Chris Carpenter | Sitting Down With The Composer Himself

Chris Carpenter | Sitting Down With The Composer Himself

Chris Carpenter

On the terrace at Cardinale Winery with winemaker Chris Carpenter

Chris Carpenter has become one of Napa Valley’s most respected winemakers, and for good reason. If you’ve read my recent articles about his Cardinale and Lokoya wines, you might get the impression that I’m a fan. Combining his access to some of Napa Valley’s most prized vineyards with his skillful interpretation of what each unique site brings to the table results in a truly compelling portfolio of wines.

Like music to my ears, I can’t get enough of the Lokoya wines for how well they express true sense of place, and Cardinale for its alluring combination of depth and silken texture. The way Chris Carpenter sees it, the top vineyards he has access to are his instruments. The blend for each vintage of Cardinale results in a symphony, Napa Valley style, while the AVA specific Lokoya wines represent the soloists in the orchestra.

His portfolio of wines has been known to make a wine collectors the world over salivate, so when the opportunity presented itself to sit down with the man responsible for making the music, I couldn’t resist!

Chris Carpenter

Click this image to read more about my visit to Lokoya’s new Spring Mountain villa!

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Kirkland Signature Chablis Premier Cru | Top Costco Wines

Kirkland Signature Chablis Premier Cru | Top Costco Wines

Kirkland Signature Chablis

So there I am, wandering around Costco, surreptitiously updating my popular Guide to Costco Wine, when I spot the fabled unicorn: Costco Kirkland Signature Series Premier Cru Chablis for $14.99 per bottle!

Hailing from Burgundy’s Northernmost growing region, the Chardonnays produced in Chablis are world-renowned for their tension, energy, and flinty, mineral-driven personalities. The best examples are both delicate and full of energy, but carry a price tag that’ll knock the  wind out of you. For example, a Google search of [Premier Cru Chablis] yields the following shopping suggestions:

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Madrigal Family Winery | 2012 Madrigal Petite Sirah Review

Madrigal Family Winery | 2012 Madrigal Petite Sirah Review

Madrigal Petite Sirah

My friend Tara recently began an exciting new position as Hospitality and Tasting Room Manager at Madrigal Family Winery, introducing me to this boutique producer located in-between St. Helena and Calistoga in upper Napa Valley. Considering its location in the heart of Cabernet country, it’s no surprise that Madrigal Winery produces three different Cabernet Sauvignons, but it’s the Petite Sirah that vintner Chris Madrigal is especially proud of.

Chris Madrigal’s family history in the Napa Valley dates all the way back to the 1930s, when his Mexican grandparents moved to Napa Valley to seek better opportunities for their family. They soon began farming apples, pears, walnuts and grapes, unknowingly laying the groundwork for what would eventually become a successful vineyard management business in the hands of Chris Madrigals father Jess, currently overseeing some 800 acres.

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Robert Mondavi Oakville Cabernet | Best Cabernet Under $50

Robert Mondavi Oakville Cabernet | Best Cabernet Under $50

Robert Mondavi Oakville Cabernet

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit the historic Robert Mondavi Winery in January and tour the acclaimed To Kalon Vineyard adjacent to their Oakville estate. Widely regarded for its first-growth level quality, To Kalon has gained a near mythical status throughout the wine community in recent years.

Considering that it is arguably Napa’s most famous vineyard, with undeniably the most expensive fruit, it carries some serious cachet to have “To Kalon” on the label. Bottles regularly fetch $150 to $300+, with names like Schrader, Paul Hobbs and Carter Cellars paying record-level prices to Andy Beckstoffer for the rights to purchase fruit from his section of the To Kalon Vineyard.

Robert Mondavi Oakville Cabernet

My view from Mondavi overlooking the To Kalon Vineyard in January. Click to check out more from my Instagram!

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Young Inglewood | Mastering the Tightrope in Napa Valley

Young Inglewood | Mastering the Tightrope in Napa Valley

Young Inglewood

What I look for in a good Cabernet Sauvignon is a combination of depth, structure and balance. If that doesn’t sound like a tall order, believe me it isn’t often enough that all of these components come together in a truly compelling and harmonious fashion – yet the 2012 Young Inglewood Cabernet Sauvignon manages to makes it seem effortless.

Before Jim and Jacky Young founded Young Inglewood Vineyards, they asked themselves what their favorite wines had in common. They keenly pinpointed that it was in fact the often elusive element of balance that made these wines so special.

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Vinebox Revealed | Wines of the World, One Glass at a Time

Vinebox Revealed | Wines of the World, One Glass at a Time

Vinebox

What is Vinebox?

Vinebox is an exciting, innovative new startup that endeavors to quell one of the greatest concerns wine buyers have when taking a chance on a new bottle of wine: What to do if you purchase a wine and get home only to discover that you don’t like it! Vinebox affords wine lovers the opportunity to sample quality wines by the glass without committing to an entire bottle.

I receive requests almost weekly from startups who want me to write about and share their products or services, but out of respect for my readers and why I began this blog I politely decline. I only wish to share wines and wine-related products/services that I truly feel merit your attention, and Vinebox is one that absolutely caught mine.

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Dark Horse Cabernet | Taking Dark Horse Wine for a Ride

Dark Horse Cabernet | Taking Dark Horse Wine for a Ride?

Dark Horse Wine

Many people consider horses to be majestic, beautiful creatures. You might even think that of the somewhat ominous horse prominently displayed on bottles of Dark Horse Wines. Yet my experiences with them as a kid were somewhat less than favorable…

It all started on a field trip to a horse farm, where we had the opportunity to ride ponies. Quickly after cautiously getting on the one chosen for me, my horse took off in a full gallop chasing the large horse with an experienced adult rider in front of me. I was lucky not to fall, but the experience was as memorable as it was uninspiring.

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Cardinale Winery | 2012 Cardinale Reviewed

Cardinale Winery | 2012 Cardinale Reviewed

Cardinale

Well, two weeks of serious celebrating have officially come to an end, or have they? You see I turned 30 on Friday, and arguably drank enough good wine with friends and family to ensure that the memory of the actual day will remain fuzzy for years to come. But I’m not entirely ready for the good times to end, which is why I’ve elected to uncork a bottle of prestigious, limited-production Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from none-other than Oakville’s Cardinale Winery.

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Franciscan Estate Winery | An Under the Radar Overachiever

Franciscan Estate Winery | An Under the Radar Overachiever

Franciscan Estate

I have been buying and drinking Franciscan Estate wines for years now. In fact, shortly after tasting the 94 point 2007 Franciscan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon I promptly added a few cases to my stores. Considering that I paid just under $20 at the time, these wines were amongst the most reliable, consistent values I had come across in Cabernet, especially Napa Cabernet, in some time.

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Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Review | Top Costco Wines

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Review | Top Costco Wines

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc

Goodbye Winter, hello Spring! The first day of March was sun-drenched and 65 degrees here in the nation’s capital, so I seized the opportunity to thaw out with a wholly therapeutic run along the waterfront in beautiful historic Georgetown. As someone who strongly dislikes the cold and loves the outdoors, you could say I have a case of Spring fever!

With the days getting longer and temperatures steadily increasing, I know many of you will be heading to your local Costco Wine Section to stock up on crisp white wines like the popular Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc, which is surprisingly now even available by the glass at many Starbucks locations. Having not tried it yet myself, I thought it might be appropriate to finally give the Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc a shot.

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