybrid Wine Faults.

I seem to have wine faults on my brain lately, as do others. It’s not the sexiest wine topic, but it’s a critical one. When you study this one, your entire wine experience is taken to a new level.

Hybrid Wine Faults class debuts at Cabrillo College

Wine Faults CAHM 133 is a hybrid, online class that will meet the first week of school (August 29) and the last week of school (December 19). The lectures by Deborah Parker Wong are delivered on the Zoom platform, and the faults tasting kits will be given to students on the first week of school. You’ll learn about common wine faults, why they occur, and in some cases, how to correct them. No more wondering what is wrong with your wine, you’ll have to tools to identify the problems.

To register as a student at Cabrillo College, go to www.cabrillo.edu. If you have any questions, please contact Sue Slater at suslater@cabrillo.edu


I highly recommend this class

I’ve taken a similar one, which has to do with wine flaws, how to know them, so you can recognize them and take advantage of upping all of your wine experiences.

When traveling on wine business to outlying areas, I’d ask for a specific wine, knowing full well it was going to be up for my inspection, first. If it showed any flaw I was “on it” as a teachable moment. Questions like, “How long has this bottle been open?” Or, “Do you know what TCA is?” Teachable; and, then I’d wax poetic.

If you don’t have this wine flaw tool in your tool box, you owe it to your palate and wine tasting education. Why? To better love wines from around the world, and know what’s right and what’s not. Brett is Brett, TCA is TCA, oxidized wine is just that – and you need to know them, so you can avoid a wine some people ask to have returned for a fresh glass.

By the way, for any neophytes: If you ask for a Pinot Noir, but you decide that you don’t like Pinot Noir; this is not a wine flaw, it’s a taste decision. Please don’t send it back. A restaurant is not a tasting room. You’re welcome.

And, how many glasses of wine does it take to have paid for the bottle in full? Yeah, one – maybe two. You can have another glass. The wine shop or the restaurant will return it to the wholesaler for reimbursement. It might even make its way back to the winery. It’s win-win for everyone. Even a winery wants to know if something has gone bump in the night.

More about Deborah from her Website

In addition to her work as a journalist, Deborah is an adjunct professor in the wine studies program at Santa Rosa Junior College and offers private certification courses as an approved program provider for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. She presents tastings and educational seminars to trade and consumer audiences and judges several wine competitions each year. She holds the Wine and Spirits Education Trust Diploma, is a member of the London-based Circle of Wine Writers and the California Teachers’ Association. Prior to her career as a journalist, Deborah co-directed The Medialink Group, a public relations and strategic marketing agency serving high-technology and luxury consumer goods clients.



Cabernet Sauvignon,Stags Leap District,Wine,Winery

Calling all Stags Leap District Cabernet Collectors ~ Load In Your Wine Cellar with Luxury Wines

Once upon a time, I was in Florida in a brand new 8,000 square foot home. Taken to the gorgeous new wine cellar, I thought, what a great place to expand one’s horizons. Mr. Sarasota, this one’s for you!

A walk on the “special AVA side” always takes me to the Stags Leap District AVA. Wonderful people, incredible sprawling vistas, beautiful gardens, and amazing Cabernets. When I read the following press release I knew I could pass IT along to you guys. Someone (maybe Mr. Sarasota) is going to be paying attention.

  • A Rare Opportunity to Obtain a Set of 17 Limited Release 2015 Cabernets from 17 Prestigious Wineries: The 2015 Stags Leap District Appellation Collection
  • The Stags Leap District Appellation Collection is the only luxury release of 17 different Cabernets from a single vintage.
  • Only 150 sets are available.


STAGS LEAP DISTRICT, Napa, CA, July 25, 2018 – The Stags Leap District Winegrowers Association (SLDWA) announced today that their highly-limited Appellation Collection will be released on October 15th, 2018. This is the only collection of this type offered to consumers. This year’s Appellation Collection includes one bottle of 2015 Stags Leap District-designated Cabernet Sauvignon from each of the seventeen Association member wineries. Only 150 sets are available for this one-of-a-kind offering and it is only available for purchase between October 15th through December 15th, 2018.

“The Appellation Collection is a highly sought-after wine gift,” said Remi Cohen, Vice President and General Manager at Cliff Lede Vineyards and President of the Stags Leap District Winegrowers Association. “It is an exclusive collection that allows wine lovers to experience the entire District in one complete horizontal set. Each bottle unveils the unique terroir and soft tannin structure that makes the Stags Leap District the iconic region it is.”


