This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Anthony Beckman from Balletto Vineyards & Winery in the Russian River Valley


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast with head winemaker of Balletto Vineyards & Winery, Mr. Anthony Beckman; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/29/wine-guy-mike-for-july-29/

Last week’s podcast; Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Winery head winemaker Scott Morrison is this week’s featured guest, http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/22/wine-guy-mike-for-july-22nd/

Recent week’s podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Recent week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Head Winemaker Anthony Beckman

Head Winemaker Anthony Beckman

Balletto Vineyards & Winery produce wines that offer true consumer value.  This week I sat down with Anthony Beckman, the man responsible for making the delicious wines at the Balletto Winery.

The Russian River Valley in Sonoma, California where the Balletto Vineyards & Winery are located is influenced by maritime induced fog late into the morning, turning to sunny clear blue skies late into the day.  The cool prevailing winds that influence this area are perfect for growing exceptional grapes. The fog blankets the grapes with moist dew throughout the night into the late morning hours, allowing the grapes of the Russian River Valley to mature slowly which produces fruit of concentrated flavor and superior quality.  The RRV is one of the premier grape growing areas in the New World.

Beckman is one of my favorite winemakers for what he does not do to the grapes.  The Balletto wines are handled gently from the vine, to the press, not overly manipulated during fermentation, and then aged with special care.  The Balletto wines are some of my favorite to drink, they are true to the varietal character and affordable for the everyday wine drinker.  Every one of the Balletto wines are exceptional, a true consumer value.

There are two new wines from Balletto Winery that you should know about, 2010 Teressa’s Chardonnay, and the 2011 Roseof Pinot Noir.  Teressa’s Chardonnay is cold fermented preserving the natural esters of the fruit.  This wine is lush, yet crisp, a beautifully balanced wine for those who liked their chardonnay unoaked will absolutely love this wine. Today’s podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/29/wine-guy-mike-for-july-29/

Beckman’s 2011 Roseof Pinot Noir is straight up the finest RoseI have ever tasted from the New or Old World.  This roseis everything I want a rose to be.  A great roseshould have beautiful color, fresh aroma of strawberries and raspberries, refreshing like a white wine with subtle mouthfeel like that of a red wine.  The Balletto 2011 Roseof Pinot Noir is all of that and then some. 

I would like to thank my friend Anthony Beckman for taking time to be on the WineGuyMike Radio Show this week and all my friends at Balletto Vineyards & Winery, one of the best consumer values in wine.

Today’s wines all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™ and are available at Liquid Planet in the Heart of Downtown Missoula.  All of these excellent wine selections (see below) have been especially priced for you.  

This wine pairs well with shellfish and will be on sale for $24.99 until Friday 8/03.

This wine pairs well with Lamb and Chops, it will be on sale for $28.99 until Friday 8/03.

This wine pairs well with grilled meats having ample marbling and will be on sale for $33.99 until Friday 8/03.

Remember to stop in at Liquid Planet, Missoula’s best wine shopping experience, to purchase your WineGuyMike wines.

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

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This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Winery


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s podcast; Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Winery head winemaker Scott Morrison is this week’s featured guest, http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/22/wine-guy-mike-for-july-22nd/

Last week’s podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Last week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Paul Hobbs and his eleven siblings were raised on a one hundred fifty year old farm in upstate New York.  If you placed an X in the very center of that farm you would be standing at the barn the Hobbs children knew as wondrous and magical place.  That barn is now referred to by Paul as the CrossBarn.

Hobbs is arguably one of the top winemakers in America; he is also respected as one of the top wine consultant’s worldwide, producing world-class wines in California and Argentina. Producing wines of distinct character require sourcing grapes from only the finest vineyards, a task and talent Hobbs excels at. 

Scott Morrison’s career in wine began in a very practical way, interning at a winery in the Napa Valley.  Having discovered his passion he embarked on an academic track, studying viticulture and enology at the University of California at Davis.  After finishing school Morrison traveled to New Zealand, a country whose focus is growing cool weather varietal grapes, it was there he honed his white winemaking skills.  Once back in California Morrison worked with The Hess Collection and Rudd Winery, and most recently Paul Hobbs Winery.  Morrison is now head winemaker at Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Winery. 

CrossBarn Winery produces elegant wine offering true consumer value, thanks to the collaboration of Hobbs and Morrison.  The grapes used in CrossBarn wines are carefully hand harvested striving to preserve the core integrity of the fruit.  All three current wines are from the 2009 vintage.

The wines I’m recommending are great wines, food friendly and available at Liquid Planet. 

