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Living the Good Life at Domaine Carneros

Living the Good Life at Domaine Carneros

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Eating caviar and drinking a champagne flight at Domaine Carneros in Napa Valley, overlooking the green valley and squinting to make out the wooden sheep on the green hill facing the chateau, you feel like you've done something to deserve such a life — permanently. And given the champagne, caviar, and the view, you get the feeling that it would make you feel that way even if you'd been born with a mother-of-pearl spoon in your mouth.

American Sturgeon and crême fraîche with a 2007 flight of vintage brut cuvée, brut rosé, and vermeil demi-sec — if, like me, this was not a lifestyle you grew up with, you sure want to figure out a way between swallows of caviar and sips of champagne, to make it one to go out on. And for these reasons this dish made my list of most memorable meals of 2011.

Click for more of the Most Memorable Meals of 2011.

‘It’s about memories’

November is traditionally a month peppered with sentiments of gratitude, an expression that many people have had to dig a little deeper to find this year. But not Cindie Barker. The manager of Rumrunners in Cape Coral says, “2020 has been a great year of learning. I’m so thankful for the time I was able to spend with family.”

We spent an afternoon sharing stories of gratitude over a delightful bottle of Blanc Limé. A sparkling beverage popular in France in the 1950s, Vignobles Ducourt resurrected the recipe, mixing sauvignon blanc and semillon with natural citrus aromas, water, sugar and carbon dioxide for fizz.

In a flip-top glass bottle with a vintage French label, it’s refreshing, zesty and not only perfect for a warm Southwest Florida afternoon but also as a welcome beverage for Thanksgiving celebrations.

Planning celebrations with wine as a focal point is one of Cindie’s superpowers.

“When I sip a wine, it takes me back to the people and place where I first tried it,” she says. “Wine is not clinical to me, it’s about memories.”

It’s in that spirit we offer these wines for enjoyment during the Thanksgiving holiday season.

Sparkling Wines: 5 to Try

Enjoy the season's festivities with good company and sparkling wines.

For holidays and other special occasions, one wine stands out as the most festive and celebratory of them all: Champagne. This crisp, fizzy beverage is the stuff that memories are made of. But you don&apost have to spend the family fortune to get a great bottle of bubbly. In fact, you don&apost even have to splurge on Champagne―instead, try sparkling wines made in California.

What&aposs the difference? Champagne is made only in the Champagne region of France, about 90 miles northeast of Paris. Here, the cold climate and chalky soil gives the wine a unique character. If it&aposs from California or elsewhere, it&aposs simply called sparkling wine.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

Is one better than the other? Not anymore. Fifteen years ago, I would have said that true Champagne reigned supreme. But today, sparkling wines made outside of France𠅚nd especially in California―have gotten incredibly good. So much so that when I conduct tastings for my students (all adult professionals) and the identities of the wines are hidden, virtually no one can correctly identify which are the Champagnes and which are the California sparklers.

Which is not to say they&aposre all created equal. These wines are divided into two broad categories: those made using the Champagne method (methode champenoise in French look for the phrase on the label) and those that get their bubbles from the same carbonation process used to make soft drinks. Avoid the second group though these wines are attractively priced, they taste terrible. Those made by the Champagne method are vastly superior and well worth their price tags. They take years to make, and their fizz occurs naturally inside each bottle. This lengthy process results in tiny, frothy bubbles, as opposed to the large, coarse ones found in the cheap stuff.

Expect great sparklers to be creamy yet boast a snappy acidity at the same time. Flavors to look for include hints of baked apple or pear, cream, toasted nuts, and just-baked bread. The texture should be nothing short of fabulous―those elegant little bubbles should tingle, refresh, and delight as they slide over the palate. And above all, a good sparkler should result in a joyful state of mind―just what you want this time of year.

Here are five great sparklers to try:

Korbel Brut Nonvintage (California), Simple, light, and frothy, and the price is certainly right.

Domaine Carneros Brut Vintage (Carneros, California), Sleek and stylish, with a hint of lemon-cream-pie flavor.

Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs Brut Vintage (Napa Valley, California), Schramsberg, a top California sparkling-wine producer, makes bubblies that are complex, rich, and dramatic.

