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Jeff’s Corner 5-24-18

Hey, Hey, Hey, Today is Mosaic Day!!!

It’s been several vintages now that Mosaic has been my favorite GCV wine, so much so that it’s gotten to the point that I’ve been trying to trade my Serendipity and Bellissimo to other staff members for their Mosaic.  This is kind of like trading a Micky Mantle rookie card for a Hank Aaron, it really come down to whose your favorite because they are all great players.

All our proprietary wines have really cool names, but once again Mosaic is my favorite.  (I wonder if that’s true with most of us, Is our favorite wine also our favorite moniker?)  So, before we take a look at the new 2016 Mosaic, let’s check out the word itself.

My dictionary defines Mosaic (a noun) as: 1) “a picture or pattern produced by arranging together small colored pieces of hard material, such as stone, tile, or glass” 2) “a colorful and variegated pattern” and 3) “a combination of diverse elements forming a more or less coherent whole”.  The latter two are a great way to think about this beautifully blended wine, and when Jason is crafting it he becomes  a “Mosaicist”.

The ’15 Mosaic was winner of numerous gold medals, and one of my all-time favorite GCV wines, but once I tasted the new ’16 it became easier to say goodbye.  A bit lighter in texture than the 2015, the ’16 is very elegant, showing lovely grace and finesse for a youthful wine.  It is once again a classic Bordeaux-style blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Petit Verdot.  The ABV is a ubiquitous 13.9%

The color is a well-extracted garnet/ruby with a vibrant rim and a rich intensity in the bowl that begs for further exploration.  There is indeed a complex mosaic of enticing aromas and flavors, with blackberry, black cherry, cassis, cinnamon, dark cocoa, and well-oiled leather weaving a delicate tapestry.

The palate is seamless from front to back, with lush fruit and spice complimenting  well-integrated sweet tannins and playful acidity.  There is a lovely round, creamy mouthfeel that contributes to a refined, lingering finish.  As nice as it is now, this will quickly gain depth and complexity with some time in the bottle.  Let’s go classic and serve this with tenderloin, asparagus, duchess potatoes, and Sauce Bearnaise.

We’ll see you soon for Viognier Day.

Jeff’s Corner 5-10-18

“Good Evening” as Mr. Hitchcock used to say.

Today we will talk about the infamous “Son of Syrah”, one of the darkest, scariest, mysterious, and secretive entities ever to stalk the wine bars of Lyon.  Known by many alias’ as his legend grew, his most common sobriquet in France is “Durif”, while in the United States he most often goes by “Petite Sirah”.

Spawned in the Rhone Valley of France in the commune of Tullins by Dr. Francios Durif in the 1860s, the bastard Petite was the result of some pollen from a Syrah vine having its way with the flowers of a Peloursin vine, a grape now close to extinction.  Like its name, it’s a small grape and features thick, dark-skinned fruit.

Well, guess what, all this leads us to our newly released 2016 Petite Sirah, which is a wonderfully brooding example of everything a truly great Petite Sirah should be.  The ABV is 13.4%, and it’s 100% Petite.

The color is an impenetrable dense purple with a dark, alluring edge.  It begs lots of intrigue, and reminds me of this from Macbeth:  “Stars, hide your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires.”

The ‘16 is a powerhouse of aromas and flavors.  Layers of blackberry, black plum, and cassis weave with vanilla, cinnamon, and cracked black pepper.  Hints of dark chocolate, violets, and espresso add even more complexity.

This beauty is just as rich and complex on the palate.  It’s an aggressive, young wine full of dark energy.  It’s loaded with backbone and structure from well-integrated acid and tannin that compliment the fruit and spice for a long, seductive finish.
I think we should try this with a dark and earthy chicken mole; sided with some roasted corn and red pepper slaw.  Oh, and maybe a rich blueberry flan for dessert.

Jeff’s Corner 5-4-18

Howdy, Howdy!

I’ve been trying for days to write about our new 2016 Petite Sirah (which is delish, by the way), but sometimes the sentences just don’t happen.  We’ll try again next week, but in the meantime let’s revisit some guidelines I wrote years ago about a simple approach to tasting wine.  People ask me all the time about this, so here we go:

First, some general guidelines for tasting:


We want a small amount of wine (about 2oz) in a large glass (up to 16 oz.). It should have a big bowl that narrows towards the rim. Also, don't rinse your glass unless going from red to white, and we should always rinse with a little of the next wine.  Wine and water don't get along.


Next, it's important to neutralize our sense of taste and smell. It's not a good idea to brush, gargle or eat sweet or acidic foods an hour before tasting. Also, perfume and cologne create havoc in all kinds of ways.

Now, the fun part! Let's look at the interaction of four sensual experiences when we taste wine: color, aroma, taste and finish.

First, Color:

We want to check out a wine's color against a white background, with the glass tilted towards its side. Each grape has its own hue, so we can't compare Pinot Noir with Cabernet Sauvignon. But, for the same varietal, the deepest, darkest color is a good indicator of the richest wine.

Next, Aroma:
It's important to swirl the wine in our glass to release the aromatics responsible for its wonderful aroma. Don't be shy about sticking your nose down in the glass for 2 or 3 big sniffs. What do you smell? Fruit, oak, alcohol, acid? Is the aroma simple, or complex? Are you eager to taste it?

Third, Taste:

When we take the wine into our mouth, breathe through our nose so both senses come into play. Chew it up like mouthwash, so it assaults our entire palate. Here, balance is the key. Is the fruit, acid, tannin (if it's red) and sugar (if it's sweet) in harmony? Do you go "WOW", I want some more.

Finally, Finish:

A wine's finish is how long it lingers on our palate after we swallow. The longer we taste it, the more "full-bodied" it is. The "legs" on the glass when we swirl are a glimpse at its finish. The thicker and slower they move, the more the wine will coat our palate, and the more full-bodied it is.

So, here we have a pretty simple approach to wine tasting. It can be a lot more complicated, but the bottom line is what works for you. My message, as always, is don't make it too hard. It's supposed to be fun!!!!

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