Showing posts with label Valentine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Valentine. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Santa Ynez Valley Wine: Vincent Vineyards

Homespun and genuine often travel together. Vincent Vineyards displays the best of both qualities. Located in Santa Ynez, just off Highway 154 near Los Olivos, the Vincent tasting room offers a very real and homey experience. I never felt that I was being “sold” on anything.

I spoke with owner Tony Vincent just before the tasting room’s closing time. Actually, it was just after closing, and the staff quietly held their car keys in hand while the boss talked to some dude from L.A. One of them plied my wife with chocolates while we talked. Boy, did they find her weak spot.

Vincent told me excitedly about his exploration of social media. "A bunch of people from Philadelphia were in here earlier today," he said. "You know how they found out about us?" No, how? "Yelp!" He was astounded. Better get with it, Tony. Social media is how I ended up there.

The Vincent winemaker Raxie Ward produces all estate wines, although they do offer some sparklers produced in northern California. They are doing wine and chocolate pairings for Valentine’s month, so you might want take your sweetie there. If your sweetie doesn’t like wine or chocolate, I can't help you. Better luck next Valentine’s Day.

The eastern Santa Ynez valley terroir often shows a distinctive earthy quality, lacing the bright red fruit. That trend holds true at Vincent.

2013 Sauvignon Blanc  $35 - Very fresh, slightly herbal, nice acidity.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc  $31 - 30% New oak lends a nice soft mouthfeel to this one. Grapefruit and melon join tropical fruit for a soft and creamy sip.

2010 Sauvignon Blanc  $24  Very similar to the 2012.

2012 Cabernet Franc  $55 - 100% Cabernet Franc, this wine is a nice light purple color. A perfumed, floral nose leads to spice and red fruit on palate. The mouthfeel is soft, so it’s great for sipping. An uncomplicated quaff, and a little light on the finish, it's a good entry-level wine.

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon  $65 - 3% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot are in the blend. It’s soft, sweet and approachable, also a great entry level offering.

2010 Syrah  $48  - 100% Syrah, with the funky, dark fruit palate I look for in that grape.

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon - The wine’s first vintage.  62% cab, 25% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. An earthy angle to the bright red fruit and a moderate finish.

2010 Cuvee V  $90 - The same percentages as the Cab, with more tannins and bright red fruit.
2010 Petit Verdot  $39 - this wine is extremely dry and quite complex, certainly the biggest wine on the list. It’s brawny, so get a steak ready for it. You don't want it to get angry.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Sweet Wines for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day gifts usually center around chocolates or flowers.  While those are great choices - you'll hear no argument about either from my valentine - dessert wines have the sweet and pretty angles covered in both aroma and taste.

If your valentine is a wine lover, a dessert wine is the perfect gift idea.  Sweet, floral aromas and luscious candy-like flavors make dessert wine a natural choice for the sweetest person in your life.  Anyway, they taste so much better than those awful candy hearts.

As you may expect, dessert wines are great for dessert, or as an addition to dessert.  They also pair well with blue cheese and you can even liven up a lobster dinner with a sweet wine.

Here are some dessert wines you may want to look into as a gift on the sweetest day of the year:

Sauternes is a sweet Bordeaux white wine.  Sauternes wines can get very expensive, but many affordable examples can be found in the $20 to $30 range for a half-bottle.

A Hungarian wine known as Tokaji (pronounced to-kay) is a sweet white wine often called "the king of wines and the wine of kings."  At least that's what Louis XIV called it.

Italian Brachetto is not extremely sweet - call it off-dry - but it's a sparkling red wine and is certainly a festive choice for Valentine's Day.

An Icewine from Austria, Germany, Canada or New York State will also please sweet-craving palates.

Port is a sweet wine, although it's fortified with brandy or grape spirits and the alcohol level is a bit higher than most dessert wines.  Real Port comes only from Portugal, but Port-style wines are made just about everywhere.

California's Rosenblum Cellars makes a treat called Désirée.  It's a Port-style wine made from Zinfandel and two Portuguese grape varieties, infused with chololate.  It can certainly set a romantic mood all by itself.