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Winner of the 2009 Shaw + Smith Aged Release Shiraz

Congratulations to Brianna Chappell - you won a case (6) of award-winning 2009 Aged Release Shiraz.
Thank you to everyone who has entered our recent competition.

Categories: Oceania

2013 Pinot Noir Futures Offering

Vintage 2013 will be best remembered as a play in two acts, with a very wet intermission. What started as an uneventful and easy year going into the final September stretch turned out not to be for the faint of heart. 
The vintage began warmer than usual with early bud break. Cool and wet conditions during fruit set resulted in greatly reduced yields ranging from 1.3 – 2.5 tons per acre. Summer was characterized by cloudless, sunny days that enabled our vines to steadily ripen without disease development or excessive heat stress. Temperature values for September and October were the highest in a decade; however, cool nights allowed the grapes to retain acidity. 
Harvest began in late September, revealing grapes with exceptional flavor, as well as ideal sugar and pH levels. Worrying weather reports with predictions of heavy rains made our Winemaker and Vineyard Manager take swift action to get our best lots in the cellar. The ideal conditions were abruptly interrupted by two 4-inch rain events. The drama from the skies made us focus on selecting only the best fruit in the field and in the winery, sorting out any compromised grapes. Thankfully, after much editing, we have some truly great wines that show the beauty of the vintage with excellent aging potential, lower alcohols, balanced acidity, and signature Oregon red fruit and earth. 
We believe 2013 demonstrates what cool climate grape growing with an experienced and talented vineyard and winemaking team can craft: classic and elegant Pinot Noir.With limited quantities of our single vineyard and reserve Pinot Noirs, we are offering the time-honored tradition of selling futures. As one of our most loyal customers, we are giving you the first opportunity to obtain the wines you want before they sell out. Enjoy 20% off 6+ bottles, 25% off for Wine Club Members and Shareholders.
To order, please fill-out this order form and return by emailing it to, faxing 503-588-8894 or calling a Winery Ambassador at 1-800-344-9463. 

Thank you for supporting our efforts and allowing us to continue to do what we love.
Warm Regards,

Jim Bernau

20% off 6+ bottles, 25% off for Wine Club Members and Shareholders

March 2016 release dates. Shipping charged at time of release.
Complimentary ground shipping on case purchases.
2013 Futures specials valid through May 31, 2015.
2013 Signature Cuvée Pinot Noir – Wine Club Only
Barrels from our three estate vineyards were selected and blended to make this unique expression of the vintage year.
Shipping March 2016          Retail: $65

2013 Bernau Block Pinot Noir
Sourced exclusively from 15 acres of Pinot Noir from the first plantings at the Estate Vineyard, Founder, Jim Bernau planted these vines using a Christmas tree planter pulled behind his 33 horsepower tractor. He grafted the French clones 667 and 777 on a portion of the vines when they became available.
Shipping March 2016         Retail: $55

2013 Elton Pinot Noir
In 2006, Wine & Spirits Magazine listed Elton Vineyard as one of the five key vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA and in 2007 Wine Press Northwest named it as one of Oregon's top ten vineyards. Planted in 1983, the vineyard includes sixty acres on east-southeast slopes planted on Jory soil.
Shipping March 2016          Retail: $55

2013 Tualatin Estate Pinot Noir
Established in 1973, Tualatin Estate Vineyard is one of the oldest and most respected vineyards in Oregon's Willamette Valley. The unique soil profile of Laurelwood ,with deposits of iron concretions called pisolites, has contributed to the complex natures of the wines.
Shipping March 2016          Retail: $55

2013 Hannah Pinot Noir
Resting in the foothills of the Coastal Mountain Range, the Hannah Vineyard is protected by the rain shadow where it is warmer and drier than the rest of the Willamette Valley. The wine is made dominantly from Dijon Clones offering a fruit-forward and spicy bottling.
Shipping March 2016          Retail $55
Categories: North America

Vintage vittles - Monday 30th March: silica, scones and sampling

Seresin Estate - Marlborough, New Zealand - Mon, 03/30/2015 - 05:31
A new week dawns and we spent much of today with some visitors from our UK importers. It was as clear and bright an autumn morning as one could wish, and we sent them out first thing with our horse-drawn sprayer to cover our vineyard with Preparation 501. This biodynamic preparation contains silica, enhances photosynthesis, and is ideal to add to the vineyard to support the vines in the final few days before our harvest begins.

Following the crisp morning in the vineyard, a few warm pinwheel scones at the winery door gave us a chance to start the week well and discuss the plans for the beginning of harvest. Controversy briefly reigned when certain members of the team decided to consume their sweet, fruit scones with cheese, but we are a forgiving bunch and the sides agreed to differ peacefully...

After this small carb and caffeine hit, we kept our guests busy and sent them out to put together the samples needed for our pre-harvest analysis. We are watching our fruit like the proverbial hawks at the moment; we pick a bit later than many in the valley, but are waiting for the perfect balance before we make our move.

