YouTube’s Offense of Wine and Small Videos Producer – James Melendez

My YouTube channel

Many playlists but probably the most complete is my Liked Playlist please do me a favour and watch some of my videos.

YouTube is making a change to the YPP (YouTube Partner Program) to punish small producers who exercise good judgement unlike Logan Paul who uses  superbly poor judgement.  His poor judgement only garnered him more video views.  And YouTube is doing this protect advertisers?!?! Just because one doesn’t have millions of hits doesn’t mean that one is producing controversial material.  There are certainly ways to flag that by the user community.  I am in a niche category and I do have a community–a small one but a community nonetheless.  I have been increasing my subscription base and as I have always been–in continuous improvement mode–better videos, more subscribers and viewing hours ahead.

YouTube should come to a better understanding of the advertisers, creator and viewing community.  Wine has been underserved on YouTube and I am determined to meet the 4,000 hour viewing threshold.

Seriously what analysis could come up with that sloppy “answer”

And YouTube has been relatively unsupportive of wine since it’s inception.  I have been an absolute supporter of wine content and video and by that extension of YouTube.  YouTube has a requirement to be in their YouTube Creator Community which is the platform that allows monetization is 4,000 hours of video viewing of your content and over 1,000 subscribers.  (You cannot have monetization without being in the YouTube Creator Community).  I am over 1,000 subscribers but lacking on hours viewed in the past 12 months.

I am not just in support of my channel but all wine video content producers.

I remember watching an iJustine video and she talked about her baking videos and upcoming cooking videos and hinted how she is looking to create the topical matter for the long-term.  While vlogs and some vloggers are amazingly popular.  YouTube makes a priority and it is these traffic drivers.  Are each of the vloggers in for the long-term?  I do not believe so.

What I took away was that (iJustine) Justine Ezarik needed something more concrete to talk about in her longer term video strategy.  General vloggers may have high production value but a long term shelf stability is not a long one.  The long term is having a subject matter one can speak on for a something longer than the short term.  Wine content like wine has an ability to age…. to vintage.

When YouTube doesn’t support it’s wine video producer community is to discourage the investment in being a creator and thus the vicious cycle begins.

If beer and spirits can be a success –why not wine?  This is something I have been talking about for a while.  Wine is a complex consumer category–it is the the most complex category.

The complexity is vintage–how many consumer products might have a 1982 Coonawarra Shiraz…or a 1980 Brut Champagne… you get the idea.  Wine also has in addition to vintage: variety, cuvee, region, many producers, production, availability, etc..  I can say with certainty that wine has a much more built in complexity than brethren product like beer and spirits.  And I am always going to support beer and spirits and never negate while I uplift wine–I will uplift both.  Scotch and Beer have some very popular YouTube producers and they have been the model to look up to for the wine category.

YouTube may not be discouraging wine video content producers but it is certainly not encouraging people to get involved.  Certainly criteria in terms of minimum number of subscribers or hours viewed is prohibitive.  My 325k views is showing a historic investment on my part and the longer term should be taken into account at YouTube.

YouTube should look towards a longer horizon and work towards a different POV on wine video content.  It is not just good business but it is to gain from that openness and fairness to wine video content producers.

Wine videos and my analytics support it is that the unlike general swash buckling producers–viewing behaviour is very different. For popular vloggers like Casey Neistat their videos perform well after release and don’t have the shelf life of say wine.   Wine content and I lean heavily on my analytics perform over time.  I am hardly the first YouTube video producer to say this… it is a common topic at VidCon.

There are not enough higher quality wine video content producers and there has to be more to give adequate coverage of the many wine and producers out.

I am advocate for wine content on YouTube and perhaps the only way of getting there is to support one another.

My action is to subscribe and view your wine videos.  Please reach out to me and let me know your channel name so I can subscribe.  I will also subscribe not just to wine video producers but all small high quality producers with integrity.

Creating a more integrated wine community can support our subscribers but we can collaborate with each other as well.

Thank you and I appreciate your support!