This wine pairs well with shellfish and will be on sale for $24.99 until Friday 7/29.

This wine pairs well with Lamb and Chops and will be on sale for $28.99 until Friday 7/29.

This wine pairs well with grilled meats with ample marbling and will be on sale for $33.99 until Friday 7/29.

Pair this wine with; Oysters on the half shell, Salmon, Tuna, Tenderloin of Pork.

Sale Price until 7/29/2012  $13.99

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

The wine selections from today’s show are available today, all especially priced until 7/29, at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

Wines for Easter with WineGuyMike™ on KECI NBC Montana Today


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Current week’s Podcast  and full length conversation with the “Iceman” Donald Ziraldo http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/01/wine-guy-mike-for-april-1st/

Part Three; Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot tasting with Winemaster Randy Ullom and WineGuyMike; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/25/wine-guy-mike-for-march-25/

Part Two, Vintners Reserve Chardonnay and Riesling tasting with Randy and WineGuyMike; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/18/wine-guy-mike-for-march-18/

Part One Avant Chardonnay

 http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/11/wine-guy-mike-for-march-11/

NBC Montana Today Show TV with Easter wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

It’s Good Friday and Easter Sunday is coming quickly.  You may be having guests for dinner or you might be a guest for Easter dinner, in any case you need a great wine to serve or share.  Here are a few wine and main entre pairing suggestions for you.  Happy Easter from WineGuyMike, from my table to yours.

L’Ecole N° 41  2010 Chenin Blanc – Columbia Valley ($10.99)

This second generation, family-owned artisan winery located in the historic Frenchtown School depicted on our label.   Founded in 1983, they are the third oldest winery in the Walla Walla Valley.  As a traditional brick and mortar winery they grow and make 100% of their wine.  The focus is on terroir-driven, distinctive, and expressive wines.  All of L’Ecole’s Walla Walla Valley wines are made from grapes which are certified sustainable.

This fresh, tart and delightfully fruity Chenin Blanc shows Asian pear, perfumed honeysuckle and orange blossom aromas with flavors of apple, apricot, and grapefruit on a crisp mineral, lightly sweet finish.

L’Ecole Nº 41 has produced this old vine, Vouvray style Chenin Blanc since 1987. Jean Ferguson, L’Ecole Nº 41’s founding winemaker, loved this wine and crafted her version of Vouvray through cold fermentation to enhance the fruity and floral esters.  This wine offers great value.

Food pairing; Ham, Cornish Hens, white variety of fish, shellfish.

Kendall-Jackson Avant Chardonnay ($14.99)

The Avant Chardonnay is a beautifully crafted wine that is a great wine to start of the evening with.  There are three things that I share with you about the entire portfolio of Kendall-Jackson wines; the wines are made with finesse, the wines are elegant, and the wines are always consistent.

The Avant Chardonnay is pale yellow in the glass; it looks refreshing in your glass as it begs to be tasted.  It was fun to taste this new wine from Kendall-Jackson against the Vintners Reserve Chardonnay that has long been one of America’s favorite wines.

The Avant has only a slight nuance of oak, the fruit is bright on the nose and the palate.  What I found intriguing about this wine is that on the palate it was both light yet rich with fruit.  This wine has a perfect balance of fruit and acid, featuring mild tropical fruit of pineapple, tart apple, and my favorite Meyer lemon, the K-J Avant will pair nicely with shellfish, or any white variety of fish.  The K-J Avant really comes to life on the mid-palate as it is crisp, and delivers light fruit with nice gentle acidity.  The finish is delightfully crisp with subtle tropical fruit that lingers long, this is a very nice wine.

Food Pairing; Roast Chicken, Cornish Game Hen, white fish varieties, Salmon, shellfish

Equifera Ice Wine ($70.00)

The Equifera Ice Wines are grown and produced in Short Hills, a sub-appellation of the Niagara Peninsula.  The Equifera Estate Winery is the former home to champion race horses in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Equifera produces Riesling, Vidal, and red Cabernet Franc Ice-wines. This week WineGuyMike had the opportunity to talk with Donald about the beautiful Equifera Ice-wines, we tasted them too.

The award winning Equifera Ice Wine is a special occasion in a glass.  When I taste great wine it occurs to me that you can taste the personality on the person behind the wine.  This is true of the Equifera Ice Wine, perhaps the best of Donald Ziraldo’s entire body of work in the world of wine.