A morning spent in the vines deserved some vinous refreshment and Clive, our winemaker, provided exactly that with a taste through our range, with our full vintage wine-making team all contributing their points of view and opinions. This year, we have vintage interns from Chile, Austria and France joining our permanent team from UK, New Zealand and Sweden, so there's always some lively debate and conversation! To fuel the discussion, Marcia provided them with some of her world-famous (or at least they should be) corned beef sandwiches. Marcia's sandwich-making philosophy is that if the dressings and ingredients aren't oozing out of the sides of your sandwich then you probably don't have enough in there yet!

Categories: Oceania

2014 Vintage Update: I think we can, I think we can...

Best's Wines - Victoria - Sun, 03/29/2015 - 10:02

Greeting wine boffins, 

The end is in sight after a bit of a stop start vintage due to the ideal ripening conditions of cool nights and mild days giving us plenty of time to wait to pick the grapes at their ideal physiological ripeness. It has been a very good vintage for us in terms of quality, but no so much for quantity. Which means the winemakers are happy, but less so the accountants.

We have harvested nearly all of our grapes. Only a small amount of Shiraz (from a cool valley) and 13 Acre Cabernet remain to be picked; next week hopefully. There will be a sigh of relief when the last vineyard is picked as it has been two and half months since the first grapes came in. 

Basket and bag presses have been going non-stop getting all the goodness out of the skins with oak barrels and vats being filled left, right and centre. The Rieslings are in their final throws of fermentation with us hovering close by, waiting for the moment of perfect balance between sweetness and acidity so we can stop them. No major dramas have befallen us this week, just a few amusing moments of picking bins going into the tank along with the grapes, too much fruit going into a vat to then be dug out prematurely into another, and gassy dark red wine giving people shiraz showers during filling barrels.

Now comes the time when we start to look at the 2013 wines in barrel and think about creating blends for the next release of red wines later this year. It makes an abrupt but pleasant change from tasting raucous unfinished wines to those that have been softening and maturing in barrels and vats for 12 months!

Back to the final push, let’s just hope the weather holds until the grapes are all in. 

Until next time, 


Categories: Oceania

An update on shipments

Maison Ilan - Bourgogne, France - Sat, 03/28/2015 - 21:08

Hello everyone,

I want to update you regarding US delivery of Maison Ilan wines, past and future. All Maison Ilan 2014’s are in barrel in our NSG facility and are progressing nicely. All of our 2013’s are still in barrel at the Abbey de la Bussiere ( ) . I will update you again after we bottle them, but for now I can tell you that they are already delicious! All of our 2012’s are bottled, all of which are on pallets, wrapped, and ready to ship. We have contracted with Adventures in Wine  ( ) to handle the US import and distribution. The next step in the process before importation is label approval by US regulatory authorities. After that, Adventures in Wine will take the wine and handle the rest of the process all the way through to delivery to your doorstep. I will, of course, keep you updated. Learning a lesson from last year, I can not yet and will not provide an ETA until the wines arrive in the U.S. At this point I can say that the overwhelming majority (97%) of 2011’s have been successfully delivered to our customers. In my last blog post, I wrote that Amedeo wasn’t able to forward some wines due to bottle condition, which they explained were label and/or capsule damage. After working with them to find which customers are still missing wine, and after a physical inspection next week, we were be able to assemble a final list of which customers need which wines. We now have a plan in place to fulfill these past orders. We intend to send out all past vintage wines still due to customers with the upcoming 2012 release. Although the majority of these wines are 2011’s, a few customers are still due a small number of 2010 bottles and magnums. All told, less than 120 bottles have yet to be delivered to U.S. customers. If the wines still in Amedeo’s possession are not fit for relabeling, we have held back sufficient quantities of most wines to meet any shortfall. I believe the possible exceptions to this are 2011 Charmes-Chambertin and 2011 Volnay Robardelles. If, for any reason, we cannot provide a customer with the exact wine they ordered, we will offer them their choice of a refund, credit, or replacement with a more recent bottling. Personally, I have learned a great deal in the last year, most of which relates to communication and logistics. In short, I now truly embrace the mantra, “under-promise and over-deliver.” I will not make promises I cannot keep. I am also confident that our new partner, Adventures in Wine, will help us overcome our past logistical problems. This is their area of expertise, after all. I want to thank you, our customers, for standing by us through our growing pains. And I want to apologize to all of you who didn’t receive wines in the timeframe that I laid out in past communications. Ray Walker (Maison Ilan)
Categories: Europe

Is Facebook Even Worth It Anymore?

Tablas Creek Vineyard - Paso Robles CA - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 21:45

In late 2013, I wrote a blog piece titled What Facebook's News Feed Changes Mean for the Wine Community.  In it, I shared Facebook's warning to the owners of their pages that they were going to be reducing posts' organic reach, in order to prioritize friend-to-friend content over business content.  Of course, page owners who wanted to reach more of their fans would be able to pay for that reach.

