Treasure Island Wines - 2016 Pinot Noir, Bennett Valley

Wed, 02/17/2021 - 07:00 -- johnk

Treasure Island Wines 2016 Pinot Noir, Bennett Valley

I really love the versatility of this wine grape. While all wines take on the terroir and just about everything in the winemaking process, Pinot Noir seems to provide a wide spectrum of flavors. From bright red cherry, cherry pie filling to earthy forest floor are very characteristic experience on the palate and at the nose. This makes a Pinot Noir one of my go to wines when dinning out with friends that are not big red wine drinkers but want to enjoy a glass with their meal but are not sure what to order. Treasure Island Wines is at the forefront of San Francisco's urban winery movement; a home for wineries and tasting rooms offering something for almost every wine aficionados' interest. This wide variety makes the Island a perfect place for Bay Area residents to take daytime wine tours at a location much closer to home than Sonoma or Napa. Among those pouring their wines for visitor is Treasure Island Winery.

Treasure Island Wines was founded in 2007 and is the first operational urban winery and tasting room on the former US Naval Base right in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Jim Mirowski winemaker and owner has full-filled his goal to create a place where skilled winemakers craft small batch artisan wines. 2016 Bennett Valley Pinot Noir is a wonderful Burgundian style Pinot with cherry, some vanilla and smooth finish. Good now or for aging.

Fäsi Estate Winery’s 2013 Malbec Reserva Review

Tue, 02/09/2021 - 10:00 -- johnk

Fäsi Estate Winery’s 2013 Malbec Reserva
While this wine actually does come for a vineyard that Ralph P. Fäsi is a partner with Argentina winemaker Karim Mussi. The vineyard is in the Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina. Ralph Fäsi does have a winery and vineyard here in California where some excellent Syrah wines are being produced.  More about that as we go on but let’s focus on our 2013 Fäsi Argentina Malbec.


This 2013 cellaring suggest that this wine would age well for up to 7 years, or 2020. Well, we are just into 2021 as we review this wine, and it has held up well. On the nose there is ripe plum, fig, red fruit, and a hint of cola about mid-palate. Earlier when I tasted this same vintage, I noticed plum and mocha, cocoa. This wine is still rich, creamy with a slightly chocolatey berry flavor. While the flavors are not a distinct as when I enjoyed this wine a couple of years ago, take your time with your glass of this Malbec Reserva and you will enjoy the syrupy-like feel, with just enough acid support to compliment the ripe fig and dark fruit. A beautiful blend of red fruits and lush supple tannins.

When pairing this wine, it would be difficult to go wrong with BBQ Meats, stews, grilled asparagus, and pasta dishes.

A bit of history for some of the folks that make up Fäsi Estate Winery

Toca Madera Winery - 2016 Malbec

Tue, 02/02/2021 - 15:24 -- johnk

Toca Madera Winery - 2016 Malbec review

Originally from the Bordeaux region of France, Malbec has most of its planting in Argentina, in the Mendoza region in 2011 represented 86% of all the Malbec plantings in Argentina.  In the United States, the majority of Malbec is planted in California, which in 2011 accounted for 84% of the Malbec plantings in the entire country, even though 84% of the Malbec plantings are in California, only 0.5% of all red grape plantings in California are Malbec.  In order words, while California has most of the Malbec in the United States, they have extraordinarily little compared to more “traditional” red varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.

If Malbec is one of those wines people hear about, but often don’t take the opportunity to try… now is the time! This grape used to be mainly blended into Bordeaux blends, but now wine lovers are enjoying Malbec as its own varietal. If you’re just now becoming familiar with Malbec, it is good to know the difference between a North America Malbec and a South American Malbec. As Malbec is not widely planted in the United States, and again you will find the majority of the plantings in California. 

One of the most well-known and largest wine regions in South America is Argentina, specifically the Mendoza region, which produces mainly Malbec grapes. While both California and Argentina have regions with the perfect climate for growing these dark-skinned grapes, which love warm days and cool nights, there are distinct differences between the wines from each region. For example:

California Malbec Wines

Idle Hour Winery - 2016 Tannat

Wed, 01/27/2021 - 07:00 -- johnk

    Idle Hour WInery - 2016 Tannat


Tannat is a favorite variety of winemaker Anna Marie Dos Remedios, who has sourced it from Heringer for several years now.  The familiarity shows, with a gentle coaxing of full expression evident.  Bright blackberry and spiced plum flood the nose and the mouth, with notes of cedar chest and vanilla adding interest.  Delicious!  

A Platinum Award Winner at the 2018 Monterey International Wine Competition.  

The Tannat grape finds its main home in the Southwest France. There, it is used to make full-bodied, rustic and brambly reds, according to our Tannat Wine Reviews. Over the last several decades, Tannat has broadened its horizons and is now grown and vinified in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Peru, Uruguay, and the United States. In fact, it has become the most prominent and widely grown varietal in Uruguay and is used in every style from fortified reds to sweet rosés. However, in examining our Tannat Wine Ratings, it is the dry red wine style of Tannat that is held in the highest regard. Depending on where the wine is made and the amount of oak aging.

Idle Hour Winery's 2016 Tannat

This is a beautiful full-bodied red with delightful blackberry and dark plumb on the nose and the palate. The Tannat has gripping tannin, beautiful blackberry, dried fruit, black plum, and dark chocolate. This is wonderfully structured wine and it would pair well with dishes with high protein and rich in fat.

