Recently came back from 12 days in California starting in Paso Robles, up to Sonoma then Napa and ending up in the Sierra Foothills and Amador County.  Great fun and a chance to chat with old friends and make new ones.  This show starts with a visit to Gloria Ferrer in Southern Sonoma.

Claudia Pehar-Tikvica

Had a nice chat with Claudia Pehar-Tikvica director of Public relations and tasted some fine wines from this great producer with Spanish roots.  Claudia and I first met in Spain many years ago when she first started at working with the Ferrer family and Gloria Ferrer.  We had the opportunity to travel all over Spain and visit all the still wine producer that had joined the Ferrer portfolio.

We tasted a number of sparkling wines in addition to couple of winemakers Bob Iantosca’s and Mike Crumly’s outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The highlight of sitting on the newly remodeled patio was sipping a little Carneros Cuvee.  We tasted the 2003 as well as the newly released 2004 vintage of this unique handcrafted sparkler delivered in a custom stylish hand labeled bottle.

2004 Carneros Cuvée - Late DisgorgedThe Carneros Cuvée is Gloria Ferrer’s flagship Tête de Cuvée sparkling wine. It is a made from the most premium estate fruit from our 333-acre Carneros vineyard. With over 9 years en tirage and a minimum of six months on the cork, this decade old wine is remarkably fresh, rich and complex and represents the ultimate statement of our sparkling house style.

This effervescent sparkling wine opens up with aromas of Asian pear, Granny Smith apples and hints of toasted brioche. On the palate, this wine carries great finesse and a wonderful complexity.  Flavors of baked apple and Meyer lemon create for a balanced acidity and lingering finish. The 2003 vintage is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, offering a synthesis of effusive ripe fruit expression with superb structure and finesse. The quality of the fruit together with our winemaker’s blending expertise has resulted in another glorious vintage.

The Carneros Cuvée is only available directly from the winery

Bob Cooley

A quick hop-skip-jump North to Sonoma’s Russian River Valley and a visit to Benovia Vineyards and Winery with my good friend Bob Cooley VP for Sales & Marketing at Benovia.  Bob has had a great career in the wine biz  and his hectic travel schedule and marketing savvy are making a BIG impact at Benovia.

Had the opportunity to not only tour the new (nearly completed) winemaking facilities but also taste most everything made at this rapidly growing producer of some the Russian River AVA’s most revered Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.   Winemaker and partner Mike Sullivan who grew up in wine country is right at home making wine in Sonoma and the Russian River.

benovia winerCurrently you can purchase from the winery directly and I strongly urge you to join their email list.  Small quantites produced often mean acting quickly to get some.  You will be happy to know that Benovia wines should be available here in Kansas this Fall.

The morning before our departure I had the pleasure of tasting the just released 2014 Rose’ of Pinot Noir with Bob.  This perennial favorite was harvested at night from the Martaella Vineyard before whole cluster pressing. It entices with vibrant cranberry and late-summer watermelon aromas and a bracing acidity, followed by a citrus-like finish.  This wine is dry and complex after spending time in neutral oak to meld the flavors.  Limited production makes this the smallest lot wine in the spring portfolio and it will sell-out quickly, so place your order soon!

Learn more and check out the many products at


Peter Lane

Last but not least, Peter Lane President and CEO of the Walton Art Center in Fayetteville Arkansas joins us for a brief chat about next week’s most magnificent wine event “The Art of Wine.”  Peter joined Walton Arts Center (WAC) in May 2009. Before that Peter served as President and CEO of the Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, the summer home of the Philadelphia Orchestra and spent a decade as Executive Director of the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall.

You don’t need to book an expensive trip to Napa Valley when one of the South’s premier wine tasting events happens right here in Northwest Arkansas!  Since 2000, Walton Arts Center’s Art of Wine Festival has been enjoyed by Arkansans and visitors from across the country.  This annual, multi-day wine and food festival has quickly grown into one of the largest in the region, featuring hundreds of wines, food from dozens of area restaurants and live entertainment.

The 15th Annual Art of Wine is June 11-13, 2015, Click here for more information and to get tickets.  There are many of us traveling to Fayetteville this year and hope you will join us.  The perfect getaway for any wine lover and a great Father’s Day gift 🙂

Good Life Guy’s Wine of the Week:
You pick from the great choices above…

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