“The 2015 vintage is a classic vintage in Napa Valley,” added Cohen. “Higher than average temperatures produced an exceptional vintage, that was high in quality but low in yields. The result are wines that are sensuous and full of character.”

The 2015 Appellation Collection is priced at $1,999.00 for the 17-bottle set, packaged in two boxes, with ground shipping included. The Stags Leap District Winegrowers Association is the exclusive retailer of the Appellation Collection and the only American Viticultural Area (AVA) or appellation to offer a vintage-specific assemblage of its wines.

Consumers interested in purchasing the Collection may order online beginning October 15th, 2018, at www.stagsleapdistrict.com. link.

For additional info, contact the Association’s Executive Director Nancy Bialek at (707) 255-1720.


October 15th – December 15th, 2018

150 Appellation Collection sets (Limited Edition)

Sold exclusively by the Stags Leap District Winegrowers Association


Order online at


Contact Executive Director Nancy Bialek at (707) 255-1720


$1,999.00 includes ground shipping for 17 bottles shipped in two boxes, with detailed winemaker tasting notes. Additional sales tax applies to purchases made in California and in various other states, to the extent required by law.

Shipping: Included (where allowed by law).

The 2015 Appellation Collection includes one bottle of each of the following Stags Leap District-designated wines:

  • Baldacci Family Vineyards, 2015 Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Chimney Rock Winery, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Ganymede Vineyard
  • Cliff Lede Vineyards, 2015 Moon Fantasy Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Clos Du Val, 2015 Hirondelle Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Ilsley Vineyards, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Lindstrom Wines, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Malk Family Vineyards, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Odette Estate Winery, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Pine Ridge Vineyards, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Quixote Winery, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Regusci Winery, 2015 ‘The Elders’ Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Shafer Vineyards, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon One Point Five
  • Silverado Vineyards, 2015 SOLO, Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, 2015 FAY Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Stags’ Leap Winery, 2015 The Leap Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Steltzner Vineyards, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Taylor Family Vineyards, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

About Stags Leap District Winegrowers:

The Stags Leap District Winegrowers is a non-profit association of vintners and growers united by the mission of enhancing the reputation of the appellation and its wines, and sharing its quality with the wine-loving world. The SLDWA is comprised of 17 wineries and 10 grower members. Wineries include the following:  Baldacci Family Vineyards, Chimney Rock Winery, Cliff Lede Vineyards, Clos Du Val, Ilsley Vineyards, Lindstrom Wines, Malk Family Vineyards, Odette Estate Winery, Pine Ridge Vineyards, Quixote Winery, Regusci Winery, Shafer Vineyards, Silverado Vineyards, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Stags’ Leap Winery, Steltzner Vineyards, and Taylor Family Vineyards. To learn more about the Stags Leap District, please visit stagsleapdistrict.com or find the Association on Facebook.com/StagsLeapDistrict, Instagram.com/StagsLeapAVA, and Twitter @StagsLeapAVA.

Chardonnay,Grenache,Grenache Rose,Malbec,Oregon,Pinot Noir,Rosé,Sauvignon Blanc,Tempranillo,Vineyards,Viognier,Wine

When 2 Hawks Arrived ~ 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery Exposed Its Depth and Breadth

BOTH SKY PHOTOS: ACVEDUC ~ Top of page, from original source. Bottom one is original source. Titled:  “Two couples of hawks in the summer cloudy sky”

A whirling gust blew in, when I opened the screen door… The wings over Oregon had arrived. And beautiful they were.

The riches they brought with them would set a standard, the day 2Hawks arrived.

They were/are a welcomed pleasure around here…

Like wings in poems.

Yeah, I’m a romantic… Simply stated, these wines are delightful to taste.

DISCLAIM: SAMPLES from 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery



2Hawk Vineyard & Winery

HEART ~ Owners Jen and Ross Allen

WEBSITE: Our mission at 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery is simple. To be the best we can be. Period. The pursuit of quality guides everything we do in growing fruit, making wine, and providing exceptional guest experiences. Ross and Jen Allen, along with Winemaker Kiley Evans, combine over 50 years of experience in agriculture, winemaking, and customer service. Together their talent, experience, and determination have propelled 2Hawk to the forefront of wine quality, site stewardship, and hospitality. 2Hawk’s production of luxury-class estate wines is focused on Malbec and Viognier with smaller amounts of Tempranillo, Pinot noir, Grenache, Sauvignon blanc, and Chardonnay. Oregon’s wine industry is adventurous and filled with exciting opportunities to broaden expectations. 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery is blazing the trail.

