Wine Blog

 

 

domaine

The majestic Domaine Carneros

The view from Joseph Phelps

The view from Joseph Phelps

GET TO KNOW A WINERY
LETS GO TASTING!! I’m featuring wineries I think are outstanding. Not just great wine, philosophy, price, history.

 

BIG THINGS ARE HAPPENING.

The Cal Wine guy has been very busy these days. First the HighSpirits show has been on a roll, as well as other live shows. We wanna thank all the people who came out to the show, and to our amazing sponsors NZ Navagator wines, and the great Grgich winery. Aaron my trusty wine sidekick and I will be in Paso Robles the weekend of October 21st for the Harvest weekend @Hearst Winery. We will be doing the show up in a great wine area spreading knowledge, laughs, and great Vino! Tickets coming soon. In other news we are doing a Kickstarter, to raise money for a T.V. Pilot about all the great wine areas, in California and beyond. We want to bring you to the wine areas, like Napa, or Sonoma two very different places. Or maybe Santa Barbara, Paso ect.  Introducing you to the Grapes, the people who grow them and make them into the amazing wine. Also secrets spots each area has to offer, the food and the laughs. There has never been a show like this and we know viewers are gonna love it!

OK I know I’m a California wine guy but sometimes you gotta give a shout-out to some other wine worlds. Recently I had the good fortune of going to a New Zealand wine tasting, and what an eye-opener. First of all most people know NZ for Lord of the rings, Flight of the Concords, and mass produced mediocre Sav Blanc. They sell TONS of the stuff via huge corporate company’s that make it hard for the real stuff to get into the US. What people don’t realize is that countries, like NZ, South Africa, and Spain are killing it in the wine world. In southern France angry wine hooligans are smashing Spanish wines, from wine shops in protest. The point is you need to look into different areas, and different wines. I get to go to many tastings as a wine guy, but rarely do I get to amazed by a group of wines like I did from NZNavagator.com. Wines like 2014 CERES Pinot Noir is amazing from Otago where Pinot grows in the cooler climate, and is the most southerly place to grow grapes too. Imagine if the weather of Burgundy and Sonoma mixed you’d have Otago, perfect Pinot growing and the wines prove it. And if you come to the next HighSpirits show you will get to blind taste some! http://nzwinenavigator.com is the website to check out these great wines

 

Ok I gotta get back to my roots and that’s Cali wine and I got a real winner winery in Napa  Chappellet winery has been making rich beautiful wines for a long time. As with wines that get good scores from the wine mags the prices go up too, in this case they have the juice to back it up. There are 3 main levels, the cuvee a kinda heavier merlot to cab blend for around $25 bucks great stuff. Then you have my fav the Signature Cabernet both the 2013-14 years are terrific examples of great Cabernet, an ager wine for a special time at around $50 it kicks many of the $70-$100 a bottle stuff easily. Then you have the big Daddy of Cabernets the Pritchard Hill Cabernet for around $120 yes that’s a lot but compared to the similar Cult Cabs its a steal.

chappelet

 

 

 

HIGHSPIRITS@CITYWINERY CHICAGO AUGUST 3-4TH

 

HighSpirits

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Wow another High Spirits show can and went 3 sold out shows in Venice we will be coming to your town soon hopefully. And can’t express how thankful I am to our supporters, what a great group of people. The response to this show has been overwhelming and we keep evolving.  I will be doing another show in June so keep a lookout and thanks again.

 

WHERE THE HELL HAVE I BEEN?

Great question, well I had my computer stolen so its hard to keep contact on a pretend computer. Then I did my first HIGH SPIRITS SHOW  COMEDY AND WINE TASTING and that was a lot of action, and don’t miss the next one! Jan 28th we will go again with comics Ryan Sickler, and Laurie Kilmartin. Heres the link for tickets. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/high-spirits-ii-wine-tasting-and-comedy-show-tickets-20631919627 So with all that’s been happening iv’e been real crazy busy.

 

 

 

 

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WINERYS IN CALIFORNIA

Another question I always get asked is whats the best winerys to visit?  I’m thinking two things how good is the wine, and how scenic is the winery? Some of the best times I’ve had with wine is with my lady or friends trying the latest vintage and starring at an amazing view. These are rare times when everything clicks and becomes a memory that will last a long time. And at this time when wild fires threat to do destoy acres of wine country made think how precous this land is.  So I have compiled some of the best of both worlds great vino and views that go together
5. Joseph Phelps Napa I must of been to Joseph Phelps six times and its always great. Tucked away in St Helena up from the Silverado trail off the beaten path a bit is a amazing view with wine to back it up. JP has been making great wine for decades and the winery set up from  some of thier own vineyards is like a postcard view.  The thing about winetasting and having a view at the same time is an expierence that sticks with you.  Each wine they pour is also fantastic from the Sav. Blanc to the famous Insignia blend.
Majestic Chateau Montelena

Majestic Chateau Montelena

 

 

 

 

 

4.(Tie) GLORIA FERRER and DOMAINE CANREROS If you start any wine tasting day Sparkling wine is the place to start and thier are two wineries that produce great wine and have crazy views.  Domaine has a Chateau that makes you feel like your in the French countryside and the views from Gloria Ferrer are unreal, looking out towards Sonoma/Napa. Plus both wineries have great sparkling bubbly thats gonna give you a blast off into an amazing day. Below Goria Ferrer and Domaine Carneros above.
gloria f

Gloria Ferrer Vista

 

 

 

3. Chateau Montelena: This place is simply a classic the winery has become Napa lore with the win at the 76Paris tasting where the 73 Chateau Montelana Chardonnay won best wine in the compitition. thus changing the way Napa wine is percieved. Build decades ago this Calistoga gem makes some of the best Cabernet and Reserve Cab in the Valley. The view of the Chateau is unreal as well, the surronding ponds with swans a swimming is about as relaxing as it gets. You will be leaving with a couple bottles in tow for sure.

 

 

 
 
2. RUDD winery: Nestled in the heart of Oakville this (Land of OZ) winery has incredible wines and landscape like i’ve never seen. Firstly the Sav. Blanc is some of the best I’ve tasted, Cabenet too is terrific. Oakville Cabs can be some of the best in the world, as you walk around the grounds you can see Screaming Eagles vines, as well as Joseph Phelps famous Baccus vines. RUDD is owened by the people who owned the famous Dean & Deluca stores so its got class. The grounds have some of the most scenic space of anywhere in Napa as you walk through the gardens a sence of calm and safe come upon one. And the caves are beyond cool, one has to experience the vibe of this place.
RUDD vineyards Oz with great wine.

RUDD vineyards Oz with great wine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1. FAR NIENTE is what I dream if I owned a winery. Entering the gates(in a corner of Oakville) is like a dream, as they open into a long tree lines road up the grounds. The tastings take place in the cool main house/ mansion, where I’m sat at a giant flower flowing antique table. Wines already poured Chardonnay, Cab, and more Cab, these guys make Cabernet as good as anybody and the (Sauternes) like Dolce its a dessert from heaven. After tasting this great group of wines, I wandered down the to the place where the owner Gil Nickel’s vintage car collection is displayed. You will be amazed and wont’t forget this visit for a long time.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
HAPPY LABOR DAY YOU EARNED IT!!!
People ask me the same questions over and over, so as a salute to the Labor(s) out there Ive got some answers.  How can I make the most of my wine experience? I love this question because the person who asked it wants to know more about wine but doesn’t have the time to be a wine Geek.
So I have 5 great ways to get your wine-time to excell to the fullist.
  1. GET A WINE FRIDGE. What get a fridge come on those are expensive do I really need one. Yes you do need one, first they will hold great bottles that you had and liked now they can age properly. Also keeping track of your wine is fun, and for a couple hundred bucks worth it. (Do you realize how much you waste on cable tv and looking at wine may be just as engaging)
  2. Go to the wine areas, Napa, Sonoma, even in upstate new york just go find the time. This is a great way to get connected to what wine is and where it comes from. If you can go to tastings where you live, many bigger liquor and wine shops have them all the time, or have your own tasting partys (everne brings a diffrent wine from a diffrent area in the world). A fun night for sure.
  3. Don’t be a cheapscape Spend a few bucks man.. how much do you waste at Starbucks or a couple drinks at the hipster bar? for $15 to $20 you can get a great bottle, for 25-30 amazing bottle. Some people can’t see spending money on wine, well look at the big picture, your an adult with a real job get real.
  4. Use your head get the facts, see whats out there, bottles with animals on them are usually crappy (glut grapes left over less quality grapes) ask around, and if you read the wine magazines take them with a grain of salt as they can be over zealous about so-so wine.
  5. Find like minded wine friends. You talk about sports or politics, talk about wine. So many diffrent types areas, years, much, to talk about. You will learn much and teach as well from your own experiences. With these simple suggestions your wine fun will be on the rise!
 
13 CAN BE LUCKY
California has been in a terrible drought for several years, we know that.  The process of making wine takes a lot of water, I mean A LOT. The good thing is that less water means more complex wine, more intense, more vibrant, and terrific too. 2013 is that big, intense, great. Now don’t get me wrong I’m waiting with my fingers and what ever I can cross for El Nino to come and save us! In the meantime we have to grab as many 2013 wines like Cabs, Rhone blends and Zins will be amazing. I had the good fortune to open a Booker Syrah blend that was a mistake thought it was a 2012.  The intense flavor stucture of the fruit was a parade in my mouth, yes I just said that.  Whats the point go out and grab some of these wines as they hit the market and stash them maybe for 20 years if you can wait that long. Or maybe drink one while you watch the rain come down this winter in Cali.booker full
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WHERE A WINE GUY GOES FOR WINE.
As a Wine Guy I get to taste a lot of wines from every walk of the wine world. I also buy wines like every other wine enjoyer, so many people have that question where do you go to buy wine? Answer lots of shops, stores, mega stores, ect.. The thing about smaller shops is that sometimes the people who work there can be very helpful, they can also be annoying. So you have to feel out each situation, to see which place gets your tastes. I go to a place where the guys love to help if you need help if not they give you space. Then there’s the place where they follow you around telling you you have to try this or that. I find this to be unhelpful, especially when they have to tell you what score the wine has recieved. When they get to pushy I tell them thanks I’m good. The point is find you comfort zone because these guys love to push people into wines that may not be right for you. To really get the most of your wine experience know who has the best selection and knowleged salespeople. Wine is not cheap and neither is your time proceed with caution, and you will get the best wine  experience.
 
 
YOU SAY POTATO I SAY TOMATO I always get to hear how rich guys brag about the wines they have purchased. And the brag is always followed with Parker gave it a blah blah, blah or Wine Spectator gave it 99 points. This qualifies the purchase, it must have a Viagra kick to it because they get exited to tell women. Now I don’t have a big problem with these wine rags they have great articles and info. The Ratings can vary so much from one to another it can be a bit confusing. I.E. I saw a Rhone wine that got a 99 from the Wine Advocate and an 89 from Wine Spectator so thats a huge diffrence. What does this mean? Choose for yourself these wine raters mags get a lot of love and money from certain producers many times not. Still you make up your mind, don’t let them scare you into anything. I tatsed a wine that had a 89 rating that tasted like a million maybe thats just me.
I LOVE MAPS and looking at Maps is something I can sit for an hour and stare at. Especially those big world Maps on the wall of a kids room. I recently came across a company thats making some really cool maps of Wine areas of the world. This is awesome for a wine lover because it really brings your favorite wines to a new level.  As a Somm I really want to know the exact area where my Fav wines come from.   Hers the web address Map Maker city prints http://cityprintsmapart.com . They make all kinds of maps so check it out and they have a discount code BC1 so put that in and get a 5$ discount.  Check out this one of the California wine regions  Wine map Really cool stuff!!
 