About Idle Hour Winery

Treasure Island Winery 2016 Petite Sirah - Amador County

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 08:00 -- johnk

Treasure Island Winery 2016 Petite Sirah - Amador County


Treaure Island Wines Petite Sirah – Perhaps we could start by saying this is no obscure little wine grape. In California Petite Sirah is the sixth most widely planted red wine grape in the state. Last I checked there were more than 12,000 acres of Petite Sirah planted in California. Perhaps you are like me in that a lot of the time, the wines produced as a varietal of this grape are often too dense, too chewy, just too, too! Yes, this grape can produce some monster wines that are liable to leave your mouth parched and your teeth colorfully stained. 

Okay, so if that’s how you feel why write about another Petite Sirah. Well for one thing, I love earthy red wines. Second there are some winemakers that are interpreting the grape variety in a way that emphasizes finesse and grace over towering power of a wine — showing that there’s really is a reason to get excited about Petite Sirah after all.

Central Coast Wines - Toucan Wines 2011 Carignane – Evangelho Vineyard

Tue, 01/05/2021 - 10:45 -- johnk

Toucan Wines 2011 Carignane – Evangelho Vineyard
This wine comes from the fruit of Evangelho Vineyard and the vines were planted in1890. In the glass you detect a dark garnet with medium viscosity with plum, red fruit (cranberry), cocoa powder, earth, and bramble on the nose. On the palate you detect much of what you detect on the bouquet along with spice, subtle complexity, and very pleasant oak integration. A nice medium finish, well balanced, nice layering of complex flavors. One might be pleasantly surprised at the alcohol content in that it does not taste as high as it is. This is a very food friendly wine.

Toucan Wines was a husband and wife run micro-winery and 3½ acre vineyard producing hand-crafted estate grown Zinfandel and Petite Sirah wines with a total limited estate production of about 300 cases. Toucan Wines 2011 Carignane – Evangelho Vineyard was next to the last bottling of this wine. Only 238 cases of Toucan Wines 2011 Carignane were produced. The wine was bottled late July 2013. 


Wine Facts: Harvest was September 28th, 2011/Bottled July 20-25, 2013 / Alcohol 15.8 

Jose Wine Caves 2012 Estate Aglianico

Tue, 12/29/2020 - 16:50 -- johnk

Jose Wine Caves 2012 Estate Aglianico wine review

Aglianico “alli-yawn-nico” is a black grape well known in the southern regions of Italy. This wine grape is considered with Sangiovese and Nebbiolo to be one of the three greatest Italian varieties. Aglianico produces a highly refined, complex wines that are among those considered famous in Italy. A full-bodied red wine young Aglianico wines are known for strikingly savory flavors of leather, white pepper, and dark fruits. If you are patient and allow the wine to age it develops soft aromas of dried figs and sun-tanned leather and a dusty or earthiness. 

Is Aglianico worthy of cellaring for a few years?
Yes, easily age worthy for 10 to 20 years.
I remember the saying that was popular years ago from Paul Mason Winery; “we serve no wine before it’s time.”  You will find that patience is a virtue when it comes to this full-bodied, high tannin and the acidity of this wine. A good Aglianico really doesn’t start to come into their best until it has aged for 10 years or so. It is then, with time, that the firm tannins and concentrated acidity begin to reveal lush layers of the fruit sweetening, dried floral bouquet with a spicy smokiness and dusty savory flavors really become apparent.

California Central Coast Wines - De Tierra 2017 Red Wine

Sat, 12/12/2020 - 11:00 -- johnk

California's Central Coast produces some delightful wines. This post and video will be focusing on a wonderful red wine,           

De Tierra Vineyards 2017 Five by Five Red Blend – 
In the glass and to the eye - a deep burgandy in color. A deep, vivid ruby color nearly perfectly diffuse from its core to a slightly lighter rim.

Central Coast Wine Review - Toucan Wines 2010 Carignane, Evangelho Vineyards

Sun, 11/15/2020 - 11:00 -- johnk

Toucan Wines 2010 Carignane – Evangelho Vineyard, Contra Costa County, CA

Carignane also spelled Carignan is a black-skinned wine grape variety commonly found along the Mediterranean cost primarily in Northern Spain and in France. This grape is commonly used in blending with the more well-known Grenache, Syrah, or Mourvèdre to produce some delightful wines. However, some wonderful Carignane wine grapes grow in the Evangelho Vineyard located in Contra Costa County here in California and is the last, and only vineyard in Antioch.  There are other dry-farmed, ancient vineyards throughout the country. However, this remaining vineyard offers a special piece of Antioch history with its vines were planted in 1890 and still feeds into the current wine-making industry in California.  

Coffees Are Like Fine Wines

Fri, 11/06/2020 - 14:00 -- johnk

100% Kona CoffeeCoffees like fine wine? Well let's see how can we compare a caffinated beverage to wine. Let's consider how today's Coffees are similar or like fine wines. My wife and I have belonged to several coffee clubs over the years. Still it really wasn’t until we traveled together and through parts of Costa Rica with some dear friends before I can say I started genuinely appreciating fine coffee. Oh, I had been enjoying some good coffees, but a coffee tour while visiting this beautiful country with a good friends of ours got that call Costa Rica home me looking a bit more seriously at coffee. 

I realize I am probably not the first to compare fine coffees with fine wines. Coffee that delightful brew as I knew it, is more than just the warm caffeinated beverage, to enjoy every morning. Oh, believe me, I look forward to a nice warm cup each morning. Likely you already know coffee beans, are really the seeds from the fruit of the coffee plant. Coffee plants much like wine varietals and vines themselves, are significantly affected by where they are grown and the conditions soil where they are grown. Have you heard the saying; “you are what you eat?” Well the same goes for a lot of living things. Wines and coffees certainly share similarities as to the terroir from which they came. 

The Terroir – 


Subscribe to RSS - blogs