Established in 2009, Jen & Ross Allen purchased 2Hawk in March 2014. Their winemaker is Kiley Evans, and their estate has 30 acres, with 23.3 of them planted to grape vines.  They’re currently producing 3,500 cases, and they have the capacity to grow to 10,000 cases.

Owners Jen and Ross Allen’s hearts are warm and welcoming, sharing the bounty of their estate vineyard’s distinct terroir. They also have added small plates, with a gourmet touch, in their tasting room, which guests sample with the wines. They’re located in Rogue Valley and have magnificent views. Their grounds have ample seating, fire pits, and a bocce court. In this relaxed setting, visitors are said to enter as welcome guests and leave as new friends. The Allens love sharing their award-winning, handcrafted wines in this perfect setting.

SCIENCE ~ Terroir ~ People, Vineyard, and Winery

WEBSITE: Although part of the Rogue Valley, the 2Hawk estate vineyard lies in the area known locally as the Bear Creek sub-basin, which is the Rogue’s largest tributary. Beneath our vineyard soils lies a two-layered bedrock consisting of a volcanic layer known as the Roxy Formation along with a deeper, softer layer of alluvial sandstone known as the Payne Cliffs Formation. As the Klamath Mountains started to uplift around 20 million years ago, our bedrocks began a long erosion process that resulted in the predominantly volcanic soils we find in our estate vineyard that are unique to the Rogue Valley AVA. 2Hawk is also distinguished by a large amount of cobbled river rock, especially in our eastern section, and a somewhat sandy streak of significantly younger colluvial deposit that runs through the center of our site. Overall, we have some of the oldest soils in the Valley. They are generally characterized as relatively shallow silty to clayey loams that are moderately well-drained with moderate to rapid runoff.

SOUL ~ Abundance* of Varieties

Each grape variety was really well represented, had great tasting fruit, and were very well balanced… were a delightful joy… from one variety to the next. This is what is supposed to happen with estate fruit, right? Yeah…


2Hawk  Vineyard & Winery designates the estate grown wine of special distinction as the Darow Series*, after their own vineyard’s most prevalent soil type. USDA Soil series: “The Darow series consists of moderately deep, moderately well drained soils that formed in residuum and colluvium weathered from siltstone or shale. Darow soils are on hillslopes and have slopes of 1 to 35 percent. The mean annual precipitation is about 24 inches and the mean annual temperature is about 53 degrees F.”

2017 Sauvignon Blanc

  • I really loved this one. I have a claw factor scale. Three is the perfect number, and this one represents.
    • Three Claws = Perfect SB
    • “Ah, I’m back working at Robert Mondavi Winery, and having a SB from the Tokalon ‘old vines’ block. Yes!”

2016 Chardonnay

  • This Chardonnay is an Oregon classic. They don’t make much of it, folks. It’s one of those who have that damp, wine region factor. It just  delivers more earthy notes… Think of this one as being fruit in a rain storm in a forest, now take that terroir into the vineyards.

2016 Viognier Darow* Series

  • Round, smooth, unctuous, was sharing with friends and it became the center of attention. I love Viognier’s floral notes; so inviting and aromatic, a non-sweet perfume of a wine grape. This 2016 Viognier Darow* Series was en pointe.


  • 2017 Grenache Rosé
    1. My first true wine love affair was with a Rosé. I adored them then, and I still adore them. Every drop of wine could have its own story. Rosé is becoming a pretty delightful phenomenon, and I really enjoyed the blush… athe
    2. This one poolside, dock side, sitting by the camp fireside… roasting marshmallows, beside your honey’s side. That’s my fantasy…



2016 Pinot Noir Darow* Series

  • As an Oregon Pinot should be, the 2016 Pinot Noir was just as I love Pinot Noir; beautiful color, sensational aromatics, and very pleasant from beginning to end.

2015 Tempranillo Darow* Series

  • This is their first vintage. Lively, distinguished, and full-bodied immediately came to mind. Delicious August blackberries intermingle with flavors that my white fig tree delivers. Decant this one, if you can (or just let it sit in your glass for a while, before sipping). It’s got on its “big boy” tannin pants. This one is going to continue to mature for a while.

