Tag Archives: Sonoma

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Anthony Beckman from Balletto Vineyards & Winery in the Russian River Valley

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast with head winemaker of Balletto Vineyards & Winery, Mr. Anthony Beckman; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/29/wine-guy-mike-for-july-29/

Last week’s podcast; Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Winery head winemaker Scott Morrison is this week’s featured guest, http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/22/wine-guy-mike-for-july-22nd/

Recent week’s podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Recent week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Head Winemaker Anthony Beckman

Head Winemaker Anthony Beckman

Balletto Vineyards & Winery produce wines that offer true consumer value.  This week I sat down with Anthony Beckman, the man responsible for making the delicious wines at the Balletto Winery.

The Russian River Valley in Sonoma, California where the Balletto Vineyards & Winery are located is influenced by maritime induced fog late into the morning, turning to sunny clear blue skies late into the day.  The cool prevailing winds that influence this area are perfect for growing exceptional grapes. The fog blankets the grapes with moist dew throughout the night into the late morning hours, allowing the grapes of the Russian River Valley to mature slowly which produces fruit of concentrated flavor and superior quality.  The RRV is one of the premier grape growing areas in the New World.

Beckman is one of my favorite winemakers for what he does not do to the grapes.  The Balletto wines are handled gently from the vine, to the press, not overly manipulated during fermentation, and then aged with special care.  The Balletto wines are some of my favorite to drink, they are true to the varietal character and affordable for the everyday wine drinker.  Every one of the Balletto wines are exceptional, a true consumer value.

There are two new wines from Balletto Winery that you should know about, 2010 Teressa’s Chardonnay, and the 2011 Roseof Pinot Noir.  Teressa’s Chardonnay is cold fermented preserving the natural esters of the fruit.  This wine is lush, yet crisp, a beautifully balanced wine for those who liked their chardonnay unoaked will absolutely love this wine. Today’s podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/29/wine-guy-mike-for-july-29/

Beckman’s 2011 Roseof Pinot Noir is straight up the finest RoseI have ever tasted from the New or Old World.  This roseis everything I want a rose to be.  A great roseshould have beautiful color, fresh aroma of strawberries and raspberries, refreshing like a white wine with subtle mouthfeel like that of a red wine.  The Balletto 2011 Roseof Pinot Noir is all of that and then some. 

I would like to thank my friend Anthony Beckman for taking time to be on the WineGuyMike Radio Show this week and all my friends at Balletto Vineyards & Winery, one of the best consumer values in wine.

Today’s wines all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™ and are available at Liquid Planet in the Heart of Downtown Missoula.  All of these excellent wine selections (see below) have been especially priced for you.  

This wine pairs well with shellfish and will be on sale for $24.99 until Friday 8/03.

This wine pairs well with Lamb and Chops, it will be on sale for $28.99 until Friday 8/03.

This wine pairs well with grilled meats having ample marbling and will be on sale for $33.99 until Friday 8/03.

Remember to stop in at Liquid Planet, Missoula’s best wine shopping experience, to purchase your WineGuyMike wines.

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Winery

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s podcast; Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Winery head winemaker Scott Morrison is this week’s featured guest, http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/22/wine-guy-mike-for-july-22nd/

Last week’s podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Last week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Paul Hobbs and his eleven siblings were raised on a one hundred fifty year old farm in upstate New York.  If you placed an X in the very center of that farm you would be standing at the barn the Hobbs children knew as wondrous and magical place.  That barn is now referred to by Paul as the CrossBarn.

Hobbs is arguably one of the top winemakers in America; he is also respected as one of the top wine consultant’s worldwide, producing world-class wines in California and Argentina. Producing wines of distinct character require sourcing grapes from only the finest vineyards, a task and talent Hobbs excels at. 

Scott Morrison’s career in wine began in a very practical way, interning at a winery in the Napa Valley.  Having discovered his passion he embarked on an academic track, studying viticulture and enology at the University of California at Davis.  After finishing school Morrison traveled to New Zealand, a country whose focus is growing cool weather varietal grapes, it was there he honed his white winemaking skills.  Once back in California Morrison worked with The Hess Collection and Rudd Winery, and most recently Paul Hobbs Winery.  Morrison is now head winemaker at Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Winery. 

CrossBarn Winery produces elegant wine offering true consumer value, thanks to the collaboration of Hobbs and Morrison.  The grapes used in CrossBarn wines are carefully hand harvested striving to preserve the core integrity of the fruit.  All three current wines are from the 2009 vintage.

