Tag Archives: California

Seghesio Rockpile Zinfandel

Cost: Average price $35

Where buy now: Pairings – $21.99, France 44, North Loop

Grapes: Zinfandel

Region: Sonoma, California

Vintage: 2010

Seghesio Rockpile Zinfandel

Nothing says, “Happy Birthday, America” like a big Middle Eastern feast, right! I kid, but really, it was great fun to pair different wines with ample amounts of delightful gyro meat, beef samosas, lamb kofta, grilled veggies and saffron rice. After we began the night with my choice of Prosecco [see this week’s white wine review for more about it], it was time to sit down and englut. My friend whom you may remember from the Merlot tasting, Mr. Encyclopedia, and his wife brought a couple reds, a Bordeaux and this gem of a Zinfandel from Seghesio, which he chose specifically to pair with lamb.


Seghesio Family Vineyards established itself as a winery in 1895. Throughout the years, they bought other vineyards and that is why you’ll see Seghesio wines labelled “Old Vines Zinfandel”, “Home Ranch Zinfandel”, “Rockpile”, etc. I won’t go into details, so you can read up more here http://www.seghesio.com

I’d had Seghesio Zinfandel a couple years ago and I remembered that it was great but couldn’t recall which vineyard it hailed from. However, Mr. Encyclopedia brought the Rockpile-grown Zinfandel, which proved to be exceptional. Rockpile is a narrow ridge about 1200 feet above Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County. This area along the hillside has well drained vines with shallow, rocky topsoil. What’s the big deal? Well, this terroir creates an intense and smokey Zinfandel that begs to be paired with BBQ and lamb.

The Rockpile Zin was opened for about an hour ahead of time. We poured glasses and clinked “To America!”

Cheers America

We piled meat upon meat and sprinkled said vittles with a smattering of hummus, baba ganouj, hot sauce and tzatziki. Each of us remarked how delicious it not only tasted but also how well it stood up to all the exotic grilled meats.


This wine is bold, but not in a “smack you on the face” sort of way. It has major fruit action, deep cherry and raspberry flavors, with smoke and spice. It wasn’t overly dry or tannic, just balanced and flavorful. I love Zinfandel but usually don’t buy one for more than $15. This one  is typically around $25, but it is sooooo worth it.

Hendry 2011 Rosé

Cost: Average price $15

Where buy now: Solo Vino

Grapes: Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Primitivo

Region: Napa Valley, California

Vintage: 2011

Hendry 2011 Rosé

Yep, you’ve probably all been waiting with bated breath for the next Red wine of the week (or, perhaps semi-bated breath?). My day job responsibilities prohibited me from sticking to task, once again. And what’s this?  Another Rosé? Oh, just shut up and trust me.

I was introduced to this Rosé at Solo Vino’s Rosé Tasting a couple week’s back. After reviewing my notes, this one was starred by both myself and my husband. Say “hello” to Hendry Rosé from Napa Valley.

Admittedly, I am not as familiar with Napa as I am Sonoma Valley, but this wine embodies all the things I love. First, it hails from a family owned farm (since 1939!). Second, they solely use their own estate grapes to produce wines. They make wine in small batches and that can only lead to quality. This 2011 Rosé marks their 20th vintage!

This wine is created using saignée (Sahn-yay), which means bleeding in French. The saignée method is when the juice is allowed to macerate (soften in liquid) the skins, which is done to extract a certain color. When the wine turns the desired hue (pink, salmon, cranberry, puce, etc.), the tank is then opened to let the wine “bleed off” into another tank to be fermented and made into Rosé. The remaining wine stays in the tank to macerate longer to give the wine a deeper red color, and later is fermented to become a “standard” red wine. Such elaborate technique to refine nature into your bottle of wine! It’s all quite blinding, this science.

This wine is made with the following grapes: Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc & Primitivo. If you are fans of any (or all),  this is your Rosé. If you are STILL hesitant to try pink wine (I’m looking at my “manly” friends), this is one to start with. It’s totally pink and fruity, but man up. Hell, drink it from a giant ceramic stein, your leather flask, or a hollowed out animal horn if you must- I won’t tell!   

Yeah, I know I keep saying Rosé embodies smells and tastes of strawberry, spice and everything nice. But if I could reach out of your screen and give you a glass of this right now, I would. (Don’t you sometimes wish you lived in the classic video for Aha’s “Take on Me”? No?!? Oh, right, me either.) This wine is dry, balanced with a little citrus and a little herb and goes with _everything_. I’ve had it several times now and I can’t find one thing this wine clashes with.

This is such a pleasing, Summery, drink-on-your-patio-until-you-get-perma-grin kinda wine, I can’t stand it. I even ran back to Solo Vino to buy more because it’s made in such a small batch. Folks, there are only a couple cases left and then, bye-bye 2011 Hendry Rosé. I guess that means every Rosé truly has it’s…  Well, you know.

Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Vineyard Pinot Noir

Cost: Average price $40

Where buy now: France 44 – $39.99

Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir

Region: Central Coast, Santa Maria, California

Vintage: 2010

Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Vineyard Pinot Noir

If you are looking for a splurge or need to find a great gift, I must send you to France 44 for this lovely bottle of Pinot Noir. The packaging alone is magnificent! If you love the melty-wax goodness look of the Maker’s Mark seal, this bottle won’t disappoint. It, too, has a sexy, waxy closure. But, unlike the April “Skank of the Month” I reviewed, this bottle is much more than just a pretty face.

Belle Glos Clark and Telephone Vineyard Pinot Noir comes from a single vineyard in Santa Barbara, California. The vines sit at a lower altitude and this warmer climate produces more concentrated berry-fruit flavors. The strands used to make this wine are some of the oldest and largest in California.

Quite simply, it’s just a kick ass Pinot Noir. I had the pleasure of assisting a wine tasting host out at France 44 a month ago and this was one of said bottles. It was a favorite amongst the shoppers and definitely one of mine. Expect tastes that are both smooth, and yet complex. Flavors of tart ripe berries and sweet baking spices swirl with what seems like flavor of the ocean air lends itself to mouth-full of scrumptiousness.

Last, but not least: this is a wine you’ll want to stick your nose in- what a bouquet! Don’t be shy with this one, and retrieve scents of berries with a touch of cinnamon. And, oh yeah, the flavor on the tongue ain’t too bad, either.

I really don’t have much else to say [for once], and you know what? That’s just OK. Some wines just leave you with little more than a warm, fuzzy grin.