2016 Malbec

  • Malbec is a Bordeaux variety, if you’re new to wine. It was hijacked to South America and became its signature variety. In the early years of Oregon getting started in wine, David Adelsheim, David Lett, Dick Erath, Dick Ponzi and Myron Redford set forth the future for Oregon… Pinot Noir. At this point in time… It’s refreshing to find owners like Jen and Ross Allen, who are crafting “other” wine varieties. Hawks, especially, do rise high and flow in their own air streams. They’re doing this well.
    • First sample: Was very easy to enjoy. The character of Malbec was just as I like to describe it – a sleek primal variety…
    • Side Note: Big picture learning purposes about wine: I’m pleased that they sent two of each bottle, because one was excellent, the other showed some oxidation, which I believe was a result of it being sensitive to the shipping process. (All else was in tact, heat of the bottle would have resulted in naturally occurring flaw, after the wine is well made.)
      • Wine flaw classes do happen. Karen MacNeil has one coming up on line on July 29, 2018, as a matter of fact. Join the fun!
  • 2016 Grenache
    • Grenache, as dense as I expected. Lovely quality and bountiful fruit flavors. Widely planted in the world, in the United States, its underrated and could use some more shelf space. Spicy and berries and cherries, oh my! Makes me want to have the ability to fly, with my  2Hawk soulmate.

Grab a bottle for any moment, and creates some memories.


Education,Wine,Wine Appreciation,Wine Culture,Wine Ed,Wine Education,Wine Etiquette

Rutherford Dust Brought Karen MacNeil Squarely Into My Headlights, Now Into Yours


[PHOTO: Jo Diaz]

The details of an intriguing event with Karen MacNeil are below my inserted line, in case you want to just get to it.

I attended this year’s Rutherford Dust Society’s Day in the Dust 2018. More on that in another story, and this verbiage will just become the link. For now, I have to share this was the first presentation I attended, when Karen was the panel’s moderator and an overall educator. She – is- fascinating. She and her knowledge can hold an audience spellbound, as she shares all she knows about wine. This one was a media event, so it wasn’t open to the public… It was intended to inform wine writers. It was completely fascinating.

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018
New Location! Culinary Institute of America at Copia 

Most of you know Karen MacNeil as the author of The Wine Bible. Please appreciate it took her 10 years to write this tome, and was without the luxury of the Internet for reading and research. She’s a walking wine encyclopedia, and you have a chance to get to know her a little bit better. Now, imagine she’s teaching a wine class and you say to yourself, “Oh my gawd… I can pick her brain, and take copious notes for future wine enjoyment, because she’s a Wine Master!

Karen has a wealth of knowledge, is articulate, and knows how to seamlessly flow with information. I highly recommend that you spend some time with her… Listen to what she has to say, learn from a real master and ask all of those questions you always wished you could of someone so wine literate.



[PHOTO: from Karen MacNeil & Company Website]

So, Karen MacNeil’s Press Release

Wine Expert Karen MacNeil Reveals New Approach to Teaching Wine
Become an Expert Wine Taster—In 90 Minutes

Begins at the Culinary Institute of America at Copia
Contact: Susan Wong Karen MacNeil & Company susan@karenmacneil.com

Napa, CA – Karen MacNeil, a well-known author of one of the best-selling wine books in the U.S., The Wine Bible, has created a new course called Become an Expert Wine Taster—In 90 Minutes. It’s based on a whole new way of teaching wine for maximum retention and benefit. The course is the culmination of her 30-year career as:

  • wine educator
  • starting in New York at
    • Windows on the World
    • The Rainbow Room
    • 21 Club

It’s also a super fun class

“In an hour and a half, I reveal insider wine concepts that took me five years to learn on my own,” says MacNeil. “Learning about wine should be like wine itself—fun and fascinating. And the new Culinary Institute of America at Copia is the perfect place to hold such a class.”

Become an Expert Wine Taster—In 90 Minutes is held at 6:00 p.m. on the last Friday of every month, from now through fall at the CIA at Copia:

  • July 27
  • August 31
  • September 28
  • November 2
  • November 30

Participants also get a few side benefits—like a discount that night at The Restaurant at CIA Copia and other merchants at the Oxbow Public Market.

Tickets, $105 including all wines, are available here.

