All Different Types of Wine

When most people think about wine, the first types and most popular that come to mind are Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot, and Zinfandel etc. Here’s an eye opener of the variety of different wines that are available. It’s almost a certainty that you’ll discover a new type of wine after viewing this chart.

Different types of wine

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Thanks to WineFolly.com for sharing this. Check out their Wine Basics Beginners Guide.

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Viansa Winery and MarketPlace-“Bello Vino”

When I think of my experience at this amazing Winery, all I can say is, “BELLO VINO!”

Yes the award winning wines are incredible, but the entire experience at Viansa Winery and Marketplace was captivating from the moment we pulled up, to the moment we walked the grounds.  It felt as though we took a little vacation away to Tuscany.  Read the heartfelt story about how they saved and preserved THE WETLANDS surrounding the grounds saving animal and plant life.

We entered the beautiful tasting room that offers a generous tasting and Lorenzo was attentive and knowledgeable.  My experience with the tasting was wonderful and I found that these wines had exceptional flavor and smoothness to them.  After our tasting,  we ventured out on the patio that overlooks the breathtaking Sonoma Wine country  There they offer gourmet brick oven pizzas and a glass of wine for $15.00.  This is such a great deal for such a decadent experience.

THE REVIEW

The wine that I chose to review was the Reserve Pinot Noir 2010.  This wine surprised me a bit.  I usually really like a deeper, richer Pinot and even though it was a bit lighter,  it had beautiful cherry and floral notes, and then it hit me with a creamy, toasty taste, like Creme Brulee.  Super smooth and refreshing and not bitter.  I LOVED all of the reds but this one stood out.  Sexy and feminine!

We took a long lunch enjoying our girl time and taking in the beauty of the day.   We then went back inside THE MARKETPLACE where we tasted and bought some infused olive oil, and balsamic.  I bought the Pear Balsamic Vinegar, and the White truffle oil…YUMMO!!!  In addition to these there are many sweet gifts there and a cheese bar as well.  You can sample all of the specialty food items they have.  The olive oil is created from the olives grown right on site.  There are food and wine classes also available and wonderful events for TUSCAN CLUB MEMBERS to enjoy like a Crab feed, Annual Harbor cruise or Italian Festival.


We took a few pictures to preserve our memory but we will return for sure.

VIANSA is a gem and a MUST VISIT.   What a delighful place to experience a SONOMA WEDDING.

I feel this experience needs to be savored, cherished and fully enjoyed, so my suggestion is make it the last stop,  landing there for lunch after a day of wine tasting.   I also recommend it for a romantic date.  I plan on bringing my wonderful husband there soon.

Bello, Vino!

Cin, cin! SALUTE!

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Michael Mondavi Family Estate

“Wine is our life…we look forward to sharing it with you!”  is what the Michael Mondavi Family Estate Mantra is, and you certainly feel it when you enter what they call their Tasting Gallery.   Located just off the Carneros region of Napa Valley, this tasting Gallery is quaint, and warmly welcoming and much like an art gallery in itself with each label presented artistically among the decor.   The gorgeous and breathtaking views on their large porch area beckon a picnic with one of their beautiful and tasty wines.

We had the personal pleasure of meeting TRACY RIOS (Retail Manager) who was very passionate and knowledgeable about the history of the Mondavi family.  It is clear that she has experienced every facet  of the wine making process and had so much to share which further enhanced our wine tasting experience.  We appreciated the fact that this kind of mentality is what sets Mondavi apart from the other tastings rooms that go through the motions of just pouring the wine, verses educating the customer.  Mondavi has been producing world renown wines for Four generations and we hear that the 5th generation Mondavi has just been born into the family.

Click on the wine labels below for more information and details:

     

The wine I chose to review is from the ISABEL MONDAVI line “ISABEL MONDAVI DEEP ROSE, 2011”

MY REVIEW

This super light and refreshing ROSE is surprising with strawberry, cranberry and apple flavors and a slight acidity that dances in your mouth.  It reminds me of a summer day and I definitely put it in my GIRLIE WINE category.  I would personally serve this for a Sunday Brunch, Womans’s Tea, or for a special occasion such as Valentines Day or a Wedding Anniversary.    This makes for a perfect aperitif wine.

