The Changing Face of California

In light of an article that came out in the New York Times Sunday Magazine several weeks ago, I think it’s worth mentioning what is going on in California right now. If you have a few minutes, and want to … Continue reading

A Pinot for Him & Her

Wanted to share a find that I encountered this week which is such a versatile & delicious wine – MacPhail Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, 2012. Even being the Pinot-crazy girl that I am, the breadth of ways this grape changes from region to region is still so mind boggling!

DSC00187While this wine comes in a little more expensive that I typically post, at $40, if you’re planning to splurge for Valentine’s Day, this will not disappoint. It’s a BIG expression of Pinot – fruit forward with lots of cherry & raspberry, with a big juicy mouthfeel. The finish is just right on the palate, with some clear tannin, but an even acid balance to keep you going back for more.

On trend with many new-world producers, there’s full disclosure on tCA Wine Maphe back label, and on the website even more – including everything down to the clones of Pinot Noir used in production. A clone is essentially a cut from a vine with specific qualities, that is re-propogated – i.e. good tolerance to cold, or ability to thrive in specific soil types. The specific sites of the vineyards are also given (it’s a blend of 8 different sites). Here’s a basic map of the CA wine regions ->

By way of CA production, James MacPhail is working on a small scale, producing only 5,000 cases annually, as that’s all his permit allows – but he seems very content with that, and if the wines keep turning out like this, I am too.


This is a crowd pleasing wine, and while it’s totally drinkable alone, it will hold up again some hearty meals as well, and I’d even go so far as to say a tender cut of steak would be on point. But, whatever your Valentine’s Day has in store – wine is always welcome!



The Old & The New


This would not be my recommended time of the year to go visit Boston, but who am I to be picky – sometimes you just need friends and family by your side, and I’m so lucky I’ve got great ones!

Despite the negative temperatures, I took a visit to one of Boston’s landmark restaurants, Oak Long Bar & Kitchen (formerly the historic Oak Room), and one that I hold especially close to my heart. Following the theme of comfort, we went for a wine that’s been a staple of mine over the past few years, Au Bon Climat, “La Bauge Au-Dessus”, Pinot Noir, 2008. Winemaker Jim Clendenen has been making Burgundy-style Pinots and Chardonnays in southern California since the ’70’s, when this style was NOT in style. It’s a gentle wine, with prominent cherry flavors, but also hints of forest and earth that make it so interesting. For your non-wine-o friends who maybe don’t love the same, ‘funky’ flavors in wines like you, the ABC has enough fruit flavors to keep them happy too. You can find his wines all over lately: from the retail shelves (this one run at about $20), to private labels for Daniel and Jean Luc le Du.


For a side-note DSC00118of novelty: check out the closure on this Leese-Fitch Pinot Noir (2012). A plastic plug, with a pull tab that unwinds around the top until it is able to be easily removed. For a wine that retails at about $10, this is great! You can use it to re-seal the wine as you would a cork (albeit not quite as securely), and since these wines are not meant for aging, I’d rather this to the overly-synthetic corks that are terrible to remove and can almost never be replaced into the bottle. As for the wine, it’s totally drinkable – a light-bodied Pinot with a bit of welcome DSC00119complexity. No stunner, but for the price, I’d buy it again!