The wines I’m recommending are great wines, food friendly and available at Liquid Planet. 

This wine pairs well with shellfish and will be on sale for $24.99 until Friday 7/29.

This wine pairs well with Lamb and Chops and will be on sale for $28.99 until Friday 7/29.

This wine pairs well with grilled meats with ample marbling and will be on sale for $33.99 until Friday 7/29.

Pair this wine with; Oysters on the half shell, Salmon, Tuna, Tenderloin of Pork.

Sale Price until 7/29/2012  $13.99

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

The wine selections from today’s show are available today, all especially priced until 7/29, at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Features the Capstone Dinner Event in Missoula

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast  and full length conversation with Culinary Arts student Kacey Swanson http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/15/wine-guy-mike-for-april-15/

NBC Montana Today TV Easter wines with food pairing suggestions; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

I had the opportunity this week to feature an event many are unaware of.  Once you attend the Capstone Dinner Event you will make a point to never miss one.

This week I invited a representative from The University of Montana College of Technology Culinary Arts Department to join me on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©.  Kacey Swanson who is a student in the program and I discussed the upcoming Capstone Dinner Event.

The Capstone Dinner will take place at The Holiday Inn Downtown in Missoula on Saturday April 28, 2012 from 5-10PM.  The Holiday Inn is located at 200 South Pattee, Missoula, Montana.  Ticket prices for this event are $85.00 each.  For information on how to obtain tickets please call 406-243-7870.

I became familiar with the culinary program at a local event that I attend each year where I met the Director of the COT Culinary Arts Program, Tom Campbell.  I sought Tom out at this event on purpose to let him know just how inspired I was as a result of my interaction with his students.  The presentation of the food from this culinary program was beautiful; the passion shared by the students who prepared the courses of food was contagious.  Oh yeah, the food it was amazing too.  I was introduced to an instructor, Chef Suzanne Noyd who also owns The Butler’s Pantry.  The Butler’s Pantry is a catering company providing exquisite fine food for special events.

With my interest piqued I sought out to learn more about this wonderful program located in Missoula and respected regionally throughout the Northwest.  The Capstone Dinner Event is a combination of fine dining, fine wine, and a silent auction in which all proceeds support the College of Technology Culinary Student Education Fund.  This fund also supports competitions, exhibits, and field trips for the students, conferences and the Capstone Dinner Event.

This years event theme presented by the students; “SAUSSURE” (saw-sure), Explore the Alps in Montana – A Culinary Tour of Alpine Cuisine. Horace-Benedict de Saussure led the first expedition through the Alpine Range, believed to have founded Alpinism or Mountaineering.  Translating cuisine from Lyon, France to Vienna, Austria to the shores of the Adriatic Sea and infusing these dishes with Montana seasonal ingredients.  The culinary students are proud to show their unity by showcasing the talents and knowledge they have acquired over the past two years.  Don’t miss this opportunity for a great night out to experience a multi-coursed fine dining experience paired with exceptional wines.  There will be an assortment of delectable silent auction items presented and available for your bid.

For more information about this event and how to get on the mailing list, please e-mail Chef Tom Campbell at Thomas.campbell@umontana.edu or Kacey Swanson at kacey.swanson@umontana.edu

Capstone Dinner Menu

SAUSSURE

Menu

Hor D’ Oeuvres – An Expedition through The Alps Buffet Assortment

Western Platter

Roasted Vegetable & Goat Cheese Terrine

Smoked Local Trout Mousse in Dill Barquette Garnished with Cavier

Caprese Salad featuring House-made Mozzarella & White Balsamic Reduction

Duck & Sage Sausage Links

Red Onion & Rhubarb Tartlet

Risotto Croquettes with Fontina & Red Pepper Coulis 

Central Platter

Beef Liver Pate

Venison Kielbasa, Ginger Sauerkraut and Hot Mustard on Pumpernickel Canape

Weisswurst Links & Headcheese

Beet & Carrot Latkes, House-made Quark and Pickled Red Onion Canape

Pastrami Cured Salmon on Rye Point with Beet Pesto

Eastern Platter

Mediterranean Style Seafood Terrine

Marinated Sardine Crostini with Salsa Verde & Fresh Fennel

Chevre Balls Rolled in Turkish Spices

Spring Porcini paired with House-made Ricotta & Braised Garlic Scapes

Croatian Flatbread crowned with Dry Cured Bacon, Fresh Cow Cheese and Assorted Vegetables

