Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Wine of the Week: Closson Chase 2013 Chardonnay

Recently I have been introduced to some beautiful examples of wine that are made right here in my own backyard of Ontario and Quebec.  Bachelder, Pearl Morissette, Carone to throw out  few names..... But it when comes to Chardonnay, PEC's Closson Chase has got to be, hands down, the best I have had from Canada, and that goes for a few years running now.  

My pal Mr. B was the first to introduce me to CC's Chardonnay, just before my stint in Oz. After going to PEC for a long weekend, he came back with at least a case of the stuff and I was considered a good enough friend for him to give me a bottle.  He was very enthusiastic about the wine and swore to me I would fall in love with it.  Thank you B.... Forever grateful. I remember my first taste of it like it was yesterday. I was at my parents summer cabin where they use to fish lobster for a living. I had before me the freshest lobster one could ever dream of - and a bottle of Closson Chase 2010 Chardonnay. What a pairing - It left such an impression,          that I am still getting pleasure from that bottle of wine.

Fast forward to December 2015, and once again, the Chardonnay was accompanying snow crab that, "ahem" magically appeared before me.  I feel a connection between the wine and the food here: salty air, fresh fish and cool Canadian wine just seem to fit together.  

Founded in 1998, Closson Chase is located in Ontario's Prince Edward County - roughly a 4 hour drive west of Montreal.  They do not have a huge variety of wines to choose from, as they only make Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but I believe this is key to the quality, beauty, and success of their wines. They do only 2 varietals, but damn they do it well.  The Closson Chase team know the land, the soil, the vines. At their vineyard in PEC, limestone bedrock with stony soil make up the appellation and vines produce low yields of grapes with excellent fruit concentration.  Their team is confident that the combination of the site, soil and grape varieties influence the style of their exciting wines.  In addition to its estate grown wines, they also produce wines with grapes sourced form the Niagara Peninsula, sub-appellation from Beamsville Bench. 

Pale gold in colour, the legs are thick and slow to run down the glass.  The nose displays medium fruit intensity of candied lemon, cream, and flirtatious honey.

On the palate the fruit is generous with ripe tangerine, sweet pineapple and cream from malolactic fermentation.  Oak definitely plays a role but marries well with the fruit, bright acidity and leaves a creamy thick mouthfeel.  The finish is long and light, a fine example of finesse and elegance.  Careful with the cork on this one -  it was a bit damp and fell apart 
when opened.


This is a beauty of a wine, and I am so excited and proud that it is made right here in Canada.  Up and coming Prince Edward County has some amazing wines to offer, and I am making sure that I pay them a visit this coming summer.  

Wine: Closson Chase Chardonnay 2013
Producer: Closson Chase
Grape: 100 % Chardonnay
Alcohol: 12.5 %
Price: Sold out at the Closson Chase winery.  Available by the case at Sélection Caviste : http://www.selectioncaviste.com/fr/
Buy Again: Absolutely!


Monday, 21 December 2015

Wine of the Week: Henry Marionnet - Première Vendange Rouge 2014

Christmas Day is approaching and I have arrived to yet another little snow covered northern town, not too far from Santaland,  to celebrate with the rest of my family. Wanting to set the mood for the holidays, I needed to break out a wine that I thought would please the palate of my family ( tough job - as they are not wine drinkers), and myself. Henry Marionnet Première Vendange Rouge 2014 it was, and it for sure made a nice accompaniment to the meal of baked ham and the mountain of other foods strewn across my grandmother’s table.  

The color had me doing a double take:  medium purple with ruby hues - it looked pretty seductive.  Not a bad start I’d say….

On the nose, plenty of pretty dark cherry bubble gum, blackberry jam and an added hint of pine tree needles.  Fitting for the holidays so far, no?!?

