A Wine Drinker Rambling about Wine

Month: March 2017

Aroma vs. Palate: Domaine de Valmoissine Pinot Noir 2013

Domaine de Valmoissine Pinot Noir 2013

Happy spring break!

We’re still trying to recover from the 3:30 am trip to the airport to drop off our college kid so she could visit the Grandparents back East. Thankfully, she landed before the “Blizzard of 2017” and she went prepared with a coat packed in her suitcase. Why wear it when you can have the baggage guys carry it around for you? There’s something sweet and nostalgic watching her experience the carefree days of youth. I’m definitely jealous!

Not much else is going on this week except a trip to the Science Museum and planning our youngest’s 13th birthday party. The theme: Chocolate. I’m currently on the hunt for a chocolate fountain. And chocolate crafts and chocolate flavored lip gloss for party favors. Planning’s been almost as easy as our son’s 13th and his raucous party at Laser Quest. I just had to show up. Chocolate’s easy because it’s everywhere. The hard part about chocolate and often wine, is choosing from the endless possibilities which is the segue I’ll use to this Pinot Noir we opened in January. You remember January, right? Frankly, neither do I because some how I skipped February and went directly to Spring Break.

Back in January, before we took a short wine break, we opened a bottle of Louis Latour Domaine de Valmoissine Pinot Noir 2013 ($16). Occasionally, a wine talks to you in an entirely different voice with it’s aroma than what you actually taste. This was the case with the Louis Latour Pinot Noir. A strong personality showed up in the aroma with floral stems, tobacco leaves, funky turnip greens, asparagus, cigar smoke and leather. The aroma kept evolving. There was a lot going on. I wondered if there might be a problem. However, the palate was entirely different than what I was expecting with soft tannins, red currents, black cherries, raspberries, spices and a lovely earthy floral accent. Overall, a very enjoyable Pinot Noir. 

This Pinot will most certainly be making a reappearance! Cheers! 

Sonoma Winemaker to Watch – Eppie Ordaz & Sandoval Vineyard Malbec 2012

To wrap up the February #winestudio with Ordaz Family Wines and it’s winemaker, Eppie Ordaz, we opened his Sandoval Vineyard Sonoma Valley Malbec 2012 and chatted about growing Malbec. Malbec is rarely produced in Sonoma and that’s exactly why Eppie chose it.

This was probably one of the most enjoyable #winestudio sessions I’ve participated in. Drawing from a rich family heritage in farming and vineyard management, Eppie is humble, friendly and focused on crafting wines rare for the Sonoma AVA. Working alongside his father, Jesus ‘Chuy’ Ordaz, they operate by the philosophy “great wine is made in the vineyard.”  This philosophy encompasses their entire approach to winemaking by using small lot, single varietal vineyards to pioneering organic vineyard practices and safe farming practices for the protection of vineyard workers.

Sandoval vineyard is indicative of Eppie’s vision to make exceptional wine from single variety, small lots. Located on Sonoma Mountain, the vineyard is a whopping 2 acres of 30-year-old Malbec vines planted and managed by Chuy Ordaz. The vines thrive in the rocky, clay soil and a climate of cool, foggy nights and hot days that helps manage Malbec’s susceptibility to mildew.  Eppie crafts the Malbec closer to the Argentinian style while tinkering with it depending on the year. His tinkering tends to drive his father a little crazy since Chuy’s a farmer and likes predictability. Eppie ages the Malbec in lightly seasoned French oak for 18 months before bottling. Only a 132 cases of the 2012 Malbec were produced with 40 cases still available.

“It’s cool to work on something that has a finite amount. Two acres can only produce so much fruit” – Eppie Ordaz

The Sandoval Vineyard Sonoma Valley Malbec 2012 ($25, 13.5%) was dark plum colored, medium bodied, with nice acidity that smoothed into gentle tannins on the finish. Aromas of muted cherries, blueberries and cinnamon opened up slowly. I was surprised I picked out the cinnamon. I guess all this wine drinking is starting to pay off. I was mighty proud of myself for recognizing an aroma other than ‘berries’. The taste was a nice blend of earthy tobacco, cinnamon, cocoa, blueberries and dried plums or prunes. Plums and prunes are the same thing, right? They’ve always baffled me. When plump, they’re plums (hot young things). Dried and wrinkly, they’re prunes (Old Grannies). And that, my friends, is a tiny peek into how my mind works. Probably more than you wanted to know.

For the meal pairing portion of our #winestudio evening, I picked up a Tony’s Italian and House salad from our favorite corner hang out, Upper Crust.


It proved to be a classic case of food and wine doing what they are made to do: compliment each other. With the pizza, the Malbec came alive! The spicy flavors woke up the fruit while in turn the wine tamed the heat of the peppers and spicy meats. It was a happy marriage and I thought it made the Malbec even better. As the evening wrapped up, I asked Eppie what surprised him about becoming a winemaker.

“How difficult it is to be a small label amongst titans of  (the) industry.”

For now, Ordaz Family Wines are only available through their website. However, based on the wines sampled, and the Ordaz Family tradition of tenacity, hard work and excellence; I suspect this small label has a good chance of distinguishing themselves and growing to stand strong among the Titans. 


The wines were samples courtsey of #Winestudio and Ordaz Family Wines. All rambles are my own. Salud! 

Oklahoma Skies #2 – Sunrise

There are approximately a thousand pictures on my iPhone of the Oklahoma skies. Apparently, I’m infatuated with them. Some days, they can be fairly spectacular. We might not have much here in tornado alley, but more often than not the skies are saturated in a range of glorious colors. 

Morning has broken like the first morning . . .

August 26, 2016



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