Experience the Magic of Alexander Valley Silver Oak and Twomey Wines at Nashville’s 2015 Music City Food + Wine Festival at the Grand Tasting Saturday & Sunday September 19th and 20th

Sip and savor the unforgettable and special moments that life gives you with 2011 Alexander Valley Silver Oak Cabernet Blend


(Photo courtesy of Silver Oak)

Just in time for the 2015 Music City Food + Wine Festival, enjoy 2011 Alexander Valley Silver Oak that is perfect for food pairings and music. As you stroll through the Grand Tasting Tent, enjoy your sips with bites from the talented chefs and create your memories.

Just as beautiful memories are unforgettable, Silver Oak is built to stand the test of time. Sip on your favorite Silver Oak and hold back another to relive the memories for years to come.

In 1987, a case of Silver Oak arrived at my doorstep, just in time for the holidays.

My first taste of Silver Oak was an unforgettable experience which lead me to buy my very first case of wine ever.  Since then, I have been enjoying Silver Oak for almost 30 years.

“Your words are my food, your breath my wine. You are everything to me.” (Sarah Bernhard) Admittedly, I am a hopeless romantic who believes that every special moment in my life should be celebrated…..with wine.

                                                                        Silver Oak is magic.

Silver Oak is meant to be enjoyed for those sentimental moments or opening a bottle from that special year in your life such as birthdays, anniversaries, or…….. that unforgettable first love.

Silver Oak is not meant to be opened for evaluation.

Open a bottle to celebrate those memorable times of your life and………. for those special moments to come.

2011 Alexander Valley Silver Oak wine is unforgettable and will leave a lasting impression with each lush and voluptuous ruby red sip with a Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with touch of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

Each varietal is harvested at optimal ripeness under near perfect conditions of the California sun during the day and cooler temperatures at night. Savor the flavors and aromas of red cherries and black fruits, vanilla, cedar and savory flavors of  black olives, earthy dried herbs and a long, lively finish with refreshing acidity.

Create more memories! Silver Oak pairs well with food and music 

Several years ago, I visited Silver Oak Winery in Alexander Valley and Twomey Cellars, which is the sister winery to Silver Oak. Stop by the Grand Tasting Tent and enjoy the elegant new release of Merlot and also enjoy the Pinot Noir and Rose.


(Photo courtesy of Twomey Cellars)

During a conversation with Ian Leggat, I was reminded of past and present special moments in my life that were and will be celebrated with Alexander Silver Oak. I hope that you too have been blessed with unforgettable special moments and will celebrate by sharing a bottle of Silver Oak with the ones you most cherish.

Ian Leggat, Director of Marketing & Public Relations for Silver Oak Cellars & Twomey Cellars


 guitarman, take a moment to “joie de vivre” 


09 2015

Stop by 1808 Grille to Experience the Eclectic Wines By The Glass List Created by Sommelier Lou Vargo to Satisfy Every Palate

For seven consecutive years, 1808 Grille has recieved the Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator! 

Their impressive wine program includes the eclectic Wines By-The-Glass Menu that will satisfy every palate!


Tell me, have you wined and dined at a restaurant that has a great food menu but a very boring and limited wines by the glass list?

Well I have, once too many times!

Lou Vargo, Sommelier and Beverage Manager at 1808 Grille sat down with me one lovely afternoon for a Wines-By-The-Glass tasting experience like no other.

Lou says “Life’s too long to drink bad wine!”

And, I agree.

We both have had our fair share of ho-hum wine tasting experiences through the years and he believes that he can change the way everyone is drinking wine one palate at at time.

Lou is somewhat of a Wine Evangelist!

He believes that he can introduce and convert those guarded wine drinkers to a higher level and help create a perfect pairing of food and wine for a divine experience!

1808 Grille was awarded the Wine Spectator’s 2015 “Award of Excellence” for the seventh consecutive year for the varied and unique selections, the years selected and for the vertical and horizontal list of the fine and vintage wines by the bottle.


Here are some of the wines that we tasted: Sileni Pinot Noir, Pali Huntington Pinot Noir, Trefethen Dry Riesling, St.Urbans-Hof Riesling, Frei Brothers Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Arcadia Westerly Vineyard Syrah and Y3 Jax Chardonnay

Visiting with Lou was a very comfortable and friendly experience filled with passion for food and wine. He has immense knowledge of wine and management that creates a harmonious work environment with the staff and they all work together to give the best dining experience possible.