On the palate, there is loads and loads of blackberry fruit, dark cherries, and slight sweet spice, slight herbaceousness…this wine is lively.  The acidity is pleasant and tannins are there, but not distracting. However there is something a tad lacking for me - the fruit which is abundant and lovely at the beginning kind of fades mid way through the palate as does the medium finish. Don’t get me wrong - this is a good, clean, rustic wine. 

Reading all the reviews online, I cant help but wonder if I am the only person in history not to fall in love with it? Self doubt washes over me and I want to destroy my tasting note and go for a second slice of apple pie.  

This wine was made with no added sulphur or cultured yeast - minimal intervention - a fine natural wine sitting in front of me. Good, clean, and enjoyable but I am not over the moon about it.  

Then, I had a thought… this wine tasted familiar to me. Something I have had before. Reminded me of ….that Trousseau from Bornard, and the Lammershoek Pinotage…..and, “Oh yeah”…… my mind drifts.  

Why the hell do all these natural wines sort of taste the same? What is the commonality between them? Naturally occurring yeasts? All these examples are from different regions - where does terroir fit into this? It would be very difficult for me to taste and distinguish these wines blind without any preparation beforehand.  

I have had absolutely beautiful, amazing examples of natural wines before - my post from last week will support this statement….but at the same time, I have had wines that well…reminded me of the other natural wine that I had not too long ago.  It also reminded me of all the similar Californian cabs I used to drink when I first started getting into wine.  What the piss is up with that? It seems to me natural winemakers are doing exactly the same thing they blame the industrial wines for doing: formatting the taste.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for any winemaker, and that especially includes those who chose to take the organic/biodynamic route and let the grapes speak for themselves. ( The making of wine is a freaking miracle anyway….so there.)  It may or may not be considered more work depending on who you talk to….and there is a lot of risk involved. One vintage may be nowhere near the same as the next.  

Henry Marionnet is making wines on ungrafted vines in the Loire, which means they are very susceptible to the phylloxera louse which can pretty much easily destroy his vineyards.  I have another bottle of the Première Vendange and I look forward to opening it again to get a comparative tasting.  I have a lot of respect for his winemaking philosophy and I am eager to more of his examples in the future.  

Wine: Henry Marionnet Première Vendange Rouge 2014 
Producer: Henry Marionett
Grape: 100 % Gamay
Alcohol: 12.5 %
Price: $23.15
SAQ Code: 1251178
Buy Again:  Unless the second bottle I have gives a different impression, I don't think so.  

Monday, 14 December 2015

Parés Baltà

As a wine lover, one of the most rewarding feelings is discovering a new wine that I absolutely go crazy for.  It is easy to get enthused by something I haven't tried before, especially if it’s good.  However, every now and then, I get a sweet taste of something that stops me in my track  and I say, “ What is that?!”.  A good wine will make me happy. A very good wine does the same, but with an added, unexplainable sensual experience - a gratification and spark of something that simply resonates deep within me.  It is as if I am some way connected to that wine. This was my experience with Parés Baltà's Pink Cava. 

Following a recent WSET 4 exam, my study partners and I celebrated another unit out of the way by sharing some of our favourite bottles.  My pal David introduced the Cava, and assured us we would love it - and so we did. So much so, I bought a case to bring back with me to the north. ( I am a sucker for bubbles, and ever more so for pink bubbles.)  And do you know what made this wine taste even better?!? Meeting one of the producers, Joan Cusine Carol only a couple days later at La Grande Dégustation in Montreal.

His wines are as energetic and enthusiastic as he is.  This was immediately evident as he spoke  passionately and deeply about his work and the winemaking philosophy behind it. Parés Baltà is an organic/biodynamic run family affair.  Located  only 55 km south of Barcelona, the winery was established in 1790 and is now under management by Joan and his brother Josep.  The role of winemakers goes to Josep’s and Joan’s wives, Marta Casas and Elena Jiménez.   Once a pharmacist and chemical engineer respectively, their passion and love for wine led them to the vines and they are now completely involved in all projects Parés Baltà.

photo: Parés Baltà

With bees pollinating the vines, and sheep to fertilize the soil, the vineyards are certified biodynamic and wines organic. Making wine in this way does not feel like extra work for them, because it is the way it has always been and always will be.  It is their way of contributing to a healthier population and planet - not to mention how this is reflected in the quality of their wines. Pure, clean, and expressive - the samples I tasted at La Grande Dégustation were very exciting.  

