Tag Archives: Swanson Vineyards

Your 2013 (Wino)vation!

16 Jan

2007 Alexis CabernetTo go along with the ‘New Year’ kick I am on, cleaning up and sharpening your bar carts {here} etc., I came across a relevant article while I was reading my monthly Wine Spectator.  One of my favorite wine writers, Matt Kramer wrote an inviting one pager on expanding your horizons in 2013 through trying new things in the world of wine and entertaining and I couldn’t agree with him more. I smiled, was stimulated and felt the immediate need to share highlights from “Is This the Year That You…?” to inspire you to make a vow and make things happen!

The Motivation

“…Decide that higher cost doesn’t equal better wine?”

There are so many wine deals out in the market today that still maintain the same quality in taste as higher priced wines.  Kramer suggests that these wines are the “game-changers” in the wine industry as technology, diversity, and abundance are key descriptors when in search for that perfect ‘game-changer’ wine.  In summary:

Technology “now ensures that pretty much every wine from everywhere else is well-made.”

Diversity “means that wines now come from every imaginable country, district and climate – and often they’re really good.”

Abundance shows that “more producers keep emerging!”

It sounds so easy to find quality wines at affordable prices, just do your research!

“…Finally start a wine cellar?”

How timely, as Kramer suggests scoring a quality/affordable wine is possible!  Compile wines from your trips to Napa, Italy, Oregon, Washington and start that much sought after wine cellar!

“…Raise your wine game from “comfort” to “challenge”?”

I couldn’t agree with this more!  Through my wine blog I have had the opportunity to meet winemakers and try a plethora of wines from around the world.  I’ve gone from having a “Go-To Wine” {here} to forgoing my ‘go-to’ (even when I’m lazy) and popping open an Oregon Pinot Noir or a Tempranillo from Spain.  That’s the beauty of wine, isn’t it?  Stretch your knowledge in wine and try something new and different in 2013.  Kramer suggests to “look to grower Champagnes, unusual grape varieties and emerging wine areas such as Hungary, Ontario, Tasmania, and newly revived spots such as Spain’s Ribeira Sacra, France’s Languedoc, and Sicily.” Of course it’s easy for me to challenge my wine instincts and move outside of my comfort zone because it is my passion, however, for some, the effort to branch out is just not there. Thus, I urge you to think of the possibilities before you buy! You are able to explore a new country, state, region through one single bottle of wine and share that experience with friends.  I say, why not!

 “…Dine at home just a tiny bit more formally?”

Living in a New York City apartment, I am most definitely a culprit of keeping china and crystal we’ve received as engagement gifts in their gift boxes in the cabinet until we have a house where we can gracefully display things. I feel awful about it.  I am dying to use our Waterford red wine glasses like no other but for some reason, I too am saving them, for a special occasion, when we have a house and entertain. But what’s the point! Why not treat yourself once a week and take the time to have a meal on your finest china and your heaviest crystal to enjoy what you have  – a beautiful home-cooked meal and an exquisite glass of wine.  Kramer suggests, “There is something to be said for just a skooch of dining formality in today’s rushed, crushed, gotta-go world.  It’s good for us, and surely so for our wines.”  So true, cheers to bringing out the new crystal!

“…Stop fretting about when a wine is ready to drink”

I too, have many bottles just sitting in our wine fridge, waiting for the right ‘year’ to be pulled out and ‘decantered’.  But let’s face it; no ‘year’ will ever be the right year to pull out the right bottle at the right time.  So why wait? To Kramer’s point, “Buy interesting wines.  Store them in a cool space for up to five years. Then pop and pour.” I may just go pull out our 2007 Alexis Cabernet Sauvignon from my favorite winery Swanson Vineyards {here}!

“…Start pulling the corks on all those special-occasion bottles?”

My parents still have their champagne from when they were married in 1971 and a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from when my brother was born in 1981! That says it all right there. The more we “wait around” to open those ‘special’ bottles, the more time passes by where we rarely find that special occasion to open them. Even we, still have a few bottles of excellent champagne that were gifted to us for our engagement about a year ago unopened, waiting for the right occasion.  I love this theory Kramer puts out there! Come Friday night, I’m reaching for our gold rimmed champagne glasses and popping the bubbly to celebrate…… well, LIFE!

