Review: 2012 Gainey Vineyards Limited Selection Chardonnay

I’m not usually a Chardonnay fan. Something about the artificial butter taste turns me off. But we picked up the 2012 Gainey Vineyards Chardonnay at a friend’s party and I’ve had it sitting in my fridge for month. Then came a hot day and I was tired of beer, so I popped open this baby.

“Mmm, that’s pretty good,” were the first words that came out of my mouth. The super yellow–almost pee-colored yellow (sorry, but it’s true)–wine isn’t too buttery…just the right amount of smooth with a hint of vanilla. The wine has a full-mouth feel with longlasting flavor–think apples and melons– that kind of takes over and relaxes your tongue, almost like an anesthetic.


It smells like lemon bars and has a slatey/flinty bite at the end, which gets more pronounced as it warms up.

Nuts & Bolts:

Winery: Gainey Winery
Type: Chardonnay
Origin: Santa Rita Hills, California
Vintage: 2013
Price: $38 (Straight from the vineyard, but we picked ours up as a leftover from a party. Score!)
Alcohol content: 14.1%
When to drink: This wine is perfect for picnics in the grass.

Review: 2013 Wolff Vineyards Dry Riesling

I’m a big fan of Wolff Vineyards, especially their 2013 Dry Riesling. This Alsatian style riesling is fruity, flowery and cool, but still is able to warm the mouth and give you that mouthwatering feel. Or maybe that’s just me drooling over this insanely good white?

The dry riesling is lemony and goes right to your head, so get ready to feel that summery buzz. Just as good as the 2012.

I forgot to snap a pic, but check out my Instagram for photos of other wines 🙂
Nuts and Bolts

Winery: Wolff Vineyards
Type: Dry Riesling
Origin: Edna Valley
Price: $21
Alcohol content: 13.6%
When to drink: On a hot summer day.

You get free wine on Virgin flights to Vegas

I went to Vegas with some friends for my bachelorette party and rather than drive, we flew, yay! And rather than have to pay for wine, our virgin flight gave us a free drink. Too bad they didn’t have champagne. We opted for the only white option, a chardonnay, because it was 10 a.m. and I felt white was probably more socially-acceptable. If we were camping, I would have been OK with beer for breakfast, but this was my bachelorette celebration!

Now, I’m not usually a fan of Chardonnay, but when in Rome… This wine had a Food Network label on it, so it had to be some sort of partnership. It was meh. Tasted of apples and it was easy-drinking. Wasn’t expecting much—I mean, it didn’t have a vintage on the label— so it was fine for what it was. But since I didn’t have to pay for it, why not?


While in Vegas, I got to see the Beatles show, which was amazing, and even got a delicious Kahlua/ coffee milkshake from BLT. The perfect end to a fun weekend.


Nuts and Bolts

Winery: Entwine
Type: Chardonnay
Origin: Dubiously just says California on the bottle, but it’s made by Wente Vineyards, which is in Livermore.
Price: Free.99
Alcohol content:13%
When to drink: I probably wouldn’t pick up a bottle of this, but would drink again on a flight to Vegas.

Review: 2012 Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Pinot Noir

We drink so much wine, that our landlord finally noticed. After my other half did him a favor using his technical ninja skills, our landlord gifted us a bottle of a 2012 Francis Coppola Pinot Noir. The Diamond Collection wine has a fruity, long-lasting flavor— think raspberry! raspberry! It’s a bit dry, but does the job.


For those staring at the photo, yes, we watched House of Cards as we finished off the bottle.

This is an average pinot noir, I’d say. It’s not the best, but it’s pretty good, as my other half said. But, he was quick to point out, it’s no Wolff Vineyards Syrah.

Nuts and Bolts

Winery: Francis Coppola
Type: Pinot Noir
Origin: Monterey
Price: Gifted, but on, it’s between $14-$20
Alcohol content: Forgot to write it down!
When to drink: Have the in-laws over for dinner and bring this red out. It can be a conversation piece—who doesn’t want to talk about The Godfather—and it’s middle-of-the-road enough to please a crowd.

Review: 2012 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon

This Napa Valley wine was a welcome treat after several mishaps at a hotel I was staying at in New York for work. The Dream Downtown left the half-bottle in my room after my heater broke twice and a drunk man pounded on my door at 5 a.m.

This red tickles your tongue and leaves behind a longlasting warm feeling. It’s chock full of dark cherry flavor and has soft tannins.


Also a plus: The winery is solar-powered.

Nuts and Bolts

Winery: Honig
Type: Cabernet Sauvignon
Origin: Napa
Price: Unknown
Alcohol content: 14.5%
When to drink: Wrap yourself in a quilt and get cozy when you sip on the 2012 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon.

Review: 2013 Kynsi Barn Owl Blush Pinot Noir Rose

You know that euphoric feeling you get when the sun is shining, you’re lying on the grass and looking up at the clouds as you snuggle up alongside someone you love? Well my other half and I got a heaping dose of all that mushy stuff this past Valentine’s Day when we visited San Luis Obispo. We went for the wine, but also got a pleasantly fun surprise by saying at the quirky, and sometimes creepy, Madonna Inn.

Credit: Madonna Inn

Credit: Madonna Inn

Kynsi, a small winery we visited while there, made a special Pinot Noir Rose and we just had to bring some home. This Rose, which is more orange in color than pink, is crisp and lemony and just reminds me of summer days playing lawn games. The strawberry essence helps there, too.