Mondavi offers three different wine clubs and make it affordable to any budget.

I highly recommend visiting this elegant and beautiful place.  I also recommend that you bring a nice picnic and enjoy it with one of the many wonderful wines presented here.  With the generous tastings that they offer you are sure to find just the perfect bottle.

Come find out why the San Francisco Chronicle voted them among “THE BEST TASTING ROOMS IN NAPA VALLEY

Cin, Cin, Salute!

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Vezer Family Vineyard – Mankas Restaurant

In the Valley right near our home in Suisun there is little wine community with a handful of wineries, and one of our very favorites is VEZER FAMILY WINERY.   They make top notch wines and are considered superior in the valley.  We frequent both the VEZER tasting room, and THE BLUE VICTORIAN which is their sister winery just down the road housed in YES a cute little Blue Victorian nestled amongst the vines.

~The Blue Victorian~

One weekend my husband and I went wine tasting at Vezer and when they closed, Frank Vezer came into the tasting room and asked us to hang around and have a glass with him.  He asked us about our family and about ourselves and of course my husband told him about our music and said, “You should hear my wife sing.”  So of course I did and he had this idea of me working in the tasting room and singing while I pour wine for the customers.  I almost took the job but got busy during the summer and was unable. I was honored to be asked.

Vezer Family Vineyard-Photo by Kim Liew

Funny thing though that nearly a year later Frank and his lovely wife Liz opened a new restaurant next to their winery.  One day as I was alone having a glass of wine and reading a book out on their beautiful back deck Liz walked by to go into the barrel room.  I had never met her, but I somehow knew she was Franks wife.   We started talking and she took me over to see the new MANKAS Steak and Tapas Restaurant.  It was absolutely beautiful and everyone was rushing to get it finished.   I felt the excitement and asked if there was anything that I could do to help.   Well her husband  Frank was nearby and told her that I sing,  and I was asked to perform for the first private invitation opening.

I sang and and my Husband played ukulele.  We walked around serenading each individual table.  At the end of the evening I was honored to sing I’m In The Mood For Love for the Executive chef David Pajarillo and his girlfriend in honor of Valentines Day.  Before blessing the Mankas Corner with his culinary talents, Chef David worked as head chef at the Four Seasons in San Francisco, and worked with Michael Mina at AQUA in Las Vegas.

What a blessing for us to perform that night for such and exciting time for the VEZER family and their friends.  They made us feel like family too!

Mankas Corner Restaurant has a full bar with a incredible wine selection!   Check out their menu.

Ron Plunkett is the staff Sommelier and is on hand to help heighten your food and wine experience.  His resume is impressive including, last year being named the Sommelier of Comic-Con in San Diego.  He also served wine to the cast of Cowboys and Aliens, Twilight and numerous Movie and TV stars such as Billy Dee Williams and Katie Leclerc star of ABC Family’s Switched At Birth.  Most recently he appeared on TV with FOOD NETWORK star, Andrea Immer Robinson and the show, DAILY TASTINGS to be aired in the near future.

Roberto CromeyerGeneral Manager, born in El Salvador Central America.  He has worked in the food and beverage industry since finishing High School.  He has also worked for numerous Cruise ships, Cypress Club in San Francisco, Mondavi Winery, French Laundry and Don Giovanis in the Napa Valley.

Jo is the Bartender or mixologist if you will. (You won’t find THAT in the dictionary) and what she refers to as a LIBATION RELOCATIONIST.  Come in and let her explain just what that means.  Jo is friendly, knowledgeable and super innovative with mixed drinks and coffee creations.  She made me a Key Lime Pie Martini that was just as good as the real thing but in drink form.

                                                       I can’t leave until I do my little wine review.

La Salette Love

THE REVIEW

The wine I chose is VEZER LA SALETTE -A Sirah/Zinfandel blend.  This wine has a sexy nose that is just as pleasing as it’s taste with sweet cherry flavor and soft oak right out the gate.  It’s anise nuances and intense flavors last through a silky smooth finish.   The wine maker  Gary Galleron is known for his beautiful blends.  This is my absolute favorite!

Mankas Corner Steak House and Tapas has been compared to Rutherford Grill and Cole’s Chop House!  If it’s wine tasting, dining or both that you’re looking for. come to our little CORNER!  You will have a very lovely experience.

