Happy Sauvignon Blanc Day!

It’s a great day when I get to celebrate a type of wine, even though truth be told, I celebrate wine EVERY day. A great glass of Sauvignon Blanc advents the end of winter and the beginning of warmer temperatures, with it’s aromas of green apples and fresh herbs. It’s truly sunshine in a glass.

New Zealand’s Marlborough region is famed for its pungent, sassy savvies, as they’re dubbed in Kiwi country, while France’s historic Loire Valley spots Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre are also planted with Sauvignon Blanc. California’s fruit-driven versions (some called Fumé Blanc) express the state’s warm climate.

Check out why I dubbed Sauvignon Blanc the WILD CHILD of WHITES…

And some of my favorites are…

2013 Groth Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California ; $20

2013 Brancott “Flight Song” Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand; $15 

2014 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand; $13 

Villa Maria “Cellar Selection,” Marlborough, New Zealand, $17-$20

2011 Cloudy Bay, Marlborough, New Zealand $33 

Pascal Jolivet Sancerre, France, $19-$21

Chateau de Sancerre, France $19-$29

Silverado Vineyards, Miller Ranch, Napa Valley $22 

Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley, California, $18-$20

2010 Chateau St. Jean, Fume Blanc, Sonoma County $14 


Bubbles, Bottles, Books & More for Your Valentine


Heritage Radio | All In the Industry

I recently had a chance to speak with Shari Bayer of All In the Industry, a podcast dedicated to the behind-the-scenes of the hospitality industry. We chatted about the 10th Season of Check, Please! Bay Area, why I travel around the world to taste and experience wine, the Boston Wine Expo and all of the amazing events that I’m planning throughout the course of the year!

Check it out and I hope to see you at the Boston Wine Expo this weekend.




Wine Wisdom | The Today Show

I was recently on NBC’s Today Show with Kathie and Hoda, answering questions from readers like YOU. Thank you for all of your curiosity and, as always, you can submit those to me here and I’m happy to answer them.



Wine Wisdom: Wine to please all palates

2014 Montes “Cherub” Rosé of Syrah, Colchagua Valley, Chile $15 

If you can only choose one wine for a crowd, make it pink. Rose wines are made with red grapes but in a white wine style, which makes them easy to please drinkers of red or white wines and sweet or dry. This appealing, garnet-hued wine is dry in style but sports succulent red berry freshness. Crafted from Syrah in Chile’s sunny Colchagua Valley, it’s a wine to stock up on for year-round sipping. 

Wine Wisdom: All-purpose wine glass

Nachtmann Vivendi, White Wine Glass (Set of 4) $30

Even though it says it’s for white wine, this 16 oz. lead crystal glass is an ideal all-purpose version to use for white, red, and even sparkling wine.  What I like about Nachtmann is the high quality at an affordable price. 

Wine Wisdom: Pairing wine and cheese

Though I’m a firm believer in the idea of drinking what you like and eating what you like, my approach to pairing wine and cheese is to either contrast or complement.

Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal $30 

One of the world’s top producers of Tawny Port this lightly sweet fortified wine sports aromas of caramel and orange zest. It’s a dessert wine with class. 

Pairing Tip: The sweetness of the Port is a counterpoint to the saltiness of an aged cheese such as Asiago. 

2013 Acquiesce “Belle Blanc” Lodi, California $23 

Hailing from the up-and-coming region of Lodi, this beautiful blend of white grapes including Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Viognier is made by Lodi’s only winery devoted to white wine. It is compellingly creamy and smooth but with a core of freshness. The packaging is eye-catching, too, making it a gift option for the upcoming Valentine’s Day. 

Pairing Tip: Creamy cheeses like brie complement the smoothness of the wine 

Wine Wisdom: low-calorie wine 

Most dry wines have around 125 calories per 5 oz. glass with calories coming primarily from the alcohol content. These two wines are made by the same winery, Brancott, using the same grape variety and planted in the same area of New Zealand but offer two caloric versions: 

2013 Brancott “Flight Song” Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand ($15) 

A crisp, clean, lemon-scented white that tips the scales at a mere 90 calories. Made by harvesting the grapes earlier, which leads to a lower alcohol content of only 9 percent, the wine is packs a flavor punch while still saving on calories. 

2014 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand ($13) 

One of New Zealand’s classic producers, Brancott is known for their signature Sauvignon Blanc. With aromatic notes of citrus fruit and fresh herbs, it showcases the uniqueness of Marlborough’s sunny yet cool growing region. A delicious value ringing in at around 125 calories a glass.

Sparkling Wines Wisdom: Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava

Sparkling wine is the overall category of wines. Champagne hails from France, Prosecco from Italy and Cava is from Spain. Champagne is made with grape varieties Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Prosecco is made with the grape Glera grown in northern Italy, and Cava is the unique sparkler from northeastern Spain using native grapes such as Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada. 

Pol Roger, Brut Reserve “White Foil” Champagne, France $50

Pure beauty in a bottle. Pol Roger, a family-owned winery that has been producing world-famous bubbly for more than 160 years, still crafts many of the best Champagnes. This non-vintage bottling is made from the three grapes of Champagne and reflects the elegant style Pol Roger is known for producing. Want to sip like royalty? You can since this sparkling was served at Prince William’s wedding reception. 

Villa Sandi “Vigna La Rivetta” Cartizze Prosecco, Valdobbiadene, Italy $40  

This is my favorite Prosecco on the market and ranks among the best sparkling wines in the world in my opinion. Classy and complex, it’s also so deliciously easy to sip. Made with grapes grown in a single vineyard on the steep slopes of the hill of Cartizze in the area of  Valdobbiadene, this wine reflects its birthplace. The sign of a classic. Add it to your list of must-try sparklers. 

Codorniu “Anna de Codorniu” Brut Cava, Spain $15  

This historic property dates to 1551 and the name pays homage to one of the family members, Anna, who helped create the Codorniu legend. This cuvée blends Chardonnay with the native varieties to add a modern twist to classic Cava. 

Wine Wisdom: Points 

2012 Esporao “Assobio”, Douro, Portugal $13 

A great value that you’ll want to stock up on by the case. Hearty, spicy, and full bodied, this red is made from the grape varieties that are famed for Port production including Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz. Perfect for pairing with braised meats, soups, and rich winter dishes. 


The Dish on Winter Wines with The Daily Meal

Leslie Daily Meal 3

I recently filmed a segment on Winter Wines with my friend, chef Diane Hendriks, who hosts regular segments dubbed “Dish with Diane” on The Daily Meal.  We were, of course, discussing wine and food for cold weather. These sips are ideal whether you like sparkling or sweet, white or red, affordable or extravagant.
Enjoy and let me know your vinous picks for keeping warm in winter’s chill.

Leslie Daily Meal 2


Under $20

Franciscan Chardonnay Napa Valley 2012
Franciscan Estate, Napa Valley 2012 Chardonnay 

Force of Nature 2013, Red Wine


Dreaming Tree 2009 Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon


Chateau Pey La Tour, 2011 Bordeaux Superieur




Patz & Hall, 2013 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay


Ritual, Casablanca Valley, 2013 Pinot Noir


Warre’s Otima 10, Tawny Port



Luna Nuda Italia, Prosecco


Segura Viudas, Estate Bottled Brut Cava


Moet & Chandon, Imperial Brut Reserve Champagne


Click here to watch the whole segment on The Daily Meal.

The Daily Meal