Laurent-Perrier Brut Nonvintage (Champagne, France), Nice yeastiness and just a hint of exotic ginger make this a fascinating Champagne.

Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs, Brut Vintage (Champagne, France), This great sparkler is created using Chardonnay grapes and has decadent tarte Tatin and creme brulee flavors.

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Champagne may be the king of bubbly but America has a vibrant sparkling wine industry. In fact, we’d put the good old U.S.A. number two behind France as our favorite sparkling wine-producing nation. GAYOT’s list of the Best American Sparkling Wines celebrates the diversity of America’s fairly young, but impressive, sparkling wine industry.

Not only does our list showcase the best California has to offer but we’re featuring wines from regions including the Finger Lakes, Long Island and even Michigan. You might be surprised to discover the depth of talent the American sparkling wine industry has to offer.

> To discover more great American sparkling wines, be sure to check out GAYOT’s lists of Best Rosé Sparkling Wines and Best Sweet Sparkling Wines.

1. 2011 Domaine Carneros Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs

Origin: Carneros, California
Varietal: Chardonnay
Price: $115 for 750 ml
ABV: 12%

After our introduction, it might come as a surprise that the first wine on our list comes from the Champagne house of Taittinger. Domaine Carneros is the famed Champagne producer’s American winery. Although the house may have been started by the French, Le Rêve, as well as all the Domaine Carneros sparkling wines, is made by American winemaker Eileen Crane.

It’s easy to see why the 2011 tops our list of the Best American Sparkling Wines. Aromas of white flowers, fresh-squeezed lemon and a hint of smoke will intrigue you. On the palate, this wine is intense. Honey, crème fraîche and citrus hit your palate with great weight. Toward the finish it evolves to vanilla flan, which lingers deliciously with great length.

For more information, visit the Domaine Carneros official website.

2. 2004 Schramsberg J. Schram

Origin: North Coast, California
Varietal: 85% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir
Price: $110 for 750 ml
ABV: 12.5%

Schramsberg is the Napa Valley’s oldest sparkling wine house, having produced its first Blanc de Blancs in 1965. J. Schram is their Prestige wine. It represents only about 3% of Schramsberg’s production and uses the very best lots from the best vintage years.

The 2004 was one of those sparkling wines that hadn’t quite hit its stride yet when it was released, but now the wine shines with an incredible depth of aromas and flavors. The nose offers all the best aromas of a crisp, autumn day with green apple, poached pear, honey, spice and a hint of toast. It offers layers of flavor, zesty, foamy richness on the tongue and a mineral note on the finish.

For more information, visit the Schramsberg official website.

3. 2011 Roederer Estate L’Ermitage

Origin: Anderson Valley, California
Varietal: 52% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir
Price: $48 for 750 ml
ABV: 12%

Another California sparkling wine estate, Roederer is located in the Anderson Valley. It’s the American winery of Champagne house Roederer. Among the wines Roederer produces in the Anderson Valley, L’Ermitage is the house’s tête de cuvee and it was an easy pick for our list of the Best American Sparkling Wines.

One of the hallmarks of L’Ermitage is texture. It is known as one of the finest-textured sparkling wines in the world and the 2011 is no exception. An impressively persistent mousse hints at the wine’s steady stream of pinpoint-sized bubbles. It’s nicely balanced with delicious bread dough and spice notes offset by crisp apple fruit.

For more information, visit the Roederer Estate official website.

4. 2010 Frank Family Vineyards Lady Edythe Reserve Brut

Origin: Carneros, California
Varietal: 52% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir
Price: $110 for 750 ml
ABV: 12%

Frank Family Vineyards was founded in 1992 by former Disney President Rich Frank. The winery is known for both still and sparkling wines. All of Frank Family’s sparkling wines are vintage wines but Lady Edythe is their Prestige blend.

The 2010 Lady Edythe is a sparkling wine like no other. An incredibly complex wine, it offers citrus and sweet pastry dough aromas. On the palate, there’s crisp apple, freshly baked bread, lime and tangerine freshness with roasted hazelnuts and grapefruit zest at the back.

For more information, visit the Frank Family Vineyards website.

