Picture this - 
  A perfect fall day in Napa Valley....the vines changing color like the autumn leaves in Wisconsin.  The temp at 60- weather where a coat is too much and a sweater is just right.  There was a crispness in the air and a buzz that would of made you thought that this was a spring day - with the bees buzzing around, pollinating every blossom they could......but no! What was this BUZZ!  These People were gathering from all over the country for one thing - the exclusive first showing of the movie SOMM.....
  A little background here.  This movie follows 4 Advanced Sommeliers, all with different personalities, all with different skills but all with one hope- to pass this bad ass test to become one of the elite few to call themselves - Master Sommelier.
  The producer is Jason Wise.  A handsome, outspoken, young and exciting guy whose excitement is almost contagious.  He wears his emotions on his sleeve and is a very humble soul.  He is thankful and full of life and hope.  I was lucky enough to spend 11 days in Italy with him and his also handsome and talented sidekick, Jackson Meyers.  I was blessed to have been chosen through the Guild of Sommeliers to go to Italy with 4 other gents.  I was the only woman with 5 male super tasters and the 2 guys filming for this movie- all while traveling through whats known to be the most romantic  country in the world.....Imagine it...Really it was a dream.  We drank wine, talked shit and ate like kings and queens....and then drank some more!  We even got asked if we were part of the "bachelorette" taping as I was the only girl on a table of 16 at the Banfi Castle in Tuscany! HA! And then there was that damn FERNET BRANCA! 

  Anyway - So a great bond was established and then I hear the news that the movie is finally coming out and BAM - here I was....In Napa Valley about to see this masterpiece.  
  The movie was great in many ways. Jason took each of the 4 guys and really let their personalities come through and shine.  I felt like I knew all 4 guys when I left the Opera House that night and just by watching this movie!  Jason created a movie that was serious and ultimately funny.  I held my breath on parts, gasped on some and laughed my ass off on others.  
  The music in this movie was magnificent.  I was tapping my toes sometimes and others I wouldn't even know the music was there and then all of a sudden your mind would drift to the music in the back out of nowhere.  
  I also believe the wine business needs a movie like this....not one where its always perfect and a love story and everyone lives happily ever after.  And also Not one that focuses more on this paradise and fantasy world that most wine focused movies end up being.  The Wine business and wine world is hard work, determination and mostly- willpower.  Now... don't get me wrong.....it can sometimes be glamorous and completely awesome....like being able to get free poured Krug all night long is pretty stellar!  And waking up in the middle of a vineyard at the winery that I was staying at for free because of my friend owns it.  And going horseback riding in the vineyards and drinking the very Cabernet they made from the vineyard I was sleeping in. (sigh - I love the wine world) But still - to get to that point takes time, loyalty and tons of glasses of wine and sleepless nights and long days that lead to longer nights. Its not all wine, food, travel and fun.    
  These 4 guys are not crazy- they are relentless in getting what they want.  This test isn't just hard....its hardening.  And they should be commended for even trying to pass it.  As Jason and his partners should be commended for thinking up this idea and then making it happen.  He has what it takes, just like these 4 guys did - to put their life on hold, work extremely hard and be focused, to achieve their dreams.  They did it.  He did it.  
This movie made me want to do more with my life and re-sparked a feeling that I didnt even know had left me.




 
 
I always have thought of myself as a Spanish wine loving girl.  Tempranillo being my standby if I have to buy wine at a wine shop - great value always.  And I love the way it tastes, lingers and the fruit.

I chose this class because I love tempranillo from Spain but to also try some other ones from US.

There was 5 temps from Spain - and 5 from US.

We would taste in pair and then we would have to choose what one we thought was new world (US), and what one was old world (SPAIN) and why.

Well out of the 5 pairs I got every single one wrong.  HOW! It humbled me like the wine world usually does.  Puts me back in place.  HOW could I have gotten all of them wrong?  Especially when I LOVE Spanish temp.

Well - I always did it based on color and taste.  I also realized I drink better quality temp - not just joven (young) style.  

It was tricky and now it still reminds me of how much I love temp - I just love it from Spain and USA - I will find some of these treats and drink them at home!

1. Hovey Temp from CalaveraS county - CA
2. Montebuena - Rioja
3. Tierra Aranda - RIbera Del Douro
4. Bokish- lodi CA
5. St Amant  AMador COunty
6. LIberalia - tinta de Toro
7. Tinto Pesquera - Bodega Alejandro Fernandez - Ribera Del Douro
8. Abacela RSV temp - OREGON
9. Bodega Paso Robles VIVA YO - central coast
10 muga seleccion rioja
ones highlighted were my faves


 
 
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This wine wasn't my usual new zealand style sauvignon blanc....but it also wasnt my other usual California delicious, full bodied mouthfeel from hotter weather that makes it riper kind of sauv blanc either.  It was a bit lean, almost like a sancerre in style.  It didn't have a lot of fruit which almost sounds weird for a sb.  It had an odd finish...almost like it was tired so it went to bed 3 hours early....it was harsh, sour and then just left your mouth....see ya

I didn't like it.  I finished the glass and didn't have another.  That is how you know I didn't like it.

