Ty Caton Sonoma Cabernet | An Estate Grown Gem

Ty Caton Cabernet Sauvignon Caton Vineyard | An Estate Grown Sonoma Gem

Ty Caton

As the hunt for good Napa Cabernet under $20 becomes an increasingly arduous one, you might consider treating your taste buds to a sojourn in Sonoma.

If it’s Pinot Noir that comes to mind when you think of Sonoma, keep in mind when you head further west towards Sonoma Coast is where you’ll find the highest concentration of vineyards dedicated to Pinot (and Chardonnay). But just across the Mayacama mountain range from Napa Valley you’ll find warmer days along with some great Cabernet’s such as this example by Ty Caton Vineyards.

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Summer Wine | Keep Cool with these Summer Sips!

Summer Wine | Keep Cool with these Summer Sips!

Summer Wine

Taken in the gardens at Beringer Vineyards this Summer in Napa

Summer is officially well underway! And here in Washington D.C. that means staggeringly high temperatures coupled with collar soaking humidity. It’s a combination that calls for the type of relief that only a cold bottle of wine (or pink) wine can deliver – so I’ve put together a list of the Summer wines I’ll be reaching for myself over the next few months.

Feel free to take inspiration from this list or have your own fun and come up with your own Summer wine menu. Regardless of what you choose, I hope that you’ll share you’re Summer wine selections with me via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, too. Keep cool and enjoy your Summer wine safely!

Summer Wine

Summer Wine | Bodegas Valdemar Conde de Valdemar Finca Alto Cantabria 2013: Boy that was a mouthful, but you can rest assured that what’s in the bottle is simply excellent white Rioja. This elegant and versatile white wine is produced from 100% Viura and will impress with its near weightless, mineral-inflected personality. You can read my full review here.

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Davis Estates Winery | A Changing Landscape in Calistoga

Davis Estates Winery | A Changing Landscape in Calistoga

Davis Estates

This renovated historic barn at Davis Estates is a California Historic Landmark

As the epicenter of America’s evolving and increasingly interesting wine scene, Napa Valley is the hottest place to be – and having its namesake on your label lends quite a bit of cachet and prestige in the marketplace.

Being so sought after has translated to the highest prices nationwide per buildable acre, with prices ranging from $150,000 all the way up to $2 million. While it’s still primarily an agricultural-centric region, long gone are the days of diversified crops in this fertile valley – today the cash crop is the wine grape – and it thrives here.

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Best Wine for Sangria | The Perfect Ingredient

Best Wine for Sangria | The Perfect Ingredient | Plus My Simple Sangria Recipe!

Best wine for Sangria

Stock photo credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

The Best Wine for Sangria is of Spanish Origin – Just like Sangria!

Much like the origin of this quaffable summertime favorite, the best wine for Sangria also hails from Spain – and should be an inexpensive, dry wine of good quality.

Because most Sangria Recipe’s call for the addition of fruit and sugar, the perfect wine for Sangria should not be sweet or overly fruity itself – resulting in a harmonious and well balanced Sangria. Once you’ve finished with my Low Calorie Simple Sangria Recipe below you should find yourself with the perfectly uncomplicated Sangria: a refreshing wine cocktail that’s fruity and semi-sweet with just a hint of citrus tang.

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Reserve des Cleons Muscadet | Summer Seafood Partner

Reserve des Cleons Muscadet Wine Review | Perfect Partner for Summer Seafood

Muscadet Wine

Muscadet might be tough to pronounce (try Moose-cah-Dey), but if you’re familiar with this popular Loire Valley white then you already know just how easy it is to drink, especially paired with seafood during summertime.

Many of the best Muscadet’s hail from the Sevre et Maine appellation and are aged sur lie, which means on the dead yeast cells. This process adds complexity and lends a certain creaminess to the resulting wine.

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Bodegas Valdemar | A Legacy of Innovation in La Rioja

Bodegas Valdemar | A Legacy of Innovation in La Rioja

Bodegas Valdemar

My incredibly loyal readers know just how fond I am of Spanish wines. They often seriously over-deliver for the price and have an endearing ability to combine the best aspects of old-world wines (balanced, food-friendly and terroir-driven) with those of new world wines (more fruit-forward).

As a Sommelier friend was recently explaining to me, if he is looking to introduce a new world wine drinker to the old-world wine scene, he always starts in Spain. And if he were introducing them to the wines of Bodegas Valdemar, he would have both modern and old-world options to choose from within the same portfolio!

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Smith Madrone Vineyards | A Spring Mountain Must…

Smith Madrone Vineyards | A Spring Mountain Must

Smith Madrone

The views of Napa Valley below from Smith Madrone Vineyards

Something From Nothing | The Beginnings of Smith Madrone Vineyards

Tucked away at the very end of Spring Mountain Road lies Smith Madrone Vineyards. Situated at the highest point in the Spring Mountain District, its steeply sloped mountain vineyards reach grades of up to 34% at elevations between 1300 and 2000 feet.

Notable and familiar neighbors include Bothe Napa Valley State Park directly to the North, Barnett Vineyards immediately to the West and Keenan Winery lies due South.

The history of the property dates all the way back to the 1880 when a man by the name of George Cook secured a land grant authorized by then President Chester A. Arthur and planted vineyards and olive trees on the estate.

But when Stu Smith discovered this special parcel of land, with its expansive views of Napa Valley and rocky, well-drained volcanic soils, the existing vineyards were in disrepair and the property was still mostly just a forest!

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Alamos Malbec Reviewed | Still A Robust Bargain?

Alamos Malbec 2014 Reviewed | Still A Robust Bargain?

Alamos Malbec

First things first… I realize that I’m not bringing you anything groundbreaking or immensely exciting here with an Alamos Malbec review. Its long been a perennial favorite now and is practically the poster child for the Malbec craze. It’s tough not to like its plush, intensely fruited profile and soft, approachable style.

But I hadn’t actually tasted this wine in years and am curious if it’s still a halfway decent bottle for the price. And did I mention how popular it is?

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Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay | Ring in Chardonnay Day!

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay | Ringing in National Chardonnay Day!

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay

Kicking off National Chardonnay Day with Wente’s Morning Fog Chardonnay

Today is May 21, 2015 which just so happens to be National Chardonnay Day and I’m celebrating with the Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay. While you might not be able to get out of work for this particular holiday, National Chardonnay Day is a great reason to kick back and enjoy a glass of Chardonnay – should you need an excuse!

Chardonnay is still by far the most popular white varietal by consumption in the Unites States, with over 65 million cases consumed each year. While I often recommend alternative varietals over always going for the obvious Chardonnay choice, I have always been a big fan of well-made, balanced Chardonnay. Plus there’s an interesting story to be told here…

Why Wente? | California’s First Family of Chardonnay

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Casado Morales Rioja Gran Reserva | Finding Value in Spain

Casado Morales Rioja Gran Reserva 2004 | Finding Value in Spain

Casado Morales

I initially tried theĀ Casado Morales Rioja Gran Reserva 2004 after picking it up during a Wines Til Sold Out flash sale offering and was shocked at the quality considering I paid less than $23. I even brought this to a blind tasting where it competed with a few other Rioja’s from respected producers and it’s victory was unanimous – and quite tasty!

Some time had passed since I had seen this again but WTSO recently offered it and I’ve also seen that it’s available at Total Wine so I thought I’d share this character-laden, well-aged Spanish bargain from Casado Morales with you guys…

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