Wine Stories

Summer Sangria with Pinot

Making sangria with Pinot Noir requires a very appropriate technique when it comes to the mixing process. Make sangria with Pinot Noir with help from Michael La Vardera at The Tasting Rooms of American Estates Wines, Manhattan professional sommelier, beverage director, and wine educator.

Things You'll Need

  •  Mixing container
  •  Chilled pinot noir
  •  Chilled...
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About Your Weight


A few days ago, Steve (Schepman, President of the Wine Tasting Network) sent me a chart that paired wines and food by weight, and said we ought do a quick entry on this topic. This chart categorized Rielsing as light and Chardonnay as heavy. Pinot Noir (light) was deemed less rich than Merlot (medium).  Of course you ask, ‘Waitaminnit, Riesling fro...

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Taste the Mountains...

Comments  |   Posted in Wine Life Wine Features Wine Teasers Ambrosia Wine Just Got Personal   |  By Peter Downey


For millennia, hillsides were preferred for growing wine grapes where each plant has greater exposure to the sun, especially at the beginning and end of a season. At elevation, cooler temperatures, better drainage and thinner top soils make for a more vigorous vine.

In Napa, the Vaca Mountains to the east are pale with browned grasses, composed of...

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Delectus Feature


Here in the Napa Valley, so many new wineries are vanity projects, or investments that start with money in search of “brand equity” or “market share”.  It is comforting to know that men and women of vision can still come to Napa and Sonoma, to receive and reinterpret the life and work of the first producers who established this as a premier winegro...

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Sparkling Wine Popsicles

Mimosa Ice Pops Recipe

  • Champagne or Sparkling wine
  • Fruit purees of your choice (orange, strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, etc)
  • Sugar (if needed, optional)


1. Make individual fruit purees in blender and then set aside. If needed, add a tiny bit of champagne to get enough liquid to completely puree your fruit.

2. For the ice pops, add a ratio...

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The Paris Tasting Anniversary

“Not bad for kids from the sticks.”

Paris Tasting

This was the sum total of Jim Barrett’s response to the news that his Chateau Montelena 1973 Napa Chardonnay had triumphed over several of France’s great white Burgundies at the “Judgement of Paris” blind tasting, arranged in that city by Englishman Steven Spurrier to mark the US Bicentennial.

There was one reporte...

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Moms Who Rock

Comments  |   Posted in Wine Life Wine Just Got Personal   |  By Amber Snider

Mother Winemakers in the Napa Valley


Heidi Peterson Barrett

When it comes to amazing moms, there are plenty of inspiring women doing pretty powerful stuff in their worlds. With Mother’s Day just around the corner (May 10th) we thought we’d take a little time and shine a spotlight on a few Rock Star  Mom Winemakers in Napa Valley. 

Barb Spelletich (pictured top-right), a c...

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Malbec: International Wine of Mystery

World Malbec Day is April 17th. To celebrate, let's dive into some history of this fascinating grape...

MENDOZA, Argentina. Everything is big here. The colossal Andes to the west, the vast, pale blue sky overhead, and the impossibly huge pampas – high desert plains that stretch for thousands of miles from the foothills to Buenos Aires and the sea – ...

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Breaking Bud

Comments  |   Posted in Wine Life Wine Features Wine Teasers Ambrosia Napa Connection Wine Just Got Personal   |  By Peter Downey & Kristina Palko

Breaking Bud

“You know, I… I just think that ah, things have a way of working themselves out.” Walter White

Bud break’is more than the first act of a new vintage; it is the start of the grueling, year-round commitment to nurture, prune, watch, pray, wait, harvest, and then craft what will hopefully be the greatest vintage to date.

In 2015, bud break arrived early...

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Easter Food & Wine Pairing Guide

Comments  |   Posted in Wine Life Wine Just Got Personal   |  By Peter T. Downey

Easter food and wine pairings

The Lamb was sure to go… with MERLOT

“Mary had a Little Lamb, a Little Pork, a Little Ham…”

The now famous pairing of Beef Bourguignon and red Burgundy (Pinot Noir) evolved over centuries: famed for the cattle owned by the Lords and Monasteries of Burgundy, the region’s poor ‘paysan’ farmers would slow-cook tougher cuts of beef with a few vegetables ...

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