Great Opportunity to Taste This Friday - Alto Adige, IT

Just recieved word that there will be a spectacular complimentary tasting of wines from one of my most Favorite regions in the world - Alto Adige, Italy.  I wouldnt miss this chance to taste through some delicious wines that are tops in my book. Make sure you RSVP with James Jordan of the Dallas Wine Company when you get a chance -

See you there!!


Brought to you by our friends at:  The Dallas Wine Company

“Taste Often – Drink Well”

Invites you to a special wine tasting experience featuring... 

Abbazia Di Novacella

Please join us for a complimentary tasting of six wines from the northernmost winery in Italy, Abbazia Di Novacella. The winery is a working 12th century Augustinian abbey located in the Alto Adige, the most northeastern part of Italy near the Austrian border. The abbey produces some of the regions (and Italy's) most intense and aromatic whites available - crafted by Italy's 2009 winemaker of the year, Celestino Lucin.

John Halbach, the local winery representative and seasoned wine veteran, will be on hand to discuss the wines and answer questions.

Featured wines include... 

  • 2010 Kerner
  • 2010 Muller Thurgau
  • 2010 Pinot Grigio
  • 2010 Sauvignon
  • 2010 Sylvaner
  • 2010 Pinot Nero

 When & Where?

Friday, September 7, 2012  5:00 - 7:00 pm


The Wine Therapist

1810 Skillman at Live Oak

Dallas, TX 75206



Large Format Fan Like Me?

Function Meets Fashion with 1980 Magnum California Cabernets, a fine wine auction house, is drawing attention to the "Big Boys" as they kick off their August online auction, happening August 15-August 31, 2012.

Due to the familiarity with the 750 ml bottle of wine, many wine drinkers do not always consider the economical practicality of a larger bottle of wine containing 1500 ml, or more. A bottle of wine with 1500 ml is called a Magnum, which is equivalent to two standard 750 ml wine bottles. The next size is called the Jeroboam, which holds 3 liters and it is equal to four standard bottles.

But the real question is, other than the increased volume of wine that you are purchasing with the Magnum, what are the other benefits of buying the larger bottle format?

Wine experts concur that the bigger the bottle, the better the aging process. The reason behind this phenomenon is the fact that larger bottles tend to have a strikingly similar neck size as the smaller bottles; therefore the amount of air captured in the neck of the bottle is also similar.  The result is a slower process of ‘growth’, allowing the wine to mature to perfection, remaining in excellent condition longer than wine in ordinary 750 ml bottles.

With less oxygen in the bottle compared to the volume of wine contained, the wine oxidizes at a slower pace, which many believe results in better maturation. In the end, the wines reach their peak at a later date.

The verdict from the wine experts is that wine from bigger bottles lasts longer, and tastes consistently better, than when matured in standard 750 ml size bottles. In addition to the alluring aroma, many also appreciate the craftsmanship and presentation of an extravagant bottle.

Long cherished for gracefully aging wine, large format bottles also double as a showpiece, often creating an elegant dining room display. Many sommeliers are now employing large-format bottles at a higher rate in order to heighten guests’ dining experiences.

Some of the Magnum bottles that WineGavel is auctioning this August include: the exceptional JE Luper 1984 Vintage Cabernet Sauvignon, the 1983 famous Sterling Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Reserve, an astounding 1989 Jeroboam Champagne Perrier Jouet Fleur de Champagne Brut, a rare 1979 Franciscan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, and the elusive 1985 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Reunion, a coveted brand owned by Francis Ford Coppola since 1992.

Multiple vintages of 1980s California cabernets were deemed outstanding when first offered over a decade ago because the 1980 growing season was one of the coolest on record.

The combination of the large format collectable bottles and the slowly matured wine from the 1980's California Cabernet grapes are sure to appeal to any collector or wine connoisseur.

WHO:                 WineGavel Fine Wine Auctions

WHAT:               WineGavel August Online Auction



Arista Winery Visits DFW

Pinot Noir.  Anyone that knows me understands my love for this deliciously thin-skinned and finicky grape.  No other grape wears its terroir and life journey on its sleeve quite like Pinot Noir.  Whether there be slight variations in climate, soil, aspect, or clonal selection, in the hands of a truly great wine maker, Pinot Noir can make a wine so elegant and interesting that it might make you wonder why you haven’t moved to Burgundy to immerse yourself in all of its glory.  Or, maybe you would choose to relish in one of the many New World offerings from the United States that have gained critical acclaim in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley, or the Central Coast of California.  Either way you slice it, New World or Old, a well-made Pinot Noir is hard to beat.

Last week I was able to sit down and chat with one of my favorite New World Pinot Noir producers, Mark McWilliams of Arista Winery.  Mark, born and raised in Texarkana and a self-professed Riesling fanatic, was in Dallas promoting their 2010 releases and had brought along quite a few wines to taste while we chatted about their property.  In addition to Mark, James Jordan of the Dallas Wine Company, was on hand at The Wine Therapist with an array of the 2009 vintages.  It set the stage for a nice tasting and discussion on not only the variations between the site specific Pinot’s, but just how the 2009 and 2010 vintages are shaping up. 

First a little on Arista - Arista, founded in 2002, currently has 14 unique Pinot Noir bottlings from sourced fruit on responsibly farmed vineyard blocks throughout the Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley, Mendocino Ridge, and the Anderson Valley.  Since purchasing their Russian River Valley estate in 2004, the shift to growing and releasing estate grown Pinot Noir has come into focus.  The Arista team hired the well-known Vineyard Manager Ulises Valdez (whom the Wine Advocate has called “one of the finest viticultural managers in northern California…and unquestionably at the top of his field) to bring that focus into a reality.  They planted their first two Pinot Noir plots in 2007 – Harper’s Rest (2.2 Acres) and Two Birds (3 Acres).  Whether the fruit is sourced or estate grown, Leslie Sisneros heads up the winemaking along with Mark McWilliams and they do their best to let each of the wines shine through their associated terroir.  And shine they do!