My favourites:

Calcari - 100% Xarel-lo

Pale yellow in colour with bits of green tints.  The nose and palate displayed delicate citrus of lime and tangerine.  There were hints of white fruit such as pear and quince. The acidity is welcoming,refreshing and bright.  The burst of salty minerality leaves a lasting impression.( Calcari mean calcareous in Catalan)  

After a light maceration of four hours, the grapes are pressed and then fermented in stainless steel tanks for 21 days at average temperature of 16 degrees Celsius.  After fermentation , contact with lees for four months with a daily bâttonage.  

I had never tried Xarel-lo on its own before - it is a grape normally found as a blend in Cava from Spain.  I was certainly not disappointed and I am now on the look out for a bottle at the SAQ.  ( SAQ Code: 11377225 $19.25 )

Cava Pink Rosé

Grenache - 38%, Parellada - 32%, Maccabeu - 30%

Pale salmon in colour with a tinge of orange.  Bubbles are fast and persistent. 

The nose displays a medium intensity of wild raspberry and cream. Crushed stone and a touch of chorizo,  with a slight herbaceous note.  Complex, vibrant and intense.  

On the palate, the bubbles are persistent and playful.  Fun texture.   The raspberry and strawberry red fruit is framed by bright acidity and touch of spice.   Loads of minerality, crisp.  Offers lively energy with a clean, medium finish.  

Alcoholic fermentation at 16 degrees celsius in stainless steel tanks for two weeks.  Second fermentation in the bottle.  

Private Import: Trialto  $19.95

Every time I open a new bottle, there is always something new to discover. Could be bottle variation, could be me.  All I confidently say is that this is a beautiful example of what all Cava Rosé should be.  The influence of the Grenache is key in this wine and it  creates something truly unique and special.  

It certainly has personality… stock up folks.  

The wines of Parés Baltà are wonderful, especially for the price.  Behind all the hard work and ethics, behind their wine making…..is a family who has a love for what they do.  It is a story of passionate people tending to soil, the grapes, the wine and it is fortunate people like you and me who get to taste it. 

photo: Parés Baltà

Monday, 7 December 2015

Wine of the Week: Pol Roger Brut Réserve 2004

When I moved back to the Coast in August - I wanted to start a wine club. A club where people could taste some different wines, ask questions about it, socialize a bit and hang out. There isn't a whole lot happening in town, and this would be a great way for people to connect, while tasting some new wines. Give or take any week there about 10 people who show up on a  Friday night. It does not consist of getting drunk or talking about wine the whole time. We have some really cool conversations about travel, music, hunting.... 

Most everyone in the club had  never tried Champagne - and to be fair, I have not had many experiences myself besides the odd trade event here and there.  We all chipped in $10 and a few weeks later, we had a Pol Roger Brut 2004  in front of us. Being it was  most everyone's first experience trying Champagne, it was exciting to see everyone's reactions.  The texture of the wine seemed to be their favourite. They were also so surprised that they could actually detect the flavours and aromas of yeast, buttered toast and brioche. I may have enjoyed their reactions more than the wine.  I was well pleased with myself for helping them find the perfect bubbles. 

Coming from Côte de Blancs and Montagne de Reims, this was 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay.  The wine undergoes full malolactic fermentation before the final blending. Secondary fermentation takes place inside the bottle at 9*C, and riddling gets done by hand.  

