White Blend

Review: 2011 Saucelito Canyon Cotes de Blanc

While weekend getawaying in San Luis Obispo with three lovely ladies, I imbibed the 2011 Saucelito Canyon Cotes de Blanc.

This blend smells of peaches and melon and lays heavy on the tongue, lingering for awhile, in a good way. It has a pleasant hint of butteriness and its light minerality gives it a dash of crisp bubbly. The blend of Grenache Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne is a drier white and it’s sweet, but not too sweet, a perfect match for the thai salad I ate with it for dinner at Big Sky Cafe, a wonderful foody haunt in SLO. IMG_20140502_181259

The next day we drove by the winery as we headed to the wine trail. Sadly, we didn’t make it there in time, but I heard they have stand-out Zinfandel. For another visit!

Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Saucelito Canyon
  • Type: White Blend (62% Grenache Blanc, 16% Sauvignon Blanc, 8% Viognier, 8% Marsanne, 6% Roussanne)
  • Origin: Central Coast
  • Vintage: 2011
  • Price: $22 (at the restaurant, probably less in stores)
  • Alcohol content: Whoops, forgot to jot it down!
  • When to drink: This would be lovely for a midmorning brunch/lunch featuring something with a little spiccccy.


Oscars and 2012 Moderna Symphony

Our annual Oscar party, which we pair with a signature red carpet cocktail, was a hit, and so was the cocktail, but after we finished a bottle of Bulleit bourbon, we moved on to the liquid treats brought by our guests.

One such gift, was a bottle of 2012 Moderna Chardonnay. It was a light, peachy sweet wine.


Not my favorite, but it improved when jokes from Ellen DeGeneres, whom I like to call Duchess D, kept my mind off the sugary flavors.


I don’t think I’d purchase this wine on my own, but if you like saccharine white Chardonnays this is up your alley.


Nuts & Bolts:

  • Winery: Moderna
  • Type: White blend
  • Origin: California
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: gift
  • Alcohol content: 11.5%
  • When to drink: Cougars who enjoy sweet white wine will enjoy this libation with a side of gossip.

And if you’re wondering what that delicious cocktail had in it, here’s how I made it:

1) Place two to three thawed frozen strawberries (depending on size) in a fancy glass with two to three ice cubes.

2) Toss a shot of Bulleit Bourbon in there. Put three times as much Sparkling Clementine Flavored Juice from Trader Joe’s. Stir and enjoy.

Review: 2012 Jarenincan Crnko

Bet you can’t say that five times fast.

I bought this Slovenian white blend of riesling and dry muscat hoping to drink it with a delicious meal featuring lemon garlic cod and jasmine rice, but I decided to bring this table wine to a pre-New Year’s Eve party since it’s 1-Liter size and bottle cap top make it difficult for individual consumption.

OK let’s stop right there. Yes, this wine has a bottle cap on it.


Not a screw top and not a cork. Weird, huh. It’s the wine of the people over in Slovenia, served in every country tavern and in every household, so I guess the bottle cap blends well with that scene.


That’s not the only thing weird about this number. It’s lemony and zesty and reminds me of the idea of an alcoholic Fresca.


Great for easy drinking, I decided to bring it to the pre-party because I knew it would be low-key, great for a crowd and a nice, light precursor to the Old Fashioneds and other bourbon/whiskey cocktails I’d ride for the rest of the evening, which by the way was filled with beautiful views of Los Angeles and sparklers!




The wine is hand-picked from a family vineyard in northeastern Slovenia that features fossil-rich soils. The blend changes from year to year, according to the folks at Vintage Berkeley.

Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Crnko
  • Type: blend of riesling and dry muscat
  • Origin: Slovenia
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: $15
  • Alcohol content: I left the bottle at that pre-New Year’s soiree and forgot to write this down!
  • When to drink: Tuck this in a picnic basket as you head out to the park on a summery day with your friends, a croquet set and this amazing lemon-feta dip.

Review: 2012 Herdade de Gambia White Wine Blend

I’m telling you, I’m on a Portugal kick.

But this white wine blend from Herdade de Gambia was even better than the cryptically-labeled red blend I talked about a few days ago. Cloudy yellow, this wine smells like peach and oranges (yum!) and it has a smooth, drinkable je ne sais quoi quality about it. It’s bright, dry, a bit bubbly (maybe from the muscatel) and refreshing. It doesn’t have an overwhelming alcoholic taste like another white I’ve blogged about before. And most importantly, it makes you yell “Yippee!” when you drink it, well at least inside your head if you’re easily embarrassed.

IMG_20131110_190648 (1)

It’s from Peninsula de Setabul, which is known for producing sweet Muscat grapes with candied orange flavors. The wine, a blend of Moscato Graudo and Fernao Pires grapes, reminds me of a smooth Argentine Torrontes. Torrontes is a white wine grape that has aromatic flavors and a crisp burst of acidity.

According to the bottle, Herdade de Gambia is in the heart of a river estuary that hosts migrating birds. Perhaps that’s why there’s a pink flamingo on the label!

I want to buy this wine again, but I snagged it when I visited a friend in Berkeley and I’m having trouble finding it near me on wine-searcher.com. Suggestions? I’d rather not pay to have it shipped, but I would if I got desperate. It’s that good.

Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Herdade de Gambia
  • Type: White Blend (Moscato Graudo and Fernao Pires grapes)
  • Origin: Peninsula de Setabul, Portugal
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: $11
  • Alcohol content: 13%
  • When to drink: If you’re down-trodden after a tough day at the office, don’t go to a bar and wallow in your sorrows. Go home and drink a glass of this white wine blend and say “Yippee!” The aroma and drinkability will cheer you up, stat.