A Wine Drinker Rambling about Wine

Month: April 2016

Napa Valley Remembered

One year ago this very weekend, we celebrated  our 20th anniversary by exploring that magical wine country ~ Napa Valley.

So I thought I’d post a little trip down memory lane . . .

We're finally here! Legendary Wine Country

We’re finally here! Legendary Wine Country


Lunch at Azzurros

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Judds Hill Winery



Castello di Amorosa

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Gotts Roadside

Gotts 2015-05-01 12.24.22


Duckhorn cab Duckhorn GoldeneyeIMG_5669IMG_4609


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Frogs Leap

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Chateau Montelena


Happy Saturday!




Week #4 in Albarino Country #winestudio


It’s going on Week #4 of discovering Albariño from Galicia in Spain with #winestudio and you might be asking  “What happened with weeks #1-3?”

Well, lots of discussion on the  Rías Baixas area, the 5 sub-regions (if you can name all 5, I’ll give you a Sooner cheer) with a plethora of mouth-watering food pairings, wine observations, and loads of wine drinking, er, tasting.  We’ve tasted a broad range of Albariño samples courtsey of Rías Baixas Wines and discovered each has similar characteristics  like siblings with familial resemblances but unique personalities. Light, buoyant in body, aromatic, citrus, stone fruit, acidity, minerals, all show up with a pronounced individuality produced by the various winemakers. I already know my favorites and thought I’d give a few highlights.



Nessa 2015 Albarino

Gran Vinum Nessa 2015 Albarino

Adegas Gran Vinum, 2015 Nessa
100% Albarino
DO Rias Baixas – Val so Salnes
SRP $17


Confession. I haven’t tasted this wine yet. I thought I’d get that out of the way up front. Something unwanted happened and it was neglected. However, it will be a warm summer refresher soon.  The small, family-run winery, Adegas Gran Vinum, was founded in 2001 by the Piñeiro Cores Family. Their vineyards are  in the sub-region of Val do Salnés on hillsides overlooking the Umia river and the Ría de Arousa.  They incorporate some of their traditional Galician farming methods such as fertilizing with clam and cockle shells and elevating the vines  on long stones raised like football goalposts to counter the high rainfall with modern technology to produce their dry Albariño.  I’m looking forward to opening the bottle.



Martin Codax 2014
100% Albarino
DO Rias Baixas – Val do Salnes
SRP $17


Wow. Upfront, this one is my favorites. I’d buy a case of this Albariño and it wouldn’t last through the humid June weather we are bound to be blessed with. Refreshingly crisp on the front and smooth on the back with great medium body. Aromatic fruit that floats effortlessly through the air, light, tart, citrus and lemony with clean crisp apple, peaches, spice and pronounced acidity. Martin Codax is making a beautifully balanced Albarino. You can simply sip it or break out the china and serve it with a light seafood supper on a humid summer night.

Notes from the winemaker:  “The 2014 growing season was cool and wet, requiring growers to carefully manage their vineyards to prevent mildew and maximize quality. Though yields were diminished, patience paid off in a long, slow growing season that allowed for excellent maturity. The results are wines with abundant aromatics, crisp acidity and bright fruit flavors.”



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Rectoral do Umia Viñabade 2014
DO Rías Baixas 100% Albariño 
SRP $15


The label is so charming with dainty azure flowers. It looks like it belongs in a garden or at least a garden party. My youngest daughter begged me to save it a while but albariño is meant to be drunk young! However, this delicate floral wine needed a strong companion on her arm. There was a faint aroma of stone fruit and when sipping alone, it fell flat with little personality. I thought I might have chilled it too much, however, paired with our newest restaurant on the block Gin Thai Fusion’s Spicy Pad Thai and Pla koong,  lime/lemon came out and cut the heat nicely. This wine just needs a partner to coax her out of her clamshell.

Founded in 2009, Rectoral do Umia winery is located in the Salñes Valley of DO Rías Baixas where they use the latest technology to produce light, crisp dry Albariño.


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Señorio de Rubiós Robaliño 2015
DO Rías Baixas 100% Albariño
SRP $18


Beautiful clear yellow with a hue of green, this albariño was great! Heady and aromatic with white peaches, floral and citrus, Robaliño delivered balanced yet high acidity and medium body and lingering finish. Wow. Immediately, you tasted citrus peel, grapefruit, kumquats and hints of peaches. As it warmed, there was a lovely mellowing out to warm limes.  It went perfect with our homemade mac n’ cheese.