 
QUALITY AND COOLNESS is the best way to descibe FOXEN winery. The wines they produce from A to Z are made with years of expertise and finess. Foxen puts out wines that are well  balanced, approachable,  delighful, and thats not easy to do. You have to have experience (heart) to make it happen. In a world of wineries where rich guys, corporations buy up vineyards thinking this can’t be very difficult. Foxen is a breath of fresh air, where wine is produced by people who have spent many years working to make a diffrence in wine production.
Since 1985 FOXEN has been producing wine, and over the years went from Chardonay to at least 7 diffrent variations of wine. Foxens brains and brawn, are two old pals Dick Dore, and Bill Wathem. The focus is quality grapes and minimal farming, they have several dry-farmed wines like the Tinaquatic Chard (one of the best Chardonays in Cali in my opinion). They love this land, as well they should Dick Dores Great-great grandpa was a sea captan that in the 1800’s rasised cattle on the area and the land has been in his familys hands since.  Dick and Bill strarted producing wine in 1985 and sold for the first time in 1988. According to Jenny Williamson Dore ” we started with a whopping 42 cases and now we are just under 20K cases”. Her husband Dick Dore started out in working in finance and re-grouped with his old friend Bill (winemaker) and thats how the parnership started.
Situated north of Santa Barbara off the 154 also know as the Cachuma pass is where Foxen makes it home. Not far from the famous Neverland ranch, (I asked Jenny if MJ ever showed up) just perfect postcard California wine country in every direction.  After the movie Sideways intoduced a lot of people to Pinot Noir and Santa Barbara pinot to be exact, many good wines have popped up. Foxen led the charge with outstanding single-vinyard and blended Pinot Noir. With a great climate  perfect for great Pinots  Foxen has produced some of the best year after year. As well as Cabernet blends, rich Syrahs, in the classic Rhone style and of course lots of great Chardonay. The wines Foxen produces has another great quality, its affordable. Todays California wines are reaching new highs of quality, then if they get a good rating from a wine magazine the price is likely to shoot up. Foxen has balance good price for a good wine, not the norm. Lots of wines have doubled in price based on one review, and many people can’t pay $50 for a Chardonay. Foxen has a Chenin blanc thats is a summmer dream in a bottle, tons of character, balance, and i’ve found for around $20. The Pinot Noir is also a great deal for the quality as well. Foxen produces diffrent Pinots some blended grapes, some single vineyards, starting around $35. There are plenty of lesser Pinots(in California) for twice the price. Block 8 is just a amazing wine this Pinot could age at least 5 years and is a real winner!.
The Chardonays as I mentioned above just great not overoaked, good acidity, and the Tinaquaic (dry farmed) to me is Santa Barbara. A real keeper, this Chard just impresses over and over every year. Another favorite of mine is the Syrahs that they produce in the Rhone style take your pick all good big fruit, ageworthy, berries and layered just delicous. Syrah for Cabernet fans is really coming into its own and Foxen is proving again that world class Syrahs are coming from Santa Barbara. Big red drinkers will fall for these blockbuster Syrahs, and after 5 years that much better.
Now your going to Santa Barbara and you want to visit Foxen? They have two tasting rooms very close to each other. The first is a new modern cool (I wish I lived in this place) kinda space that serves the whites varietals, and some Pinots. The second is the original tasting room rustic and old school with the bigger reds. With a staff that knows thier wine knowlege and are eager to ensure a great time a FIRST stop of any wine tour. And yes they get big scores from the wine Magazines, but its more of a big picture thing with FOXEN and it shows.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Don’t believe the hype!
More and more people are getting into wine every day, there is more info about diffrent wines, deals and wine areas to explore. I say get out there find the info, challenge your palate EXPLORE. Ah wait a second I have a job, kids, and very little freetime. Right you do so your wine education may take a while, as you row through your life. Thats why you have guys like me to  help steer you through to make your own decisions. O.K where is this going? You ask, well I want you to be aware of the so-so deals selling mediocre wine. You’ve only a certain budget for this stuff so be smart know the facts about what your buying. I purchased a bottle of Napa Syrah from a very good winery, and it was $45 dollar bust. The wine was not great and I coulda got two great bottles for that much.
Remember way back when you first saw a 2-buck chuck and thought whats this? I get asked more than any other question “whats the deal with Chuck Shaw”? Trader Joes purchased leftover grapes that would be trashed or composeted and turned it into cheapo wine. The reason I believe it was ok at first because they probably found some decent grapes because no-one was making this kinda of left-over grapes wine. Last time I tasted it was terrible, over ripe grossness. In Europe they have been making low level stuff like this for centuries so it’s nothing new. If you drink a crappy 6-pack of brew then you o.k. with 2 dollar wine, and thats alright if thats your deal. Now take that mindset a little higher, and remember there are 100″s of wineries all over California. Many of them new to the wine Biz and need to sell thier stuff in a very competitive field, or loose alot of $$$. Now mix in 2011 a terrible year for wine in California compared to years 10,09,12 so these internet companys start selling lame leftovers from so-so wineries, I get emails all the time for wine of the day, usually a boring leftover from 2011 and these are not cheap. Many are in  the $20 to $40 range for average wine at best. Also wine clubs that offer 5 bottles of Euro and new world mixed of just terrible wines, with nice lables to make the buyer think its a good purchase. Now don’t get me wrong i’ve seen some cool bottles on the internet rarely,  and sometimes these sites do this to get you to come to thier website to sell you the leftovers. So to really enjoy wine as an art and ongoing process you need to do a bit of homework, the good kind.
 
 
 
 
 
LET’S TALK RHONE ZONE.
I tell many wine lovers at my wine events that “you still have never had your favorite wine” And the first place you wanna go is Rhone area of France. The wines from here are supple, big, light, fruitty dry. Everything you would want in an awesome wine its here. In the northern half you have some of the most sought after Syrah form areas like,Cote Rotie, Condrieu, St Joseph, and Hermitage just to name a few areas. Keep in mind this is not a big area or  an easy place to make wine. After tens, of decades they have got it down and many of the prices for these Syrahs reflect the quality. However the whites from this area are a fraction of the red grapes grown, however  they are just as incredible as thier red conterparts.  Cool grapes like Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier are some of the best in the world. These whites are a great alternative to Chard or Sav blanc you have gotten board with. These whites will quickly become new best friends in your wine world.
 
RHONE ZONE: THE SOUTHERN RHONE
Ok after getting a taste of some of the finest wines in the world(produced in the northern Rhone) lets travel south to the southern Rhone.  This part of the Rhones focus is Grenache where the hotter summer plays right into the hands of this great Grape varietle. If there is a capital of the southern Rhone it would have to be Chateauneuf-du-Pape (house of the Pope). Not the biggest wine producing area in the south, that would that would be the Cote du Rhone, however when it comes to quality Chateaneuf is king. Grenache grows very well here and is the prodominant grape, fed by the hot Mistral winds. So next time you here the term GSM blend that means Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. So there’s still lots of Syrah grown, but the north has the best of the Syrah grapes. Villages like Gigondas also do a great job with the Grenache blends.  Also if you see a bottle of  wine from this area it will likely be embossed with the coat of arms from the village where it was produced right on the bottle. Check out 2010 a great year for both north and south, get a few while they are still around.
 
IT’S BEGINING TO LOOK LIKE WINE!
Yes I am going to do one of those annoying 12 days of wine list because many people have asked what should I get for the wine people(s) on my (its the holidays already?)list. Now i’m gonna stick to my favorite Cali wines because I’m the calwineguy! Some people have no clue when it comes to wine I see people buying the crummiest crap DON”T! You will get so much street cred if you get them a wine thats not only delicious but emotional, yes I went there. I have met so many people who have a wine moment of clarity where they are amazed at how much a bottle of wine has brought them joy.
#1 The last of the wines of the year is a wine(ry), theres always a wine that people just can’;t believe how great it is for me this has happened a few times. So my #1 is not just a specific wine but the winery itself, because of all the great wines they make year in and out. Booker Vineyards is my #1 for all things in the Rhone style of wine making. I had one of the best Syrahs i’ve ever tasted there called Fracture 2010. Starting to plant in 2001 they do all bio-dynamic farming, and really respect the area in theTempleton gap where the best grapes grow in the Paso Robles area. I’m always amazed at the wines they produce year after year. If you get to the Paso Robles area you have to stop at Booker, before you go anywhere else. As time goes on these guys are getting more famous so get up there before the wine sells out. They produce limited amouts of this awesome juice so don’t delay. Merry Christmas wine lovers and Peace on Earth!! Cheers!!!
 
 
 
 
#2 We’re getting there only 2 more wines of the the 12 of the holidays. By now your running around like a crazy person getting those gifts for people you see once a year. Thinking what do they even like or want, and I have to be with them for a whole WEEK? Or you might be that person that really falls right into place with the holidays, and you were smart enough to get your shopping done early. Eathier way by the time Christmas comes and you’ve had a great meal with my below mention wines and just when you think you can’t go to 11 you can!  #2 Dolce from Far Niente 2007 is maybe the perfect ending to any great meal let alone Xmas. Dolce know as liquid gold is a concentrated fruit layered,structured gem. Mostly made from Semillon, and Sav Blanc grapes,these grapes are late harvested later than most grapes and have Botrytis a mold that sweets the juice to a heaven like state. Near Bordeaux France the area know as Sauternes produces the same style of wine. This was Thomas Jeffersons favorite wine, on his return to the new United States, from France  he gave George Washington a case, nice friend. This Dolce has vibes of lemon, other citrus, carmel,and pineapple layer after layer. After your down with the roast beast feast this will be the perfect present to yourself. For around $49 for a half bottle a little goes long.
 
 
 
#3 OK back up to Napa, to the area of Stags Leap AVA. Here you will find some of the best Cabernet grapes in all of Napa. Great soil and hillside drainage helps make these grapes into fantastic wine! There are many great wineries here, like, Pine Ridge, Stags leap, ZD, the big daddy Shafer, and Chimney Rock. So if you want to blown a Cab fans mind bust out some of the best from Stags leap. Remember these wines are always are more expensive because  of the quality of the wines. Christmas morning and you get to open a bottle of #3 Chimney Rock Cabernet  Stags leap 2010 you will believe in Santa! After getting to meet Chimney Rocks winemaker Elizabeth Vianna I was able to see and taste some of the diffrent Cabs they make and they are killing it. This wine is around $50 a bottle but greatness has no price.
 
 
 
 
#4 The Weekend before Christmas the odds of you have a glass of some sort of sparkling wine is about 1in1. The best way to start a festive holiday party, is to bust out some Rose the celebratory wine if thier ever was. Anyone who wants to get people into the holiday spirit a glass of bubbly is the way to go. Remember several glasses of bubbly can get a little crazy (see lampshade) so be careful. A holiday deserves quality, you can’t bring a so-so wine to the one fun holiday party. Make it special, make it a rare occasion that will have long lasting memories. You won’t regreat it! So #4 of my holiday wines is Schramsberg Brut Rose 2010 a great fruity, with ruby grapefruit, hazelnut vibe, sparkler. If you had to cast a perfect wine for the holidays this is it. If you look around you can find this bottle for around $32 So be the person who makes the party this Christmas.
 
 
 
#5 Is a trip down the 101 south from Paso Robles towards Santa Barbara. Many times when I do wine tastings people ask me about wine tasting areas. Since I live in Los Angeles there is a big push for wine tasters to go to Temecula Cal, where there are many tasting offerings. Mostly people re-living thier fraternity lives of long ago, but now with wine. My answer is to go to Santa Barbara mostly because its world class wine. Great Chard, Syrah, Rhone grapes, and of course Pinot! The area is beutiful, as well, with many great places to go taste, and one of my favs to taste is St Rita hllls Syrah. Syrah from the area is big juicy balanced, just great. And if you wanna try a great Syrah then my #5 Melville St Rita hills Syrah 2012 is the one. This big lush wine has fruit like blueberrys apples, nice oak, meatyness eathness, and a nice finish. So if you run out and get one of these open it 2 hours before let it breathe,very important. If you do this you will be re-warded again and again! This great winery Melville is killing it the year 2012 may be on of thier best and this wine is a steal for around $23! This will go great with your Roast beast too.
 
 
 
 
 
#6 Over the Hills and through the woods to Paso we go, where the land is as beautiful as the wine. The grapes that grow best here, in my opinion, are the Rhone veriatals; Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre as well as white grapes like Roussanne, Marsanne, Viogner, etc.  About 20 years ago, some wine producers in this area realized the potiental for wine in the Rhone style.  Rhone is a part of France that is a bit warmer, and produces some of the best wines in the world using the above mentioned veriatals .  So my # 6 wine of the holidays is Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas Blanc 2012.  This wonderful, food-friendly wine will rock any holiday gathering!  This is one of those wines I tell people “listen you haven’t had your favorite wine yet.  Here it is.”  Mostly Roussanne and Grenache Blanc, w/ a little Picpoul Blanc. The nose is lemon, pear, ginger, pineapple, nice acid balance too, and hits the mark. This winery does a great job year after year and uses the area of Paso called the Templeton Gap . This holiday, be the cool friend or relative.  Bring one of these and open some doors to new wines.  At around $37, it’s worth it!
 
#7 Lets move over to Sonoma for our next wine to the hot area where Zinfandel grows. Zin is thought to be one of the only American grapes, some people think its Primitivo from Italy but i’m not sure. Sometimes Zins can be like eating a jelly sandwich so its a wine that can use some balancing out with other grapes. So my pick is the outstanding RIDGE 2012 GEYSERVILLE ZINFANDEL. 71% Zin with a little Carignane, and Petit Syrah to create a lush balanced just awesome wine. These Ridge guys take the Zin and like a Bordeax blend mixed it up to make a great balanced wine. Cherrys chalky soil, toasted oak. Because of the drought in Cali many of these wines are clearer brighter, less water more intense juice. For around $35 the Zin jonzer in your life will be beyond stoked! Another great example of how 2012 is getting better and better.
 
 
#8 Next I have a great blend from the famous Turnbull Winery, they have been doing great stuff since the late 70s. Recently some of thier higher end single vineyard Cabs have been getting mucho acclaim. Today for my holiday list i’m gonna go with a cool blend they put out. Turnbull Old Bull 2010 a Cab Syrah blend that is a nice simple lovely balanced wine, with vibes of berries, tobbaco, and herbs.  A perfect gift for around $20 one of the best deals in Napa. If you have a party or need an office gift this wine is perfect.
 
#9 Lets go up to Napa to Rutherford to be exact and you will find some great Cab grapes growing, Oakville sometimes overshadows some of the other AVA’s (areas where grapes are grown) If you drive too fast like alot of people do on the Silverado trail, you’ll miss William Harrison. This winery is probably the most under-rated in all of Napa they been around a couple decades-ish, and the Cabernet is incredible. People are always asking me my Favorite in Napa well this is one of them for sure! So my # 9 for the Holidays is William Harrison 2010 Estate Cabernet this big wine has big fruit like blackberried rasberried, cherry delight, with the right amount of oak and floral vibes a true delight! Now these guys don’t have a twitter, theydo have a facebook page, they are very lowkey, and its not the easest wine to find either. You can order directly from the winery, this wine usually goes for around $40 and tastes like $110 easy. With only 500 cases produced it a true find. This wine will blow the lid off your Cab fan on your list, and one of my favorites for a long time.
 