Turkish Sausage Links

Hot Cheese Fondue with Pretzels

Soup

House-brewed Schwauzbier Cheese in Bread Bowl 

Fish Entrée

Grilled Local Trout adorned with Eggplant, Cherry Compote on a bed of Angel Hair Pasta 

Intermezzo

Lemon Sorbet

Meat Entrée

Montana Bauernschmaus

Braised Venison, Montana Beef Bacon and Kielbasa accompanied with Fresh Cabbage Salad, Caramelized Root Vegetable Trio and Crostini 

*Paired with House-brewed Hefeweizen 

Dessert Assortment

OPERA – French Chocolate Coffee Cake made of Layered Dark Chocolate, Coffee Buttercream and Almond Sponge Cake

Huckleberry, Lavender and Apple Tarts

Spice Cookies

Cupavci – Croatian Sponge Cake filled with Pastry Cream

Chocolate Fondue accompanied by Gingerbread & Fruit

Bread Basket

Rye, Pumpernickel, Italian Crostini, Grissini, Pretzels

You can listen to the WineGuyMike Radio Show live each week on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula features wines I have specially selected for you.  Be sure to stop by the very best of beverage and   Missoula’s premier wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Donald Ziraldo the world authority of Ice-wines Part 2

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast and full length conversation with the “Iceman” Donald Ziraldo

Part 1 Podcast  and full length conversation with the “Iceman” Donald Ziraldo http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/01/wine-guy-mike-for-april-1st/

NBC Montana Today TV Easter wines with food pairing suggestions; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

This week the Iceman Donald Ziraldo joins WineGuyMike for week two for the final show in this series on Ice-wine.  Last week we tasted the Equifera Riesling Ice Wine and this week I’ll taste the Equifera Vidal Ice Wine with Donald.

If you missed last week’s show with Donald and I be sure to listen to it, the podcast link is; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/01/wine-guy-mike-for-april-1st/  Talking with Ziraldo is like sitting in on an intimate wine education course.

The Equifera Ice Wine was a treat for me to taste.  Tasting wine with Donald Ziraldo was a pleasure and an education, one of my stand-out featured guests I have had the opportunity to have on my show.  In addition to last week’s following blog post I have included my review from this week’s tasting of the Equifera Vidal Ice Wine.

Ice-wine is a wine of extremes. Donald Ziraldo who produces Equifera Icewine is a man of extreme passion.  This week on the WineGuyMike radio show I had the pleasure and opportunity to talk with Donald and learn about him, his life’s body of work, and the Ice-wine he is so passionate about.

Ice wine is a form of extreme winemaking that takes the excruciating circumstances of Mother Nature to an entirely new level.  Ice-wine or “liquid gold” as it is referred to by wine aficionados is a dessert, or aperitif wine.

The practice of making Eiswein in Germany dates back to the early 1700’s.  But it is in Canada where it has become a modern day art.  Canada is now recognized as the finest Ice-wine producing area in the world.  This is mainly due to the Herculean efforts of one man, Donald Ziraldo.

Ziraldo is known as the “Godfather” of Ice-wine throughout the world.  He is also readily acknowledged as the world’s foremost authority on Ice-wine’s.  Ziraldo is the son of Italian immigrants who settled in the Canadian province of Ontario.  This is just across from Lake Ontario, one of the best known wine regions in the United States, the Finger Lakes region.

Ice-wine is a winemaking style wherein grapes are naturally frozen on the vine, harvested during the middle of the night and pressed in the extreme cold to separate the juice from the ice crystals. 

If the freeze does not come soon enough, the entire crop can be lost to rotting and if the freeze is too severe, it can prevent any juice from being extracted when the grapes are pressed.  The results produce very special wines that express aromatic flavors of white and tropical fruits such as mango, peach, and lychee.

Donald Ziraldo has a long and storied history of producing fine quality wines with winemaker Karl Kaiser.  Ziraldo and Kaiser are the forefathers of Canadian Ice-wine, together they founded Inniskillin Winery.  The Ice-wines of Inniskillin put Canadian Ice-wine of the map of the wine scene internationally.  Inniskillin produced many internationally renowned wines.

In 2006 Ziraldo and Kaiser left Inniskillin, although Kaiser remains as an emeritus consultant to Inniskillin.  Ziraldo has a new wine project in the Equifera Ice winery. 

The Equifera Ice Wines are grown and produced in Short Hills, a sub-appellation of the Niagara Peninsula.  The Equifera Estate Winery is the former home to champion race horses in the 1950’s and 60’s.

