Posts Tagged ‘wine’

Sustainability in a bottle? Drink local!

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Locals Only Tasting 6/9We’re all doing our part to be a little more green, so why not extend that effort to your vino selection and keep it local? After all, we live in the lap of vineyard luxury in Santa Barbara and Ventura County with some of the finest Zins, Syrahs and Pinots around. By selecting wines from local vineyards, not only are you cutting down on the energy expended in packing, shipping and transport, but you’re supporting our local winemakers and economy. A glass of wine never felt so sustainably good!

Kick off your wine closet sustainability movement and join us this Thursday 6/9 for a “Locals Only!” tasting of some of our neighbor vineyards’ best. We’re pouring our favorites from neighbor Santa Barbara and Ventura County wineries Dragonette Cellars, Four Brix, Jaffurs, and Babcock for your tasting pleasure. Come taste the local bounty and go green!


Davina DaVino

A taste of the Pacific Northwest – Owen Roe Winery

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Owen Roe Tasting 5/5It’s hard to imagine, but not so long ago, wine experts turned up their nose at Napa. California wines, competing with their French counterparts? C’est ridicule! Yet, starting with the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 where Napa swept the reds and whites, new meccas of wine goodness have been popping up all around the country. One of the latest hotbeds to hit the vino shelves is the great Pacific Northwest. Between its diverse regions of soil and climate favorable for producing fruit with low pH and on point acidity, the Pacific Northwest has burst into the wine scene with distinct flavor, power and personality.

Owen Roe Sinister HandOne of our favorite labels from the Pacific Northwest has to be Owen Roe from David O’Reilly. From its memorable labels (like the severed hand of Sinister Hand) to its complex layers and balance of fruits and spice, Owen Roe’s wines are silky on the palate and big on personality. Such a strong core can only be developed by the history and soil it comes from. Steeped in Irish heritage, the winery is named after Owen Roe O’Neill a 17th century patriot from County Cavan Ireland (where David is originally from) who led an army against Cromwell based principles of integrity and liberty, two ideals that inspire the wines at Owen Roe and are commemorated through images on each of the Owen Roe labels. Continuing the tradition of integrity in his vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and Washington’s west end Yakima Valley, Owen Roe’s grapes are hand harvested and bin fermented with manual punch downs and finally aged in French Oak bringing forth the best that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Yakima Red Owen RoeThe result? A powerful Pacific Northwest offering of some of the best Pinots and Syrah’s we’ve tasted.

  • Syrah Ex Umbris ’09: Latin for “out of the shadows”, this started as a one-off produced from the smoky grapes of a wildfire, but has become a signature Syrah. Deep plum and dark cherry greets you on the nose with a velvet palate of blackberry, peppercorn and black licorice against plush tannins.

Sinister Hand GSM ’09: Besides having one of our favorite conversation labels (depicting the result of a rowing competition between the O’Neills and O’Reillys where in order to reach land first and own it the lagging rower sliced off his hand, tossed it on shore, and became king), this Grenache blend brings a complexity that’s hard to pass up. 79% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 3% Mouvedre, and 2% Counoise.

Yakima Red Bordeaux-style Blend ‘09: Showcasing the world-class Merlot and Cabernet-Franc grapes of the Yakima Valley, the fruit is from several small vineyards from the cooler western end of the region, where the long days of sunshine and moderate temperatures in the evening conspire to produce lush aromatic grapes with lovely acidity and low ph. The result is a lush black cherry, bright red berry and cassis layers with a toasty spice finish.

Owen Roe Ex UmbrisDon’t have a weekend to jet up to the Oregon / Washington border? Never fear my wine enthusiasts, we’ll bring the Pacific Northwest to you (minus the weather). Join us this Thursday 5/5, Cinco de Mayo, to take a tour through Owen Roe’s great Northwest best paired with our own Southwest feast.

Davina DaVino

Forget the bunny. I want wine in my basket!

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Easter Brunch Pairings Chocolate eggs are lovely, but a three hour wine-paired brunch in the backyard sun? I’m there. 

There’s something elegantly lazy but brilliant about a stretched table across the back lawn filled with traditional Easter dishes and a chilled brigade of wine. This year on our table is a new line-up of classics gleaming in the sun, ready for their paired debut. What’s on our menu? Why we thought you’d never ask.

Deviled Eggs & Salmon Crustinis
Pairing: Gruet Brut Sparkling

A brunch just wouldn’t be the same without at least one egg dish, and this year we’re kicking things off with some curried deviled eggs and some salmon custinis. Our recommendation for any egg dish this year is Gruet Brut Sparkling. Gruet Brut’s crisp, full-bodied wine offers an apple and citrus palate, toasty finish and ultra-fine bubbles perfect for getting the meal started with a kick.

