Posts tagged #napa

Cruse Wine Co. Valdiguié

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Cruse Wine Co. Valdiguié
Region: Napa, California
Vineyard: Rancho Chimiles
Year: 2016
Price: ~$30
Distributor: Amy Atwood Selections

Full disclosure: I received this bottle as a gift from Amy Atwood. Not that it mattered since I still managed to spend a couple hundred dollars on Cruse's latest allocation, as one does. 

There are two types of wine that don't make it to the site for review: Wines I don't like enough, and wines I like too much. It's safe to say the latter is why Michael Cruse's wines have been all over my Instagram, yet I've never written about here. Which is weird-- or perhaps not weird at all-- considering how much I love Cruse and his wines.

It was seventy-eight here in Los Angeles today. I (begrudgingly) had to go to the mall, and there wasn't a line outside the Apple store as I was expecting, but there was a line outside Santa's Workshop that wrapped around a Christmas tree twice the size of the duplexes on my street. I couldn't have felt less holidayish, or even close to winterish, sweating in a breezy linen button-up. 

I came home and opened Cruse's latest Valdiguié. As soon as it hit my lips, I was immediately transported somewhere else; somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you know when it's not a holiday but it still feels festive. Somewhere stress-free with no Secret Santa stealing gift exchange shit, somewhere just purely relaxing. Somewhere where there's winter and people my age can afford homes with fireplaces and listen to jazz and wear cashmere and you're extremely comfortable, both physically and like, ~spiritually~.

The Valdiguié is cozy but energetic, like a cold night spent warm inside with good friends. It's so toasty with ripe red fruit and well-integrated French oak that you want to curl up in it. It makes you want to wear layers and offer a guest your favorite throw blanket. But it also has a rippling acidity that rings of clinking glasses over conversation and laughter and flipping records. Imagine if you dunked your soul into a pot of mulled cranberry wine, and then had the best one-liner of your god damn life that everyone actually heard, and loved. That's what this wine tastes like. Like being completely at home, and being so alive. 

Tasting Notes: Stunning raspberry garnet in color. Smells like smashed cherries & raspberries in a thin pie crust made of sand, lightly dusted with fresh ground pepper, and garnished with spearmint. Tastes like crushed cranberries in a steel bowl with clove, zested orange peel, a dash of salt and a pinch of dirt. Serve slightly chilled and allow to warm to room.

Ross Test: Punchy, savory, fuzzy, YUMMMYYY. 

cruse valdiguie ross test
Posted on November 20, 2017 .

Fly Wine's "The Amplifier"


DISCLAIMER: I do not encourage self-medicating to deal with anxiety related issues, unless I am the one medicating myself and I'm allowed to do that because I'm a grown-ass woman who has to go on planes sometimes and I get to make all sorts of bad decisions for myself all the time.

I discovered Fly Wine while I was in Napa a couple weeks ago at the Oakville Market eating fried chicken sandwiches. At the check-out counter I saw these and thought, "Well. I am going to New York next week. And I do have a tendency of spending an unreasonable amount of money on wine in planes because it's the only way I can deal with being in a plane. So."

The price tag was $10, which is pretty on par for your piece of shit plane wine. But this was a plane wine with a 90 point rating, which is something I do not usually give a fuck about but of course I'm going to say that a 90 point rating is way better than a "piece of shit plane wine" rating. 

I bought three of "The Amplifier" Cabernet Sauvignon, which seemed reasonable, but then the cashier told me I could take up to five on a plane and then I was pissed I didn't buy more, but didn't want to then buy more because I didn't want to seem unreasonable. 

To my boyfriend, not the cashier. I couldn't have cared less about what the cashier thought about me but my boyfriend already thinks I'm fairly unreasonable and incredibly reckless when it comes to airport/plane drinking so, you know, three was just fine.

I get to the airport early and get through security too quickly, despite security scrutinizing my Fly Wine. They were not entirely convinced that 100mL is the same at the 3.3oz and went through my entire luggage, and definitely looked at my vibrator I bought myself for my birthday, but had the decency not to say shit, which I appreciated. 

I then sat at the bar for too long, and drank two extremely shitty expensive 9oz Malbecs while making conversation with all walks of life around me eating clam chowder, because that is the only thing you can buy and not go morally bankrupt at Gladstone's in LAX before getting on my plane, opening my Fly Wine, taking two Melatonin and one half of Valium. 