 Equifera produces Riesling, Vidal, and red Cabernet Franc Ice-wines. This week WineGuyMike had the opportunity to talk with Donald about the beautiful Equifera Ice-wines, we tasted them too.

The award winning Equifera Ice Wine is a special occasion in a glass.  When I taste great wine it occurs to me that you can taste the personality on the person behind the wine.  This is true of the Equifera Ice Wine, perhaps the best of Donald Ziraldo’s entire body of work in the world of wine.

The first wine that Donald and I tasted was the Riesling Ice-wine.  The Equifera Ice Wines strike the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.  The Riesling is lighter in body and texture than the Equifera Vidal Ice Wine that Donald and I will taste next week on the show.  The structure and complexity of this magnificent ice-wine go hand-in-hand.  You would be hard pressed to find more complex wines in the world than the Equifera Ice Wines.  You could think of the Equifera wines as having multiple personalities as there are some many layers to them, you must try them.

Visually this Riesling ice-wine has a deep golden straw color that dances in your glass.  You are then greeted with the aroma of tropical fruit and a wonderful essence of stone fruit, and the nectar of honey.  On the mid-palate combine a wonderful tug of war between sweetness and acidity. The complexity of this wine is so deep that of the finish your palate is cleansed from the perfect acidity of the wine, but it does not end there.  The finish is an eternity of joyful bliss, just like a world class Sauterne you are left with the flavor of tart raisin.  This is one of the premier dessert or aperitif wines you will ever taste.

Week Two wine tasting:

The Equifera Vidal Ice Wine is every bit as complex as the Riesling, the Equifera Ice Wines are tantalizing.  The quality of Donald’s wines is exceptional.  The Vidal varietal is a hybrid of Trebbiano and Ugni Blanc grapes.  The Vidal varietal is hardy and more resistant to the extreme cold than the Riesling.

The Vidal that Donald and I tasted this week is fuller in body than the Riesling Ice-wine.  The nose of the Vidal is beautifully aromatic with tropical fruits of pineapple, mangos, lychee and then notes of grapefruit.  When this wine hits the palate it just explodes filling your mouth with lush texture that clings to sides of you mouth.  The Vidal, like the Riesling from Equifera is so well structured and balanced with acidity that it cleanses the palate on the finish, but not without a lingering memory of rich tropical fruit and honey. Truly incredible wines from Ziraldo.

View this Cocktail Mixology video with Equifer Ice Wine with Donald;www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeJV_arD8P4

I would like to thank Donald for taking time to share his Equifera Ice Wine with the WineGuyMike audience; it was a memorable experience for all.

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula features the wines I have tasted today.  Be sure to stop by the very best of beverage and see the Ice-wine I have selected for you.  Missoula’s premier wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet.

"from my table to yours"

Wines for Easter with WineGuyMike™ on KECI NBC Montana Today

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Current week’s Podcast  and full length conversation with the “Iceman” Donald Ziraldo http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/01/wine-guy-mike-for-april-1st/

Part Three; Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot tasting with Winemaster Randy Ullom and WineGuyMike; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/25/wine-guy-mike-for-march-25/

Part Two, Vintners Reserve Chardonnay and Riesling tasting with Randy and WineGuyMike; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/18/wine-guy-mike-for-march-18/

Part One Avant Chardonnay

 http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/11/wine-guy-mike-for-march-11/

NBC Montana Today Show TV with Easter wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

It’s Good Friday and Easter Sunday is coming quickly.  You may be having guests for dinner or you might be a guest for Easter dinner, in any case you need a great wine to serve or share.  Here are a few wine and main entre pairing suggestions for you.  Happy Easter from WineGuyMike, from my table to yours.

L’Ecole N° 41  2010 Chenin Blanc – Columbia Valley ($10.99)

This second generation, family-owned artisan winery located in the historic Frenchtown School depicted on our label.   Founded in 1983, they are the third oldest winery in the Walla Walla Valley.  As a traditional brick and mortar winery they grow and make 100% of their wine.  The focus is on terroir-driven, distinctive, and expressive wines.  All of L’Ecole’s Walla Walla Valley wines are made from grapes which are certified sustainable.

This fresh, tart and delightfully fruity Chenin Blanc shows Asian pear, perfumed honeysuckle and orange blossom aromas with flavors of apple, apricot, and grapefruit on a crisp mineral, lightly sweet finish.

L’Ecole Nº 41 has produced this old vine, Vouvray style Chenin Blanc since 1987. Jean Ferguson, L’Ecole Nº 41’s founding winemaker, loved this wine and crafted her version of Vouvray through cold fermentation to enhance the fruity and floral esters.  This wine offers great value.