Grilled Pear Salad with Roquefort & Bacon Vinaigrette & Grilled Trout
Pairing: Gustave Lorentz Gewurztraminer

It might be Easter, but we still fire up the grill. This year we follow up our apps with my mother’s famous grilled pear salad with Roquefort and bacon vinaigrette and a site of grilled trout. Keeping things light and balanced, we’re pairing our salad course with Gustave Lorentz Gewurztraminer. A perfect pairing for salad and fish courses, Gustave Lorentz Gewurztraminer brings a rose nose, a rich full-mouth feel of tropical fruit and exotic spices on the palate, and a long finish that balances vinaigrettes yet compliments the subtle flavor of the fish.

Ham with Crackling Spiced Brown Sugar Glaze
Pairing (white): Bodegas Botani Moscatel
Pairing (rose): Derby 07 Mosaic Rose
Pairing (red)
: Roar 09 Pinot Noir SLH

Of course we can’t forget the king of the table, the ham with its crackling goodness. This year we’re going a little sweet and a little spicy with our spiced brown sugar glaze to satisfy everyone’s tastes at the table. We could have gone the traditional Riesling route, but instead we invited three of our favorites to the table to please the pickiest of palates.

For our white lovers, we’re pairing our new favorite (right off the crate and onto the shelf): Bodegas Botani Moscatel. Sourced from organically farmed 70 year old Moscatel de Alejandria vines (Malaga, Spain), the Botani displays a sweet nose of mineral, spring flowers and tropical aromas, but delivers a refreshingly dry but very fruity palate that pairs nicely with ham.

For our Rose lovers, we’re pairing our ham with the Derby 07 Mosaic Rose. It might be a new kid to the table, but between its fruit and bright mouth feel Rose we think it’ll hold its own against the Easter ham.

For our red lovers (yes red, why not?), we’re pairing Roar’s 09 Pinot Noir SLH. This Pinot’s ripe black raspberry and blackberry notes with subtle smoke and truffle characteristics offers a nice complement to the spice and sweet of any ham.

Yum. Bring on the Easter bunny! What’s on your table this year?

Happy Easter!

Davina DaVino

Sipping and Grilling – Orin Swift Palermo

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

BBQ Pizza & WineThere’s no doubt. It’s good living in Santa Barbara County. Not only are we nestled with an ocean view in the mecca of some of the best vineyards and winemakers in the world, but we’ve got perfect BBQ weather practically all year long. Great grilling and good wine…how can you possibly beat that?

Yeah, you can’t.

Getting our Wine Grilling on - Palermo

Which is why, as an admitted BBQ addict, I’m constantly on the hunt for great grilling wines. One-course, flash-in-the-pans need not apply. I’m looking for a wine that sips pleasantly round the fire pit for cocktail conversation and yet holds its own when the hot topics get fired up at dinner. We’re talking that rare garnet gem of goodness that brings a balance between easy drinking for easy living and a bold attitude ready to stand up with something to say. It might just be Tuesday, but my grill is hot and I’m lining up the bottles for the weekend.

Orin Swift PalermoTop of my BBQ list this week goes to Orin Swift’s new 2009 Palermo Cabernet Sauvignon (90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot). If you’ve tasted Orin Switft’s The Prisoner , Saldo and Papillon, you know Palermo roars in with an impeccable pedigree and doesn’t disappoint. Gathered from Howell Mountain, Oakville, Rutherford, Saint Helena, and Spring Mountain grapes and aged 16 months in French Oak, Palermo brings to the table blend of the best for a full mouth coat and long finish. It pours dark garnet with a ruby rim and beautiful legs, and unfolds into a bold cherry nose, a perfect complement to a smoking Q. Inside the drink is a complex but silky balance of black raspberries, aged tobacco, and dark chocolate palate with aged oak undertones that blend beautifully with balsamic chicken or stand up to a steak. It lingers on the finish, and packs a punch with 15.5% ALC.

It might only be Tuesday, but I’ve got my Palermo on order and a tri tip in the fridge. Who says BBQing is just for the weekend?

Ready to do some grilling of your own? Swing by The Wine Closet for our Thursday Night Sippin’ and Grillin’ 5-wine flight, and get a taste of Orin Swift’s Palermo.