The first wine that Donald and I tasted was the Riesling Ice-wine.  The Equifera Ice Wines strike the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.  The Riesling is lighter in body and texture than the Equifera Vidal Ice Wine that Donald and I will taste next week on the show.  The structure and complexity of this magnificent ice-wine go hand-in-hand.  You would be hard pressed to find more complex wines in the world than the Equifera Ice Wines.  You could think of the Equifera wines as having multiple personalities as there are so many layers to them, you must try them.

Visually this Riesling ice-wine has a deep golden straw color that dances in your glass.  You are then greeted with the aroma of tropical fruit and a wonderful essence of stone fruit, and the nectar of honey.  On the mid-palate combine a wonderful tug of war between sweetness and acidity. The complexity of this wine is so deep that of the finish your palate is cleansed from the perfect acidity of the wine, but it does not end there.  The finish is an eternity of joyful bliss, just like a world class Sauterne you are left with the flavor of tart raisin.  This is one of the premier dessert or aperitif wines you will ever taste.

Food Pairings; Stilton or Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese, Baked goods, fresh fruit, Creme Brulee, it is also dessert in a glass and needs no accompaniment. 

Inniskillin Riesling Ice-wine ($70.00)

Riesling

One of the world’s greatest “noble” varieties, this cool weather grape with high acidy is a natural for the making of Icewine.  Classic Riesling qualities include elegant citrus flavors, ripe orchard fruit tones and a slight mineral edge.

Tasting Notes

This Riesling Icewine shows the elegance of tropical aromas and flavors of lemon and lime. The good acidity of Riesling allows for a refreshing mouth feel amid the many layers of flavors that unfold.

Food Pairing Suggestions

Great with lemon based desserts or tarts along with fresh fruit based desserts; rich cheeses accompanied by fresh or dried fruit or your favorite fruit compote. Delightful all on its own!

Icewine and Cheeses

The major difference between Icewine and other dessert wines is acidity.  While all dessert wines are sweet, only the best ones have balanced acidity as well.  This crucial element not only adds to the enjoyment of Icewine, but also to its natural compatibility with cheese.  Most of the cheese universe pairs brilliantly with Icewine because each cheese’s richness begs for that crucial acidity.  Cheeses are inherently savory and sometimes salty and when prepared with the honeyed sweetness of Icewine, it creates a lovely balance that makes for a perfect match.

Riesling based Icewine is renowned for its acidity and mineral notes.  Its vivid orange and citrus tones will combine with a rich range of creamy and decadent food textures and tastes, from foie gras to crème brulée.

2009 Russian River Pinot Noir ($28.99)

This dark, garnet colored Pinot Noir exhibits floral aromas of rose petals intertwined with spice components of ginger, dusty earth and a hint of vanilla. Fruit aromas of raspberry and cassis form the core of the wine, and in the mouth, create a long, delicious finish that can be tasted for several minutes.

The wine is showy with a seamless viscosity that is balanced with a healthy bit of tartness to keep the wine fresh and lively.  It’s full in the palate with fine, coco-powder like tannins and a nice dose of astringency that lend additional grip and structure to this wine.  Overall, the wine has struck the fine balance between delicate and structured, and will improve with bottle aging during the next five years (or more).

With the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, they ferment each lot of grapes separately in three to six ton batches.  They do not add commercial yeast to the tanks and instead rely on the natural yeasts found on the grapes and throughout the winery to ferment the juice.  This process tends to increase the length of the fermentation and add an additional layer of complexity to the finished wine.  During fermentation and barrel aging, they treat the new wine as gently as possible in an effort to preserve its aroma.

Food Pairings; Leaner beef roasts, ham, pork roasts, Salmon, roasted chicken, Lamb dishes.

Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot ($25.99)

All the wines that go into the Kendall-Jackson Bordeaux portfolio are treated with care and attention to detail; however, with Grand Reserve level fruit, they employ additional artisan techniques like hand sorting, small-batch fermentation and additional cold-soaking to coax the finest expression out of our fruit.

The wines are selected based on the potential they showed in the vineyard and during the final stages before draining off the skins. The wines are barrel-aged in French oak, usually seeing 35-40% new oak.  When the final selections are made the wines from each individual barrel are tasted to make sure it belongs in the blend. The result are fabulous Grand Reserve wines.

The Grand Reserve Merlot is rich with dark fruits of black plum, boysenberry and cherry.  The nose of this wine is beautifully subtle with notes of violet and rich dark fruit.  Silky tannins and nice firm structure greet your palate and the great balance of this wine makes it a superb food friendly wine. The palate delivers dark plum and berries followed with nice cherry.  The finish is an ever so subtle chocolate and cedar followed with a sense of light cleansing mineral, a real delight.

