Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Kitchen Wine: Domaine de I'ldylle Savoie Cruet




The first time I got introduced to the Jacquere grape was with Winephabet Street. For the episode click here. I didn’t know that much about the Savoie Region of France let alone heard of the Jacquere grape. Today I am a huge fan of both the region and the grape.


The Jacquere grape makes a great light easy-drinking, white wine. It was perfect for our Kitchen Wine in the hot summer.


Our bottle of Jacquere comes from Domaine de I’Idylle that was founded in 1840 when Francois Tiollier purchased the property and planted the vines. He built his home and named it Domaine de I’ldylle. Today it is still in the family and run by Philippe and Francois Tiollier.


The vineyards are southern facing looking at the Alps. The soil consists of clay and limestone. Weather influences vine growth with cool nights and strong daytime sun.


The 2017 Domaine de I’Idylle Cruet is 100% Jaquere grape with a low alcohol content of 11.5%. Pale straw in color with aromas of lemon, wet stone and some salinity escaping from the glass. The wine has good balance with lemon, green apple, mandarin orange and puckering acidity on the finish.


Chef’s Pairing Suggestions: raw seafood salad, cold poached seafood, poached shrimp with light dijonnaise, crab with mustard sauce and crushed capers, veal or chicken Milanese, goat cheese. Chef highly suggests mussels because of the salt and richness.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Winephabet Street Season 2 Episode 11: K is for Kabar with Special Guest Edit Bai, Winemaker at Chateau Dereszla

Welcome to Winephabet Street Season 2 Episode 11 - K is for Kabar. Winephabet Street is a monthly series where Lori Budd of Draceana Wines and I work our way through the alphabet exploring wine and wine regions one letter at a time. The show is live on the third Monday at 8pm and is free, but you must register to attend. Put it on your calendar, pour yourself a glass of wine and hang out with us.



This month we had a special guest Edit Bai, winemaker from Chateau Dereszla located in the Tokaj region of Hungary. It is a pretty historic winery dating back to 1406. It has switched hands a few times, but is now under Hungarian ownership.


Kabar is a grape that was created by a crossing of the Harslevelu and Bouvier grape. Some of the flavor profiles you will find in Kabar is pear, vanilla, oak, lemon, honey and crisp acidity. My kind of white wine!


I’m looking forward to visiting Hungary soon and will seek out a glass of Kabar! Until then, I hope you enjoy the webinar and podcast.


For more episodes of Winephabet Street visit http://winephabetstreet.com/


Watch the webinar



Listen to the Podcast


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Kitchen Wine: Passaggio Chenin Blanc 2018



I don’t know when or how I met Cindy or when was the first time I tried her wines, but I was impressed! When I was out in Santa Rosa in 2017 for the Wine Media Conference, I stopped and spent a hour or so with Cindy and tasted through her portfolio. My case arrived home shortly after I did that year. When I shared the wines with my husband he was always so impressed. He always commented “whoever makes this wine is a good winemaker!” So I broke down and joined her wine club.


Passaggio isn’t your typical California winery. It’s not all about Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact she has some interesting blends and varietals that won’t disappoint.


We shared her 2018 Passaggio Chenin Blanc in the kitchen with Chef Gus. Cindy sources the grapes for this Chenin Blanc from Heringer Estates in Clarksburg, California. Clarksburg is about 15 miles south of Sacramento located on the banks of the Sacramento river.


The wine had beautiful aromas of green apple, wet slate and fresh cut grass. The palate begins with some white peach that hits your tongue and is gone and finishes with green apple. A delightful wine.


Chef’s Pairing Suggestions: Cheese plate with hard salty cheese and good aged cheese. Try it with Provencal Style Rabbit.


If you are in Sonoma, make an appointment to visit Passaggio. The tasting room is located in Sonoma Plaza and are by appointment only.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Kitchen Wine:2018 Txakoli Malda Getariako Txakolina



When you first look at this label you might think Greek but it’s Spain. The Basque region of Spain where the indigenous grape Hondarrabi Zuri grows along the Gipuzkoan coast.


The 2018 Txakoli Malda is produced by Bodegas Zudugarai and the only Txakoli vineyard located within a natural park in Basque County. It is 100% Hondarrabi Zuri grape. Initially when first poured there a floral note that dissipated shortly after. More aromas of lemongrass, white grapefruit, slate and salinity become present. The palate is fresh with a slight saline effervescence with a touch of minerality. Lemon on the front end of the taste and a finish with lime.