Food pairing; Ham, Cornish Hens, white variety of fish, shellfish.

Kendall-Jackson Avant Chardonnay ($14.99)

The Avant Chardonnay is a beautifully crafted wine that is a great wine to start of the evening with.  There are three things that I share with you about the entire portfolio of Kendall-Jackson wines; the wines are made with finesse, the wines are elegant, and the wines are always consistent.

The Avant Chardonnay is pale yellow in the glass; it looks refreshing in your glass as it begs to be tasted.  It was fun to taste this new wine from Kendall-Jackson against the Vintners Reserve Chardonnay that has long been one of America’s favorite wines.

The Avant has only a slight nuance of oak, the fruit is bright on the nose and the palate.  What I found intriguing about this wine is that on the palate it was both light yet rich with fruit.  This wine has a perfect balance of fruit and acid, featuring mild tropical fruit of pineapple, tart apple, and my favorite Meyer lemon, the K-J Avant will pair nicely with shellfish, or any white variety of fish.  The K-J Avant really comes to life on the mid-palate as it is crisp, and delivers light fruit with nice gentle acidity.  The finish is delightfully crisp with subtle tropical fruit that lingers long, this is a very nice wine.

Food Pairing; Roast Chicken, Cornish Game Hen, white fish varieties, Salmon, shellfish

Equifera Ice Wine ($70.00)

The Equifera Ice Wines are grown and produced in Short Hills, a sub-appellation of the Niagara Peninsula.  The Equifera Estate Winery is the former home to champion race horses in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Equifera produces Riesling, Vidal, and red Cabernet Franc Ice-wines. This week WineGuyMike had the opportunity to talk with Donald about the beautiful Equifera Ice-wines, we tasted them too.

The award winning Equifera Ice Wine is a special occasion in a glass.  When I taste great wine it occurs to me that you can taste the personality on the person behind the wine.  This is true of the Equifera Ice Wine, perhaps the best of Donald Ziraldo’s entire body of work in the world of wine.

The first wine that Donald and I tasted was the Riesling Ice-wine.  The Equifera Ice Wines strike the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.  The Riesling is lighter in body and texture than the Equifera Vidal Ice Wine that Donald and I will taste next week on the show.  The structure and complexity of this magnificent ice-wine go hand-in-hand.  You would be hard pressed to find more complex wines in the world than the Equifera Ice Wines.  You could think of the Equifera wines as having multiple personalities as there are so many layers to them, you must try them.

Visually this Riesling ice-wine has a deep golden straw color that dances in your glass.  You are then greeted with the aroma of tropical fruit and a wonderful essence of stone fruit, and the nectar of honey.  On the mid-palate combine a wonderful tug of war between sweetness and acidity. The complexity of this wine is so deep that of the finish your palate is cleansed from the perfect acidity of the wine, but it does not end there.  The finish is an eternity of joyful bliss, just like a world class Sauterne you are left with the flavor of tart raisin.  This is one of the premier dessert or aperitif wines you will ever taste.

Food Pairings; Stilton or Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese, Baked goods, fresh fruit, Creme Brulee, it is also dessert in a glass and needs no accompaniment. 

Inniskillin Riesling Ice-wine ($70.00)

Riesling

One of the world’s greatest “noble” varieties, this cool weather grape with high acidy is a natural for the making of Icewine.  Classic Riesling qualities include elegant citrus flavors, ripe orchard fruit tones and a slight mineral edge.

Tasting Notes

This Riesling Icewine shows the elegance of tropical aromas and flavors of lemon and lime. The good acidity of Riesling allows for a refreshing mouth feel amid the many layers of flavors that unfold.

Food Pairing Suggestions

Great with lemon based desserts or tarts along with fresh fruit based desserts; rich cheeses accompanied by fresh or dried fruit or your favorite fruit compote. Delightful all on its own!

Icewine and Cheeses

The major difference between Icewine and other dessert wines is acidity.  While all dessert wines are sweet, only the best ones have balanced acidity as well.  This crucial element not only adds to the enjoyment of Icewine, but also to its natural compatibility with cheese.  Most of the cheese universe pairs brilliantly with Icewine because each cheese’s richness begs for that crucial acidity.  Cheeses are inherently savory and sometimes salty and when prepared with the honeyed sweetness of Icewine, it creates a lovely balance that makes for a perfect match.

Riesling based Icewine is renowned for its acidity and mineral notes.  Its vivid orange and citrus tones will combine with a rich range of creamy and decadent food textures and tastes, from foie gras to crème brulée.

2009 Russian River Pinot Noir ($28.99)

This dark, garnet colored Pinot Noir exhibits floral aromas of rose petals intertwined with spice components of ginger, dusty earth and a hint of vanilla. Fruit aromas of raspberry and cassis form the core of the wine, and in the mouth, create a long, delicious finish that can be tasted for several minutes.

The wine is showy with a seamless viscosity that is balanced with a healthy bit of tartness to keep the wine fresh and lively.  It’s full in the palate with fine, coco-powder like tannins and a nice dose of astringency that lend additional grip and structure to this wine.  Overall, the wine has struck the fine balance between delicate and structured, and will improve with bottle aging during the next five years (or more).

With the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, they ferment each lot of grapes separately in three to six ton batches.  They do not add commercial yeast to the tanks and instead rely on the natural yeasts found on the grapes and throughout the winery to ferment the juice.  This process tends to increase the length of the fermentation and add an additional layer of complexity to the finished wine.  During fermentation and barrel aging, they treat the new wine as gently as possible in an effort to preserve its aroma.

Food Pairings; Leaner beef roasts, ham, pork roasts, Salmon, roasted chicken, Lamb dishes.

Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot ($25.99)

All the wines that go into the Kendall-Jackson Bordeaux portfolio are treated with care and attention to detail; however, with Grand Reserve level fruit, they employ additional artisan techniques like hand sorting, small-batch fermentation and additional cold-soaking to coax the finest expression out of our fruit.

The wines are selected based on the potential they showed in the vineyard and during the final stages before draining off the skins. The wines are barrel-aged in French oak, usually seeing 35-40% new oak.  When the final selections are made the wines from each individual barrel are tasted to make sure it belongs in the blend. The result are fabulous Grand Reserve wines.

The Grand Reserve Merlot is rich with dark fruits of black plum, boysenberry and cherry.  The nose of this wine is beautifully subtle with notes of violet and rich dark fruit.  Silky tannins and nice firm structure greet your palate and the great balance of this wine makes it a superb food friendly wine. The palate delivers dark plum and berries followed with nice cherry.  The finish is an ever so subtle chocolate and cedar followed with a sense of light cleansing mineral, a real delight.

Food Pairings; Grilled meats, Beef roasts, Ham

2009 Viña Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.99)

Paul Hobbs has always been committed to crafting unfiltered and unfined wines and utilizing native yeasts in the fermenting process.  His commitment to winemaking technique results in exceptional wines that are well structured. Paul’s wines are a product of classic old world technique.

The Felino wines express great balance of pure, concentrated fruit that is lively with acidity and smooth, fine, tannins.  The Viña Cobos Felino label offers Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Chardonnay that is vibrant, lush, mouth-filling wine with beautiful texture that pairs exceptionally well with food.  Did I mention these wines sell for under $16.00.  These wines offer incredible value as many of Paul’s California wine offerings are far north of $100.00.

The 2009 Viña Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon is 88% cabernet sauvignon, 8 % syrah, 4% petit verdot.  The grapes get a 3 to 4 day cold soak; 15 to 18 days total maceration and are fermented with selected and native yeasts.  This wine receives second native malolactic fermentation in barrel for 5 months and is then aged 9 months in American and French oak barrels, 20% of these are new oak.

This is a big wine, 14.5% alcohol, yet very refined in a way that it has not been over manipulated.  A deep ruby hue paves the way for a nose that is ripe with aromas of saddle leather, subtle sweet tobacco, minerality, and earthiness. The palate is lush with a rich well rounded mouth-feel that is complex.  There is a great balance of dark fruit, black currant and boysenberry, mineral, sweet tobacco, and acid. This wine is both rich yet remains lively and well structured with perfect tannin.

Food Pairings; Lamb dishes, Beef Roasts(especially heavier marbled roasts), Prime Rib would be an exceptional pairing.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

To learn more about Kendall-Jackson and Equifera Ice wine you can visit http://www.corridormag.com/home/grapevine too read recent articles I’ve written on these topics and more.

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula features most of the wines I have shared today.  Missoula’s premier wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet.

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Donald Ziraldo the world authority of Ice-wines Part 1

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast  and full length conversation with the “Iceman” Donald Ziraldo http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/01/wine-guy-mike-for-april-1st/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Ice-wine is a wine of extremes. Donald Ziraldo who produces Equifera Icewine is a man of extreme passion.  This week on the WineGuyMike radio show I had the pleasure and opportunity to with Donald and learn about him, his life’s body of work, and the Ice-wine he is so passionate about.