5. 2008 Sparkling Pointe Seduction Brut

Origin: North Fork, New York
Varietal: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier
Price: $68 for 750 ml
ABV: 12.5%

If you don’t know Sparkling Pointe, you need to discover this Long Island winery, especially if sparkling wine is your “thing.” Considered the leader in North Fork sparkling wines, it’s a member of the Long Island sustainable winegrowers and their 2008 Seduction was an easy choice for our list of the Best American Sparkling Wines.

Aromas of toasted almonds, apples and pastry hint at the wine’s layers of flavor. It’s a concentrated wine with lively bubbles that roll the flavor across your tongue. Almonds, tangerine, French bread, grapefruit zest and a hint of vanilla fill the senses, with the surprise of an almost salty note near the finish.

For more information, visit the Sparkling Pointe official website.

6. 2007 Gloria Ferrer Carneros Cuvée Late Disgorged

Origin: Carneros, California
Varietal: 55% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay
Price: $80 for 750 ml
ABV: 12.5%

Gloria Ferrer was the first sparkling wine house established in Carneros. In addition to sparkling wines, the house produces still Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs, but the Carneros Cuvée is what is considered to be the Gloria Ferrer signature wine.

Like many of the wines on this list, the Carneros Cuvée is only produced in select vintage years. It offers crisp fall fruit flavors on the nose. Its flavors offer layers of savory and sweet. Fruit notes include red apple and plum with lemon acidity, but underneath the fruit sweetness there’s brioche, citrus rind and minerality on the finish.

For more information, visit the Gloria Ferrer official website.

7. 2015 Iron Horse Ocean Réserve

Origin: Green Valley, California
Varietal: Chardonnay
Price: $54 for 750 ml
ABV: 13.5%

Iron Horse is a small, family-run winery in Sonoma County’s Green Valley, known for its sparkling wines. Although Iron Horse produces many fine examples of American bubbly, this wine makes our list as much for how beautifully it represents the American sparkling wine industry as it does for its distinctly Californian flavors. Ocean is a wine made in the spirit of giving. For every bottle sold, Iron Horse donates $4 to National Geographic’s Ocean Initiative.

The 2015 is an interesting expression of its terroir. Wildflower aromas make you feel as though you’re standing on a Californian hillside. Flavors reiterate the sense of place with notes of apple, Meyer lemon and hints of wild herbs. A minerality lingers, making the palate long for the next sip.

For more information, visit the Iron Horse Vineyards official website.

8. NV Mumm Napa Brut Prestige

Origin: Napa, California
Varietal: 45% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Gris/Pinot Meunier
Price: $24 for 750 ml
ABV: 12.5%

Mumm Napa was founded by Champagne’s G. H. Mumm. The house produces many sparkling wines but considers the Brut Prestige to be their flagship wine.

This wine makes our list of the Best American Sparkling Wines because of its great value for money. It’s as beautifully made as many of the vintage sparkling wines on this list, yet it retails for under $25. It offers citrus aromas with hints of lemongrass and vanilla cookie. It has a nice weight on the palate with apple, hints of honey, sweet, toasted oak and vanilla.

For more information, visit the Mumm Napa official website.

9. 2009 Lamoreaux Landing Finger Lakes Brut

Origin: Finger Lakes, New York
Varietal: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
Price: $25 for 750 ml
ABV: 11.2%

Lamoreaux Landing is one of America’s most “earth conscious” sparkling wine houses, and they consider their environmental management practices to be at the core of the house’s identity. In addition to sparkling wines, Lamoreaux Landing produces reds, white and sweet still wines.

The 2009 Finger Lakes Brut offers a plush texture with notes of crème fraîche. Vanilla and bread dough notes are offset by citrus freshness that carries through from the aroma to the finish.

For more information, visit the Lamoreaux Landing official website.

10. NV L. Mawby Blanc de Blancs

Origin: Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan
Varietal: Chardonnay
Price: $25 for 750 ml
ABV: 11%

If you weren’t aware that fine sparkling wines could be made in Michigan, prepare yourself for a pleasant surprise. L. Mawby is Michigan’s oldest — but not the state’s only — sparkling wine house.

