Author Archives: Ray

About Ray

Ray Johnson is the Director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University. He teaches and writes about wine and the business of wine and makes his home in Sonoma County.

Sonoma State Sensory Evaluation Workshop

Staying ahead of flaws in the cellar and quantifying perceptual differences and consumer preferences are critical to a winery’s bottom line.  Following our return from New Zealand, Sonoma State’s Wine Business Institute will partner with VESTA to again offer this … Continue reading

Posted in Albariño, Alsace, Alto Adige, Andalucia, Barbera, Barbera d'Asti, Barolo, Bordeaux, California, Chardonnay, Cinsault, Dealcoholized, Fortified dessert, France, Gewurztraminer, Graves, Italy, Jerez, Madeira, Malmsey, Malvasia, Marlborough, Merlot, Napa County, Napa Valley, Nebbiolo, New Zealand, Palomino, Pessac-Leognan, Piemonte, Pinot Noir, Port, Portugal, Provence, Rosé, Russian River Valley, Sancerre, Sauternes, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Sherry, Sonoma County, South Africa, Spain, Tawny Port, Var, Vinho Verde, Western Cape | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cyrus 1998

Alexander Valley Vineyards, Cyrus 1998 14 years on this wine is looking youthful in the glass, with hues of red and just a hint of orange at the edge.  In the nose an oaky expression entices with an expectation of richness. On … Continue reading

Posted in Alexander Valley, Bordeaux Style Blends, Cabernet Sauvignon, California, Sonoma County | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Reata Chardonnay 2010

Reata, Carneros, Chardonnay 2010 The nose features freshly baked biscuits dabbed in butter topped with peaches – you get a sense of the fruit accentuated by the winemakers touch. In the mouth the texture is luscious, buttery with the freshness … Continue reading

Posted in California, Carneros, Chardonnay | Tagged | Leave a comment

Lucien Albrecht Blanc de Blancs

Lucien Albrecht, Cremant d’Alsace, Brut, Blanc de Blancs nv In the nose there are fresh fruits like pears and yellow apples.  In the mouth this wine is fruit-forward, moderately acidic with some creaminess, like one finds with the domaine’s rose – … Continue reading

Posted in Cremant d'Alsace, France, Pinot Blanc, Sparkling Dry | Tagged | Leave a comment

Sonoma State Cellars

We spent the morning at Kokomo Winery today, putting the final touches on the first release from Sonoma State Cellars. If you’re in Dry Creek Valley on Saturday, join the party that we’re throwing at Timber Crest Farms.  Bastille Day … Continue reading

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Bollinger La Grande Annee 2000

Bollinger, Champagne, La Grande Annee, Brut 2000 The nose is nutty, featuring dried fruits, oranges with brown spices and a note of mushrooms sauteed in butter. In the mouth this vintage is elegant, with subtle orange and apple flavors, and long, … Continue reading

Posted in Champagne, Chardonnay, France, Pinot Noir, Sparkling Dry | Tagged | Leave a comment

Wines of British Airways first class

During a trip to Italy and Slovenia we had the opportunity to sample a number of delicious wines while in the care of BA. First up was a tasting of 2 bubblies in the lounge at Heathrow. Pol Roger, Champagne, … Continue reading

Posted in Champagne, Chardonnay, France, Pinot Noir, Sparkling Dry | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Falesco Vitiano 2005

Falesco, Umbria IGT, Vitiano 2005 This wine is showing nicely at a point in its evolution over 6 years since the grapes were harvested. It is light-bodied as expected, as it was in bottles tasted early on. Yet what we have … Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Italy, Merlot, Sangiovese, Umbria | Tagged | 1 Comment

Bonterra Chardonnay 2010

Bonterra, Mendocino County, Chardonnay 2010 The nose features fresh stones fruits and a splash of new oak.  In the mouth the fruit expression is quite lively, citrus, apricots, peaches and the freshness of summer sunshine. Besides the Chardonnay, the grapes behind … Continue reading

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More Red Wines of Lake County

Bell Hill, Lake County, Merlot 2005 When first tasted in July 2009, I wrote: the nose features sweet notes of vanilla and cherries while the mouth repeats with ripe tannins, just to let you know they are there – very … Continue reading

Posted in California, Lake County, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel | Tagged , , | Leave a comment