 
 
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Tiffany blue, tinge of sweetness, beautiful shaped bottle, ....all we need now are shiny happy people!

Riesling, and monterey riesling at that!

I do not drink Riesling often at all....spicy food companion most times.  
This is a riesling I could see myself hanging out with on a friday night with a bunch of girlfriends..Not too sweet - not cloying or pleading with me to drink a gallon of water after I swallow the nectar.

It has acidity with just a twinge of sweetness.  It has power and finesse.  Its delicious and time to drink this ladies!



 
 
Greek wine - not something I have had a lot of.  
Off to a great Greek restaurant we went - Why not?  Lets try it.  
Thoughts of retsina and undrinkable wine flicker through my head but I still trudge on - It can't all be hard to drink right?
And it wasn't...with that delicious Greek soup we enjoyed the first taste.  It was minerally and refreshing.  It was a tad flat but all and all - ok.  Through the salad course I got braver and started sipping more often with the tangy Greek dressing.
Then when my Chilean Sea bass came out with a pesto cream - I was into it and the wine held up well. It did have quite an acid structure that cut through the cream.  
All in all I enjoyed it.  
I would drink it again
Go
 
 
Money and wine have a way of always overlapping - actors, sports players, celebrity chefs, singers, race car guys....they all have their own wine labels or wineries.  To own a winery takes a boatload of cash - and then it continues on...you need more, all the time.  

I have not had a lot of great celebrity wine.  Some are good but most are overpriced - as they are selling their name more so then a quality product...I have had some good ones though.

Most celebrity wine labels are just that...labels.  The wine is already made, most do not even help with the blend or wine at all, and they just make up a label and pay some money and WAH LAH - Drew Barrymore has a pinot grigio thats light, crisp and refreshing - just like her.

Status.  It would be neat having your own wine....I would not say no - I am also not a celebrity with a boatload of money.  Maybe someday.  Until then I will drink everyone elses....


Some that I have tasted - 

Dave Mathews band wine - the only one that is good to me is the Crush but I think its overpriced.

Train (the band) new cabernet - I thought it was unbalanced, almost no finish except for acid and way too jammy for a cab...

Greg Norman - I always liked his Australian cab/merlot and shiraz - I havent had it in years BUT his California stuff has not been even close in quality.

Arnold Palmer - Made at Luna winery - The cab used to be from Napa  - then turned to just California - I really enjoyed the Napa label - the California cab is good - just the price isnt where it should be

Jerry Garcia wines - I think they were made at Clos du Bois in Sonoma - they were actually ok for the price.  I liked them as everyday drinkers - they are disctd now.  Too Bad

Andretti - next....Not writing about it - sorry
Adobe road - sorry race fans - 
BR Cohn - wines are pretty good for the price - I would drink and be happy

Coppola wines - I will say - best celebrity wines made - personally I think so anyway...He has many levels of wines and I really do enjoy a lot of them.

I was in Arizona and went to Tool singer Maynards 2 wineries - really quality stuff for Arizona wines - I liked them as well - I do not think they are sold in WI.

I had Joe Montanas wine - Delicious - only can buy in CA

Pininfarinas wine - Great Napa Valley blend that is now discontinued but a keeper

Fess Parker - I like his wines as well - A great Syrah, Pinot noir and especially love the Viognier.  Value brands that get rated well.  

Charles Woodson - His wine would be great if it was half the price or more...its quality juice but insanely overpriced.  I tried his petite sirah at an event and it was VERY GOOD.  I dont think he sells that though....only the blend

Lastly Robert Parkers wines - delicious  and his Italian venture too - amazing


Below is a partial listing of celebrities who own commercial wineries, wine brands or vineyards. This is not a listing of a celebrities who only own vineyards for private use.

Celebrity Winery
AndrettiAndretti WineryNapa ValleyCaliforniaFounded winery with former K-mart CEO Joe Antonini[3]
Frank ArcieroArciero Family VineyardsPaso RoblesCaliforniaAlso owns EOS Estate Winery in Paso Robles. Owned racing teams that featured Al UnserBobby UnserParnelli JonesDan Gurney andMichael Andretti[12]
Dan AykroydDan Aykroyd WinesOntarioCanada
Antonio BanderasAnta BanderasRibera del DueroSpain[14]
Drew BarrymoreBarrymore WinesItaly
Lidia Bastianich Bastianich WineryFriuliItaly
Mario BataliLa MozzaTuscanyItaly
Drew Bledsoe Double Back WineWalla Walla ValleyWashington
Lorraine BraccoBracco WinesTuscanyItaly
Kevin BucklerAdobe Road WinesSonoma CountyCalifornia
Raymond BurrRaymond Burr VineyardsDry Creek ValleyCalifornia
Jonathan CaindelaCain VineyardsSonoma CountyCalifornia
Richard ChildressChildress VineyardsNorth Carolina[21]
Les ClaypoolClaypool CellarsRussian River ValleyCalifornia[22]
Bruce CohnB.R. Cohn WinerySonoma CountyCaliforniaCohn was manager of The Doobie Brothers[7]
Francis Ford CoppolaRubicon Estate WineryNapa ValleyCalifornia[3]
Gerard DepardieuChateau de TigneAnjouLoire ValleyFrance 
Mike DitkaMike Ditka WinesMendocino CountyCalifornia