Cin, cin! SALUTE!!!

 

 

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Nashville Wine Diva

What is the definition of a diva? What comes to mind for me is a famous singer or entertainer, but in a single word one could sum it up to be a Prima Donna.   I have never thought of my self as such but suddenly had a change of heart when I found myself in Nashville Tennessee, in the middle of nowhere right by the airport, without a car.   Let me explain.     I made my way downstairs and asked the lady at the desk of the Hotel where I was staying if there was a place I could get a nice glass of wine.   She looked at me and smiled in a way that made me think that I must have had a look of desperation on my face.  She pointed to a hotel across the street and said,  “They have a bar over there.”

DebraLee Darling Diva

I stepped outside and made my way across the street in eager hopes that there might be a decent glass of wine in the cards.   I had my serious doubts as I walked in and spotted a very small bar that offered just a few selections of wine with what appeared to be generic labels.   The young gentleman behind the counter offered his help.   I just sighed and said, “I would like red wine please, I am from the Napa valley in California.”   YES I said that! Seriously who do I think that I am,  a celebrity that thinks if they throw out their name that a magical glass of glorious perfection might present itself from somewhere in the shadows? He looked at me and laughed saying,  “Just taste this I promise it won’t disappoint you.”

I was willing to give it my best shot and to my amazement  this Cabernet was absolutely wonderful.   This little experience taught me that INDEED I am a WINE DIVA.  Since that day I have been over several times and the young people that run this place have become my friends.  The young man that helped me the first night just finished school in Hotel management and knew quite a bit about wine.  Raj was his name and I also had the pleasure of meeting Nakia, Ian, Sasha, and Reggie .  They were all warm, friendly, and made me feel well taken care of.  The owners of this Hotel should be very proud of their staff.  In turn, anytime you see employees that are pleasant and helpful it is a direct result of they way they are taken care of by management and owners.   If you ever get a chance to visit Nashville and need a place to stay go visit  HYATT NASHVILLE AIRPORT

THE REVIEW
The wine which is worth writing about was created by  Michael Mondavi (Napa Valley) HAHA!  Yes I had to laugh!!! CANVAS – Wines Developed Exclusively for Hyatt Hotels:Cabernet Sauvignon – This Wine is smooth from start to finish with a slight sweetness, mellow tannins, and nuances of tobacco and cedar. Canvas also makes Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel, and Pinot Grigio.

I was blessed to make new friends and find a pleasant glass of wine in an unlikely place.  Now if I could only fix the challenge I have with hotel coffee…..YUCK!!!!!!

Cin,Cin Salute!!!

 

 

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Suisun Valley Wine Country

Here in our neck of the woods not two miles away from our home is a quaint little area SUISUN VALLEY that houses about ten wineries just up over the hill from Napa Valley.  Several of these wineries offer not only wine tasting but wine by the glass and live entertainment on the weekends.

Winterhawk Winery
– Most Saturday’s they offer live entertainment, wine tasting and one full glass of wine and pizza all for a $5.00 price.

WoodenValley Winery
– Art, entertainment, and special events.

Ledgewood Creek
– Wine by the glass along with a beautiful picnic area with bocci ball courts.  Entertainment, weddings, special events etc.

Veser Family Winery and The Blue Victorian
-VESER family Winery is the superior choice for Wine tasting in the valley.
Their award winning wines are unparallelled.    They have top notch entertainment, a deli, and beautiful grounds for picnicking.

By Appoitment Wineries worth visiting

Green Valley Cellars

Tenbrink Vineyards

In addition you can go to the Suisun ValleyWINE CO-OP to taste the wines of the valley that do not have tasting rooms.  The co-op offers a generous amount of wine to taste.   This may be a  place you visit just on it’s own and have a designated driver on hand as there are more wines there than you can possibly taste in one day.

Suisun Valley AVA Viticulture

Take your time and enjoy this little area that is just a bit more laid back and not as crowded as the more popular NAPA VALLEY.

Cin, Cin Salute!

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Wine Flights

What is a wine flight?

Wine didn’t grown wings and fly away…and no it’s not a new airline that offers wine tasting aboard.