Planted in the middle of the rich Condado do Tea sub-region and blessed by the Miño river’s alluvial deposits, Señorio de Rubios winery sits on a charming and tranquil land.  “Our facilities reflect the new technologies emerging in the wine world without forgetting the old traditions, which have been pillars of our wines. In them we find large stainless steel vats that share space with French oak barrels.”  – (www.senorioderubios.com)


I’m loving Albariño! If you like to sip white Bordeaux as the temperatures rise, then you’ll enjoy this refreshing Galician wine as well.  The Oklahoma temperatures are rising so I’m grateful to retreat to lush green Spain. If you find yourself frustrated by your NBA or NHL team during the playoffs than Join me, Tuesdays on twitter at 6 PST/8CST using the hashtag #winestudio.  We be  talking albariño wines and everyone’s a winner.



courtesy of RiasBaixas.com

courtesy of RiasBaixas.com







Art, Wine and Spring!

It’s Saturday and I’m avoiding the lawn chores. Oklahoma mowing season is in full swing with the weeds rivaling the Bermuda grass, the cottonwoods are dropping those sticky pods all over the deck and the cedars are covering everything in a fine yellow powder so it’s a good opportunity to stay indoors and share a post from 3 weeks ago when we were living it up on Spring break. Happy belated, really belated Spring!

Ah the vibrant colors!

Ah the vibrant colors!

Happy Spring Break! Here in these parts we were on Spring Break last week and the temps hovered in the golden 80s with a brisk slide into the 50s at the end. I had the perpetual “to-do-list” to work on and actually got a few things checked off.  The best part is Spring has officially sprung. The Bradford pear trees are draped in blossoms, the Redbud trees are covered in purple flowers,  and the flowerbeds are full of tulips and pansies. It’s sunny and fresh outside so I’m having a hard time staying on task and getting the normal stuff done. Spring is so distracting. I haven’t even kept to my winter goal of posting twice a week. Spring is here! I love spring. It’s one of the most invigorating times of the year and I don’t mean just because at any given moment we may have to dive into the tornado shelter. I love spring because you can start the day in a jacket and by afternoon wear a t-shirt and shorts. Every day has the possibility of ending with a gorgeous warm evening on the patio, sipping wine and conversing about the day.

During our spring break ‘work-cation’ I still found time to enjoy two of my favorite things. Art and wine. In the middle of the week I took the kids to the grandparents house. My dad is into clay and built his own studio last year in his backyard. Think tiny house but for potters. The grandkids love going to hang out in grandpa’s ‘clay house’ and play with clay or unload the kiln. Well, before I let them loose with Grandpa, we went to the Philbrook Museum. It’s a house turned museum with beautiful Italian gardens. They’re peaceful, serene and magically kept by an invisible army of gardeners.

The Philbrook Family's Okie Estate

The Philbrook Family’s Okie Estate

An Italian Villa hidden in Oklahoma

An Italian Villa hidden in Oklahoma



We met a hippo in the garden and a Shepherdess in the dining room.

Reincarnated Chrysler

Reincarnated Chrysler



There’s was also a father and son frolicking in the park.  Although, I thought the temps warranted a shirt but obviously, the guy felt differently. He could have at least put pants on his kid.

Father & son

Father & son

And, of course, we opened a few bottles of wine  during the balmy evenings.

Fantini Farnese IGT

Fantini Farnese IGT

Noble Vines - THE ONE

Noble Vines – the ONE

{Noble Vines} the ONE 2013 North Coast California

A deep, dark, dark purple cuvée blend with black cherries, spice, berries and nice tannin. I dig Noble Vines tagline on the bottle “Not all vines are created equal.” I’m done. I’ve found the one. 😉

Fantini Farnese 2014 Terre Di Chieti Sangiovese

Grown and bottled in Abruzzi, Southern Italy. The Philbrook’s architecture inspired this trip to Italy. It was a lovely garnet color with a bit of intensity and bold fruit. Tangy and true.


I don’t remember much else about the wine except we liked it, so if you run across them at your wine shop, give them a try. They were both reasonably priced $12 – $15.  After all, it was Spring break so I was just living in the moment!





Two Months of Rias Baixas #winestudio: Week 1

As most of you are aware, I participate in an online wine education group by Protocol Wines on Twitter with the hashtag #Winestudio. By pure luck, I had started following the Tuesday evening discussion over a year ago. The group is comprised of wine professionals, wine bloggers, knowledgeable wine drinkers, and industry professionals. And then there’s me, just a wine drinker, who till a couple years ago had never even heard of about 90% of the varietals discussed each week. But with slow and steady baby steps, I’m learning. Ok, so where am I going with this? Please keep reading. 