Chef’s Pairing Suggestions: Chilled seafood platter with lobster, squid, cockles, octopus and accompanying sauces with a good loaf of bread and butter.

All three of us agreed that this wine makes a great everyday white we can drink all the time. The price even better. $12

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Kitchen Wine: 2010 Whitecliff Vineyards Sky Island



We’ve been drinking a lot in the kitchen, but the good news is the dining room is now open with limited capacity. Our drinking might not be as robust as during just take-out. Unfortunately, there are only a few more weeks left of the kitchen. Not to worry, got lots of wine and food pairings to share with you.

We reached into the cellar for this Kitchen Wine! 2010 Whitecliff Vineyards Sky Island. What many people may not know is that Michael Migliore the owner is my mentor in this crazy world of wine. Both my husband Paul and I have learned so much from him. Paul was the winemaker there for 7 harvests before we moved to South Jersey. Something we both miss.

In the springtime I would love sitting down with Michael, Yancey and whoever else they invited to blend the Sky Island. We would always begin with the previous years blend and adjust. It’s so interesting to see the variations between vintages and how the blend is proportioned each year. The last blending trial for the Sky Island that I participated in we had it down pat. It only took us 3 trials before we all agreed on the final blend based on what the winemaker was looking for. Damn we were good! To read about my experience blending the 2011 Sky Island click here.


2010 Whitecliff Sky Island - Merlot based blend with 32% Merlot, 30% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, 4% each of Malbec and Petit Verdot. The wine had a great nose with stewed cherries, black raspberries, blueberry and a touch of allspice. Still a complex palate with flavors of black fruit, black raspberry, black cherry, juicy ripe black plum with a hint of white pepper on the finish. The wine was decently balanced and had a nice backbone of acidity. Personally, I felt it was a little light on the mouthfeel, but hey, it’s 10 years old.


Chef’s Pairing Suggestions: Venison Loin, Veal in a Rose demi, Rack of Lamb, Duck Meatballs or Fritters.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

A Tribute to Xerces Butterfly with Replica Wines


As beautiful as the butterfly are Rebel Wines. A tribute to the Xerces butterfly that was last seen in the San Francisco Bay area in the early 1940’s.

The Xerces butterfly was small, Periwinkle blue in color and a native to the coastal sand dunes of the Bay area. It was one of the first American butterflies in the United States to become extinct lost due urban development.

Replica Wines is all about protecting the environment. They produce wines with fruit-forward profiles. Their label is designed in tribute for the Xerces butterfly. They have partnered wit hthe Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conversation to raise awareness of the issue.


Replica Wines


Replica Pinot Noir, Label Envy, North Coast 2018 - a fruit forward Pinot Noir with juicy aromas of red and black raspbery, strawberry and vanilla. The palate has a lot going on with notable plum and black raspberry. Lots of juicy red fruits and notes of chocolate on the finish.


Chef’s Pairing Suggestions: mushroom terrine, veal with demi, beef and mushroom stew and mushroom souffle.


Replica 2017 Pickpocket - A red blend with notes of black cherry, vanilla and plum. There is an earthiness mid-palate and was the perfect pairing for a burger.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Kitchen Wine: Smith-Madrone Chardonnay & Riesling


This article covers two nights of Kitchen Wine with Smith-Madrone. I was first introduced to Smith Madrone wines last year. I was blown away with them. The wines are clean, elegant and alive!

Located in the Spring Mountain District AVA, just 6 miles from downtown St. Helena but a 20 minute ride up the mountain. They have 38 acres that are dry farmed at an elevation of 1,300 to 2,000 feet above sea level on volcanic based Aiken Stony Clay loam. Planted they have Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Riesling.

Worth a trip scheduling a tasting if you are in the Napa area! If you see the wine on the shelf, grab a bottle.

Smith-Madrone 2016 Riesling - delicate with silky petrol notes, hint of orange blossom, lime and white flowers. The palate has nice acidity with green apple,, stone fruit and a hint of lemon on the finish.

Chef’s pairing suggestions: pan-seared white fish such as Dorade, Perch, Rosefish and Trout. Wienerschnitzel with german potato salad, knockwurst with sauerkrout and collards. Looking for some cheese, Chef suggests a medim neutral cheese like Gouda or Edam.



Smith-Madrone 2016 Chardonnay - What an elegant Chardonnay. Notes of Lemon curd on the nose with a hint of minerality leads to a beautiful exquisite creamy clean texture with flavors of pineapple, California apricots and finishes with Fuji apple. Chef approved!

Chef’s pairing suggestions: Creme Brulee, Lobster and Scallops.