Author: Jenna Francisco

California Pinot Noir

Share: Pinot Noir has been increasing in popularity in the United States in recent years. But that popularity has resulted in many sub-par examples that don’t reflect what Pinot Noir truly is. Pinot Noir is an ancient grape that reflects a strong sense of place. A good Pinot should be complex, interesting, yet subtle, a graceful wine that demonstrates the best characteristics of the terroir. Fortunately, there are many California winemakers who are embracing the best qualities of Pinot Noir. They carefully tend special vineyards from places like the Santa Rita Hills and Anderson Valley and aim for quality and uniqueness...

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Luxurious Wines in Napa Valley: Classic Meets Modern at Hourglass Wines

Share: As one of the premiere wine destinations in the world, Napa Valley has no shortage of excellent wineries. Besides its place as a wine and culinary mecca, it’s first and foremost a land of incredible natural beauty. The valley that extends from the town of Napa in the south to Calistoga, the narrowest point at the north, enjoys a perfect combination of warm daytime temperatures and very cool, foggy nights thanks to the valley’s proximity to the Bay Area. Add to that Mediterranean climate the rich, diverse soils of Napa Valley, and it’s no surprise that you’d be hard pressed to find a bad bottle of wine coming out of Napa Valley. However, thanks to the sheer number of wineries in Napa Valley now, what can be a challenge here is knowing where to find wineries with history and heart. Hourglass Wines is one such winery—a winery that’s deeply connected to the place, both from its honoring of the terroir and the winery’s history in the area. But the winery is also forward-thinking—as you’ll see, innovation is just as important as terroir or history in helping Hourglass Wines become a respected producer of Cabernet Sauvignon and other classic Napa Valley wines. Jeff Smith, the proprietor and vintner of Hourglass Wines, came into these beautiful vineyards thanks to the determination of his father, Ned, who bought the original six-acre parcel in...

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In California, The Best of “America’s Grape”

Share: Every wine name makes us think of a place. Riesling? Germany. Albarino? Spain. Chianti? Tuscany. Zinfandel? California. In fact, Zinfandel has been called America’s grape, because it was long assumed that it was found only in the United States. Although DNA tests have confirmed that it is actually crljenak kastelanski, a Croatian grape, Zinfandel has thrived in the U.S. and is now one of California’s best known wines. Despite any association with the sweet white zins made popular in the late 1970s, Zinfandel grapes can create complex wines that any wine lover should take note of. In California, Zinfandel thrives in the warm, dry...

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Borra Vineyards: Daring to be different in Lodi, California

Share: Those in the know about California wine country have had their eyes on Lodi lately. Actually, Lodi used to be known as just a place where huge quantities of grapes were grown and sourced to wineries outside the region. Over the past 15 years or so, local wine growers have begun a winemaking revolution, using their collective history that stretches back to the 1850s and their natural wine growing strengths to produce “ultra-premium wines.” It’s in search of these quality wines that I find myself at Borra Vineyards on a recent summer morning. It’s dusty in the fields outside of...

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