Blind tasting #6: Sauvignon Blanc, CA, 10$ to 15$. And the winner is….


Special Guest:  Winemaker, Entrepreneur – Julien Fayard

Capture julienJulien Fayard gained his knowledge and defined his core winemaking style from working at grand Chateaux in France such as Lafite Rothschild and Smith Haut Laffite. In Napa Valley, he’s worked alongside renowned winemaker Philippe Melka. He has come to be a Napa Valley veteran after many years of working with some of the most highly acclaimed and sought after wines from the Napa Valley. His philosophy is to produce wines that express pure, terroir-driven specificities and characteristics. He believes that as a winemaker, one doesn’t control the wine but rather wine style is the result of a combination of soil, climate and vineyard management. Wine style is an elegant combined expression of the fruit, soil, vines and climate.

“As a winemaker, my job is to bring out the best qualities that the vines have provided. I don’t seek to make a style of wine but more so to make wine that sings of it’s place, it’s history and it’s uniqueness. That’s my goal as a winemaker, to make wines that are pure expressions of their environment and not mask it. Wines with an identity. “

Julien is an entrepreneur with an acute business savvy of the wine industry. He is completing his MBA from top ranking Davis University in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. He brings a dynamic background of quality wine production, business management, winery development and infrastructure.

Retailers: All wines were bought at Bev Mo (Santa Rosa).

Posted in Origin > California, Price > $10 to $15, Varietal > Sauvignon Blanc, Vintage > 2011 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Blind tasting #5: Pinot Grigio $10 to $15 from BevMo and TJ’s.


Special Guest:  Wine Writer; Certified Specialist in Wine – Len Napolitano

Capture lenLen Napolitano is immersed in wine as author, wine columnist, oak specialist, and general manager for a boutique, luxury-wine producer. He has visited the classic wine regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Tuscany, Italy, and regularly tours wine regions in California, Oregon and Washington, gathering wine intelligence that he shares with readers. The blog for his book, Nose, Legs, Body! Know Wine Like The Back of your Hand (release May 2013) is

“Wineology: Intelligence For The Wine Consumer,” was Len’s weekly wine column in Southern California’s Ventura County Star daily newspaper from 2001 to 2011, and since 2002 it has been a weekly feature in Wine Country This Week magazine, a visitor’s guide to California’s Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, and adjacent wine regions. Len served as Wine Editor for Wine and Jazz magazine from 2008 to 2011, and from 2003-2010, he appeared on Fine Living Television network giving concise advice on essential wine subjects like storage, decanting, and serving temperatures.

Retailers: All wines were bought at Bev Mo (Paso Robles), except “Estancia” and “Mc Murray Ranch” which were purchased at Trader Joe’s (Paso Robles).

Posted in Origin > California, Price > $10 to $15, Varietal > Pinot Grigio, Vintage > 2011 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Blind tasting #4: Bordeaux anyone?


Special Guest: International Wine Sourcing, Acquisition & Appraisal – Gence Alton

gence CaptureGence Alton is an established educator and writer with a Masters Degree in Hospitality Management, a Diploma in Wine & Spirits from the WSET and is a Master of Wine candidate. He has over a decade of experience in the fine wine business. As a retail buyer; his expertise in international marketing and procurement earned him a reputation as a deeply knowledgeable and savvy sourcing authority. Over the years he has consulted for wine businesses and private cellars, managed live and internet auctions, tasted, appraised and acquired large quantities of collectible wine. A negotiator and hedonist by nature, Gence has an unusually broad appreciation of all wine regions of the world, with an unbiased and independent palate, favoring balance, finesse and complexity over immensity, intensity and homogeneity. Currently he works for, the premier Internet auction of fine and rare wines.

Retailers: All wines were bought at Trader Joe’s (Santa Rosa), except “Baron des Chartrons” and “Ch. Le Grand Verdus” which were purchased at Bottle Barn (Santa Rosa), 

Posted in Origin > Bordeaux, Price > $5 to $10, Varietal > Blend, Vintage > 2010 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blind tasting #3: Let’s give a look at the Pinot Noir from CA


Special Guest: Winemaker & Consultant Rob McNeill

rob captureRob McNeill is a UC Davis Enology graduate and resides in Healdsburg. Rob has been a winemaker for over 30 years. His major experience relies in sparkling wine involving the North bay counties of Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino (Mumm Napa, Piper Sonoma, and Scharffenberger). Other winemaking experience includes still wine primarily Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris. Experience in Alambic brandy production via Remy Martin’s RMS distillery.

Retailers: All the wines were purchased at Safeway (Santa Rosa, CA).

Posted in Origin > California, Price > $10 to $15, Varietal > Pinot Noir, Vintage > 2011 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Blind tasting #2: Chards, here we come!

winners chard 2011 10 to 15

Special Guest: Winemaker Tony Leonardini –

tony captureTony has built a solid reputation as a winemaker and works with various vineyards to source grapes and then craft his wines. Tony grew up in and worked his way through the industry. His first job was breaking down boxes for a nickel a piece in his family’s San Francisco wine shop. At his family’s winery just north of Oakville, Calif., Tony worked and learned the process from the crush to the bottling line. He made his first bottle of wine in 2000, and his first commercial wine in 2005 — one barrel of Cabernet made with grapes sourced from his backyard. A year later, Tony produced the noteworthy Volunteer Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, named for his other role as a St. Helena volunteer firefighter. Tony’s latest success story is Butternut Chardonnay.

Retailers: All the wines were purchased at Safeway (Santa Rosa, CA).

Posted in Origin > California, Price > $10 to $15, Varietal > Chardonnay, Vintage > 2011 | Leave a comment

Blind tasting #1: How about some cabs?

winners cab 2010 10 to 15

Retailers: All the wines were purchased at Raley’s (Stockton, CA).

Posted in Origin > California, Price > $10 to $15, Varietal > Cabernet Sauvignon, Vintage > 2010 | Leave a comment