Food Pairings; Grilled meats, Beef roasts, Ham

2009 Viña Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.99)

Paul Hobbs has always been committed to crafting unfiltered and unfined wines and utilizing native yeasts in the fermenting process.  His commitment to winemaking technique results in exceptional wines that are well structured. Paul’s wines are a product of classic old world technique.

The Felino wines express great balance of pure, concentrated fruit that is lively with acidity and smooth, fine, tannins.  The Viña Cobos Felino label offers Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Chardonnay that is vibrant, lush, mouth-filling wine with beautiful texture that pairs exceptionally well with food.  Did I mention these wines sell for under $16.00.  These wines offer incredible value as many of Paul’s California wine offerings are far north of $100.00.

The 2009 Viña Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon is 88% cabernet sauvignon, 8 % syrah, 4% petit verdot.  The grapes get a 3 to 4 day cold soak; 15 to 18 days total maceration and are fermented with selected and native yeasts.  This wine receives second native malolactic fermentation in barrel for 5 months and is then aged 9 months in American and French oak barrels, 20% of these are new oak.

This is a big wine, 14.5% alcohol, yet very refined in a way that it has not been over manipulated.  A deep ruby hue paves the way for a nose that is ripe with aromas of saddle leather, subtle sweet tobacco, minerality, and earthiness. The palate is lush with a rich well rounded mouth-feel that is complex.  There is a great balance of dark fruit, black currant and boysenberry, mineral, sweet tobacco, and acid. This wine is both rich yet remains lively and well structured with perfect tannin.

Food Pairings; Lamb dishes, Beef Roasts(especially heavier marbled roasts), Prime Rib would be an exceptional pairing.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

To learn more about Kendall-Jackson and Equifera Ice wine you can visit http://www.corridormag.com/home/grapevine too read recent articles I’ve written on these topics and more.

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula features most of the wines I have shared today.  Missoula’s premier wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet.

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Tasting Wine Part Three with Kendall-Jackson Winemaster Randy Ullom


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast Part Three(Current Week), Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot tasting with Winemaster Randy Ullom and WineGuyMike; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/25/wine-guy-mike-for-march-25/

Part Two, Vintners Reserve Chardonnay and Riesling tasting with Randy and WineGuyMike; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/18/wine-guy-mike-for-march-18/

Part One Avant Chardonnay

 http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/11/wine-guy-mike-for-march-11/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Jess Jackson loved farming, this began for him as a child on his Grandfathers ranch in Colorado where he realized that a handful of dirt had a deep meaning for him.  This was especially true in Sonoma County, Jess’ favorite place in the world.  His intimate relationship with the land that he loved and grew grapes provided him a sixth sense for the terroir, or sense of place of this area. 

As a grape farmer Jess was one of the first to recognize and understand that vines are like mountain goats, in that they thrive on mountain tops, ridges, hillsides and benchlands.  This farming method is difficult but Jess knew growing grapes this way would produce the richest fruit exhibiting intense character and flavor. 

This week’s show wraps up a one month series on the WineGuymike radio show with Jackson family Wines and Kendall-Jackson.  The first week we had a conversation with, VP of Communications Jason Hunke, and he provided the audience with a rich overview of Jackson Family wines and Kendall-Jackson.

The last three weeks I have tasted a variety of wines from the Kendall-Jackson portfolio with KJ Winemaster Randy Ullom.  This week I welcomed Randy back for what is our last tasting and the grand finale of this one month series. During this month I have had the distinct privilege to become intimately acquainted with Kendall-Jackson and Jackson Family Wines.

This week Randy and I tasted two beautiful wines from the KJ portfolio, the Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Grand Reserve Merlot.  Kendall-Jackson has always been dedicated to three things: respect for the land, their wines and the best interests of the consumer.  Both of the Grand Reserve wines Randy and I tasted this week exemplify the three key points that Jess Jackson founded the Kendall-Jackson winery on.

Both the Cabernet and Merlot were perfect examples of just how different wines grown and produced in Sonoma and the Napa Valley are.  As I was thinking of a comparison that someone could relate to it occurred to me that the difference really was about mouthfeel.  Comparing wines from Sonoma and Napa is like wearing silk or corduroy; they are both soft and comfortable yet have a very different texture.  This holds true of the palate, Sonoma wines are full of finesse and elegance while wines from Napa are weightier, bolder, and present the palate with prominent texture.

Both appellations are outstanding, just different.  The Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve wines Randy and I taste today are both fantastic examples of premier wine from Sonoma County.  

Winemaster Randy Ullom  oversees the entire Kendall-Jackson portfolio of wines while and Winemaker Matt Smith is responsible for the Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and the Meritage or red blends.

