Smells a Little Like Smoke but No Loon

A few weeks back, Ben Hilzinger (aka The Wine Slinger) was rummaging through the pile of un-tasted samples in the basement and said, “Hey, mind if we break open the Smoking Loon Old Vine Zin.” Fresh off my commitment to blog more, I complied. This week’s wine of the week (#wowwine on Twitter) is 2009 Smoking Loon Old Vine Zinfandel. 2009 Smoking Loon Old Vine Zinfandel Producer: Don Sebastiani & Sons Region: California My Suggested Pairing: Sweet & Sticky Baby Back Ribs Price $10 Having had dozens of value California Zinfandel I thought I knew what to expect when I […]

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Benessere Vineyards Prospers with Tuscan Varieties

Every once in a while I receive wines that surprise the heck out of me. They are sometimes at low price points that provide a consistent and approachable tasting experience, some are amazingly vibrant and full representations of the grape varietal, and other times there are small wineries who send samples that truly impress me across the board. This shipment of Benessere wines from Napa, California fits into that last category. The winery sent two of each wine which gave me the opportunity to share with Ben Hilzinger, my main wine slinger at Nectar, as well as with a few […]

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Visit The Columbia Gorge For Some Surprise Wines

A few months back I had the opportunity to explore some of the wineries of the Columbia Gorge as part of a paid familiarization trip. In a previous post I talked about the experience at Maryhill Winery, located about 100 miles East of Portland OR on the Washington side of the Columbia River. Maryhill Winery has set itself up as a premier value with a view winery. I was impressed with the consistency of the wine and sipping on a patio overlooking the Gorge is an awesome experience. What about the rest of the trip? Enter the Wine Matrix Blown […]

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Does Big Green Box Equal Big Green Value?

There was a time last week when I had 25 bottles of wine open in the house. “What is the problem,” you ask? Well, for one I feel obligated to drink every bottle and two, not all of them are good wines. The open wines were from the Chile Blends tasting, One Hope Chardonnay, and four box wines from Don Sebastiani & Sons. Over the last six months, I’ve had my share of boxed wines, many of them from the group that distributes the Octavin family of wines. This week, I’m cautiously optimistic to take a look at four wines […]

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V Sattui Parte Seconda Episode 118

Two months ago I celebrated my centennial video with a visit to Napa, California’s V. Sattui winery (the visit was virtual through a wine review). Today, we make a return virtual visit to preview three more of their wines. V. Sattui is in the midst of celebrating 125 years. Established in San Francisco in 1885 by Vittorio Sattui and then re-established in St. Helena in 1975 by Vittorio’s great grandson Dario, V. Sattui is one of the few remaining established family businesses in the wine world. Truly a unique Napa destination winery, V. Sattui is 100% self distributed through their […]

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