Archive 2023 Wine Tasting Dinners

January 2023 Cabernet Sauvignon  This year the temps have been fairly mild, but the excitement for Cabernet Sauvignon is off the charts high!  We had 2 tastings that were totally booked full.  Cabernet is a good heavy dry red that not only gives you some good fruit but also pairs well with most beef dishes and can still be enjoyed with cheese and crackers.  This month we paired our Cabernet Sauvignon with Meatloaf, (note this recipe is on my website here, go to recipe tab and scroll down) Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli and Cheese Casserole and French Chocolate Tart (note I used vanilla wafers crumbs w/ butter vs making crust.  

  • 3rd/3rd tie      2019 Kate Arnold Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, WA (80.5% Cabernet Sauvignon,                                                 9% Merlot, 8% Syrah, 2% Malbec, .5% Cabernet Franc.)
  • 4th tie/2nd      2019 Mettler Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi, CA (Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 2nd/4th            2019 Priest Ranch Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, CA (100% Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 1st tie/3rd tie  2019 Raymond Sommelier Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, North Coast, CA (82% Cabernet                                                 Sauvignon, 18% Merlot)
  • 4th tie/1st        2019 Vina Robles Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, CA (42% Creston Valley Cabernet                                              Sauvignon, 42% Huerhuero Cabernet Sauvignon 16% Huerhuero Petit Verdot)
  • 1st tie/5th         2020 Angeline Cabernet Sauvignon, CA (100% Cabernet Sauvignon)



February 2023 Merlot We used to say this was a wine that could have a description that was a paragraph long, as the winemakers tasting notes included every aroma or flavor and finish there is.  So there might be tar and leather, mint and chocolate, herbs and cherries all could be a characteristic of Merlot.  This month we are pairing our Merlots with Baked Chicken Parmesan, Roasted Butternut Squash & Onions, Green Beans and Death by Chocolate Cheesecake.

  • 4th tie/3rd    2017 Chateau Auguste Rouge, Bordeaux (80% Merlot, 10% Cab Sauv, 10% Cab Franc)
  • 6th/5th tie     2018 Chateau Jalouise Beaulieu, Bordeaux (83% Merlot, 10% Cab Franc, 7% Cab Sauv)
  • 1st/ 5th tie     2019 Columbia Crest H3 Merlot, Horse Heaven Hills, WA (86% Merlot, 14% Cab Sauvi)
  • 5th/1st            2020 Airfield Merlot, Yakima Valley, WA
  • 2nd/2nd        2018 St. Francis Merlot, Sonoma County, CA (100% Merlot)
  • 4th tie/6th    2019 Alexander Valley Vineyard Merlot, Sonoma County, CA (89% Merlot, 11% Cab Sauv)
  • 3rd/4th          2019 Robert Hall Merlot, Paso Robles, CA


March 2023 Odd Reds & Petite Sirah  This is one of my favorite tastings.  The odd red wines are ususally used as blending grapes for different characteristics they offer to that blend others are just small production grapes that stand on their own also which is what we have in this tasting.  I also have found over the years that Petite Sirah is one of our all time favorite grapes.  It is full bodied and very smooth to drink, and I love the inky purple color!
We paired these wines with Grilled Pork Chop w/ Kahlua Glaze, Mashed Sweet Potatoes,
Asparagus,  Chocolate Kahlua Coffee Pound Cake
  • 2nd/3rd        2019 Brunn Blauer Zweigelt, Niederosterreich, Austria (1.0L) (100% Blauer Zweigelt)
  • 5th Tie/7th   2019 Andis Barbera d’ Amador, Sierra Foothills, CA (100% Barbera)
  • 5th Tie/6th   2018 Tagua Gran Reserva Carmenere, Rapel Valley, Chile (100% Carmenere)
  • 3rd Tie/5th   2019 Luke Syrah Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley, WA (100% Syrah)
  • 4th/2nd         2019 San Simeon Petite Sirah, Paso Robles, CA (Petite Sirah)
  • 1st/4th           2020 Parducci Small Lot Petite Sirah, Mendocino County, CA (84% Petite Sirah, 9% Merlot, 7% Syrah)
  • 3rd Tie/1st    2020 Shannon Ridge High Elevation Collection Petite Sirah, Lake County, CA