L. Mawby’s Blanc de Blancs makes our list of the Best American Sparkling Wines because of its bright freshness. The wine offers aromas of crisp apples and autumn spice. There’s an underlying minerality on the palate that keeps the wine interesting. Flavors of ripe pear, apple and Meyer lemon are rounded out with a lemon zest note at the finish.

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Rosé Champagnes can be some of the most memorable cuvées. They also tend to be some of the pricier wines coming out of the Champagne region, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to drink pink.

There are many great Brut Rosé sparkling wines on the market from every corner of the world, and most of them are in a pretty attractive price range. GAYOT’s Best Rosé Sparkling Wines list brings you a look at some of the most interesting Rosé sparkling wines around, several of which could rival Champagne.

1. 2015 Schramsberg Brut Rosé

Origin: North Coast, California
Varietal: 59% Pinot Noir, 41% Chardonnay
Price: $46 for 750 ml
ABV: 12.9%

Schramsberg is a pioneer in American sparkling wine. The house made its first Blanc de Blancs in 1965, long before the French Champagne houses set up shop on American soil.

The 2015 offers an elegant expression of the Brut Rosé style. A pretty wine with floral aromas and delicacy, it is a sparkling wine with finesse. Creamy on the palate, it offers bright raspberry and peak-of-season strawberry flavors with lemon acidity.

For more information, visit the Schramsberg official website.

2. 2014 Bride Valley “Sparkling Bella” Brut Rosé

Origin: Bride Valley, U.K.
Varietal: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier
Price: $70 for 750 ml
ABV: 11.5%

Bride Valley is a part of the burgeoning English sparkling wine scene — and it’s one of the more exciting additions. You see, this winery was founded by famed wine retailer Steven Spurrier. After 50 years in the wine trade, Spurrier, in collaboration with Jean-Charles Boisset, planted his first vines in the chalky soils of his family’s sheep farm. The winery, which was only planted 10 years ago, produces three sparkling wines. Production is small but the wines show incredible promise.

The 2014 Bella offers a beautifully pale, blushing pink color. On the palate, the wine exhibits similar subtlety with extreme freshness but restrained red fruit flavors. Grapefruit acidity and an underlying minerality add complexity, and the fine stream of bubbles brings a smile to your lips.

For more information, visit the Bride Valley official website.

3. 2014 Argyle Brut Rosé

Origin: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Varietal: 45% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, 25% Chardonnay
Price: $50 for 750 ml
ABV: 12.5%

Argyle has a reputation as Oregon’s leading sparkling wine producer, but it’s also a still wine producer noted for fine Pinot Noirs as well as Chardonnay and Riesling. Although their grapes are grown in far more challenging conditions than those of the California sparkling wine houses, Argyle manages to rise to the occasion of producing vintage dated sparkling wines that can compete with some of the best in the world.

Argyle’s Brut Rosé is a wine of great refinement. A thread of minerality carries through the entire tasting experience to give it a subtle sort of continuity. An elegant wine, its flavors are of pomegranate and raspberry with hints of rose petal.

For more information, visit the Argyle official website.

4. Mumm Napa Brut Rosé

Origin: Napa, California
Varietal: 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay
Price: $24 for 750 ml
ABV: 12.5%

This Napa Valley sparkling wine house was founded by Champagne’s G. H. Mumm in the late 1970s. The house was originally called Domaine Mumm but changed the name to Mumm Napa in 1990, to better reflect the Napa Valley influence on their award-winning sparkling wines.

Both in style and in value for money, this is an American Brut Rosé that’s hard to beat. Coral pink in color, it offers fresh cherry and berry aromas and flavors. There’s a pleasing creaminess to its texture and a lightness and brightness that carries through to the clean finish.

For more information, visit the Mumm Napa official website.

5. Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé Cuvée Pompadour

Origin: Carneros, California
Varietal: 72% Pinot Noir, 28% Chardonnay
Price: $42 for 750 ml
ABV: 12%

Domaine Carneros is the Californian brand of legendary Champagne house Taittinger. The house, although French in ownership, produces decidedly American wines. Their reputation is as one of the best bubbly producers in the U.S. and it is a reputation Domaine Carneros upholds year after year.

