Daou Vineyards

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Join us this Saturday on the Radio….


Keith and Kimberly welcome Georges Daou to the show this coming Saturday

Click Here to Listen Live!  10am – 11am PST April 19th 2014

Visit for much more info on the Vineyards and the Wines !

In the golden, oak-studded hills of Paso Robles’ acclaimed west side, not far from William Randolph Hearst’s magnificent castle, there is a man with a Homeric vision. His name is Daniel Daou and he is devoting his life and every imaginable resource to creating, first and foremost, a Cabernet Sauvignon that rivals the very best in the world.  daou wines

Gracefully perched atop a stunning promontory at 2,200 feet, the DAOU Spanish Colonial style winery is embraced by a tangible serenity. Hawks wheel and bank while the all-day sun caresses close planted rows of lush, emerald green vines. The 100 percent calcareous soil makes no sound as it parses out nourishment and only a gentle breeze flows up through the Templeton Gap from the Pacific Ocean. The quiet is bewitching; you want to lay down roots here, just as the seven-year-old vines have done. But the sense of peace belies the serious industry at work on this 212 acre estate. No effort is spared to create the luscious varietals and blends that flow from this limited production winery.

This kind of synergy happens rarely: superlative climate and terroir, super intensive vineyard culture, and cutting edge viticultural practice. You’re more likely to find it in Bordeaux than Central California. Coupled with the infectious passion and gracious, family style hospitality of the Daou brothers, Georges and Daniel, the result is pure magic. The kind of magic that comes in a bottle.


Swanson Vineyards Merlot

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Keith and Kimberly welcome Winemaker Chris Phelps to the show today.

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Swanson Vineyards 2010 Merlot, the heart and soul of our storied 100-acre Oakville Cross Road vineyard, established itself 20 vintages back and continues to set the standard of balance and consistency among all Napa and Sonoma Merlots. As complex and delicately layered as most Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons, while delighting both new and discriminating palates with its trademark drinkability, Merlot is who we are and what we do. We are Oakville’s largest producer of estate-grown Merlot, aptly and quite frequently described as the “Cab-lover’s Merlot”.

Merlot is a dark blue-coloured wine grape variety, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to be a diminutive of merle, the French name for the blackbird, probably a reference to the color of the grape. Its softness and “fleshiness”, combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot a popular grape for blending with the sterner, later-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon, which tends to be higher in tannin.

Along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, Merlot is one of the primary grapes used in Bordeaux wine, and it is the most widely planted grape in the Bordeaux wine regions. Merlot is also one of the most popular red wine varietals in many markets. This flexibility has helped to make it one of the world’s most planted grape varieties. As of 2004, Merlot was estimated to be the third most grown variety at 260,000 hectares (640,000 acres) globally, with an increasing trend. This puts Merlot just behind Cabernet Sauvignon’s 262,000 hectares (650,000 acres).

While Merlot is made across the globe, there tends to be two main styles. The “International style” favored by many New World wine regions tends to emphasis late harvesting to gain physiological ripeness and produce inky, purple colored wines that are full in body with high alcohol and lush, velvety tannins with intense, plum and blackberry fruit. While this international style is practiced by many Bordeaux wine producers, the traditional “Bordeaux style” of Merlot involves harvesting Merlot earlier to maintain acidity and producing more medium-bodied wines with moderate alcohol levels that have fresh, red fruit flavors (raspberries, strawberries) and potentially leafy, vegetal notes.


Swanson Vineyard 2010 Alexis Cabernet Sauvignon is voluptuous, celebratory, and exquisitely finessed, our bewitchingly original Cabernet  Sauvignon stands tall among Napa Valley’s blockbuster Cabernets. Alexis is a wine lover’s wonderland: complex, aromatically beguiling and as  powerfully elegant now as ten years forward. A consistent Swanson Vineyards classic with a cult-like following, mouth-watering richness, and a friendly price tag which makes buying a case of this rare gem irresistible.


Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada’s Okanagan Valley to Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon became internationally recognized through its prominence in Bordeaux wines where it is often blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc. From France, the grape spread across Europe and to the New World where it found new homes in places like California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, Napa Valley, New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay, Australia’s Margaret River and Coonawarra regions and Chile’s Maipo Valley and Colchagua. For most of the 20th century, it was the world’s most widely planted premium red wine grape until it was surpassed by Merlot in the 1990s.

Despite its prominence in the industry, the grape is a relatively new variety, the product of a chance crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon blanc during the 17th century in southwestern France. Its popularity is often attributed to its ease of cultivation—the grapes have thick skins and the vines are hardy and naturally low yielding, budding late to avoid frost and resistant to viticultural hazards such as rot and  insects—and to its consistent presentation of structure and flavours which express the typical character of the variety. Familiarity and ease of pronunciation have helped to sell Cabernet Sauvignon wines to consumers, even when from unfamiliar wine regions. Its widespread popularity has also contributed to criticism of the grape as a “colonizer” that takes over wine regions at the expense of native grape varieties.

Chris Phelps

The classic profile of Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be full-bodied wines with high tannins and noticeable acidity that contributes to the  wine’s aging potential. In cooler climates, Cabernet Sauvignon tends to produce wines with blackcurrant notes that can accompanied by green bell pepper notes, mint and cedar which will all become more pronounced as the wine ages. In more moderate climates the blackcurrant notes are often seen with black cherry and black olives notes while in very hot climates the current flavors can veer towards the over-ripe and “jammy” side. In parts of Australia, particularly the Coonawarra wine region of South Australia, Cabernet Sauvignon wines tend to have a characteristic eucalyptus or menthol notes.