April 2023 Red Blends This is a favorite tasting of red wine lovers.  Red blends are smooth and easy to drink they are also very reasonably priced.  These are the wines you want to have with a backyard BBQ or a picnic red wine.  They are also great wines to take to a party as they are generally not very dry and are very smooth and easy to drink.  So pick up a red blend for your next tailgate or party.  We paired BBQ Pork Tenderloin, Fried Noodles, Roasted Brussel Sprouts w/ Bacon & Blackberry Pie Bars with our wines this month.
  • 1st/3rd Tie     2017 Silent Oak Reserva Red Blend, Tejo, Portugal (Touriga Nacional & Alicante Bouschet)
  • 5th Tie/5th     2020 Matchbook Pillars of Hercules Red Blend, Dunnigan Hills, CA (54% Petite Sirah, 27% Petit Verdot, 19% Teroldego)
  •  5th Tie/4th    2017 Belasco de Baquedano LLAMA Old Vine Blend, Mendoza, Argentina (50% Bonarda, 50% Malbec)
  • 4thTie/6th      2021 Domaine La Solitude Cotes du Rhone, France (Grenache noir 50%, Syrah 40%, Mourvèdre 10%)
  • 3rd/3rd Tie    2020   High on the Hog Red Wine, Paso Robles, CA (48% Grenache, 26% Petite Sirah, 7% Syrah, 7% Zinfandel, 5% Mourvedre 5% Malbec, 2% Lagrein)
  • 4th Tie/1st      2020 Lapis Luna Red Wine Blend, Lodi, CA (35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 25% Malbec, 5% Barbera (93% Mendocino7%Rockpile))
  • 2nd/2nd          2019 Charles & Charles Double Trouble, WA (58% Syrah42% Cabernet Sauvignon)
May 2023 Chardonnay Time for those white wines we all love.  Chards can be creamy and buttery or they can be crisp with nuts, apples, or melon flavors.  No matter how you like them we are going to have a good mix with these wines.  We paired our wines this month with Grilled Chicken w/ Garlic Herb Sauce over Rice, Garlic-Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower and Raspberry Ricotta Cake.  
  • 6th/5th                  NV Bota Box Breeze (Low Cal/Carb) Chardonnay, CA                                                      
  • 5th/2nd Tie          2021 Balletto Teresa’s Chardonnay Unoaked Russian River Valley, CA (100% Chardonnay)
  • 2nd Tie/1st           2019 Chemistry Chardonnay, Willamette Valley, OR (100% Chardonnay)
  • 2nd Tie/2nd Tie  2021 Raeburn Sonoma Chardonnay, Sonoma County, CA (100% Chardonnay)
  • 4th/3rd Tie          2021 Sonoma-Cutrer Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, Sonoma County, CA (100% Chardonnay)
  • 3rd/4th                 2021 Ten to Life Russian River Valley Chardonnay, Sonoma County, CA (100% Chardonnay)
  • 1st/3rd Tie           2019 Farmstead Long Meadows Ranch Chardonnay, Napa Valley, CA



June 2023 Sauvignon Blanc  As we move forward into summer, we all want to drink something cold.  That’s where Sauvignon Blanc comes in!  This is a great wine to have by the pool or on the patio in the evening on those hot days.  Sauvignon Blancs are typically full of flavor from lemon, grapefruit, passion fruit, to jalapeno in some of them.  They pair well with salads and grilled chicken or shrimp. It is a great pair with crab also.  These are easy to drink wines that will be fun to taste and find a few new favorites for the summer.  We paired our wines this evening with:  Grilled Chicken w/ Lemon Dill Sauce, Parmesan Risotto, Creamy Asiago Bacon Wrapped Roasted Onions, Grilled Asparagus and Passion Fruit Crème Brulee

  • 2nd/1st                 2021 Gen 5 Sauvignon Blanc, Lodi, CA (99% Sauvignon Blanc, 1% other whites)
  • 1st/5th                  2022 Daou Sauvignon Blanc, Paso Robles, CA (100% Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 3rd/4th                2022 Dry Creek Vineyard Fume Blanc, Sonoma County, CA (100 % Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 5th Tie/3rd Tie   2022 Babich Black Label Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ (100% Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 5th Tie/2nd         2022 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ (100% Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 4th/3rd Tie          2022 The Infamous Goose Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ (100% Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 6th/3rd Tie          2022 Nautilus Sauvignon BlancMarlborough, NZ (100% Sauvignon Blanc)