James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2018 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Another Undiscovered Country: Wine and Indian Food Pairing

Dosa – Valencia Street

I was recently at Dosa on Valencia Street in San Francisco.  First Dosa is a favourite–and fantastic food experience always.  They offer a very nice and tidy wine and drinks list.  Dosa is a great example of a restaurant to pair Indian food with wine.  There are many Indian cuisines and I don’t think that wine is a centre point for the cuisine.  I think when it comes to European cuisines most everyone expects excellent food and wine pairings.  And I recently wrote a piece similarly titled The Undiscovered Country: Mexican Food & Wine Pairings the central point of the article is that Mexican food does not have the wine offerings the cuisine deserves.

I think similarly about Indian food with the exception of Dosa in San Francisco that the cuisine deserve thoughtful wine lists.  Many of the Indian restaurants not just in San Francisco but throughout the US and beyond have mediocre wine lists or the wine offering is a singular glass of house red or white wine.

So on my last visit to Dosa I ordered a Dosa with white truffle potato and I wanted a white wine.  I ordered the house label Sujata white wine which is an imaginative blend of Grenache Blanc and Albariño.  When I attend master classes I might hear something where a narrow offering of wines can pair with a specific cuisine.  Instead the reality of Indian cuisine is that can pair with almost the full spectrum of wine varieties.

I do think and I believe Dosa does this by offering a small offering but a wide net of possibilities to pair with the food they serve.  Indian food is not just about spice and heat but a wide range of possibilities.  I cannot think where Indian food cannot pair with any regions wines or wine varieties.  Indian food like almost any other cuisine can comfortably pair with wine nicely.

A wine knowledgeable wine director or Sommelier can offer an Indian restaurant with great wine offerings.   So I haven’t had all major wine varieties with Indian food but have enjoyed the following:

  • Syrah
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Albariño
  • Grenache
  • Sangiovese
  • Tempranillo
  • Cava
  • Champagne
  • Merlot
  • Petit Verdot
  • Rkatsiteli
  • Blaufrankisch

Each of the above varieties paired handsomely with the Indian fare that I was enjoyed at specific dinners.

I am sure you get the idea of a wide net and the friendliness and accessibility the cuisine offers for food and wine.  So while your favourite restaurant might not have the wines you want to enjoy–ask the restaurant before you go if they have a corkage programme.  It is another way to bring wines that you enjoy the most to your favourite Indian restaurant.

Indian food like Mexican food cuisine should be open to enjoy and experience with a wine array of wines.  A great cuisine deserves great wine.



James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2018 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Sicilia en Primeur II – James Melendez

Radicipura Gardens in Giarre, Sicilia north of Catania. The Godfather II was filmed here.

My experience in Sicilia was extensive in a very short trip.

Did I see each region and each producer?


But I got to this mythical yet very real land and saw a lot in a short period.  When I look at the wondrous wines–a generation ago when I first started tasting Sicilian wines I had conjured up what Sicily is and was…  And on top of being obsessed with great food and wine I was also in love with history–Sicily history is vast, simple and yet outstandingly complex.  Complexity is the interweaving of beauty.

I also looked at Sicily as a centre of foods of the sea and citrus.  Sicilian citrus looms large in my mind.  Citrus for me is a sacred point for me–the smell, the vitality, the beauty and the delicateness.

Sicily indigenous varieties are special and sacred for me.  They represent a series of exchanges, trades, and even the unintended. In fact, all of non-human crossed varieties are a product of unintended consequences.  But where the accident ends is when a society, a culture, a nation decides what their variety set is… this is what happened in Sicilia–the Nero d’Avola, Carricante, Grillo, Cattarrato, Inzolia, Grecanico, Frapatto, Perricone, Nerello Cappuccio, Nerello Mascalese and sometimes the indigenous are blended with international varieties for another unique take on Sicilian wines.

My first visit on this particular sojourn was to producers in western Sicilia.

I first visited Baglio di Pianetto which is south of Palermo and east of the Lago di Piano degli Albanese.