About Karen MacNeil

Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible, is the only American to have won every major wine award in the English language. She conducts private wine tasting seminars for individuals, groups, and businesses around the world. Among her clients: Audemars Piguet, General Electric, Lexus, Merrill Lynch, Notre Dame University, and several international law firms. Karen is considered America’s foremost wine presenter and gives keynote speeches at industry and consumer conferences worldwide. She is the editor of the digital newsletter WineSpeed and the Chairman Emeritus of the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.




Event,Food and Wine,Napa,Wine,Wne and Food


From a press release, which I highly recommend. When I saw Joyce Goldstein’s name, I knew that it’s going to be a home run…


The Bay Area was the epicenter of the first generation of influential female chefs in America. Join us for an evening as we celebrate the trailblazers in food, beverage, and hospitality who paved the way for today’s new wave of phenoms. The evening includes a pre-panel sparkling wine reception, panel discussion with culinary luminaries, and post-panel walk-around reception in Copia’s Hestan Kitchen.


F R I D A Y , A U G U S T 3


5:00 p.m. | Bubbles and Book Signing with “Wine Country Women of Napa Valley”
6:00 p.m. | Film Screening: “A Fine Line”
7:15 p.m. | Panel: Women! Trailblazers & The New Wave
8:15 p.m. | Walk-Around Reception featuring food and wine by NorCal women


Joanna James, Filmmaker, “A Fine Line”
Pauline Lhote, Director of Winemaking, Domaine Chandon
Ana Diogo-Draper, Director of Winemaking, Artesa Vineyards and Winery
Tanya Holland, Executive Chef and Owner, Brown Sugar Kitchen
Elizabeth Binder, Executive Chef and Owner, Hand-Crafted Catering
Joyce Goldstein, Chef, Author and Restaurant Consultant
Moderator: Maryam Ahmed, Public Programs, CIA
Introduction by Anne Girvin, Strategic Marketing, CIA

The August Conversations at Copia is presented by The Culinary Institute of America, Wine Country Women, and Napa Valley Film Festival. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch.


Cabernet Sauvignon,Paso Robles,Wine,Wine of the Week

Paso and Parish Family Vineyards

When I was at Wine Business’ Vineyard Economic Symposium, one of my important take-aways was the following:

The Paso Robles AVA is a possible place to consider, when wanting to invest. These investors, however, are always looking for Napa Valley Cabernet, first and foremost. They aren’t ready for an all in, throwing caution to the wind with other regions. Sonoma County is their default number two choice; and they’re cautiously open to other emerging AVAs. Paso did come up as one of the emerging.

(Smart thinking guys, you might want to also get out and taste the wines, just for perspective. You might even get ahead of the investing curve, by developing a sommelier’s palate, if that hasn’t happened, yet.)

It’s a double edged sword for any place still emerging, including Paso. That’s because, as with all things, happy/sad applies. Serious investors (which this conference room had plenty) are looking for companies going out of business for one reason or another. The point is that Paso is investment worthy. With many investors working for public companies, the human element is not as important as their investors’ expectations for investment rewards. Quick returns keep the board of directors happy. So, it will still be a while for Paso Robles.

When I tasted the Parrish Family Vineyard Cabernet, I was looking at what an investor would be expecting from California, since I had recently just returned from the above symposium… Great wine for the money, people. And, Parish Family Vineyards has a glorious Cab. This one, if ever on a wine list, I’m all in. I’d happily order their Cabernet to pair up with a Tri-Tip or from any other food demanding a great big, darkly colored, berry flavored wine with that touch of tobacco and firm tannins. Simply Delicious, and I’d be happy to order it from any wine list when I want a great big, darkly colored berry flavored wine, with that touch of tobacco, and firm tannins… Really Paso Juicy Delicious.

2013 Parrish Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

HEART ~ Parrish Family

FROM THEIR website: The Parrish family has deeps roots in the Atascadero and Paso Robles area. When EG Lewis purchased 27,000 acres in the area, he wanted to create an Utopian community based on agricultural sustainability. This is where our heritage begins. Lewis connected with Earl Henderson and asked him to manage the area for wine grape production. Henderson is grandfather to the Parrishes.

SCIENCE ~ Terroir

FROM THEIR website: In 1995, David Parrish purposefully designed his own trellis system to produce a distinctive and complex wine grape in the Central California wine region. The Parrish Family vineyard was planted on 40 acres with 100% Cabernet. This unique vineyard consists of four different clones of Cabernet grafted onto two different rootstocks. The terrain of the Parrish Family vineyard is unique to the region due to its location and the influence of the cool evening coastal breezes and the warm daytime temperatures. The soil is granite with high calcium, which produces beautiful color and flavor for the wine.