Thank you Wine Spectator {here} and Matt Kramer {here}for a thoughtful and inspiring read on this wonderful evening.  Time to get the bone china out!

2012 Thanksgiving Day Wine Picks!

6 Nov

Here it is! Our Annual Thanksgiving/Shopping Spree wines {previous post} that are ‘musts’ this year (plus a few extras)!  As you will notice sparklings and reds fill the list but that won’t stop us from finding the perfect whites for your Thanksgiving Day table!

So take a peek while you wait for the outcome of the Presidential Election… It might make time go by faster!

Apéritif/Sparkling

  • J Vineyards ‘Cuvée 20’: Spotted, the last 25th Anniversary bottle of J Cuvée sold to and sipped by 4 wonderfully shopped out ladies at Glenmere Mansion. After our trip to Woodbury it was so refreshing to see J Vineyards on the menu in the tavern at Glenmere.  Anything J is truly a must serve as an aperitif while enjoying your homemade hors d’oeuvres before the turkey carving.  This Cuvée has a rustic mouth feel all around with its toasty almond like hints then ventures over to the honeysuckle and grapefruit flavors which give it life and zest!  Buy online now to enjoy in time for Thanksgiving! {here} 

 

  • Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava Sipped and tried a few months ago {here}.  Had to pick a full bottle up to taste while the ‘hostess with the mostest’ prepared!  Not to mention it was her birthday celebration and this of course did the trick for that as well! Surprise!

Red Wine

  • Bonterra 2010 Merlot, Mendocino County : This spectacular Merlot is crafted from certified organically grown grapes and it is one of the better Merlot’s I have tried.  I received this wine for a twitter tasting with Thirsty Girl and Bonterra Organic Vineyards and we were all blown away by the wine’s dark berry flavors of cherry and plum and it’s smoothness in it’s finish filled with lovely tannins.  We are calling it a “Merlot for non-merlot lovers” and we are sticking to it! I highly recommend this wine with your main dish this Thanksgiving as it’s pleasant balance will put a smile on everyone’s faces! {still interested}?
  • Swanson Vineyards, 101 Points Red Wine; Add a little fun to the Thanksgiving day table with this predominately Syrah with Cabernet Sauvignon blend.  A very rich and sweet wine with hints of exotic spice, raspberry and black cherry makes this a great match with your juicier dark meat of the turkey. Not to mention, this wine adds a delicate yet elegant red color to your Tgiving table; $25 per bottle online.
  • Mark West Pinot Noir: Makes the list again as it is a staple on the Thanksgiving day table! Everyone loves it! {more Mark West and last year’s wine picks}

I will be trying more holiday wines and reporting back from the Food Network Magazine’s Holiday Tasting in NYC next week so stay tuned on more fun holiday wines! Hopefully I’ll have luck finding some more white wines for all of you white lovers!

Stay tuned and happy prepping!

Winepug’s Holiday Gift Guide!

14 Dec

At last, it’s the most joyous time of year filled with love, music and happiness!  I think that gift giving and spreading holiday cheer to a friend, family member, or even a complete stranger is the most satisfying feeling ever!  I love seeing people smile and making their day with a great gift (whether it costs money or is a DIY)!  That being said, winepugnyc is proud to share with you the 2011 gift giving guide for all of the wine lovers in your life! Take a peak and enjoy!

1. Their perfect coffee table book {here}; 2.Tory Burch wine carrier for the uber stylish {here}; 3. Fabulous Champagne Ornament for those bubbly lovers {here}; 4.For those who like to swirl {here}; 5. Swanson’s fabulous night cap for the person who has everything {here} 6. The Gift of selection for the undecided from Tastingroom.com {here} 7. Classic Cakebread {here} 8. Beautiful for entertaining {here}; 9. A rustic and stylish display {here}; 10. Modern and fashionable way to drink wine {Black – here and Clear – here}

Make A Statement With Wine

15 Nov

Wine comes in all different varietials, shapes and sizes, not to mention bottles!  One of the things I love about wine is not only it’s great taste but how fashionable and eye catching it’s presence can be!  It truly is a statement piece to compliment a beautifully set dining table for the holidays or a fabulous party!  Here are some of my favorites that certainly add a certain accent to your table or gift.  What are some of your favorites?