Medium gold in colour, there are fine and persistent bubbles in the glass. On the nose, there are  rich and creamy notes of butter cake and fresh made bread, with refreshing  apple cider. Pinch of smoke. The palate features layers of elegant citrus, brioche and hazelnut which  is framed by a firm acidity.  The medium body and structure consisting of fine and long lasting bubbles dances on your palate leading to medium plus finish, taunting you to taste more. This is well balanced and easy to drink. Mouthwatering. 

Wine: Pol Roger Brut 2004
Producer: Pol Roger 
Grape Varieties: Pinot Noir (60%), Chardonnay (40%)
Alcohol: 12%
Price: $92.50
SAQ code :  11856103
Buy again: YES - if my wallet allowed it. 

Monday, 30 November 2015

Wine of the Week : 2012 Bachelder Minéralité

Every wine I have tasted of Bachelder, I have enjoyed. Very much. Although I made a couple attempts to get in touch with him before, the first time I met Thomas Bachelder was this past November at Le Grande Degustation in Montreal.  I had loads of questions prepared - but I didn't need them.  Super down to earth, and eager to connect, this guy started talking and didn't stop for the whole half hour during the interview.  "How did it all start ?", was the only question asked. I could have listened to him all day. And who could forget the neon pink socks this guy was sporting? Man of his own mind.  

Medium gold in color. On the nose, this wine gives way to lots of citrus -  lemon lime, and white fruit such as pear.  There is an oak presence of dough and fresh made bread.  Intertwined is the nuance of white flowers - a touch of chamomile....endearing.... On the palate, the bright acidity supported by the medium plus intensity of citrus fruit makes your lips smack. Lots of candied lemon, mouth watering honeyed wet stone. Salty. Medium bodied, the oak is present and plays a very important supporting role, but it does not take away from the other elements of the wine.  There is cream and a little butter- but not too much.  The finish was pleasing and medium plus in length.  This is a very good wine for the price.  

Wine: 2012 Minéralité 
Producer: Bachelder
Variety: Chardonnay
Price: $23.25
SAQ code :  12610025
Buy again: YES

Monday, 23 November 2015

2012 Freestyle Rouge

2012 Freestyle Rouge LeDomaine Gayda.

This last minute grab at the SAQ in Sept - Îles was surprising. I could easily spend hours there - looking at the hundreds of possibilities, wondering what lies inside the bottle, what grub I could cook up to be served along side of it. Time was not my friend that afternoon so I had all of 5 minutes to chose something, pay, and catch the boat to the Coast. I tell friends to never ever buy a wine based on a label, but this one caught my attention. Dude jumping into the sky? Cool! Certified organic? Ok. Blend of 4 different varieties from Pays d'Oc?! Done.

I opened it up a few hours before dinner to allow some time for the wine to breathe.  I also needed a cup of it for the braised beef, so it was a perfect compliment to meal. 

Medium purple in colour with a touch of a ruby hue, legs were thin but slow. On the nose , the wine displayed medium intensity spicy dark plum and dark ripe cherries. Pretty. On the palate , there was medium acidity - not flabby at all. Refreshing. Plenty of blackberry and plum fruit, spice, oak presence - meshed with tannin that allowed for interesting texture. Medium bodied and medium in alcohol. The finish was a tad short for me , but this was a super wine.  Easy to knock back with or without food. Clean, lovely.  I regret not throwing another one in my cart.  

Wine: Freestyle Rouge 2012
Producer: Le Domaine Gayda
Varieties: Syrah (40%), Grenache Noir (30%), Carignan (20%), Mourvèdre (10%).
Alcohol: 13%
Price: $22
SAQ code :  12489536 
Buy again: YES

I served a Braised Beef and Oka cheese Sheperd's Pie

 Sautéed Brussels sprouts with bacon and maple syrup.


Sunday, 31 May 2015

Luscious Lushes

This post is loooooong overdue.  It took me about 6 months to plan, meet approval and get organized but the first ever Wine Appreciation/Intro to Wine course on the Lower North Shore of Quebec took place in La Tabatiere this past winter/spring.  These hard working, fun loving, keen, silly, beautiful and feisty women signed up for a 6 week course that allowed them to not only taste wine – but to learn about the history, geography, science and art that comes with it. 


