2012 Weingut Stadt Krems Riesling Reserve Grillenparz Kremstal

2012 Weingut Stadt Krems Riesling Reserve Grillenparz Kremstal

Friend shared this bottle with me over oysters and fish. Love this style wine and never a bad bottle by this producer.

Looks: Greenish yellow in the glass.

Smell: Citrus/Meyer lemon and juicy peach on the nose.

Taste: Delicious lemon/lime flavors with some wet stones notes.

Texture and Finish: Rich yet light. Crazy nice minerality and acidity with a long finish.

Pairings: Oysters/shellfish, grilled fish, seafood risotto.

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): Riesling

Region: Kremstal, Austria

Price: $30

2015 Dirty & Rowdy Familiar Blanc

2015 Dirty & Rowdy Familiar Blanc

Check out the cloudiness of this baby in my photo – crazy stuff! Kitchen sink blend of aromas and flavors.  

Looks: Deep ruby in the glass.

Smell: Citrus, floral and dried apricot on the nose. What isn’t on the nose would be a better question!

Taste: Lemon lime flavors with hints of under-ride pear.

Texture and Finish: Crazy nice minerality and acidity with a medium finish.

I love these wines. This is the third vintage I buy and I continue to get sucked into the hype. Drink cool, not cold or you’ll lose all the crazy flavors.

Pairings: Fried chicken, grilled fish, seafood risotto.

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): 28% Chenin Blanc, 22% Pinot Blanc, 18% Chardonnay, 12% Melon, 10% Roussanne, 10% Viognier.

Region: Mendocino, Monterrey, and El Dorado Counties, California, USA

Price: $30

Fun Fact: Bottle is sealed with a NomaCorc Select Bio closure. It is a plant based, carbon neutral, breathable, recyclable, cork alternative.

Delectable Whites by Heron Hill Winery

Delectable Whites by Heron Hill Winery

Even with the frigid weather we experienced this week, I cooked food ultra conducive to white wine. The Finger Lakes winery I opted to pour at two of those meals is Heron Hill Winery, one of my very favorite FLX wineries.

2014 Heron Hill Semi-Dry Riesling

I served this off-dry Riesling with spicy Indian food I prepared and it stood up to the heat beautifully while maintaining its fresh, fruit-forward flavors. On the nose, this wine offers big Asian apple aromas. On the palate, the sweet apple continues but combined with lovely floral notes. Nice level of acidity on the finish. Great value at $15/bottle.

2015 Heron Hill Reserve Morris Vineyard Pinot Blanc

Aromas of Meyer lemon and juicy pear in the glass on this crisp Finger Lakes Pinot Blanc. Green apple and peach on the palate with some sweetness followed by great acidity on a finish that resonates with minerality. Hated to share it with the mister, it’s so easy drinking. Just a wonderful Pinot Blanc at an affordable price of $20/bottle.


Cheers to the Finger Lakes!


2013 Williams Selyem Vista Verde Vineyard Late Harvest Gewurztraminer

2013 Williams Selyem Vista Verde Vineyard Late Harvest Gewurztraminer

2013 Vista Verde Vineyard Late Harvest GewürztraminerIt’s the first time I’d bought this dessert wine in my Williams Selyem allocation and won’t miss that opportunity again!

Classic ultra floral / tropical fruit Gewürztraminer aromas. In the mouth, this wine has lovely Asian pear, ripe sweet melon flavors with non-cloying sweet notes. Perfect level of acidity to balance out the sweetness, which dessert winemakers don’t always successfully accomplish.

Pairings: Pear/peach tart, foie gras, crème brulée. 

Style: Dessert Wine

Grape Type(s): Gewürztraminer

Region: San Benito County, California, USA

Price: $40

2015 M De Mulonniere Chenin Blanc

2015 M De Mulonniere Chenin Blanc

2015 M De Mulonniere Chening BlancNutty, citrus nose on this Chenin Blanc. The palate of this medium-bodied wine offers peach/pear flavors with honey and citrus notes. Just a bit of sweetness on the finish with nice acidity.

Pairings: Seafood, grilled fish, spicy Asian food.

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): Chenin Blanc

Region: Anjou (Loire Valley), France

Price: $17

2013 Vincent Girardin Bourgogne Blanc Cuvee Saint Vincent

Ken Wright 2013Floral, citrus nose on this French Chardonnay. The palate of this medium-bodied wine is rich with peach, ripe apple and Meyer lemon flavors. Creamy texture with nice minerality.

This is the entry-level Chardonnay by this prestigious wine house and at $16, it’s not only a nice example of French white Burgundy, it’s a very good value.

Pairings: Seafood, grilled fish, white meat and mild cheese.

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): Chardonnay Region: Burgundy, France

Price: $16

2014 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay

2014 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay

2014 Au Bon Climat ChardonnayOn the nose apricot and citrus with flinty notes. The palate of this medium to full-bodied wine brings more citrus with a decent level of acidity on the finish. A great value for a California Chardonnay of this caliber.

I’m a big fan of Jim Clendenen, Au Bon Climat’s winemaker, who’s been making high quality wines in Santa Barbara County since the early 1980s.

Pairings: Grilled fish or seafood, poultry.

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): Chardonnay

Region: Santa Barbara County, California, USA

Price: $22

2014 Jean Edwards Cellars Dalla Gasperina Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

2014 Jean Edwards Cellars Dalla Gasperina Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

2014 Jean Edwards Cellars Sauvignon BlancI had the pleasure of sampling this brand new Sauvignon Blanc by Napa’s Cabernet Sauvignon experts – Jean Edwards Cellars, at the James Beard House. This is the first white by these masters of reds and it’s a winner.