Lou is a force of nature, he is a gentleman with a big personality and passionate about his growing family life and his job.

Lou told me he has the best job in the world!

Giving someone the best food and wine pairing experience for a night is not work, it is an exciting and fun mission. If his mission was successful, he knows that for a slice of time (regardless of whether they are frequent customer or the first time diner for a celebration or night out with friends) he has given someone a happy dining experience and great memories of the wine and food all coordinated by Lou and the 1808 service team.

11 reasons why you will be impressed with the list!

1) A lot of thought was put into the menu reaching the varied palates of the guests without being stuffy and intimidating by names that are hard to pronounce which sometimes make customers afraid to order a wine.

2) The menu gives a great selection of light reds for those who prefer a red wine with seafood and dishes traditionally paired with white. For the Pinot Noir lovers, there are two different Pinot Noir with completely different styles of Pinot Noir from different areas of the world.

3) It is evident that Lou pairs up with team of Chef Jake Strang’s team and they all work together to create a harmonious menu.

4) He selects wines to complement the food menu with unique wines that no one else has on the menu.

5) About every 6 months, he changes some selections with new wines in our market from quality regions carefully selecting wines that are food and guest friendly.

6) You won’t find a thin and tasteless Pinot Grigio on his menu! He believes that Veneto is to Pinot Grigio as Nashville is to songwriters. Some of the greatest songs in the world have come out of Nashville just as some of the most complex flavored Pinot Grigio’s from the Veneto region with balanced weight and flavors of apricot, aromas of honeysuckle and white flowers. We are lucky to find these beautiful wines on the list by the glass.

7) The menu is filled with wines to fit a variety of palates with nice complexity which reflect a “sense of place” from vineyards all around the world.

8)  I always begin with a sparkling and there are three different styles of sparkling wines by the glass to enjoy!

9) The menu features two different and delightful styles of Rieslings to pair with the daily seafood offerings and Lou or the staff that will gladly help you select the wine that pairs best with your meal.

10) Would you like to discover your Chardonnay style? Do you enjoy a full-bodied, oak fermented creamy style or a crisper, more fruit forward unoaked chardonnay without that buttery mouth feel? The staff will be happy to help!

11) Ahhh. The controversial Merlot. Merlot is a fabulous food pairing wine but has met with some resistance. Due to the Sideways movie and overproduced mediocre quality wines, everyone seems to have an opinion about drinking Merlot. He likes to change the nay-sayers opinion by introducing the Indian Wells Chateau St Michelle. Lou describes this wine as a beautiful expression of the Merlot grape creating believers from those who were once non-believers.


Taittinger Lafrancais Champagne  and Poema Cava


Breakfast from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday

Brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

Bar is open 10:30 a.m. to midnight, Sunday through Thursday

10:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday with Happy Hour from 4 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
1808 West End Ave Nashville,TN 37203 | P.615.340.0012


08 2015

The Crown Winery Located in Humboldt, TN is a Wine Lover’s Destination Where Sangiovese Thrives as the Jewel in the Crown at this West Tennessee Winery!

The Crown Winery

Halfway between Nashville and Memphis is where grapevines are nurtured by a sun that shines just a little brighter and with the help of warm breezes, happy grapes are born. Experience beautiful wines with expression of the unique Tennessee terroir that reflect the care they were given.

There is a symbiotic relationship going on at Crown Winery and …..it works.



Crown Winery’s wines have as much personality as the nurturers/owners, Peter and Rita Howard, as well as their devoted “winery family” Manager Allison Hagin, Viticulturist Taylor and the winemaker, Barry.

As I looked around, I could see is grapes for miles, literally 20 miles of vines! There are a total of 30 acres of vines where Sangiovese occupies 4 of the 30 acres.

Hybrid Grapes and Peter’s favorite child, Sangiovese:

That’s right! The grape of Chianti is being grown right in the Tennessee!

Hybrid grapes thrive in Tennessee, and Crown Winery is no exception. The North-facing hill produces the best fruit and some of the grapes varieties grown here include Chamborcin, Chardonnel, and Traminette which make beautiful wines on their own.

Sangiovese is the exception. Sangiovese is a Vitis Vinifera mostly notably known for Chianti in Tuscany and also grown throughout Central Italy. The Sangiovese grape loves hot weather and that is what West Tennessee has these days.