Buy Cabernet Sauvignon the next time you are at a Restaurant or Retail Store.


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Becoming a Sommelier: Where There is Fruit – There is Root

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by Kimberly Faye

I’ve been using the phrase, “where there is fruit there is always a root” for many years now, though typically in the context of human behavior (see Now that I am knee deep in schist, limestone, gravel and alluvium soil, the saying has taken on a whole new, and, may I say even much deeper meaning.

Until I began my journey of studying the viticulture of winemaking, I had no real knowledge of the type of soil, climate and conditions that soil_diagram_postcardproduce the most concentrated fruit for the worlds best wines. That said, I am a farm girl. Or, I should say I was a farm girl – and hope to be a farm girl again someday – preferably in wine-country. I left the farm in my mid-20‘s with zealous determination to develop an urban lifestyle. I have since learned that I’m not much of a city slicker and prefer a quieter, less congested lifestyle. Nothing, however, has surprised me more than to realize that my daddy’s words would one day resonate to my core. When daddy came to visit he took great pains to remind me that I was not built for city life. On the day of my birth, my mother was driven by a tracker to the nearest highway because of a snowstorm that made passage through the hollow impossible. That, according to his way of thinking, should have rooted me in the country where we farmed the land and raised white-faced Hereford cattle.

Always, on his way out the door to the truck (Daddy didn’t like airplanes so he and Mommy put on lots of miles to visit me as I traipsed my way across the US changing jobs every three years just so I could experience a new city) before placing his ten gallon hat atop his head, he would reach down and give me one of his bear hugs while leaving these parting words, “You can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl!” Oh, how those words infuriated me! I was determined to become citified and daddy’s intimidation was not going to deter me.

My little jaunt down memory lane is intended to show how early years of farm life taught me that good vegetables are grown in nutrient rich, well watered soils. The same is true of grape vines with one very important caveat: Grape vines need soil, climate and conditions that will force their roots to burrow deep to find the nutrients that the vine needs.

Winemakers throughout the worlds great wine producing regions agree that great wines come from suffering vines. Take the Rhone Valley for instance, the home of Chateauneuf du Pape, where harvesters have to wade through mounds of round riverbed rocks to get to the vines. These rocks, called ‘galets’ influence the minerality in the fine Grenache blends from that region.

I have become a fan of Michael Fagan’s Discover series . If you want to learn more about wines and wine cultures follow his blog and watch his video’s. In an interview with Nicolas Jaboulet of Paul Jaboulet-Aîné wines we learn that the vines need to suffer from poor soils so the system of the root can go deep in order to feed the grape.

I conclude with this thought. Is it possible that vitis vinifera vines are designed to teach us humans a thing or two about suffering? Deep roots produce concentrated fruit. I don’t know about you but I want to go deep and maybe I have with this blog.


Please visit for info on the classes and how you can sign up in your area!

Please visit our Becoming a Sommelier Sponsor at

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you may also purchase my Book Memoir of a Broken Brain at

March 15 2014

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Click Here to Listen Live!  10am – 11am PST


Today’s Radio Guests: Todd Roessler, Rocco Califano and Scott Leopold

The Wines of Excelsior

The Wines of Mulvane Wine Company

The Wines on today’s show…

The Spirits of Leopold Bros.

Benziger Winery / Jeff Mcbride celebrating Earth Day

Please email us at wine@wineliferadio for more information (where to buy) on the wines

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Riunite is so Nice

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Keith and Kimberly welcome Jerry English (Banfi Vintners) to the Show Today.

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Enjoy the Show (commercial free)

US History of Riunite and Banfi Vintners

Founded in 1919, Banfi Vintners enjoys the distinction of being America’s longest standing independent and family run wine importer. Connecticut-born Giovanni Mariani spent a decade of his youth in Italy under the tutelage of his aunt Teodolinda Banfi, governess for the Archbishop of Milan who later became Pope Pius XI. She was the first woman, other than nuns, ever permitted to live in the Vatican’s Sistine Palace. Characterized as conscientious, tireless and disciplined, she inspired the same attributes in her nephew and his descendants. In the 1950’s, Giovanni’s sons John and Harry joined and expanded Banfi.

The Marianis studied the French model to raise the level of Italian wines on the world stage. At the same time, they weaned the American palate from fruit juice and soft drinks to pure and natural wine to accompany meals. With the 1967 introduction of Riunite Lambrusco, a historically semi-dry lightly sparkling wine, Riunite quickly became an American phenomenon, introducing millions to their first taste of wine and igniting the country’s love affair with Italian wine. With the memorable jingle “Riunite on Ice, That’s Nice,” Riunite became America’s #1 imported wine in 1976 and held that position for a remarkable 26 years, setting sales records that remain unmet by any other import. Today, Banfi Vintners remains one of the country’s top ten wine marketers and a leading importer of fine wine, representing a portfolio of family-owned wineries that are category leaders in their own right.

Click here to take a trip through history and view our commercials that date back to 1977. Sit back, sip a glass of Riunite, enjoy the ride through time and remember “Riunite On Ice… That’s Nice.

Wine Life Radio “Highly Reccomends” Riunite and Please visit and



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