Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Tom Gore and his wife Erin own a micro-farm in Healdsburg, California, which he works on when not tending vines for the family business. They keep honey bees, chickens, olive trees and over 60 fruits and vegetables, including 15 varieties of tomatoes. Tom and long-time friend Chef Tiffany Smejkal created a set of seasonally inspired menus to complement the Tom Gore Vineyards wines. Here are the spring selections along with our  reviews of the wines:

Spring Parchment Baked Salmon with Fennel Yogurt Sauce
Cabernet Sauvignon and Green Garlic Marinated Lamb Chops with Mint Chimichurri

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

PLANET GRAPE WINE COURSE- Introduction to Wine

Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis
by Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, aka grape goddess

Introduction to Wine
Welcome to the PLANET  GRAPE WINE COURSE. In this introductory section, we’ll learn about senses and how to put them to use right away with Sensual Experience exercises, what grapes make the best wine, the best place to grow grapes, basic geography of wine growing regions, how wine is made, the building blocks of wine, wine types, and about the major grape types, including how to pronounce them by repeating along with grape goddess. I’m so glad you’re here, so that I can arm you with the knowledge and self-confidence to waltz through the exciting, scintillating, delicious, and delightful world of wine.

grape goddess says:
The topic of wine may seem intimidating but it is first and foremost a sensual, not an intellectual pleasure.

What is a Wine Geek?
A wine geek is someone who prides themselves on their knowledge of irrelevant minutiae about wine, who talks and thinks instead of drinks, and who collects to possess, not to share with friends and family at the table. If someone talking about wine makes you feel warm and fuzzy, you’re in good company. If someone talking about wine turns you off, let me know and I’ll send out the Snob Squad.

 grape goddess says:
Avoid wine geeks at all costs. Wine is a pleasure for the senses, not a key to some private club for the chosen few.

Let’s Get it On
Wine is a highly personal experience. You may like something your neighbor hates, just like with food. Your bitter is the next person’s sweet. With wine, as with any subject matter, a little studying goes a long way. With wine, though, the big advantage is that you get to look at, smell, and taste the actual product, instead of just reading about it. Fire up your senses and prepare for lift-off to planet grape!
On turnpikes of wonder, wine leads the mind forth.

Mastering Wine
Mastering wine is as simple as looking to basic human interactions using commonsense and good manners. Yet so often when dealing with wine we are so paralyzed with fear we fail to listen to our basic instincts. We try to intellectualize, while the key to wine’s enjoyment is relaxing and using our senses.

Sensual Experience Exercise
Relax. Slow down. Turn off the cell-phone. Find a quiet space. Put a flower and a glass of wine in front of you. Take them both in with your eyes, enjoying their appearance, slowly. Then, close your eyes and smell the flower. Count to ten. Repeat with the wine. Very good. You may now sip the wine, but don’t bite the flower!
 Check back with us soon for more installments of the PLANET GRAPE WINE COURSE and read our blogs and reviews here:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


bollinger rose+etui
“With Valentine’s Day just a few days away, more and more U.S. consumers are turning their attention to the pink bubbles of Rosé Champagne,” as reported by the Champagne Bureau, USA. “Over the past decade, the shipments of rosé from the Champagne region of France have enjoyed significant growth in the U.S.—just last year 2.8 million bottles of Rosé Champagne were shipped to the U.S., comprising 14.4% of all Champagne shipments to this country. The United States is now the #2 export market worldwide for rosé shipments from Champagne.”

Looking to splurge on pink bubbly this weekend? Here are a few excellent recommendations:

Bollinger Brut Rose Champagne Half Bottle, $60 PG 94
Classic rich yeasty Bolly style but with raspberry, strawberry and cherry notes.
Collet Brut Rose Champagne, $59.99 PG 90
Elegant and soft with notes of wild strawberry, pink rose, brioche and lemon curd.

Fleury Brut Blanc de Noirs Bouzy Grand Cru Champagne, $40 PG 92
Very dry and fine with notes of strawberries and cream, chalk, and white flowers. Biodynamically grown Grand Cru Pinot Noir.

Jacquart Rose Brut Champagne, $52 PG 88
Delicate and lacy with notes of strawberries and cream, rose petal, ginger ale and lemon drop.

Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial Brut Champagne, $54.99 PG 92
Easy going, dry and soft with notes of bright citrus, tart raspberry, spicy turmeric and chalky minerality.

Pierre Paillard Brut Rosé Bouzy Grand Cru Champagne, $72 PG 95
This old-vine blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Bouzy Rouge is hauntingly intense, minerally, smoky, and very serious with notes of rose petal, ginger, sea shell, Hostess Sno Ball cake, and salt water taffy.

Veuve Clicquot Brut Rose Champagne, $70 PG 90
Very dry, crisp, minerally and delicately fruity, this Pinot Noir-based Champagne is very refined, elegant and subtle, but don’t let that fool you. It is very powerful as well.

For more information and reviews, visit

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


ZAP Experience

The World's Largest Single Varietal Wine Tasting Event

February 25 -27, 2016

Meet the makers — the legends and upcoming rock stars of the Zin world. Zinfandel Experience is a three-day wine and culinary extravaganza attracting wine lovers from around the world. Experience the classic character of Zinfandel at five extraordinary events featuring a diverse selection of wines and styles.
The weekend includes a 25 Year Tribute Party, Supper Club, Flights Seminar, Winemakers Auction & Dinner, and Grand Tasting. 2016 Zinfandel Experience is featuring more access to winemaker celebrities, more wineries, and two impressive new venues, showcasing the talents of winemakers, chefs, and artisanal food purveyors.
NEW! Meet the Maker Roundtables free at the Grand Tasting!
Grand Tasting
Saturday, February 27
Pier 27 - James R. Herman Cruise Terminal
The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94105
Past, Present, and Future  11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Imagine getting an invitation to an outstanding wine cellar filled with Zinfandel where your hosts are dozens of legendary winemakers pouring past, present and future vintages. Add several top chefs preparing food that matches the wine. That’s what the Zinfandel Experience is like. Starting at 11am is two hours of a wine lover’s dream: library samples of older perfectly-aged Zinfandels, a bevy of limited-release Reserve Zinfandels, and Barrel samples of upcoming bottlings. At 1:00 PM these select wines will be put away for the commencement of the Current Releases portion of the Grand Tasting.
The centerpiece of Zinfandel Experience 2016 is the Grand Tasting, where wine lovers engage in personal conversations with winemakers while exploring the flavors of Zinfandel blends, single vineyards and old vine Zinfandels or discover the distinctive dialects of Zinfandel growing regions.

Grand Tasting

All Day Ticket: Past, Present, and Future
ZAP Members 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM  $150
Public 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM  $170
Current Releases  Starts at 1:00 PM for members & 2:00 PM for public
At 1pm starts the New Releases Tasting where over 500 different wines will be poured by 150 of the best Zinfandel producers. And all throughout the Zinfandel Experience, you can meet face-to-face with many of the great Zinfandel winemakers. Legends that have helped make Zinfandel into California’s cult grape and the rising stars that are carrying the Zinfandel banner into the future.
Afternoon Ticket: Current Releases
ZAP Members 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM  $70
Public 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM  $80
The Heritage Club Lounge at the Grand Tasting is offered exclusively as a Heritage Club member benefit with the purchase of Grand Tasting tickets. The Lounge will be open from noon to 5:00 PM. Featuring served tastings of highly-allocated Zinfandels, you will relax and take in the view, while enjoying nibbles and treats, as you talk with winemakers who will be scheduled to drop by throughout the day. Included in Ultimate VIP Package.
Meet the Maker Roundtables - Speed dating for wine lovers
ZAP has a passion for helping Zin enthusiasts and winemakers build lasting relationships. That's why we're bringing Meet the Makers Roundtables to this year's Zinfandel Experience-it's kind of like speed dating for wine lovers
Throughout the Grand Tasting, you can sign up for a seat at the "roundtable" to enjoy the unique experience of meeting a top Zinfandel winemaker in an intimate setting.
During the tasting, you'll learn to appreciate the character of the winemaker and the wine while sharing what you're looking for in an exceptional bottle of Zinfandel.
Starting at 11:30 AM you can register, free of charge, for any available half hour session in the Meet the Maker room. With 40 participating winemakers and limited seating, registering upon arrival at the Grand Tasting is highly recommended. Onsite registration.
For more information and reservations, visit
or email: