Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday's Adventures - Writers & California

Thursday Adventure - Writers

I've got great news! "Adventures in Moldavia" is going to be hosting romance guest authors in October!! Each author is going to discuss their lastest books. The fun starts 1 OCT and goes through 17 OCT right now, but I have several more dates open if anyone is interested.

Keep 1 OCT on your calendars. The fun begins then.


Now onto my California adventure. I mentioned in a previous post I wanted to talk about white wine that's made in California and I'm glad to touch upon it now.

Here's a list of the white wine made in California:
Sauvignon Blanc
Pinot Gringo


When it comes to chardonnay, I'm very picky and California chardonnays have a habit of being very oaky and full of buttery, or vanilla flavors. I prefer my chardonnarys a lot lighter. I like the wines from the Santa Maria region just north of Santa Ynez.

Sauvignon Blanc has a tendacy to be on the drier side. It's a dry white California wine made from a grape originally grown in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley.

Though the variety was established in California in the late 1870s - initially brought from France and planted in the Livermore Valley - the state's Sauvignon Blanc production began to sort itself out stylistically in the 1990s. Toward the end of the decade, two main styles had emerged, each essentially split into two sub-groups.

In one school of winemaking, the wines are fermented entirely or mostly in stainless steel with winemakers intent on producing a crisp, expressive wine that emphasizes either the varietal's inherent grassy-herbal qualities or fruity flavors, ranging from citrus, pear and melon to tropical and passion fruit.

The other school employs barrel fermentation, with some in this group intent on letting the varietal grassiness express itself to varying degrees, while others employ secondary malolactic fermentation, lees stirring and extended oak aging to create a creamy, luscious Sauvignon that can give Chardonnay a run for its money. These winemaking style divisions work to the advantage of the savvy consumer, providing greater selection in a broad price range. Arguably, Sauvignon Blanc has long been America's best buy in white wine, offering varietal character and versatility, coupled with availability. What is more, it virtually defines the term "food-friendly."

You can reference the following site for information:


Reislings can be dry or sweet or somewhere inbetween. The following is information from "Wine Country Getaways"

Riesling is most famous in the wine regions of Germany and France’s Alsace. Riesling is not a hugely popular wine in California, but it is an absolutely refreshing and delicious wine. One only wonders why more people are not taking advantage of this wonderful wine. Perhaps it is the mythical notion that Rieslings are always sweet wines.

ME: I agree - it is a very refreshing wine.

Riesling in California can have many names. We have seen White Riesling, Johannesburg Riesling, Dry Riesling, and once way back in time Wente Brothers Grey Riesling. There are also late harvest Rieslings and they of course are always sweet.

Riesling can be various degrees of sweetness from very dry to sweet dessert wine. It depends on how the winemaker wishes to make Riesling wine. When ordering a Riesling in a restaurant, always ask about the sweetness of the wine.

Riesling is a crisp and refreshing wine. It has various floral aromas and flavors. The most prominent being apricot, peach, pear, and lemon.

ME: That's a perfect description of the wine!

Riesling pairs well with lighter foods. Serve Riesling with light to medium cheese, shrimp, and with cracked crab. Sausage and spicy foods work well with Rieslings that have some sweetness to them.

Riesling grows in cool climates. Monterey and Mendocino Counties have an ideal climate for Rieslings grapes.

Favorite California Rieslings
Chateau Montelena Winery – Potter Valley Riesling $18 only at the winery
Chateau St. Jean
Firestone Riesling - Bargain Wine at $8
Bonny Doon Pacific Rim Riesling - Bargain Wine at $8
Greenwood Ridge
Handley Cellars
Trefethen Dry Riesling
Navarro Vineyards

I haven't tried any of these, but I have tried Fetzer and I like it. I'll be on the lookout for these.

Here's a link to: Where the above information came from.

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is a white Italian varietal that is exciting an increasing number of California winemakers. There are currently at least eighteen California wineries offering a PG, and for many of them the current release is their first venture with the varietal. California Pinot Grigios are a little softer than many Sauvignon Blancs, but they aren't as oakey as typical California Chardonnays.

I've had several out of the Santa Barbara area. I think the Santa Barbara has a nice offering. I find PG is rather on the drier side.


Gewürztraminer is one of the most pungent wine varietals, easy for even the beginning taster to recognize by its heady, aromatic scent. While the French have achieved the greatest success with this grape and its name may be German, the history of Gewürztraminer began in Italy's Tyrollean Alps, near the village of Termeno (Tramin) in Alto Adige.

The Following is information from Wine Country Getaways:

The Gewürztraminer grape is very popular in France (Alsace) and Germany.
ME: Yes! I first had the wine in Germany.

Gewürztraminer seems to be growing in popularity in California but there are only a handful of California wineries that produce Gewürztraminer.

Me: Yes - Fetzer does a Gewurztraminer.

Gewürztraminer wines come in distinctive tall, thin wine bottles.
Gewürztraminer is grown primarily in cooler climates.

Gewürztraminer can be made very dry to semi-sweet. Gewürztraminer can also be a late harvest desert wine.

ME: I prefer the semi-sweet.

The aroma of Gewürztraminer is distinctive. It is a mix of lychee nut, rose petals, peach, and spice.

The flavors are delicate with rich spice and fruit flavors of peach, apricot, and tropical fruit.
A dry Gewürztraminer is a good match with spicy foods found in many ethnic dishes.
You will find Gewürztraminer on our wine trails at these wineries:

Harvest Moon Winery - Russian River Valley
Martinelli Winery - Russian River Valley
Tom Fogarty - Santa Cruz Mountains
Chateau St. Jean - Sonoma Valley
Navarro Vineyards - Mendocino
Handley Cellars - Mendocino
Mill Creek Winery - Russian River West Side Road
Beringer Wines - Napa Valley
Firestone Vineyards - Foxen Canyon, Santa Barbara

I just had a Gewurztraminer from Chateau St. Jean and it was very well done. Very crisp, but a little on the drier side.

Here's a link to the following information:


Well, I hope you liked your adventure through California white wines. I hope to tackle red wines in a future post.

What kind of wine do you like?

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