In a small classroom at the local school, these women began to learn about something that I am needless to say -  very passionate about. It was my pleasure to share this passion with them –  I am humbled by their curiosity, dedication and attitude with it all. As much as we laughed, ate, and ‘tasted’, ( and we did A LOT of all three ) they took it very seriously.

The best part was -  of course  - the tastings at the end of night!  It was their first time tasting wine ‘professionally’, and I loved every second of it! They were SO GOOD at identifying aromas, flavors, tannin!  Adelaine or ‘Maid’ as she is also known as left me in stitches every night.  She was SPOT ON with her tasting notes!!!   “This wine has that dancing in your pleather  pants for 2 hours kind of leather notes’.  It’s funny – but at the same time it is so true!  Wine is very subjective.  What one tastes can be completely different from someone else; and the flavors/aromas we identify comes from experience!  If someone has never tasted passion fruit – how can that person identify it in wine? ( And sauvignon blanc is ALL passion fruit).  Adeline was great . No – she was amazing.  She studied, she asked tons of questions – she gave feedback.  Carrie R came up with tasting notes that were  just as funky– but again, very unique to her experience.  A tasting note of mussel farm rope, most people on the Coast could understand – but maybe not someone from Plateau Montreal. 

Maureen O and Maureen C were just as keen!  Maureen O is thinking about continuing her studies by taking courses online. Trina G has revamped the wine celler in her home and is desperate to go on a food/wine trip soon.  Julie T will be making sure the Luscious Lushes continues to taste – they will be starting their wine club in the fall! Tara B – God love her. Smiles all the time – and let’s hope for everyone’s sake, she stays away from the Two Oceans.  ;) Donna R – she is determined to one day find a good Champagne!

I have to give these gals credit;  They took time out of their already busy schedules to attend and study a topic that would not , in the end, give them any kind of advantage in the work force.  These girls were in for pure interest and pleasure – and I couldn’t happier.  Every night someone took s turns whipping up some delicious meal that was associated with the country that we were covering that night! Paella, spaghetti, BBQ ribs, moose bourguignon, cheese, home made bread…..   They became intoxicated not from the wine  - but from the regions, the grape varieties, the regulations, the winemakers, everything!  On my part – it was of course a bit selfish to get so much pleasure out of teaching these girls what I knew about the wine world.  There is no truer saying that “Through wine comes friendship”.    


In a small isolated fishing town of about 400 students, these 8 women dedicated their time to study and learn about something that was pretty foreign to them.  There is no independent SAQ store there, no private imports….just a friendly shop that sells wine along side your fruit/veg – and fishing gear of course!  (Getting the wine come to town was a bit of challenge.  Making 6 trips to the store and back home with cases of wine on my ski- doo without breaking anything was a miracle itself.)

I am so proud of them for taking the risk at learning and trying something new. I’ve planted a small seed here, and I hope they continue to explore the world through wine.  The Lower North Shore is a very special part of the world – surrounded by natural beauty and friendly people.  And although not many from home understand or care about wine - Thank you for allowing me to share something that means so much to me.  Cheers!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

My Love, My Copain

During our trip in Sonoma, Copain Winery was a must stop for me. Having tried mainly their Pinot Noir in Montreal at a winemaker’s tasting at Place des Arts and briefly speaking with their wine maker, I really wanted to taste what other wines they were producing. 

Copain’s wine maker Wells Guthrie started his winemaking career in Burgundy and Rhone before coming back to California in 1999.  He and a friend started Copain (meaning partner in French) with the intention of making wines that are very French in style, but whose ‘terroir’ spoke Californian – proving that elegant, fresh wines can be made there. 

