Tag: food and wine

Mi Sueño 2015 Estate Chardonnay

The story behind Mi Sueño Winery is truly one of the American dream realized. Owner and winemaker Rolando Herrera, Mexican immigrant, worked his way up the wine industry food chain. He started as a simple dishwasher for the famed Auberge du Soleil restaurant in Napa Valley back in 1982. Fifteen years later in 1997, after working various positions at several big-name wineries, Rolando, along with his wife Lorena, founded Mi Sueno Winery — it was the same years as their marriage. Indeed the two really did embark on a new life together that year. And so it is that they say their story is one of “love, passion, and deep understanding” — for each other, for their region, for the grapes they harvest, and the wines they make.

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Ranch 32 2015 Estate Pinot Noir

Hello Arroyo Seco, I love your Pinot Noirs. Sunken beneath the Santa Lucia Highlands, you love the ocean air as much as I do, hugging it, holding it, as it feeds your grapes. You get just enough sun to let those berries bud, but use the foothill range to shield them from harsh winds. And in the right winemakers hands, you give us Pinot Noir wine so uniquely your own.

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Prescription Vineyards 2016 Clarksburg Chardonnay

I’m going to be honest, I have no idea where this wine came from. Ok, I mean, I know who sent it to me, but it’s one of those scenarios of winemaker and grapegrower getting together for a little side project, not telling anyone, and then wam! wine! And I have the utmost respect for that. Winemakers, like many of us, have creative juices flowing in them all the time. Sometimes, what they’re “day job” requires of them may not exactly scratch that itch. So it’s fun when he or she can take a step back and say, “Here, this is just for me. But I made enough for you too. If you want some.” (Read the full story.)

Prescription is just that. It’s filled with whit and whimsey; fun and flavor. It’s a wine you can pull out in a pinch and just drink. And that’s kind of what I just did…

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Ranch 32 2016 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

When you think Monterey, what varietals do you think of? I’m going to guess the brain heads straight to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Indeed, the overall cool climate of the larger Monterey AVA is known for its maritime influence, as it’s nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Monterey Bay — ideal conditions for the picky Pinot Noir and for crafting Chardonnay with crisp acidity. But when Monterey was first embarked upon as a winemaking region, the first vineyards planted were to, none other than the king of grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Of course what we know now about soil composition and climate has greatly changed. Our enhanced understanding has allowed grape growers to plant grapes where they’ll thrive best. The Hames Valley, where Ranch 32 grows their Cabernet is one of the warmer portions of Monterey. Located at the foot of the Santa Lucia Highlands, the valley is sheltered from the afternoon winds and cooling temperatures that otherwise stream through the regions. And it is because of this warmth, along with the shaly loam soils, that Cabernet reigns supreme in the Hames Valley. 

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Clos du Val 2017 Estate Pinot Noir Rosé

I wouldn’t say I’m into the rosé craze, but I will admit that more winemakers are crafting beautiful rosés, paying more attention to the specificity of flavors and textures innate in the grape’s variety. I’d say I’ve had the worst luck with Pinot Noir rosé’s — they seem to be over-extracted, too fruit forward, too one-dimensional, and, I hate to say it, too pink. But again, I’ve been noticing a difference over the past few years, and I can tell you for certain that Clos du Val has it right. Subtle aromas, hints of texture, and a sunset-orange hue: everything I wasn’t expecting from a rosé of Pinot Noir, but everything I love when sipping a rosé any day.

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