It's clear, a little more than a year later, that Facebook's changes are in full effect. At any given level of engagement (measured by Facebook) the percentage of our page's fans who we reach with a given post is roughly half what it was in 2013. For our image posts:

Facebook Post Reach by Engagement 2015

It also seems like it's getting worse.  Looking at our image posts with our most common levels of engagement (11%-14%) the percent of our fans we've reached has gone down steadily each month so far in 2015:

Facebook Post Reach by Engagement by Month 2015

It also seems that Facebook has changed which sorts of posts get higher reach.  It used to be that images, which offer the easy opportunity for interaction through a simple click, got good reach compared to links or text posts.  Our experience in recent months has been that images have been increasingly difficult to have reach a high percentage of your fans.  Text links, which are hard to interact with, are equally difficult to spread widely.  Links are harder to get high engagement totals on, but it appears that when you do, Facebook gives those posts signficantly broader reach.  The below post that we shared this week reached nearly 42% of our total fans, our highest total of the year, at a 14% engagement rate.

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "//"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

We're in good company in this picturesque piece in Palate Exposure: "Top Fifteen Wineries of Paso Robles"

Posted by Tablas Creek Vineyard on Monday, March 23, 2015

Two sorts of posts appear to be easiest to get served to those who have liked your page.  First is video.  We've posted seven videos so far this year.  They have garnered an average 10% engagement rate, and have reached an average of 22.6% of our fans: more than double the reach, on average, of our image posts with the same engagement.

The second type of post that seems to get good reach is the multi-image post, where fans are encouraged to click between the images to see the full content you've posted.  We've posted seventeen such posts this year, and they've achieved an average 16.2% engagement rate and have reached an average of 14.6% of our fans per post.  And yet this is discouraging in its own way.  We had six multi-image posts that achieved at least 19% engagement.  These posts reached, on average, 18% of our fans.  Facebook has decided that even these all-star posts, interesting enough to engage a massive 20% of the people who saw them, aren't worth serving to 82% of the people who have self-declared as your fans.

So, if you're running a Facebook page for your company or your organization, what should you do?  It seems to me you have three options, not mutually exclusive. 

  1. You can continue to work to make great content, and resign yourself to the reach of this content in most cases growing smaller over time.  This has the advantage of being free, except for the opportunity costs and staff time of producing this content. Just adjust your expectations.
  2. You can invest more significantly in video.  A glance at your own Facebook feed should demonstrate that Facebook is interested in serving more video to its users as it focuses on cutting into YouTube's head-start in the video arena.  These posts are typically somewhat more involved to make, but Facebook is rewarding them with greater reach.
  3. Finally, you can pay to sponsor your posts.  Even at relatively modest levels, doing so gives you much greater access to your fans and to those who you target, whether they be friends of your fans or others that fit specific demographics or interests.  We've paid to promote four posts so far this year, and have had these posts served something like 5000 extra times for each $20 we've spent.  Given that our average post is reaching something like 800 of our fans organically, if we were to choose to promote one post a week, at $20/post, we might be able to double the total number of views of our content at an annual cost of around $1000.  That's hardly exorbitant. 

Sadly, I don't see Facebook making changes that allow for a return to the conditions of a few years ago, where businesses and organizations could pay to acquire new fans, or to target connections of their fans, while taking access to those fans for granted.  But given that there is no other social network that has remotely Facebook's user base, and that the changes that the company has made aren't likely to drive those users away, it's worth deciding the appropriate level of investment for your group to remain in the Facebook game.  Sure, you can -- and should -- continue to post to Twitter and Instagram, but doing so is not a replacement for engaging the 1.2 billion active monthly users on Facebook.  Just know that the era when a small businesses can treat Facebook as the centerpiece of a no-cost marketing plan is over, and it's not coming back.

Categories: North America

Chile Ancho Grilled Lamb Chops


Hola! I’m Vianney from Sweet Life stopping by with a delicious lamb recipe just in time for Easter.

Whether you’re planning a small intimate family dinner or a buffet style meal for the entire family, Easter menus are all about fresh spring flavors and should always include succulent lamb. Lamb is a classic choice to serve for Easter, plus lamb is a guaranteed hit with those with hearty appetites. Instead of relying on the traditional glazed ham this year why not serve grilled lamb chop loins marinated in a smoky ancho chile glaze paired with Kendall-Jackson 2012 Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon?

Grilling lamb loin chops requires very little time, plus an hour in the ancho chile marinade adds extra flavor and enhances juiciness.  Lamb loin chops are excellent grilled or broiled, have a wonderful mild, almost sweet flavor, are best cooked to medium rare and resemble tiny t-bone steaks.