I tasted through quite a number of wines while there and appreciated tasting several vintages of the same wine and I always love tasting natural wines (Inzolia and Petit Verdot):

Baglio di Pianetto Ficiligno 2015 91 Points (70% Viognier, 30% Inzolia)

Baglio di Pianetto Ficiligno 2011 91 Points (50% Viognier, 50% Inzolia)

Baglio di Pianetto Ficiligno 2003 90 Points (50% Viognier, 50% Inzolia) 

Baglio di Pianetto Raimone 2012 91 Points (50% Nero d’Avola, 50% Merlot)

Baglio di Pianetto Raimone 2013 93 Points  (50% Nero d’Avola, 50% Merlot)

Baglio di Pianetto Raimone 2015 92 Points  (50% Nero d’Avola, 50% Merlot)

Baglio di Pianetto Natyr Petit Verdot 92 Points – a natural wine– I have never tasted a natural Petit Verdot wine.

Baglio di Pianetto Natyr Inzolia 93 Points

Baglio di Pianetto Carduni Petit Verdot 2006 93 Points

Baglio di Pianetto Carduni Petit Verdot 2010 92 Points

Baglio di Pianetto Cembali Nero d’Avola 2007 93 Points

Baglio di Pianetto Cembali Nero d’Avola 2009 92 Points

Baglio di Pianetto Cembali Nero d’Avola 2010 92 Points

Baglio di Pianetto Shymer Syrah-Merlot 2013 92 Points

Dinner at the Agrirelais paired with Baglio di Pianetto wines.











Alessandro di Camporeale is 45 km / 27 m southwest of Palermo and east of the town of Camporeale

Winemaker for Alessandro di Camporeale – Bendetto Alessandro






Alessandro di Camporeale Sicilia Benede Catarratto – 2016 92 Points

Alessandro di Camporeale Sicilia Grillo 2016 – 91 Points

Alessandro di Camporeale Sicilia Catarratto 2016 – 92 Points

Alessandro di Camporeale Donnata Sicilia Nero d’Avola 2015 – 92 Points

Alessandro di Camporeale Kaid Sicilia Syrah 2014 93 Points

Alessandro di Camporeale Kaid Late Harvest Wine 94 Points


Dei Principali di Spadaforda

Spadaforda is located in Contrada Virzì which is a site with considerable elevation changes and a beautiful depth of terrain.  A perfectly sunny day for the visit and very appreciable temperature on a breezy day in western Sicily.

Francesco Spadafora is the owner of Dei Principali di Spadaforda and also an amazing chef–he made an stellar lunch for me and my fellow journalists and plated all of the food so beautifully.













Dei Principali di Spadaforda Enrica Spadaforda Terre Siciliane Brut Nature NV – 100% Grillo; 0 Dosage and a very forward label design with braille 93 Points

Dei Principali di Spadaforda Rosato di Nero d’Avola 2016 91 Points

Dei Principali di Spadaforda Grillo 2009 91 Points

Dei Principali di Spadaforda Schietto Chardonnay 2012 92 Points

Dei Principali di Spadaforda Schietto Chardonnay 2009 93 Points

Dei Principali di Spadaforda Sole dei Padri Syrah 2005 94 Points


Then the next producer we visited was Tenuta Rapitalà













Before this trip I had tasted Tenuta Rapitalà wines.  The producer has a very large

Tenuta Rapitalà Grillo 2016 92 Points

Tenuta Rapitalà Vigna Casalj Alcamo Bianco 2015 92 Points – 100% Catarratto

Tenuta Rapitalà Grand Cru Chardonnay 2015 91 Points 

Tenuta Rapitalà Nuhar Pinot Nero/Nero d’Avola 2015 91 Points

Tenuta Rapitalà Alto Nero d’Avola 2015 92 Points

Tenuta Rapitalà Solinero 2013 92 Points


Feudo Disisa

Feudo Disisa Terre Siciliane Chara 2015 93 Points – 60% Catarratto and 40% Inzolia

Feudo Disisa Granmassenti Terre Siciliane Perricone 2015 94 Points

Feudo Disisa Terre Siciliane Grillo 2015 93 Points

Feudo Disisa Vuaria Terre Siciliane  Nero d’Avola 2013 92 Points


The final cantine on this trek was visiting Rallo 

The Cantine is situated on upslope and almost only vineyards with few obstructions.  I was glad to put foot on ground and feel the soil of this site–I remember the distinct breeze and the whistling pine tree which are just a few.  I was transported to my familiar view of pine forests and yet reminded I was in Sicilia.

