Need a good wine app? Try Vivino!

While it’s sometimes embarrassing to whip out my phone and take pictures of the wine I’m drinking, it’s also necessary in order to keep track of new and exciting wines. So imagine my happiness when I found Vivino. Tasting notes, prices, ratings, the works, all in one little app - and sharable, too! You’ll love it.

Cheers!

Wines We Should Remember, Part 1

by J.T. & Amy

With social media feeds that rage like rivers, it's a wonder we retain any of the deluge.

And while we love finding new things, we do like revisiting old favorites. Every so often, we want to bring you on our journey to yesteryear as we remember wines that are as delicious as the day we found them. 

J.T.'s Pick

Y'all. If you haven't tried Lapostelle's Casa Cabernet Sauvignon, you're missing out. This Cab is super fruit-forward—lots of stone fruits like plums and cherries, and it's awesome in Bolognese. (which, by the way, is a perfectly acceptable summertime food. Tomatoes!) It's a steal at $14, so go try some!
 

Amy's Pick

Oh, Starborough Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc: you were so delightful to drink on your own, but I can't wait to see what your citrus and pear flavors do alongside summertime treats. I want to pair you with Jamaican jerk chicken and coconut shrimp, and maybe something with mango. You're worth the $11 price tag.
 

Go forth and wine, fellow Vixens!

J.T. & Amy

Our Holiday Wine Guide (for serving & gifting)

By J.T. and Amy

Holiday Wine Guide

Well, friends, the season has come upon us.
 

It's the season of dinners, parties, dinner parties, parties with co-workers, parties with friends, family parties you're genetically obligated to attend, and your own personal get-togethers that you have absolutely no time to plan because of the aforementioned social obligations.

It can leave you feeling a bit . . . spent. Listless. Uninspired. That's what happens when we sign ourselves up for the holiday season. Pretty soon, we'll all be longing for the cold, dark, dreary days in January, with visions of weeknight Netflix binges dancing in our heads. We'll shake our heads remembering the last days of 2015, and the hours we spent fretting over the perfect font for the Christmas cards and sending sleepy, middle-of-the-night reminders to ourselves to pick up the sour cream, because it was forgotten at the store yet again.

The last thing you want to do is antagonize over one more detail of your holiday season—including the wine offering.
 

Don't worry. We've got you covered. 

Here are a few simple suggestions for gifting and serving, so you can get on with the holidays (and, if you sip a bit while you coordinate all the parties, maybe making that 5th cheeseball of the season will be a bit more pleasant):


Wines for Serving

Under $20

Splurge

 

Wines for Gifting

Under $20

Splurge

Find what you're looking for? Let us know!  


Keep those holidays merry and bright,
J.T. & Amy


Help others give the gift of wine. You'll be repaid with karma and brownie points. And hey, who are we to argue with karma bringing around good wine . . . 

In Vino Veritas, part 4

By J.T.


Day 4

Ledsen

We were at a bit of a loss in the morning. Truth be told, we didn’t want to leave. We needed to head to San Francisco later in the day, the forecast called for rain, and we hadn’t gotten ourselves into the heart of the Sonoma Valley yet. So we decided to Trust in Tara – our theme of the week – and put in an address we knew was on the north end of the Sonoma Valley. That way, we could drive, and anything we stumbled upon was fair game.

The drive was beautiful, though we got caught in the downtown district of Sonoma, which I thought was much more “city” than Napa. But when we cleared out of that, we were able to drive for about thirty minutes, gazing at the vineyards, feeling the slow seep of time. We spied a huge mansion in the distance, and the closer we got, the more interesting it looked. They had a sign that said Sangiovese in the front, so we stopped. (We really need a bumper sticker that says “I Brake for Sangiovese”.)

The estate was called Ledson. We’d never heard of it, and soon discovered that this was another wine club-only vineyard. Intrigued, we started the tasting. It was so nice to be inside looking out on the rainy day, to see the mist rolling through the valley, to be warm and dry on such a dreary day. We were in the capable hands of Austin Smith, wine consultant extraordinaire, who entertain as well as educated.

We chose an array of reds for our tasting, and got to work. I say work because it is, in a sense. Anyone can go into a tasting and drink wine. It takes some practice to be able to tell one wine from another, to ferret out your individual tastebuds, to be able to tell French oak from American. And trust me, with a little bit of training, anyone can do this. And to the folks in these vineyards, when they get a true oenophile at the bar, it’s like a light goes on inside them. They want to educate. They’ve got the finer details down, and are willing to share. I have to tell you, the most fun of the whole trip was being surrounded by fellow wine junkies.

