KAY'S WINE BLOG
The Golden Child of Napa Valley - Stag's Leap
Have you ever really enjoyed a bottle of Napa wine if you’ve never heard of Stag’s Leap? Questionable, really, since Stag’s Leap Winery is one of the pillars of the international wine scene. What else could it be with the Golden Child of the area at its helm? The winery itself is so famous, in fact, that it inspired the formation of the Stags Leap viticultural district in 1989, nearly 100 years after the winery was founded. But let’s get back to discussing the person who’s currently in charge of keeping the legend alive. French winemaker Christophe Paubert settled in Napa after first ... Continue reading...
The "Wine Wonderland" of Francis Ford Coppola
There are two kinds of wine-loving celebrities. The kind that start a winery, or buy one, and then pour tons of energy and money into making really amazing wine. And the kind that are really into having their name on a wine bottle. Guess which ones annoy me. Go on. Everyone who is (or was) anyone has a winery these days: Drew Barrymore, Sting, Jason Priestley, even the now detached duo of Brangelina. But let’s not go there; it’s too soon. If we’re going to talk about celebrity winery owners, we have to start with the celebrity winery owner, the one everyone associates with wine. Francis ... Continue reading...
Harvest Tours: Celebrate the Grapes!
Harvest is upon us, and it’s time for grapes to come off the vines and take their next step on their journey to your wine glass. Throughout history, harvest has been marked by two distinct and diametrically different activities. First is a barrage of hard work - a keep-at-it-until-you’re-bone-tired effort. The crops are ready, but the window of time in which to reap the bounty is unforgivingly limited. Second is a party. Throughout the ages the celebration of harvest has included dubious activities like feasting, dancing, and the performance of sometimes bizarre rituals. It has also ... Continue reading...
The Tram Tour at Benziger Family Winery
Wine grape vineyards. Oak barrels. Stainless Steel Tanks. Scottish Highlands Cattle. Which one of these doesn't belong? If you guessed that this is a trick question, you're right. And if you answered that they all belong, then you've probably been to Sonoma Valley's Benziger Winery. Benziger Winery, located in the Glen Ellen neighborhood of Sonoma Valley, has a great winery tour. You can take my word for that, or you can check with the Sonoma Index Tribune, which proclaimed it the People's Choice for The Best Winery Tour 2018. Or Winecountry.com, which lists it in the first spot among The ... Continue reading...
The Five S's of Wine Tasting
To all of you holier-than-thou wine snobs who say there is a specifically correct way that we should be tasting our wine - and consequently any other way is wrong - I say: Hey, turns out you’re right! I enjoy wine. To do so, I used to follow a simple three-step process: I pour some wine in a glass. I put the wine in my mouth, and then... I enjoy it. It really is that simple. No fanfare, no commentary, no intricate procedures. Wine is actually very easy to enjoy. So I don’t need some bow-tied, French-accented Master Sommelier telling me how to do it. As a human being, I instinctively know ... Continue reading...
Take Cover, it's a Butter Bomb!
When you ask her which is her favorite wine, my best friend Tiffany does a shoulder shimmy and uses a Juliette Binoche accent to say "Rrrroommmbaaauuueeerrr." Even uttering the name of Napa's Rombauer Chardonnay is an intoxicatingly happy event. Rombauer Vineyards, located in the St. Helena area of Napa Valley, produces what might be the defining Butter Bomb. Secondary Malolactic Fermentation converts the tart malic acid, naturally present in grape must, to the smoother lactic acid with the buttery natural byproduct diacytl. When a sophisticated Oenophile says about their Chard that they ... Continue reading...
The Types of Wineries I Like
It's easy to describe the type of wineries I like. Some wineries are small, boutique wineries that are only open with a reservation. I like those wineries. Some wineries are big touristy wineries. They are open every day, and in addition to wine tasting, they offer other entertaining stuff, like behind-the-scenes winery tours, gourmet food, live music, and major events. I like those wineries. Some wineries are somewhere in between. I like those wineries. It's important to be unbiased. What's not to like about spending the day sipping the intoxicating liquid masterpieces crafted by ... Continue reading...
Millenials and Wine
Wine geeks were shocked. Heck, everyone who knows anything about wine was shocked. Wine is an acquired taste, so it stands to reason that younger people would be lower on the wine consumption scale than their “more mature” counterparts. Meaning old people drink more wine. But no. A while back, the wine world was rocked to the core by a report by the Wine Market Council that detailed who’s drinking wine and what they’re pouring into their glasses. Surprise! The biggest consumers of wine are not Baby Boomers or even Gen X’ers. They’re Millennials. Yes, Millennials. You know, the ... Continue reading...
Whiskey, Wine, Both?
A long, long time ago somebody - probably while staring despondently at a broken vessel and a river of spilled Cabernet Franc - realized that oak barrels were way better for containing wine than fragile clay amphoras. Eventually, oak barrels became the norm for aging wine, and the characteristics that oak imparts on the flavor of wine became desirable for many varietals. But barrels lose their oakiness after a few uses So vintners often sell used barrels to whiskey or bourbon distillers who appreciate the already seasoned wood. Recently, somebody - probably inspired by a couple glasses of ... Continue reading...
International Pinot Noir Day
August 18 is a very important day. It is international Pinot Noir day. I found out about this important factoid in an email I received from Alma Rosa Winery in the Santa Barbara region. Alma Rosa - no surprise here - is known for vinting up some exceptional Pinot Noir. My discovery of this significant occasion raises several questions. What does one do to celebrate Pinot Noir Day? Who gets to decide that a certain day should be named something special? If Pinot Noir has its own day, does that make Sauvingnon Blanc feel kind of neglected. Do fried green tomatoes have their own day? OK, ... Continue reading...