Ice wine is a form of extreme winemaking that takes the excruciating circumstances of Mother Nature to an entirely new level.  Ice-wine or “liquid gold” as it is referred to by wine aficionados is a dessert, or aperitif wine.

The practice of making Eiswein in Germany dates back to the early 1700’s.  But it is in Canada where it has become a modern day art.  Canada is now recognized as the finest Ice-wine producing area in the world.  This is mainly due to the Herculean efforts of one man, Donald Ziraldo.

Ziraldo is known as the “Godfather” of Ice-wine throughout the world.  He is also readily acknowledged as the world’s foremost authority on Ice-wine’s.  Ziraldo is the son of Italian immigrants who settled in the Canadian province of Ontario.  This is just across from Lake Ontario, one of the best known wine regions in the United States, the Finger Lakes region.

Ice-wine is a winemaking style wherein grapes are naturally frozen on the vine, harvested during the middle of the night and pressed in the extreme cold to separate the juice from the ice crystals. 

If the freeze does not come soon enough, the entire crop can be lost to rotting and if the freeze is too severe, it can prevent any juice from being extracted when the grapes are pressed.  The results produce very special wines that express aromatic flavors of white and tropical fruits such as mango, peach, and lychee.

Donald Ziraldo has a long and storied history of producing fine quality wines with winemaker Karl Kaiser.  Ziraldo and Kaiser are the forefathers of Canadian Ice-wine, together they founded Inniskillin Winery.  The Ice-wines of Inniskillin put Canadian Ice-wine of the map of the wine scene internationally.  Inniskillin produced many internationally renowned wines.

In 2006 Ziraldo and Kaiser left Inniskillin, although Kaiser remains as an emeritus consultant to Inniskillin.  Ziraldo has a new wine project in the Equifera Ice winery. 

The Equifera Ice Wines are grown and produced in Short Hills, a sub-appellation of the Niagara Peninsula.  The Equifera Estate Winery is the former home to champion race horses in the 1950’s and 60’s.

 Equifera produces Riesling, Vidal, and red Cabernet Franc Ice-wines. This week WineGuyMike had the opportunity to talk with Donald about the beautiful Equifera Ice-wines, we tasted them too.

The award winning Equifera Ice Wine is a special occasion in a glass.  When I taste great wine it occurs to me that you can taste the personality on the person behind the wine.  This is true of the Equifera Ice Wine, perhaps the best of Donald Ziraldo’s entire body of work in the world of wine.

The first wine that Donald and I tasted was the Riesling Ice-wine.  The Equifera Ice Wines strike the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.  The Riesling is lighter in body and texture than the Equifera Vidal Ice Wine that Donald and I will taste next week on the show.  The structure and complexity of this magnificent ice-wine go hand-in-hand.  You would be hard pressed to find more complex wines in the world than the Equifera Ice Wines.  You could think of the Equifera wines as having multiple personalities as there are some many layers to them, you must try them.

Visually this Riesling ice-wine has a deep golden straw color that dances in your glass.  You are then greeted with the aroma of tropical fruit and a wonderful essence of stone fruit, and the nectar of honey.  On the mid-palate combine a wonderful tug of war between sweetness and acidity. The complexity of this wine is so deep that of the finish your palate is cleansed from the perfect acidity of the wine, but it does not end there.  The finish is an eternity of joyful bliss, just like a world class Sauterne you are left with the flavor of tart raisin.  This is one of the premier dessert or aperitif wines you will ever taste.

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula features the wines I have tasted today.  Be sure to stop by the very best of beverage and see the Ice-wine I have selected for you.  Missoula’s premier wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet.

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Tasting Wine Part Three with Kendall-Jackson Winemaster Randy Ullom

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast Part Three(Current Week), Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot tasting with Winemaster Randy Ullom and WineGuyMike; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/25/wine-guy-mike-for-march-25/

Part Two, Vintners Reserve Chardonnay and Riesling tasting with Randy and WineGuyMike; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/18/wine-guy-mike-for-march-18/

Part One Avant Chardonnay

 http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/11/wine-guy-mike-for-march-11/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Jess Jackson loved farming, this began for him as a child on his Grandfathers ranch in Colorado where he realized that a handful of dirt had a deep meaning for him.  This was especially true in Sonoma County, Jess’ favorite place in the world.  His intimate relationship with the land that he loved and grew grapes provided him a sixth sense for the terroir, or sense of place of this area. 