The KJ Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a mountain Cab that is sourced primarily from the Estate vineyards in Sonoma County, the majority of which are grown at over 1100 feet.

All the wines that go into the Kendall-Jackson Bordeaux portfolio are treated with care and attention to detail; however, with Grand Reserve level fruit, they employ additional artisan techniques like hand sorting, small-batch fermentation and additional cold-soaking to coax the finest expression out of our fruit.

The wines are selected based on the potential they showed in the vineyard and during the final stages before draining off the skins. The wines are barrel-aged in French oak, usually seeing 35-40% new oak.  When the final selections are made the wines from each individual barrel are tasted to make sure it belongs in the blend. The result are fabulous Grand Reserve wines.

The Grand Reserve Cabernet has dense, bold tannins and ripe blackberry, blueberry, black cherry fruit and a hint of cassis.  On the nose the aroma of mocha and nutmeg adorns your glass. The finish is earthy with smoke, cedar, and notes of tobacco, a very nice touch that stays with the palate.

This wine is elegant and focused, typical of great KJ Sonoma County Cabernet.  The fruit from Sonoma County mountain, ridge and hillsides presents black plum, cherry, currant and chocolate flavors while fruit from the Napa County mountain and benchland vineyards complement the palate with boysenberry, cedar and violet notes.

The Grand Reserve Merlot is rich with dark fruits of black plum, boysenberry and cherry.  The nose of this wine is beautifully subtle with notes of violet and rich dark fruit.  Silky tannins and nice firm structure greet your palate and the great balance of this wine makes it a superb food friendly wine. The palate delivers dark plum and berries followed with nice cherry.  The finish is an ever so subtle chocolate and cedar followed with a sense of light cleansing mineral, a real delight.

It has been my sincere pleasure to host Jackson Family Wines and Kendall-Jackson this past month.  I would like to personally thank VP of Communications Jason Hunke, and Winemaster Randy Ullom for taking time to join the WineGuyMike audience and share Kendall-Jackson and their wines with with us.  Please take the opportunity to taste this wonderful portfolio of KJ wines, they are sure to please.

To learn more about Jess Jackson and the history of Jackson Family Wines and Kendall-Jackson you can visit http://www.corridormag.com/home/grapevine

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula features the wines I have tasted today.  Be sure to stop by the very best of beverage and see the Kendall-Jackson wines I have selected for you.  Missoula’s premier wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet.

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Tasting Wine Part Two with Kendall-Jackson Winemaster Randy Ullom


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; Part Two(Current Week), Vintners Reserve Chardonnay and Riesling tasting with Randy and WineGuyMike; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/18/wine-guy-mike-for-march-18/

Part One Avant Chardonnay

 http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/11/wine-guy-mike-for-march-11/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Jess Jackson grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during the Great Depression and worked as a policeman, farmer, and even became an attorney whose focus was on land-use.  In 1974 he purchased an 80-acre pear and walnut farm, and so began the Kendall-Jackson Winery.  It was Jess’ desire to get back to the land and farming so that he could move away from practicing law. He also knew that agriculture was a better way of life for his family.

By the early 1980’s the orchard had been converted into a winery and the vineyard was producing grapes that were being sold to supply other wineries. In 1980 there was a bumper crop that resulted in a large order for grapes that was cancelled, which became the first vintage of Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve. 

Every entrepreneur experiences a defining moment and for Jess Jackson and the winery this was that moment, as the 1982 vintage of Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay became America’s favorite Chardonnay. The 1983 vintage was recognized by winning the first Double Platinum Award ever presented by the American Wine Competition, and has received yearly accolades ever since.

This week on the WineGuyMike radio show I was joined once again by Kendall-Jackson Winemaster Randy Ullom for our second week of tasting. The crown jewel of Jackson Family Wines and Kendall-Jackson is the Vintners Reserve Chardonnay, after all this is where it all began.  Last week we tasted the Avant Chardonnay which was excellent, refreshing, and a style favored today by many Chardonnay lovers.  Randy and I sat down and tasted the Vintners Reserve Riesling and Chardonnay this week on the show.

For those of you just tuning in this week Randy Ullom is Winemaster for Kendall-Jackson.  Randy has been with Kendall-Jackson since 1992 as a winemaker, in 1997 he was made head Winemaster by Jess Jackson.  His job is to oversee the entire KJ wine portfolio, a job he does very well.

