This Week’s Wine Tasting

California Wines

Matanzas Creek Winery– “Naturally defined by the three mountain peaks that envelop it, Bennett Valley existed for many years in quiet obscurity – bountifully sustaining an agricultural community that had all but forgotten the valley’s pre-prohibition viticultural roots. It wasn’t until 1977 with the founding of Matanzas Creek Winery that the area’s winemaking potential was once again unearthed. But Matanzas Creek didn’t just breathe new life into the area, it helped revolutionize the entire industry and, in the process, put Bennett Valley back on the map. And now, over thirty years after the release of its first vintage, Matanzas Creek stands at the forefront of California viticulture. Each day yields new and exciting discoveries, and the winery’s future is as bright as its universally celebrated past.”

Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2013– Sonoma County, California. “Expressive and bursting with aromas of white grapefruit, orange peel, nectarine and lemon thyme, hints of fresh oregano and yellow guava finish out the profile. Crisp in texture with bright acidity, the Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc utilizes our entire breadth of winemaking techniques to create this beautiful wine. This supple quality distinguishes François’ wine from many of the popular “green, grassy-style” Sauvignon Blancs, and is achieved by fermenting 21% of the final blend in French oak barrels. A medium bodied, fresh food-friendly wine.” $15.99


Toad Hollow Vineyards– “At Toad Hollow Vineyards, our mission is to produce quality wines that are delicious, interesting and reasonably priced. We’re a fun and friendly bunch and believe drinking wine should be as FUN as the whimsical art on our wine labels.

Frankie Williams relocated to California in 1973. While living in San Francisco, she met Todd Williams, who would become her husband in 1978. Todd “Dr. Toad” Williams, our friend and founder, always managed to bring laughter and vitality to our daily life at Toad Hollow. His passion for wine and vision of “wine for the masses” led him, with his wife Francine and his good friend and colleague Rod[ney] Strong, to create this winery in 1993.

Todd got into the wine business after years of having owned bars and restaurants all over the world, because he felt that too many people were intimidated by wine. His mission was to strip away the mystique and make wine inclusive. Todd believed that wine should a part of people’s everyday lives, not just something that was celebratory. He believed that wine should be fun and he loved sharing that experience with everyone he met.

Sadly, Todd passed away in 2007, but his inspiration and vision continues on with Frankie at the helm.”

Toad Hollow Vineyards Rose of Pinot Noir 2014– Sonoma County, California. Fermented in stainless steel tanks at cool temperatures. “Toad Hollow is proud to have created a French-style, bone-dry, elegant Rose produced from the noble Pinot Noir grape. The style of this Rose makes it the perfect pair with a variety of cuisine. Made from the third pressing of Pinot Noir grapes from Sonoma County. Aromas of rose and violet lead to spice and pepper married with beautiful wild strawberry flavors and crisp acidity. Pairs well with barbecued salmon, spicy ethnic dishes, roasted poultry, or even hot buffalo wings. Very versatile. Serve chilled.” $11.99


Cambria Estate Winery– “Cambria is a family-owned, estate winery located in the heart of the famed Santa Maria bench in Santa Barbara County. Bolstered by several decades of diligent winemaking and vineyard experience, Cambria’s wines faithfully express the unique stamp of one of the nest cool-climate crus in California.

Estate defines the culture of Cambria. For more than 25 years, we have produced wines that faithfully express the singular stamp of one of the finest cool-climate crus in California. In this exceptional setting known as benchland, referring to the way the foothills rise up from the valley floor, the ancient, complex soil hosts the vineyards of our estate winery.

Family-owned, sustainably-farmed, and passionately tended by a team proud to be stewards of this remarkable property, each wine we produce is 100% estate, fully revealing the essence of the Santa Maria Bench.”