As a grape farmer Jess was one of the first to recognize and understand that vines are like mountain goats, in that they thrive on mountain tops, ridges, hillsides and benchlands.  This farming method is difficult but Jess knew growing grapes this way would produce the richest fruit exhibiting intense character and flavor. 

This week’s show wraps up a one month series on the WineGuymike radio show with Jackson family Wines and Kendall-Jackson.  The first week we had a conversation with, VP of Communications Jason Hunke, and he provided the audience with a rich overview of Jackson Family wines and Kendall-Jackson.

The last three weeks I have tasted a variety of wines from the Kendall-Jackson portfolio with KJ Winemaster Randy Ullom.  This week I welcomed Randy back for what is our last tasting and the grand finale of this one month series. During this month I have had the distinct privilege to become intimately acquainted with Kendall-Jackson and Jackson Family Wines.

This week Randy and I tasted two beautiful wines from the KJ portfolio, the Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Grand Reserve Merlot.  Kendall-Jackson has always been dedicated to three things: respect for the land, their wines and the best interests of the consumer.  Both of the Grand Reserve wines Randy and I tasted this week exemplify the three key points that Jess Jackson founded the Kendall-Jackson winery on.

Both the Cabernet and Merlot were perfect examples of just how different wines grown and produced in Sonoma and the Napa Valley are.  As I was thinking of a comparison that someone could relate to it occurred to me that the difference really was about mouthfeel.  Comparing wines from Sonoma and Napa is like wearing silk or corduroy; they are both soft and comfortable yet have a very different texture.  This holds true of the palate, Sonoma wines are full of finesse and elegance while wines from Napa are weightier, bolder, and present the palate with prominent texture.

Both appellations are outstanding, just different.  The Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve wines Randy and I taste today are both fantastic examples of premier wine from Sonoma County.  

Winemaster Randy Ullom  oversees the entire Kendall-Jackson portfolio of wines while and Winemaker Matt Smith is responsible for the Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and the Meritage or red blends.

The KJ Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a mountain Cab that is sourced primarily from the Estate vineyards in Sonoma County, the majority of which are grown at over 1100 feet.

All the wines that go into the Kendall-Jackson Bordeaux portfolio are treated with care and attention to detail; however, with Grand Reserve level fruit, they employ additional artisan techniques like hand sorting, small-batch fermentation and additional cold-soaking to coax the finest expression out of our fruit.

The wines are selected based on the potential they showed in the vineyard and during the final stages before draining off the skins. The wines are barrel-aged in French oak, usually seeing 35-40% new oak.  When the final selections are made the wines from each individual barrel are tasted to make sure it belongs in the blend. The result are fabulous Grand Reserve wines.

The Grand Reserve Cabernet has dense, bold tannins and ripe blackberry, blueberry, black cherry fruit and a hint of cassis.  On the nose the aroma of mocha and nutmeg adorns your glass. The finish is earthy with smoke, cedar, and notes of tobacco, a very nice touch that stays with the palate.

This wine is elegant and focused, typical of great KJ Sonoma County Cabernet.  The fruit from Sonoma County mountain, ridge and hillsides presents black plum, cherry, currant and chocolate flavors while fruit from the Napa County mountain and benchland vineyards complement the palate with boysenberry, cedar and violet notes.

The Grand Reserve Merlot is rich with dark fruits of black plum, boysenberry and cherry.  The nose of this wine is beautifully subtle with notes of violet and rich dark fruit.  Silky tannins and nice firm structure greet your palate and the great balance of this wine makes it a superb food friendly wine. The palate delivers dark plum and berries followed with nice cherry.  The finish is an ever so subtle chocolate and cedar followed with a sense of light cleansing mineral, a real delight.

It has been my sincere pleasure to host Jackson Family Wines and Kendall-Jackson this past month.  I would like to personally thank VP of Communications Jason Hunke, and Winemaster Randy Ullom for taking time to join the WineGuyMike audience and share Kendall-Jackson and their wines with with us.  Please take the opportunity to taste this wonderful portfolio of KJ wines, they are sure to please.

To learn more about Jess Jackson and the history of Jackson Family Wines and Kendall-Jackson you can visit http://www.corridormag.com/home/grapevine

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula features the wines I have tasted today.  Be sure to stop by the very best of beverage and see the Kendall-Jackson wines I have selected for you.  Missoula’s premier wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet.

"from my table to yours"