Showing posts with label Napa Rose. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Napa Rose. Show all posts

Monday, August 5, 2013

Vouvray Chenin Blanc Wine

If you are a fan of Chenin Blanc wine, you are no doubt also a fan of Vouvray wine.  Vouvray - the French wine region east of Tours, along the northern shore of the Loire River - is virtually dedicated to one grape, the delightful Chenin Blanc.  Vouvray has been known for its masterful Chenin Blanc wines since the 16th century, when it is thought the grape appeared as an immigrant from the Anjou region.  Its naturally high acidity makes for an incredibly refreshing and food-friendly white wine.  Chenin Blanc from Vouvray is also an age-worthy white, and one which is done in several degrees of sweetness.

On a recent visit to Disneyland, Denise and I went on Daddy’s Favorite Ride - the Napa Rose restaurant in the Grand Californian Hotel, adjacent to Disney California Adventure.  There I ordered the Baron de LaDoucette Marc Brédif Chenin Blanc 2011 of Vouvray to accompany the cheese plate.  This Vouvray is in the dry style and sells for $15 by the glass at Napa Rose.  The wine retails for around $20 per bottle.  Its alcohol content is 13% abv.

The pale, green-gold color is pretty, if not spectacular.  Aromas of grapefruit and flint dominate the sniff.  There are lots of minerals and wet stones in this wine’s bouquet.  The palate shows lovely fruit - pear and citrus - edged with flinty minerals.  A great level of acidity brings the freshness and makes me glad we ordered the cheese plate, too.  The finish is crisp, with a citrus zip.  What’s amazing to me: I get all this while the wine is cold.  Let it warm up a bit and it is thoroughly invigorating.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Federalist Visionary Zinfandel

Alexander Hamilton's face on a ten-dollar bill is something we are accustomed to seeing, but on a wine label, not so much.  The Federalist Visionary Zinfandel features the founding father's face on the label, presumably as a tip of the three-cornered hat to the guys who helped shape the Constitution of this place we call America.

You'll need two of Hamilton's likenesses on paper money to buy one on the label of this wine, and I had it for $15 by the glass at the always amazing Napa Rose in Disneyland's Grand Californian Hotel.

This Zinfandel is produced from grapes grown on a vineyard in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley.  The vineyard is owned by the Terlato Family and the vines are new.


The Federalist Visionary Zin came as a great capper to a day at Disneyland.  As usual, we hit Napa Rose a couple of minutes before the 5:00 p.m. opening and took a seat in the lounge.

This single-vineyard Zinfandel shows a big, fruity nose and a bit of alcohol, which blows off in about 15 minutes.  The mouthfeel is a little thin for my taste, but the brambly, spicy blackberry flavor carries on for quite a lengthy finish.  The effect of the oak is apparent, but not overdone.

Beaulieu Vineyards Chardonnay CarnerosMy wife was in the mood to linger for a while, so we ordered a cheese platter and I enjoyed an '08 Beaulieu Vineyards Chardonnay from the Carneros region.  A bit of oak appears in this one, but it's nice and balanced in the old California Chardonnay style.


That BV Chardonnay paired best with a buttery triple-crème cow's milk cheese from Normandy, Brillat-Savarin.  Add a touch of sweetness - the walnut-cranberry bread was fine - and it's quite a mouthful.

Going the other way, the Tête de Moine from the Jara region in Switzerland was my next favorite pairing with the Chardonnay.  This "stinky cheese" is also made from cow's milk, and its sharp, nutty flavor played a counterpoint to the creaminess of the wine.  It would really "wow" with a late-harvest Viognier, perhaps.

Honorable mention goes to the Garrotxa, a goat's milk cheese from Catalonia, Spain and the Roaring Forties Blue from Australia's King Island Dairy.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Panky Rose 2008

With the weather hopefully turning a little warmer, I'd like to revisit a very nice rose I discovered last spring.  It's another winner from the Santa Ynez Valley.  This pink wine really impressed me.  If you're looking for a great find for summer, Panky certainly qualifies.  It was a little difficult to find last year, but it's worth the trouble.  Panky is produced by Fontes & Phillips Wines in the Happy Canyon region of the Santa Ynez Valley  Their website said "coming soon" when I last checked it, but the email address worked when I wanted to find some Panky for myself.   There's also a Facebook page.  I also understand Panky can be found at several retail outlets in the Santa Barbara area. 

A clear Rhone-style bottle reveals the salmon color that seems tinged with gold in the light. It's quite impressive visually. The Happy Canyon pink consists of 38% Syrah, 36% Cinsaut and 26% Grenache. I could not find an alcohol content number on the label, but I would not guess it was much over 13.5%. The label is rather plain, save for the name. "Panky" is printed in mixed-font "ransom note" style. I was told this was produced by Fontes and Phillips, but the label shows that it is bottled by the "Kerr E. Nation Wine Company - Buellton, CA." To find it, you may have to "axe" around.