Making Cannoli

The beauty of the site is outstanding–almost felt like dream like state









I never thought I would ever make a Cannoli!








Drawing from my journal of the Rallo site

Only in Italia do you get this delightful substance known as Spremuta Arancia Rossa (blood orange juice)










Rallo Sicilia Beleda Catarratto 2015 – 93 Points

Rallo Sicilia Beleda Catarratto 2013 – 93 Points 

Rallo Sicilia Beleda Catarratto 2012 – 93 Points

Rallo Sicilia Beleda Catarratto 2011 – 92 Points

Rallo Sicilia La Cuba Grillo 2014 – 93 Points


This quick tour of a few of western Sicilia’s cantine was just a toe tip of the many more I have to visit but provided an outstanding view of more wines and sites to experience in person.  We then made our way to our hotel in Santa Tecla which is north of Catania and south of Radicipura (site of Sicilia en Primeur event).

First I visit Catania – I had an opportunity to several years ago.  I couldn’t make that portion of the trip and had to miss it and yet made to Catania.  I was on a guided tour and saw Sant’Agata Duomo, Teatro Romano, the farmers and fish market–the fish market was boisterous and I loved it.  I was enchanted by the farmers market–a lovely ensemble of fresh produce and I especially like the roasted vegetables.

Piazza Duomo

Roasted Cipollini, peppers and other vegetables; I would love to see this everywhere

View of the Duomo Sant’Agata

Visiting the Teatro Romano in Catania

I love seeing the whimsical – this is the Teatro Nievski in Catania





















Radiciepura is a meeting centre and garden north of Catania.  The gardens have guest gardener exhibits and it is enchanting.  Look west and you will see the smoke billowing off of Mt. Etna.  This was also the site of the second Godfather movie which of course has it’s beginning story take place in western Sicilia in Corleone. You can look at the patio set and realize this was in the film.

The Godfather II was filmed here.

Mt. Etna in the background–you can see smoke from the volcano.

Italy as a garden

















The gardens are pristine and imaginative and on seeing water nearby you know this was a popular route of many people passing around Sicilia.  The setting was tranquil and perfect for the Sicilia in Primeur.  While I couldn’t go on all tours–I could regroup and taste wines from other producers.

These are the wine I tasted at Radiciepura.

And the finale was a very special evening at the Palazzo Biscari a 17th century Palazzo.  A jazz band greeting participants.  This special experience was truly memorable and helped me to always remember Sicilia en Primeur.


















My experience with Sicilian wines grew considerably on this tour.  Foot-on-ground tours is essential to get a feel for the culture, food, wine and history.

While I have read about Sicilia’s history in my textbooks in college–the depth of understanding comes when you visit a place.  You know it when you land but the immersion in experience fills in the blanks for the beauty of a place.  Knowing the data points is not enough, getting to meet people from the place you are visiting.  Experiencing the weather–asking more questions and truly getting that experience in person helps to inform oneself not just of the wine but the place in it’s totality.  I have rarely visited a place and said: “done, don’t need to come back.”  I think coming back again and again will inform me on the ever flowing and evolving Sicilia.  A beautiful land, a beautiful experience of food, wine, culture and people is a rare gift.  I hope you get to experience this as a gift as well.

My first article on my journey to Siclia: A Love for Sicilia – Wine, Food, People and The Land – Part I – Palermo



James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2017 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Posted in Italy, Sicilia en Primeur, Sicily | Leave a comment

Washington Wine Experience 2017 – James Melendez

First do one thing in 2018 – get a ticket to attend the Taste Washington (click here to get more information).  Get a ticket to taste from the majority of Washington’s wine producers.  The next Taste of Washington will be here before you know it – March 22-25, 2018.