We started with the 2005 Diamond Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon – lots of rose petals, blackberry and cherry, vanilla, with cranberries, cloves and toasted oak. YUM! Then were tried the 2005 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Another excellent wine, with lots of leather, anise and lilac which tasted of chocolate and black berries. The 2005 Mes Trois Amour is the California version of an Australian GSM – that’s a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre grapes – with cocoa and smoke, rich cherry and smoked molasses. The 2007 Russian River Pinot Noir had the characteristic rose petal, strawberries and cherry nose that we’d come to expect from the pinots, but with a surprising caramel and pepper finish.

The 2006 Knights Valley Sangiovese was dry and spicy, and the 2005 Lodi Old Vine Zinfandelwas incredibly jammy, with white pepper and plum and a touch of cinnamon. We had some of the 2005 Kinghts Valley Bellisimo, the gold medal winner in the World Wine Championships, that is a 57% Merlot 43% cab blend – luscious, fruity and spicy, and the 2005 Sonoma County Cèpage, which was smoky, leathery, with toasted oak and plums. Truly an excellent wine. The last one we tried was the 2006 California La Montagne, a 75% cabernet 25% sangiovese with raspberry, pepper, rose and lilac notes. It’s a Super Tuscan wine, and absolutely divine. We were sold. We joined the wine club, and Austin comped our tasting, a very nice touch.

And then we ate. Thankfully, there was the great little Café Citti right down the street, and we munched a pizza and cleansed our palates with salad and lots of water.

Cafe Citti view

Declaring our trip a success, we headed into rainy San Francisco. It was too cool to drive the Golden Gate Bridge into town, but the shock of being in a city was a sharp contrast to the lazy, indolent days we’d spent in the country. We decided on the spot that we are definitely country mice, with the exception of New York.

We drove around San Fran and dined in the rain at Capurro's on the wharf. I had clam chowder and crab cakes, and a lovely glass of 2005 Clos la Chance Zinfandel. Randy was dabbling in the pesto gnocchi again – I just can’t keep that man away from the gnocchi.

We did a minimum amount of strolling, got lost (Tara wasn’t happy with the heavy fog and kept sending us to the wrong street) so we accidentally ended up on Lombard Street. It was dark, but you can still see the crookedness. We did a run through the red light district (when I visited San Fran last, when I was 8, my dad got lost and ended up on that street. Twice. My mom was having kittens.)

Back at the Grand Hyatt, we had a cappuccino and birra in the lounge, then went back to our room. Looking down into Union Square, we saw a group of people, all dressed in black, looking like they were doing a protest. We found out a few minutes later that we were watching anarchists who’d just cracked windows all over the shopping district, causing thousands of dollars in damage. Um, yeah. Way to make a statement, guys – cracking a window at Neiman Marcus while wearing a ski mask is sure to change the world.

Day 5

Louise and JT

We had very special plans today. At noon, we were meeting our dear friend Louise and her sweet hubby Bruce for lunch at the Washington Square Bar and Grill. After we packed and managed to get the multiple bottles of wine we bought along the way shipped home, we headed to Washington Square.

Our dear Louise looked lovely, and kindly gifted me with a San Francisco compass, which I desperately needed. We had a brilliant meal (try the fish and chips, they are croquettes and really yummy) and a plain old fashioned cellar merlot. I was actually a bit wined out, if you can believe it.

After a couple of scintillating hours in our dear friends’ company, it was time to go home. We drove across the Bay Bridge into Oakland, and the fairy tale ended. Alas. But out luck held – even though we were an hour late turning the car in, they didn’t charge us an extra day. Southwest was on time, as always, and we got home safe and sound to a very, very happy kitty.

Bottles of wine have been rolling in, with almost daily visits from UPS. Our cellar restocked, now we’re planning our next outing. Italy? Oregon? Wherever we go, we’re sure to find good food, good wine, and make new friends.

Thanks for taking the journey with us. A new decade has begun, and I hope it brings great joy and success to us all.

#WineWednesday

By Amy

Liz Lemon

Who doesn't love a good Buzzfeed quiz?

Answer: no one

And this one is pretty spectacular: How Should You Drink Your Wine Based on Your Zodiac Sign?

I got wine popsicle. I'll take it, even in October!