A very fruity sniff awaits you, especially if the wine is not overly chilled. Grapefruit and apricot lead the way, but there seems to be a lot at work in the aroma department. Very interesting.

Panky is not extremely dry, but it's certainly not on the sweet end of the spectrum. There is a buttery texture on the tongue, but it's not overplayed. I find a creaminess that's almost trying to hide. Vanilla notes play against an orange peel tartness. I thought it was a complicated wine the first time I tried it, and I still think so. There is a very good acidity level and Panky goes well with salads, fish...probably an omelet, too.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Orin Swift "The Prisoner" 2007

A recent - and rare - excursion into late night dining took us to Greenblatt's Deli on Sunset.  It was so late I did no dining at all.  But while Denise enjoyed a turkey sandwich, I enjoyed a glass of Orin Swift "The Prisoner."  It was about $12.50 a glass, which isn't bad considering it's a $35 bottle.

Half Zinfandel, half five other grapes, this big blend packs a punch.  The fruit is right up front.  I don't know if the Zinfandel qualifies as ""old vine," but it tastes like it does.  There's a huge pencil lead profile from the Cab, a lovely lushness and a bit of black pepper from the Syrah, darker features from the PS and complex shadings from the Charbono and Grenache.

Variety:  50% Zinfandel, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Syrah, 9% Petite Sirah,  2% Charbono, 1% Grenache
Appellation:  California > Napa Valley
Vintage:  2007
Alcohol Level:  15.1%
Price:  $35 sugg. retail; $12.50 per glass
Acquisition disclaimer:  purchased by the glass by author

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Menage a Trois 2007

I love autumn.  I live in Southern California, so that's not exactly the same sentiment you get when someone from, say, Vermont claims to like autumn.  They get a real autumn in Vermont, complete with changing colors and the onset of cold weather.  Here in Southern California we get fire season.

I actually like the low humidity a lot - as long as it doesn't mean raging brush fires - and when that first cool snap finally comes, I wish there were some brightly colored fallen leaves to run through.  The closest we get to that is a palm frond or two blown down in the gusty winds.  As I write this it's a chilly 57 degrees outside!  (Pause for laughter from everywhere else.)

One way I can celebrate autumn - even without the foliage - is with a nice red wine.  I'm so drawn to whites and roses all summer that my shift into reds serves as my foliage change.  You'll be seeing a lot more reds in this space in the coming months.  If they all taste as good as this one, I'll consider Autumn 2009 a success.

Despite the French monicker, Menage a Trois is a California blend of Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine pours up a very deep red.  It has quite a fragrant nose, due partially to the grapes and partially to the French and American oak used in the barrels.  The dark fruit comes across strong and rich as I sniff it, and there's a trace of smokiness.  They say the Zin is for jamminess, the Merlot is for mellow and the Cabernet is for backbone.  That's pretty much the way it comes across on the palate.  Fruit is huge - blackberries mostly - and there is some smoke flavor along with a trace of pencil lead.  A spicy, peppery taste also comes forth.  It's a little bit rough at first, but let it sit a half hour or so and it should be nice and mellow.  It's priced quite well, $10 at Cost Plus World Market.  At 13.5% abv, the alcohol doesn't knock you over like some Zins do these days.

Winemaker:  Folie A Deux Winery

Varietal:  Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon

Appelation:  California > Napa Valley

Vintage:  2007

Alcohol Level:  13.5%

Price:  $10

Acquisition disclaimer:  This wine was purchased by the author; $10

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Napa Rose - In The Lounge

A recent visit to Napa Rose at the Disneyland/California Adventure complex was quite enjoyable, despite the fact that we came without a reservation and had to sit in the lounge area. It turned out to be perfect, as we really weren't all that hungry anyway. In the lounge you can order any of the salads or appetizers from the menu. Perfect, since that's what we wanted. The wines, as expected, were outstanding. I tried a pair.

Domaine Tempier Blanc, Bandol, France 2007 This is a very nice wine! The white wines of Bandol take such a backseat to the reds, they are practically in the trunk. Only about 5% of the grapes in Bandol are white wine grapes. Pale golden in the glass, the nose has tons of minerals along with citrus and grassy aromas. It feels full in the mouth with a great acidity. Some pear and citrus come across on the palate, but it it dominated by the minerality. Enjoy a nice, long finish. It's an interesting blend of 58% Clairette, 19% Ugni Blanc, 19% Bourboulenc, 4% Marsanne. Excellent with seared scallops.

Dry Creek Chenin Blanc 2007 From an area where they really know how to make a great white wine, this namesake winery in Dry Creek Valley does a great job with Chenin Blanc. Aromas of honeysuckle and tropical fruit capture the nose. The pale wine is crisp and refreshing, with flavors of tart apple and melon. The acidity is great, perfect for food, and the finish is pleasing.

My wife and I enjoy the appetizers-in-the-lounge experience so much, that's where we've been found on our last few visits to Napa Rose. If you are really hungry, though, you should opt for the dining area where you can order entrees.