I was delighted to attend this years tasting in March 2017 and to attend some master classes.  Easily my favourite master class not just of Taste Washington (but all wine master classes) was Hell and High Water by Kevin Pogue.  Dr. Pogue is Professor of Geology at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.  He even has his own Wikipedia entry.  His level of detail is completely fascinating–I couldn’t help but take notes and photos of his slide presentation (glad I did).

Washington is an intersection of great climate for Vitis vinifera, geology and soil.  There are several factors in what is present day Washington.  The Missoula flood and ice age waters flooding the wine regions of Washington State.  And along with Aeolian soils (sand) air transport of sand.  The sand in Washington is very fine because of the high level of wind action.  Washington’s main soil composition is sandy loam which is inhospitable for Phylloxera and hence rootstock does not need to be grafted onto other wine grape species–which of course is completely unique in the world of wine grape cultivation.

I wish there were more Kevin Pogues about other wine regions around the world–his knowledge is deeply rooted and truly answers questions and explains the magic of geology and soil content.  I crave to have more of a geologic explanation of each wine region I do visit–so far nothing has matched up to Professor Pogue.



The Taste Washington is the most comprehensive experience anywhere–you can taste Washington wines under one roof.  The Century Link Event Centre is large and the aisle between wine producers is large.  This may not seem remarkable until you come say to San Francisco for a wine event where the venues at best are teeny tiny.  I felt I could taste with ease–talk with each producer and taste everything I wanted to taste.  The event was comfortable and just seemed more laid back than most wine events I attend regularly.  The participants were nice and polite and not rushing tables where I might have to gymnastically reach my arm out with glass in hand for a sampling of wine.  I wish all wine events were like this.

There was plenty of food vendors with hearty offerings.  I am use to generally eating next to nothing at an even but this event–I tasted wine and ate plentifully.


Here are the wine I tasted every thing from Synchline’s Scintillation Grüner Veltliner Brut (small case production of 140 – very nice wine), Syrah, Riesling, Albariño, Pinot Noir, Barbera, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris and Madeileine Angevine from Puget Sound (I had never tasted wines from this very cool wine grape growing region), Nebbiolo, Primitivo, Tannat and the diversity continues.









I was at Sitka and Spruce with other wine journalist and producers from DeLille Cellars, Betz Family, Novelty Hill Januik Winery and Chinook Winery.  I sat next to Bob Betz and it was wonderful to hear about his experiences in his namesake winery and Washington wine history in general.   He is superbly friendly and welcoming.  The setting was perfect in a crisp and cool Pacific Northwest evening of local food, world class wines and the company of the principals of all of the wine producers with their wines.  Their humour and down-to-earthness was certainly moving and it was the experience I wanted to have.  While I want and often do get a great experience they do not always happen.

I hope to return to Washington to do a foot on ground tour of the AVAs and, of course, to attend the wondrous Taste of Washington.


2017 Washington Wine Reviews – this was a year where I had more wines to sample from in my own studio.  For many years I would taste only a handful of Washington wines each year but this year was a very nice assortment with great depth and breadth.

Please click on the videos below to see my thoughts and comments on these fine wines.

Wines are courtesy of producer and Washington State Wines.



James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2017 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Artisans of Australian Wine San Francisco Tasting 2017 – James Melendez

I love Foreign Cinema – a San Francisco institution–good food and wine.

Year over year I taste so little Australian wines.  I was so glad I was able to attend a smaller producer tasting called Artisans of Australian Wines.  The tasting was here in San Francisco in September 2017.

In general and I have talked often how there has not been Australian wine shows in San Francisco for a while as I had gotten use to tasting wines from down under frequently.

The Australian wine industry is amazing. It is not just about having the great regions to do stellar wines–it is also the will to produce and experiment with varieties.  The experimental side of wine making in Australia is to demonstrate wines beyond the usual suspect of Shiraz.  Don’t get me wrong I LOVE Shiraz; Australia can produce all of the International varieties including Iberian, Italian, Central and Eastern European varieties and much more.  If I were to guess there are more Vitis vinifera varieties planted in Australia than in the US.   I cannot think of the major varieties of something that is not grown in Australia–a lot of rare beauties as well.

