Norton Safeweb

Monday, July 25, 2016

Wine Tasting Tip #1 - Not Liking a Certain Wine

The first in a series of tips for when you go wine tasting.

This one is "Don't be afraid to not like something." Just because Pinot Gris/Pinot Noir/whatever is popular is quite okay to not like this variety. And it's perfectly fine to say so when you're out tasting wine. Just because your wine "expert" friend loves a certain Chardonnay or is all caught up in the Pinot Noir hype doesn't mean you have to like it.

One caveat, just because you don't like, let's say, the $10 Chardonnay you've had from the local store back home doesn't mean you won't like a winery's product that never makes it to your town. (I hear that a lot about Chardonnay). So when out tasting for the first time or two try everything. Once you've established a particular kind of wine isn't for you then it's perfectly fine to skip over those wines on the tasting list.

There are dump buckets at wine tastings. Use them!
 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mondavi Winery at 50

On July 16, 1966 Robert Mondavi scooped up a ceremonial shovelful of dirt at the site that would become the first new premium winery in Napa in the 20th century. He was crazy to attempt this.

Mondavi had recently lost his job at the family winery up the road after squabbling with his brother over the business. His dream was to make wine to compete with the best of France. This was the part that seemed crazy.

He was spending a lot of money not knowing if the goal was achievable or if there was even a market for high-end California wine. Crazy.

A few months later while construction was going on all around they crushed their first grapes and made about 1,000 cases of wine. The rest, as they say, is history -- for Mondavi, for Napa Valley, and for the California wine industry.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Love Great Cab, But Don't Love Napa Prices?

Per a Wall Street Journal wine writer if you want to get top-notch Cabernet Sauvignon at a fraction of Napa prices then look to Sonoma County. She only sampled a few of the hundreds available so explore for yourself.

Look to Sonoma

Friday, July 15, 2016

Wine and Music Pairing

Wine and food? That's been done. Plus, I've decided wine and food pairing is just too complicated. Trying to figure it out gives me a headache. Not a cheap sparkling wine or cheap tequila headache, but it still makes my head hurt. Some claim the music you listen to while drinking will actually change your perception of the wine!

Wine and music, two subjects where it's almost impossible to be objective. What can go wrong?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wineries: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Sonoma County has about 450 wineries. Wine-related tourism is over a billion dollar industry with billions more generated from the county's top agricultural industry. Wait, was that 450? Some believe that may just be enough. Others don't believe they need to hold events (parties) day and night.

Is it too much of a good thing?

Monday, July 11, 2016

What to do on a Summer Evening in Sonoma County

You're coming for some wine tasting, but once the wineries close (about 5 pm) what's there to do? Yeah, you can go to one of the excellent restaurants then go back to your lodging and collapse on the bed. You could go out to a movie, but that's boring. Maybe you don't want to go to a local watering hole if you've been wine tasting all day.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Less Crowded Wine Country Experience

Maybe you've visited California for wine tasting in the past or maybe you just don't like other tourists messing up the experience for you. Most folks visit Napa Valley first because it's famous. Then there's Sonoma County right next door to Napa. Parts of the central coast from Paso Robles to Santa Barbara have received lots of attention.

So where else can you go that has good wine, maybe even good food and some other things to do besides wine tasting? Some ideas:

Friday, July 1, 2016

Funny Questions Asked in a Tasting Room

I was reading something called The Most Stupid Questions Asked of National Park Rangers. It got me to thinking about some of the questions asked in winery tasting rooms.

Some of the questions asked of park rangers were:
  • Grand Canyon: Is the mule ride air-conditioned?
  • Mesa Verde: Why did the Indians build the ruins so close to the highway?
  • Carlsbad Caverns (my favorite): How much of the cave is underground?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

You Might be Drinking a Lot of Petite Sirah

You could be drinking Petite Sirah and not know it. Petite Sirah is a cross between Syrah and an obscure Rhone grape, Peloursin. It's inky in color, full-bodied, it can be a little spicy, and tannic (mouth-drying). Sometimes you might say it tastes like bright blueberries. The "bright" comes from the high acid; "blueberries" is a typical fruit flavor.

On its own as a varietal it's still not very popular probably because of the drying tannins although some wineries are doing pretty good tannin management now.

So how is it that you're drinking so much Petite Sirah?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Summer Do's and Don't's for Napa Valley

Napa Valley is just over the hill from Sonoma County. I've been there lots of times and have even worked over there -- without needing a work visa! :) Here are a few helpful hints for your visit this summer.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Fourth of July Weekend in Sonoma County

The first weekend of July 2016 is a three-day holiday for most (except those in retail and hospitality like wineries and hotels). What's happening in Sonoma County for this long weekend? Well, there will be lots of fireworks and a few other things.