Girlishly pink in color, with a delicate, almost lacy mousse, this is one of the best celebration wines produced in California. Its aromas of raspberry, peach and citrus flowers hint at the beauty of this wine’s fruit flavors. Ripe strawberry, raspberry, a touch of orange peel, vanilla and toast make this wine as much a pleasure on the palate as it is in appearance.

For more information, visit the Domaine Carneros official website.

6. NV Ferrari Trento Brut Rosé

Origin: Trento, Italy
Varietal: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
Price: $30 for 750 ml
ABV: 12.5%

Giulio Ferrari was an Italian wine pioneer. Fascinated by Champagne, he is credited with planting the first Chardonnay vineyards in Italy. With great patience, he nurtured his Champagne varietals on the hillsides of the Adige Valley and honed his skills at méthode champenoise winemaking. It took some convincing to get Italians to embrace this Champagne-like local wine but Ferrari succeeded and today the Ferrari Trento wines are available around the world.

The Brut Rosé is a pale salmon wine. Floral aromas dominate with just a hint of wild strawberry. It’s an elegant wine in the palate with subtle complexity. Flavors include strawberry, orange peel, almond and just a hint of vanilla cookie.

For more information, visit the Ferrari Trento official website.

7. 2017 Karanika Xinomavro Cuvée Rosé

Origin: Amyntaio, Greece
Varietal: Xinomavro
Price: $30 for 750 ml
ABV: 12%

Domaine Karanika is a biodynamic winery known for both still and sparkling wines. Located in Greece’s far northwest, the winery owns some rare, ungrafted old vine Xinomavro. The winery is located in the coolest climate wine region in all of Greece, which is how Karanika is able to use their native grapes to produce world-class sparkling wines.

If you’re looking for a truly unique Rosé, this is going to make a good choice for you. A fleshy, mouth-filling wine, it is bursting with gorgeous red fruit flavors. Strawberry, raspberry and red cherry dominate on both the nose and palate. The wine has nice weight and a creamy texture. This is one of those wines that is a surprise and pleasure from start to finish.

For more information, visit the Karanika official website.

8. NV Domaine Chandon Étoile Rosé

Origin: North Coast, California
Varietal: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier
Price: $55 for 750 ml
ABV: 13%

Domaine Chandon was the first French-owned winery in California. It’s the American counterpart to the great Champagne house of Möet & Chandon. Founded in 1973, the winery is considered a pioneer in American sparkling wine, not to mention one of the finest sparkling wine producers in the world. In addition to bubbly, the winery produces a modest amount of still wines in the Napa Valley.

Chandon takes a sleek yet surprising approach to their Brut Rosé. An almost copper-colored wine, its complexity of flavors unfolds on the tongue. Strawberries and raspberries appear up front, with more subtle, almost savory notes of cocoa, spice and a hint of yeasty bread dough linger at the back of the palate.

For more information, visit the Domaine Chandon official website.

9. NV Breathless Wines Sparkling Rosé

Origin: North Coast, California
Varietal: 96% Pinot Noir, 3% Pinot Meunier, 1% Chardonnay
Price: $32 for 750 ml
ABV: 12.5%

Breathless is one of the newest players on the American sparkling wine scene. Located in Sonoma County, California, it’s a women-run winery. It was founded by three sisters with operations led by winemaker Penny Gadd-Coster. The winery currently produces five sparkling wines and two still wines.

A fun and boldly pink bottle of bubbly, the Breathless Rosé offers mouth-filling red berry aromas and flavors with just a hint of spice. Surprisingly complex, the wine has a lot to offer for the price.

For more information, visit the Breathless Wines official website.

10. 2016 Antech “Émotion” Crémant de Limoux Rosé

Origin: Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Varietal: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, Mauzac
Price: $15 for 750 ml
ABV: 12%

If Brut Rosé is your style and you want a wine for a party, this Crémant gives you an excellent option for the price. A floral, pretty wine, it’s a good choice for a celebration. Crisp, with lemon acidity, it has lovely strawberry flavors and tiny, perfect pearls for bubbles. It’s a great value wine and a crowd-pleaser.

Food and wine pairings to kick off the new year right

Each family has its holiday traditions and much like other holiday customs, this one will be 2020 modified. Smaller, safer celebrations are a must to ring in 2021!

For a proper send-off, a special bottle and a comfy dish will make this start to the new year right. I offer some suggestions to make the start of 2021 memorable.

I’ve decided to continue my 2020 practice of popping the corks from my cellar, but for those of you that have accomplished that feat, here are a few thoughts on something new and some things old to celebrate with.

In different cultures, certain dishes are considered to bring good luck. These traditional New Year’s food options some with interesting backstories.

Whether it’s black-eyed peas, oysters or tamales, your party feast plans are a delicious way to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021.

In different cultures, certain foods are thought to bring good luck. Foods could symbolize coins, wealth or the color as money or gold are thought to bring good luck. And this is a delicious way to bring good luck.

Hoppin' John is one such tradition where the black-eyed peas are like little coins and collard greens are the same color as money. Served with cornbread, which is the same color as gold, you have a healthy start to good luck in the new year.

Tamales are another delicious tradition for a celebratory occasion. The little corn husk packages are filled with pork, peppers and cheese. Making these is a fun-filled occasion as is unwrapping these tasty treats.

Greeks all over the world serve a special bread-like cake called Vasilopita. The recipe is the traditional flour, eggs, sugar, and butter cake recipe with some variation but always with a lucky coin baked in it. Whoever finds the coin in his slice will have good luck all year.

Simple yet elegant grilled sandwiches should be stuffed with all manner of fancy meats, cheeses and pickled vegetables. Prosciutto, asiago and pepperoncini, Swiss cheese, ham and sauerkraut on rye, Jamón and Machego, chicken, white cheddar and pickles, or kale, bacon and Gouda in between two slices of crispy, buttery bread would be simple yet elegant. The bread selection could include that sourdough you’ve been turning out, a baguette or a loaf of challah.

All of these lucky dishes would pair very well with a bottle of bubbly. I recently thoroughly enjoyed the Domaine Carneros Cuvée de la Pampadour Rosé.

Named in honor of Madame de la Pompadour, who introduced sparkling wine to the court in the 1700s, she famously declared it “the only wine a woman can drink and remain beautiful.” This sparkling wine is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes from the Domaine’s Carneros estate. The lovely pink color is extracted from the skins of the Pinot Noir by leaving the skins in contact with the juice for several days.

Another bubbly that has long been one of my favorites is Pyramid’s Snow Cap Winter Ale. It’s one that introduced me to winter beers back in the '80s. Dark brown and full-bodied, this seasonal beer has lots of flavor and an IBU of 47 – just enough bittering hops to balance the 2-row, Munich, Caramel and Chocolate malts. It’s delicious and it ages very nicely, too!

From my cellar, I enjoyed the Eleven’s 2016 Mourvedre. While no longer available, the 2019 Mourvedre is. It’s a versatile wine that should be paired with a large variety of foods. The grapes are from Yakima Valley’s Sugarloaf Vineyard and spent eight months in barrel. The early harvest and short maceration produced “an unexpected Beaujolais-esque treat,” meaning the tannins are smooth and it’s ready right now. This graceful red would be the perfect wine to pair with a hot Hoppin’ John.

Another approachable, gold medal-winning wine to have is from the Olympic Peninsula’s Harbinger Winery. Their Dynamo Red is a blend of mostly Syrah with a dollop of Cabernet Franc and Grenache. This lush wine is rich with black fruits, a bit of spice and toasty oak. Any souped-up grilled cheese sandwich would shine next to this red.

Whatever tradition you follow, I wish you good luck, good health and much happiness. Cheers!

Mary Earl has been educating Kitsap wine lovers for a couple of decades, is a longtime member of the West Sound Brew Club and can pair a beer or wine dinner in a flash. She volunteers for the Clear Creek Trail, is a member of the Central Kitsap Community Council and a longtime supporter of Silverdale.