 
#10 There are alot great Pinot Noirs from California, Sonoma, Monteray, Santa Barbara, so many great wines!  One of my Favorite Pinots every year is Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills.  (Thier  2012 is amazing). Sure this wine got love from the Wine Spectator, be careful because some retailers have bumped up the price. These expert wine makers(Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton) go to the Extream when it comes to getting the best quality grape from the area and know this stuff better than most. Real people making amazing wine! The 2012 Santa Rita hills is perfectly balanced, bright cherry focused wine that will knock over the Pinot person in your life. These guys are turning Pinot Noir into thier own religon, making world class wine on thier terms and killing it. For around $36 bucks this price won’t last so get out and get one!!
 
 
 
 
 
#11 Is a MUST during the holidays! Domaine Carneros Sparkling 2010 is a peppy sparkler with great fruit notes, like pear, dried apple, a great wine to start any holiday party. Everytime I bring this wine to an event people are always “what is this” a true crowd pleaser! And with the food at most parties I can’t think of a better wine to make Holidays deluxe!! And for $20 to $26 a bottle depending the retailer its a steal!
 
Ok so for #12 i’m gonna go with Nickel and Nickel Truchard 2012-13 since both vintages are great. This very California Chardonay has a big fruit perfectly balanced, with nice bright apple, stone fruit, to make a great wine. For around $45 a bottle it may seem alot but this is a single vineyard Chard that will make the Chard person in your life go nuts!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
IT’S TURKEY WINE TIME!
As Charlie Brown would say “Thanksgiving is upon us” whether you have a great food turkey day or one of those weird ones, like rasins and nuts in the stuffing? What is this BS you hippie weirdow! Or the Sweet potatos with extra marshmellows and M&M’s what the f%# dude get out of the trailer park. This is the only time of the year where you really get to CARB-OUT. Rolls, mashed, sweet potatos, and stuffing its crazy, a Hollywood chix nightmare! If you are lucky you will get to go to a home that serves a non wackko meal, so that means you bring the wine. When I was a kid the parents would drink Cold Duck a very crappy red bulk part sparklingwine. They had no clue on how to take the meal to higher place instead of getting wasted on gross sugary wine. This stuff is still around too, here in Cali we have so many wine to choose for Turkey day its hard to decide whitch one is gonna make the cut. Start at white wine, Sav Blanc a great started to any carb-focus meal and turkey two great wines @clifflede sav blanc around $23 or @Groth Sav Blanc about $20 both Napa gems simple nice fruit cuts right through the meal perfectly. Then if you have to do Chard then the world is your oyster (stuffing). I would tell you to grab a @Nickel and Nickel Napa Chard more pricey at $40 but well made bright carneros, with body to handle any turkey feast. Also from Santa Barbara @Foxen Chard is awesome too. Don’t forget the Rhone blends from Santa barbara too.  @jaffurs Grenache blanc would be awesome to serve, or a nice @alban Viogner Rhones wines from cental Cali are awesome and must be consumed! These wines are all around $25 bucks and worth it!  As far as red most people will tell you Pinot noir is the way to go with a T-giving feast, I agree and @melville or @brewer-clifton pinot 2012 will work well these bottles go for $23 to 40 bucks for the latter. Bright cherry and spices make for a great combo and these wines don’t disappoint. Aslo don’t forget the Syrah a great wine for the end of the meal, full big berry like, @stolpman is a great one again from Santa Barbara for around $27 bucks and make sure you decant or open a few hours to let this big wine breathe. And stay away from the year 2011 go for 10 or 12. And stay away from Raisins and nuts in stuffing too!  Happy Thanksgiving wine people!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I want a wine cellar
You and me both, so many people wanna have a cellar but often say i’ll just drink it, so whats the point? Well there is a way, first you must a have enough wine to store, you can’t buy cheapo drink now stuff this is not a collectible wine. There are some cool wines that are cheaper that will hold up for several years more on that later.
 
I was just in Las Vegas where bigger is always better :see pic: and upon seeing some wine displays you think who the hell can afford this? Answer lots of people! For many Vegas visitors a feeling of wealth and belonging take over must be from the oxygen being pumped in. In reality the wines there are going to be hugely overpriced but when in Rome go crazy right? Why not spend a fortune?  When you get back home ie: reality try to go about it the smart way try some diffrent stuff, ask for help from the wine guy, then figure out what works best.  Remember the age factor meaning some of the worth of the wine is in the age. One a month buy something age worth and DON’T touch it! Examples, Napa Cab, Rhone blend, Bordeaux, Burgundian white, or red. Many to choose from, then after a couple years you start to have some cool stuff that you can really enjoy over a period of years. Where to store well a cool dry place or get a wine fridge they run about $300 bucks but will last forever.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Whats up with wine rating magazines?
We live in a world thats makes it hard to make up our own minds. Everything has a critic, film, theater, food, travel and wine.  Then you have all the people fighting over pretty much anything. IE: weather looks good today. Oh well not if Obama can help it he wants to ruin the weather so you do what he wants! Whaaat?  Point is many a weirdo has a computer and will put it to bad use. I’m all for freedom of expression, but have a point!  With wine there’s a couple main wine Mags.  Wine Spectator, and Robert Parker, and many offshoot wine blogs ect.. So they try wines and rate them example Screaming Eagle a veerrry expensive Cab from Napa with usually get upper 90’s 96, 97, 98 and the price is around $2000 bucks per bottle. Robert Parker gives 100 and WS really doesnt, my friend Mark says “I’ll give it a 9 cause I don’t give 10’s”  The price of the wine goes way up if it gets a 100. /whats the diff bettween 99- 100 great question.  That bottle of La Crema chard you got at the grocery last week, Robert Parker gave an 87 point status. Wait you loved that wine it was so full and smooth 87 seems low?  Ok first of all they are not really talking to you they are more interested in a white guys on golf courses who fly on private planes. Or the uber doctor, businessguy. The worst thing is when a winemaker comes out of nowhere and kills it on a new wine, gets a big review then raises the price double, or triple. SEE BOOKER WINES. What can you do? Rate the wines yourself like you do with entertainment choices. Make a not to what you like, read about vintages, try new wines everyonce in a while a great wine comes along before it gets rated. Do some homework and you will be much happier as a consumer. As far as jerks on the internet good luck.
 
 
 
I get this question the most 10-2-14
People always wanna know “whers the best place to buy wine”?  Now alot of you are reading this from far away, so i’m gonna talk about where I live and then apply it to where you live. Now Costco sells the most wine in the world yes thats a fact! In my opinion you can do much better, Costco used to have a better wine deal now its alot of kinda boring wines from so-so years for not much of a discount. if you live in a smaller city they may be your best bet. here in the west part of L.A. we have many cool places to get wine. The wine house
on Cotner in west La is great big worldy selection and some great deals too. Next right down the street is 20/20 wines this place looks like if Batman had a wine cellar, stocked with heavy hitter wines that are hard to find. Now this place isn’t a dicount wine shop but a really cool place to find cool famous wines of the world. Next up Bobs Market  in Santa Monica, this is a small grocery that you would never think would have cool wine but they do! In fact they have my fav!! Cabernet from Napa William Harrison 09 and its been flying off the shelves! they wine dude at bobs is got some really cool stuff and the prices are a bit higher but the selection is worth it! OK the best place to get wine is the LA WINE CO. these guys sell great wine out of a hole in the wall, so they charge the least for great wines from around the world. The guys who work here not pushy just know thier stuff and have great wines from 8 bucks to 500$ This is the place where buy a case of wine to really stock up Ive seen stuff for $6 dollars thats been very drinkable. Best place for wine for sure in West LA for sure. Ok if you live far away from LA then google wine stores in your area, and you probably find something good. Maybe.
Twittering away 9-22-14
OK I’ve been making changes to my website, and there’s a new area of wine reviews so check them out! So many great wines to choose from its hard to catch you up on all this great wines I’ve been enjoying. O.k. lets talk about 2012 its a monster! So far everything tasting much better than the terrible 2011. Some people (wine know it alls) think i’m to hard on 11, i’m sure there are some good ones out there, none i’ve tasted compared to 2010. Don’t waste your money go for the good years, many people don’t have much to spend so get to the real stuff. I’ve finilly got my Twitter on so check it out @thecalwineguy. With fall appoaching time to buy some big reds. Fall is a great time for the awesome Syrah or Cab/blend check out my wine reviews to see what ive tryied lately.
FINIALLY!! 8-2-14
After a long wait my My perfect day in Napa Vid is up on youtube check it out. 
 I wanna thank all the people who helped me make this. George Blankensee @Chateau Montelena, Elizabeth Vianna@ Chimney Rock, and Matthew Levy and Keith Hock@ Schramsberg Vineyards some of the coolest people who know thier wine!!
Also Chip Dornell who made this possible!!!
 
YOU BETTER MAKE A RESERVATION! 7-15-14
WOW the year is half over and Summer is a great time to go wine tasting. I just was up in Paso Robles where Rhone is king. What does that mean? In the Rhone area in France the grapes used are Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre. These are all red grapes there is also, Viogner, white Grenache, Marsanne, Roussane all white grapes. There are other lesser known grapes too, but these are some of my favorites and great alternatives to the typical wines you are used to. Ok back to Paso theres a lot of Chard, Cab, Zin, ect.. but it’s the grapes mentioned above that kick ass! And for me I only go  to the Rhone  style wineries in paso, they are the most inspired by far. A few of my favs included BOOKER . Grape growers that started selling wine too. This wine is amazballs (yes i went there) the best Syrah I ever tasted was BOOKERS 2010 FRACTURE Syrah yah try and find it, it got a grate rating in Wine spectator or one of the wine rags and its GONE!!! But don’t worry the 2012 just came out and its, gone too. Darnit! Motherfu#$@%S. Why is it gone so fast? Well they don’t make that much, you don’t realize that some wineries make 30K cases where these smaller places make 4K for everything and thats why its so great. There is also Tablas Creek and Villa Creek making great Rhone wines too. Also Terry Hogue a ex football player turn wine maker also making great Rhone stuff too. Here’s the deal you have to make reservations to go to these places. They don’t want drunk goofs pounding thier wine they want people who respect the work it goes into to craft this awesome stuff.
 
WHERE THE HELL HAVE I BEEN? 6-28-14 Wine friends hello ive been traveling, teaching, and running (see my last post).  Ive been getting alot of questions lately from people so i’m going to talk about those first.  Many people are watching this kinda new Documentary called SOMM. It shows guys vying for thier Master Sommlier certification. I did enjoy the movie, on a few levels, they kinda pushed the reality show version of it, yukky. I’m not reality show guy, this flick is gonna make alot of people wanna to go into Somm game. In reality it takes lots of time to get to this level and it’s a club so as you progress the levels (there are 4 levels) it gets weirder. The testing also is getting harder as more people wanna join. Being a Master Somm takes a ton of time and there are people that just sail through it and people who try and try and can’t get it, so be strong and ready to fail. If you do not have a service background it seems silly to do these tests, but now there’s probably more non-restaurant people taking it.  Also the jobs from being a Somm come after the 3rd level and the Master Level. Your talking 3-5 years at best maybe 7-8 it’s a big undertaking. Quitters and Sallys need not apply just sayin.  Plus after you get the Master under your belt then you can get closer to the %1 cause they are really the only people that can afford the Masters telling them whats up.
 
Ok wines I’ve had lately, I always bring up William Harrison Cabernet, but its so good!  And it’s rare so look out for it. 09 is out there for around $35 to $40.  The whites Ive had from 2012 have been great so far and i’m talking mostly Sav Blanc Chimnney Rock, Turnbull, Groth, Merry Edwards all great Napa except for ME is from Russian River.  Also Foxen Chard 12 tasting great. Also a great Tempernillio from Spain Termes Numathia 08-09 great wine this you gotta grab again if you can find it. I just saw one in D.C and in Calli so its out there. I’ve been doing alot of Private tastings so if you wanna rent a SOMM contact me.
 
BETTER WITH AGE 4-4-14 Wow where have I been you ask? Lots of stuff wine tasting, traveling, comedy, trying to get on TV (it pays well). I have been getting alot of great questions from the the wine universe too.  And my wine Video is coming soon too as well as more classes so hang in there.  First I enjoyed a bottle of Kathryn Hall Cabernet someone gave me, wow awesome stuff kinda expensive but for free YES!!  Big bold Napa grapes such a treat they do a regular cab thats pretty good to for around $35 bucks check it out.  Also I did a private tasting and the host had a Spanish Tempernillo that was fantastic.  Tempernillo is the main grape along with Grenache pronounced Garnacia in Spanish.  Bright fruit medium to full body just great wine for around $25 dollars and thats alot for a Tempernillio but worth it. Termes is the name go get it now! Ok heres a question I get often. (From Sara in Austin HI ya’ll) Whats the deal with age wine? I have talked about this before, heres the deal big red wines  age  most others don’t. Know the diffrence, its like music some ages well some does not. Example the Beatles never get old big bold great music. Think big Cabernet or Syrah, Ok now think Smashing Pumpkins yes im dating myself maybe when it came out it was ok for a couple years then nah. Think Chard or Pinot Noir. We are taliking Cal wines not French they can last much longer. Many times people gift a cool wine for Xmas or Bday then you hang on to it too long and its peaked and not good. Most Cal wines only last several years exept for the big reds they can age.
 