In the glass, the 2014 Jean Edwards Cellars Sauvignon Blanc is straw color. This wine is a little un-Sauvignon Blanc like on the nose (a good thing where I’m concerned) with rich tropical fruit aromas and lots of juicy citrus. Love at first sniff. The tropical fruit aromas carry on to the palate with Meyer lemon notes. I really enjoyed the richness the Semillon brought to this wine and the minerality on the finish is outstanding.

A very food-friendly wine and a pleasant departure from other Sauvignon Blancs with little to no flavor. Unoaked Chardonnay fans – take note of this lovely wine.

Pairings: Grilled fish or seafood, raw oysters/clams, pear salad with citrusy vinaigrette.

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): 92% Sauvignon Blanc and 8% Semillon

Region: Napa Valley, California, USA

Price: $32

5 Affordable Wines for 4th of July Parties

Wine in ParcSummer’s here and so are warm days and humidity. What summer also means is fun-filled gatherings, including 4th of July get-togethers.

Here is a list of five wines to pour during your 4th of July celebrations that are affordable and certain to please your guests:

Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé Cremant D’Alsace ($22): This lovely bubbly is coral/pink in color with the tiniest of bubbles. Light strawberry aromas with juicy, slightly sweet strawberry flavors that’s balanced by bright acidity. Serve this bubbly as your guests arrive to create a festive atmosphere.

2014 Two Lands Pinot Grigio ($14): Light and crisp with Meyer lemon flavors that finish on a zesty note. Nice summer sipper and great as an aperitif and with crudités.

2013 Esporao Vinha da Defesa Rosé ($15): This festive, bright pink wine is super food-friendly. Intense red berry and cherry aromas with bright fruity flavors. Perfect for a seafood boil and the cornucopia of flavors at a BBQ.

2013 Egger Ramer Schiava Gentile ($15): Fragrant with red berry aromas with ripe strawberry and cherry flavors. Great acidity making this wine very versatile with summer foods. Pair with charcuterie platter or even hot dogs.

Montes 2012 Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon ($15): Deep ruby in the glass, this wine offers blackberry aromas with notes of mocha and leather. It’s full-bodied and big on dark fruit and ripe raspberries with a nice touch of oak. This is your steaks/ribs/burgers wine.

Enjoy these summer wines and let me know if you try any of them!




Unexpected Napa Valley Wine Tasting

Unexpected Napa Valley Wine Tasting

Unexpected NapaThis week, I was invited to explore unexpected wines from Napa Valley via a virtual tasting. I’ve explained the idea of virtual wine tastings in previous posts but for those who are new to the concept, here’s how they go:

  • Get wine in the varietal or brand being sampled.
  • Invite some friends to try the wine(s) and experience with you (or do as I typically do – put some yoga pants on and enjoy from the couch with iPad, iPhone and laptop handy).
  • Drink and share your thoughts about the wine(s) with other wine fans from around the world using the established hashtag on Twitter and/or Facebook (in this case #SipWithKaren).

In this case, the Karen mentioned in the hashtag was wine expert, Karen MacNeil. The virtual tasting was of six unexpected Napa Valley wines, including unoaked Chardonnay, Albariño from Carneros, an affordable Cabernet Sauvignon, and more.

Here are the wines sampled:

2013 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Chenin Blanc ($25)

Varieties: 100% Chenin Blanc

Pale yellow in appearance. Offers an Asian pear nose with a bit of sweetness. Offers tropical fruit flavors with citrus notes on the palate. Would be great served as an aperitif but also with shellfish on a warm summer evening. Only 187 cases produced – get your hands on this wine quickly.

2013 Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Fumé Blanc ($17)

Varieties: 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Sémillon

Fragrant ripe cantaloupe and juicy mandarin aromas. Lightly grassy, lime flavors with more cantaloupe on the palate. Long finish with the 10% Semillon making this wine interesting and complex.

2014 Artesa Napa Valley Albariño ($28)

Varieties: 100% Albariño

Less “in your face” with minerality than its Spanish kin. Lovely bright peach and Meyer lemon aromas with some floral notes. Peach and a bit of plum on the palate. Light oaky notes on a long finish.

2013 Alpha Omega Unoaked Napa Valley Chardonnay ($33)

Varieties: 100% Chardonnay

Wish they’d make more than 500 cases! Clean, crisp, not your daddy’s Cali Chard (in a good way). Slightly creamy mouthfeel. I need to remember this wine when I host this year’s lobsterfest.

2012 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($29)

Varieties: 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec

Truly a classic Cali Cab and the stuff that made Robert Mondavi famous in the wine world. Enticing dark berry nose. Rich ripe berry flavors with a long, chocolate-kissed finish. 30% is from historic To Kalon vineyard in and 14% comes from Wappo Hill Vineyard in the Stag’s Leap district.

2010 St. Supéry Estate Vineyard & Winery Dollarhide Ranch Napa Valley

Petit Verdot ($50)

Varieties: 97% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon

Dark purple-red in the glass. Slightly tart berries and stone fruit nose. Big blackberry flavors with peppery notes. Get the grill out, this is what steaks are made to be paired with. 590 cases made.

For those of you who have stereotyped California wines as fruit bombs and butter in a glass (silly people), these are great examples of the unexpected, vibrant and delicious wines California has to offer.