Napa Valley

It was the Napa Valley that showed the world that California could produce world-class wines. In 1976 two Napa wines, Chateau Montelena Chardonnay and Stag&aposs Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, won against their French counterparts in a blind wine competition. Today, cabernet is king in Napa Valley. There are 16 sub-regions (called American Viticultural Areas or AVAs) in Napa, and each has a distinct combination of soil types and climate conditions that influence the character of the wines. Cabernet sauvignon from mountainside AVAs (Mount Veeder, Diamond Mountain, Spring Mountain, Atlas Peak, and Howell Mountain) has concentration, dark fruit aromatics, and high acidity. Cabernet from the sunny valley floor areas of Yountville, Oakville, Stags Leap District, Calistoga, St. Helena, and Rutherford is softer and more supple.

Benchmark examples of Napa cabernet include Louis Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 ($35.99,, Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 ($24.97,, Inglenook 1882 Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($38.99,, and Frank Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 ($54.99, Napa Valley cabernet pairs well with Pan-Seared Steak with Salsa Verde. Although cabernet is the red wine star, you&aposll also find zinfandel, merlot, cabernet franc, syrah, and pinot noir from Napa.

For white wines, chardonnay is also widely grown in Napa Valley: We recommend Far Niente Chardonnay 2018 ($69.99, and Cakebread Chardonnay 2018 ($42.99, Pair a Napa Valley chardonnay with Roast Chicken with Meyer Lemons and Potatoes. Less predominant than chardonnay but still a part of the Napa scene is sauvignon blanc we love Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc 2018 ($26.99, andਏrog&aposs Leap Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2018 ($22.99, Both pair nicely with casual fare like California-Style Veggie Burgers or West Coast Grilled Vegetable Pizza.

5 Wine Recommendations Based On The App You Used To Meet Your Date

You take your date out to a nice restaurant, look at the wine list and realize you don’t know a damn thing about wine. You look down at the menu, turn a couple of pages, scratch your chin and say things like “Hmmm,” and “Everything sounds great,” just in time for the sommelier to come and confuse you even more. So to move things along you just say, “We’ll take the house red.”

It’s no wonder you’ve been alone all winter — and most of your life.

There are many ways to make a great impression on a first date. One is to be able to make a wine selection. Here’s a fun way to choose based on the app you met your date on. I teamed up with 24-year-old, certified sommelier Heather Gordon to bring you this helpful guide.

If you swiped each other on Tinder, you might like.

Viña Zaco Albariño, a fragrant, fresh, and aromatic white wine with citrus and floral notes. Light and fruit-driven, it’s ideal for throwing back glass after glass which is great in the off-chance your Tinder date isn’t a total disaster for once and you decide to do multiple rounds. It’s also fairly inexpensive which is also great because chances are if you’re on Tinder, you have multiple dates lined up and can’t afford to shell out too much on this evening.

Did you get matched on The League?

If you met on The League, you probably have high standards and a high net worth. The Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais is a Beaujolais that is awe-inspiring. This juice is a first-class, bona fide luxury. The nose is full of crushed granite and a light dusting of powdered freeze-dried tart raspberries. On the palate, it is lush and opulent with a curvaceous body. It’s like they bottled Sophia Vergara.

You met on Grindr and are on an actual date?!

Ciù Ciù Merlettaie is a body-backed, white wine with 14% alcohol that is sure to get the job done and help you quickly break the ice because chances are you had sex before the date and now it’s a little awkward. Even if you’re a red-wine drinker, you’ll enjoy the Merlettaie. These fermented grapes are brimming with notes of white clay, freshly ripened yellow peach juice and flint notes.

If you’re bonding over things you hate because you met on Hater.

Artesa Chardonnay Carneros is a wine that’ll give you something to talk about. California Chardonnay. You love it or hate it, not many people are neutral on the subject — like most things in life. But Artesa is one of the good guys. They don’t over oak their wines making them easy drinking and palate pleasing with bright acid and honeyed fruit notes, finishing bone dry with lively energy.

And if you met on OKCupid because you still believe in true love.

A sparkling red like Les Capriades - BCF Methode Ancestrale will make your knees weak — even if your date doesn’t. It’s acidic with a Lambrusco-like vibe, but not super bubbly. It tastes like meeting your soul mate, with a side of balsamic-drenched, sour and tart cherries that have been tossed in a beautiful summer salad.

Lamar Dawson is a pop culture junkie living in New York, NY. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

Watch the video: DOMAINE CARNEROS Who We Are (November 2022).