Julia has been swirling, sipping and swilling wines throughout California and beyond for more than two decades. Her passion is discovering big wines in small places. So, come with her and fill your glass.

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Winemaker icon Dave Phinney has created “Locations” wine group with a simple concept: “Make the best possible wine from a given country or location.”

Four selections proudly carry the flagship of his new wines.

NZ7- New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc ($19.99) is crisp and aromatic with notes of luscious grapefruit, gooseberries, freshly mown grass and ripe tropical fruit. The wine has a bright and fresh enticing introduction on the palate with balanced fruit and acidity and a clean mineral finish.

WA5- a Washington red wine ($19.99) is an exciting blend of Syrah, Merlot and Petit Sirah. It is deep purple in color with aromas of wild blueberries, cassis and enticing whispers of forest floor. Dense flavors of plum and milk chocolate open the curtain to violet, anise, black tea and brown spices cascading in silky tannins on the finish.

F5- is a luscious red wine ($19.99) from some of the best regions in France – a blend of Grenache, Syrah and assorted Bordeaux varietals. Notes of raspberry, rhubarb and wild strawberry are complemented by enticing aromas of tobacco, lavender and rose petal. Cranberry and other red fruit adds a touch of savory notes.

E5- a blend of Grenache, Tempranillo, Monastrell and Carignan – captures the nobility of Spain.  Dark, polished amethyst in the glass, the blend boasts notes of white pepper, tobacco and black currant. A silky mouthfeel with a palate of dark plum, black raspberry and hints of French vanilla closes with subtle black cherry on the finish.

 

 

Flora Springs has created a 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that celebrate winemaking skills and define elegance. Your time swirling and sipping these incredible selection is long past due.

Opaque and densely purple, this is a rich, beautifully extracted Cabernet Sauvignon ($50) offering an opulent nose of black cherry syrup, blackberry preserves, vanilla, brown butter and a whisper of anise. Its warm, cozy flavors entice the palate with cedar. Supple tannins frame the full-bodied mouthfeel of this classic Napa Cab, that leaves a lasting impression of the St.. Helena, Oakville and Rutherford terroir.

The Napa Valley Merlot ($30) is a perennial favorite at the winery, it was known to be Flora Komes’ “go to” wine as she loved its bright fruit flavors and smooth supple texture. The enticing varietal opens with aromas of Bing cherry, fresh raspberry, plus surprise hints of cocoa and fresh mint.The palate bursts with red fruit flavors and notes of cedar, orange tea and baking spice.

Indulge your hedonistic side and uncork this pair tonight.

The song during the seventh ending stretch is as traditional as those crackerjacks, popcorn and a cool drink.

But why just pick a boring beer? Lots of wine varietals are standing alert ready to be called into the roster

Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is a 1908 Tin Pan Alley song by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer which has become the unofficial anthem of North American baseball, although neither of its authors had attended a game prior to writing the song.[1] The song’s chorus is traditionally sung during the middle of the seventh inning of a baseball game. Fans are generally encouraged to sing along, and at some ballparks, the words (GIANTS) “home team” are replaced with the team name.

Chardonnay called into to the game, pairs beautifully in tune with “Buy me some peanuts”.  The oakey, buttery taste compliments the salt in the nuts.

A sweet, cold Riesling brings out the sugar in the box of Crackerjacks, toy included.

If hot dogs are on the line-up, then grab a bottle of Zinfandel with its deep purple hue and full body. .Or make up some pairings of your own.

It’s time to “Play Ball.”

 

 

 

 

 

Stop reading this and go out and buy these two winners from Chile’s Gato Negro.

For guests looking to pair their overnight dinner plans with a sustainable supper. Gato Negro Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 from Central Chile is the perfect choice at only $4.99. The lengthy fermentation process produces high fruit intensity with smoothness on the palate. The wine is eye catching dark ruby in color. One sip will unravel intense fruit – berries, cherries and cassis with meld beautifully with vanilla and chocolate notes.

A perfect pairing for pasta, cheese or game birds is Gato Negro’s 2017 Pinot Noir. Bright ruby hue entices the palate with ripe cherry and raspberry. In the glass, the wine is fresh with good acidity and soft tannins

Georgos, an emerging wine company that has taken the best of American innovation and Greek tradition and put it into  a bottle right in the Sonoma Valley, is proud to launch its latest vintage.

The Cabernet Sauvignon selection Ithaka, is a small Greek island located in the azure blue Aegean Sea, the enchanting setting of Homer’s classic, “The Odyssey”, where Penelope, wife of King Odysseus remained faithful to him for 20 years while he fought the Trojan Wars until his return. This cabernet, named Penelope’s Spell after his wife, the hallmark of loyalty and true love.

 

The selections are the brainchild of engineer-turned wine company founder Georgós Zanganas.He decided to import the highest quality fruit from Greece to make wines suitable for the American palate: fruit forward, soft tannins, and clean tasting .These super-premium Greek Wines are blended, finished and bottled with reduced sulfites.