PUT IT BACK!!!! 2-26-14 That what my mom used to say at the grocery store when I was kid and I would try to get every sugary junk food I could get my hands on.  And the sugary stuff we did get lasted like a snowball in hell with my large family. Now that I have to pay for things myself I get what my mom was thinking, so I catch myself going noooo no way too much for that wine. The prices are getting crazier and crazier, Cabernets, Syrahs, Blends, they have gone way up in price, and that just sucks. The one type of wine thats still a good deal for the most part is that often forgotten younger sibling to Cabernet, Sav Blanc. Light fruity, stone fruit, honey suckle just great not as heavy as Chardonay just great. (Sancere is the origonal Sav blanc from France and is also a lovely wine a bit drier)And the good news is the 2012 vintage is great, lots of great Sav blancs around. One great exanple is Cliff Lede 2012 Sav Blanc. $20 bucks for a great wine experience tried it and loved it, also Groth always comes through and is a few bucks cheaper. This one you should not put back.
 
OK ITS ALMOST TIME FOR SOME BUBBLES 2-12-14 With Valentines around the corner I start to remember the little cards kids gave out in grade school. Then if you were lucky you got some of those chalky heart candys, that tasted like ass. I always had 25 cards for 30 people some of my classmates got screwd over. Don’t know why I think we would only get one pack that I had to share with my sister. So sorry 5 people from my class in 1979. To make it up to you here’s some ideas for a V-day to remember, as you know going to a restaurant on V-day is about as smart as going to the  Mobile Alabama Walmart on black friday. I dont often talk about wines from outside California, however if you can find a Duval-Leroy Champagne you will win Vday for sure! This French delight has a such an even keel and balance, just great and for $25 bucks its better than the $8 Microwave from black friday.
 
WHAT SUB-HOLIDAY IS IT? 2-4-14 Ok with Superbowl behind us and Valentines around the corner. First of all what a boring superbowl that game was a huge dud, and the commercials kinda stunk too(except for VW w/  friend/comic Matt Knutsen). Ok so Vday is around the corner, whats the plan? Expensive overated dinner? Wait you did that last year, and that the person you got that pricey meal lives in Portland with her new boyfriend. So lets not make that mistake again. How bout a change maybe a wine party? Yes a wine party! OK first find some cool couples maybe 4 or 5 couple everyone bring a diffrent wine, a few whites a few reds.  This is a great way to delve into the world of wine, by exploring and trying new wines you will have a great time and not spend a fortune on a so-so dinner. Vote on your favs too in a blind taste. And describe the wines. Some great wines I would advise for this tasting would be a nice Sparklng like a Rose Schramsburg, about $26 then a Chimney Rock Sav Blanc 2012 about $23. Then how about a Brewer-Clifton Pinot 2010 $43 and then a Groth 2010 Cabernet $40 bucks. This all cost about $130 for an amazing wine night split bettween the couples around $35 a couple thats a good time. Why waste your time at a crowded overpriced wherever and have a wine party. Then crank call that chix in Portland.
 
CLASS DATES UPCOMING @ MONSOON  ALL CLASSES START AT 130PM AND YOU MUST RESERVE A SPOT TO ATTEND. TO MAKE A RESEVATION EMAIL: PATDMELT@VERIZON.NET
BABY ITS COLD OUTSIDE 12-15-13 Ok maybe not here in Los Angeles (73degrees) but in Chicago last week I went to the Bears Cowboys game and it was like 6 out BRRRRRR!! Chicago is such a great food town actually everything in Chicago is pretty great. I noticed many of the wines there are a bit pricer, than here in Cali. Meaning know your stuff you got know the deals, the good value wines. Now that the recession is getting further away wine is going up and up pricewise. Justin Cabernet is a good holiday wine around 22 bucks, the only problen is 2011 is such a lame year in California. The Justin is still decent though, its a bad vintage.
Don’t forget the bubbly listen the holidays are so much better witha good sparkling. A friend asked me today for my thoughts on the bubbly, so heres my thoughts. Deval Leroy a French Champagne is great around 25 bucks to 30. Also I said before Schramsberg from Napa is great around 25 bucks as well. Don’t forget the big Cabs on Christmas. Check out the 2010 vintage is pretty great. If you can find Heitz 2007 Cabernet grabe it a great buy for class wine. Be careful get a cab after your holiday party!
 
MY (YOUR) THOUGHTS EXACTLY 11-15-13 Lots going on in the wine world right now, first for those who are into being told whats good. The Winespectator.com just released the TOP 10 wines of the year. So you can go to the website and check out these bottles and use the site for free. Its like when the homeless shelter gives out a Thankgiving meal to the needy, in this case the wine needy.  Now don’t get me wrong there are great wines on the list. the top wine is about $70 bucks, and the rest around $120ish. And the wine shops look at the results and then raise the bottle prices %25 right away, because guys not gals will run to own a bottle, faster that they press clear history on thier web browser after a trip to chixwho wouldnotbeseenwithme.com. If you know me thecalwineguy you know I love the good stuff, cheapo or pricey. Many cool wines get to big for themselves once they get a good review, its like the friend who starts hanging with the cool kids.  A perfect example when I was in Paso Robles at Booker Vinyards a great winery had a 2010 Fracture Syrah one of the best Syrahs ive tasted ever, and its $55 bucks yes! Some of you are like 55 yes for an UNREAL wine yes, how much did you waste on crappy coffee last month?  OK so next wine spectator reviews the wine and gives it a stunning 96 points whoa….noooo. So next thing you know the wine goes up to $90 bucks thanks winespectator.  So whats the point? Well start trying some cool stuff before the hipsters get a hold of them and price you out of bounds. Find a friend and start comparing diffrent wines and you be the judge and then turn your friends on to some cool wines.
 
THIS ONE DOES NOT GO TO 11-11-8-13 Wow the wine partys are still rockin now we are doing events in SantaMonica and Culver City.  Anybody who reads this blog knows as far as wine goes, I’m a years guy. I.E. in Cali 2001 02 04 07 09 and 06 all very good wine years. The weather worked out not too cold, not too rainy just right or close enough for the diffrent grapes to get thier act together. Now not all grapes grow the same Cabernet grapes, are tough guys, Chardonay grapes are more tender, and Pinot are the pain in the ass of (growing) of grapes. 2011 has been one of those years where it just hasn’t worked out to well in Calf. Sometimes a bad year here means great year in Washington or Oregon.
         Most of the 11 vintage has been so-so at best, clunky fruit, burnt, over-ripe, kinda vibes. Now compare to a 2010 its night and day. Many of you won’t care but if your gonna pay real money not 5 bucks theres a big diffrence.  An example of a nice 2010 would be Jaffurs Syrah Santa Barbara 2010 around $25 nice balace fruit, soft, nice finish could age another year. Good stuff check them out they are a really good example of how SantaBarbara is one of the great wine areas of the world. 
 
 
IT’S AVA NOT AVN 9-30-13 First of all thanks to all of you who came to our tastings they were a huge sucsess! We are addding dates as we speak so to all those asking soon soon.. Ok some of you know about the areas of wine country and how they are divided up. A rather goofy cork dork(wine nerd) as they are refered to in the wine biz, told me “they are finially make the AVNs for Paso Robles”.  Ok first of all the AVNs are the porn awards in Vegas every year where Lexy Lust gets an award for best bizzaro sex act.  AVA is the geografical area within a wine area that splits up say Napa or the Rhone, Bordeaux ect..  By having these areas winemakers can boast thier grapes, and wine because of the areas renowned vintages.  Its grape real estate, its like saying the house near the beach cost %30 more than the house in the valley.  In the case of Paso Robles many people did not want this because it values many wines and de-values others.  For example in Paso if you grapes are in the Adelaida District on the west side of the 101 closer to the Ocean, your gonna haves some of the best grapes. So if your in a lesser area its harder to price the wine higher. We are talking over 600.000 acres in Paso.
 
 
ITS HARVEST TIME 9-12-13 Wine guys how are you? I’m busy as a mofo ive been involved with the SAMOWINE PARTY and it’s a blast but lots of work. We have had diffrent wines from around the world and people have been blown away by the diffrent varietles and types of vino.  As I write these word people all over the state of California are havesting grapes for the 2013 vintage. Thousands even millions of pounds of grapes will make thier way to to the bottle.  To see this process is just increadible and something everyone should see once in a lifetime.  I hope someone will read this, book a flight to California, and check out this amazing ritual.  Speaking of amazing I have come across a great Santa babara blend called La Cosecha a Rhone style blend thats just great! A small production blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah. With only 250 cases produced not easy to get but its out there or check them online. These are becoming my favs for sure these blends that are trying to pretend its the south of France. For 23 bucks this is a steal.
 
GREAT WINES FROM WHERE? 8-14-13 Hello it’s been awhile since Ive posted, sorry I have been so busy this summer. And to all the people who came to my wine classes thanks! Also I’m working with some great people on the SAMOWINEPARTY. This is a unlimited tasting (not a drinkoff) but a chance for people to taste wines from all over the world. Check them out SaMowineparty its gonna a great time.  I was also lucky enough to go to Europe, and try lots of great wines from Austria, Germany, and Prague has a winery from 910 the year that is.  I do like to talk about California  wine but some of the best value wines come from europe.  The Reisling from Austria is amazing, they also have some good red blends too.
 
TRUE TO YOUR OWN SPIRIT 7-2-13 OVER 40 years ago the lead singer of the band THE DOORS  Jim Morrison passed away in Paris, so right now your thinking what the hell does this have to do with wine? Well if your a Doors fan you know that Jim was a little bit crazy and it showed as the band evolved.  All the albums were very different in a special way, because they had the guts to move forward as artist. And like music wine is also its own art-form, the changes of a grape like Syrah in France vs Paso Robles is amazing.  The only way to really get wine in a artistic sense is to try wines of the world to see how different they can be from one part of the world to the next. Think about it how many foods can you try from different parts of the world? With wine the list is endless.  How many of you have try a Grenache from Spain or a Pinot Noir from New Zealand? You would never because in most cases you don’t really know about these wines.  So how do you find out about this stuff, well some of the big wine stores have some people who get this stuff its also on the Internet as well. A good way to start is to take a wine you like and try a similar grape varietal from another country and try it. You have probably never tasted you favorite wine so get out there! Break On Through!!!
 
ITS ALL IN THE TIMING 5-22-13 Time keeps on ticking into the future, as the song goes, i’m sick of that song by the way. True its time to address the new changes coming up, like congress not getting things done, movies being made for entertainment as opposed to commercialism, and if you don’t  work out you get fat. Wait these are not changes this is the status quo oops. The reality there isnt much change happening, unless your talking about wine thing are forced to change and stay the same too. Here’s the point keep enjoying the wine you like, but try something else too. As a society we are so used to the same we need to change it up, and wine is a perfect place to start. Here’s your homework, instead of a Cabernet try a Syrah or a Rhone style blend from Paso Robles, like Tablas Creek for example. Instead of a Chard try a Viognier from Santa barbara, like from Alban great winery! So lets get some change going here!
 
THAR SHE BLOWS!! 4-18-13
ALOHA I just got back from Hawaii where I got to see whales cruising about, some in the ocean, most at the shopping area.  There are some seriously fat people in this county! The eating habits of many Americans is in bad shape, I saw many middle age guys that looked like they had a KEG of beer for breakfast.  If the corporations wanna produce this kinda of obesity making food and drink, then it shouldn’t be a big deal to warn people about its dangers.  The other thing is the wine in Hawaii is pretty good too, very expensive but good. My advice to you is put a nice bottle in your suitcase.  Another whale reference I could use right now is Melville who wrote Moby Dick,instead I’d rather talk about Ron Melville who makes some incredible wine in the Santa Babara area. Melville is one of the great consistent wineries, that is a good value too. I always recommend the Melville Pinot the 09 was amazing nice balance, great cherry nose, nice finish.  The 2010 vintage is very good too.  They also make a great Syrah as well, and the Chardonnay is just terrific. How could it not be when you have a winemaker like Greg Brewer, this cat has his wine skills down! If you tired of oak’y Chards, this wine is for you, Brewer is one of the best of Santa Barbara or (lompoc) and they are not raising the price of the wine %50 everytime a score in a wine Magazine comes out. www.melvillewinery.com
 
HAPPY ST. PATS AND MORE CLASS FOR MONSOON ADDED 3-15-13
ERIN GO BLAH after I moved from Chicago its hard to take st pats day as serious.  In Chicago the guys in suits would be at the legendary Rush street hitting the brew and whisky by 7a.m.  And the Chicago river is dyed (more) green than it already is.  The drunks getting hammered then puking green all over the place.  Whats the point? If your in California like me its hard to get into it. So instead I will celebrate my Irish heritage by drinking a bottle of the tasty Joseph Phelps 09 Cabernet cost is around $42. A consistent dandy cab, that never fails to taste delicious, lots of fruit, well balanced good stuff. And the color is not a gross green.
CLASSES, CLASSES, 3-1-13
FOR are you guys that signed up for classes, heres the info for March. Classes take place @ Monsoon Restaurant upstairs in the private space. Great food at Monsoon if your hungry this is the place. Classes take place @1:30 P.M. on the following dates.
SATURDAYS- MARCH 9TH AND MARCH 23    UPDATE CLASS ON SUN MARCH 17TH IS CANCELED DUE TO LA MARATHON MORE CLASSES COMING IN APRIL CHECK BACK…
SUNDAYS-MARCH(CANCELED) 17TH AND MARCH 24TH
To schedule a time email me @ patdmelt@verizon.net or text or call me @ 310-570-7221 space is limited and you need to reserve a spot.  Bring your voucher too thanks looking forward to wine fun!!!
 
