Author: PositiveVines

Tuli Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast – “a place to return home”

“I know you all have Pinot envy” – goodie-two-shoes The top grape producing areas for Pinot Noir wine in the United States are – Willamette Valley, Anderson Valley, Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley. Situated on the northeast coast of California, the cooler weather, rolling 

Landon Winery – Award Winning Texas Wines

“Conserve Texas Water – Drink Texas Wine” – Texas wineries and vineyards have grown since the site of the first vineyards established by Franciscan priests in 1662. With numbers ranging from 350 – 400 wineries, Texas is now the fifth largest wine producing area 

Villa Maria – Sauvignon Blanc from the New World

“There had never before been a wine that crackled and spat its flavours at you from the glass..” Oz Clarke

The 2016 Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc from Villa Maria vineyards is a strong best buy offering reminding me of more expensive versions from the Sancerre region of France. As mentioned in an earlier blog, I was fortunate to obtain a shipment of six varietals from the Villa Maria vineyard as part of a remote tasting featuring Senior Winemaker Helen Morrison. This is the third offering in the series that I will be featuring.
Sauvignon Blanc is the predominant wine growing grape engine of New Zealand making up 72% of the wine produced in this country. Over 82% of the exports from New Zealand include the varietal as of 2016. In a little over 3 decades, the Marlborough region of New Zealand has transformed itself into a major player in the production of wines enjoyed around the world.

               Marlborough Vineyards – picture courtesy of Villa Maria

The Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc features a complexity and fullness that I find rare in most New World Sauvignon Blanc wines. The red fruit paired with citrus and lemon grass presents multiple layers of tastes. The wine has a light herbal nose. Tastes of passion fruit, gooseberry, and grapefruit are balanced with each one introducing itself to your palate.

  Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc is round with very light acidity. The 2016 harvest featured grapes from the cool climate of the Awatere Valley as well as the warmer Wairau Valley to produce the contrast of citrus and tropical flavors.

Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc received a 90-point rating from Wine Spectator keeping in line with the high quality of production at a price that makes it accessible for everyday drinking.

At $13 per bottle this is a good pairing with seafood and as a chilled aperitif. As with all Sauvignon Blanc wines, the 2016 offering is meant to be enjoyed immediately upon purchase. Grab a few bottles to enjoy during the last days of summer with friends and family.

Remember to drink what it is that makes you truly happy and always think positively!

Drink Responsibly!

#SnoothVT #wbc2017 @villamaria_wine

Bottega Louie – Mixology renaissance in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles

“A mixologist serves drinks, a bartender serves people–many of my favorite bartenders can’t make a good drink, while some of the best mixologists in America can’t carry on a conversation.”- Jim Meehan Traveling feeds my soul and on every trip I try to either find somewhere new to share or visit a favorite 

New Zealand Chardonnay – Villa Maria Vineyards and Winery

My second wine in the Villa Maria tasting series is a Chardonnay from the Marlborough region of New Zealand – the 2015 Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Chardonnay (     New Zealand has two islands that cover 1000 miles and 11 wine regions. The Marlborough 

Rosé in the Nation’s Capital

Washington D.C. is known for having some of the best food and mixology professionals in the country. They congregate here in the nation’s capital to take advantage of the beauty of diversity, late nights, parties and people clamoring to enjoy life and networking.
During a recent trip to D.C., I came across a trendy wine bar and bistro called Slate in the Glover Park neighborhood. Slate is welcoming and located in a walkable area of D.C. Elizabeth Banker is the creative genius behind this wine bar and bistro that features a vast selection and new and old world wines. Friendly and knowledgeable staff welcome you to Slate. Catchy sayings abound on the various boards near the bar. Since it was early July and I came to Slate midafternoon on a warm Saturday, I decided to try Chef and Sommelier Danny Lledó’s flight of rosé wines from Spain, France, California, and Long Island New York.
The first wine that I sampled was the 2016 Castano Monastrell Rosé ( This rosé is a fruit-forward wine with a pleasant pink color. The Monastrell varietal is the Spanish name for the Mourvèdre grape varietal found in France. This grape is thick-skinned and features lots of black fruit flavors. True to form the Castano Monastrell rosé has cherry and raspberry flavors. There is a fresh floral nose to the rosé and very well-balanced acidity. I would enjoy this wine with a variety of summer foods including lighter cheeses, chicken and salads.
The second rosé that I sampled is a 2016 St. André Figuiere Rosé ( This wine hails from the rich rosé producing traditions of the Côtes-de-Provene region of France. It is a medium bodied wine that has tastes of strawberry and orange zest. This rosé is a blending of Cinsault, Syrah, and Cabernet Grenache varietals. The St. André Rosé is light pink in color with bright acidity that hits the tongue.