Ios-Aphrodite Kiss: a 2016 Dry Rosé of Agiorgitiko (until recently the most commonly cultivated grape in Greece) that has all of the flavor of a Pinot Noir with the crispness of a Sauvignon Blanc. Fermented with skins on for 16 hours, it contains hints of apple and peach. Unoaked. The rose is fresh and named for Aphrodite, the goddess of love and a tiny Greek Island in the Mediterranean Sea, Ios known as the party island, nothing could be more fitting for the beautiful pink wine.

 

The first thing you feel when you pick up a bottle of Don & Sons wine is the label.

Yes, Really.

It’s a luxurious suede that is remindful of cuddly blanket in front of a crackling fire.

Both the Big Smooth Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon (both $15) are sourced from premier vineyards in California’s famous Lodi region.

The Zinfandel with its eye-catching purple label is a blend of 81 percent Zinfandel, 13 percent Petite Sirah and 6 percent Merlot. It opens with explosive aromas of black cherry, blackberry and fig. American oak aging produces toasted coconut, vanilla and dill lift from the glass. On the palate cascades of boysenberry, pomegranate and red currants seduce the taste buds. The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon – a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah and Malbec – has enticing aromas of blackberry, cherry, plum and mint. The first sip engages the palate with blackberry cobbler, currant, toasted sage and spearmint and lingers in a smooth finish.

 

Spanning over 26,000 miles, the Pacific Crest Trail bends to the rugged, fertile lands of Washington’s wine country. The Pacific Crest Wine Co. seeks to capture the scenic beauty and adventure that defines the Pacific Northwest.

The 2015 Chardonnay ($16.99) is an extraordinary varietal that belongs on your table. The Columbia Valley showcases grapes with profiles ranging from tropical to warm apple. This selection is balanced with notes of apple, cinnamon, honeycomb and warm croissant that exits with a long, balanced finish.

The Pacific Crest Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.99) pays tribute to the compelling beauty of its namesake. Pure fruit flavors mirror a style that offers depth and structure. Balanced flavors of black currant, blackberry and clove are complimented dusty tannins and a long finish.

In the 1830s, rugged explorers traveled west on the Oregon Trail and were rewarded with the fertile hills of the Willamette Valley. The Oregon Trail Wine Co. produces an exceptional Pinot Noir ($19.99) with rich aromas of red cherry, baking spice and pepper. Bright notes of cranberry, rhubarb, spice and a candied fruit quality give way to a subtle mouth feel.

 

 

When Dave Phinney and Kim McPherson founded Locations Wine, they believed in out-of-the-box thinking. A wine concept that may be summed up in three words: simple, complex and fun.

TX6, a Texas red wine from Texas High Plains AVA ($24.99), mirrors this concept. This is a premier site in Texas with red clays and sandy soils. Varieties indicative of France and Spain thrive here.

This red wine is an exciting blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Carignan and other Bordeaux varietals.

The garnet-hue in the glass is eye-catching and opens the nose to a bouquet of fresh herbs and ripe red berries. Bright, fresh blackberries, Bing cherries, cassis and plum entice the senses. The palate is long and surprising, highlighting the terrior to produce big and powerful wine.

Pour this sexy selection with barbecued ribs, salty smoked fish and chicken and dumplings.

Forget the Wildcat formation and screen pass plays; Super Bowl fans will be passing the guacamole in big numbers Feb. 4, cheering for the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots and looking for some good wines to swill.

.From coast to coast, fans are expected to devour around 1394 million pounds of Hass avocados during Super Sunday, according to the Hass Avocado Board. With that many green globes, a football field, measuring the same as the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, requiring about 29 million pounds of tortilla chips. That would require a pretty hefty chip to scoop that bowl.

To meet this demand, Hass avocado growers are gearing up for the peak period that will outscore Cinco de Mayo and other holidays.

A spicy zinfandel could stand up to the velvety guacamole or perhaps a sassy sangiovese could pucker your taste buds. But try a chilled sauvignon blanc if you tilt toward the white wines. But, don’t wait until kickoff to swill and sip.

But, back to the avocado story: It wasn’t easy selling the nation on the benefits of the exotic fruit. The first carload of California avocados was shipped to New York in January of 1927 and a sales report stated, “The Eastern market doesn’t want black fruit.”

But avocados growers persisted and today there are about 50,000 acres of avocado groves between Monterey and the San Diego border and 4,000 growers California is the nation’s leader in avocado production.

What if you want to whip up a batch of guacamole and the fruit is not ripe?

No problem. Simply place avocados in a paper bag with an apple for two to three days at room temperature.  When they darken and yield to gentle pressure, they are ready.

Enjoy the game!

 

 

Codorniu Vineyard winemakers came to San Francisco from Spain recently to tout the popularity and unique taste of Cava.

“Cava means cellar,” said speaker, television personality and wine expert Leslie Sbrocco. “These are sparkling wines from Spain. The wineries crafting the cava dates from 1551. All Cavas are made in the Traditional Method (aka Champagne Method)”

Most Cavas are made with grape varieties native to Catalonia, although a substantial portion are made from international varieties. Most Cavas are made in that region of Spain.

There are three categories of Cava: Traditional Cava, Cava Reserva and Cava Gran Reserva.

Catalonia produces 95 percent of total production of Cava in the country.