The star of the marinade is ancho chiles, which are dried poblanos. Ancho chiles are sweet, smoky and are mild in heat.  With their deep red almost black color ancho chile are typically reconstituted in hot water until pliable then blended to create sauces, such as enchilada, mole or used for salsas.  Today we are highlighting ancho chiles, with a touch of sweetness from honey, warm spices such as cumin and oregano to give our lamb loin chops a unique Latin spin.


Serve these moist lamb chops with whipped sweet potatoes and a spring orzo salad to complete your meal.

This cooking method creates beautifully seared lamb chops, which are tender, smoky and juicy with very little effort.  A perfect Easter dinner or elegant enough for date night, Valentine’s Day or any casual summer dinner idea, these delicious chops are a welcome anytime!
Print Chile Ancho Grilled Lamb Chops Author: Vianney Rodriguez Serves: 6   Ingredients

  • 2 dried ancho chiles
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 lamb loin chops
  1. Soak ancho chiles in hot water for 30-1 hour until soft and reconstituted. Place ancho chile, half the soaking water, garlic, honey, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. Cover and puree until smooth. Rub the ancho marinade on both sides of the lamb chops and allow them to marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator, allow the chops to come to room temperature; about 20 minutes. Pre-heat grill pan over high heat until almost smoking, brush with olive oil, carefully add the loin chops and sear for about 2 minutes. Flip the loin chops over and grill for another 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3½ minutes for medium.

The post Chile Ancho Grilled Lamb Chops appeared first on Kendall-Jackson Blog.

Categories: North America

A family farewell to J Vineyards & Winery

Jordan Winery - Healdsburg, California - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 16:30
J Vineyards & Winery Entrance Sign

As you may have heard, my sister Judy has decided to sell J Vineyards & Winery to E. & J. Gallo Winery. The sale closes this week.

Because there continues to be confusion about the relationship between J and Jordan, I wanted to clarify that my sister has always owned and operated her winery separately. There will be no changes at Jordan, and Jordan remains independent.

The first few vintages of J sparkling were actually made at Jordan in the 1980s until she found her own facility, and the striking, emerald green bottles with the unmistakable, golden “J” were often referred to as “J by Jordan” in the early days. But since the 1990s, Judy has been blazing her own trail with sparkling wines, pinot noir and pinot gris. Over the years, we’ve served our wines together at restaurant wine dinners across the country to share the full Jordan family wine story. We’ve always recommended J’s Bubble Room and other tasting experiences to our guests. The natural business connection between our wineries remained in consumers’ minds.

Jordan is honored to be a leader in the shrinking community of mid-sized wineries still owned and operated by the founding family with a laser-sharp focus on wine quality and our original vision. Jordan has never been stronger in our commitment to balanced Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, and we’ve never had more fun doing what we love.

I am very proud of Judy and the company she has built over the last three decades. She believes she has found the perfect fit to take the winery to even greater heights–a privately owned company that shares similar core values and a dedication to quality, community and financial sustainability.

I wish my sister all the best in her future endeavors.

Categories: North America

2015 James Halliday Wine Companion

Best's Wines - Victoria - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 08:51

James Halliday's 2015 Wine Companion was released last week featuring wineries from across the country and an array of fabulous wines produced by some very talented winemakers. 

Our 2012 Old Vine Pinot Meunier (97 points), 2012 Thomson Family Shiraz (97 points), 2012 Bin 0 Shiraz (96 points), 2012 Bin 1 Shiraz (95 points), 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (95 points), 2013 Riesling (94 points) and 2013 Young Vine Pinot Meunier (93 points) were all acknowledged, receiving some wonderful reviews.

Our winemaking philosophy at Best’s is that great wines are made in the vineyard.  Even while practicing a minimalist approach, attention to detail is key. We avoid the overpowering use of oak or additional treatments and instead prefer to let the fantastic fruit from Great Western tell the story, which is evident in all seven of these featured wines. 

We have has been consistently producing exceptional, food-friendly, elegant and approachable wines with great longevity since 1866.
Our patriarch, Viv Thomson and his son Ben, current Managing Director and Vineyard Manager, have worked with Best’s winemakers for the last 40 years to ensure continuity of house style while encouraging the winemakers to constantly look for ways to innovate and improve. 

All of these wines were produced by our very talented winemaker, Justin Purser. Justin, also a firm believer that great wines start in the vineyard, produces wines that reflect where they came from. When you enjoy a glass of Best's you enjoy a glass of Great Western. The characteristics reflected in the wine are a product of our region - our unique climate, soil types, and vineyard practices all contribute to the style of our wines. 

Categories: Oceania

Vintage vittles - Friday 27 March: Sunshine, citrus and spaghetti

Seresin Estate - Marlborough, New Zealand - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 03:02
Today got off to a chilly start and there was a genuine taste of the autumnal weather just around the corner. Our winemaking team were down in the cellars preparing the base wine for our sparkling wine production for bottling, and also hard at work on a top secret project (watch this space).

Morning tea was therefore a very welcome vibrant and sticky lemon yoghurt cake. Fluffy enough to be moreish, dense enough to provide energy for the rest of the day and citrus-fragranced enough to wake up even the sleepiest of cellar-folk.

