Cellar Notes

Notes about the wines we have tried recently.

Hess Panthera and Lion Tamer featured photo

New Wines from Hess Family Wine Estates: Panthera and Lion Tamer

Today’s cellar note has us sipping two new wines from the Hess Family Wine Estates Lion Head Collection. This is the debut vintage of Panthera Chardonnay and the second vintage of Lion Tamer Red Blend. We received both wines as tasting samples. Donald Hess first purchased acreage on Mount Veeder above Napa Valley in 1982. The site was originally settled […]

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A Trio of Wines from Flora Springs

Flora Springs Winery sits at the foot of the Mayacamas Mountains at the western end of Zinfandel Lane in St. Helena. This stone winery has a long history in Napa Valley and may or may not be home to ghosts. We recently received three wines from Flora Springs as tasting samples and there is nothing spooky about any of these […]

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In Defense of Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio has earned a reputation as a light, flavorless white wine. My friend recently told me a story that perfectly illustrates that reputation. Her friend, who when confronted with a wine list lacking wines familiar to her, orders Pinot Grigio because at least she knows what it will taste like. Water. Not exactly an enthusiastic endorsement of the variety.  […]

Domaine de Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem featured photo

2016 Domaine de Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem

Today’s Cellar Note brings you the warmth of sunny, southern France in your wine glass. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some sunshine and always look forward to something delicious in my wine glass. We received this wine as a tasting sample. Before we get to the wine, let’s take a look at the label. Domaine de […]

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An Ironstone Vineyards Marathon

Both the Kautz family name and Ironstone Vineyards are familiar to me, as they are to many residents in and around Lodi where I associate the Kautz name with farming and viticulture. The sprawling Ironstone winery, located in the Sierra Foothills town of Murphys, is a destination winery. In addition to wine tasting and the wine cave there is a […]

Stella wines featured photo

Stella: Sipping Wine on the Cheap

The two wines in this cellar note challenged my assumptions about grape variety and whether or not a $10 wine can be of interest. I admit I was prepared to be underwhelmed by both of these wines, but in the end I was pleasantly surprised. We received these wines as tasting samples. The two wines in this tasting are part […]

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Let’s Talk Tawny (Port)

Chilly evenings are made for sipping Port, regardless of the season. Just a splash of Tawny Port is a delicious substitute for dessert after a quick weeknight meal. It works just as well at the end of a meal paired with dessert, cheeses or spiced nuts when you have the time and inclination to enjoy a more involved meal. Today […]

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Ventisquero Grey: Two Chilean Red Wines to Compare and Contrast

Winemaking techniques and styles of wine are as varied as the terroir in which wine grapes grow and the personalities of the winemakers crafting those wines. All of that variety is one of the things that is most appealing about wine. Today’s tasting of Ventisquero Grey demonstrates that appealing variability in the most delicious way. We received both wines as […]

Légende wines featured photo

Légende Wines: An Affordable Taste of Bordeaux

The two words I most closely associate with Bordeaux are Cabernet and expensive. Wines made by any of the five First Growth châteaux are too pricey for my budget and the same is true for most wine drinkers, I would imagine. I need to look further down the Bordeaux ranking to find delicious wines that are also affordable.  Another way […]

Mas Conscience L'éveil featured photo

Mas Conscience L’éveil, Terrasses du Larzac

Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault play well together in this textured red blend. I fell for the wine before I learned the interesting story behind Mas Conscience and the appellation within Languedoc that is home to the vineyards. Add to that organic and biodynamic viticultural practices and this wine ticks all the boxes. Since 2014 Nathalie and Eric Ajorque have continued […]