Monthly Archives: August 2019

White Wine 3 Ways

Sauvignon blanc is an easy wine to make, drink, and enjoy. It doesn’t need to age so it’s an instant gratification wine. I had a bottle of Samuel Charles Sauvignon Blanc from grapes grown in the High Valley AVA in Lake County, California.

Priced at $24.99/bottle, it’s a bit higher than usual because the winemaker took the extra step and partially aged the wine sur lies for added richness on the palate and a complexity in its aromas. Aside from the typical floral and herbaceous notes, what caught my attention from the start was the scent of honeysuckle – one of my most favorite aromas. It was easy for me to enjoy this palatable silky, crisp wine, and the fruit characteristics lingered to my liking.

More information on this wine can be found by clicking HERE.


Initially, I wasn’t a fan of Mionetto when I sipped it on its own, but when I made it in a cocktail, I became a fan. Since 1982, this Prosecco has been made in the Charmat method — with the secondary fermentation in autoclaves instead of individual bottles. That means bigger bubbles. I prefer small bubbles and the Champagne method. But when you pour half tequila and half Prosecco to make a cocktail named “Italian Honey Suckle” – of course, I would love it! I recommend you pour this cocktail in a martini glass.

Italian Honey Suckle (courtesy of Mionetto Master Mixologist, Justin Noel)


– 1 jalapeño slice

– .5 oz fresh lime juice

– .5 oz honey syrup

– 1 oz blanco tequila

– 1 oz Mionetto Prestige Organic Prosecco DOC Extra Dry

– jalapeño slice for Garnish


  1. In a mixing glass, add jalapeño slice and lime juice.
  2. Muddle lightly.
  3. Add honey syrup and tequila and shake.
  4. Strain into a martini glass.
  5. Top with Mionetto Prosecco.
  6. Garnish with jalapeño slice.


Another summer sip that excels when blended is a Bosio Tropical Mango Moscato from the Piedmont region of Italy. This is an 85% fermented Moscato with 15% natural Brazilian mango pulp – without any flavor enhancers or additives. As was the Mionetto Prosecco, this is a not-so-popular sip on its own, but a wonderful mixer on a hot summer evening as an aperitif when mixed with sparkling water. I enjoyed a glass with some cheese before a ladies’ dinner on the patio.

Wine Légende’s of Bordeaux

Bordeaux, in Southwest France on the Garonne River, has a total vineyard area of over 120,000 hectares (almost 300,000 acres) – notably the largest wine region in France. Bordeaux leads the world of wine, setting the bar quite high for winemakers who strive to emulate the blending of at least two of these five red varietals: cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, Malbec and petite verdot.

On a restaurant’s wine list, a Bordeaux is usually higher in price, but I’ve discovered a few bottles of Légende that won’t break your budget and are pleasant on the palate.

The first one is a 2015 Légende Pauillac crafted with grapes grown in the prestigious Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) vineyards of Bordeaux. This wine is a blend of 70% cabernet sauvignon and 30% merlot, partially aged in oak barrels crafted at the Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) cooperage.

It was as if I poured a glass of ruby slippers. The color was intense, and the aromas of dried figs, black pepper and cocoa powder took me back to Bordeaux when I visited Chateau Lafite Rothschild in early 2015. This is a Bordeaux within reach — under $50 a bottle. It has enough character to remind you you’re drinking a Bordeaux (that licorice finish…), but it’s a drink alone wine without an overpowering tannin structure — so get ready to open a bottle this fall, when red wine becomes more appealing!

Next, I sipped a 2016 Légende Saint-Émilion, but before I took my first sip, I was seduced with notes of baking spices, butter, pomegranate and dark berries that dominated my senses. This somewhat bold and balanced, dry and slightly acidic merlot has a touch of cabernet franc for elevated interest. This is an affordable right-bank Bordeaux ($37) made with inspiration from the tradition of quality. Twenty percent of its final blend was aged in barrels, which explains its medium body, atypical for a Bordeaux, and fine with me.

More information on these elegant wines of France may be found HERE.

A Super Splurge on Sauvignon Blanc

Perspective is everything, so when you ponder a $200+ bottle price of a 2016 Sauterne Château d’Yquem, a sauvignon blanc and semillon blend often interpreted as French “nectar” of the Gods, a $90 bottle of sauvignon blanc seems like a sweet deal.

I didn’t taste a Château d’Yquem, but I did taste a glass of Larkmead 2016 Lillie Sauvignon Blanc and it proved to be well-balanced and complex, imparting a silky finish. The bottle price for this Napa Valley, California stunner is $90 — higher than most Napa Valley sauvignon blancs, but a slam-dunk savings when you think about that bottle of Château d’Yquem.

Larkmead’s website refers to this high-priced white wine as “a sauvignon blanc that acts as a chardonnay.” Only 265 cases of this 2016 Lillie were produced at its estate in Calistoga, so it’s offered only in allocation.

Aside from the soil profile: Pleasanton Loam (clay), the big difference in the making of this wine is in the barrel aging. Lillie is special enough to have spent 10 months in a French barrel from La Charité-sur-Loire, France, and then a few months of downtime in a stainless steel tank before bottling. That explains why Lillie presents more like a chardonnay.

But it’s not.

Lillie is a sauvignon blanc without the Sauterne blend of semillon. And it’s pear season in Napa Valley, which may be why I conjured up pear notes at the top; perhaps it was more a sort of stone fruit or stone minerality. But then there’s a slight garden vegetable note at the bottom nose.

It’s all good.

The creamy mouthfeel and elegance of this summer white will set you craving a pineapple upside down cake.

Set this bottle down for 5 years and you’ll most likely get a creamier version with more complexity – similar to a Sauterne.

But it’s not. However, it will make an impression if you bring a bottle to your bestie’s barbeque this summer.