That kick-start seemed also to wake up the sunshine, and suddenly we were back to the views and blue skies that we love. With harvest just around the corner, the vines full of enticing fruit and it's hard to resist the temptation to wander the rows tasting! Fortunately our guinea fowl are much more interested in seeds and beetles than grapes, so they are the perfect vineyard companions.

With still a slight chill in the air, Marcia opted for full comfort food for lunch today, with huge plates of spaghetti bolognese and plenty of incredible fresh parmesan.

During vintage, we will be tasting our wines from the blocks that come in through the winery on each day, but - as we haven't started yet - today Clive chose to show a wine from one of our neighbours. Fromm winery are also organic and are part of the MANA group with us; their Syrah is one of their best known wines and a fantastically warming and spicy accompaniment to the bolognese.

Categories: Oceania

Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Pecorino Salad

 shaved brussels sprouts with luscious pecorino, bacon, bing cherries, and toasty almonds. A perfect balance of crunchy, salty, and sweet that has converted every brussels sprouts hater I've served. I recommend serving with the Jackson Estate Camelot Chardonnay (my favorite from Kendall-Jackson!).

Kelsey here from Happyolks! Sharing my favorite salad of all-time today with you: shaved brussels sprouts with luscious pecorino, bacon, bing cherries, and toasty almonds. A perfect balance of crunchy, salty, and sweet that has converted every brussels sprouts hater I’ve served. I recommend serving with the Jackson Estate Camelot Chardonnay (my favorite from Kendall-Jackson!).

 shaved brussels sprouts with luscious pecorino, bacon, bing cherries, and toasty almonds. A perfect balance of crunchy, salty, and sweet that has converted every brussels sprouts hater I've served. I recommend serving with the Jackson Estate Camelot Chardonnay (my favorite from Kendall-Jackson!).

 shaved brussels sprouts with luscious pecorino, bacon, bing cherries, and toasty almonds. A perfect balance of crunchy, salty, and sweet that has converted every brussels sprouts hater I've served. I recommend serving with the Jackson Estate Camelot Chardonnay (my favorite from Kendall-Jackson!).
Print Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Pecorino Salad Author: Kelsey Serves: 4-6   Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. Brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup toasted almonds, chopped
  • 5 strips crisply cooked bacon, chopped
  • ½ cup dried Bing cherries
  • ¼ lb Pecorino, shaved
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 heaping tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
  • salt/pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350' F. Lay bacon pieces on a rimmed baking sheet and cook for 10-15 minutes until crisp. Remove from heat and reserve rendered fat for the dressing.
  2. Using a food processor or mandoline, shred brussels sprouts the way you would cabbage for coleslaw. Rinse, drain, and place in the basin of a large mixing bowl. Add cooked bacon, cherries, and almonds to the shaved sprouts.
  3. To make the dressing, combine olive oil, mustard, honey, red wine vinegar, and liquid bacon fat in a small bowl. Whisk until combined, then pour over the salad. Toss to completely coat.
  4. Garnish salad with shavings of pecorino. For large ribbons use a vegetable peeler along the long side of the cheese and repeat lengthwise.

 shaved brussels sprouts with luscious pecorino, bacon, bing cherries, and toasty almonds. A perfect balance of crunchy, salty, and sweet that has converted every brussels sprouts hater I've served. I recommend serving with the Jackson Estate Camelot Chardonnay (my favorite from Kendall-Jackson!).

 shaved brussels sprouts with luscious pecorino, bacon, bing cherries, and toasty almonds. A perfect balance of crunchy, salty, and sweet that has converted every brussels sprouts hater I've served. I recommend serving with the Jackson Estate Camelot Chardonnay (my favorite from Kendall-Jackson!).

 shaved brussels sprouts with luscious pecorino, bacon, bing cherries, and toasty almonds. A perfect balance of crunchy, salty, and sweet that has converted every brussels sprouts hater I've served. I recommend serving with the Jackson Estate Camelot Chardonnay (my favorite from Kendall-Jackson!).



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The post Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Pecorino Salad appeared first on Kendall-Jackson Blog.

Categories: North America

Wine and food; Noosa Style

De Bortoli Wines - Australia - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 08:40

Is your next holiday destination Noosa?

Well maybe it is, if we have anything to do with it. It is so easy to enter our little comp – Just buy a bottle of Rococo, La Boheme or one of our Yarra Valley Estate wines at participating stores/restaurants, keep your receipt and enteronline at

Four lucky couples will be winging their way to the fabulous Noosa Food and Wine Festival (May 15th to 17th)….and you could be one of them. Hope to see you there.


To keep posted with daily happenings and other events, check us out on twitter, instagram, facebook

The post Wine and food; Noosa Style appeared first on De Bortoli Wines Blog.