Cambria Chardonnay Katherine’s Vineyard 2013– Santa Maria Valley, California. Aged 6 1/2 months in 76% French oak barrels, 14% new. “Named after owner Barbara Banke’s eldest daughter, Katherine’s is a blend of different blocks comprised of both old vine Chardonnay and contemporary clone plantings. Each of the 15 blocks of Chardonnay, planted in sand and granite soils, are farmed on an individual basis. The expression from each block is wholly unique. The resulting wine shows a Chardonnay with a spectrum of fruit flavors ranging from mango to Meyer lemon and a rich texture framed by refreshing natural acidity. Bright fruit and oak spice aromas are found in the nose; citrus, pineapple, white peach and apple flavors carry through the mid-palate and into the finish. The finish is crisp and bright. Try our Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay with crab and lobster, shrimp, fried calamari, and grilled salmon. It also pairs will with Cow’s milk cheeses such as mild cheddar, Comte, Gruyere, Brie and Camembert or triple crème.” $14.99

Cambria Pinot Noir 2013– Santa Maria Valley, California. Aged 7 months in French oak, 20% new. “It has been said that great Pinot Noir can only reach its most eloquent expression with a good amount of vine age. We couldn’t agree more: our Seeds of Empowerment bottling is anchored by one of the oldest commercial plantings of Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara County (1974), producing a wine that’s earthy on the nose and silky on the palate. This Pinot Noir is born from an amalgam of different clones and vine ages, with older plantings and clones providing minerality and gravitas and the newer vines conferring dark fruit aromatics and a lush texture. Dark berry, earthy, and spicy aromas. In the mouth, the rich tannin structure creates a nicely textured wine with classic Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir flavor characteristics. Try our Pinot Noir with mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, truffles, filet mignon, and seared ahi. It also pairs well with cheeses such as gruyere and fontina.” $19.99

Cambria Syrah Tempusquet Vineyard 2012– Santa Maria Valley, California. Aged for 13 months in 100% French oak. Set 400 feet above sea level on the Cambria Estate, the Tepusquet Vineyard possesses sandy loam soils that restrict vine vigor and increase concentration. Our vineyard team meticulously farms this site on a vine-by-vine basis. To ensure only ripe, clean berries, the fruit was hand-harvested by Cambria’s experienced vineyard crew. Deep, dark purple color; balanced flavors and aromas; nice full-bodied mouth feel. Coffee, chocolate, blueberries and raspberries dominate the nose and the taste. A rich and tasty Syrah. We love our Syrah with a rack of lamb, beef short ribs, and fried calamari.” $19.99


Chateau Souverain– “The story of Souverain begins in 1944 when J. Leland “Lee” Stewart harvested his first crop of grapes from Howell Mountain vineyard in Napa Valley. In the years that followed, Stewart used innovation, meticulous standards and his natural gift for winemaking to establish Souverain as one of the great California wineries.

Lee was a trendsetter, opting to grow grapes rather than the predominant crop of the day—prunes. He was among the first in California to concentrate on single-varietal, estate wines; introducing Petit Sirah as a varietal, and taking a page from the French by insisting that Chardonnay be fermented in oak rather than stainless steel. Lee shared his knowledge with the small winemaking community in Napa that informed such esteemed contemporaries as the Mondavi Brothers, Jack Davies of Schramsberg, Brother Timothy of Christian Brothers Winery and André Tchelistcheff at Beaulieu.

In the years that followed, Lee Stewart used innovation, a commitment to precision and craftsmanship and his natural gift for winemaking to establish Souverain as one of the great California wineries. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, Lee’s Cabernet Sauvignon helped to estab­lish Napa Valley as the cradle for the varietal outside of France.”

Chateau Souverain Cabernet Sauvignon 2013– North Coast, California. A blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, 5% Petite Sirah, 5% Cab Franc, and 2% Syrah. “The Cabernet Sauvignon boasts vivid aromas of roasted vanilla and mocha, with a rich, extracted and flavorful palate. Big, rich flavors of black cherry, black plum and boysenberry are the signature of this wine. Fully balanced fruit, tannins and acidity lead to a lengthy finish with subtle layers of vanilla, bittersweet chocolate and baking spices. Pair with hard cheeses such as gouda and fontina, red meats such as steak, veal, or lamb, and cured meats such as soppressata or prosciutto.” $11.99


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