With A Name Like That, It’s Gott To Be Good

July 18, 2007

Joel Gott Zinfandel

A look at the wines created by Joel Gott.

Joel Gott comes honestly to the business of winemaking. He’s the grandson of the president of Inglenook Winery, whose mother created Montevina Winery and whose father started in the cellar at Sterling Vineyards (eventually becoming CEO). Gott himself is a partner in the Three Thieves wine brand and owns a piece of a Napa Valley custom winemaking facility. A fifth-generation farmer, Gott and his brother own the gourmet burger restaurants Taylor’s Automatic Refresher in St. Helena and San Francisco (with another on the way in Napa). The father of three young children, he is married to wine consultant Sarah Gott and runs their family winemaking business.

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Paso Robles: California’s Most Promising Wine-Making Region

April 18, 2007

J Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon

A review of some wines from Paso Robles.

More than 40 different varietals — high-quality Zinfandel, excellent Cabernet blends and first-rate Rhone varietals — are cultivated in Paso Robles, California’s largest American Viticultural Area (AVA). The 24-plus square mile area has 700 to 2,000-foot elevations, with diverse microclimates from the cooling Pacific breezes and multiple canyons.

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Cure The Winter Blues With A Glass Of Red Wine

February 21, 2007

Mazzocco Zinfandel

Red wine recommendations for this winter.

A glass of red wine may be the best antidote for the winter blues. Even the coldest night is made more comfortable by a full- to medium-bodied wine served either with a hearty meal or sipped by the fire. And these long evenings are a perfect time to check out the bottles guests brought you during the holiday season.

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California Dreamin’: Wines Enhance the Holidays

December 20, 2006

Ferrari-Carano Siena

California wines for the holiday season.

With the holidays around the corner, it is time to choose the wines that will be served with the festive meals. Since the menu and head count often vary, it is best to generalize the wine choices rather than try to match them perfectly to the food and guests. Ideally, the wines should have solid fruit flavors that are true to the grape varietal. Balanced acidity is important to allow the wine to hold up to rich fare, and so is a good finish that will keep things interesting. For this year’s celebrations, I recommend wines from the Napa and Sonoma valleys.

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Flavorful Wines Arise From Inhospitable Conditions

October 18, 2006

Rosenblum Rockpile Road

A review of several Rosenblum wines.

Lovers of big, flavorful wines should make a pilgrimage to northern Sonoma County. There, the Rockpile AVA, a recently designated American Viticulture Area, includes more than 15,000 acres extending from Dry Creek Valley to the Mendocino County line above Lake Sonoma. The name fits perfectly since the shallow soil is studded with rocks and water is scarce. Only a few hundred acres within the Rockpile region can support grapevines, and the farms are located miles apart. These remarkably inhospitable conditions are the source of amazingly complex and well-structured wines — including the award-winning Rosenblum Rockpile Road Zinfandel 2003.

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California’s Vines Climb In Quality, Popularity

May 17, 2006

De Loach Vineyards

A look at California wines on the 30th Anniversary of the “Judgement of Paris.”

An event that forever changed the wine world occurred in Paris on May 24, 1976. Noted wine maven Steve Spurrier organized a ‘‘blind” tasting to compare California and French wines. Unexpectedly, the nine French wine experts chose California’s Chateau Montelena Chardonnay and Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon as the winners over several well-known French wines. While Europeans were shocked and Americans pleased, California’s reputation as a source of fine wines was established.

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Uncork Some Wintry Wines

November 17, 2005

Phelps Le Mistral

Some winter wine suggestions

I am not a fan of cold weather. Shoveling sidewalks and scraping windshields holds no great fascination for me and I would much rather eat a meal served poolside than by a fireplace. But, when you live in the Northeast, winter weather is inevitable and you make due with whatever pleasures you can find until the crocuses return.

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Wine Aficionados Gather To Help Feed Hurricane Victims

October 19, 2005

Dalla Valle

Charity wine events are enjoyable ways to support good causes.

Tasting wines while supporting a worthwhile cause makes a doubly enjoyable evening. Members of the wine industry who share their expertise often attend such charity events, and frequently, there are opportunities to purchase rare and exotic items usually not available to the general public.

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Winemaking Beckons Successful Types To Try Their Hand

September 21, 2005

de Lorimier Lace

Winemaking as a second career.

Some say the way to make a small fortune in the wine business is to start with a large one. Subject to the vagaries of weather, insects and capricious consumer tastes, winemaking appears to be a guaranteed way to lose money. Despite these issues, many people who have become successful in other endeavors find the lure of making and selling their own wine irresistible.

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