4 Posts Back Home

Livermore Stories: Darcie Kent Vineyards

This is the first in a series called “Livermore Stories,” which takes a look at the most exciting wineries in this wine growing region east of San Francisco.  More than 50 wineries now call Livermore Valley home, and the wines have never been better, and the wineries have great stories to tell.  Darcie Kent is back.  “I’m still learning Cabernet Franc,” says the Livermore Valley vintner as she’s sorting beautiful grapes just picked from her home vineyard during the 2013 harvest.  “This is just a luscious, luscious berry, it’s one of my favorite wines.” I first met Darcie in 2002 when she was just launching her namesake label, Darcie Kent Vineyards.  At the time, she was making only one wine, a Merlot, which is was what was planted in her home vineyard.  “We were doing a rip-roaring 50 to 100 cases out of my garage,” she says.  We taped a story…

Ornellaia at 25

In the past quarter of the century, Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, an Italian winery in the Tuscan coastal town of Bolgheri, has become, or has achieved you might say, first growth or cult wine status since its first vintage in 1985.  This year Ornellaia has been celebrating its 25 anniversary, the 2010 vintage, with events, auctions and special art created, all paying homage to a wine that’s as distinct as the vineyards it is grown in. When most of us think of Tuscan wines, we think of Chianti and Chianti Classico, made from the Sangiovese grape. But nearly 50 years ago, some Italian winemakers and winery owners started thinking that there might be places in the country where the so called “international varieties” of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc might do well and even thrive. “It is a young region for wine,” says Riccardo Facco, Hospitality Director at…

10 Wines for Thanksgiving — No Pinot or Chardonnay Allowed

I know when the holidays are nearing because of the massive number of pitches, press releases and (a small amount) of wine start coming in. I’ve been getting these since before Halloween, just like the department stores putting out Christmas decorations super early. Much of the wine is Pinot Noir. I certainly understand that. It’s a safe and expected choice.

Not knocking Pinot here, but I like to introduce my guests to interesting wines. So no Pinot Noir or Chardonnay here, just my top 10 recommendations to try along with the turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. All the wines, except for a big splurge on a Sauternes from Chateau Coutet (hey, it’s the holidays), sell for $25 and less. Read more

DRINK – Check out the Sip Shoppe at Swanson Vineyards

I am really excited about the new tasting room about to open at Swanson Vineyards in Napa Valley. Sure, they’re known for Merlot, and for the elegant Salon wine tasting experience. That’s an intimate sit down tasting, paired with caviar and chocolates. Super luxe, right? But it’s also limited to groups of 8, a couple times a day. What if you want to stop by and try a few bottlings? Up until now, you were SOL. Although they’re not taking text reservations (not yet anyway!), soon you’ll be able to phone up and stop in at the new Sip Shop. The bright red and white striped room is whimsical and fun. Not your average tasting room! Here you can sip flights of Swanson’s wine, paired with some small bites. One signature pairing will be the Swanson Pinot Grigio matched with American caviar on a potato chip. Mmmm. Opening is planned…