SOUL ~ Abundance

Swirl… The 2013 Parrish Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve has a color consistent with its rich, inky color of black ruby.

Sniff… So yummy I wanted to gulp it, just for the heck of it, because it was that inviting. Tannins had softened, so the cottoniness was gone, but not forgotten.

Sip… As I said above… There’s a lot of great wine in this bottle. It’s a great big, darkly colored, berry flavored wine, with that touch of tobacco and firm tannins. Simply Delicious, and I’ll be happy to order the Parrish Family Cabernets from any wine list, when I want a great big, berry flavored wine, with that touch of cigar box, and firm tannins in a Cab…




Karen MacNeil’s The Wine Bible ~ Should Be in Everyone’s Wine Book Library

[PHOTO: from Karen MacNeil’s Website]

I got my The Wine Bible, long before I began reviewing wine books. The copyright on my copy of this book is from 2001. Once I started reviewing books, it didn’t occur to me to go backwards in my amazing  and developing library for any books already collected.

But, every time I get Karen MacNeil’s weekly newsletter, I feel the void of not having written something about this important body of work, from one of wine country’s most prominent wine writers…

The first book I ever reviewed was in 2006, from Kevin Zraly (five years after Karen’s release). It was “9/11 ~ No Degrees of Separation for Kevin Zraly, yet the beat must go on.” That was a life changing event for anyone alive during that time, and my focus began to include wine books. Asked to attend a wine tasting and book signing from Elliot Mackey of San Francisco’s Wine Appreciation Guild… While there…

As Kevin Zraly inscribed his book to me, we talked about the fact that I had a loss in my family, and he told me he had lost his entire family. The quiet of his gentle, sweet nature counter balanced the evil of those who participated in this paradigm shift upon humanity.

Kevin wrote, “Wishing you peace.” That bespeaks how he’s moved forward, one kind step at a time. Kevin’s book now has sold over 2 million copies [as of 2006], and is the number one best-selling wine book of all time. This would mean that we’re all learning a lot about wine from this gentle giant of wine knowledge.

Now we’re here, so many years later from when Karen MacNeil’s Wine Bible entered my library. And it’s stood the test of time as a very important addition to my (anyone’s, honestly) wine library. Her newsletters arrives each week, into my E-Mail inbox. It’s always great advice for anyone looking for a new wine worthy of purchasing, like this newest one from Karen:

DOMAINE WEINBACH Riesling “Cuvée Theo” 2015 

(Alsace, France) $39​

The first thing to know about Alsace riesling is that it’s not German riesling. In fact, in some ways, it’s the polar opposite—yang to Germany’s yin. What I love about it is its sense of profundity. Alsace riesling has gravitas and no wine more so than Domaine Weinbach’s Cuvee Theo, a wine of astounding minerally precision and near atomic density of flavor. It’s both gripping and a wine that holds you in its grip with its powerful beauty. Domaine Weinbach is owned by a mother-daughter team who for decades have made many of the best wines of Alsace. (13% abv)

94 points KM

Available at Vivino.com

In her scholarly tome (932 pages), you’ll find just about anything you’re looking to know, including the following fun examples, just for teasers:

  • Castles in the River
  • Coulée de Sarrant–Model Biodynamics
  • Bottle Sickness
  • America’s First Brandy
  • Frozen Assets

When I came into the wine business (1993), Karen MacNeil’s feet were already firmly planted on the ground, and that’s where they’ve been ever since. For me, she was an inspiration and remains that way. She doesn’t need to write any other books, because this one is a quintessential. If you don’t have The Wine Bible in your library, yet; or know someone who not only loves wine, but also loves learning about wine, it’s a perfect gift.

If you’re even thinking about become a sommelier, do yourself a favor and begin in earnest with The Wine Bible. You’ll become familiar with wine regions of the world. Here’s just a nibble of Anjou-Saumur and Touraine, for instance:

The middle Loire is probably the most fascinating and least well-known part of the valley. This is where the Loire’s best sweet and medium-sweet wines, sparkling wines, and red wines are all made, along with many terrific dry wines and rosés. While several grape varieties are grown, the leading white grape is chenin blanc, the leading red, cabernet franc. (p. 264)

This is a book for all times; mostly, though, it’s a book for right now; if you’re the least bit thirsty for wine knowledge, as well as the liquid manifestations…