 
I WOULD NEVER WANT TO BE PART OF A CLUB THAT WOULD HAVE ME AS A MEMBER 2-20-13
VACATION IN WINE COUNTRY can be the best time, trust me Ive been there its a lot of fun. You taste some great stuff, new wonderful wine, and you are happy and buzzed with delight. Then the person working at the winery asks you would you like to join our wine club? This is where the above Groucho Marx quote comes into play. You the buzzed happy vacationed moron says yes I would.  Whats the problem you ask? Well several months later you get the first shipment of wine and your thinking cool wine from that place I liked. Then a couple more shipments, then more and soon you have spent mucho $$. And the bottle that really convinced you to join shows up as one bottle. While all this other weird stuff keeps showing up. The point is that if you join a wine club you don’t always get the good stuff and if you went to a wine store you would probably save 30-40%. Also if the area has a bad year you get a lot of so-so wine. Winery’s back in the day sold wine at much better cost then realized drunk people will pay more than sober so up went the prices. Example a $50 dollar bottle at the winery may be $42 at the wine shop, now granted some wines are harder to find but most you can get if you know where to go. If you join a wine club make sure you know the wines and are ok with paying extra$$.
LOVE EM OR LEAVE EM 2-15-13
 VALENTINES DAY has come and gone, I guess I shoulda warned you guys about that sneaky, tricky holiday. You know the one where guys have to act like if they don’t jump through 50 hoops to prove that current relationship is the greatest thing ever. When in reality millions of desperate dudes are running around at 3:30 in the afternoon looking for the last scraps of flowers, and shitty candy.  Or trying to get that last minute reservation at that cool restaurant, that will tell you are you f#%king kidding me dude?  They should call it chumpinsteens day because that’s what it is. Those roses you payed $35 bucks for that today are 15 bucks, and the $25 candy (4pieces) and the dining experience that was at place that adds 20 tables to accommodate the suckers, I mean patrons. Where they charge extra for less food and bad service, because every dork goes out and his 3 week (relationship) go out that night. Before you say this guy is a V-Day bummer, hear me out. I think if you really wanna impress your date think a little smarter, like go to a restaurant the night before, try some Tulips instead they are great flowers at a less than half price. Also guys make your lady DINNER!! You can do it its not that hard there’s a thing called the Internet you can do it trust me. That’s what I did I made dinner so I got the table I wanted, ate the food I wanted, drank the good vino, everybody wins!! And I had the pleasure of drinking a WILLIAM HARRISON 07 RUTHEFORD CABERNET $35 WOW it was good!! My lady was loving our dinner I save a fortune and love prevailed!
BOOK(ER) EM DANO 1-23-13
PASO ROBLES has some amazing wines no question, as well as some duds many rich guys who think they can buy a winery have stumbled into the business. And produce boring so-so stuff, stick to the hedge fund buddy. That’s why its good to have a plan when visiting any wine area. Anyone who needs help setting up a trip to any area of wine can contact me for more info. Paso is really great at making Rhone style blends that have Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, and a few other grape varietals. BOOKER is a stand-up they sell grapes and make some of the best wine I have ever tasted. Fracture a Syrah 2010 may be some of the best syrah I have ever tasted. OUBLIE a Rhone blend is also amazing. Both around $45 for this kinda juice is actually a deal, for an amazing wine experience. If you don’t find this wine you will miss out believe me I try a lot of great wine and these guys are as we say in Stand-up, killing!!
MORE WINE CLASSES COMING 1-23-13
THANKS for the great response to my classes and more are on the way in new places like the the Bay area, Chicago and LA as well. I am working out the details and as soon as they are finalized I will let you know. Also I have been doing some cool standup- comedy shows as well.  And I have had the pleasure of doing some private tastings as well lots of fun!!
AND THE WINNER IS?? 1-14-13
OK its award season where the Hollywood elite comes out and pretends to be laid-back. When in reality its about as laid back as a Tea-Partier at a gun show. The non-stop hype machine goes into overdrive and we get to hear how great this movie or performance is. Then a year goes by and you can’t remember what movie was the best last year or who won best actress. I hate being the guy whose like umm that movie really wasn’t that great, what? you didn’t like blah,blah,blah? (Me) not really it was kinda boring. Its supposed to be boring! Oh. In the world of wine many awards are giving out as well to fill the hype vacuum that American seem to love (see Wine Spectators top 100 wines) The #1 in the WS top 100 is Shafer Relentless always a great wine from a top notch winery.  So a wine that usually cost $45 bucks is now going for $150 or more why?  Because a wine nerd said, plus its from 08 a year (U.S) in my mind that kinda stunk in my opinion. 08 just is off even the big names suffered this off-ness. They have to hype something though right, all it does it send prices up up and away.  Here is the reality you are a winner 2009 is a great year in California and many parts of France especially Bordeaux.  Many great wines that are not blown out of proportion, so go check out 09 the real winner of the wines award show!
HAPPY NEW YEAR (ALMOST) 12-31-12
OK 2012 Is history and now what? Is the media thinking of a new scandal? Politics who’s gonna get blamed for the fiscal cliff? Boring celebs getting in trouble. Same old crap i’m sure will be the case. So if you getting ready to tear it up then you gotta get some good California sparkling wine. Of course Champagne works well but if you want a good cheapy go American, like Gloria Ferrer works well for $15 bucks, or Schramsberg for $28 bucks. And Taittinger from Sonoma 07 $20 bucks is great. These are all great wines enjoy happy New Year and don’t drink and drive!!
 
MERRY CHRISTMAS 12-25-12
I hope everyone got what they wanted for XMAS! If your one of those people that had to act like you liked what you got, make sure to enjoy that special glass of vino you have waited all year for.  There is nothing better on a holiday than a nice glass of Red or Sparkling whichever enjoy. And try to remember those in need too (emotionally) as well. Peace to all mankind and good will too. Merry Xmas wine lovers!!!
Patrick
 
ITS BEGINING TO LOOK LIKE AGAIN REALLY ALLREADY 12-9-12
IT’S been 12 months and Xmas is here again. So it’s time to buy people meaningless junk that we think is going to make them happy. Reality tells us that most of this stuff gets buried mentally and physically (see bottom of the closet) Now don’t get me wrong I do like the season its more what they have done with it. Every year the Holiday season starts earlier and earlier, people are listing to Xmas music in October, shopping on Thanksgiving, going to see Donny and Marie’s Xmas show yikes!!  And part of the season now includes showing the crazies who trample each other to get a 10 dollar toaster oven.  For those people like me who’s holiday season actually starts in December and ends after New Years, as opposed to Dec 26th when half the decor is removed faster than a political ads the day after an election I have an idea. This year make it a me holiday and buy yourself some nice wines that you can hold on to and drink maybe a year from now or even 5 or 10 years. Or better yet buy someone a nice bottle of Cabernet that they can hold on to. If your like me good wine never gets old people on your list will always appreciate a nice bottle of wine, better than some junky thing you saw at a display at the mall.  Here are a couple great bottles to check out. Chateau Montelana Cabernet 09 a great age-worthy awesome bottle $42 bucks. Or even bigger a Shafer 1.5 Cabernet 09 this will age 10 years nicely at about $65 bucks pricey but a great wine. Why not make someone actually happy during the season.
THANK GOD THE ELECTION IS OVER 11-8-12
WOW almost two years, 6 Billion (YES) Billion dollars, countless negative ads, and its over!  Whoever you were for we can now move on together as a nation and fix our problems.  Its seems politics has been turned into a sport like watching ESPN.  Too much these guys will say just about anything to get elected.  Think of our poor friends in Ohio who can’t even turn on the T.V. without a constant barrage of stupid ads.  Again its over, Yay!!  Now back to me, I have been doing my wine classes in Santa Monica @ Monsoon and they have been going great seats are still available contact me @ thecaliforniawineguy.com@gmail.com for info.  It amazes me how well the people will the least amount of experience do the best in the blind tastings. This is a great time by the way to get your favorite glass of wine and celebrate that the election is over!
Scarrry Wines OOHHH AHHH YUUUUK 10-26-12
Most of you guys and gals are getting your costumes ready for Halloween, the ladies will be hotter than ever, because whats Halloween if you can’t take any costume and make it hot.  Examples like Little red riding hood but hot, the naughty nurse, cop, ect.. Then you have the Ossama but hot, or Mitt Romney but hot.  NOOOOO this will not do,  so lets talk about other scary things like crappy themed wine.  Everyone has see this Vampire wine, again somebody has taken crappy wine and put a different face on it. There are so many lame wines like this just stay away.  People still constantly ask me about 2 buck Chuck, a very scary wine as well.  If you like hangovers, over tannic wine this is for you.  A real good Halloween wine for me is Zinfandel, lite body with nice overtones of spice red fruit good stuff.  Check out any of the RIDGE Zins or Zin blends they have a had a great couple of years.  Also Turley always great stuff, can be pricey but great.  And one more Murphy-Goode Liars dice is a great Sonoma Zin under 20 bucks check it out. Get rid of the creepy crawly wines and enjoy some nice Fall wine. And Ladies keep up the good ideas on the costumes!!
2009 RULES-10-17-12
First of all, the people coming to my wine classes have been nothing but awesome thanks you!  And there are more classes this weekend Sunday October21 @ 1:30 upstairs @ Monsoon Restaurant on the 3rd st. Promenade in Santa Monica. OK its official 2009 in California is a great year, even rivaling 2007.  Wines from 09 seem to be a bit bigger, in fruit and maybe a bit more complex.  And that means they age wonderfully, so get some cool Cabernets or big Syrahs and age them.  Good examples of age-worthy wines like Chateau Montelena, Plumpjack Cab, Cakebread ect.. These bottles are more expensive for sure but a great investment for sure 3-6 years from now these wines are gonna taste incredible.  And alot of the whites as well did well so its a great time to go to the wine shop and check out this great year and make sur you buy one investment wine that will surely reward you in the future.
WINE CLASS @ MONSOON-I0-8-12
I’m glad to announce a few dates for wine classes @ MONSOON the first is October 13 @1:30 pm upstairs seating is limited so get a spot now. Also Saturday Oct 20 1:30 and Sunday the 21th @ 1:30 and 3:30 pm. Monsoon is located on the 3rd st promenade in Santa Monica. More dates to follow.
WINE CLASSES DATES AND TIMES COMING SOON 10-6-12
I’M working out all the details taking care of the details.  Dates and times will be available very soon. The response has been so great I want to make sure everyone gets the date time they want. Patrick
TIME TO LEARN ABOUT WINE CLASSES 10-1-12
Lots of people have been asking me when are you gonna do you private tastings as a class?  And the answer is now.  I’m going to do my thecaliforniawineguy.com class @ Monsoon Restaurant  in Santa Monica on Sat and Sun afternoons. If you take a Sommelier class its gonna cost you well into the hundreds of dollars, or one of these wine tasting schools a couple hundred as well.  So I thought lets do a class that will entertain, as well as inform too.  And BLIND TASTE just like they do in a professional  wine class setting.  Wine is fun my goal is to teach people some wine knowledge skills and have some laughs doing it. Here’s what people want the most out of a wine class, to learn the basics, varietals (of grapes) how to go into a wine shop and understand the layers of wine, and to order a bottle at a restaurant.  Simple stuff but you have to start somewhere, or if you more advanced wine drinker brush up your knowledge. Ok so here’s what we do, you get to have 5 tastings of good wine,(blind tasted then the wine is revealed). Also learn the difference between new world and old world.  The history of wine from Europe to the U.S.A. Understanding a good value vs. overrated. Also a few snacks while your tasting. Bring your friends for a fun afternoon the class takes 90 minutes.
Cost $60 a person $45 a person for two. Most wine classes are from $250 to $550 A great deal and lost of fun!! Send me an email thecaliforniawineguy.com@gmail.com for more details.
 