I was delighted to see so many Pinot Noir–Australia’s neighbour New Zealand still the acclaim for Pinot Noir.  But the Pinot Noir that I was tasting were solid wines with great fortitude and expression–Australia produces stellar cool climate wines as well.  Australia has a varied climate to produce a vast array of wines.

I loved the independence and yet seriousness and playfulness of the producers present.  I had painstakingly written my notes about the wines as I want to recall what I tasted and to share out my experience. However, I put down my programme for a moment and I think a very efficient cleaning crew picked it up.   I traced by steps and looked at the recycle bin but the notes were gone.

I often hand write my notes but over time the best way to secure them is electronically–I was disappointed but I know I will taste the producers again.  I am so glad that I was able to capture the wines in terms of photography and to recall in memory each wine that I did taste.

Each of these producers has a very nice ensemble of wines from their respective regions in Italy.  Many of these are available in the US.  You can click on the title of each producer to go to their website.

Gembrook Hill Vineyards  – producer is based in the Yarra Valley and produces a bottle of Blanc de Blancs, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.















Basket Range – producer is based in the Adelaide Hills and producers a red blend, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.








The Story Winesthis producer is based in the suburbs of Melbourne and sources from several regions in Australia; they are producing Grenache, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Marsanne-Roussanne, and a Marsanne-Roussanne-Viognier wines.









Timo MayerBased in Yarra Valley; produces of Pinot Noir and Shiraz.















BK Wines – producer of Adelaide Hills wines; Pinot Noir, Grenache, Syrah, Chardonnay and white Rhone blends.

















Blind Cornerproducer of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay-Aligote, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon and white and red blends. They are based in Margaret Corner.

Ben Hainesproducer is based in Yarra Valley and produces Shiraz, Marsanne, and Roussanne.











Delinquente Wine Company very distinct labels and names–the kind that you could spot from a very long distance.  This is a producer of mainly Italian varieties: Nero d’Avola Rosato, Vermentino, Montepulciano, and a PetNat.















Lucy Margaux Vineyards – producer is based in the Adelaide Hills, strikingly distinct labels.  Big variety of wines from Merlot, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay


Yeringberg (couldn’t locate website for producer) – a Yarra Valley producer of Chardonnay and Shiraz.  I was dazzled with the many library Shiraz that I was tasting.  Such elegance and finesse from their Yarra Valley Shiraz.
















Seeking out smaller Australian producers by asking your wine merchant to access these wines.  Pure Australian/pure delight and it is always nice to support a smaller producer presenting with fantastic wines.




James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my  drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Taste of Mendocino 2017 Wine Review – James Melendez

Mendocino is a known wine country and wildly beautiful.  I love the pristine beauty of this rugged and gorgeously beautiful wine country.

This wine country looks like no other wine country not just in California but all wine countries anywhere.

My journey began years ago when I would buy an every day sparkling wine called Scharffenberger Cellars.  The founding date is 1981 and from 1998 to 2004 was called Pacific Echo.  I was deeply disappointed with the name change–for me it felt inauthentic.  It is all about brand management and yes consumers do take note.  A name change can reflect a change in wine making philosophy or even source of grapes–a name change can simply be a name change.   I was glad to see the return of the Scharffenberger Cellars name as it was a trusted brand name for me.

I was fortunate to visit Taste of Mendocino 10-June of this year (2017) to taste from familiar to newer producers.  I attend as many wine tasting events in the city as possible–there are so many that I can usually attend 80% of them annually.

I wish I could have tasted more but appreciate all that I do get to taste.

Wine Reviews:









Artevino Mendocino County Cowboy Red NV 91 Points

Artevino Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2014 93 Points


Barra of Mendocino/Girasole


Barra of Mendocino Mendocino Pinot Noir 2015 91 Points

Barra of Mendocino Mendocino Muscat Canelli 2016 92 Points

Girasole Vineyards Mendocino Pinot Blanc 2016 92 Points



Bonterra Mendocino County Merlot 2014 – 91 Points










Goldeneye Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine NV – 92 Points

Goldeneye Gowan Creek Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2014 – 93 Points


Greenwood Ridge Vineyards

Greenwood Ridge Mendocino Rosé of Pinot Noir 92 Points

Greenwood Ridge Anderson Valley Reserve Pinot Noir 2014 93 Points


Handley Cellars

Handley Anderson Valley Pinot Gris 2015 – 92 Points










Tatho Mendocino Rosé 2016 – 92 Points

Tatho Bauer Vineyards Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc 2016 – 92 Points


Frey Vineyards

Frey Vineyards Biodynamic Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc 2014 90 Points

Frey Vineyards Organic Mendocino Pinot Grigio 2015 91 Points

Frey Vineyards Organic Mendocino Zinfandel 2014 92 Points

Frey Vineyards Redwood Valley Sangiovese 2014 91 Points



Navarro Anderson Valley Chardonnay 2014 – 92 Points

Navarro Anderson Valley Pinot Blanc 2016 – 93 Points


Meyer Family Cellars








Meyer Family Yorkville Highlands Syrah 2012 93 Points

Meyer Family Yorkville Highlands Rose of Syrah 2016 92 Point


Philo Ridge

Philo Ridge Vineyards Mendocino Nelson Ranch Viognier 2015 93 Points

Philo Ridge Vineyards Mendocino Helluva Vineyard  Pinot Gris 2015 92 Points

Philo Ridge Vineyards Mendocino Haiku Ranch Chardonnay 2014 92 Points

Philo Ridge Vineyards Mendocino Firebird Vineyard Zinfandel 2012 – 93 Points 

Philo Ridge Vineyards Mendocino Vittorio Vineyard Primitivo 2013 – 93 Points

Philo Ridge Vineyards Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2012 – 92 Points


Theopolis Vineyard

Theopolis VineyardMendocino Symphony 2015 92 Points

Theopolis Vineyard MendocinoRosé of Petit Sirah 2016 91 Points

Theopolis Vineyard Mendocino Pinot Noir 2014 – 93 Points

Don’t forget to include in your Mendocino County wine in your tasting plans!



James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2017 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Posted in Anderson Valley, Mendocino County | 2 Comments

Always An Opportune Time to Taste and Visit Gloria Ferrer Wines – James Melendez

When I look at the state of US sparkling wine there are many fewer produces than say France, Italy or Spain.  There are several larger producers of sparkling wine in Northern California but I don’t always taste their wines on a regular basis.  In fact there are only a small handful that I taste year-over-year.

A combination of Spanish and California cheese–so superb with sparkling wine

I was so glad to revisit and taste Gloria Ferrer wines this year.  I had two opportunities to taste the fine quality sparkling and still wines from Gloria Ferrer – one was in San Francisco and the other was their tasting room at their estate on the Sonoma side of Carneros.

I have tasted Gloria Ferrer over the years and I think my tastings of their wines continue to show increased finesse and beauty.  I have raced from San Francisco on highway 121 to get to either a more inland Sonoma wineries or to Napa Valley but I would always long to stop by Gloria Ferrer as a starter to my wine country experience and yet I don’t do that.  Gloria Ferrer situated on the otherworldly slopes of Carneros hillsides are alluring and inviting.

In my early wine country outings, I would always try to reach to some place new on each visit “no repeats” was my motto.  Now fast forward years later, I have been to a majority of wineries in Napa and Sonoma.  When I go to Napa or Sonoma I have a great time to visit in a relaxed way versus my early days to visit all wineries.  Was I thinking I would never visit the wine countries of Northern California again (even though I am resident of San Francisco)?   I think there was that underlying concern.

Today is different.  I repeat wineries I have been to and loving doing so.  I get to relive and recount my bright eyed days of each winery that I have visited before and relish in those memories and relish in the experience of today.

Gloria Ferrer has also continued their journey of optimizing the wine tasting experience.  The location is fantastic–so evocative–the journey to hillside of the beautiful Carneros is romantic.  Carneros is easy to describe in terms of feeling and yet words can evade.  Carneros is multiples of undulating hills, and in summer the warm sun is tempered by the cool breeze coming off the San Pablo Bay.  I have always said that Carneros is so captivating and yet is just a gateway place to visit and not the heart center of either Napa or Sonoma.  People start or end in Carneros but the allure and beauty is stunning but few stay there for their entire experience.