Say thank you with Swanson Vineyards Merci Bottle; Be fashionable with Basso and Brooke for Turning Leaf; Be glamorous with GOLD, Blue Nun Gold Edition Sparkling Wine; Add class and be chic with Andres Balazs’ Reserve Rose

Harbor Cruisin’, Harbor Tastin’!

21 Sep

As the weeks have been moving at the blink of an eye and the days are filled with mostly work and some play… I have yet to find the time to write this post or even pick out a good bottle of wine!  Well here is something that will kill two birds with one stone and will make your life a whole lot easier when trying to find that perfect (and impressive) Chardonnay or Rose for your dinner party and you just don’t have the time to walk through the libraries of wines in your liquor store!

It was Labor Day weekend and after a hard earned work week our hardest decision for the weekend was what to toast with to celebrate the end of the Summer and the welcoming of Fall!  Since it could be considered a transitional holiday from light whites to heavier reds as the weather gets colder, we tried something in the middle – ROSE!  So, what rose are we going to drink?  A good question that has a very strategic answer… Tastingroom.com to the rescue!

 

An on the boat tasting experience that led us to the most important decision of the weekend!  What did we go with?  The infamous 2010 Swanson Rosato paired nicely with a surf and turf of baked stuffed lobster and steak!  A great solution for saving money and time on what to drink! Simply go online follow directions, pick the sampler you want (which there are a number of different offerings), wait for it to be delivered, try it and buy it (with a savings)!  What a wonderful experience that made the wine picking process that much more fun!

Tell me how you choose your wines before you invest in something you haven’t tried?  I hope you have this much fun in doing so!

Off Roading in Sonoma – Day 3: Detour to Napa

25 Jul

As I have said before in “Swanson Vineyards, My Obsession” Swanson Vineyards has a certain aura about it that just rubs me and I’m sure all of its followers the absolute RIGHT way!

On our third day of our wine extravaganza we made one last stop in Napa to Swanson Vineyards where all of the magic that I saw in the brand and on the bottles came to life before my eyes. It started with a special tasting for 10 people sitting around a round table in their magnificent and very intimate Sip Shoppe (a lovely Victorian room with a formal tasting), listening to tales from the charismatic proprietor Clarke Swanson himself and getting to know the 10 strangers around us sipping on the finest wines the vineyard had to offer. Not only were we in the finest most fabulous room with an amazing ambience we were also tasting Swanson wines with a gracious plate filled with fine cheeses, caviar and the world’s best chocolate. It was something I can’t even describe so I hope my photos do it justice. This is a MUST when visting wine country – we were focused on Sonoma but had to carve out a day to spend at Swanson. We then went to a wonderful lunch at the most elegant Bouchon Bistro in downtown Yountville, CA with Mr. Clarke Swanson and continued our discussion about wines and other fun ideas about his delicious and famous Merlot! P.S. I’m not a merlot lover, but this is a kind Merlot that turns around the non-lovers!

To see “Off Roading in Sonoma – Day Two” click HERE

Father’s Day Gift Guide – For Dad’s Who LOVE Wine

13 Jun

Say Happy Father’s Day to your wine loving DAD with these great gift ideas!

Make opening his favorite bottle that much easier with this effortless automatic electric wine opener from Brookstone!

To make Father’s Day that much more special, give a gift of customization so your Dad can pick out something special… Visit TastingRoom.com to find ‘bite size’ samplers of various wines for your Dad to experience and enjoy on his special day!

Skip the decanting by hand process and gift this fun Wine Aerator so he can quickly oxidize his favorite red wines and get on with the festivities!

Give an award-winning Merlot to your special Dad on his wonderful day!  Swanson Vineyards will make his entire day perfectly complete!

Wine Essentials #5 – Nor. Cal.

22 May

It was a night of the top dogs, heavy hitters, powerhouses at Wine Essentials Class #5.  We ventured through Northern California, Washington State and Oregon, experiencing some of the deepest, darkest reds I have ever tasted, and boy were they elegant and delicious!  Fortunately, I will be in Sonoma this weekend to experience these lovely wines first hand!  Take a look into our journey but beware for the high levels of alcohol within the California region! TAXI!

