Tasting Notes, 2009: Elizabeth Spencer Wines

Elizabeth Spencer has been one of my favorite wineries for quite some time now, although I have never actually mentioned that fact here. Frankly, I’m not sure why I’ve never said anything before. But like I have said, the Thirsty Reader is by no means comprehensive: if I happen to discover something that strikes me as noteworthy, then I’ll usually try to mention it here, if I have the time. Sometimes I get sidetracked, or I get lazy. Sometimes, I’ll postpone an entry if I don’t feel like I ever have the time or the energy to do an adequate job.

During this past year, I had probably placed Elizabeth Spencer on the back-burner for any or all of those reasons. However, with their open-house event freshly on my mind tonight, I figured that I should at least mention Elizabeth Spencer, whether I’ve found my muse or not. Truth [… read more …]

Lokoya Mount Veeder 2005 Tasting Notes

Label of the 2004. I tasted the 2005.

I’ve often acknowledged that my blog entries on the Accidental Wino comprise only what I have time to mention, and that they account for only a small portion of my overall food and wine experiences. My approach to blogging has evolved as I’ve come to realize the utter futility of trying to be comprehensive. I’ve scaled back my efforts this year, as I’ve adopted a Michelin-style approach to food and wine criticism: the good places receive their due shine, while the forgettable places are mercifully omitted.

The reason why I mention this approach is because I have quite a few drafts in my queue at the moment. I have recent visits to Elizabeth Spencer and J Vineyards that I would like to detail, and I will try to get to them as soon as possible. But [… read more …]

Napa's Top 25 Wine Tours

Outside Quixote (left) and outside Schramsberg (right).

These types of lists are always debatable — if not questionable — because you have to wonder about the author’s credentials. Who really comes up with these lists, and much do they know about anything? It’s a fair question. Lots of travel writers have come to the Napa Valley and covered the wine scene, and there are plenty of opinions about all kinds of wineries.

My own perspective is uniquely local. I’ve lived in Napa for over 10 years and have spent most of that time as a professional chef (at the moment, I work as a chef-instructor at a local cooking school). Over the years, I have taken breaks from restaurant life to work as a wine educator. I spent a year at Grgich Hills pouring wine, and I spent three years at Nickel & Nickel hosting tours and tastings.

[… read more …]