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  • Writer's pictureThe Bluebird. A Midtown Eatery.

The white wine for Sapphire wine club this month is the 2021 Crossbarn 'Sonoma Coast' Chardonnay. Early this year I was lucky enough to be able to attend a lunch and taste through an amazing assortment of Paul Hobbs wines from around the world. The barn pictured about is located in upstate New York on the 150 year old family farm.

“Farm life instills in one a deep sense of respect for family, a love of land and the joys of collaborative effort. Our Crossbarn wines are a reflection of these ideals and of our commitment to sustainable vineyard practices and gentle winemaking techniques. The "cross barn" was nestled in the middle of our one hundred fifty year old family farm in upstate New York. A favorite haunt for my siblings and me, it took on a life of its own and remains in our memories as a place of great mystery and adventure.” - Paul Hobbs

Along with Crossbarn winery, Paul Hobbs is also the owner and winemaker for Sebastopol winery and Paul Hobbs Winery in California, Hillock & Hobbs in the Finger Lakes, New York, he has international ties with Viña Cobos (Argentina), Crocus (France), Yacoubian-Hobbs (Armenia) and Alvaredos-Hobbs (Spain). Paul was an early pioneer in site specific varietals, it may have started when he was a kid on the farm and his father had him taste the same variety of apple grown in different orchards several miles apart, apparently the flavors made an impression and perhaps influenced they way he approaches winemaking.

This straw colored chardonnay hails from the cool Sonoma Coast AVA. This sassy chardonnay is crisp, yet hints of juicy pineapple and pear. The finish is refreshing and finishes clean. This lean bodied would pair beautifully with Oysters.

The red wine selection hails from Eberle winery. This month I am featuring the 2020 'Paso Robles' Zinfandel. Gary Eberle, the founder, went to Penn State University and studied biology, after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, he attended Louisiana State University for graduate work in cellular genetics. He earned a National Science Fellowship to Charity Hospital in New Orleans, it was there that one of his professors introduced him to the world of food and wine. It was Bordeaux from France that changed his trajectory - he enrolled in the Enology Doctorate Program at the University of California Davis. In 1973 he co-founded Estrella River Winery and a few years later he started Eberle in 1979 and produced premium, small production wines. He helped found the Paso Robles Appellation in 1983 and he was the first to produce a 100% commercially produced Syrah. The Zinfandel this month is hearty and elegant at the same time. Juicy blackberries and plums flavors are well balanced. There is also a hint of baking spices and tobacco. This banger will pair easily with a wide range of food - The Bad Dad Burger would be my first choice.

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  • Writer's pictureThe Bluebird. A Midtown Eatery.

I'm glad it worked out that I am able to feature the 2020 Trentadue 'La Storia' Merlot. I have a soft spot for this winery because I was able to visit when I was in California last year. Trentadue is located in Geyserville (north of Heldsburg).Way back in 1959 Evelyn and Leo Trentadue decided to flee, what is now know as the Silicon Valley, and purchased over 200 acres of land in Sonoma's county's Alexander Valley. Their farming practices "reflect our commitment to exceptional fruit quality and our stewardship of the land from which it comes. We strive to balance the traditions of the area's early Italian growers and the ever-evolving viticulture industry."

Trentadue vineyards in the fall.

I'm going to go as far as to say this is my benchmark California merlot. I'm not sure why the guy in the movie Sideways was so worked up about drinking Merlot. I had my mental notes from my visit but I recently revisited this wine with some gourmet left overs recently. The meal in question was Insta-pot pork roast lovin', locally foraged mushroom medley and herbed polenta.

Chicken of the Woods Mushroom

Baby Chantrelles

I worked up such an appetite foraging for the mushrooms is probably why I enjoyed my meal and this wine so much. This classic Bordeaux varietal has great flavors of dark cherry and plums. New oak works its magic with flavors of vanilla and produces a soft well balanced wine.

The white wine selection for the Indigo is a lesser known grape and the more I drink it the more I like it. It's a nice change of pace from your usual white wine suspects like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Speaking of Sauvignon Blanc...if you like Sauv Blanc's then you will like the 2022 Husch 'Mendocino' Chenin Blanc. The moment the wine hit my mouth the, it reminded me of a spring day. Fresh grassyness, like a Sauvignon Blanc, and flavors of honeysuckle and citrus washed over my mouth and it melded into a round mouthfeel and a long satisfying finish. The Husch winery boasts the earliest varietal plantings in the Anderson Valley. In 1979, Hugo Oswald Jr. bought the Husch winery, at the time the Oswald family had been grown pears. Today the winery is owned and operated by the 3rd generation of the Oswald family and still have not lost its reputation for great wines.

If we had more mushrooms I would make a mushroom risotto with them and drink this wine with it. 🤤

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  • Writer's pictureThe Bluebird. A Midtown Eatery.

Well September snuck up on me. One minute its all hot and summery and the next thing you know its September. This month I'm keeping the summer vibes alive with California wine month. I've said it before and I will probably say it again, there are so many wines to choose from, like most months I hope I choose good. There are more the 6,000 wineries to choose from. Washington has about 1,300; Oregon is at 939 and Idaho has 115.

Again it was really hard to choose. It was easy enough to pick a wide variety of wine, there are over 100 varietals grown with Chardonnay being the most widely planted grape. I won't keep you waiting any longer......

I was quite torn on the white wine selection for the Indigo level. Of course I had a few to choose from and I had in my mind that I was going to pick a Sauvignon Blanc...until I tried this little number. The 2022 Husch Chenin Blanc is the best of both worlds. This family owned (3rd generation) is about 2 1/2 hours north of San Fransisco close to the Mendocino coast. Husch produces 22 different wines with Quality being the key word. The grapes are grown and managed by the winery, allowing the winemakers to have total control from the vineyards to the winery.

The red wine selection for Indigo level is the 2020 Trentadue 'La Storia' Merlot.

Poor little merlot grape after the movie "Sideways" came out. I hope you haven't been avoiding this varietal because of a sad, desperate character from a movie that came out almost 20 years ago. Paul Giamatti's character hated it because was so easy to drink-remember that his life was pretty miserable, so I would imagine it would be hard to impress him.

It would be kinda lame if I didn't include a Chardonnay, this month I'm featuring a wine from Paul Hobbs, my wine rep-Lisa's favorite wine maker. If it wasn't for her enthusiasm for this wine and the other wines he makes, my life wouldn't be boring. This month you are in for a treat with the 2021 Crossbarn 'Sonoma Coast' Chardonnay. I wanted to use more Paul Hobbs wines this month, but I will revisit some Paul Hobbs wines when we have S. America/S.Africa month in November.

Then there is the 2020 Eberle Paso Robles Zinfandel. Gary Eberle first produced wines in 1979 and they helped co-found the Paso Robles Appellation in 1983. Gary Eberle went to college and graduted with a Bachelor in Biology, he then went on to LSU for undergraduate work in cellular genetics. This isn't the first winemaker we've had in the wine club that is a smarty pants, and after intense schooling they change careers to a winemaker. I'm not complaining, it's just interesting.

For the peacock level this month we are featuring the 2018 Taub Family 'Rutherford' Cabernet Sauvignon. Marty Taub ran a successful wine import business in the 1970's with his son David. David's son, Marc, was immersed in wine his whole life-he dreamed of going west, he wanted to make wine. Fate worked it's magic and led Marc to Mendocino and that is where he discovered Saracina vineyards.

I didn't plan it, but the wines featured this month are all family run wineries that showcase the one of many varietals that California is known for,

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