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October is International Merlot Month!

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#MerlotMe all month long.
In 2012 the month of October was declared International Merlot Month. This year, more than 100 Merlot producers from all over the world are joining together to celebrate this lovely wine grape variety.

We're using the hashtag #MerlotMe to make it easy to find wine reviews. Since I'm just back from the 2018 Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla, I'm starting my Merlot tastings and reviews with three lovely Walla Walla wines.



Personally, my passion for Merlot was reignited this January. I hosted a Merlot blind tasting at the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center, which made me fall in deep like all over again. There's something about Merlot and it's varied styles which pleases and purples.
Merlot StatisticsMerlot sales are up! (Nielsen)Merlot is one of the top four most purchased red wines in U.S. restaurants (Winemetrics)California Merlot consumption in the U.S. was 19 million cases in 2017 (The Wine Institute)Merlot is the third most po…

Albariño | Discovering Pairing Possibilities with Two Terrific Wines of Rías Baixas

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I continue exploring the white wine of Galicia, with reviews of two more Albariños.

This summer I have been quite fixated on Albariño wines from Rías Baixas, today I provide more in depth wine and food pairings, in a slightly different direction from my earlier posts. As I've learned from the previous seven bottles of Albariño I've reviewed this summer, never assume about food pairings until you have actually tasted and paired.



My pairing menu for these two wines consisted of:

1. Saigon Salad - clean and crisp.
2. Whole Shrimp - sauteed in bacon fat and garlic.
3. Sliced Shrimp - served with a Thai Peanut Sauce.
4. Beef Dumplings - heated in a white wine, shrimp shell, bacon fat reduction sauce.
5. Watermelon - sliced.

The Possibilities of Albariño from Rías Baixas.


Tasting Notes: Valminor Edicion Especial 2017 - O Rosal Subzone

The first wine is made by Adegas Valmiñor, located in the south subzone, O Rosal. 


O Rosal Valley is located in the South of Rías Baixas, where the Miño …

Origium Rosé from Cariñena, Spain | 2016 Garnacha Rosé Bodegas San Valero a Versatile Wine

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Another perfect wine and food pairing.

Part of the discussion I have with guests, is how palates change over time. Mine certainly has. This year I've noticed that once again, I am enjoying Rosé more and more.

I also share with my guests that a good food pairing will elevate both the food and the wine. Alone they are good, but enjoyed together, they can be so much more.

Today I am sharing how well I enjoyed the Origium 2016 Garnacha Rosé by Bodegas San Valero. It was good, but was especially enjoyable with food. And it reinforced my viewpoint about elevated wine and food pairings. So very pleased with this wine and the dinner I prepared.

Cariñena is the second Denomination of Origin (D.O.) of Spain. The regional capital, Zaragoza, is halfway between Madrid and Barcelona and just two hours from France. The climate is continental, Grenache, Tempranillo, and Macabeo are the predominant varieties grown, along with the indigenous Cariñena variety. Also grown are Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet …

Out of the Park! Knudsen Vineyards 2015 Pinot Noir Estate Reserve | Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon

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Oh mama...fantastic wine.

My Pinot Noir drinkers often ask for recommendations of Oregon wines. Well, now added to my Strongly Recommended list is this Knudsen Vineyards 2015 Pinot Noir Estate Reserve, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon. It rocked!

This wine came from their estate vineyard. Specifically, Block 1, Block 5 and Block 6, all French Dijon clone 777. Block 1 is the youngest part of the vineyard, planted in 2006 at a higher elevation of 755-840 feet, it provided added brightness, freshness and aromatic expression.

2015 was an extraordinary vintage. Growing conditions produced a stunning Pinot Noir from Knudsen Vineyards. Bud break was a month earlier than normal, with early warm weather. The growing season tapered off to normal by September, providing a break from the heat and the development of balanced, concentrated fruit for harvest. And it shows in this beautiful wine.


Tasting Notes
Color: Clear rim, pale ruby.
Nose: Soft, strawberry skin, low intensity, light earthy …

Mullan Road Cellars 2014 Red Wine | Washington State

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Recommended Cellar Candidate!

Some of my wine friends have impressive collections of wine. After accumulating a few hundred bottles of wine, you will reach the point where you are not going to have enough time to drink all that wine. You are creating a legacy, an inheritance. And I hope you are choosing wisely.

If you are beginning a wine cellar, you have the luxury of knowing each bottle and hopefully remembering which ones to drink when. If you are adding on to a large cellar of wine, it is likely you will ignore or forget about some of your many bottles. So you want bottles which should age gracefully.

Note: I know people who only share bottles of wine with others, after they've peaked and faded away! "Hey, here's a bottle of 1999 Merlot. It's no longer showing well. And I've got a case of it. Enjoy." Don't be that kind of wine collector. Share your good wines with others. Like my good wine friends do.

The Mullan Road Cellars 2014 Red Wine, is today'…

Eufloria Sparkling Wine in a Can | White and Rosé

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Have you grabbed a can of wine lately? 

Are you curious about those cans of wine you see at the grocery store or your local liquor store? Are you wondering to yourself, "Are they any good?"

Today I have reviews of two sparkling/frizzante wines in a can. Eufloria aromatic wines. These wines are produced by the same company which makes Pacific Rim Riesling in West Richland, Washington. (see my review: "Pacific Rim 2016 Riesling - Two Styles with Unlimited Enjoyment")

You might ask yourself, "Why would I want wine from a can?" I asked myself the same question. And you might also ask, as I did, "What do they taste like?" Well, I found out. 


Why cans?
One of the reasons cans are being used for wine, is that aluminum cans are lighter than glass, and therefore less expensive to transport. Also, aluminum cans take up less space than glass bottles for an equivalent amount of wine. These are 375ml cans of wine, which is equivalent to 1/2 of a bottle of wine. T…

Three Albariños and Several Food Pairings | Taste Rías Baixas

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As promised, more reviews of  Albariño wines from Rías Baixas. 

My previous post (My Favorite White Wines this Summer are from DO Rias Baixas), I emphasized more traditional food pairings, grilled shrimp, Ceviche, and watermelon. This time, I wanted to try some different pairings to see how well Albariño wines would match. I love seafood, but I was curious about the flexibility of this variety.

My test pairings began with a series of mini quiche I made at home, spinach, hamburger, tomato, dill and steak. Following are my tastings notes on the wines and the food pairing results. Results were mixed.


While twelve grape varieties are permitted in DO Rías Baixas, the white Albariño grape represents 96% of all plantings. Albariño refreshes as a drinking wine and appeals to diverse cuisine. Albariño from Galicia delivers for me on many levels. Bright acidity, refreshing citrus flavors and that compelling salinity which intrigues, satisfies, and returns me to my favorite memories of the ocean…