Slate Rosé Flight

The 2016 Elizabeth Spencer Rosé of Grenache was third on the flight list ( This rosé featured a long finish with lots of mineral flavoring. The pink coloring featured a floral nose and tastes of strawberry, raspberry, and citrus zest. The long finish on this California rosé make it a great pairing with summer fish and chicken dishes.
The last rosé in the flight is the 2016 Wolffer Estate Rosé Table wine from Long Island, NY( The coloring on this rosé was one of the more unique in that it was a very light salmon color that didn’t give away any hints about the flavors featured in this wine. The Wolffer Rosé features flavors of peach and pear with balanced acidity. This rosé in the flight had the greatest number of blended varietals – Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Riesling. A variety of light summer foods and cheeses would pair well with this wine.
Make it a point to visit Slate if you live in D.C. or are visiting for work and fun. The rosé flights that I sampled were well balanced and approachable. Don’t leave without taking advantage of the food that Slate also features as a 2017 winner of the Dinner’s Choice Award.
Remember to drink what it is that makes you truly happy and always think positively!
Drink Responsibly!
@slatewinebar #wbc2017

Villa Maria Winery – Virtual Tasting

“There is only one word for New Zealand – epic” – Bear Grylls New Zealand is most often associated with Sauvignon Blanc wines. Take a step into the present and future to experience a new world of New Zealand varietals.  If you aren’t traveling there 

Barrel Oak Winery – a taste of Virginia with a salute to our canine friends

“We could in the United States make as great a variety of wines as are made in Europe, not exactly of the same kinds, but doubtless as good. (1808)” – Thomas Jefferson Wines are produced in 221 different American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) across the United States. 

North Carolina food and wines – a fun Southern pairing!

Greensboro, NC is a city rich in historical events in American history that have changed and shaped us as a country. I had the opportunity to visit the city recently and found a city rich in culture, history and with people who are anxious to let visitors know that they are welcome here.
Greensboro is in the heart of North Carolina and approximately 1 hour away from the state capital of Raleigh. Baseball, southern cooking and craft beers are a focus in this town.
Greensboro is part of the Piedmont triangle that includes Winston-Salem and High Point. It’s named the Gate City because of its easy proximity to the major cities in North Carolina and a few short hour’s drive away from east coast beaches.
The town is big enough to do most anything that you want from fine dining to casual eateries. It also has a small town feel with the micro-brewing industry finding a community home here.

Outside of Natty Greene’s

My group ventured to Natty Greene’s Brewing following a long day of work. Natty Greene’s is a locally owned restaurant and brewery in the heart of downtown Greensboro. Chris Lester and Kayne Fester started the brewing company in 2004. Natty Greene’s features classic southern foods, a wide selection of beers from their brewery and a special treat for me – a selection of North Carolina wines! The restaurant was named for the American Revolutionary hero Nathaniel Greene.
I selected a red blend from Raylen Vineyards ( Raylen Vineyards is located an hour from Greensboro in the Yadkin Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA). Raylen Vineyards is unique in that they focus exclusively on growing European varietals in the microclimate of Mocksville. The Raylen Category 5 blend is 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot and lesser amounts of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah. This wine has a dry red fruit forward nose with the sweet black currant finish.
Raylen Category 5

I paired my wine with an incredibly tasty dish featuring Ho Cakes. The Ho Cakes acted as the top and bottom sandwich layers of a bowl including pinto beans, slaw and pulled pork. For those of you who don’t know what a Ho Cake is – it’s cornbread made in the form of a pancake. The pulled pork was incredibly tender and the combination of spice in the food and the full balance with tannins of the Raylen Category 5 were a great pairing.
Natty Greene’s is a fun gathering place with a patio and an upstairs area that features pool tables a full bar. For any locals who haven’t made it to Natty Greene’s this will be a well spent evening that appeals to all ages. My dinner companions really enjoyed the beer flights.
Ho Cake

Remember to drink what it is that makes you truly happy and always think positively!
Drink Responsibly!
@raylenvineyards @natty_greenes #wbc2017

Irish Meade – honey wine, a gift from the Gods

“At last Gandalf pushed away his plate and jug – he had eaten two whole loaves (with masses of butter and honey and clotted cream) and drunk at least a quart of mead – and he took out his pipe.” – John Keats   One