My take away after tasting wine with Randy last week was the fact that the Kendall-Jackson wines are made with finesse, the wines are elegant, and the wines are always consistent.  I found this to be true once again this week as we tasted the Vintners Reserve Riesling and Chardonnay.  The Avant Chardonnay was outstanding and here is a recap of what my experience was with this new style of Chardonnay from KJ.   

The Avant has only a slight nuance of oak, the fruit is bright on the nose and the palate.  What I found intriguing about this wine is that on the palate it was both light and rich in fruit.  This wine has a perfect balance of fruit and acid, featuring mild tropical fruit of pineapple, tart apple, and my favorite Meyer lemon, the K-J Avant will pair nicely with shellfish, or any white variety of fish.  The K-J Avant really comes to life on the mid-palate as it is crisp, and delivers light fruit and acid.  The finish is delightfully crisp with subtle tropical fruit that lingers long, this is a very nice wine.

The Vintners Reserve Chardonnay has long been known as America’s Chardonnay after being recognized by winning the first Double Platinum Award ever presented by the American Wine Competition.

The Vintners Reserve Chardonnay has been the best selling Chardonnay in America for the last 20 years running, that’s a pretty strong indication from consumers how they feel about this wine that Randy and I tasted this week.

The KJ Chardonnay has beautiful golden color in the glass with visually perfect viscosity.  On the nose you are greeted with layers of crisp tropical fruits from the cool coastal vineyards, all from the Jackson Estate vineyards.  Chardonnay lovers will enjoy citrus and tropical pineapple, mango, and papaya complemented by a supporting role of perfect toastiness and slight vanilla.  The Chardonnay has velvety texture with a creamy flavor on the palate.  This wine is superb and is extremely food friendly due to the perfect fruit to acid balance.  The finish is lush and long, you must have another sip…    

The Vintners Reserve Riesling is crisp, refreshing, lush, and ripe.  Subtlety sweet and delightfully crisp with acidity this wine cleanses the palate with each and every sip.  Both floral and fruity with a hint of orange blossom and jasmine from the ever so slight supporting role of the Gewurztraminer, and don’t miss the hint of spice.  

This is a great Riesling that is nearly dry, very refreshing with study balance.  Beautiful aromatics and lush on the palate.  Rieslings pair well with spicy or Asian dishes but today I’m pairing this with a very simple dish that is a perennial favorite of mine.  The main entre is slightly salty and that is why this wine is a perfect accompaniment to this dish.

Double Stuffed Chops

Two double cut pork chops

Stove top stuffing

Preparation; preheat oven to 325°

Slice chops down the center on the meat side to open a pocket for stuffing.

Prepare stove top stuffing and insert into each of the pork chops, be generous.

Salt and pepper chops and lay in shallow baking dish and place on center rack of oven and cook for an 1 hour 15 minutes to 1:30.

Side Dishes

Brocoli steamed until done but still crisp. Melt a little butter and the juice of a slice of lemon. Pour over broccoli and serve on the plate with the chop.

Applesauce as your second side dish.

This is a perfect easy and inexpensive meal, take a bite of the chop followed by a sip of the Vintners Reserve Riesling and the rest is palatial history.  This is a perfect pairing Kendall-Jackson style.

Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula features the wines I have tasted today.  Be sure to stop by the very best of beverage and see my Kendall-Jackson wines I have selected for you.  Missoula’s premier wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet.

Join me next week for my last show in this series with Jackson Family Wines and Kendall-Jackson Winemaster Randy Ullom as we taste the KJ Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. To learn more about the Kendall-Jackson wine portfolio visit www.KJ.com Until then, I’ll see you on the radio.  Salute.

To learn more about Jess Jackson and the history of Jackson Family Wines and Kendall-Jackson you can visit http://www.corridormag.com/home/grapevine

Be sure not to miss next week’s show as WineMaster Randy Ullom will be sharing more of the Kendall-Jackson wines on the WineGuyMike radio show.  Sunday, March 25th at 10:00 AM  MST. 

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM at; http://bit.ly/pVLaBr.  Extended show podcasts are available following each week’s show on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Kendall-Jackson Winemaster Randy Ullom


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/11/wine-guy-mike-for-march-11/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Jackson Family Wines and Kendall-Jackson are driven by an uncompromising desire for quality in their wines.  This family-owned and family-run business has always been dedicated to three things: respect for the land, their wines and the best interests of the consumer.

This week on the show I had the great pleasure to be joined by Kendall-Jackson Winemaster Randy Ullom.  This week is part two of a four show series with Kendall-Jackson.  This was an opportunity for me to sit down and learn about Randy’s background and taste thru a flight of KJ wines with Randy leading the way.