There are has 4 acres, 24 rows that average 50 feet of gorgeous Sangiovese vines that produce  luscious and earthy wine with notes of sour red cherries, dried herbs, earthy aromas, tannins and nice acidity that make this wine a jewel in the crown of this winery!

The Winery:

Set amidst the beautiful West Tennessee landscape is a most impeccable piece of land in Gibson County that traditionally is a fruit growing area with strawberries, peaches, apples, and blueberries.   There you will find a small, family-run gently sloping vineyard with 30 acres of vines proving again that this is perfect environment for growing grapes. Tennessee produces a variety of  lovely wines with hybrid grapes with a lovely perfume and flavor with an expression of the Tennessee terroir. The grapes thrive in 6 hrs of sun in the unique wine-growing county of West Tennessee.

About Peter and Rita:

Peter is an adventurer, a renaissance man. His life IS a story of adventure. He was born in an air raid shelter in 1942. Peter is a natural born story teller and has the gift of gab complemented with his British wit. He is an adventurer, a renaissance man full of endless energy.

He has had many unique and entrepreneurial jobs which led him to meet his lovely wife Rita in 1973 in Austria. Rita, a natural born beauty originally from Tennessee, is a  former beauty queen who earned many crowns and Peter’s biggest supporter of his free-spirited life.

Peter and Rita Howard began their journey in 2005, when this land was originally home to cattle.

They decided to move back to Rita’s home state and then The Crown Winery story began.

Peter’s Philosophy:

Peter has developed his own sense of style and philosophy where winemaking is concerned. He believes that a bottle of wine is made in the vineyard.  If the grapes aren’t good, you can’t produce a good wine. He also believes that grapes are like infants. You nurture the vines that produce the “babies.” If you raise them right, “Happy grapes make happy wine!”

The Winery Family:

Peter and Rita told me that Allison, Taylor and Barry (winemaker) bring a youthfulness to the winery. He enjoys working  Allison, the General Manager and Taylor, the viticulturist, the ultimate nurturer. Taylor  began working for Crown Winery at 15 yo while he was still in high school and has been farming most of his life. Taylor is essential to the vineyards’ success and works dawn until dusk trouble-shooting daily challenges to get it right. Allison Hagin, the manager, is devoted to the care and well-being of the winery and always greets everyone with a smile and cheerfulness sets the mood for an enjoyable day at the winery. Barry devotes his time to making quality wines that reflect the quality and finesse.


Peter believes that “A bottle of wine is made in the vineyard, if the grapes aren’t good, you can’t produce a good wine.”

This year they will most likely harvest 65 to 70 tons of grapes which is around mid-September.

Harvest is fast! Peter likes to say they have to sneak up on the grapes while they are sleeping in the night, harvest and put into tanks before they get warm. Grapes start fermenting immediately due to natural yeasts.

They work closely with UT and designed rows for mechanical harvesting. Harvest begins at night because its cooler. Taylor and Peter planted the vines to accommodate a mechanized harvester.

Destination Weddings and the Amphitheater:

Couples make Crown Winery their destination dream wedding from around the country including  Miami, Chicago, Dallas and Indianapolis, to name a few. But that’s not all! The outdoor amphitheater and 800 seat bleachers  is the perfect place for concerts, corporate picnics an reunions.



Eric Botbyl owner of Companion Gallery which is behind Crown Winery creates one of a kind Amphoras to hold and store your wine.

The Amphora is an ancient vessel used by the Greeks stored wine using olive oil to seal. Here, it’s filled with wine, then a wax seal is set in place as is very effective for protecting your wine until you are ready to drink!


Ms. Rita is very proud of their award-winner sparkling wine with the Traminette grape,  called Tiara, which is just perfect for toasting at a wedding or your special event. I enjoyed this aromatic bubbly beauty in a glass as well as the other wines at Crown Winery!



This is the perfect time of the year to enjoy a glass of the many wines from Crown Winery. Each have their own delightful characteristic flavors and I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a later summer evening with family and friends!



In the next post, I will be featuring some of Crown Winery’s wines with a dinner pairing that I am sure you will enjoy! Stay tuned!




Crown Winery & HRH Vineyards
3638 East Mitchell Street/Hwy E. 152
Humboldt, Tennessee 38343

(t) 731-784-8100
(alt) 731-784-4666
(f) 731-784-8120


08 2015