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So being invited to dinner to your daughter’s best friend’s parents’ house (that’s a mouthful) can be a bit harrowing. First thing that comes to my mind is, “Can they cook? LOL. Second, do they even like wine? Thankfully, in this case, I had met them a handful of times already so I felt comfortable on both counts. Dinner was casual and comfortable, just the way I like it. 

We started the evening with a great glass of Bourbon, huddling around the kitchen to bear witness to Kass’ culinary expertise. She made a wonderful shrimp jambalaya that was just divine and thankfully paired great with a bott...

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When thinking about white wine from France, most of the time you think of Burgundy or Loire, not necessarily Bordeaux. So when I had the opportunity to try a white wine from the Pessac Leognan region of Graves in Bordeaux, which has the famous first growth Haut Brion, there was no hesitation. 

It wasn’t until 1987 that Pessac Leognan even became its own appellation; before that, a wine would just be considered to be from Graves. As an appellation, it produces about 10% of all Bordeaux white wine made for the entire region. There are two main grapes used in the production of white wine in this r...

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Billecart-Salmon Brut RoseI completely agree with the above statement, as it’s been one of my favorites from the beginning. Billecart-Salmon is a relatively small Champagne house so it tends to fly under the radar. However, their Rose does have a cult following with wine aficionados & sommeliers. Their house style is more about freshness & elegance as opposed to a richer, fuller style.

Billecart-Salmon was founded in 1818 when Nicolas Francois Billecart married Elisabeth Salmon. Nicolas, at the time was practicing law, but afterwards he decided to take over the family wine estate & thus Billecart-Salmon was born. It no...

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Could you live on bread, cheese and wine? I have always thought that I could, so on a rainy weekend when I was the only one home and cooking seemed superfluous, I put that theory to the test. Add a classic book that I decided to re-read (the release of the author’s only other book is imminent), and I had the recipe for a blissful two days. 

Since the bread I selected was an artisan focaccia accented with fresh herbs, I searched my collection for a great Italian wine. Though Tuscany and Piedmont always offer solid performers, I decided to take a southern turn on the map and head toward Sicily an...

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There has been a huge demand in the market for 2010 Barolo, universally considered a “classic” vintage.  Partly because the combination of a long, cool growing season and attention to details in viticulture and vinification allow these “classic” wines to be enjoyed in their youth as well as evolve over time.  This is slightly different from the previous “classic” vintage of 2006 which produced slightly bigger and more powerful wines with denser tannins that will take a number of years to shed. That being said, drinking 2006s nearly a decade in, you still can taste the pedigree of the great win...

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2013 Terredora Greco di Tufo Loggia della SerraSpring is in the air and to me that calls for popping a delicious bottle of white wine to be enjoyed outside with friends.  I was looking for something really special and unique, and I found it.  The 2013 Terredora Greco di Tufo Loggia Serra from Campania is just the wine I was looking for.  The cool thing about this crisp white is the fact that it is made with 100% Greco grapes.  The Greco grapes date back 2,500 years to the ancient Greek settlers and is now native to Campania.  This grape is one of the most important parts in Campania’s wine renaissance.  The Mastroberardino family has put a...

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California ChardonnayIn selecting a wine for this week’s blog, I wanted to pick something that I wouldn’t normally opt for. Usually my heart and palate steer me towards the Rhone, Burgundy or Bordeaux but  tasting wine is always about trying new things, so this time I selected one that I’ve been reading about in the press - the 2012 Fort Ross Chardonnay Fort Ross Vineyard. The Fort Ross-Seaview appellation is relatively new in the grand scheme of Sonoma. But winegrowers Lester and Linda Schwartz have been battling the elements here on the "REAL" Sonoma Coast for over two decades. 

I pulled the cork on this gem abou...

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97 Point 2010 BrunelloAs my colleague Daron blogged about recently, the hottest releases on the market right now are the 2010 Brunellos.  James Suckling was the first to report on the vintage and said “The year 2010 for Brunello di Montalcino is the greatest modern vintage of Italy’s most famous red wine region.”  Antonio Galloni also recently released his report and stated that “Two thousand ten has turned out to be a superb vintage for Brunello di Montalcino”.  Needless to say with all of the hype around the vintage, we’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 2010 Brunellos, and thankfully they’re just star...

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Wilde Farm WinesWilde Farm Winery was actually a horse farm long before it became a winery. In fact, the 2013 Wilde Farm Pinot Noir Donnelly Vineyard is only the second vintage ever produced of these wines. It’s a collaboration between proprietor Loren Grossman and winemaker Pax Mahle. Even though it’s only the second vintage ever produced, Pax Mahle is not a newcomer to winemaking. He first started producing his Pax Label in 2000, and now produces Agharta and Wind Gap wines as well. All his wines have a very different style to them. With Pax and Agharta being the much richer and powerful wines in the group, ...

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My favorite duty as a Sokolin Wine Consultant is to sample wines that are unique, rare or limited in production. This week, I had the pleasure of experiencing a new arrival, the 2011 Calder Charbono Meyers Vineyard. I was quite excited to taste an almost extinct grape. 

The 2011 Calder is 100% Charbono.  Charbono, also known as Douce Noir which translates as “sweet black”, is known for growing in the Savoie wine region of France.  What was once the most widely grown red grape in Eastern France and a California favorite is now only grown in small amounts in Argentina, Piedmont and on 70 hectares...

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