Randy has been with Kendall-Jackson since 1992 as a winemaker.  In 1997 he was made head Winemaster by Jess Jackson.  His love of wine began when he was on a short sabbatical from college that turned into three year stay, in Chile in the 70’s.  As the head Winemaster Randy oversees the entire Kendall-Jackson portfolio.

One of the many things I learned while tasting with Randy is his love of skiing and that he is a self professed rock hound, and when he mentioned that it really grabbed my attention.  Many of the finest winemakers I know have backgrounds in geology and this seems to provide them with sixth sense of the terroir in which their grapes grow.  After tasting wines with Randy this week I have to believe this is true of the portfolio of wines he oversees for Kendall-Jackson.

Randy is originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan but it was during his stay in Chile and cross-country trek through Chile’s vast wine-growing regions that his passion for wine was born.  Upon his return to the United States, he entered Ohio State University to study crop production with a specialty in Viticulture and Enology and received his degree in 1975.

After six years as a vineyard manager and Winemaker in Ohio and upstate New York, Randy moved to California to become associate Winemaker at De Loach Vineyards in Sonoma County.  He was promoted to Winemaker and Vice President in 1991.  The wines produced during his tenure were consistent gold medal winners at wine competitions.  It was at these competitions that he at Jess Jackson became acquainted.

Randy has two astounding winemakers working with him.  Mark Theis is responsible for the Burgundian wine program, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as well as any Syrah releases, while Winemaker Matt Smith is responsible for the Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and the Meritage or red blends.

The Kendall-Jackson winery utilizes boutique winemaking methods throughout harvest, press and fermentation to craft their wines by hand.  Each vineyard lot is kept separate, so they can capture the essence of each vineyard site.  

The wine that Randy and I tasted this week was the Kendall-Jackson Avant Chardonnay http://youtu.be/Wf_8oRZ4dQk .  The Avant Chardonnay is a beautifully crafted wine that is a great wine to start of the evening with.  There are three things that I share with you about the entire portfolio of Kendall-Jackson wines; the wines are made with finesse, the wines are elegant, and the wines are always consistent.

The Avant Chardonnay is pale yellow in the glass; it looks refreshing in your glass as it begs to be tasted.  It was fun to taste this new wine from Kendall-Jackson against the Vintners Reserve Chardonnay that has long been one of America’s favorite wines. 

The Avant has only a slight nuance of oak, the fruit is bright on the nose and the palate.  What I found intriguing about this wine is that on the palate it was both light yet rich with fruit.  This wine has a perfect balance of fruit and acid, featuring mild tropical fruit of pineapple, tart apple, and my favorite Meyer lemon, the K-J Avant will pair nicely with shellfish, or any white variety of fish.  The K-J Avant really comes to life on the mid-palate as it is crisp, and delivers light fruit with nice gentle acidity.  The finish is delightfully crisp with subtle tropical fruit that lingers long, this is a very nice wine.

Cooking with Kendall-Jackson Avant Chardonnay

Not only is Avant great to drink it’s great to cook with too. Here is a Northwest style clam recipe to enjoy today.

Ingredients:

8 oz to 12 oz Fresh or dry Linguine

5 cloves garlic- minced

1/4 cup extra virgin Olive Oil

3 7oz cans minced clams reserve the broth

1/4 cup KJ Avant Chardonnay

1/2 to 3/4 cup of RESERVED CLAM BROTH

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 tsp each basil, oregano, black pepper

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat oil and add garlic but DO NOT brown. Then add clams, saute few minutes, add wine, broth and rest of ingredients, except cheese.  Cover and simmer about 10 minutes.  Mix into hot cooked linguine, mix in freshly grated Parmesan and serve with Caesar salad and rolls.

I want to thank Randy Ullom for joining me this week, he is captivating, informative and very passionate about Jackson Family Wines and the Kendall-Jackson portfolio he is responsible for.  He provided a great overview of the wine portfolio that you can find out about by visiting http://www.KJ.com

To learn more about Jess Jackson and the history of Jackson Family Wines and Kendall-Jackson you can visit http://www.corridormag.com/home/grapevine

Be sure not to miss next week’s show as WineMaster Randy Ullom will be sharing more of the Kendall-Jackson wines on the WineGuyMike radio show.  Sunday, March 18th at 10:00 AM  MST. 

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM at; http://bit.ly/pVLaBr.  Extended show podcasts are available following each week’s show on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

Have a great week and I’ll see you on the radio, cheers from WineGuyMike.

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Part 1 CBS Undercover Boss Kendall-Jackson Winery


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/04/wine-guy-mike-for-march-4th/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

All photo’s courtesy of CBS Undercover Boss.

