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.

Our journey has just begun.

Contact Julia

Hi! It's me, Julia. I hope you enjoyed visiting my new website and I would appreciate your comments. Please send email using this form if you would like to be in touch!

Fields marked with an * are required

Wente Vineyards’ Murrieta’s Well Winery in Livermore shared some of its favorite pairing recently; just in time for Christmas feasts.

Pair polpettines (tiny meatballs made with beef, veal and pork) with the Murrieta’s Well Small Lot Merlot. Its dark red and fruit flavors are an excellent contrast to the meaty, dark, rich flavors of beef. It’s a fun start to any holiday meal.

Whip up some Butternut Squash Risotto with cremini mushrooms, brown butter and fresh herbs with the Murrieta’s Well Small Lot Chardonnay. The varietal can stand up to the richness of a risotto.

The creamy vanilla notes of the wine create a link to the creaminess of the risotto, while the wine’s bright acidity keep it from becoming overwhelmingly rich.

Oven roast a smoky glazed ham with pepper jelly and

pour Murrieta’s Well, “The Spur.”  The combination of fruit and spice are flavors that bring together this food and wine pairing perfectly. It is a classic for the holidays.

Bon Appetit !


“Buon Natale” (Merry Christmas) from two Italian wines that will add a festive flair to any holiday feast.

The two selections come from of Ciu Ciu iconic wine house that bottles history as well as quality grapes.

Gotico, crafted from 70 percent Montepulciano and 30 percent Sdsc01630angiovese, is a deep ruby selection with purples hues. The aging 12 months in oak barrels gives the wines excitement and smoothness. Aromas of spice and vanilla make way for a smooth, fruity full-bodied finish.

For a lighter wine to add a lighter touch to the party, Falerio is a perfect choice.

This delicate straw colored wine is produced in the hilly climes above sea level. Trebbiano, Passerina and Pecorino marry beautifully to make a wine that exudes light acidity and freshness. The bouquet is sweet with a fruit and white flower perfume.

Flora Springs has a dynamic 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Blend ($57) in an etched, hand painted bottle that will make the giver the toast of the season.

But, that’s if you really want to share this festive selection.

The wine comes from the Komes and Garvey families who selected grapes from special vineyards on the estate. (No need to wrap this gift.)dsc01622

Open this wine about five minutes before serving. Rich, juicy blackberry and blueberry fruit send cascades of enticing aromas that alert the palate that something very special is on its way. Whispers of licorice, cola and dark chocolate seduce the taste buds with rounded texture and decadent tannins that linger on the lush finish.

Pour this with “big” holiday fare such as prime rib, Yorkshire pudding and chocolate pecan pie with bourbon whipped cream.

Now wine drinkers have another reason to open Red Truck: the world’s first cork stopper and glass bottle with new Helix technology.

The new twist-to-open concept, announced by Bronco Wine Company, combines an ergonomically-designed stopper made from cork and a glass bottle with an internal thread at the neck. It is user-friendly, twist open and re-sealable convenience.

“Wine consumers in American have a growing understanding of the role quality cork dsc01573and quality wine play in delivering their wine in a sustainable, premium format,” said Bronco’s CEO Fred Franzia. “We have been doing that for many years, but with now the U.S. market will enjoy the convenience of an easy-open, and easy to reclose bottle.  We are proud at Bronco to be the first winery in American to deliver this incredible innovation.”

The reward is in the bottle. This 2014 red blend is a bright, medium bodied wine that delivers rich, berry flavors and aromas that compliment any cuisine.

So turn off your engine, relax and enjoy the ride.

It’s OK to be a little selfish this time of year. So, ignore the guilt and open two decadent wines from Beringer Vineyards’ Regional Estates.

Since 1876, the iconic winery has been producing quality wines from vineyards across Napa Valley, Sonoma, Knights Valley and Paso Robles.

The 2014 Waymaker Red Wine from Paso Robles ($28) is composition of 56 percent syrah, 20 percent cabernet sauvignon, 12 percent petite syrah, 6 percent malbec, 3 percent moudsc01559rvedre, 2 percent petit verdot and 1 percent tannat. The mountainous growing area protects the valley and allows for even ripening with hot daytime temperatures balanced with cool breezes from the Pacific Ocean.

The resulting blend opens with dazzling aromas of blueberries, cherry and pomegranate with cascades of ripe plum, cocoa and spicy flavors.

Beringer’s 2014 Pinot Noir ($25) from the Sonoma Coast is a feast for your taste buds. Red cherry, strawberry and black tea – the hallmark aromas of the varietal – open the curtain to flavors of juicy red fruit with complex hints of clove and allspice.

Nat Komes, general manager, Flora Springs and Jon Nathaniel Wines, said there will be a delicious selection of wines and food on his family’s Thanksgiving table.


“We always spend Thanksgiving with my mom and dad (Carrie and John Komes) in Arizona, where they have a second home,” he said. “The weather is great, and my kids love hiking through all the rock formations in the desert there. We’re pretty traditional when it comes to the Thanksgiving menu: turkey, of course, plus stuffing, gravy and all the fixings.”

Komes wife, Anne, is French, and she always makes the potatoes: Gratin Dauphinoise, a French twist on the traditional scalloped potatoes. She tops it with Gruyère cheese, which gives it even more flavor.

“For the wines, we like to serve a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, such as our Flora Springs Soliloquy Sauvignon Blanc, to start,” he said. “And because we love serious reds arounds our house, we quickly move into those: you can always count on a couple of vintages of Flora Springs Trilogy to be on the table.

“This year we’ll serve our Jon Nathaniel Bodacious Red Wine Blend. It’s a wine my dad and I make together under the Jon Nathaniel label, and because it’s a blend – mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with some Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc – it’s a perfect with some of the richer foods on the table.”

Kristie Tacey, owner and winemaker of Tessier Winery in Healdsburg, shared her Thanksgiving menu and her wines.

“I love the communal cooking approach to Thanksgiving:  everyone contributing something to the meal,” she said. “I am a transplant from Michigan and celebrate ‘Friends-giving!’  This year my husband, Jason and I are hosting three friends.

My wine menu was put together in my head long before we did the food menu.  I will pull some special bottles from my personal Tessikristie_tessierwineryer library.  Wine is an important piece, as it will hide any problems with the turkey and or gravy.”

Kristie will put turkey in brine the night before and bake the apple pie – made with five kinds of apples with warm spices of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and clove –Thanksgiving morning.  Jason does the sage and sausage stuffing and friends bring mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.

“My plan is to saber 2015 Domaine Belluard ‘Les Perles du MontBlanc’ sparkling wine to start sipping while we are cooking,” she said. “I love the bubbles in this wine — so effervescent, along with the alluring aromas of chamomile and spicy ginger with a hint of caramel. Then we roll into my last bottle of 2012 Saralee’s Vineyard Viognier.”

When dinner is ready she plans a comparative 2013 Grenache from El Dorado,  Tessier Fenaughty Vineyard and Sierra Vista Rayas Estate Vineyard.

“Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without Pinot Noir,” she said. “My very first wine for Tessier was from 2009 Trenton Station Vineyard, Russian River Valley, farmed by the late Saralee Kunde.

“Cheers to everyone on this Thanksgiving.  Be grateful for lovely memories and all of those you have in your life.”

Wine expert and host of PBS TV’s “Check Please”, Leslie Sbrocco, took sommeliers and wine enthusiasts on a delicious tour of Spanish wines this week without passports.

“Albarino, an indigenous Spanish grape, produces small grapes that are lemony to pale green in color,” she said. “It comes from the ‘Green Region’. Try this selection instead of sauvignon blanc.”


Leslie Sbrocco
Leslie Sbrocco

(The aromatic white wine –fondly called “wine of the sea” – grows in the cool coastal climates of Galica’s  Rios Baixas. Legend has it that the husband of Castilian Queen Dofia Urraca brought the grape to Spain from France around 1090.)

Sbrocco discussed a 2015 Rioja from the Bodegas Vivanco Rosado, located in the Ebro River Valley.

“It is light, refreshing and vibrant and goes with every course,” she said.

Kim Crawford Wines have a stunning limited edition 2016 Sauvignon Blanc bottle that will be the centerpiece of gifting this upcoming holiday season.

But, the outside of the golden bottle ($18) is just the beginning of the magic inside.

Located in Marlborough, New Zealand, the label has received acclaim around9c528e32-95f5-4cba-990d-6a07aa25131d

the globe. The secret is the winemaker’s passionate attention to detail with a special focus on sustainable farming in the vineyards and small lot fermentation. Grapes were individually harvested from 120 of the winery’s 240 lots and gently pressed and fermented. When combined these individual parcels deliver a potpourri of dense flavors.

Pale hue in the glass, aromas of citrus and tropical fruit with a dominance of pink grapefruit entice the senses.

More tropical fruit, mango, pineapple and guava flavors linger in a satisfying finish on the palate.

Pour this slightly chilled with fresh oysters, asparagus and lobster.



Many Americans will be looking for comfort in a bottle while others will be celebrating Tuesday’s stunning Presidental Election results.

There is a way to quench both red and blue sides of this historic day: Jeio Prosecco from Italy.

Composed of 100 percent glera grape, the Spumante Brut 07032b00-4225-4994-88b0-6602f23c51aehas a straw yellow and light green hints to change a depressed mood into one of hope. The perky bouquet exudes a fruity apple and flower aromas with hints of apricot and citrus and white wild flowers. Taste elegant flavors and subtle floral and a soft fruity finish.

The Cuvee Rose Spumante Brut – Merlot and Pinot Nero – is brilliant pink in the glass that calls for a celebration.  The elegant bouquet is wide ranging with great surprises. Intense notes of roses accompany a delicate bouquet of fresh fruit, citrus and lychee. The flavor is balanced and lightly acidic.

These two sparklers are known to have mysterious, albeit, remarkable healing powers.