Categories: Oceania

Vintage vittles... The Seresin way

Seresin Estate - Marlborough, New Zealand - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 03:41
Vintage is almost upon us, and our vintage workers are here and straining at the slips like the vinous greyhounds that they are. As is usually the case, we are one of the last properties to get started, enjoying the calm before the storm as our grapes finish the last stages of their maturation. After an exceptionally warm and sunny summer, the past week or two have been a little cooler, with a little bit of welcome and refreshing rain, and this has just taken the pace of the ripening a little - a good thing in our eyes.

Despite the fact that we have yet to fully embrace vintage, our team have been busy preparing the winery for action and therefore we have just begun to serve our vintage meals. We are very fortunate to have Marcia as our vintage chef; she is part of the Seresin family, an excellent cook and an inveterate feeder. Today was the first day of her "vintage" with us...

This morning, we all came together to share a spot of "smoko", in true Seresin style, served on the conveyor belt at the winery door. Fresh waffles made with Seresin fresh eggs always go down a treat...

Lunch for the winery crew today consisted of some of Marcia's delicious homemade pizzas - slow fermented pizza dough and the freshest of ingredients. Those of us in the office have good cause to be jealous when the photos get sent through! 

We thought we would share some of our meals, wines and vintage conversations with you over the coming weeks - show a little bit of what makes us tick, show who the people are who make everything happen and, more than anything show you, the Seresin way of life.
Categories: Oceania

Did You Know?

Cuvaison Estate Wines - Napa Valley, CA - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 00:19

Julie Fadda Powers, March 2015

“Cuvaison” is the French term for the period of time during alcoholic fermentation when wine is in contact with the solid matter—such as skin, pips and stalks—to extract color, flavor and tannin.
Not sure if you’re in the mood for silky Pinot Noir and Chardonnay or robust mountain reds? How about something in between? No worries, Cuvaison has you covered. With two distinctly different Napa Valley locations (we visited the Carneros estate; see the website for details on the Calistoga location on Silverado Trail), the winery offers both convenience and individual attention.
Cuvaison’s estate vineyard, in the Carneros region of Napa Valley, is 400 acres of rolling hills along San Pablo Bay. There are 240 acres planted to predominantly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as a smaller amount of Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc. Its onsite, solar-powered winery was completed in 2004, and its sleek, modern tasting room opened its doors in 2009. All Cuvaison wines are grown on the certified Napa Green Land and Winery programs.

The tasting room itself is unique in that it’s set up as a sit-down, intimate experience. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can enjoy either a simple tasting in the room (or on its expansive deck, which has beautiful views of the vineyards and the valley below—you also can take in the view from inside through the expansive windows that, on warm days, open to let the outdoors in) or you can schedule a tour (they take place at 9:30 a.m. Fridays through Mondays, April through October, and require 24-hour advance notice), where you’ll step into the vineyards and learn about them in detail. On a clear day and from the estate’s highest point, you can see all the way across San Francisco Bay to the City (binoculars are recommended; you also can see Mt. Tam and even Mt. Diablo). Tastings include four wines, which vary by season; you’ll also learn about the winery, its history and the surrounding area at a level that best suits your interests. Ask the right questions and you’ll learn all sorts of interesting things. The Brandlin gallery (there’s all sorts of artwork throughout the tasting areas) is an ideal spot for private tastings and wine and cheese pairings.

The estate was established in 1969 and, in 1979, was purchased by its current owners, the Schmidheiny family of Switzerland. The family planted the vineyard in 1980 but phylloxera was discovered in the late 1980s, which required replanting that started in 1991 and was completed 13 years later. The estate and vineyard are locally managed by a team headed by Jay Schuppert (president) and Steve Rogstad (winemaker).
Because of its size and varied terrain, the vineyard is farmed in small blocks that vary in row direction, spacing, trellising and training. This means they’re all farmed uniquely according to what best works for the variety and location. Rogstad oversees the entire vineyard and was also fortunate enough to help design the state-of-the-art winery. He included an extensive fermentation program where he tries out different types of barrels, and concrete and stainless steel fermenters.