Ernie ElsErnie Els WinesStellenboschSouth AfricaCollaboration with Engelbrecht Els Vineyard[3]
Emilio EstevezCasa DumetzMalibuCalifornia[25]
Nick FaldoNick Faldo WinesCoonawarraAustraliaCollaboration with Katnook Estate[26]
Mick FleetwoodMick Fleetwood Private CellarLake CountyCalifornia
Peggy FlemingFleming Jenkins Vineyards and WinerySanta Cruz Mountains
Jeff GordonJeff Gordon WinesNapa ValleyCaliforniaCollaboration with August Briggs Wines[7]
Wayne GretzkyNo. 99 Estates WineryNiagara PeninsulaCanadaCollaboration with Peller Estates[29]
Terry HoageTerry Hoage VineyardsPaso RoblesCaliforniaUniversity of Georgia Football player
Mick HucknallIl CantanteSicilyItalyCollaboration with Italian winemaker Salvo Foti[7]
Günther JauchWeingut von OthegravenMosel (wine region)Rhineland
Maynard James KeenanCaduceus CellarsVerde ValleyArizonaAlso owns Merkin Vineyards in Arizona[32]
John LasseterLasseter Family WinerySonoma CountyCalifornia[7]
Randy LewisLewis CellarsNapa ValleyCalifornia[12]
Lil JonLittle Jonathan WineryCentral CoastCaliforniaCollaboration with California winemaker Alison Crowe
Kyle MacLachlanPursued by Bear WineColumbia ValleyWashingtonCollaboration with Washington winemaker Eric Dunham[35]
Madonna-Ciccone Vineyard and WineryLeelanau PeninsulaMichiganCollaboration with her father 
]Dan Marino Vintage 13 Marino EstatesCalifornia[30]
Dave MatthewsBlenheim VineyardsCharlottesvilleVirginia[37]
Joe MontanaMontagia WinesNapa ValleyCaliforniaCollaboration with Ed Sbragia, former winemaker of Beringer Wines[7]
Sam NeillTwo PaddocksCentral OtagoNew Zealand[3]
Vince NeilVince Neil VineyardsSonoma CountyCalifornia[3]
Olivia Newton-JohnKoala Blue WinesSouth AustraliaFounded in 1983 with business partner Pat Farrar[7]
Greg NormanGreg Norman EstatesSouth Australia and CaliforniaCollaboration with Beringer Blass[3]
Arnold PalmerArnold Palmer WinesCaliforniaCollaboration with Luna Vineyards[20]
Fess ParkerFess Parker WinerySanta Ynez ValleyCaliforniaWas featured in the movie Sideways[3]
Robert M. Parker, Jr.Beaux Freres Vineyards & WineryWillamette Valley, .[39]
Terri ParsonsBenny Parsons Rendezvous RidgePurlear, North CarolinaWinery established before his death and operated by his widow.[40]
Nancy PelosiZinfandel Lane VineyardSt. HelenaCaliforniaAlso owns Skellenger Lane Vineyard in Napa Valley. Pelosi sells her grapes to other California winemakers instead of producing her own wine.[7]
Carmen PolicyCasa PienaYountvilleCalifornia[7]
Jason PriestleyBlack Hills Estate WineryOkanaganBritish ColumbiaThe British Columbia born actor is a co-owner in the estate[41]
Boz ScaggsScaggs VineyardCalifornia[43]
Charles WoodsonTwentyFour WinesNapa ValleyCaliforniaUnder NFL regulations, Woodson is currently prohibited from endorsing his own wines publicly until he retires
Paul Newman
KISS
 
 
A windy drive north on 128 takes you into Mendocino county and Anderson Valley will appear.  A drive through Boonville means you are almost there - Goldeneye WInery appears.  
Pinot noir made intense and light....full but elegant....Zac Rasmussen, winemaker, is handsome, cool and serious about Pinot Noir.  Their pinot noir rose is delicious and sitting outside in the sun, overlooking the vineyards it seems as if life has stopped to say thank you.  I love it here - this is wine country - without all the celebrity chefs, without the constant turn of the head to see all the wineries drive by, without the glitz and glam....this is pinot noir country and a place to go to sit back and enjoy a wine without wondering where you are going next.  This is where memories are made in sunsets, quite moments and gives you time to look at the person next to you and
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A great value cabernet - it is joseph carr from napa valleys 2nd label.  easy on the tannins - blackberry baked pie flavors. I really like it and tried it today with someone who doesnt normally drink red wine and he loved it.  His wife took a sip and she also said she would drink it.  Its a serious slammer and could easily drain a bottle it is that easy to drink.

try it - 16ish a bottle or less.  Awesome value - and its named after his father - gotta love that 

 
 
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Napa Valley red blend - delicious.  Full bodied with blackberry, plum, tinge of smoke and lingers forever!

Hard to find but well worth it - and a great gift for the car lovers in your life or maybe for fathers day!