I COULD BE IN NAPA RIGHT NOW! 9-14-12
Yes you could be its Friday all you have to do is get on an airplane to Oakland, Sacramento, or San Fran.  Then drive an hour or so and your there!  OK most of us can’t just drop everything and head up to Napa true.  If you did, you may get to see the beginning of the grape harvest.  Sav Blanc grapes are the first, to get the squeeze on, then Chardonnay, and the rest of the Reds, Cab, Merlot, Pinot.  This time of year Napa is a magical place, the heat is still on, the nature is stunning,  the wine. Its unreal, plus add amazing food a swimming-pool and a significant other, and your all set.  That’s where I come in, I help you make the right plan to do just the right amount of wineries.  Which ones work best, for time, budget, and what you like the best.  Also help with Restaurants too.  Let me help you like I have helped lots of people get the best of their time and money in Napa.  Here’s how it works, you and I  talk about your likes, of wine, and food.  Your price-range of activities etc and I create a plan  to accomidate your specific wants.  Then you have a great time. Contact me @  thecaliforniawineguy.com@gmail.com
SCREW SCREWCAPS 9-4-12
Seeing a screw-cap on a bottle of wine can scare people, almost as much as seeing Mitt Romney trying to act cool. Both don’t seem to be natural occurrence.  But wait, there’s a reason for the screw-cap, so relax its gonna be OK.  Many wines that are produced are age wine, like A big Napa Cabernet, or Bordeaux wine.   Many wines are produced to be drank right away so a cork is not really needed.  Cork actually is less airtight than a screw-cap, so the odds of the wine getting air in the bottle is much less with a screw-cap.  Mostly whites like Sav Blanc, Pinot gris, even some reds too, Shiraz, some red blends as well have screw-caps.  There are many cheap crappy wines that have screw-caps so beware.  Here’s a great example of a great screw-cap red wine from Napa TURNBULL OLD BULL 09 cost about $16 to $20 great blend from a great producer.  Cork is expensive and not as green as you think, another reason why a screw-cap is OK.  Mitt acting cool not OK.
YOUR SPAMMING ME! 8-21-12
As I type this a billion pointless bits of info are being sent to all computers.  Whether its the travel site that has a sale non-stop, or if you ever donated any money to any group, or even the good old prince of Nigeria needing some bread it never ends. I get so much crap sent to me on this website its mind boggling. I do however get real emails with GREAT questions about wine so those are cool. Here’s an example of an email I get, always vague. (Its great to come to a site with so much useful info congrats on being informative).  What a hopeless  job to be the guy who lets out all this cyber shit into the universe. I decided to check out some Internet wine sales sites, and allot of these sites are just spam slime too.  Don’t get me wrong Groupon is a great thing lots of great deals out there, when everything is marked up in this world Groupon is a good thing.  However when websites take junk and sell it off in a must buy this by this time fashion, not so good. This wine sales site had a bunch of crappy wines and a time set that you could buy. Its still so-so wine for 25-30$ plus shipping so beware of this stuff.  We live in a world of great wine good deals too, but allot of people who made a ton of money and then purchased a winery, don’t know squat about making good wine.  So there’s a glut of this crap out there.  So take your time go to the wine place where you can trust the wine dudes. And remember if you are buying wine on the Internet have a idea of what your getting. And wine ratings are a great way to get suckers to pay way to much for a bottle.  Be your own reviewer, see what you like check out some new stuff, be smart.  And tell that asshole the prince of Nigeria to get a real job!
SUMMER FLYS WINTER WALKS-8-10-12
Wow this summer is cruising by!  Ive done so much, and had a blast too.   Thanks to those who came to my shows in Chicago!  Also I got to see one of my favorites Black Sabbath too.  And going to Paris and Bordeaux didn’t suck either.   Summers can be flashes so savor the fun times because soon it will be fall and chilly (unless global warming keeps kicking us). All of these fun events mentioned I was able to enjoy a great glass or share a bottle of great wine. So before summer is gone get your great bottle and make it happen.  I always get asked where to get the best deals on wine and all booze for that matter.  So I have found another good place to buy all you bev needs and not bev mo.  Its called Total wine and more.  They have a decent collection lots of generic crap too.  This place offers coupons too and if you gonna get some nice bottles this is a good place to do that.  They have stores all over the country, plus the beer is varied and cheap too.
CHICAGO!! 7-31-12
OK I’m heading out to Chicago my home town kinda to do some Stand-up shows @ Schubas.com come by if your around.  These will be a great time as I am performing with the very funny Matt Knudsen, and David Forseth.  You wanna talk great food and wine well this is a city with both.  You probably could find the best steaks in the world @ Gibsons, Chop house etc..Some much to do as well this place a never ending paradise of food, drinks, art, music and on and on!!!  Ive said it before and here goes again but the William Harrison Cabernet 07 is just amazing. If you can find it for around 40 bucks you are in for a treat.  This is a cabs cab, just the perfect balance of fruit. Your mission is to find this wine.  Also hope to see you in Chicago.
 
VIVA LA FRANCE 7-10-12
I have just returned from France, yes that France.  And the wine was fantastic on so many levels. French wine really is a true original. Many of the wines we enjoy here in Cali owe their ancestry to French grapes, like Burgundy to our Pinots.  Bordeaux to Cab blends, Chablis to Chardonnay. ECT… Here’s the cool thing when a rootstock disease almost killed all the grapes in France, America stepped up and sent them some USA rootstock and we save the French wine industry.  So we are very much related to one another.  One thing I really enjoyed about France is that their are not wine ratings all over the place.  Yes there are the famous and expensive wines, you are not pushed to drink certain wines because some middle-aged white dude told you its a 93 score.  You just enjoy.  France is split up into so many areas of different grapes to explain them all would be quite a task.  Lets start with Bordeaux in the southwest of France this is probably the most famous area of grape production in the whole country.  I took a train (Bullet train) and it was amazingly fast by the way. Bordeaux is a bustling city full of good food and good wine, also the people are nice anyone who hates on the French people probably has not been there.  Because most of the people I dealt with were nothing but cool.  I was able to first visit St. Emmlion which produces a Merlot forward blend.  And the city itself was built around 1150 then updated around 1500 and then 1800 to say its beautiful would be a serious under statement.  Cobble stone streets surround the whole area as well as an ancient church. And the wine shops are also everywhere with tastings all over.  It would take you several days to do the whole area justice because of the size of all the wine producing sections of Bordeaux.  Remember that 09 10 were both great years for Bordeaux so if you wanna try some here in the states most $20- $30 bottles with be great.
 
FRANCE FRANCE FRANCE 6-26-12
BON JOUR yes I’m all the California wine thing but i’m going to France where alot of the wine we enjoy here in the states got it start. Meaning a lot of the grape varietals come from.  This month has been busy with wine tastings, i’ve done and you can have me do a personal tasting for you as well.  Tasted some great stuff in Paso Robles too, you have to get up there its a amazing area to check out and to drink the great wine of the area.  I have been also doing some wine interviews with comedian friends too.  Back to France I will be going to Bordeaux to check out some of the great wines of this classic region.  So I will have lots to see and talk about, my French is pretty much non-existent but we will see.  Also I had some William Harrison 07 Cabernet if you can find this 40ish dollar bottle it will make you Napa Cab dreams come true.  This underrated gem has lush big Napa fruit with a great finish just amazing seek this stuff out! It should be a 120$ a bottle.
 
SUMMER SIPPERS 5-30-12
Summer is basically here and time to figure out what to do, because like Charlie Brown said, Summer flys Winter walks.  So get your wine plans going now. Planning an event with lots of good wine can be the “party of the summer”.  Growing up in the Midwest a good summer party consisted of a 12-pack in a parking lot.  I hate when I go to a nice party at a cool place or a friends house, nice place, nice food cool summer candles, etc.  Then the table with all the booze is covered with crappy wine.  People go to the Bev-Mo or wherever and get the cutesy label stuff uggh!!  Ask the guy at the liquor store or wine place that’s a start, but branch out take a chance.  Buy something different open you mind to Spain, South America, Australia too. I’m pro-Cali wine all the way but when you try other wines you get better at understanding how different and good other countries are at making wine.  Also for the hot days of summer try a nice Sav Blanc like Stags Leap 09 great stuff for about 20 bucks its worth it.  Or a big Conundrum a mix white blend of fruit summer good times in a bottle 18 bucks.  Or a Rose like Bandol from the south of France around 20 bucks too.  Having a simple back yard wine party can be the best time now get planning!!
to read more see my past description here.
GET A PAIR OF GLASSES!!! 5-18-12
Hello wine lovers and likers. First off  happy spring to everyone.  Go out and have some nice wine and go see some live comedy.  I have not plugged Stand-Up to much,  it needs you. By the way if you live in a big city sometimes the off-bar shows is where you will see some of the best Stand-ups doing thier thing. Without the two-drink minimum!  OK I have been working on wine interviews with comics so get ready for that too. OK lets talk about wine glasses are they important? Everyone knows the guy who has drank wine out of a jelly jar he did not set the bar.  Wine glasses are very imp This is someone who’s not a connoisseur, that’s obvious.  However if you don’t drink wine out of decent glasses your sell the wine short.  Wines need to breathe and the right glass makes all the difference.  Go out and throw down a few bucks for some Reidel glasses they make a huge diffrence. Glasses cost around 25 bucks but is well worth it.
FINE WINE AND MUSIC 5-7-12
Two things that go well together music and wine!  I have had some of the best times drinking wine and listening to music. Case in point the Beastie Boys who are now two.  MCA (Adam Yauch passed away) who was a musical pioneer who actually mentions some good wines in their raps.  The reason i’m getting so self-righteous is that I’ve always been effected by both great music and wine.  Most everyone who likes both can recall great experiences with music and great wine. To be put in a situation where you get the best of both worlds is an amazing treat not to be missed.  Wine can really bring out the some good times as  well as music.
NAPA UPDATE 4-20-12
Hello wine friends, look I know its 420 so enjoy your puff of whatever. Thats another thing California is great at.   I have to tell you about Napa just got back, lots of good wines to taste, fun friends and good times all around.  First I have to thank all the nice people @ Chateau Montelana, as well as Chimney Rock, Schramsberg, and Heitz cellars.  I tried so many great wines at all of these places. Here one thing right away 2008 is a bad year sorry I want to be positive, but compared to 06, 07, 09, all great years for me.  06 is really coming around too, it got a bad rap because 07 is such a great year. The 06’s I tried were all starting to show great promise.  The 08’s are just off they have a weird balance, and just don’t come across nearly as smooth.  One thing I have noticed is that buying wine in Napa is not what it use to be.  Ten years ago you could find great deals offered by the wineries themselves,  today they have really raised allot of the prices.  Here’s the thing when in Rome, you try a great wine and you think I want  to buy a bottle.  Here’s what I would do find the wine at home at a bigger wine store, odds are its gonna be anywhere from 10 to 15 bucks less.  For you guys that live in the sticks its harder to find these wines back home, so make you own calls. As some of the single vineyard bottles are only available through a wineries wine club.  Remember to contact me for a wine trip of your very own that I can design for your specific tastes and budget.  It looks like 2010 is going to be a great year as well, 2011 maybe not so much.  I’m going to do a virtual wine tour soon as well, so hang on for that.  Anybody who loves wine really you need to go to Napa, so much to do and the food is unreal even the small places are amazing.  Bring you favorite person and get there soon!
 
CORKAGE FEES 4-10-12
First of all it’s great to be back ive been traveling, and I’m going to be in Napa soon and will have some reports from the motherland of Cali wines.  Also I have some cool comedy-wine interviews coming too.  Alot of people ask me about Corkage fees, so i have thought of some tips for bringing your wine into a restuarant.  Last week I was at a restaurant in Lake Tahoe and I brought a bottle of Stags Leaps Artimis 07.   And the fee was 25 bucks so add that to the cost of the wine it comes to 55 bucks. Heres the thing they had that wine on the list so the fee was 25 not the usual 15.  Its still cheaper than the 75 bucks they had it on the wine list.  If you bring in a bottle don’t be a dick because servers make money off wine sales too. So have some respect for them and offer them a taste or a couple bucks and they may just toss out the fee too.  Also don’t be the guy that brings in a crappy 8 dollar bottle, you look cheap and you are cheap.  Save that cheapo stuff for home.  Lots of restaurants have no fees, some can be as much as 50 bucks a bottle.  Heres the  main thought be cool and offer the waiter or manager a taste half the time they will waive the fee. Don’t bring a schmukko bottle either and if the bottle is an expensive check first home much the fees are first to see if its worth it.
TIME TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL. 3-28-12
With the world in its usual upheaval, ugly politics, racism, civil wars, and yes they are bringing the show PUNKD back.  Yikes I need to escape to far place in a nice nature setting preferred.  When I get fed up with the world a bottle of wine can be the best thing to change up my vibes.  Add a nice back-drop and i’m there.  Before I talk about that I would like to thank all those people who emailed me with compliments on my blog. Lots more coming interviews with wine-makers comedian friends, so stay tuned and share the site ill facebook it soon too.  Ok back to what I was talking about. Wine on Vacation is some of the best wine to drink because when you are in a good place and mood wine tasted way better! That’s a fact, you can look it up!  Lets say you go skiing and after you have a great glass of Cabernet its total fulfillment. You just kicked the mountains ass now your drinking a glass of Cakebread Cabernet 07.  Or if you are in San Francisco watching my new favorite band BEST COAST and drinking a glass of anything!  Or when I was at the breathtaking view of BIG SUR at NEPENTHE restaurant drinking a glass of Shafer Cabernet 02. I’m telling you my attitude changed for a while after these relaxed moments. Enjoy life!!
 