My friend/travel companion, along with our two babies made our way to Copain in the Windsor area, just a 30-minute ride from Landmark Vineyard.   If I wasn’t paying attention – I would have missed it.  The sign for Copain was no bigger than my computer screen, and it was gated! I needed a code to get in – definitely not a walk in – appointments are mandatory!  A minute later we were on the hilltop overlooking views of Russian River Valley, and behind us the tasting room/winery.  On a Monday morning, we pretty much had the place to ourselves and we loved it.  Jeff, our tasting guide, was so friendly, accommodating and patient with our kids, and very knowledgeable about the wines, vineyard and things to do in the area.
We felt at home immediately as we tasted their Single Vineyard 2012 Laureles Grade Chardonnay while overlooking the valley outside. What a way to start a tasting! This wine as lovely – crisp and clean, beautiful fruit displaying red apples, citrus, a bit of pear and a hint, just a hint of oaky creaminess that tied it all together.  The acidity was just right – leaving you wanting more.  A+.

Moving inside, we moved on to their Pinot Noirs.  Accompanying the wine was a lovely little plate of cheese, nuts, charcuterie…. Allowing us to appreciate the wines in its full potential.  Copain wines can certainly be enjoyed without food, but in this case, it only enhanced the fruit and complexity of every single wine we tasted. 
The Monument Tree Pinot Noir was simply elegant – beautiful, round, red fruit – lots of cherry and strawberry, length that went on for days and well integrated tannin that will allow this wine to cellar for at least another 8 years.  Superb!

The Wendling Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley was equally as impressive, this one displaying a little more texture on the palate.  It went a little ‘deeper’….even with color.  All their wines spend about 9-10 months on oak…. never new.  The oak in the wines of Copain always plays a supporting role rather than being a front-runner. 

The fourth wine was the Brosseau Syrah – so complex. It danced in your mouth. Tremendous black fruit, cherries, plums, and the famous spice that syrah is known for – so welcoming.  Great tannin structure, which will allow it to age and be enjoyed in years to come.  Again – I was faced with the dilemma of what to buy! 

There was something magical about this place; the professionalism of the staff, the outstanding wines, and that view – so, so special.  You can tell from the wines, the setting, and even the building that passion for wine runs deep here.  Classy, elegant, fresh – best describes this place in every way.  

Thank you, Copain for making it such a beautiful, special day for us. 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sideways 2 : Revenge of the Moms

2014 has been a  bittersweet year – In June, my beautiful baby boy Jake Ryder was born brining me more joy than I ever thought possible – his tiny toes, sweet smile and cheeky sense of humor makes me fall in love with him more and more each day.  Sadly though, only a week after he was born, my mother’s cancer came back and in September she passed away leaving one huge hole in my heart.  Jake was only three months old but I am so happy my mother got to spend some time with her grandson.  If she could see him now, she would be so proud of the beautiful, happy baby he is. 

 Jake and I between the vines on the Landmark property. 

He has a big family loves him on the Coast and good friends in Montreal that he will grow up knowing.  With all of the stress,  anger, and sadness of the events in the past few months, I needed to get away. I wanted Jake and I to go somewhere together and have him to myself for just a little bit; and let’s face it, I needed to drink some good wine again.  It was a toss up between California and Italy – and since I was not yet ready to take Jake overseas just yet – Napa/Sonoma Valley it was.

                                                      Jake and Elsie having having some fun at Landmark.

My old time friend Liane and her twenty month old daughter Elsie came along for the ride.  Moms on a mission to seek out some good wine. Our plan was simple: Drive from winery to winery with our kids attached on our hip.  Some spots were warm and welcoming, and others, although few,  not so much. Strange looks and a ‘tsk tsk  tsk’ here and there.  However at Landmark Winery – we were greeted with a very warm welcome.

                                                    The gang at the Landmark tasting room.  

With the help of my friend/travel agent Cindy Almond, we found a sweet little cottage to rent at Landmark Vineyards in Sonoma. She searched everywhere and ended up finding this hidden gem.   It was the perfect spot – Donna and her hospitality team at Landmark were amazing in accommodating all of us.  The cottage, which is only a five minute walk from their tasting room, had been recently renovated just before our stay.

