Behind the Cork™ - PARS Old Vine Zinfandel


2016 PARS Old Vine Zinfandel ($8)

This was a recent unexpected fine. I really enjoy the wines of Amador County and that’s what caught my eye about this one. And, at $8, I had to give it a try.

The grapes of Amador County didn’t let me down. This is a nice Zinfandel, especially at the price. But it’s not typical. It’s not jammy or peppery. It quite light. Almost tending toward a Pinot Noir.

Unfortunately, there’s not much to be learned about this wine or the winery. The back label shows that it’s bottled by Avid Vineyard. And, the winemakers are listed as Robert Goyette & H. Namdar. Now, the fact that it’s “bottle by” Avid Vineyard would lead me to the conclusion they didn’t produce it. That’s Ok. Apparently, they bought the wine and put their own label on it. But, there doesn’t seem to be any trail to Avid Vineyard. Again, Ok.

But, a quick search for Robert “Bob” Goyette shows that he got started in winemaking in California in 1970 and, in 1979, he and noted winemaker Rod Berglund started La Crema Venera, known today as La Crema. Now, that’s a good label with a proven track record. Then, in 2005, he started his own wine brand, Robert Goyette Winery, producing wines from Sonoma Coast’s top Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and Sonoma County’s top Cabernet Sauvignon.

Regardless of the origins of this PARS Amador County Old Vine Zinfandel, it’s a nice one and great value. If you happen to see this one, pick it up and give it a try. Cheers!

Wine Storage with a Freezer and a Microwave?

EWW Browser Icon.png

I was catching up on some reading recently when I came upon an article from James Laube in Wine Spectator. He’s been a wine writer for Wine Spectator since 1980, is very well respected and one of my favorites. But his piece titled “Ice Age” had me scratching my head. I had to check the date on the edition — Was it an April Fool’s Edition? No, it was actually the edition from October 31, 2018.

Having been a wine writer for so many years, Laube stated that the most common question he gets is “How do you preserve an open bottle of wine?” I expected to hear a bunch of the most common ways — in the frig, in a cool dark place, sealed with a stopper that allows the air to be pumped out, etc. But, that’s not what this wine legend recommended. Instead, he recommends the use of a freezer and a microwave!

Now, a freezer and microwave are couple of the last places I’d ever expect an opened bottle to end up. But, he’s used this process for decades when he wants to preserve a nice bottle for a few days or longer. He acknowledges “that freezing wine sounds preposterous to many wine lovers” but he says it works quite well.

He recommends placing the cork back in the bottle of wine and sticking it in the freezer. Then, when you’re ready to drink the wine again, simply pop the frozen bottle of wine in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds. That he says “…renders a wine that looks like a Slurpee, ice shavings and all.” You can then put it through second short cycle in the microwave “and then it’s ready.

Really? I’m not sure I’d do this with a cheap bottle of wine. But Laube is drinking, freezing and microwaving the good stuff! He claims “But one you try it — and discover for yourself that the wine is fine after thawing — you’ll be hooked.

So, maybe I’ll give this a try. That is, if I ever end up with a nice bottle of wine that I haven’t emptied! Cheers!

Behind the Cork™ - Castillo Monjardin El Cerezo Chardonnay


2018 Castillo Monjardin El Cerezo Chardonnay ($12)

From the northern Spanish region of Navarra, this Chardonnay is full of flavor.

Being on the Southern border of France, the Navarra region is well suited for wine production with its limestone and clay soils and a micro-climate that allows for a long, cool growing season.

This wine is named for the cherry tree or “El Cerezo” that grows in the middle of the estate vineyard.

This 100% Chardonnay is cold soaked on its skins for eight hours. This, along with the fact that it is unoaked, makes this Chardonnay rich and creamy but with bright fruit flavors of pear, apple and tropical fruits

This Behind the Cork™ Castillo Monjardin is a great value for such a tasty Chardonnay. Enjoy!

Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Rebekah Polster, Navarra Media Consultant, 401 West Communications

Big Wine Gets Even Bigger


In some of my recent reading, I came across the fact that E. & J. Gallo, The Wine Group and Constellation Brands produce more than half of the wine consumed in the U.S. Wow!

But then early this month I learned that Gallo had entered into an agreement with Constellation Brands to purchase more than 30 wine and spirits brands, along with six wine making facilities located in California, Washington, and New York. Double wow!

So, here’s a listing of some of the most familiar wine labels Gallo previously had in its portfolio — Alamos, Amarone, André Sparking wine, Apothic, Barefoot (this one accounts for almost 5% of all the wine consumed in this country!), Bartles & James, Boone’s Farm (Yup, they’re still around), Branciaia, Bridlewood, Carlo Rossi, Carnivor, Souverain Columbia, Dancing Bull, Dark Horse, DaVinci, Gascon, Edna Valley, Frei Brothers, Ernest & Julio Gallo, Gallo Family, Ghost Pines, J Vineyards, LaMarca Prosecco, Locations Brand (previously owned by Dave Phinney), Louis Martini, MacMurray, Mirassou, Orin Swift, Red Rock, Redwood Creek, Talbott, The Naked Grape, Tisdale, Tott’s Sparking Wine, Turning Leaf and William Hill.

That’s not the full listing, just some of the most notable.

Now, you add to that the labels from Constellation Brands — Clos du Bois, Black Box, Estancia, Mark West, Wild Horse, Franciscan, Hogue Cellars and Ravenswood.

That’s quite a portfolio!

So, maybe you don’t regularly purchase the Gallo label wine, but now looking at this list, you are likely to be purchasing wines that are part of Gallo’s portfolio. Cheers!

Behind the Cork™ - Inurrieta Orchidea Sauvignon Blanc


2018 Inurrieta Orchídea Sauvignon Blanc ($12)

Here’s nice refreshing Sauvignon Blanc that will compliment any spring or summer meal.

This 100% Sauvignon Blanc is from Bodega Inurrieta and comes from the Navarra region of northern Spain.

It’s got wonderful bright tropical fruit flavors of pineapple and lime and just the right amount of acidity.

It was tank aged over fine lees for four months so its also got a bit if a creamy smoothness to its mouthfeel.

If you are a Sauvignon Blanc lover, or even if you aren’t, give this one a try. I believe you’ll like it!


Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Rebekah Polster, Navarra Media Consultant, 401 West Communications