MORE OF MY TOP TEN 3-15-12
Ok here’s some more wines that have been favorites for the last year. What took me so long?  Ive been doing my wine tastings, standup comedy, and Auditioning, for stuff i didn’t get so there that’s where I been! OK! (Conversation with myself)  Back to the list.
7. STOLPMAN SYRAH 09 – Ok these guys make amazing wine year after year, this wine is source from grapes from north of  Santa Barbara.  They make a couple different Syrahs the main bottle is about $22 and then the Hilltops about $32. These guys make a bold flavored Syrah that for the money a great wine get on this wine and stay because Cab lovers this a treat year after year.
6. TABLIS CREEK ESPRIT DE BEUCASTEL 09- Ok another great winery from Paso Robles these guys have been pretending they are in the Rhone valley in France. Very successfully every year I may add. This blend of Mourvedra, Grenache and Syrah is amazing $45 this is a bottle you must let age to really enjoy. Open one now and its still a great wine. This a great way to start learning about how Euro style wines made it over here in California.
5. JOSEPH PHELPS CABERNET-07 These guys have been at it for so long they always make a great cab, @around $38 bucks you wanna hold for a couple years to get the most out of this lush wonderful juice.  They produce many fine wines (Sav Blanc is also great) And the winery in Napa is amazing check them out.
4. TURNBULL PETIT SYRAH-07 $35 Ok you probably can only get this wine at the vineyard, but wow what a treat.  That’s the thing about going to the wineries is you get to taste the stuff you will never see for sale anywhere unless you go to the vineyard. The cab they produce is always great too so check them out.
3. MERRY EDWARDS SAUVIGNON BLANC-09-10 $43 These guys make great Pinot Noir, and also Sblanc that’s fruity, easy, solid stuff from a great winery. Problem a couple good WS reviews and its getting kinda pricey, but its worth a go for people liking the white and are not Chard fans. This is one of those wineries that anything they make is gonna be pretty good.
2. CHIMNEY ROCK-CABERNET(S)-$50-75- OK these guys make some of the most enjoyable Cabernet or Cab-blend.  Rich, ageworthy, smooth, great wine!  A bit pricey as they have gone up in the last ten years. You make good product they raise the price. Get a bottle of this wine save it, drink it now whatever.  On par with those monster Cabs that go for hundreds of $$. If you are a Cabernet lover and wanna invest in a really nice bottle and impress someone this is it.
1. PLUMPJACK CABERNET-$90 (GULP)  I have talked about this winery before and they are probably one of my all-time faves. Pricey but again its an investment, in your wine future.  Plumpjack 09=07 both great years for this wine also the Syrah is also greataround 45$ Wines with a good Rep $$$ is gonna cost more every year it sucks but that how it goes. I would drink Plumjack on my birthday, or holidays, but anytime you wanna really enjoy a great bottle here ya go. Now if you can’t hold on to the bottle for a while then it won’t be up to its potential so remember age this stuff.
HERES MY TOP TEN IN TWO PARTS 3-02-12
So as I said in an earlier post I would put together some of the top wines I have enjoyed and talked about.  I know there are two many lists out there, and they become redundant.  This is just sample of wine I have had in the last year.  I always have a great time with this because by the years some wines are much better than they where in just one vintage.  Some of these wines cost $16 bucks some of them go all the way to $75 I look at a pricey wine as an investment in a good time. I mean how many times have you spent big bucks to go to a lame bar and order the 12 dollar special, or a stupid movie, or a so-so restaurant?  So don’t sweat it you will get your moneys worth.  Ok lets start with…………………….
10. Groth Sauv Blanc 09-10 $16 every year these guys produce a nice subtle fruit Sav. Blanc that delivers and for the price a big yes! In my opinion they take whats good about a French Sancerre (the original Sav Blanc.) and give it nice bits of Napa fruit so it has more structure a great full taste and a great finish. Good on a hot day, or with food a good value too. Groth is a class winery all the way enjoy.
9. William Harrison Cabernet 07 $35 Ok I hate to give away secrets but this is some of the most underrated Cabernet in the whole Napa Valley.  For people who think Silver oak is good this stuff kicks thier ass.  For half the price this lush black cherry leather just quality.  I can’t say enough about these guys, hard to find but worth it. This is true napa fruit, at its best before the wine world was ruled by scores.
8. Chateau Montelena Chardonnay  07-09Ok world class winery, great story, fantastic wines, I’ll be honest Chards to me are kinda boring not this stuff. So well balanced, rich, nice minerals, body, just great. Either vintage 07 or 09 just great. Again they make great Cabs as well but this Chard at about $43 bucks is a treat.  This stuff beat the French in 76 and changed the wine world. I’m telling you again worth every penny.  And again many other wine less quality would be twice the price. More to come…
 
AND THE WINNER IS? 2-27-12
So did you watch the Oscars?  Pretty boring kinda outdated, movies so-so.  It used to be about how great the movies are now its all about the dresses and over hyped bits.  Billy Crystal is great if its 1993.  He was funny in some of the bits but still the show was a big whatever.  If I had to give an Oscar to wine I would have to go with (giant pause) and the winner is Plumpjack 2007 Oakville Cab. For it performance in great lush awesomeness.  This week is my lady’s Birthday so I went into my Batcave and pulled the Plumpjack half bottle (see earlier post). Damm this is great stuff and not cheap but sometime you have to have something nice to celebrate.  Gotta tell you hook-up the ones you love with a wine you love and they will be so grateful.  Plus you look like a wine knowing champ. I’m going to post a top ten wines to go to to help those in need of some ideas. Plumpjack makes a great Syrah too. Cost about 45 a bottle but a treat. Where the regular Cab cost about 40 for a HALF bottle and $70 for a full bottle.  Again its a treat so let it age a couple years and the value goes way up. You all need to go up to Napa sonoma and check it out. You guys in the east where the chill is getting to you call and I will set up a whole trip for you.  Ok gotta go but I will post a list of my wines of the year.  Also check out my Comedian Pal Matt Knutsen on Conan this Wed nite being very funny and he has a great wine joke too.  Happy Bday to the love of my life Jenna.
LESS IS MORE 2-22-12
I have to tell you I love a great glass of vino, aduh why would I have this website dummy? I’m talking to myself, sometimes I open a nice bottle of wine only to have half of it left and then it can sit for a couple days. A Lot of people ask me what do you do with opened wine. Fridge for both red and white. And there’s this spray stuff called (wine life) that changes the air in the bottle and probably helps global warming too.  Spray it in the bottle and it keeps it the same as when you opened it.  There are so many half bottles too. I have many in my collection and so should you. They are cheaper, and they age faster. As a bottle gets bigger the age time is longer.  And this a short post too Cheers Patrick!
 
WILL YOU BE MY VALENTINE? NO? WHY THE F@%K NOT? 2-14-12
Right now thousands of guys are scrambling to get some bs candy or flowers last minute and worse actually are gonna out for a romantic dinner?  Not me i’ll be serenading my gal with a acapella version of the classic rock tune smoke on the water.  I get bothered by the pressure we put ourselves through to do prove our love.  This what I hate about holidays!  ySo whats your plan?  You go to a restaurant and its packed, they have to add tables to accommodate all the extra “Sheeple” who only go out on these holidays. Some call it amateur night. Then they change the menu so its more expensive, and the service sucks. I belive real romance can be better find a special place to go. For you guys in the cold watch the snow with a nice glass or make your own special dinner chix LOVE that do something diffrent. And when you do get a nice glass of bubbly or good Red. I just got a bottle of FOXEN Syrah these guys do it right. Lush rich cherry leather, overtones. 40 bucks great bottle!! And check out Gloria Ferrer sparkling  wine out of Caneros southern Sonoma, great value.  They have 2001 vintage out there too if you can find it 20 bucks for a wine that tastes like $100 bottle of Chamagne. Thanks for all your positive feedback guys!! Happy Valentines Day.
 
 
Superbowl Superbowl how I love thee.. 2-3-12
Here we go again the Sunday where 90% of the US gets on the Superbowl train.  Everyone loves to give advertisers the ad-boner they get every year, and lets be real we love it.  In fact yours truly the Cal wine guy may be in a Superbowl commercial lets hope.  Ok now if the Chicago Bears were only in the SB i’d be allot happy but alas they are not.  Ok who hasn’t been to the SB party that got out of hand or the one where people got so hammered a fight broke out. Ive seen them all.  I must confess a SB party with a handful of my comedian buddy’s, the best we just make fun of everything. (We can’t help it)  However one of my favorite SBowls, was when I watched it by myself yes myself!   I ordered a slab of the best BBQ RIBS yes and had a half bottle of Tablas Creek Espirit de Beaucastel 05.  A Rhone style Rhone is the middle south part of France. Where they do a cool blend that usually consists of Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, grapes.  Damm this is good stuff some of the best central California has to offer.  With hints of  dark chocolate, plum, a treat  that can’t be beat. I had a great time eating drinking and watching you will too.  Happy Superbowl guys and be careful there are allot of idiots out there drinking and driving so DON”T DRINK and DRIVE.   Have fun and hopefully you will see me on the TV.   Also a beer I must give a shout out to Laginitus IPA rules enjoy some on the SB. And thanks for all your positive emails i’m flattered byt the love.  Especially in a you suck world on the internet.
Vintage what does that mean? 1-29-12
How old does wine need to be?  Why do you smell the cork?  Screw-cap really?  Age is a great thing for wine or a bad thing. Wow that was heavy man sorry, but its true.  Certain grapes can age like a Mo-Fo some are ready to roll right away.  Like in Comedy Steve Martin can age well and even get better with time.  Or Patton Oswalt is great right now. Dane Cook is past his prime. Same in wine. A good French Bordeaux can last for 50 to 100 years these grapes can really evolve over a long period. I know a guy who worked in fancy smancy restaurant in Vegas and he sold a 1904 Bordeaux to an Israeli arms dealer for $10.000. Crazy yes but if stored well they can last long, but once you open the bottle you have about enough time to drink the wine as James Bond has to dismantle a bomb before it blows. Ok but in reality most of us are not drinking uber expensive wine.  Wine aging is weird because in Napa for example a 2002 Cab is drinking better than 2001. this is because the way the grapes turned out that Vintage. Certain years produce denser juice that needs more time like 06 will age well for a while.  Be careful because wines like California or Oregon Pinot noirs don’t last that long.  If you have a 07 pinot drink it, or its gonna go south.  And Sav Blancs are made to drink quickly so a screw cap is actually better than a cork and more eco cool than cork too.  And why do people smell the cork? nMostly to look smart, in reality if an aged bottle of wine has a cork that’s crumbly not a good sign. And the smell can tell you if its a bad bottle.  The smell of musty not good or vinegar not good.  A good California Cab or Cab blend should age at least 7-10 years to really get the best out of the bottle. Chards from Cali 4-5 years Pinots 2-5 years.  Start your collection and hold a few bottles and taste the age, and then watch the movie the Jerk and laugh your ass off.
No please don’t make me go to Costco! 1-23-12
I don’t like going to Costco, first of all if you go there to buy a few things you always end up spending $200 bucks more than you wanted. When you get home you see all the important idems you needed like circus peanuts, 40 yr old Scotch, and a gallon of Tahitian Vanilla. I do some bits in my Stand-up act about Costco, and yes you could say its a hacky subject but still true. People love to buy wine there because they think its a great deal. In my opinion the prices used to be much better, however these days costco sells more wine than anyone else in the U.S.A. or world for that matter.  Lots of the cheapo stuff for sure by the pallets. Youv’e seen these people with cases of this stuff.  Then you have the leftovers(the harder to seel stuff) from bad years.  If you go to Costco today you will see tons of 08 from Napa and Sonoma a much tougher vintage to sell than 07 and 09.  And of course the ratings on all the bottles, and anyone who reads this blog knows how much I hate ratings!  I wish Costco gave some smaller wineries a cut of the action, most of the wines are from bigger wineries that have alot of stuff leftover for Costco to get rid of. Ten years ago the prices were much better for wine at most outlets like BevMo too.  BevMo in my opinion is very limited in cool cheaper bottles. Its the same wines you’ve seen generic stuff for such a big store.  Again no real deals to be had. My wine pal Franconi is also a wine buyer so I get the inside on how much this stuff costs in reality. For example if he buys Silver Oak Alexander Cab the lower of the two they put out.  He buys it for $35 bucks a bottle, so at Costco it would be $54 and at Bev Mo its $60 because people know the name brand. Seems like kind of a rip-off. Ok now I know there are some deals at Costco and BevMo, but a few and if you don’t know what to look for it can be quite hard to find them.  Heres what I think you should do as a wine deal seeker. First if you live in a city are find a discount wine shops they are out there. Google to find them. Also there are some big outlets like Wine and more lots of stores across the US.  They have much better selections and have some great deals too.  I like to buy wine at the smaller places to help the little guys out screw Costco!
Que Syrah Syrah.  1-10-12
I love Syrah its a fav grape of mine.  Its the Tim Tebow of grapes it can come through in the clutch on many different levels.  Alot of wine lovers like myself have found true love with Napa Cabs or A big Chard. A nice Syrah is rich almost like dark ink and and velvet vibe. Great nose of mix berry or chocolate.   After while its time to change things up and have your mind changed like Tebow no one is expected a big Syrah can have the same expect what was that?  Syrah has some origins in France in the Northern and Southern Rhone as well as Chatanuef du pape.  Here syrah is blended with different grapes Mourvedre and Grenache, (world renown Chatanuf’s come from this part of France) one of my favorites of the all French wines. Alot of you will know Syrah by its other name Shiraz. Australian call Syrah Shiraz, same grape.  Down under they grow lots of Shiraz but beware alot of these wines are crap. A cheap exception is (The Stump Jump) a 10$ bottle thats great.  Anyways Syrah in California is really starting to get its day.  Of course you got the high end Wine Spectator darlings like Sin Que Non and Saxum big scorers and high pricers too. However look into a bottle of Stolpman Hilltops around $30 bucks but a great bottle will make any Cab lover see the light. Also my friends @ Shafer make a great bottle called Relentless a huge wine that takes years to get to a special place called awesomeland! Great Syrahs from central California are having a great year in 2009 so changed gears Cab freaks and check out a Syrah!
 
