Live red wine tasting – part 2!

If you missed part 1 of my recap of “Live wine tasting” at the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference in Lodi, California – get caught up: click here.

Let’s dive right in! Again, up to 12 wineries make their way around a room full of a 300+ wine bloggers. In under 5 minutes – they talk and pour and we taste and tweet!

Here are the wines I tasted and discovered in no particular order…


Processed with MOLDIV

Oak Ridge Winery – Lodi, California

Moss Roxx Ancient Vine Reserve Zinfandel – from 105 year old vines, 85% Zinfandel with just a touch of Merlot.

Wow. It was big, bold and beautiful.

as they say “expression of Lodi’s signature terroir”

Ehlers Estate Winery – Napa Valley, California

Bordeaux Blend is their flagship wine with 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot.

Organic and bio-dynamic winery, tannins were nicely balanced on this big, rich, slightly spiced wine.

Troon Vineyard –  Grants Pass, Southern Oregon

Newly released 2014 Malbec from the Rogue Valley. Not your Argentinian or Cahors, France style at all! Very floral with lots of acidity to balance the black fruits. Just 200 cases made. They also practice natural winemaking with minimal impact.


The Federalist Winery – Lodi, California

This 2014 Zinfandel is a salute to the first president of the USA George Washington. Dense, smooth and dry with a baking spice and dried cherries and blueberries. Cozy up and enjoy this one!

Windrun Wines – Santa Barbara County, California

From the Santa Rita hills this 2014 Pinot Noir was oaked with dirty tannins and big at 14.3% alc. and could stand to be cellared for a while yet! Think blackberry with some smoke and earthy minerality. Really nice!

Corner 103 – Sonoma County, California

2012 Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley

Smooth with balanced acidity, dried stewed fruits like cherries with a hint of chocolate. Quite lovely.


Prie Winery – Lodi, California

2012 Reserve Zinfandel from 100 yr old vines and a single vineyard

Balanced, smooth, notes of sherried cherries. 900 cases made.

This was a WOW wine. This is what Lodi is recognized for!

Trine Vineyards & Winery  – Sonoma County, California

2012 Henry’s Blend – a Bordeaux blend of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 13% Petit Verdot, 13% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec. Notes of green pepper, black liquorice, lingering cigar and cedar with dusty tannins. I love, love, love the note of cigar (sweet or bold) in a wine.

Peirano Estate Winery – Lodi, California

2013 “The Immortal Zin” Old Vine Zinfandel – notes of red fruits, currant jam, spring leaves and earthy undertones.

Soooooo smooth. Hand picked from 100-year-old vines.

I’ll admit, after tasting so many BIG red wines, all you crave is a cold beer! But, it was so wonderful to taste ancient vine Zinfandel to smokey Pinot, Bordeaux blends and a Malbec! Where ever you are in the world, I hope you see some of these wines at your favourite wine store, if not, it’s time to start planning your next wine trip! For more info. about the Lodi Wine Region: click here

Three beautiful Californian reds

Recently I had a chance to try 3 very cool wines from two small family wineries in California. There are some very cool wines coming out of Cali, that are not the typical Cabernet Sauvignon, etc. If you ever get to stop in at the winery – I am sure you’ll enjoy these wines too!

2013 Devil Proof 

Devil Proof Vineyards

100% Malbec from Alexander Valley

approx. $85 usd

IMG_2481A Cuban connection – “Devil Proof” is a common saying in Cuba

Made by a young winemaker by the name of Jesse Katz. He is one of many who are being bold and testing the boundaries for what this area is known for.  And just recently Parker rated this the best Malbec in California!

Super soft on the nose, slightly dirty plums and some bright berries, solid acidity and strength with some spice, slight garrigue, minerals and a little dust on the tannins, and concentrated.

Aperture Wines (grapes label)

Aperture Winery

95 % Cabernet Sauvignon / 5 % Malbec

approx. $50 usd


Made by Jesse Katz in collaboration with his dad Andy Katz. Super soft tannins for a Cab dominant wine, some grip on the acid and tannin, slight hint of green pepper, a little heat, but opens nicely with a hint of tobacco notes. Jesse’s wines were noticed by Justin Timberlake, who poured the Aperture at his wedding to Jessica Biel.


Aperture Wines (burning barrels label)

60% Merlot / 40% Cabernet Franc

Right Bank Bordeaux style wine

approx. $50 usd


Personality plus on the nose,  fruits jump out of the glass, perfumed and juicy, leafy, smooth, think of an oreo cookie – Merlot is in the middle and Cab Franc is the chocolate cookie, hints of mocha, liquorice. Well balanced, medium plus in body.

made by Jesse’s dad Andy Katz

all the wines see approx 12 months in new oak to allow the personality of the grapes to show


Check out these wineries and see why you should keep a close eye on their winemaker and wines!