I mean, it was a Red-Eye, I had to take it seriously.

Especially considering I had forgotten my headphones and my Chicago Bulls neck pillow.

You might be thinking, "Hey, maybe after you drink a bunch and take a bunch of pills to help you sleep/not freak the fuck out, yeah maybe that isn't the best time to be reviewing wine."


Here were my thoughts:

"This wine smells mad jammy, and I hate the word 'jammy', but it's super jammy in a super good way. It's all raspberry and plum, with a hit of diner sugar packets when you tilt the glass. You know, like when you're a kid and you're an idiot so you sneak sugar packets? And eat them? Because your parents make you only drink milk? Ok that's what it smells like. Sugar packets. In a good way. 

It tastes like a very smooth Napa Cab. Which I'm very cool with. Still got that berry jammy, got that French oaky, got that vanilla. It's just smooth, man. Super smooth. Like Leon Bridges smooth. 

You can definitely Ross Test this. I Ross Tested half the bottle and it was great. This is the best plane wine I've ever had, and I'm very happy to have had it and only spent $10 on this bottle and loved it, rather than $9 and wanted to kill myself."

I then PTFO. And it was the worst sleep of my life because I didn't have my Bulls neck pillow but it's chill.

Two days later, I was back getting hassled by TSA and then getting drunk in a bar to negate my fears and then getting on a plane home with two bottles of Fly Wine. I was in one of those extra leg room exit rows that doesn't have a seat in front of you. I was seated next to a chatty older gentleman, who at first I was like, "Oh, no. Chatty, too nice me, next to a chatty, too nice older gentleman, this is trouble."

Which it was. He insisted on buying me a cocktail, so I insisted we drink Fly Wine. 

As it turned out, we both loved the Fly Wine even more than the cocktails, but I was then out of Fly Wine, so he kept buying cocktails and we spent the entire five hour flight talking about drag queen piano bars, $30 a night penthouses in Cuba, ex wives, rowdy harbor cruises, and whether or not anyone gives a shit about the wine point rating system, despite acknowledging we loved having the 90 point Fly Wine. 

Basically we're best friends now, me and Tony from 6E. 
His daughter in 6F was like, "Pffft. Typical." and rolled her eyes nine times.
But whatever. I now know a dude with hookups in Cuba that also knows a lot of HST quotes and loves tiny bougie travel wines and I got to have a lot of fun conversation instead of chomping black market Xani-bars, so pretty sure I took back the flight.

The point is, FLY WINE. GET IT. HAVE IT. TAKE IT WITH YOU. It's the best because it tastes delicious while you're working off a 40,000 feet anxiety attack AND you can make friends with it. It's the best conversation starter, and it's 10000x better than anything you're going to buy on the plane.  

TSA will give you shit because it "doesn't look like 3oz" but I promise you, it is 3oz. And they will let you go and you will feel like you totally came up in the world BECAUSE YOU DID. 

Posted on April 1, 2015 .

Napa, Spring 2015

Two weeks ago, I went to Napa for a long weekend for my birthday. Rather than my usual trips where I try to fit in as many free glasses of wine as possible, we decided to take it a bit easy. It turned out to be a totally relaxing and rejuvenating experience, especially while staying at the idyllic Carneros Inn. I could have stayed there for four days straight and been totally fine with it. Luckily for everyone, that isn't what I did. Sort of. I really did spend more time there than I've ever spent at a hotel while on vacation, but here is what else we did:

• Scribe
• Larkmead
• Heitz 
• Corison

• Too much to remember at Bistro Don Giovanni
• Tasting menu with wine pairing at Farm
• Fried Chicken Sandwiches from Oakville Market
• Pizza and charcuterie at Oenotri 
• Burgers at Boon Fly Cafe
• More Fried Chicken Sandwiches from Oakville Market

• At Cadet wine bar
• In our backyard at Carneros Inn, enjoying the soaking tub listening to jazz and playing Monopoly while listening to murder podcasts in front of our fire pit

I highly recommend all of these things because there isn't a single thing on this list that I don't wish I was currently doing instead of sitting on my couch looking at my incredibly messy house because I just got back from NYC and have way, way too much to do. C'EST LA VIE.