Upgrade Your Tasting Experience With Arrowood’s New “Private Seated Tasting”

Disclaimer: While this post was sponsored by Arrowood Vineyards, all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Arrowood Vineyards

The popularity of Cabernet Sauvignon is no secret, and readers often ask for my recommendations when planning a trip to Sonoma and Napa since I spend so much time there; and while I’m immensely fond of Sonoma and Napa producers alike, I often find myself recommending Sonoma Cabernet producers these days. Why, do you ask?

Because the stronger maritime influences of Sonoma’s climate generally lends itself to more restrained, lower-alcohol Cabernet Sauvignons and the prices of the wines are often more reasonable than their better-known Napa Valley counterparts.

Plus, those who think great Cabernet only hails from Napa Valley might just be in for a surprise, as even I was when I recently visited Arrowood Vineyards and Winery, located in the very heart of Sonoma Valley just off of Sonoma Highway 12.

The “Private Seated Tasting” offers guests an intimate introduction to Arrowood’s Compelling Portfolio of Reserve-Level Cabernets Paired with Gourmet Cheese and Charcuterie While Overlooking the Panoramic Vineyard Views of the Arrowood Estate. 

I recently had the pleasure of visiting and experiencing the winery’s brand new “Private Seated Tasting” experience, and was delighted to find that truly compelling Cabernet Sauvignon was not just a part of the the tasting, but was proudly the star. Of the five reserve wines I was able to taste, four were 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Included in the tasting and paired with a gourmet charcuterie plate were the following wines:

  • 2013 Arrowood Proprietary Red (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec)
  • 2013 Arrowood Monte Rosso Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2013 Arrowood Smothers-Remick Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2013 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon Réserve Spéciale
  • 2005 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon Réserve Spéciale

Offering distinctive wines that are uniquely expressive of their terroir is very much part of the soul of Arrowood, as Richard Arrowood, who founded the winery over 30 years ago, was an early pioneer of vineyard-designated offerings in Sonoma County. While Richard retired from Arrowood in 2011 (his legendary winemaking career spans more than 50 years in Sonoma), he recognized early on the potential for Cabernet Sauvignon in various regions throughout Sonoma.

Arrowood Vineyards

Guests can choose to enjoy the Private Seated Tasting on the patio overlooking Arrowood’s Estate Vineyards

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Italy’s Tenuta Sette Ponti Produces a Pair of Tuscans to Treasure

Italy’s Tenuta Sette Ponti Produces a Pair of Tuscans to Treasure

Tenuta Sette Ponti

Photo credit: http://www.seminarioveronelli.com

While the words ‘Super Tuscan’ and ‘Superb Value’ are rarely uttered within the same sentence, the Tenuta Sette Ponti estate, nestled in the heart of Italy’s Chianti region, continues to produce uncommonly distinctive wines that over-deliver for their respective price points.

Two wines in particular, the Tenuta Sette Ponti Crognolo ($30) and Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno ($70) have undeniably played a considerable role in the estates success, as these wines consistently demonstrate Tenuta Sette Ponti’s ability to produce high-quality, value-driven wines year after year. As an added bonus – these wines are made even more accessible by the fact that they are widely distributed, making them easy for consumers to find.

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Belden Barns | Your Wish For Affordable Pinot Just Came True

Belden Barns | Your Wish for Affordable Pinot Just Came True

Belden Barns

Quietly tucked away off of windy Sonoma Mountain Road is where you’ll find Belden Barns Winery. Resting at roughly 1,000 feet of elevation on the Northwest shoulder of Sonoma Mountain, this unique property is the original home of Steiner Vineyard, the acclaimed site that has provided the foundation for sought-after wines from producers such as Donelan Family, Carlisle and Eric Kent.

Originally founded by Bennett Valley/Sonoma Mountain pioneer Dave Steiner (who was actually married to the founder of Matanzas Creek), the property had fallen into disrepair and most of the vineyards were badly damaged by phylloxera; until Nate Belden recognized the potential of this site and acquired the property in 2005.

Belden Barns

Growing up immersed in agriculture, Nate spent his youth on a horse farm in Colorado until a career in finance transported him to the sometimes harsh realities of city life. But as time went on he began to miss his former agrarian lifestyle more and more. He dreamed of getting back to his roots, and a trip to wine country with friends ignited an idea and a passion that he couldn’t resist. After a year of searching and dreaming of the perfect property, Belden Barns became a reality.

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Fall for Cabernet! | My Best Cabernet Under $100 Selections

Fall for Cabernet! | My Best Cabernet Under $100 Selections

Best Cabernet Under $100

As the vestiges of summer become nothing more than warm fading memories, what do you look forward to most? For me, the cooler weather brings with it a few of my favorite things. From watching the spectacular fall foliage transform the landscape, to sipping warm chai lattes in the brisk sunny weather or scouring the pumpkin patch with my girls for the finest specimens possible. But there’s yet another pastime of paramount importance to me… hunting for the Best Cabernet Under $100!

As the holiday season kicks off in earnest (can you believe it’s almost December?!) and we transition from crisp, refreshing whites to robust, warming reds, I thought readers might be wondering which Cabernet’s were worthy of their consideration. I hope you’ll find this compilation of the best Cabernet under $100 resourceful as you celebrate with friends and family this season – there’s something for every budget!

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October is Merlot Month | Drink Napa and Sonoma Merlot!