The rose is different than your traditional White Zinfandel or White Merlot, so if those are your jam, be weary that this isn’t as sweet. It does have a spritzy body and a creamy aftertaste, though, and best of all purchases benefit the Arroyo Grande Hospital Breast Cancer Fund.

Plus, we when we bought the wine, Kynsi–which has an air of Anthropologie about it, perhaps because it has a French Country charm with its dairy farm roots–gave us complimentary chocolate bark. Yum!

Nuts and Bolts

Winery: Kynsi
Type: Pinot Noir Rose
Origin: Edna Valley
Price: $24
Alcohol content: 13.6%
When to drink: Valentine’s Day, duh!

Review: 2009 Marques De Riscal Proximo Tempranillo Rioja

On a scuba trip to Catalina Island, my other half and I attempted to hit up a wine bar on the main drag. But by the time we got inside, we were kicked out because turns out, the wine bar was actually part of a hotel and only open for guests. Boo.

We asked the Australian concierge where could two folks like us get a bottle of wine at 10 p.m. and not have to go to a Tiki bar or listen to someone sing karaoke. He suggested a fancy restaurant down the street and we gave it a shot.


We sat at the bar, which was nicely backlit with moody colors shining through a wall of wine bottles and ordered the 2009 Marques De Riscal Proximo Tempranillo Rioja. This Spanish red tastes earthy and has cherry notes. It’s very spicy, and warms the soul–and the tongue as it burns a bit at the finish. Yet, it still felt a bit flabby to me, but not enough to downgrade it too much.

The wine delivers round tannins, so we didn’t have that super-puckery mouth feeling.

Nuts & Bolts:

  • Winery: Marques De Riscal
  • Type: Tempranillo
  • Origin: Spain
  • Vintage: 2009
  • Price: We paid $30 at the restaurant, but has the price falling closer to $10. That’s what you get when you drink at a restaurant.
  • Alcohol content: 14%
  • When to drink: If I paid $10, I’d buy this bottle again, but not if it cost more. Have a friend with a fire pit. Light that baby up and bring a bottle of this with you. Ghost stories aren’t included.

Just for fun: Here’s me under water 🙂


Review: 2013 Cline Pinot Gris

It’s the end of September and the temps are still topping 90 degrees here, so a fresh Pinot Gris is in order.

The 2013 Cline Pinot Gris smells like pears and apples and tastes like them, too. It’s spritzy and hits every corner of your mouth on the swig.

IMG_20140719_183631 (1)

According to the winemaker, the minerality of their wines comes from the cool growing location. The wine is a bit creamy at the end and kind of tangy, like the flavor of grape skins.

Nuts & Bolts:

  • Winery: Cline
  • Type: Pinot Gris
  • Origin: Sonoma
  • Vintage: 2013
  • Price: $14
  • Alcohol content: 14.5%
  • When to drink: On a day when you have to stand in front of the fridge to keep cool. While you’re in there, grab a chilled bottle of the Cline Pinot Gris. Don’t blame me if your energy bill jumps.

Review: 2012 Kendall Jackson Pinot Noir Vintners Reserve

Yes, the 2012 Kendall Jackson Pinot Noir Vintners Reserve was pungent and peppery, two characteristics I look for in Pinot Noir, but something was off. It felt like I was drinking a watered down version of other Pinots I like.


The flavors were loose at first, but they picked up as the wine headed toward the back of my tongue, but not enough to save me from being disappointed.

This plummy wine also tastes of vanilla and a soft mouth feel, so the tannins were pretty supple. If you’re into that, this is for you. If you’re like me and want a little more punch, grab something else, like the 2012 Melville Estate Pinot Noir.

Nuts & Bolts:

  • Winery: Kendall Jackson
  • Type: Pinot Noir
  • Origin: Santa Rosa
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: $15
  • Alcohol content: 13.5%
  • When to drink: When you want a less expensive Pinot and you’re not in the mood for something tightly wound.

Review: Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava

I’m not a constant sparkling wine drinker. Proseccos and Champagnes are a rarity in our fridge. But I had a very cute, 187 ml bottle of Freixenet Cordon Negro in my fridge the other day when I was on the hunt for wine to drink with a nice grilled fish and all we had were Cabernet Sauvignons and Malbecs. I took a chance and opened up this baby wine that I got off the free table at work.


This brut sparkler smells like pear and tastes like apricot It has an oily feel that coats your mouth, but not in a bad way. It’s tastes almost like it has a slight aftertaste of almond extract. When asked how he felt about it, my other half said: “It’s better than Cook’s.” I replied: “That’s not saying much.

“It’s saying a lot, it’s not Cook’s,” he said.

So much for feedback. Anyways, I enjoyed this cava and would buy it again.

Interesting note, it had a screw top, not a cork! It looks like a cork, but don’t be fooled.


Nuts & Bolts:

  • Winery: Freixenet Cordon Negro
  • Type: Cava
  • Origin: Sant Sadurni Danoia, Spain
  • Vintage: No date on the bottle
  • Price: $12.99 for full bottle, according to
  • Alcohol content: 12%
  • When to drink: You just got a new job, or a new boyfriend/girlfriend or a new puppy, yay! Have some friends over and pour some bubbly.