A month ago, as I was watching television, an advertisement for a show that airs on CBS Sunday evenings captured my attention.  The reality series “Undercover Boss” was featuring the Kendall-Jackson winery on the show.  I was excited to see an iconic brand that has helped shape the American wine Industry being featured on national television. 

This week on the WineGuyMike radio show I was joined by Jason Hunke VP of Communications Jackson Family Wines.  Jason J. Hunke serves as vice president of communications for Jackson Family Wines, one of America’s largest and most beloved family-owned wineries.  Jason oversees a range of business and consumer related communications programs.

Jason is a great guest and ambassador for Jackson Family Wines, he is also very accomplished in his career.  Here are just a few things that he has done throughout his career to date:

  • General Manager of the Seattle and Portland offices of Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm
  • Senior Director of marketing and public relations for nearly 11 years at Vulcan Inc., the management firm of billionaire investor and philanthropist Paul G.Allen, co-founder of Microsoft
  • overseen award-winning communications programs for various film and television projects, including the PBS series “Rx forSurvival: A Global Health Challenge”; “Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues”; launching the acclaimed documentary project “Evolution” on PBS
  • Hunke’s communications work has garnered multiple awards including three national PR Week awards for arts & entertainment campaign of the year
  • served for three years on the board of the Pride Foundation and has been a guest lecturer at the University of Washington

Jess Jackson was one of a small group of modern day contemporaries in Sonoma and Napa that shaped the American wine industry in more ways than one.  He passed away in April of 2011 after a long and courageous battle with cancer.  On the show this week Jason talked about Jess Jackson’s legacy and the new President’s, Rick Tigner, leadership role at Kendall-Jackson winery.

If you missed the CBS Undercover Boss show that aired on January 29th of this year I encourage you to watch this show by going to CBS.com. 

Kendall-Jackson President and CBS Undercover Boss, Rick Tigner

In this episode Rick Tigner goes undercover to understand how the company works from vine to product on the retail shelf.  Rick wants to discover what improvements can be made from on the business side of Kendall-Jackson as well as how the company’s employees can be better served.

Rick tackled four different roles on the CBS Undercover Boss show:

  1. Assistant Vineyard Manager, Crop Estimation – learning how the grapes are cared for and what happens in the vineyard
  2. Truck Driver- the reality of the gap between sales and deliveries
  3. Mobile Bottling Unit Supervisor – ensuring a quality product on the shelf
  4. Sales Associate – Rick visits the Murphy Goode, one of the JFW labels, tasting room to pour for visiting consumers.  

Kendall-Jackson was the first winery to ever be featured on Undercover Boss and what ensued was not only heartwarming but also very emotional.  I enjoyed this episode so much as it really captured the true essence of the industry for me.  The heart of this business is farming and as Jess Jackson said in his own words; “a handful of dirt had a deep meaning for me”. 

This was especially true in Sonoma County, Jess’ favorite place in the world.  His intimate relationship with the land that he loved and grew grapes provided him a sixth sense for the terroir, or sense of place of this area.  As a grape farmer Jess was one of the first to recognize and understand that vines are like mountain goats, in that they thrive on mountain tops, ridges, hillsides and benchlands.  This farming method is difficult but Jess knew growing grapes this way would produce the richest fruit exhibiting intense character and flavor. 

Jess Jackson was a leader and a visionary in the California wine industry.  His family-owned and family-run business has always been dedicated to three things: respect for the land, their wines and the best interests of the consumer.  The Jackson family culture is built on those principles and on the ethos of hard work, integrity, and an uncompromising desire for quality.  This is the Jackson families’ formula for success.

I want to thank Jason Hunke for joining me this week, he is very passionate about Jackson Family Wines and the Kendall-Jackson winery.  He provided a great overview of the wine portfolio that you can find out about by visiting www.KJ.com

To learn more about Jess Jackson and the history of Jackson Family Wines and Kendall-Jackson you can visit http://www.corridormag.com/home/grapevine

Be sure not to miss next week’s show as WineMaster Randy Ullom will be joining me on the WineGuyMike radio show on Sunday, March 11th at 10:00 AM  MST to share his insight on winemaking and all that goes on behind the scenes at Jackson Family Wines and Kendall-Jackson.  Randy and I will taste a flight of incredible wines, and comparing notes that we will be sharing with you. 

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM at; http://bit.ly/pVLaBr.  Extended show podcasts are available following each week’s show on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

Have a great week and I’ll see you on the radio, cheers from WineGuyMike.

"from my table to yours"