WHATS MY RESOLUTION(S)
Whats yours? Every year many millions of people embark on a mission to change their lifestyle or how they eat or drink. Which is funny if on New Years eve you can go to great excess then change on a dime the next day. Diet commercials abound the Xmas tree gets treated like a 3rd class citizen, its a time for re-inventing yourself. Usually by Feb its back to the same old you. By the Superbowl you are doing all the things you said you wouldn’t do times 10.  Ok so here of some Resolutions for all of my wine pals out there.  Resolutions can be just changing the way you look at stuff too, like wine. If you all ways drink Chardonnay try some Sauv Blanc or a mix varietals, or you Cab people try some Zins or Pinots change it up the world of wine needs you to change it up.  You will find opening up your mind to diffrent wines will be fun and enjoyable! Happy New Year guys.
HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE
I have had great NYeves and lamos too. Ive done comedy gigs that have been great and soso. Partied til dawn and gone to bed at 1230 too. This can be a great night so plan well or just let the chips fall into place either can work. People seem to need to buy Champagne alot of people buy Veuve Cliqot, its OK in opinion I say go for some American sparklers. I have mentioned below or maybe a killer Cabernet like Plumpjack or an older Turnbull. Change it up and have a great New Years too be safe!!
 
CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE DEC 19-11
Can’t believe it but its Xmas week already!  I’m not one of those wierdo’s that puts a Xmas tree up in November or sprays mace on people on Black Friday to get an Xbox. Great memories from a holiday are blurred by the relentless commercials pushing us to buy stuff. How many people are really getting a Lexxus with a big red bow?  I did that for my wife but then she had to return the car the next day to Hertz. Around Christmas I like to have bubbly wine, and as usual i’m gonna go for the good American sparkling wine. Sure Champagne is great but with so many good sparkling from here well buy American!  I just had a Holiday party the other night and I served Taittinger from Carneros great stuff made by the French from Sonoma southern Sonoma,  So good and for 20 bucks its a steal!!  Decent French Bubbles go for 45 to 80 for so-so’s, another reason to buy American Bubbly.  Also Schramsberg has great stuff for around 30 bucks another great deal, they sell it in Trader Joes so go and get some and get you Christmas drink on. Also think about those who are in need, this can be a really crappy time of year for people who are broke or emotionally broke so remember the real reason of giving.  And be safe!  Don’t drink and drive!!  Talk soon Merry Chrismas. from the californiawineguy!
 
ITS BEGINING TO LOOK ALOT LIKE (INSERT HOLIDAY HERE)
Do you have any idea how many crappy Xmas gifts I have received and given?  Enough to make Santa puke sugar plums all over the workshop.  Charlie Brown was right when he was bummed about the commercialism of the Holidays, he also should of punched Lucy in the face for that matter. Lets face it we live in a time as a a society forced to follow orders from Xmas leaders who tell us to buy holiday crap.  Except for all the people who get cars for xmas where do they get those bows?  And why are the people in the car commercials always so pretty can’t ugly people buy cars?  When the holiday brick’a crap comes out I look at so much of it and think who the hell buys this shit?  How many people have (be honest) have trashed or re-gifted stuff in the last year?  Many and I don’t blame you, if my Mom buys me one more striped polo shirt. So where is this going?  Is this an attack on Xmas as the dopes at Fox bring up every year?  No I like Xmas I have great memories of getting cool stuff, having a great time with my family, Chicago was a great place to be a kid on Xmas. Now I live in LA where on Xmas everyone splits and the town empties out out like an end of the world movie.  Now that i’m sort of a grown up I get to spend my holidays in California and wine tasting.  My wife’s family comes from Paso Robles one of the great wine areas of the world. When we go to hang with her family I often sneak to some of my fav wineries and taste the new wines,  and the landscapes are beyond breathtaking. My point is take a trip to Paso for the holidays its probably warmer than where your from it has great food, the Pacific ocean, and some of the best wine in the world.  Let me set up a trip for you and create some new great holiday memories.  Email me and I will create the perfect wine trip!  thecaliforniawineguy.com@gmail.com
 
CYBER WINEDAY
With it getting to be the holiday season the amount of stupid ads, Xmas trees in October, the guilt to buy unnecessary junk, gets more and more intense each year.  So a question I get from wine lovers is ” is it smart to buy wine online?” These days there is allot of wine for sale on the Internet. Most of the(wine sales) sites are kinda for rich guys who wanna impress friends by buying hard to find cult wines. But if you want a vintage wine from say 1997 or 2001 you won’t see these in wine shops for the most part.  There are sites like the winecommune.com and I have bought and sold wines threw them.  Its a site that makes the buyer think that there’s a big wine cellar that they pull wines from.  They have many wines for auction each week from lots of different years. I have had some success with this site and also purchased some duds too. The idea is that they have all these wines in a cellar. In reality these wines come from other sites or estate sales or wine brokers. A cool bottle of wine is a great gift but most of the time you can’t return the bottle if it has turned. I have also purchased wine from EBay and it was so-so I would avoid these site as the deals aren’t really that great.
 
ARE YOU READY FOR THANKGIVING?
Thanksgiving can be a great holiday, or it can be like Jury Duty. Lets be real meeting up with our extended family can be a daunting task.  Who hasn’t been annoyed by the drunk uncle (drunkle) or the jabbery cousin that just got out of rehab, and the worst, the over-politicized racist grandpa. Remember its a holiday which means you can do what you want to do or not. I have had the best unexpected Thanksgivings by simple changing the rules. Have a Thanksgiving with friends instead of your family. Bring cool wine and you will have a new experience filled with enjoyment laughs and no RELITIVES. After all we do have many years of different holidays and events we can have with scary relatives. Ok the name of my site is the thecaliforniawineguy.com and I pledge my wine allegiance to California. However I like lots of different wines from all over the world.  The thing I really get a kick out of is finding a great wine buy, and I found one that I must share with you. The great state of Washington, home to the Grunge music wave of the 90’s now is got some of the best Cabernet’s coming out since Cobain smelled teen spirit.  Cabs love the climate up there and you can taste it in a bottle of Chateau Ste Michelle Indian Wells 2009. I tasted this wine it may as well been a $50  bottle of wine smooth texture ready to drink, lush lovely. And what a deal take advantage of the fact that certain areas that produce such good grapes are not as expensive as wines from renowned growing areas.  You can find this stuff at decent wine shops buy a case if you got the cash!!
ITS ALLMOST WINE TIME PART II (THIS TIME ITS PERSONAL)
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I always get asked whats the best Turkey wine? I remember as a kid my parents and thier friends would drink (Cold Duck). Cold D is a half step below cooking wine and half step above what winos would drink and still do. And Thanksgiving still turned out good, so now that we are smarter about wine we can make it even better. Again its not what I say or Wine Spectator says its about what you like. Most wine dudes will say Pinot Noir goes well with Tgiving fixings, and I do agree. And Chardonnay for white wine on the table. There are many wines I would go with Chards yes, Sav Blancs too, white blends as well. As far as red goes this is where you get what you like. Pinots YES they go well but also if your feast is given by wine novices then maybe a Merlot or even cab or a nice cab blend. Melville Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara is a great fruity Pinot that would make the gang on Thanksgiving happy and Foxen Chard is a great white also from the SB area. Look for 2009 its a good year for both wines. Most of the time we have to deal with weirdo relatives on holidays so get what you like because its your holiday too.
ITS ALLMOST WINE TIME PART I,  also known as the holidays.  Lots of people ask me (I like questions) what to get for holiday dinners or what to bring to parties.  A holiday party is a great excuse to have a wine tasting, get to know the different wines you are unfamiliar with.  As a host to many wine parties I see the satisfaction of people when they learn about  subtle differences in wines. Most people are just don’t know the difference until they have tasted it to really get a hold on wine.  Not to be a snob but when people bring so-so stuff (cutesy labels that cost 6 bucks) this is not good. So many mass produced wines that are good for hangovers and thats about it. There are many good wines that cost around $15 bucks, that’s not to much for a way-better wine experience. I think many of us have re-gifted bad wine over the years I know I have.  A little knowledge goes a long way, experiment that’s how you get to know different varieties. You wanna be the cool guy or gal at the party bring a good bottle again it doesn’t need to be expensive to be good.  Hers a favorite inexpensive wine for a party.  Turnbull Old Bull 09 a mix mostly of Cabernet, Cab-Franc Merlot, Syrah. I have found this wine for $15 bucks its out there and its good. Your friends will love it..
 
HAPPY HALLOWEEN Its that time of the year when the leaves turn colors, theres a chill in the air, and its a perfect time to drink a nice fruity red.  Halloween is such great time of the year, especially here in LA, where most women get the chance to wear next to nothing and call it a costume. I’m not complaining, its  of an old Standup bit a lot of comedians use here. My joke on this was no matter the costume “Oh Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz but Hot, Little red riding Hood but Hot, Oh Ghadaffi but Hot? Really?  Halloween is a fun holiday for everyone, and for wine drinkers I can’t think of a better wine than a nice Zinfandel.  Zin grapes I believe are actually one of the few grapes indigenous to California.  And yes they have gotten a bad rap see white zin.  A good Zinfandel has big fruit but not overboard, leather vibes some cherry, raspberry, nice acid. Central California makes some really nice Zins and since 2009 is a great vintage for the Paso area, look for Zins from the Paso Robles area.  My favorite Zinfandel winery would have to be  Turley (Turleywinecellers.com )they make all kinds of great zins and some other types like Cab, Petite Syrah as well but they can be expensive.  They have had a lot  good scores in wine mags and that means more $$ but if can find Turley old vines, or Turley Juvinile either 09’s would be great do it. Both retail for around $23 bucks.  Drink these lush reds and channel your inner Dracula, then go smash your neighbors pumpkin he worked on all week.Really pizza delivery chix but hot? Happy Halloween!!
 
Thanks for all the great feedback,I’m wowd at how much you guys are into this blog!!
THE WEST IS THE BEST! Jim Morrison said it first and I agree California has some of the coolest places and cities.  One of my favorite places to go in California is BIG SUR, its just incredible on so many levels.  You got the dramatic views of the coastline, the lush forests, the delicious air to breathe, and wine too.  There’s a great restaurant in Big Sur Called Nepenthe that has a great winelist, its here that I enjoyed a half bottle of Shafer Cabernet I was blown away by how good it was. If you go a bit north of Big Sur you come to Monterey and Carmel where lots of grapes are grown too.  I have had allot of Chardonnays over the years and sometimes they get kinda boring and flabby.  So look out because if you want a decent bottle of Chard it usually gets pricey.  Some crappy chards are like $50 a bottle a huge waste in my opinion, however in Monterey theres a winery called Talbott and they own Talbotts dept stores (in certain cities). They produce year after year great Chards(called Sleepy Hollow) well balanced honey fruit, very tasty.If you can find it get it. Usually its about $30 bucks but they have a one called Logan too thats very similar and tastes good to for about $16 bucks.  Also they have single vineyard Chard too thats gonna cost $50-60.  You will love this wine even if your getting burnt on Chards.  So get one go down to Big Sur hang out the west is the best get here we’ll do the rest, how right you are Jimbo.
 
YEARS YEARS YEARS. Its all about the years for me I have stated previously how certain wine years are better than others. My pal Franconi says i’m a bit too years obsessed, hes right. 2007 is a great year for wine in Cali up down all around (with some exceptions). 2009 seems good too especially in Paso and Santa Barbara, 2008 not a big fan. I picked up a the latest Wine Spectator and the cover story is the great cabernets of 2008. So I look to see what the fuss is all about, turns out again they are pushing high end cult Cabernets. These wines range from $150 to $600 bucks when they come out of the shop, who knows how much once they hit a wine store. These wines Scarecrow, Bryant Family, and the big daddy of over priced wines Screaming Eagle $1500, are from small specific vineyards. These specific grapes are like actors there are tons of them but only a few get to be in the movies, and many are overrated. Plus these (Fruit Bombs) take along time to hit thier peak. Have I had them? Yes I have and they are good but for that kinda money?  Again if you are rich live on a golf course and are the 1percent wall street occupiers are ticked off at then great. If you are like me and don’t ask people in other Rolls-royce’s “do you have any Grey Poupon, then your forget it.
The whole wine ratings thing kinda bugs me as you can tell because all it does is push prices up and up. It wasn’t that long ago when you could buy a Far Niente one of my favs, for like $30 bucks now its $85. they got some decent ratings and that was it.  Many great cabs do not get good ratings, examples like Turnbull 07, great wine about $32 bucks, Justin 09 $18, and if you can find it William Harrison 07 cab $35. Great stuff ready to drink, because alot of us don’t have the time to age a $80 wine we wanna drink it. So there are some good 08 wines but look for the 09 07 first and if you wanna get a nice deal on a good cab that will age nicely 06 is a great vintage for that.