This is based on wine provided by the winery or another party acting on their behalf.



An online tasting for the Ninth Annual Wine Industry Symposium.



2012 Wente Vineyards Chardonnay Morning Fog Livermore Valley

2011 Garnet Pinot Noir Monterey County

2010 Renwood Zinfandel Premier Old Vine



This online tasting was presented in conjunction with the 9th annual WITS, Wine Industry Technology Symposium that was going on in Napa.  Stephen Gilberg (@WineTwits) organized the tasting.  I am very thankful and lucky to have been chosen to participate in the tasting.  More information on WineTwits is available on their website.


For more information on WITS, visit their website or Facebook page.


This line up for the tasting included three wines from areas in California not named Napa or Sonoma.

WITS2013 Lineup




2012 Wente Vineyards Chardonnay Morning Fog Livermore Valley – SRP $13.00

Every time I sample a wine from the Livermore Valley, I become a bigger fan of the region.  The Livermore Valley is about 35 miles east of San Francisco, north of San Jose.  The region’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay allows cool breezes and coastal fog to cool the area.  The combination of warm days and cool nights help provide ripe fruit with good natural acidity.


Half of this wine was barrel fermented in French oak, the rest was fermented in stainless steel tanks.  The wines were aged for 7 months on lees before blending and bottling.

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly bright yellow with a slight golden tint.  The very appealing nose has apples, pineapple, creme brulee, baking spices, and orange blossoms.  This has medium body with nice citrusy acidity, and a touch of residual sweetness.  On the palate the apples and spice jump out first with pineapples, vanilla, and a bit of creaminess coming in later and some zippy citrus bringing up the back end.  The finish has nice length with very nice balance between the rich pineapple and crisp citrus driven acidity.


This is a nice wine to serve with a light meal on a warm evening or to enjoy on its own with good friends over conversation.


More information is available on the winery’s website.

2012 Wente Vineyards Chardonnay Morning Fog Livermore Valley



2011 Garnet Pinot Noir Monterey County Pinot Noir – SRP $14.99

Over the last few years I’m had and enjoyed the very reasonably priced Pinot Noirs coming out of Monterey County.  The better examples have shown ripe fruit and spice with enough acidity to provide ample support.


This wine is made from estate grown fruit from the winery’s vineyards near the Santa Lucia Highlands.  The wine was aged for 11 months in 100% French oak, 60% new.

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light to medium ruby red color.  The inviting nose has cherry, baking spices, subtle earthiness, smoke, strawberries, and a hint of pine.  This has medium body, soft silky tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate the fruit hits first with a nice spice component.  Some nice earthiness, smoke, and strawberry come in on the back end adding nice depth.  The finish has very good length and a nice pine note adds interest.


This is a slightly larger, brawnier style of Pinot Noir with nice fruit and spice but it also has the acidity to make it very food friendly.  This paired nicely with some grilled chicken and pork.  This would also make a nice wine to sip with friends alone or with some appetizers.  This wine is closed with a twist-off cap.


Much more information is available on the winery’s website.

2011 Garnet Pinot Noir Monterey County Pinot Noir



2010 Renwood Zinfandel Premier Old Vine – SRP $19.99

Amador County, which is located in California’s Sierra Foothills, generally produces wines that are full bodied with robust fruit and spice.  These are generally higher alcohol offerings but with the body and acidity to remain balanced.


This wine is composed of 92.5% Zinfandel, 5.8% Syrah, and 1.7% Souzao.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice ruby red color.  The big and outgoing nose is full of crushed berries, warm baking spices, black pepper, dark chocolate, fresh ground dark roast coffee, and some nice earthiness.  This full bodied wine has moderate to solid ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate this is a rich blend of berries and spice with a bit of pepper and earthiness coming in on the back end.  For a full bodied zinfandel, this is actually well mannered.  This ripe wine is rich and smooth enough to call for some good, spicy bbq ribs.  This should drink well for the next three to four years.


For whatever reason, it’s been a while since I last had a Renwood Zinfandel, but this bottle will put the winery back on my radar.  This was a big, full bodied wine with a solid wall of fruit and spice that concealed the 15.5% alcohol.  The back and was eich and smooth.  This went well with a piece of grilled steak, but the richness calls out for some smoky barbecue.


More information is available on the winery’s website.

2010 Renwood Zinfandel Premier Old Vine



Here are the grilled skewers of shrimp, steak, pork, and chicken we had while sampling these wines.  Not shown are grilled mushrooms, squash, and zucchini we also served.

Meat pairing




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Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.




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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.



Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.



All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.