For the next 8 weeks, #winestudio is going to explore the culturally rich DO Rías Baixas located in the region of Galicia in northwest Spain and I’m going with them! Here the grape Albariño is king. Martin Codax wines were my first foray into this highly acidic, mineral loaded, citrus and stone fruit, aromatic grape. (I could add a few more descriptors. No? Ok. If your eyes have glazed over then you can just scroll down and gaze at the pictures.) The first discussion was this past Tuesday and it has me eager to dive in and fish out the ‘lower estuary’s’ hidden treasures. The only catch is I couldn’t have signed up at a busier time in our home life. Call me crazy, but I’m counting on Rías Baixas keeping me sane!  Daydreaming about sipping wine in an ancient monastery and then hiking a rocky trail to a pristine beach is the perfect distraction for when I’m overwhelmed with my daughter’s graduation prep. Besides, since I’m procrastinating on addressing the graduation announcements, I might as well do something enjoyable, right?


Spain’s Pure White Wine



Here’s a recap of the  first week:  we focused on getting to know the general area and historical overview of the region.  Galicia is vastly different from other parts of Spain. In fact, the shape of Rías Baixas has a local legend about it’s origin. Galicians say it’s “the traces left by the fingers of God’s hand, when after creation he rested for a moment in Galicia.” Those “finger prints” are comprised of mineral rich, alluvial soil and granite, dipping deeply into the Atlantic ocean and forming four estuaries full of abundant seafood where fresh and saltwater dance together.



The Lay of the Land

Nicknamed “Green Spain” with it’s cool, humid ocean breezes, high annual rainfall, and intense sunshine,  this  wine region is fashioned of lush emerald rolling hills, deep craggy estuaries, interior granite mountains, rivers and gorgeous beaches. The landscape is decorated with castles, fortresses, ancient monasteries, and Roman Iron Age villages dating back 2000 years to Roman occupation. You can take hiking tours, climb ancient roman walls or follow in the steps of Saint James on a pilgrimage through church history.  This is my ideal vacation spot: historical places of interest, a beach for relaxing, and world class cuisine (seafood extravaganza) with amazing wine.

DO Rías Baixas is divided into 5 sub-regions, each reflecting their own unique personalities. Let’s explore them starting in the north and traveling southward to the border of Portugal.

courtesy of RiasBaixas.com

courtesy of RiasBaixas.com

  • Ribeira do Ulla

Noble families of Santiago de Compostela long ago graced the area with grand pazos. Today, many are hotels connected to wineries where you can live like an aristocrat and admire 400 year old wine presses and vines. Officially added to the DO in 2000, it’s the farthest inland and divided by the Ulla River. The town of Pádron lies to the south and is famous for hot green peppers, a perfect pairing with luscious Albariño.



  • Val do Salnes

Surrounding the picturesque village of Cambados, this is the longest established sub-region with the largest amount of wineries. Tradition holds this is the birthplace of Albariño which locals refer to as “the wine of the sea”.  Fishing is a mainstay. It’s also a hot tourist spot with it’s beautiful beaches and numerous historical monuments.







  • Soutomaior

The smallest region of the five, its cradled at the mouth of the Rias de Vigo estuary just south of Pontevedra. You can visit the famed Santa Maria de Armenteira monastery founded in 1168 by a knight where Cistercian monks perhaps cultivated the first vines.


Santa Maria de Armenteira – www.spain.info


  • Condado do Tea

The most inland, this mountainous region sits along the right bank of the Miño River. It’s actually named for the river Tea, a tributary of the Miño river and is warm and dry with hot summers.


  • O Rosal

Lying closest to the Portuguese border, this southernmost region has steep vineyards terraced along the Miño river.



Well, next week,  we get to go to two wineries and sample the wine. Come join me in the fun!

I’ll let you know if I get the announcements addressed. Otherwise, it’s a good assumption my mind was more pleasantly occupied on daydreaming I was here instead.


my feet are in the pool as i peacefully sip my wine . . .  cellartours.com


Rías Baixas: The Land of Albariño #Winestudio

Dear Friends,

I’m inviting you to join me in Spain. We’ll virtually travel over the next 9 weeks without ever leaving the comfy of our favorite chairs! For April and May, #Winestudio, the online twitter-based wine educational program by @Protocolwine will be exploring Rías Baixas, Spain and their pure white wine, Albariño. Our guide will be Rías Baixas Wines.

In preparation for this Spring trip to the northwestern Galacia region, I’m posting a pronunciation lesson. It’s so embarrassing visiting a new place and not being able to say where you are. So, click play and say it with me: Rías Baixas.  And come join in on the fun every Tuesday evening at 8CST/6PST. Just use the hashtag #winestudio. There will be live twitter chats with Star Chefs and Wine Experts and other enthusiastic winedrinkers while exploring the Wine Roads of Rías Baixas.  We’ll discuss everything from  wine innovations to why women winemakers rule the region.

So come! Let’s go to Spain! I hear the coastal cliffs and green fields are beautiful this time of year. Now, one more time: Rías Baixas.


P.S. Back in February, I tried my first Albariño wine and barely scratched the surface of this lovely grape.  Here’s what I discovered (click on this).  Hope to see you, Tuesday, April 5th.

Buenos días mi querido amigos!

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