Wine flights, or what are commonly referred to as a TASTING FLIGHT, are 3 or more generous tastes of wine in succession for the purpose of trying a variety in a certain year,  region, or varietal.   Flights are gaining popularity in many bars and restaurants.

Wine flights are a little different than a wine tasting in the sense that you get to choose the wines you want, and the amount of wine in your glass is a bit more generous than a usual tasting (approx. 3 ounces) and at a pretty good price too.    In addition, it gives you the ability to enjoy many different wines without drinking too many glasses and plastering yourself to the wall.

Recently at the Suisun Valley Wine Coop my husband and I were in a tasting room and were communicating our love for Zinfandel.   Kat, the wine steward was gracious enough to pull out 4 bottles of Zinfandel from the same vintner which was Sunset Cellars and we got the privilege of tasting a flight from four different harvest years.  It was amazing the difference in taste and subtle nuances of each wine.

Tasting Flights are a great way to compare different interpretations of the same varietal or different wine region.

It would be interesting to create a pairing flight to go with your 4 course meal starting with an aperitif before or during the appetizer, and then move to something to go with your soup and salad course, and so on finishing up with a sweet dessert wine at the end of the meal.

There are endless possibilities whether you have your flight already set up for you, or you create your very own.  Go and have fun with it!

Cin, Cin!  Salute!

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The Meritage Resort – Trinitas Wine Cellars

The Meritage Resort – Trinitas Wine Cellars

Yesterday was a ME day. I have been known for having the desire to turn off the rest of the world periodically and focus on my artistic and spiritual side.

I booked a day at the lovely Meritage Resort And Spa in downtown Napa.   There I entered what is the only wine cave that also houses a spa.   It was an absolutely decadent experience.   I was able to go early enough and do some wine tasting at TRINITAS CELLARS before my massage.

I enjoyed the reserve tasting and was pleasantly surprised that all four wines were full of flavor and lived up to their descriptions in the wine notes.  As an artist I love to create my own picture of words,  but in this case chose to use their wine notes as the descriptions were so on point as to what I smelled and tasted in my glass!   Layer upon Layer all of the beautiful notes synergistically became a symphony in my mouth.  These wines spoke musically to me!!

TRINITAS CELLARS

The Latin word for Trinity, is the fundamental principle of Christianity.  It symbolizes Sun, Soil & Humanity, which are the three ingredients evoking the perfect wine.

2009 Proprietors Reserve Chardonnay

“Our 2009 Proprietors Reserve Chardonnay is a blend of our owner and winemakers favorite Chardonnay Barrels of the 2009 Vintage. It is a perfect marriage of high-quality fruit and American wood barrels:  The toast on the barrels is prominent, giving a crème brûlée character to the nose.  Underneath the toast, you get the intense tropical fruit – pear, peach, lemon zest and citrus. The rich mid- palate, explodes with cinnamon toast, cream and butterscotch – which is a contribution to the length of time spent in the oak barrels.”

2008 Pinot Noir Carneros

“Aromatics of candied red fruit, vanilla, mocha, and campfire.  It boasts flavors of baked red apples covered in butter and cinnamon with a rich entry and broad mid palate. The weight of the fore- and mid-palate over shadow the delicate dark chocolate finish which will lengthen with age.”

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon

“Grown east of Highway 29 just south of Oakville Cross Road, our 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon displays aromatics of spiced plums, black cherry, vanilla and espresso. It has a rich entry reminiscent of chocolate covered cherries. Barrel aged 18 months in 57% new French oak.”

2007 Old Vine Mataro

Mataro, commonly referred to as Mouvèdre is one of our most esoteric varietals. It displays beautiful aromatics of black cherry, cola berry, chocolate, smoke, vanilla, caramel, and cinnamon. The mouth is full of juicy red fruit and its fleshy core carries though the long velvet finish. Dry farmed and meticulously grown by our favorite Oakley growers the Gonsalves family.

I was taken back by the fact that ALL four of these wines were amazing. This is not usual in most of my tasting experiences,  so I had to include each one here.

MY REVIEW:

The star on this day was the 2007 Old Vine Mataro. Mataro, is usually blended with other grapes, but was bottled alone here and I have to say was very surprising.  Medium tannins explode midway then smooth to a nice finish.  I found it very earth forward which I usually don’t prefer, but in this case the rich dark berries and creamy vanilla balance it out nicely.

