Behind the Cork™ - Toad Hollow Rosé

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2017 Toad Hollow ‘Eye of the Toad’ Rosé of Pinot Noir ($12)

This is certainly the time of year when a cool, crisp and refreshing rosé is just perfect. And this Toad Hollow Rosé of Pinot Noir is a good one. This ‘Eye of the Toad‘ rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir from Sonoma County.

Toad Hollow picks their grapes at lower sugar levels which results in their rosé being lower in alcohol (11.5%) and bright, mouth-watering acidity.

And, while this rosé has flavors of watermelon, strawberry and white peach, its sweet flavors are all from the fruit with very low sugar (0.18 Residual Sugar).

So, when you’re looking for a nice refreshing wine to enjoy on a hot day, look for this Toad Hollow. Like all Behind the Cork™ features, this wine is widely available and affordable. Cheers!

Behind the Cork™ - Left Coast Pinot Noir

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2018 Left Coast White Pinot Noir ($24)

I’ve been looking forward to trying a white Pinot Noir for some time. I’m a big fan of Pinot Noir but have never gotten an opportunity to try the white version.

This Left Coast White Pinot Noir is produced from 93% Pinot Noir and 7% Pinot Blanc. It is fermented and aged on lees in stainless steel to capture the true fruit flavors of the Pinot Noir grape.

Fruit flavor indeed! This white Pinot Noir has big bright fruit flavors with green apple being most prominent along with pear and honeydew melon and some minerality. The finish is long with good acidity.

I find it amazing that a grape that typically produces red wines with cherry, cranberry and raspberry fruit flavors can be so entirely different when done in a white-wine style. It really demonstrates that including those grape skins along with the seeds and stems in the wine making process can make a completely different wine.

As they state, “What began in 2011 as a small experimental wine quickly blossomed into one of Left Coast’s most unique and popular wines.” I’m really glad I finally got to try this white Pinot Noir and experience the ‘other side’ of Pinot. You’ll enjoy this one too. Look for it and give it try! Cheers!


Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Will Rogers of Donna White Communications

Behind the Cork™ - Left Coast Queen Bee Bubbly

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2017 Left Coast Queen Bee Bubbly ($36)

This bubbly from Left Coast Estate winery is 100% Pinot Noir but it gets its name from the fact that it uses their own estate honey to feed on the encapsulated yeast at the bottom of each bottle. Thus, producing the bubbles right in the bottle!

This Queen Bee Bubbly is 12% ABV so its got a hint of sweetness to go along with the nice Pinot Noir fruit flavors. The short amount of time that the skins are left in contact with this wine give it the nice salmon-orange color.

This Left Coast Queen Bee Bubbly is first fermented in 100% French oak and then aged 10 months.

But, unlike a varietal Pinot Noir, the initial limited skin contact results in this bubbly having bright fruit flavors along with crisp acidity.

This was my first sparkling Pinot Noir and it won’t be my last. It’s delicious and refreshing whether being enjoyed for a special celebration, with brunch, hor d’oeuvres or any other light fare. Cheers!


Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Will Rogers of Donna White Communications

Behind the Cork™ - Left Coast Rosé

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2018 Left Coast Estate Rosé ($24)

Left Coast Cellars produces a bunch of nice wines from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. And, this Rosé is another fine example.

This blend of 76% Pinot Noir and 24% Pinot Meunier is fermented and aged in 100% neutral French Oak. The six month of neutral oak aging softens this rosé into a very delicate offering.

The Left Coast Rosé has light distinct aromas of rose pedals, white cherry and some interesting herbal and wood notes. On the palate, there are delicate fruit notes, low acidity and a creamy smoothness.

If you’ve been turned-off in the past by rosés that are like drinking fruity soda pop or pink lemonade, this rosé from Left Coast Cellars is one you should try. At 13.7% alcohol it’s completely dry (no residual sugar) and the red fruit flavors of the Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (two of the primary grapes in the production of French Champagne) just peek through for some very nice delicate flavors.

As the weather warms up, rosé is always a perfect choice. Give this one a try with fresh feta or chévre cheeses that really accentuate the creamy character of this Left Coast Estate Rosé. Cheers!


Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Will Rogers of Donna White Communications

Wine: The Tale of Two Pinot Noir's

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Pinot Noir is a wonderful varietal of wine. In the Old World (Europe), Pinot Noir is most famous from the Burgundy region of France. There, it is simply known as ‘Burgundy.’

In the U.S., Pinot Noir is grown in multiple regions. Two notable regions are Sonoma’s Russian River and Oregon’s Willamette Valley. These two regions are producing some excellent Pinot Noir. But, they are quite different.

The differences between Sonoma’s Pinot Noir and Oregon’s Pinot Noir is due to terrior, or the interaction of the soil, climate, topography and how the grape variety grows in the specific region.

The Pinot Noir being produced in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley tends to be light and delicate. Their colors are light, yielding bright cherry red hues with even lighter pink edges on the rim. The flavors include red cherry, cranberry, and raspberry with very delicate, almost non-existent tannin and light finishes.

Now, the Oregon’s Willamette Valley Pinots can be quite different. The Oregon terrior produces bigger and bolder wines, all around. Their colors are deeper, darker red. And their flavors also tend to be of black fruit such as black cherry, currant, fig and plum. They can also have noticeable astringency from their tannin. The words ‘robust’ and ‘muscle’ can be associated with these Pinots.

Both the Sonoma and Oregon Pinot Noir’s are excellent wines; you can’t go wrong with either. But, they also have their very own personalities. So, give them both a try! Cheers!