 New floors, updated cabinetry, brand new sparkling bathroom, and an awesome queen size bed  made for a comfortable stay .  The living room had a comfy sofa bed which allowed us to have some privacy for sleeping.  Donna had even supplied us with pack and plays, high chair and a bath tub for the babies to make life a bit easier for us.  This was really appreciated! When we arrived, our fridge was stocked with bottled water, yogurt, fresh fruit and breakfast muffins!  These small details made things extra special for us. 

                                                  Our home for a week : Landmark Cottage 

The views surrounding the cottage was magical - rolling hills, hugged by the fog, pretty pink flowers, and of course lots and lots of vines, ….. it was breathtaking. It looked even better when we had a glass of Landmark’s Outlook Chardonnay on the front porch. (BTW - One complementary bottle with our stay.)  Landmark primarily produces only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and they do it well.  Smart.  Being a guest of theirs, we had the opportunity to taste some wonderful wines and had a special tour of their estate. 

Like most wineries in the area, Landmark sources their grapes from different regions in California.   They were founded in 1974 by  Damaris Deer Ford, the great great granddaughter of John Deer.  Damaris wanted to make Pinot Noir but quickly learned that Landmark was a better spot for growing Rhone style grapes.  So, like most wineries in the area, Landmark sources its grapes from different counties; Sonoma , Monterey and Santa Barbra. 

Their wines are typically Californian – beautiful lush fruit, fresh, with oak playing a supportive role.  Buttery and soft with very good length.  Landmark has intents of making wine that reflects the site they come from.   Their chardonnays are silky, smooth, bursting with fruit, with excellent length.   My favorite was their Overlook Chardonnay – goes down real easy, and keeps you wanting more.  Lots of citrus and pear – very refreshing.  Their Pinot Noir was also a hit for me – lots of red berry fruit, and quite complex with lots of texture.  A  birthday gift from Landmark ( so so thoughtful and sweet) , their Grand Detour was my favorite.  Lots of blackberry, cherry and smoky bacon, welcoming tannin,  good acidity to keep it nice and fresh- with a  length that went on for days.  I miss it  - wish I could have brought home more.

                                                  Landmark's Overlook Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

As a place to stay – this was place was truly amazing.  I would highly recommend this to anyone wanting to get away with a loved one, family, or friends.  It was close to all the famous wineries, great restaurants ( loved Palooza – best burgers, fries, and much needed craft beers when wanting a break from all the wine...more in an upcoming post).  The cottage itself was very clean, beds very comfortable, and even the small details made us feel so welcome and at home. The cottage allowed us to self cater with a fully equipped kitchen,  a home phone, t.v., washer and dryer.  We were well taken care of here. Thanks a million times to Landmark for all they did to accommodate us - they made our stay so special.

The wines were gorgeous and delicious.  It was hard to choose which ones I would take back home with me.  If you ever find yourself in Sonoma – this place is not to be missed.  Ask for Winona – she will take good care of you. 

Liane and I had a great stay – and so did the kiddies.  Travelling with the babies wasn’t difficult – sure changing diapers in a fancy shmanchy tasting room was tricky but we managed and they travelled real well.   The funny looks we got from our fellow tasters did not sway us.   We walked into so many tasting rooms, and we proud to be there with them.  We were in Napa and Sonoma for God’s sakes – nothing was going to stop us from trying some exciting wine.  The memories we made from the trip will last a lifetime, and when the babes get older they will hear all about it.  I will always travel with Jake – of course it wont be a wine focused vacation every time, but we will have adventures together  - so many places in this world to see. My future partner in crime.  J  Thanks to Liane and Elsie who put up me!  Ba Ba Do Do all the way Gorgeous Girl! 

                                      Elsie taking the time to smell the roses outside the Landmark Cottage



Cindy Almond - Travel Agency