October is Merlot Month | Drink Napa and Sonoma Merlot

Merlot Month

As you have probably heard, Northern California has been ravaged by devastating wildfires that began unexpectedly on the evening of October 9, 2017. The combination of extremely dry, hot conditions and the blistering Diablo winds caused widespread sections of wine country to explode with uncontrollable fires.

Since they began, 41 lives, 3,500 structures, 16 wineries and in excess of 245,000 acres have been lost in this region many of us hold near and dear. So many families have lost everything in what has been described as the most deadly wildfire episode the region has ever experienced. The brave, tireless efforts of firefighters, first responders and volunteers will not soon be forgotten.

My next article in queue was originally going to be one highlighting recommended Cabernet Sauvignons from various regions at price points for every budget, but I have decided to briefly postpone that in an effort to bring what attention I can to supporting this hard hit region.

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Zachys Makes a Bold Splash onto the DC Wine Scene

Zachys Makes a Bold Splash onto the DC Wine Scene

Zachys DC

Photo Credit: Zachys

I recently had the opportunity to experience a few exciting firsts: I attended my first auction bidding party as well as my first wine auction. It was a double whammy of oenophilic excitement, as attendees competed for incredible lots while sipping the exalted likes of ’82 Cheval Blanc, ’96 Dom Pérignon Rosé and ’05 Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

There was an undeniable energy permeating the room as the auction was live-streamed from New York on a pair of big screen flatscreen TV’s, and it all went down at the new Zachys showroom in the NE quadrant of DC, located at 3521 V St NE, Washington, DC 20018. Zachys DC

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Wines ‘Til Sold Out Broadens Appeal | Launches Bonus Offers

Wines ‘Til Sold Out Broadens Appeal | Launches Bonus Offers

Regular readers of The Fermented Fruit are pretty familiar with Wines ‘Til Sold Out, and my affinity for their popular platform where one single wine is offered at a heavily discounted price – until it’s sold out.  It’s a pretty straight forward approach, and a highly successful one for the company, who revolutionized the way wine was sold online when they basically created the flash-sale space.

But this old favorite has just gotten even better, as Wines ‘Til Sold Out has recently expanded their offerings with the first-ever launch of Bonus Offers, giving customers access to not one but nine different wines at once, with the opportunity to mix and match their orders to meet the free shipping minimum.

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Turnbull Winery | A Napa Stalwart Finds Renewed Focus

Turnbull Winery | A Napa Stalwart Finds Renewed Focus

Turnbull Winery

Napa wineries located directly off of Napa’s bustling main artery Highway 29 sometimes get a bad rap – although maybe not for the reason you’d expect. You see the issue typically isn’t the quality of the wine, as some of the most respected wineries in the valley enjoy the level of visibility and prestige afforded by such a location.

But the crowds and overall guest experience can be quite a different story. Let’s just say that tour buses and bachelorette parties are not an uncommon sight, and sadly, I wouldn’t be surprised if you found yourself wrangling with some Napa snobbery here and there.

My suggestion? Make your way to one of Highway 29’s most underrated gems: Turnbull Winery, where the only wrangling you’ll have to do will be with yourself when you’re forced to figure out which wines you enjoyed the most!

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Hotel RivaLago Review | Where To Stay in Franciacorta

Hotel RivaLago Review | Where To Stay in Franciacorta

Hotel RivaLago

If you take your visits to wine country as seriously as I do, then you understand the importance of where you stay during your trip. On my recent press trip to the impressive Italian sparkling wine region of Franciacorta I had the pleasure of staying at Hotel RivaLago, located in Sulzano, Italy on the beautiful shores of crystal clear Lake Iseo. After spending 5 nights at this elegant and airy boutique property I can confidently say this its charms undeniably added to my overall experience that week.

Hotel Rivalago

Hotel RivaLago’s large pool swimming pool benefits from an ideal location directly on the lake. Guests can also enjoy an alfresco meal from the full-service restaurant onsite. I highly recommend the duck carpaccio and caprese salad.

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The Best Franciacorta Wines | Italy Gets Serious About Sparkling

The Best Franciacorta Wines | Italy Gets Serious About Sparkling Wine

Franciacorta Wine

When you’re deciding which sparkling wine to purchase, it’s not uncommon to consider the gold standards of Champagne or the similarly reliable, yet significantly more affable Prosecco options from Italy’s Veneto region. Many savor the former, while the latter is often relegated to mimosa duty. But look a little harder and you’ll not only discover Italy’s best kept secret, but one of the best-kept secrets in the world of wine: Franciacorta.

What this relatively young yet fiercely dynamic wine region lacks in sheer size and history it more than makes up for in quality, consistently producing distinctive sparkling wines that rival the quality of those in Champagne, yet are produced in their own unique style. Consider the fact that they’re often less expensive than their expertly-branded French counterparts an added bonus.

Franciacorta is the only region in Italy where all of the wines are made in the costly and significantly more time consuming Méthode Traditionelle, whereby the wines undergo their secondary fermentation and aging in bottle, resulting in more complex, finessed sparklers.

If you’re wondering why you might not be familiar with Franciacorta’s wines, the numbers offer an explanation. Champagne boasts a towering production of roughly 300 million bottles per year from 75,000 vineyard acres, while Franciacorta spans merely 10% of that size, measuring just 7,800 acres.

Champagne has also been in the business since as early as the 17th century, while Franciacorta has only been producing wine since 1961. But such a stark contrast highlights what might just be most impressive about this little region in Northern Italy: how far and how quickly it has come in barely 50 years.

Franciacorta Wine

Understanding Franciacorta | An Area, Production Method and a Wine

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