Davina DaVino

Bottled Passion – Bodega de Edgar

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Bodega de Edgar

What makes a good wine great and a great wine unforgettable? Passion. It might not be heading the tasting notes, but you taste it on the palate and you feel it on finish. It’s the culmination of every decision – from soil selection to aging – being driven by the winemaker’s unyielding commitment to pour every ounce of themselves, their experience, and their journey into bottled perfection. It’s both undeniable and unexplainable, but it’s present in the best. And there are few that it’s more present than in local winemaker Edgar Torres’ Bodega de Edgar wines.

Edgar Torres’ wines are handcrafted masterpieces. No surprise really, as Edgar started his journey surrounded by amazing wines as a waiter at the famous Villa Creek Restaurant, and developed from cellar rat to winemaker under the tutelage of McPrice Myers (McPrice Myers Wines) and Russell From (Herman Story Wines), two outstanding winemakers in their own rite. What Edgar pours into every vintage is his love of the art and of the land culminating in a passion for and commitment to small production, natural wines. Sourcing the same grapes as Meyers and From, Bodega de Edgar’s wines undergo natural fermentation (no yeast added), where the natural heat of Paso Robles and the yeast within the grape skin initiate fermentation, allowing the varietal and vineyard designate to pronounce itself from nose to finish.

Bodega de Edgar - BottlingAs with most masterpieces, they’re few in number and hard to come by. Bodega de Edgar’s lots are small and purposely so focusing on quality over quantity. Edgar’s Grenache/Syrah blend, E2, for example, has only 45 cases produced. His Garnacha? A select 100 cases. And his Albarino? 310 cases. But we’ve got all three, and we’re the only shop in the area that does.

This Thursday night (4/7) we’re pouring all three (E2, Garnacha, and Albarino) limited releases plus Bodega de Edgar’s newly bottled ’09 Tempranillo and ’07 Syrah. Come by and taste the passion!


Davina DaVino

Blends – the Varietal All-Star Team

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Blends - the Varietal All-Star TeamI love a good blend. I’m not talking about the bland, throw-together-whatever-we-have-leftover blends. Thanks, I’ll pass on those. I’m talking about the perfectly balanced masterpieces of vino. I’m talking about the blends that in one sniff, swirl and swallow celebrate the unique attributes of each varietal in a single, powerful union. Maybe it comes from my sports background or maybe because it’s impossible to turn on the T.V. right now without running into another March Madness game. (I’m not bitter the Gators beat my Gauchos…no, not at all.) Blends are like an all-star varietal team. Sure you could have a team of Zin power forwards dunking fruit bombs all day, but who’s going to run the court and bring some color balance to that game? Now throw a little Petite Sirah point guard in the mix, maybe a Grenache guard, and now you’re talking a power team!

Thursday 3/31 Moonstone Cellars Wine TastingWhy blend? According to one of the blend’s best, Moonstone Cellars (featured at this Thursday’s 3/31 tasting), color and balance are the top two reasons. Blending can brighten up a wine, smooth the acidity, balance the alcohol level, and bring complexity to the palate.

In our opinion, Paso Robles has taking the blend to a true art form and has a bounty of blends to pick from.  We thought we’d share a few of our favorites for your all-star vino team consideration.

  • Justin 2007 Isosceles
    A big money player, but packs a punch worth the ticket. Offers an opaque, dense purple-black core with little color change to the rim. The nose brings black and blue fruit, firm but inviting oak notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a sense of just-roasted dark-roast coffee beans with a later note of dark cocoa, a dash of black pepper, and a drop of vanilla. The palate reveals an immensely flavored wine, repeating the black fruit intensity and powerful tannins.The roster: 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot
  • Chronic Cellars 2009 Sofa King Bueno
    Not every player demands a huge contract; Chronic Cellars’ 09 Sofa King Bueno brings power playing for an approachable price. Offering juicy fruits, Bing cherries and ripe blackberries followed up by notes of toasted vanilla, cinnamon spice and clove. Consistent flavor, well-integrated fruit and delicate tannins. Mouth-filling and seductive with no hard edges.The roster: 27% Petite Sirah, 25% Syrah, 20% Tempranillo, 14% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre and 4% Tennat 
  • Herman Story 2008 Tomboy - 90 Points, Robert Parker!
    Who said all great blends are reds? Not us! Herman Story’s 08 90 point white is a full-flavored, balls-to-the-walls, intensively flavored blend. The 08 Tomboy blend brings balance to the court with a powerful, rich white blend of marmalade and tropical fruit aromatics to a boat load of glycerin and concentration. Drink over the next 1-2 years.The roster: 40% Marsanne, 40% Roussanne, and 20% Viognier

So who makes your roster?

Davina DaVino

Wine for St. Patrick’s Day? Why not?!

