Monday, July 30, 2007



We just returned from 10 days in Monterey/Pacific Grove, CA, where we attended the Religious Science International Annual Conference at Asilomar. A wonderful event.

We had some wonderful restaurant experiences there, including CASSANOVA in Carmel, FANDANGO in Pacific Grove, and THE FISH WIFE, also in Pacific Grove. I highly recommend them all when you visit. Both CASSANOVA and FANDANGO have extensive wine lists - CASSANOVA has 5 pages of half-bottles alone!

On the drive back down to Thousand Oaks, we made our annual stop at the LAETITIA and BARNWOOD tasting room, and for the first time, we stopped at DOVER CANYON winery in Templeton, just south of Paso Robles.

We had a Dover Canyon wine called "Bone Lore" at a tasting in Monterey earlier in the week, and were intrigued enough to stop on the way south. After a lunch at McFEE'S GRILL on Main Street in Templeton (another great restaurant), we drove west toward Dover Canyon Winery.

The location is very picturesque, with orchards and vineyards on the property, a quaint farmhouse, and a modest tasting room. Dover Canyon specializes in Zinfandels. There were three whites and nine reds on the tasting list (2 of the reds were reserved for wine club members only).

Dorianne and I bought bottles of the 2004 Viognier, a very nice white wine, with tropical fruit flavors and a very nice dry finish. Only 8 barrels were produced. We also purchased some of the Bone Lore, a Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Syrah blend - smooth and very nice nose and flavor.

At Laetitia, where we are members of the wine club, we tasted a number of wines from a large selection of reds, whites, roses, and sparkling wines. We purchased two nice whites, a 2004 Barnwood Sauvignon Blanc, a real bargain at just $8 per bottle, and their 2005 Laetitia Pino Blanc, a wonderful white wine at just $18 ($14.40 for wine club members).

Laetitia is available at select retailers, such a Bev-Mo, and Dover Canyon is available at a few selections (listed on the website) and through the winery. Their web sites are: and

'Till Next Time,

The Wine Saver

Wednesday, July 18, 2007



Last week, Dorianne and I flew to Traverse City, Michigan, at the top of the state, to pick up our daughter from camp. While there, we took a day (my birthday, in fact) to drive out to the Old Mission Peninsula and visit some wineries. I must say that the experience was better than I expected.

First of all, the area is beautiful. It's green, it's surrounded by lakes, there are cherry orchards, vineyards, and rolling countryside. Beautiful. And, you could not see the air, which is nice for someone from near Los Angeles.

Second, the wines were very nice. We visited three wineries, Brys Estates, Bowers Harbor Vineyards, and Peninsula Cellars. Each was charming, set in a beautiful location, and had some nice wines. The best, in our opinion, was Brys Estates. They have obviously put a lot of capital into their operation, with 24 acres under cultivation, a state of the art tasting room and winery, and a very knowledgeable staff.

It was a great trip, and I recommend it to anyone who likes beautiful countryside, nice wines, and by the way, very nice dining. We took some pictures, but I don't have access to them right now - I'll post some later.

Tomorrow, we leave for 10 days on the Monterey Peninsula where we will attend a conference. I'm sure there will be some excuse to have some wine. Stay tuned.

'Till Next Time,
The Wine Saver

Monday, July 9, 2007



The final white wine at the White Wine Tasting was:

2005 Andrew Murray Enchante, 50% Rouanne, 50% Marsanne ($22).

The wine was brought by Brad & Karen, who also brought the Dutcher Crossing Sauvignon Blanc.

The Enchante represents an unusual blend of grapes for the Central Coast of California. I have been to the winery, and Andrew Murray is one of the more serious winemakers in the area. They make a very nice product. Their website is

So to the wine.

The nose was noted as being crisp, with pear, apple, peaches, and a hint of oak.

The taste was noted as complex, with mineral, honey, pear, butter, peach, honeysuckle, and jasmine.

The wine was rated #1 by two people, then #2, #5, #6 - it is a wine that makes a definite impression.

Again, the final bottle opened, a 2005 Murphy-Goode Fume Blanc, was tainted and undrinkable. Again, I note that this is a very nice wine, one I have reviewed on the site before, and an excellent everyday white wine.

So thanks to Dennis, Diane, Brad, Karen, Marge for joining Dorianne and I for the 4th festivities.

'Till Next Time,

The Wine Saver

Friday, July 6, 2007


A wonderful statement about drinking wine . . .


Tell me what you ate with the wine.
Tell me how the wine made you feel.
Tell me how it smelled.
Tell me what memories the wine evoked.
Tell me what senses were engaged. Tell me what flavors excited you.
Tell me how it connected you with the people who made the wine, the people that grew it, the people who thought to share it with you.
Tell me about your friends, tell me about your family, tell me about the lover you shared the wine with.
Tell me about their passions.
Tell me about your passions.
Next time you make love, tell me how it rated on a five star scale.

