Sea Smoke 2015 Chardonnay

Sea Smoke is one of those names that I’ve heard all about, comes highly recommended, and…I’d never had before. So I was so pleased when I received a shipment featuring the winery’s flagship Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In fact, I was so excited to try their wine — I tried them both in one night. And you know what? I’m glad I did. The Sea Smoke Chardonnay was the perfect way to start my Friday evening…

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Ladera Vineyards 2015 Pillow Road Chardonnay

I’m always curious when wineries who’s main focus are heartier red wines produce a white varietal. Ladera, who’s primarily known for their Cabernet Sauvignon, recently purchased acreage in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley — known for top quality Pinot Noir and — yes — Chardonnay. Sourcing fruit from the right region is one thing, knowing how to do that produce justice is another. And Ladera does, indeed, do the Chardonnay grape proud…

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Ladera Vineyards 2015 Pillow Road Pinot Noir

This is another story about an iconic winery that I’ve always wanted to taste and finally have. Ladera Vineyards is the passion project of Pat and Anne Stotesbery who purchased their first Napa acreage atop Mount Veeder in 1996 with the intention of becoming grape growers and sellers. They replanted their hillside vineyard, which was predominantly planted to Chardonnay, to Cabernet Sauvignon, focusing on the grape they knew thrived best in this area — and a grape they loved. As these stories often go, the Stotesburys were so pleased with what they were producing, they began making their own wines, eventually establishing their own line under the Ladera label. Today Ladera Vineyards has a prestigious reputation for crafting some of Napa’s best Cabernet. But their most recent experiments have taken them to the vineyards of Sonoma’s Russian River Valley where they now grow and produce some of that regions strongest grapes — Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

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Eighty Four Wines 2017 Albariño

Abariño? Yes, please! That’s kind of my attitude every time I see the Spanish white wine on the menu. Indeed, every time I do see it on a menu, it is a wine hailing from the motherland. So when I opened up my delivery from Eighty Four wines (a side project by Elias Fernandez and Doug Shafer of Shafer Vineyards — read more about the Eighty Four Wines project here) and saw an Albariño from one of the most esteemed Napa-based producers, I was delighted, excited, and suddenly quite thirsty…

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Eighty Four Wines 2014 Malbec

Napa Valley Malbec. Yes, that’s right. Malbec that is grown and produced in Napa Valley. Is this new to you? It’s new to me — and a welcome new addition to my wine portfolio it is. And who better than to introduce this unique 100% varietal wine than the esteemed team from Shafer Vineyards — Elias Fernandez, winemaker for Shafer Vineyards, Doug Shafer, owner and proprietor. Eighty Four wines is a side project of the two longtime friends who’ve been working together since 1984.

The first few years were challenging – experimenting, working long hours, learning from our mistakes, pushing ourselves to make the best wines we could. They were exciting years. This wine represents two friends going full circle – making wine together, trying new things, doing what we love. That’s the spirit of Eighty Four. – Elias Fernandez & Doug Shafer


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