In 1998, Cuvaison purchased the historic Brandlin vineyard on Mt. Veeder. The Brandlin family first moved to Mt. Veeder from Switzerland in the 1870s, and the vineyard was originally planted in 1926 by Henry Brandlin. It was later tended by his son, Chester, who lived and farmed there with his brother, Richard. Chester continued to live on the property until passing in February 2013. Ten acres of the original Zinfandel planted there is still on the property, which has plantings ranging from 900 to 1,200 feet in elevation. The newer vineyards, planted by Cuvaison, consist of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, with traditional Bordeaux blending varieties of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The wine from this estate is labeled under the Brandlin name as a nod to its history and the family who farmed it for so many years.
When we visited, we first tasted the 2012 Cuvaison Estate Chardonnay, which is the most widely available offering. Crafted from 44 different bocks on the estate, this crisp offering features stone fruit and just a hint of butter with great acidity. Next was the 2012 Kite Tail Chardonnay, which is made from a single block on high ground that’s planted with the Wente clone. It goes through malolactic fermentation and the result is a silky, well-balanced wine with vanilla and crème brulée elements. The 2012 Estate Pinot Noir is an elegant ride with red and black plum flavors and hints of cherry and allspice on the nose. The 2012 Spire Pinot Noir is from the block viewable just outside the east-facing window of the tasting room (the top is the highest point on the estate) and is a smooth, well-rounded and balanced wine with a hint of spice.
From the Brandlin vineyard, we sampled the 2011 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (earthy, masculine with dark fruit and a strong structure). Since the vineyard’s fruit is thick-skinned due to its cool temperatures and high elevation, Rogstad crafts it by incorporating air into the wine to help it become more lush and develop better tannin structures (the results are outstanding). We also tried the 2011 Henry’s Keep, a proprietary red blend made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Its name is in homage to when Henry Brandlin kept the best barrels for his family, and the result is a super complex, lush wine with dark fruit, a strong backbone and a classic Mt. Veeder profile. We enjoyed every one of these wines, along with the view, to the ultimate last drop."

Categories: North America

The Vineyard after Winter

During the winter we've been busy pruning and tying down our 21,000 vines. It's the "royal we" of course as Alex has done almost all the work! The old wood has been taken off the vineyard and burnt, and we are now replacing broken canes and repairing some of the trellising.

We are also spreading some biodynamic compost on the vineyard which adds organic matter and helps to put back some of the nutrients that the grapes have taken out of the soil.  The compost was made from buffalo manure and green waste compost mixed with various biodynamic preparations including yarrow, chamomile, stinging nettles, oak bark, dandelion and valerian. By treating compost in this way plants are able to make more effective use of cosmic forces!

So the vineyard is now all ready for the year ahead and all we have to worry about is the threat of frost once the vines have budded in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully we are well prepared, with the frost guard machine operational and the boujies all deployed.
Categories: Europe

Crab Rangoons Recipe

Rangoons are a mixture of fresh crabmeat, cream cheese, scallion and fresh ginger all wrapped up in a wonton wrapper and deep fried. Depending on what you add into the mix or serve with the rangoons can point you towards the best wine pairings.

Crab Rangoons served as an hors d’oeuvre is a favorite during Dungeness crab season and a true crowd pleaser. They are an American Chinese creation from a popular restaurant in San Francisco in the 1950’s and still served there today.

Rangoons are a mixture of fresh crabmeat, cream cheese, scallion and fresh ginger all wrapped up in a wonton wrapper and deep fried. Depending on what you add into the mix or serve with the rangoons can point you towards the best wine pairings.  We traditionally serve them with sweet chili sauce and pair them with Vintner’s Reserve Riesling to add some balance to the spice.  If you use half cream cheese and half chèvre in the mixture, a Sauvignon Blanc would be an excellent match. My favorite pairing is the Jackson Estate Camelot Chardonnay.

The sweet crab and decadence of the cream cheese are matched perfectly with the citrusy notes and rich mouthfeel of the wine.  Whichever pairing you choose is sure to be a hit; fresh crab and cream cheese fried to golden perfection with a glass of delicious Kendall-Jackson wine … who wouldn’t be happy?

Print Crab Rangoons Recipe Author: Chef Tracey Shepos Cenami Serves: 25 Rangoons   This simple recipe is perfect for impromptu springtime entertaining. The Seco Highlands Chardonnay is mostly aged in French oak, which imparts a buttery accent on the wine and pairs exceptionally well with the crab in these rangoons. Ingredients

  • ⅓ lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Tabasco hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 scallions (green part only), minced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ lb. Dungeness crab meat
  • 2 quarts neutral flavored oil, for frying
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 25 square wonton wrappers
  • Sweet chili sauce, for dipping
  1. In a bowl, add cream cheese, Worcestershire, Tabasco, ginger and scallions. Season with salt and pepper; mix thoroughly. Gently fold in crab and refrigerate until ready to assemble rangoons.
  2. Using an 8 quart pot or fryer, add oil and preheat to 350⁰F.
  3. In a small bowl, combine egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Brush edges of wonton wrappers with egg wash. Spoon ½-ounce of crab filling onto the center of each wonton wrapper and fold to create a triangle. Gently press the edges together to seal. Fry rangoons in oil for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel lined plate.
  4. Serve rangoons with sweet chili sauce on the side.

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The post Crab Rangoons Recipe appeared first on Kendall-Jackson Blog.

Categories: North America

Bordeaux 2014 – the weather report

Chateau Bauduc - Bordeaux, France - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 09:00

This report has also been published on and Liv-ex.

Cos d'Estournel - 151 - Version 3As the wine trade and critics descend on Bordeaux to taste the 2014s, I thought it would be useful to review how the weather affected the vintage.

For more on the 2014 Bordeaux harvest as it happened, see The start of the flowering, Hoping for September sun, The red harvest begins and Guarded optimism as harvest ends.