'Till Next Time,
The Wine Saver



The second two wines at our White Wine Tasting on July 4th were two Sauvignon Blancs from Napa Valley:

2006 Groth Sauvignon Blanc, Napa ($21) and

2005 Panacea Sauvignon Blanc, Napa ($17)

I brought the Groth which I got at Bev-Mo (on sale for $16.99), and Marge brought the Panacea, which she purchased at Wades Wines in Westlake Village.

The tasters were all over the place on the Groth. Some did not comment on the nose, others listed straw, light, crisp apple, mineral, grapefruit, floral, apple, grassy, mineral notes.

The taste was noted as grassy, mild citrus, grapefruit, pear, apricot, nutty, rich, delicious and light. Two noted a high alcohol flavor. The ratings ran from #1 (by me), to #3 by 3 people, to #6 by one.
The Groth is a complex wine, very nice with shellfish, although we had it with the salad, which was also a nice pairing. It is generally my choice when I am looking for a higher end Sauvignon Blanc.

The next wine is the Panacea - one that most of us were unfamiliar with. Marge knows her wines, and she brought a good one.
The nose was straw, light, crisp, apple. The taste was lemon grass and citrus, with hints of apricot and pear, mango. A very pleasing wine. It was my #2, right after the Groth. It was rated #1 by two people, #2 by three, and had a low of #5.

The Panacea is actually a blend, 86% Sauvignon Blanc and 14% Semillon grapes, both from St. Helena and Carneros. The website,, list the following tasting notes: The nose has a broad sequence of citrus and minerals, integrated with subtle sweet banana. Complex on the palate, while showing good viscosity on the mid palate, then finishes with a crisp mouth feel and plenty of acidity to support the bounty of lingering flavors.

We all missed the banana.

My next post will review the next two wines (an the final ones), the Trevor Jones Virgin Chardonnay and the Andrew Murray Enchante.

'Till Next Time,

The WineSaver

Thursday, July 5, 2007



Well, the first annual WineSaver White Wine Tasting was successfully held on July 4th. There were seven people in attendance and we began with seven wines. One, the Murphy-Goode Fume Blanc, had to be eliminated because the wine was spoiled upon opening - too bad, it's one of my favorites.

Remember that the idea is to bring a white wine that retails for under $25 that is a "true find" and/or a personal favorite.

The attendees were Dennis and Diane, Brad and Karen, Marge, and Dorianne and me. It was a very warm day, so we had appetizers inside (oysters on the half-shell, my version of clams casino, brie & Boursin cheeses, and tomato & mozzarella salad).

The first two wines were a 2006 Dutcher Crossing Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($21) brought by Brad & Karen, and a 2006 Kim Crawford Marlboro Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand ($15) brought by Dennis & Diane.

This is a very nice wine - the nose was reported as lemongrass, grapefruit, apple, pear, grassy, and wonderful.

The taste contained primarily citrus and grass, with notes of grapefruit, lime, lemongrass, and pear. It went very well with the shellfish. The winery notes indicated gooseberry, which eluded everyone at the tasting (what does gooseberry taste like, anyway?).

The wine was generally rated #4 or #5, with Karen picking it as her favorite.

The second wine, served along with the Dutcher Crossing, was a 2006 Kim Crawford Marlboro Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand ($15).

This wine has a stronger bouquet, with grapefruit, peach, hints of green apple, and pear.

Taste was citrusy, with grapefruit, and grassy notes, with a bit more sweetness than the Dutcher Crossing. Melon, apricot and pineapple hints were noted.

The final ratings of this wine ranges from #4 to #6 out of 6 wines rated.

Here is the entire list of wines in the order consumed - the others will be reviewed in coming days.

2006 Dutcher Crossing Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($21)

2006 Kim Crawford Marlboro Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand ($15)
2006 Groth Sauvignon Blanc, Napa ($21)

2005 Panacea Sauvignon Blanc, Napa ($17)

2005 Trevor Jones Virgin Charonnay, Australia ($15)

2005 Andrew Murray Enchante, 50% Marsanne, 50% Rouanne ($19)

2003 Murphy-Goode Fume Blanc ($11)

The rest of the menu included a green salad, the main course - grilled mahi-mahi with mango salsa, green beans, and rice with currants & almonds, dessert was a lemon souffle with berries.

My thanks to everyone who came and made their notes - it was a wonderful social event and a great way to celebrate the 4th of July, with almost entirely American wines.

"Till Next Time,

The Wine Saver