Catching the Crush in the Napa Valley

I have been very lucky the last couple of trips to the Napa Valley. I was able to watch the harvest at two different vineyards in the Valley. I have also had the chance to see the sorting and crushing of grapes and the tanks filled with the delightful smell of fermenting grapes. To me it is the most exciting time to be in wine country. The harvest has been a couple of weeks early this year because of the mild climate. But harvest will continue into the first couple of weeks of October. There still is time for you to make your way to wine country and witness one of nature’s cool spectacles.

Very cool video of a team of harvest workers

Two Cameron Hughes wines we like now

The two vintage years of 2012 and 2013 in California have been excellent both in terms of quality and quantity. Negociants like Cameron Hughes have benefited because growers have more grapes to sell and wineries have extra juice, more than they can normally handle in their cellars. Thus, the consumer benefits and these two Cameron Hughes wines are outstanding.

Two Cameron Hughes wines we like now

Lot 431 Dry Creek 2012 Old Vine Zin

Costco and other stores for $12


This is a very tasty Zinfandel and a beautiful example of a brambly black fruit Zin, rich and full bodied. Dry Creek Valley is one of the great growing regions for Zinfandel. There are many old vine Zin vineyards there, but my guess is this one may have come from the Teldeschi Vineyards on the east bench of the Dry Creek Valley. Wherever it is from, if you are a Zinfandel fan, you must try this one. It is so balanced and not over the top. 89 Points

Lot 445 Chardonnay 2013 Arroyo Seco

Costco – $8.99

Balanced Chardonnay from Cameron Hughes

Balanced Chardonnay from Cameron Hughes

Janelle and I both like this Chardonnay because it has something that each of us enjoys in a Chardonnay. I like the more tropical fruit of the stainless steel variety of Chardonnay, while Janelle likes more of the oak and butter. This one is right in between, so we can both enjoy this wine with our dinner. Chicken, Halibut, and grilled shrimp will go nicely. I watched the Cameron Hughes video on his tasting of this wine, and his description was completely different from what we tasted. Cameron Hughes says this is a big buttery, oaky Chardonnay. No way in our opinion. The video is below. Try this wine if you like Chardonnay. The price at Costco is outrageously good. 88 Points.

Ford Coppola Director’s Cut Chardonnay

chardonnayBevMo has their Five Cent sale on and Janelle, a fan of Chardonnay more on the oaky and buttery side, purchased two of the Francis Ford Coppola Director’s Cut Chardonnay. The price for two bottles averages out to $10 a bottle. Janelle and I both agree that this Chardonnay is generic in style, with not much to distinguish itself. It falls flat in the finish. We were both expecting more from this 2013 Sonoma Chardonnay, as we’ve enjoyed this wine at the winery and at restaurants.   The Cameron Hughes 445 Chardonnay towers above this wine in our humble opinion.

Whole Foods Olive Oil Tasting


I have been a participant in olive oil tastings, but never conducted one myself. The folks that do PR for Whole Foods Stores asked if I would like to do an olive oil tasting of Whole Foods brand of olive oils. I thought sure, why not, it sounds like … [Continue reading]

Highway 12 Sonoma Red Blend 2012

Highway 12 Sonoma Red

Highway 12 Sonoma Red Blend 2012 Costco $12.99 My neighbor a couple of doors away is a red wine drinker and he invited me over to taste a glass of red that he termed "one of the best wine bargains I have found in years." Craig liked the wine so … [Continue reading]

Mas Donis Barrica – a delightful Montsant wine bargain

mas donis barrica

Mas Donis Barrica - a delightful Montsant wine bargain From the Capcanes Cellars in the D.O. Montsant in Spain, this is a fantastic wine bargain. It is $12.99 at the Spanish Table. Both KL Wines and are sold out and will not be able to … [Continue reading]

Any wine bargains at Whole Foods?

whole foods eco-friendly wine

Everyone knows the old saying about shopping at Whole Foods. "We call Whole Foods,  Whole Paycheck!"  I do shop frequently at Whole Foods in San Mateo, and I believe if you are a careful shopper you can find plenty of good prices and not spend … [Continue reading]