Beth’s Smart Sip: 2014 Highlands Winery Zinfandel

2014 Highlands Zinfandel
2014 Highlands Zinfandel, Oakville, Napa Valley

My passion for zinfandel made the way it ought to be was reignited when I tasted this sample from Oakville’s Highlands Winery. It is not often that I use the word lovely and elegant when describing a zinfandel, but this is just that. Black cherry fruit and mouthwatering acidity lead into a subtle peppery finish. Structured, yet restrained, all of this wine’s components, if you will, are woven together quite nicely, resulting in a zinfandel that will complement food, not overpower it. Sharing it with new friends from California, Illinois, and New York was the icing on the proverbial cake. I was delightfully reminded me why I moved to the Napa Valley to follow my dream of working in the wine industry.

Only 200 cases made and a handful of bottles remaining of this 2014 vintage. Winemaker: Bradley Smith. SRP $45. Available at the end-of-vintage price, $30, at this link.

Frank Family Vineyards: Drink Pink for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

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Photo courtesy of Frank Family Vineyards

The last Saturday in September, a friend and I hosted a brunch for six people with seven sparkling wine producers. One of the producers who so generously provided samples was Frank Family Vineyards, a beautiful vineyard and winery in the Calistoga AVA of the Napa Valley owned and operated by three generations of Frank family members. This sample was facilitated by Jarvis Communications.

Without letting the cat out of the bag completely for future articles related to this brunch, the 2014 Frank Family Vineyards Brut Rosé, Carneros, was one of the standouts of our gathering. I may have accidentally set the tone of anticipation and excitement by thinking aloud, “I know this is going to be one of my favorites!”

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Photo courtesy of Frank Family Vineyards

However, in addition to the fact that this is a lovely brut rosé replete with juicy, red berry flavors enveloped with yeasty creaminess, I discovered during my writing research that during the month of October, Frank Family Vineyards is offering a Drink Pink for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) Package for $75, which includes a bottle of this brut rosé (SRP $55) and a T-shirt, and will donate 10% of each purchase to the BCRF, a foundation whose mission is to prevent and cure breast cancer by advancing the world’s most promising research. BCRF recently announced a $63 million commitment to fund breast cancer research for 2018-2019.

As the sister of a breast cancer survivor, this is a cause near and dear to my heart, so I wanted to share this with my readers immediately, with a thank you to Frank Family Vineyards. To order your package, please call Jennifer Higgins at 707-942-2314.

Cheers to drinking pink!
Elizabeth

Ackerman Family Vineyards

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I am sure that during my commutes around the city of Napa, I have passed the Ackerman Heritage House at 608 Randolph Street before, the hospitality and tasting home of Ackerman Family Vineyards. However, on this rainy February day, nothing was more inviting as my co-workers and I entered by way of a back door.

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Robert Biale Vineyards

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Robert Biale Vineyards

Not long ago, I had lunch with Maggie Pramuk Mazotti, daughter of the co-founder of Robert Biale Vineyards. Being a recent transplant to Napa, I had heard of Biale, but really did not know their story. After our lunch, I returned to work and suggested we schedule a staff tasting there.

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Lightning Wines

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Tasting with Lightning Wines

Three years ago, I reviewed the movie American Wine Story, a documentary that follows the story of Oregon’s Brooks family (Brooks Wines) as well as others in the United States who have decided to leave their secure careers to follow their passion for winemaking. Such is the story of former Texas natives and owners, Randy and Brooke Hester, who decided to take their own leap of faith to create Lightning Wines.

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Hendry Ranch Wines

Learning from George O. Hendry
Learning from George O. Hendry

By far, Hendry was the most comprehensive tour and tasting I have ever experienced. Those who are new to the Napa Valley, grape growing, winemaking, how to taste wine, and wine and food pairing would benefit greatly from a morning spent with second-generation vintner and winemaker, George O. Hendry.

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Webster Cellars Reserve: My Wine of the Moment

 

2013 Webster Cellars Reserve Proprietary Red Blend
2013 Webster Cellars Reserve Proprietary Red Blend

Recently, I had the great honor of tasting a glass of this fantastic 2013 Webster Cellars Reserve Proprietary Red Blend with owners and winemakers Chelli Warnock and Keith Webster. The blend varies from year to year. Sometimes it’s a Bordeaux-style Left Bank blend and sometimes it’s a Right Bank blend. This vintage, it is a Left Bank style blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot, 10% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc aged in mostly neutral oak. What I love most about this wine is that it is drinkable now, yet it is also built to last another decade. This is not your typical Napa Valley wine, thank goodness. On the contrary, this wine, with its dark berry palate, fine tannins, and juicy acidity, is so easy to drink with or without food. At only 13.8% alcohol, this beauty tastes like a reunion of Bordeaux and old-school Napa Valley. Only 50 cases made and down to its final bottles. 94 points, James Suckling, if you like to keep score. $95, mailing list only. Join The List at Webster Cellars.

Thank you to Chelli and Keith for opening a bottle and sharing a glass with me!

Cheers!
Beth