July 2023 Rose Wines in July this year we are going to mix it up a little.  This year we are going to do all Rose wines. Some of these may lean a little sweeter, others a little drier, but in general they are clean and crisp and something you can enjoy sipping on or with a meal on these warm summer days.  I paired these wine with Grilled Chicken over Grilled Red Pepper, Onions & Broccoli, Roasted Butternut Squash & Sweet Potatoes, Raspberry White Chocolate Mousse.  I also made Mascarpone Stuffed Dates w/ Pistachios (not pecans).

  • 1st/6th     2022 Martin Ray Rose of Pinot Noir, Sonoma/Monterey, CA (100% Pinot Noir)
  • 6th/7th    2022 Maison Saleya COTEAUX-D’AIX-EN-PROVENCE Rose, France (70% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 5% Cinsault)
  • 7th/4th    2022 ZaZa Garncha Rose, Spain (100 % Garnacha)
  • 4th/2nd   2022 Chateau La Nerthe Les Cassagnes Rose, Cote-Du-Rhone, France (60 % Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 20% Cinsault)
  • 5th/5th     2022 Chateau D’Aqueria Tavel Rose, Cru des Cotes-Du-Rhone, France (50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 15% Clairette, 10% Cinsault)
  • 2nd/3rd    2022 Chateau Berne Romance Rose, France (Grenach noir, Cinsault, Syrah, Merlot)
  • 3rd/1st      2021 Grgich Hills Estate Rose, Napa Valley, CA (42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Zinfandel, 20% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Sauvignon Blanc)





August 2023 Odd White Wines  Now that we have hit the dog days of summer with 100 degrees on the calendar every day let’s see if we can find some white wines to drink!  This month we will focus on off-dry whites like Pinot Grigio, White Blends, maybe some other white grapes like Roussanne, Viognier or Chenin Blanc.  These are wines that will be clean and crisp, great for winding down in the evenings on the patio or by the pool.   They typically have a citrus characteristic to them so they will pair well with Spinach, Artichoke & Chicken Stuffed Shells & Nancy’s Salad, Key Lime Pie!

  • 2nd/3rd  2022 Chemistry Pinot Gris, Oregon (Pinot Gris)
  • 4th/5th   2021 Barone Fini Valdadige Pinot Grigi, Italy (100% Valdadige Pinot Grigio)
  • 7th/4th   2021 Luna Nuda Pinot Grigio, Italy (100% Pinot Grigio)
  • 3rd/1st    2022 Mapreco Vinho Verde, Portugal (Albarino, Loureiro)
  • 5th/7th    2022 Colome Torrontes, Argentina (100% Torrontes)
  • 6th/6th    2020 Airfield Viognier, Yakima Valley, Washington (100% Viognier)
  • 1st/2nd    2022 Airlie Dry Gewurztraminer, Willamette Valley, Oregon (100% Gewurztraminer)





September 2023 Malbec & South American Red Wines  This month we are going to return to reds!  We are going to check out wines from Argentina and maybe Chile.  I’m looking at focusing on Malbec but throwing in a couple other varietals from the region.  These wines are typically not to dry and can be easy to drink. They are meant to go with Grilled meats so I would venture to say we will stick to that pairing.  These are wines you should be able to enjoy at those tailgating events over the next couple months, or a firepit in the backyard watching the sunset. I am pairing the wines this month with Smoked Beef Brisket, Grilled Smoked Beef Sausage, Grilled Broccoli, Corn Pudding & Chocotorta.