In addition to the beautiful spa and stellar wines at The Meritage Resort – Trinitas Wine Cellars, there was wonderful art displayed in the cave, and I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Italian artist, Carla Almanza De Quant.  She specializes in 17th Century inspired Venetian Masks and sculpture.

Thank you Jennifer Beasley for your warm hospitality.  My hats off to Winemaker Kevin Mills and Trinitas Winery.  I am inspired by the Art of Wine making and the passion that I felt and tasted in each of these wines.  What a Blessing and a treat!!!

Please visit, you will be glad that you did.

Cin, Cin!, Salute!!!!!

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What is a Sommelier?

Sommelier

I don’t claim to be a wine expert.  I just love wine, period!  I am sure in this day and age you have heard the term Sommelier.  This is a person who is literally schooled in the knowledge of wine and food pairing.  But what they have to learn in their schooling is not at all a simple thing.  I myself picked up a book not long ago called. “WINE FOR DUMMIES.”  Really!

Wine For Dummies
The beginning was simple enough but once the book got into the region’s my head started to spin.  I have a lot of respect for people with such knowledge.  I came across a quote during some of my research that I have to share with you.  I found it to be simply poetic and beautifully articulated.

“For me, wine is all about food. Without food, a wine is like a single person who has never fallen in love. It may be interesting, and show loads of potential, but it won’t release its inner promise until coupled with the right dish. And when a good bottle meets up with the appropriate food, both are elevated to a higher level.”

By Ken Collura
Wine Director/Sommelier
El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa
Taos, New Mexico

I leave the expertise to the experts.  I am a novice and a lover of wine and I am on a personal adventure.   In reading Ken’s musings, he made it really clear that when he meets people who claim to know it all,  he just laughs as WINE is an ever changing, never ending learning experience.  I appreciate and respect Ken’s attitude.   There is no need to feel intimidated by wine snobs as no one can ever really KNOW IT ALL.  I myself can glean so much from talking to any quasi wine buff.  Most of it may go right over my head,  but in the end I learn something new.

ENJOY THE JOURNEY!

Cin! Cin!, Salute!

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Is Aerating Over-rated?

What does it mean to let a wine breathe? In the biological sense, wine is not alive but the nurturing hands of a wine maker  might beg to differ.  Wine absorbs oxygen and then gives off carbon dioxide similar to humans.    Though it can’t reproduce, it can die very quickly if exposed to light, heat, movement, and even noise.  But what we are talking about here is something a bit different.   If you have ever heard of the term aerate, it simply means to let air get to your wine before you drink it.  WHY?

Letting air get to your wine for a period of time before drinking it can actually change the flavor of the wine for the better. Experts say that some young red varieties should breathe for 1 to 3 hours.   Now who in the heck is going to let their wine breathe that long when they are biting at the bit to pop open the bottle and drink it?  Personally, before I knew enough about wine, it was years before I understood what it meant to let wine breathe.  What you don’t know can’t hurt you right?   Not really. There is a significant difference in the wine flavor from the time it leaves the bottle, hits the glass, and then hits your mouth.

If you have doubts please do your own taste test. Even a few moments can make a big difference, but to completely let your wine breathe  helps the wine soften and the authentic flavor profiles to really come alive.    Some wines are perfect the moment you open them but wines that are high in tannins (usually young reds) are good candidates as the harshness softens quite considerably.    Some white wines can also benefit from aeration.

What are ways in which you can aerate a wine? Simply pour it in the wine glass and wait or decant it.   A decanter used to be thought of as just a beautiful glass bottle in which to display or serve the wine,  but there is a method to it’s madness.  The wide mouth of the decanter allows enough air to the wine to help it breathe better but again for a lengthy time.  It is a great way to let any sediment in the wine settle to the bottom so when you pour it you avoid it in your glass.

I personally recommend the VINTURI aerator.  It properly aerates your wine so it is perfect to drink the moment that it hits the glass.  No need to let it breathe.   Now THAT is what I am talking about!!!   These devises also remove any sediment left in the wine so you can drink every drop without filtering it.

So is aeration over-rated? I THINK NOT!   I have tried it every which way and I AM SOLD that aeration definitely works!   See for yourself and have some fun with it!!

Cin Cin!, Salute!

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