Friday, March 11th, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Wine PairingsPerhaps it’s the Irish red head in me, but I’m going rogue this St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great beer just as much as the next person (after all, we’re offering a great beer flight and $4.00 black-and-tans in the shop at our St. Patrick’s Day tasting), but I’m thinking, why not try something new this year? Why not wine?

We put our wine-o and foodie crew to work to come up with some not-so-traditional pairings for traditional St. Patrick’s Day dishes. Give them a go for your day of green, and who knows, you might find a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow!

Corned Beef and Cabbage? Pick a nice Pinot Noir.

An Irish-American version of the traditional bacon and cabbage, corned beef and cabbage takes its place as the King of St. Patty’s Day Plates. Created by brined beef boiled with cabbage, vegetables, and traditional seasonings, corned beef and cabbage pairs best with a Pinot Noir or a Grenache which brings fruit and acidity to the dish, but not overwhelmingly so.

  • Our recommendation: Melville’s 2008 Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

    Sure it’s from famous Santa Rita Hills, but more importantly, it brings to the dish a aromatics of black rasberry, black cherry & fig mixed in with spice nuances of pink peppercornss able to stand up to but not bowl over your corned beef and cabbage.

Bangers & Mash? Bring on the Syrah!

Traditionally an English dish, these bold and spicy sausages and mashed potatoes need a bold and spicy wine. A Syrah or Zin with their combination of fruit and spice will match up nicely here, and complement the flavors in the dish.

  • Our recommendation: Jaffurs 2009 Santa Barbara County Syrah   From our local Syrah specialists, Jaffurs, the 2009 SBC Syrah offers a chewy mix of spice, wild berry, pepper and blackberry fruit ending with a long, zesty finish that will leaving you looking for a second sausage.

Fish & Chips? Lighten up with Pinot Grigio.

There’s nothing wrong with serving a crowd pleaser on a holiday. Lighten it up with a fresh Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or a Riesling that cuts through the oils with citrus and mineral tones.

  • Our recommendation: Di Bruno’s 2008 Pinot Grigio

    Straight from our local Santa Rita Hills, this Pinot Grigio is fresh, bright and bold with forward citron and minerals and a strong finish.

Shepherd’s Pie? Hook a Shiraz.

This traditional meat pie made with beef mince and a crust of mashed potatoes may have started from humble beginnings, but today it graces the plate in many a pubs. If digging into this “formerly known as” cottage pie, try the bright fruit and spice of a Shiraz or Syrah to stand up to the crust.

  • Our recommendation: Mollydooker 2008 “The Boxer” Shiraz

    With 91 points from the Wine Spectator, this Shiraz offers a bright and jazzy cherry, pomegranate and spice flavors with strong aromas, density, but without the weight to balance even the heaviest of pies.

Potato Soup? Cool it off with a Chardonnay.

Soup for supper? Yes please! We recommend topping off the simplicity and sublime of traditional Irish potato soup with the butter and oak of a full bodied Chardonnay.

  • Our recommendation: Rombauer 2009 Chardonnay

    We tasted this in the shop at our special Fat Tuesday tasting the other day, and it was a definite crowd favorite. We recommend its rich palate of peach, apple and tropical fruit mixed with oak undertones to bring the brightness and butter to your dish.

Until next time wine fans…cheers!

Davina DaVino

Keep up with us on Facebook or meet up with us 3/17 at our St. Patty’s Day tasting!

New Melville Wines at The Wine Closet

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

The Wine Closet ( is getting new wines daily. Here’s the list (again):

’08 Melville Chardonay Santa Rita Hills – $25.50
’08 Melville Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills – $33.00
’08 Melville Carries Vineyard – $48.00
’07 Stolpman Hillops Syrah – $48.00
’07 Villa Creek Avenger – $36.00
’08 Herman Story Nuts & Bolts – $36.00

Also, the Wine Closet is offering special pricing on McPrice Myers Cuvee Kristina -$43.50. Check it out!!!

Great Price on Mcprice Myers Cuvee Kristina & Chronic Cellars Sofa King Bueno

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Great price on McPrice Myers 2007 Cuvee Kristina – $43.50

Also The Wine Closet ( has Chronic Cellars Sofa King Bueno for the low price of $19.99

And The Wine Closet has the Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise  for $13.00;07-Purple-Paradise/product_info.html?osCsid=aefaffe88643e9926d4a9593e7a0df4f

2007 McPrice Myers Cuvee Kristina

Monday, September 13th, 2010
Great price on McPrice Myers 2007 Cuvee Kristina – $43.50