Mexico’s Best and Puerto Vallarta

To celebrate by birthday my wife asked me what I would like to do.  My tequila cabinet was getting low so, I suggested we go to Puerto Vallarta.  Jalisco Mexico is the capitol of tequila country.  Puerto Vallarta is one of my favorite places to relax and enjoy the best of Mexico.  So, we got the band together and headed South.  We checked into the Grand Lux in Nuevo Vallarta.  The Grand Lux is located 20 Min North of Puerto Vallarta in Nayarit.  There are three other resorts, that you have access to, on the property.  The Grand Mayan, Mayan Palace and The Grand Blis. Puerto Vallarta has all the regular tourist attraction; parasailing, scuba diving, zip lines, ATV etc… Nuevo Vallarta has long sand beaches and the water is in the 80’s this time of year.

One of our favorite spots to visit is a little surf town 1 hour North called Sayulita.  Sayulita is located on the North side of Punta Mita.  Sayulita has a lot of old  world charm with its cobblestone roads and traditional style building.  The beaches are beautiful and the surfing is usually pretty good.  On this occasion, Doc was less than please with the waves.  I thought they were the perfect size for someone like me who wants to learn.  The town square is the center of activity.  It is surrounded by restaurants, bars and boutique shops.  The prices for food and alcohol are tailored towards the locals.  After a relaxing afternoon on the beach, we headed to Leyva Family distillery.  Makers of fine tequila.

We were walked through the tequila making process and at the end, we were treated to a tasting.  Some of the main things I learned was.  There are over 600 varieties of agave.  Over 400 of them are blue(Azul).  The first distillation of tequila is called blanco.  Tequila put in an oak barrel for up to 11 months is called Resposado.  Tequila put into an oak barrel for up to 4 years is called Anejo.  Like wine, there are blends and single varietals. Mexico grades the quality of tequila.  So, 100% de agave could be a blend of agave and sugar cane.  100% de agave Azul could be the single varietal and better still, 100% puro de agave is tequila without any other additive such as cane sugar. Remember this and it will ensure you are getting the best quality tequila.

Tequila tasting is also similar to wine tasting.  Enjoy the color and clarity,  inhale the bouquet, take a sip and let is roll over you tongue. After you swallow, exhale and appreciate the smoothness.

I am always interested in a good tequila.  If you come across one I would love to hear about it.




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Rosé Challenge Results


Challengers are lined up

Challengers are lined up

1391463_1426580644220916_142933016_nThe first Santa Clara Valley Rosé Challenge  was held at the Dolce Hayes Masion in San Jose California.  A special thanks to Heather Moggia and the Dolce Hayes Mansion for their hospitalilty.  The tables were set and the wine was chilled. The challengers were Thomas Kruse Winery, Aver Family Vineyard, Sycamore Creek Vineyard, Guglielmo Winery, Clos LaChance Winery, Solis Winery, Jason Stephens Winery.  One of the things I like most about Rosé is that they are truly like a box of chocolates.  Each one is so different.  Some of the wines were single varietals and others were blends.  We lined them up head to head to see which wine makers inspiration would be most popular with our diverse group of participants.

We asked everyone to rank the wines from their most favorite to their least favorite.  The results were; 

First Place:  Solis Winery received the most First place votes followed by Aver Family and Thomas Kruse.

Jason Stephens received the most Second place votes followed by Solis and Sycamore Creek.

Clos LaChance received the most Third place votes followed by Thomas Kruse and a tie between Guglielmo and Jason Stephens.

Over all;  Solis received the most total votes followed by Jason Stephens, Thomas Kruse, Sycamore Creek, Aver, Guglielmo and Clos Lachance. 

It appears this group was drawn towards the sweeter rosés in the challenge.  A good time was had by all and we look forward to the next challenge. 


Rosé Challenge

Martin Ranch Winery

Martin Ranch Winery

It is on!!!   October 20th we will be hosting  The Santa Clara Valley Rosé Challenge.  We will be pouring rosés from six selected Santa Clara Valley Wineries.  A lot of research went into selecting the six competitors for this challenge.  I must admit I enjoyed every minute of this rigorous endeavor.  Some of the rosés are from single variatals and some are blends.  We will see how they stack up.  There are only a few seats left. So, if you want to attend, register and we will send you a invitation with the location.

On a recent trip to France, a good friend introduced me to Rosés.  I have developed a fond appreciation for them and I can’t wait to share that with you all.  See you soon.

Morgan Hill Brew Crawl

Morgan Hill downtown association

Morgan Hill downtown association

When I’m not drinking wine, I like to fill my glass with a good beer or tequila.  Saturday September 14th was the Morgan Hill brew  crawl.  There were 22 breweries pouring for this sold out event.  I met up with some of my beer enthusiast friends and spent a beautiful day beer tasting.  If you are a fan of craft beers, IPA’s, pale ales and double bocks, I highly recommend this event.



Personally I am a fan of largers, pilsners and ales.  My favorites were Spaten, Stella Artois, Red Tail and Mendocino Brewing Company.  Unfortunately we were not able to get to all 22 before time ran out.  We took our time and enjoyed the event.





If you are not familiar with Morgan Hill, I invite you to check out  The Taste of Morgan Hill September 28th and 29th.


brew festival

Dog Friendly Wine tasting in Santa Cruz

Tucker and Piper

Tucker and Piper

If you are thinking of a good way to beat the heat and have an outing with your best friend, I have a suggestion. Wine tasting at wineries in Santa Cruz that are dog friendly.

On June 30th it was 103 degrees in my town. So Hill and I decided to take my best friend, and his evil little sister, to the beach and met up with Troya and Doc. Doc suggested we do some wine tasting while we were there and he informed me that the wineries were dog friendly so bring the kids. What a great way to spend a beautiful Sunday. So off we went to Swift Street Wineries to enjoy some great local wines and spend time with friends and family.  Our first stop was MJA Vineyards.  They had a water bowl and treats for the kids.  Most of their grapes came from the Napa Area.  My favorite was the 2011 Sangiovese.  Our next stop was Sones Cellars.  Plenty of room for the dogs to lay down while mommy and daddy tasted some wines.  They also had plenty of dog treats and water bowls.   They had a nice selection but the 2010 Cancion del Mar got my attention. I’m not a big white wine drinking so when I come across one that gets my attention, I have to buy it.  It was cool, fruity (but not sweet) and crisp.  Perfect for a hot day.  Our last stop was Bartolo wines and Equinox Methode Champenoise.  Barry was totally cool.  He gave the dogs the run of the place but they were too tired to get into trouble.  I enjoyed his Sparkling wines and I left with a bottle of his 2008 Cioppino Rosso, which is an interesting blend of Syrah, Chardonnay and Mourvedre.  I also took home a bottle of his 2008 Syrah, a GSM blend.

I know there are more dog friendly wineries, restaurants and hotels out there.  Keep following the blog for more reviews.  Also, send me a list of your favorite places to take your 4 legged best friends.   I would love to visit them.