As well as living with the weather day-to-day in a professional sense (which isn’t recommended), I’ve collected and compiled a fair amount of data. As a result, my report contains rather too much information for an online article, so I’ve created a pdf document that should be easy to view on a laptop, desktop, iPad or mobile with a large screen. Just two of the 16 graphs in the report are included below but for the full report download this document: Gavin_Quinney_Bordeaux_2014_Weather.

Here are 10 points about the weather in 2014:

  • Overall, 2014 was a ‘book-end’ vintage: a relatively cool and damp summer was propped up by excellent flowering in June, and glorious September sunshine prior to the harvest.
  • The wet and mild winter, notably in January and February, led to an early bud burst at the end of an equally mild March.
  • The vines burst into life with the April sunshine, but slowed down during a chilly May.
  • Plenty of sunshine in the first half of June was excellent for the flowering on the whole, with some exceptions.
  • July was relatively cool and damp, despite heat spikes. The vines didn’t get the hydric stress they needed to focus on fruit production.
  • August was cooler and damper too, mildew had to be kept at bay during the holidays, and confidence was low.
  • September saw the turnaround. A dry and sunny six weeks from the end of August to early October transformed the vintage.
  • Rain in the second week of October took some of the shine off the harvest. A week more of sunshine would have been perfect.
  • Unlike 2011, 2012 and 2013, there was minimal threat of rot at harvest time on the reds in 2014 (largely down to good weather during the June flowering, as the vines can be quite vulnerable to botrytis then).
  • Yields were approaching normal after the disastrous 2013 crop; the September drought upped the quality – but it reduced the juice.

Here are two graphs that are particularly revealing:


Although June rainfall was above average, much of the rain fell towards the end of the month and we had less rainy days than the norm. We also had more hours of sunshine at the crucial time of the flowering in the first fortnight of June. It’s also clear to see how dry and sunny September was in the critical build up to the harvest, after a cool summer with rather too many days with rain.

It should, at the very least, be an interesting vintage to taste.

Categories: Europe

They Said it Best

Ponte Winery - Temecula, CA - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 08:00

“Is my glass half empty or half full?  Who cares!  What’s important is that there’s room for more wine!”

Just for fun, here is a mini collection of some of the best things we’ve heard regarding wine:

Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.” –Benjamin Franklin

“Wine is bottled poetry.” – Robert Lewis Stevenson

“Either give me more wine or leave me alone.” – Rumi, circa 1200’s

“In victory, you deserve Champagne.  In defeat you need it.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.” –Ernest Hemingway

“Wine can of their wits beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile.” – Homer

“Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized.” – Andre Simon

“Drink freely the wine life offers you and don’t worry how much you spill.” – Marty Rubin

“Wine is to women as duct tape is to men, it fixes everything.” – Comic Strip Mama

and of course…

“If you like it, it’s good wine.” – Ponte Winery

Click here to buy Ponte wines.  Free ground shipping through the month of March!

–Erica Martinez

–Tell us your favorite wine quote, be it inspirational or hilarious!

Categories: North America

Maui (re) Visited

Castello di Amorosa - Napa Valley - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 02:42

Returning from a vacation typically means back to the grind, even when the 'grind' is a beautiful castle winery in a picture perfect vineyard, vacations are rejuvenating and refreshing. As I was looking at pictures from our trip I realized the majority of the images were not of lush ocean tropical landscapes but of the delicious foods and amazing wines we enjoyed. Fresh seafood flown in from Alaska from our good friends and travel partners Tim and Carol Berg dominted the menu during our time in Maui. I admit, Alaskan seafood in Hawaii may not be the norm but our 49th and 50th states definitely made for delicious pairings! Next year...maybe Lomi-Lomi Salmon on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula!

The best seafood salad dressing and certainly one of the easiest-

Combine 4 parts Mayo to 1 part spicy cocktail sauce and 1 tsp sesame seed oil

Hawaiian Portuguese inspired Paella made with fresh clams and linguica paired with Sangiovese and yes, the biggest king crab legs this side of Hana!








Categories: North America

"Napa: Tasteful Winery Design for Your Wine Tasting"

Cuvaison Estate Wines - Napa Valley, CA - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 23:53

Sophia Markoulakis, March 13, 2015

"In the heart of Carneros off Highway 12 is Cuvaison’s newer tasting room, completed in 2009 by Gould Evans Architects. It’s a modern wood-and-steel structure that juts out from its perch overlooking the winery’s 400-acre property.

The sustainable design with wraparound terraces, seamless glass window and door openings, and native-grass landscaping, creates a Northern California vibe that’s complemented by the youthful energy of the guests who come to sample the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon for a $20 fee. There’s cohesion between the tasting room and barrel building, one of the goals of the design. The design also reflects the winery’s green initiatives such as rainwater collection, solar energy, waste management and water
recycling. Reservations recommended."

Categories: North America


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