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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"Dreams Do Come True"....Italics Winery

In an effort to dine at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants(800 and counting) and visit all 600 Napa wineries (300 and counting),my wife Linda and I recently had the pleasure of visiting Italics Winery. Our wine and food associate from Michigan Karen Halip joined us for this special Napa  wine experience.,

The winery is currently under construction proving "Dreams Do Come True." Our hosts managing partner Andy Wilcox and his wife Paige are involved in every detail of this project and exhibit an abundance of  joy and passionate energy. 

Located on 73 acres of pristine beauty in Coombsville, this labor of love will officially open Spring of 2016. It will have an elaborate tasting room, 17,000 square of caves and a large house overlooking the pastoral and  peaceful property. The 7000 square foot house proudly sits on the top of the property and features  360 degree  heavenly like views, 5 bedrooms, a state of the art kitchen and high tech meeting room. It is perfect place to entertain wine club guests or corporate executives looking for a special place to escape from the rigors of business and recharge their batteries. 

Our tasting began with Andy showing us a movie about their wine "dream" with the main characters being long time friend and winemaker Steve Reynolds, Andy and Texas investor and partner Mike Martin. 

While watching this movie we enjoyed a 2013 White Blend of 60%  Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Chardonnay that was brilliantly blended. From the tasting notes, " the wines rich mouth-feel vibrates with tart green apple, caramel and smoked almonds finishing with wet stones and flint."  It sells for $55.00. 

We then sampled the 2011 Fifteen Appellations. It is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petite Verdot. It is their proprietary blend of vino from 15 of the most famous vineyards in Napa. It retails for 95.00 and per the tasting notes "silky and inviting entry introduces cocoa and dark red fruit that keeps the wine open for youthful pleasure from start to finish. "

After enjoying these wines, we went to do some barrel tasting with winemaker Steve Reynolds.  

We enjoyed some Rose and Cabernet Franc from their French Oak barrels that were both very unique and very fun to explore in their pure and young state. 

We then drove to their massive wine caves, under construction but nearly completed. that will store the Italics great wines and also have a tasting area that will be elegantly appointed. 

The grand finale was a taste of the 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon that is 99% cab and 1% Cabernet Franc.  We loved this wine and  we took some home with us along with a bottle of their white blend. It retails for $125 and per the tasting notes" the first vintage of our Estate Cabernet offers aromas of plum, black currant and pomegranate which giveaway to black licorice and cocoa powder. It can stand alone but will stand up to the most robust meals."

When officially opened, this winery is sure to be a "must do" for people who enjoy great juice, pure beauty and excellent attention to detail. We enjoyed the wines so much that we also joined their wine club so we could be a part of their "Dream Come True." 


Sunday, January 17, 2016

"Family Owned Hidden Gem In The Napa Hills Near Yountville"

In an effort to to dine at all 3000 SF restaurants(700 and counting) and all 600 Napa wineries(300 and counting), my wife Linda and I recently visited Keever Vineyards and Winery located in the majestic hills of Yountville.

Our trips to Napa usually begin at Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery in downtown Yountville. This bakery is a heavenly experience of sugar delights that is well worth waiting in line. The pecan rolls are my favorite and large enough to share on their outside picnic tables with a cup of their fresh brewed coffee in the movie like setting of charming downtown Yountville. Linda's favorite is the Quiche.  She claims it is the best she has ever had and not to be missed.  They also have an assortment of freshly made macaroons, muffins and special sandwiches to take with you to enjoy as you visit the many world famous Napa wineries nearby. 

Keever Vineyards is located on the top of a winding road that makes you feel very special as you drive thru the gates. Their tastings are by appointment only. 

Our host was Olga Keever, wife of Bill, who own the winery. After both retiring from successful careers in telecommunications, their dreams came true finding this hidden gem property that keeps them very busy. As they say with satisfying smiles, "we are not retired but just happily tired proudly producing some world class wines for the world to enjoy."

Today we had Karen Halip joined us who is an associate foodie from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. 

We began our tasting overlooking the green hills of Napa with the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc. It was refreshing and the flavor spectrum has enough base notes of toast and vanilla that could pair with an array of entrees. Linda told Olga "This is the best Sauvignon Blanc I have ever tasted." It is priced at $32.00.

Next was the 2011 Keever "Inspirado." It is a Bordeaux inspired blend of 51% Cabernet, 25% Merlot, 12% Petite Verdot, and 12% Cabernet Franc. As the name suggests, Winemaker Celia Welch has created a balanced and elegant wine that definitely will inspire your wine tasting experiences .It is priced at $68.00.

Finally, we tasted the newly released dynamite 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon composed of 93.5% Cabernet, 4.5% Malbec, and 2% Cabernet Franc.  The 2012 was rated 95 by Wine Spectator and this vintage promises to be rated the same or higher. It will sell for $135.00.  All 3 wines were so good that we took one of each back home to Danville with us. 

For lunch there are a lot of great choices in Yountville.  You also can't go wrong with the Ruththerford Grille's famous corn bread, knife and fork ribs or enchilada served with a fresh egg on top. They also have no corking fee so you can bring a bottle of your wine that you just tasted for lunch or dinner. 

 For more information and to schedule a wine tasting go to: