Twitter Tasting with Columbia Crest and Thirsty Girl!

Weddings, and planning, and working oh my!  Now it’s back to my therapy and my passion – wine!

To pick up wine blogging again, I am participating in a twitter tasting with Thirsty Girl {here} and Columbia Crest {here} tonight @ 5 pm PT/ 8 pm ET.  Winemaker Juan Muñoz Oca and Head Thirsty Girl Leslie Sbrocco will also be joining in on the fun so be sure to follow #TGTASTE and come tweet!

We will be tasting the following wines:

  • Columbia Crest 2010 Horse Heaven Hills Chardonnay
  • Columbia Crest 2010 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Columbia Crest 2010 Horse Heaven Hills Les Chevaux Red Blend

Twitter User names to follow! 
Wine: @ColumbiaCrest (
Moderating: @beathirstygirl (!/beathirstygirl)
Special Guest: @lesliesb for Leslie Sbrocco (
Yours truly: (

**This twitter tasting is a promotion and I received these wines in order to participate


Red Wine Ice Cream!?? No Way! Might have to be incorporated into the festivities this weekend brings! Enjoy!


Serves 8

2 bottles full-bodied red wine, like cabernet sauvignon
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups sugar
9 yolks
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract.

1. Pour wine into a large pot and bring to a simmer. Add cinnamon sticks and peppercorns. Simmer until the wine is reduced to 1 cup (it should take about 1 hour).

2. In a large pan, bring the milk, cream and half of the sugar to a boil and turn off heat. In a bowl, whisk together yolks and remaining sugar. Temper the yolks into the boiling milk by gradually whisking about 1 cup of milk into the yolks and adding this back into the pot with the remaining milk. Stir in the salt and the vanilla. Whisk in the reduced wine. Set pan over a bowl full of ice to cool. Pour the chilled ice cream base through a fine mesh strainer. Process the base in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze at least 2 hours before serving.

@ The Plaza w/ Mitch Hawkins from Hawk and Horse Vineyards…

Hidden in the hills of Lake County, CA lives 18 acres of a picturesque naturally wild vineyard of rolling hills that looks on to infinity. What once was overgrown and untamed land inhibited from growth is now a miraculous field of wildlife, greenery and vines.

I had the pleasure of meeting and having a lovely chat with the vineyard manager/partner, Mitch Hawkins, of this fascinating biodynamic vineyard, Hawk and Horse Vineyards.  We met at the Plaza Hotel in NYC where he was just getting back from the New York International Wine Competition tasting.  With his 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, a gold medalist at the 2011 Tasters Guild International Wine Competition, in hand, he poured me a glass and took me through his remarkable story of getting to where he is today.

Coming from stopping at a few parties way back when with the likes of Santana and the Grateful Dead and bartending in San Francisco to now living on this beautiful vineyard (owned by renowned attorney, David Boies and fam), Mitch and his wife Tracey (Boies’ step-daughter) have created an oasis so special that can only be established with tender loving care, which is what makes his wine SO perfectly balanced and delicious.

The farming is done by hand mainly with the help of their small herd of Scottish Highlander cattle to create natural preparations which omit chemicals. “The cornerstone of our Bio-dynamic program is production of our own vineyard preparations. Cow dung is the key ingredient in our most important applications. This necessitated the addition of cattle to our ranching operation. After careful research, we selected the Scottish Highland breed. The Highland is an ancient breed known to have grazed the rugged Scottish landscape since the sixth century. They are the oldest registered breed of cattle with the first herd book being established in 1884. These striking creatures are highly desirable animals and are noted for their ease in calving, high quality beef and superb hides. They are also known for their gentleness and intelligence as well as their distinctive and beautiful appearance. They add a sense of true loveliness and grace to the landscape” as Mitch describes in an excited and imaginary way.

They take pride in and treasure their old world practices and even take orders personally by offering their phone number on their website where either Mitch or Tracey will greet you hello and take your order. To add to the magic that happens at the ranch, his two lovely daughters Nina and Francesca Hawkins train in their indoor ring to compete in traditional rodeo’s in Northern, CA and beyond.

To end our lovely chat he exclaimed that they also make a stunning Port and I mentioned to him that I love a nice port paired with 80% dark chocolate! He told me to wait right there and went up to his hotel room and brought down a bottle of Latigo, a fortified wine produced in Port style, 2006 vintage.  This wine is of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes fortified with varietal high-proof Brandy (he uses the best of the best).  How nice  and I can’t wait to try it!  What a lovely boutique-y type winery that produce bottles filled with extremely special and elegant red wines!!

Be sure to visit their website and purchase a delicious bottle of what they are most known for, Cabernet Sauvignon.  You will not be disappointed and will most definitely feel giddy and special when you sip on this wine! Spread the word!

Reviewed Bottles for $9.99 or Less!

Great wines tasted this week for $9.99….!!!

Black Fox Cabernet Sauvignon California 2009

  • Smell/Taste: Medium – full bodied, fruity taste with a slight aftertaste, light/medium tannins.  One of the sweeter Cab Sauv’s that I’ve tried
  • Meal: Ham, Turkey meatloaf… I would even do chicken or with some sort of dessert
  • When: Great everyday wine or a glass after work…
  • Retails for $9.99

Nero D’Avola, Villa Pozzi, Sicilia 2009

  • Smell/Taste: Smells like smoky bacon, has a spicy kick, elegant yet casual
  • Meal: Enjoy with a romantic steak dinner
  • When: Bring to a dinner party or housewarming… Also great on a winter’s night
  • Retails for $10/$11

Geja’s, Big Bold Red California Private Reserve 2006 (Table Wine)

  • Smell/Taste: Smells fruity with a hint of chocolate, has a fruity flavor and medium acidity, fast finish.  I didn’t think it was too “big” but a medium-light red
  • Meal: Great with pizza, cheese plate
  • When: I had this with a few of my girlfriends and it was a great wine to drink while hanging out with your closest friends!
  • Retails for $9.99
  • Fun Fact: Geja’s Café was Chicago’s first wine bar

Puglia Primitivo VIVI Italian Zinfandel 2006

  • Smell/Taste: Smells full of fruit, rich in blackberry flavor with spice!
  • Meal: Great with Mexican, cheese or a hearty Italian meal
  • When: Great for dinner parties
  • Retails for $9.99
  • Fun Fact: VIVI means “to live”. This wine was established by Greek settlers in Italy.

Cortijo III Rioja Spain 2009

  • Smell/Taste: Deep ruby red, mells fruity (raspberry and strawberry), light to medium bodied, freshly acidic with a long lasting taste
  • Meal: Great to drink with almost anything – Pizza, chicken, grilled salmon.  A red that will go great with “white wined” foods
  • When: Great wine to “drink” not just “sip”.  Whenever/wherever…
  • Retails: $9.99
  • Fun Fact: On the back label “Very easy drinking! Unlike many ‘sipping wines’ out there, this is what I call a ‘drinking wine.’

Celebrity Wine – Drew Bledsoe’s Next Move

Imagine being in your mid-late 30′s, retired and then starting your own winery…. Ahh what a life… Former NE QB Drew Bledsoe is doing exactly that in his hometown of Walla Walla, WA.  The wine is called Doubleback and the bottle looks very sleek and sexy.. It seems that he has 2 types of bottles, Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and Cabernet 2007 so clearly Drew loves his deep fruity and smokey reds!  Drew’s website -

Kyle Stack from writes all about Beldsoe’s new endeavor (snippets below)

“As Bledsoe’s interest in wine swelled during his NFL career, he and his wife, Maura, decided to go all-in. They made that 80-acre purchase for $400,000 and planted 50 acres at $20,000 per acre without a winemaker, label or name. “We took a ready, fire, aim approach initially,” Bledsoe said of the foray initiated by the land purchase.

The decision to start the vineyard in that section of the country comforted Bledsoe. What makes southeastern Washington such good wine country is its terroir (pronounced “tay-wah”) — a combination of the region’s soil, climate and other environmental factors that make it optimal for growing grapes.”

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