Friday, February 17, 2012

Livermore Valley Wine Visits

One of my favorite wineries in the Livermore Valley is McGrail Vineyards.  We first visited McGrail three years ago not long after they had opened to the public.  Well, McGrail has come a long way.

Their 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was named Red Wine Sweepstakes winner at the San Francisco Chronicle 2012 wine competition.  This means that all 65 judges agreed that this was the best red wine of the year.  This is the largest wine competition of American wines in the world with over 5,500 entrants and McGrail is the first Livermore winery to receive this prestigious award.

We scored two bottles of that 2008 Cabernet.  Go to if you want to order this wine.  I'm sure that they're getting low on their inventory, so hurry!!!

While in Livermore we returned to another favorite winery, actually two, both owned by Steven Mirassou (you probably know that name).  The two are side by side, La Rochelle, featuring Pinot Noirs, and Steven Kent winery featuring Cabernet Sauvignon.  All the wines at both tasting rooms are excellent and reasonably priced.  All wines were $50 or less with one exception, a $60 Cabernet.

Our hosts, Jeff and Jordan were full of information and very helpful with our questions.  And, they were lots of fun which is always an asset.

"Tom da Wine Guy"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Paraduxx Redux: Or...lots of X's

We visited Napa Valley for a couple of days and as many of you who read my posts know, I am a big fan of Paraduxx Winery, one of the Duckhorn wineries.  Paraduxx is the one winery we always visit when in Napa.  Why, you might ask?

Because we love the wines, the people working there, and the ambience.  All the people are wonderful and we meet someone new on each visit who really helps to make our visit special.  This time it was Sterling.  He was very knowledgable and very friendly.  We had fun and laughed a lot like this HAHAHAHAHA!  It was a very fun time.

The Paraduxx Assistant Manager, Angela, is unique and I credit much of what we experience in the tasting room to her influence.  She's warm, has a great smile and will make you feel special.  When you visit, be sure to ask for Angela and tell her that Tom da Wine Guy sent you.  You'll be glad you did.

Oh, we even drank some wine.  You may recall that Paraduxx specializes in red blends but also offers a few white blends.  We tasted one white and five red blends.  The Paraduxx winemaker, David Marchesi does a fabulous job and I like his palette. Truthfully, I don't know if I've ever tasted a wine of theirs that I didn't like.  Obviously, there are some that I find preferable, but they're all very fine wines.

(1)  2010 V Blend:  A blend of 60% Viognier and 40% Chardonnay.  Just a hint of sweetness.

(2)  2007 Paraduxx Napa Red Blend:  72% Zin, 18% Cabernet, 9% Merlot, 1% Cab Franc.  Smooth entry with a long finish and temperate tannins.

(3)  2008 Paraduxx Napa Red Wine Blend:  68% Zin, 24% Cabernet, 7% Merlot, 1% Cab Franc.   Another smooth wine with light tannins.

(4)  2009 Z Blend:  Another red blend with 62% Zin, 31% Cabernet, and 7% Merlot.  Fruit-forward with soft, elegant tannins.

(5)  2009 Howell Mountain Napa Valley:  A red blend of 72% Zinfandel and 28% Cabernet.  An excellent blend with more mouth-feel and slightly heavier tannins.

(6)  2008 Canvasback Napa Valley Red Wine:  A blend of 63% Syrah, 35% Grenache, 1% Carignane, and 1% Cabernet.  At the end of the day, this blend was our favorite but truly, I would have been happy with any of the red blends.  We left with a bottle of the Canvasback to add to our collection of Duckhorn wines in the cooler.

So, get thee to Paraduxx at:   7257 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA  94558.  (707) 945-0890.  

Have a great time there!!!

"Tom da Wine Guy"