  •  2nd Tie/1st        2022 WEON Carignan, Maule Valley, Chile (100% Carignan)
  • 3rd Tie/5th Tie  2021 (Belasco) Llama Old Vine Cabernet Franc, Mendoza, Argentina (100% Cabernet Franc)
  • 4th/6th                2021 Fabre Montmayou Lujan de Cuyo Cabernet Franc, Mendoza, Argentina (100% Cab Franc)
  • 2nd Tie/3rd        2019 Tapiz Alta Collection Malbec, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (100% Malbec)
  • 2nd Tie/5th Tie  2020 Loca Linda Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina (1 liter btl) (100% Malbec)
  • 3rd/4th                2021 Art of Earth Organic Grapes Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina (100% Malbec)
  • 1st/2nd                2021 Piattelli Lujan De Cuyo Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina (100% Malbec)




October 2023 Zinfandel  Fall is officially here, we have football games to tailgate at, evening and weekend BBQ’s with family and friends to attend and Zinfandel to drink!   Zin is a great wine to take for a crowd.  It is a wine that is not necessarily dry, but is easy to drink. Zin is jammy and brambly; it also has some pepper on the finish sometimes.  It is a great everyday wine to drink and you can find ones that are very budget friendly and some that are more pricey.   P.S. It can also be good for next months turkey meals.  

This month lets see if we can find a few for you to enjoy in the upcoming months. This month however, we are paring it with Bacon Cheeseburgers, Sweet Potato Fries & Chocolate Tuxedo Cake.

  • 4th/6th    2019 7 Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, CA (91% Zinfandel, 6% Petite Sirah, 2% Syrah, 1% Cab Sauv)
  • 6th/5th    2020 Ridge Three Valleys, Sonoma County, CA (74% Zin, 12% Petite Sirah, 9% Carignane, 5% Alicante Bouschet)
  • 3rd/1st     2020 Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel, Contra Costa County, CA   
  • 5th/4th    2021 Zinfandelic Zinfandel, Lodi, CA
  • 1st/3rd     2020 McNab Ridge Zinzilla Zinfandel, CA
  • 2nd/2nd  2018 Fiddletown Old Vine Zinfandel, Amador County, CA
  • extra house wine: 2016 Bella Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, CA (94% zinfandel, 6% petite sirah) 
  • extra house wine: 2015 Bella Big River Ranch Zinfandel, Alexander Valley, CA (96% Zin, 4% Petite Sirah) 



November 2023 Pinot Noir  In November we are going to be tasting Pinot Noir, one of the lighter red wines and also not very dry.  It is a wine that will pair well with many different meals and is great for holidays when you have lots of family and friends that are not as familiar with wines but want something easy to drink.  We paired our wines with Pork Tenderloin w/ Cherry Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, and Cinnamon Apples w/ Caramel Stroopwafel

  • 2nd/1st   2021 Panther Creek Cellars Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR (100% Pinot Noir)
  • 6th/2nd  2021 Chehalem Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR (100% Pinot Noir)
  • 3rd/4th   2021 A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir, OR 
  • 4th/6th   2019 Bryn Mawr Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR (100% Pinot Noir)
  • 5th/5th   2021 7 Cellars Farm Collection Pinot Noir, Monterey County, CA (100% Pinot Noir)
  • 1st/3rd    2022 Old Soul Pinot Noir, Lodi, CA (77% Pinot Noir, 12% Zinfandel, 7% Petite Sirah, 4% Malbec)


December 2023 Sparkling Wines I know everyone is looking forward to all the holiday parties!  Hopefully this will give you a chance to find a bottle of either a more dry appetizer bubbly or a sweeter style that we will pair with a couple desserts. It will give you a chance to find a special bottle for Christmas to celebrate with or for New Years Eve to ring in the new year!  Here is a list of what we had with our sparkling wines and we had Bella house wines with the Salmon. Cheese, Meats, Grapes, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Sausage Bites for appetizers. Sweet Chili Salmon w Rice Pilaf for dinner. Brownies, Cheesecake (caramel/strawberry sauce), White Chocolate Raspberry Bunt Cake, Strawberries for dessert.

  1. 1st/2nd    Albert Bichot Cremant de Bourgogne Brut Reserve, France (60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir)
  2. 3rd/3rd   Chandon Brut, California
  3. 2nd/1st    La Bella Prosecco, Italy (Glera)
  4. 2nd/3rd  Wilson Creek Almond Sparkling Wine, California (French Colombard and Chardonnay)
  5. 3rd/1st     M&R Asti, Piemont, Italy (Moscato)
  6. 1st/2nd    Banfi Rosa Regale Sparkling Red, Piedmont, Italy (Brachetto d’Acqui)


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