The Gloria Ferrer tasting room personnel are superbly friendly and give the utmost to deliver to you the best experience.   A lovely site that is perched at the baseline of a long hillside chain.  Here are my comments about the wines I tasted at two different locations this year (2017).

Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut

Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut NV – 91 Ponts

This wine is 85% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay. Scent characterization of yellow and green citrus zest, white peach, tea and hint of almond; flavour notes of Green/yellow apple, hint of almond, white tea, and flowers.


Gloria Ferrer Carneros Pinot Blanc 2016 – 92 Points

A lovely Pinot Blanc–there is something so simple and absolutely delightful about Pinot Blanc.  Easier to find in Alsace–hard to find everywhere else especially in California.  I am not sure the reason for so little of this precious grape.  An ideal wine grape variety for Carneros–a grape that likes sunshine in it’s day time hours and in it’s sleep time needs coolness.

Scent notes of white peach, green citrus, almond meal and flowers; flavour characterization of white stone fruit, Adriatic fig, pine nut and flowers.


Gloria Ferrer Anniversary Cuvée 2010 – 92 Points

This wine is 67% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay; Five and half years on the yeast, 12.2 g/L dosage and 2,500 case production.  Scent characterization: freshly slice heirloom red apple, croissant, sea shell and jasmine.  Flavour notes of dark heirloom apple, freshly roasted pine nuts, flowers and white tea.


Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvée 1996 – 92 Points

I love the name and it’s royal significance.  First served to King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain in 1987.  Fit for King and Country and for all that appreciate superb sparkling wine.

This wine is 67% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay; a grand wine with age that shows California sparkling wines can age gracefully.  A treat to have this especially lively wine.

Scent notes of Comice pear, rich flowers, sea shells and Brioche.  Flavour notes of rare citrus, white peach, crushed sea shells and honeycomb.


Gloria Ferrer Carneros Cuvée 2006 – 93 Points

The Tête de Cuvée of Gloria Ferrer.  This wine is 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay.  9 years on the lees – a great expression of sparkling wine–appreciably complex with glorious finesse, grace and elegance.  Scent notes of green and yellow apples, exotic white flowers, crushed oyster shell; flavour notes of Granny Smith apple, white fig, Brioche, and beeswax.


Gloria Ferrer Brut Rosé 2014 – 92 Points

Scent characterization of mountain strawberry, sea shell, hint of almond and flower bouquet; flavour notes of Italian mountain strawberry, raspberry, beeswax and rich flowers.


Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs NV – 91 Points

A wine with many layers of richness; notes of strawberry, early season red cherry, violets and moist stones; flavour notes of mountain strawberry, raspberry, violets and freshly roasted pine nuts.


Gloria Ferrer Extra Brut Reserve Cuvée Late Disgorged 2009 – 94 Points

Extra Brut, extra thoughtful.  The dryer the better for me as it relates to sparkling wine.  I want bone dry in the sparkling wines I serve at my tasting table.  While California has been a major North America sparkling wine producer for at least 2+ generations the styles have been pretty staid.  I see Extra Brut often when I look at Champagne and don’t find it as rare as I do in North American sparkling wines.  California Extra Brut may be as rare as Paul Newman’s Daytona Rolex watch.  While you might compare this style with another producer you will find the wines are not the same.  I would insist they depart in many ways. this wine sees 7.5 years aging and a dosage of 6.2 g/L.

Elegant graceful and a rare beauty – a must taste–a creamy, delicate and complex wine.

Scent notes: Brioche/biscuit, Heirloom apple, beeswax and white flowers; flavour characterization of Granny smith apple, biscuit, oyster shell and flowers.


A high recommendation to visit Gloria Ferrer on your next visit to Napa/Sonoma wine countries.

Make a reservation for the patio in good weather–sit back, relax and enjoy the experience and let your host guide you through their assortment of wines.




James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

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