Additionally, Mark was very excited to share information on their recent property acquisition of the Martinelli Road Vineyard in the Green Valley area of the Russian River Valley.  The property boasts gnarly 100+ year old Zinfandel vines that were planted in the late 1800’s along with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  This purchase brings their overall estate to 60+ acres.  This new property is expected to be online and producing its first Arista bottled wines this year. 

Now on to the Wines!

Pinot Noir:

  • 2010 Harper’s Rest Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
  • 2010 Two Birds Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
  • 2010 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
  • 2010 Longbow Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
  • 2010 Toboni Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
  • 2010 Perli Vineyard Pinot Noir, Mendocino Ridge
  • 2009 Longbow Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
  • 2009 Toboni Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
  • 2009 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
  • 2009 La Cruz Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
  • 2009 Ferrington Vineyard Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley

  Other Wines Tasted -

  • 2010 Ferrington Vineyard Gewurztraminer, Anderson Valley
  • 2010 Smokey Ridge Vineyard Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley

In comparing the 2009 and 2010 vintage overall, it’s hard not to look past the firm yet elegant structure of the 2009 vintage.  In my opinion, the acidity and balance along with dense fruit concentration give the 2009 a slight edge to the 2010.  However, one thing that is hard to look past is the aromatic appeal of the 2010’s in general.  The 2010’s were very open and aromatic when compared to the closed and still-quite-tight 2009’s.  Both should evolve nicely in the bottle, but the 2009’s promise to be long lived and quite a treat. 

Each wine is 100% Pinot Noir and made consistently by Arista’s winemaking team, but, as expected, there were still stark differences in each wine style produced.  For me, that is the unparalleled beauty of Pinot Noir.  The Sonoma Coast offerings were bright with good acidity and silky qualities while the Russian River offerings tended to show more character with balanced acidity and more complex flavors.  The standout to me, (although it was extremely hard to pick just one!) was the 2009 Ferrington Vinyard Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley.  It was very complex with balanced acidity along with youthful spice and blackberry fruit flavors. 

Not to be overlooked, the two estate grown bottlings were diverse as well.  The Harper’s Rest was a little more subdued than the Two Birds, but both showed great fruit and balanced acidity.  Each were showing their youth, but the future seems very bright for their estate offerings! 

These Pinot Noirs are quite the catch in my book.  All of these wines were produced in very small quantities, so look hard before they are all taken.  I know that James has various in-stock at the Wine Therapist – I would get there quickly before this delicious is juice is long gone!

More info on Arista can be found here:


Jordan Winery Celebrates 40th - Dallas

Jordan Winery in the Alexander Valley region of Sonoma, CA is known for producing well balanced and fruit forward Cabernets.  This week they are throwing a two night shin-dig to celebrate their 40th anniversary. 

This Tuesday they have enlisted all-star Chef Kent Rathburn to judge their Jordan 4 on 4 Dallas art competition.  The event is complimentary to wine/art/food fans (details below).  The competition challenged local artists to blend the essence of Jordan wine with distinct flavors of Dallas in honor of their 40th anniversary this spring.  The top three winners will be unveiled at the private party at the Joule on Wednesday and I am told that there are some very gorgeous pieces -



Jordan Winery 4 on 4 Art Competition Tasting & Exhibition

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

6 to 9 p.m.

RISING Gallery

800 Jackson Street

Dallas, TX 75202


View the art competition entries:

To learn more about the 4 on 4 Dallas Art Competition and guest judges:



Jordan 40th Anniversary Party

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

7 to 10 p.m.

Joule Hotel

1530 Main Street

Dallas, TX


Join the celebration at  


Arista Winery of Russian River is Growing!

This morning I received a very intriguing email from one of my favorite producers (THE place to be on 10/28/2012 for our Wedding!) out of the Russian River AVA in Northern California. 

Congratulations Arista!

We are pleased to announce the purchase of the historic 74-acre Martinelli Road Vineyard near Forestville in Russian River Valley. The acquisition adds to our existing 36-acre Westside Road Estate. Our new vineyard is planted to 5 acres of 130-year-old Zinfandel vines, 10 acres of 30+ year Chardonnay vines and 3 acres of 20+ year Pinot Noir vines. The old vine Zinfandel was originally planted in 1880 by the Banfield family and then sold in 1903 to a family who has since farmed the property for 4 generations.

The reputation for wines produced from this vineyard and surrounding vineyards in this particular area is astounding. The site lies in the Green Valley of the Russian River Valley, which makes for very cool, very distinct growing conditions. The Yolo Loam is loose, well-drained soil ideal for growing ultra premium grapes. Our vineyard manager, Ulises Valdez, will oversee the day-to-day vineyard operations.

We plan to immediately begin producing estate designated Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay from the Martinelli Road Vineyard with this upcoming 2012 harvest. We will also continue to sell Zinfandel to Mike Officer of Carlisle Winery who has produced a Martinelli Road Vineyard Zinfandel since 2009.

Arista winemaker Leslie Sisneros comments, “You cannot replicate the nuance and complexity of these old vines, it is an incredible lesson in the beauty of Mother Nature and a privilege to work with such amazing fruit. It’s humbling to walk amongst these vines and consider the 130 years of farming history from this one site.”

We invite you to visit our website and Facebook page for more pictures of the Martinelli Road Vineyard in the coming weeks. We look forward to sharing the wines from the Martinelli Road Vineyard with you in the near future!

The McWilliams Family
Arista Winery in the Press

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