Tastings (wines I liked bolded)

Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris, Benton-Lane 2009 – Retails $16 (Alc. 13%)

  • Notes: Smells of bright young and fruity apple; tastes very light, clean apple-y with a very nice acidic balance to it.  A very simple wine
  • Pairings: A great wine for this warm weather!  Use as an aperitif wine or enjoy with clams and oysters

Santa Ynez, Viognier, Zaca Mesa 2008- Retails $26

  • Notes: Smells of fresh grapefruit, ripe/heavy stone fruit; Bitter and spicy in taste with little acidity, a bit peppery with a long lasting woody finish
  • Pairings: Pair with a roasted chicken with herbs or great with brie and an assortment of medium aged cheeses

Columbia Valley, Reisling, ‘Eroica’, Dr. Loosen, Chateau Ste. – Retails $23 (Alc. 12%)

  • Notes: Young green grape, fragrant with a hint of petroleum in smell; tastes light, sweet/sour with a fresh and fruity hint and strong acidity
  • Pairings: Great for an afternoon with cheese and grapes; spicy fish apps

Napa, Chardonnay, Grgich Hills Estate 2007 – Retails $40

  • Notes: Oaky with smoky vanilla and apple in smell; apple-y, pear, wood with calm acidity in taste.  A very elegantly balanced wine
  • Pairings: Roasted chicken or grilled shell fish

Chalk Hill (Russian River), Sauvignon Blanc, Chalk Hill Winery 2007 – Retails $27 (Alc. 14.5%)

  • Notes: Smells of ripe/sweet pineapple; Tastes very heavy and ripe in fruits, long lasting fruit finish
  • Pairings: Great with fish w/ butter and herb sauce; roasted chicken

Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir, Argyle 2008- Retails $24

  • Notes: Smells of light red fruits, strawberry and bright fruit; Tastes of bright cherry, little acidity a bit of tannin, strong taste but fades fast
  • Pairings: A lovely cob with a salad w/ raspberry vinaigrette on a sunny afternoon

Carneros, Pinot Noir, Acacia 2008 – Retails $22 (Pinot Noir, 2% Syrah) (Alc. 14.4%)

  • Notes: Smells of cherry, jammy, rich/dark fruits; tastes of rich wood, tannin, spicy, peppery and a little cedar
  • Pairings: Great with Duck!

Monterey County, ‘Le Mistral’, Joseph Phelps 2006 – Retails $40 (Alc. 15%)

  • Notes: Smelly of deep fruits and plums; Spicy plumy, dark fruit with light finish in taste.  A balanced wine
  • Pairings: Great with a stew, Pork Roast or lamb

Russian RIver, Zinfandel, Dolinsek Ranch, Mara 2005 – Retails $40 (Alc. 16.4%)

  • Notes: Ripe in fruit smelling; tastes of sweet/heavy fruit, blackberries, raisins, long lasting dark fruit finish
  • Pairings: Hard to pair with food but would be great with a BBQ or a nice dessert like cheesecake – nothing too sweet

Oakville (Napa), Merlot, Swanson 2006 – Retails $21 (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon)

  • Notes: Smells of dark plums.berries, wood in background; tastes of dark elegant plums, candy tannin, very supple and elegant wine
  • Pairings: Pair with a steak and light sauce or heavy spaghetti bolognese
Napa, Cabernet Sauvignon, ‘Georges de Latour Private Reserve’, Beaulieu Vineyard 2007 – Retails $106 (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot) – 14.8% Ac.
  • Notes: Smells of concentrated berries, very jammy; a powerhouse wine that tastes of dense berries, cedar, and strong tannins
  • Pairings: Great with steak

Swanson Vineyards – My Obsession!

30 Apr

How fabulous are these bottles of wine!?  A great gift for your next dinner party! I have not yet been, but Swanson Vineyards is on my list to visit the next time I am in Wine Country, CA!   Swanson adds a pleasant ‘girly sophistication’ to all of their bottles and products which makes them prominent and striking to the eye!  A great example of a winery taking the reins on their creative vision and bringing it to life in a very expressive and extremely unique way!  Click on the bottles to see the winery come alive!


About Swanson Vineyards 

Founded in 1985, Swanson’s Napa Valley winery crafts wines that elevate and glorify any occasion. Every bottle of their Oakville Estate wine charms the senses with velvety, luscious and distinctive character.
Fun Fact: Today Swanson Vineyards is one of the most recognizable and reliable Merlots, known for making a “Cab lover’s Merlot,” respectably priced!
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