Mario Monticelli at Trinchero Wine Tasting answering Tasters Questions - photo property of Cheri Loughlin - The Intoxicologist

A local wine club played host to Trinchero Winery and Wine Maker Mario Monticelli early last year.  Mario graciously gave of his time pouring samplings of the Merlot, Chicken Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 and Napa Valley Meritage 2006.  He also took the time to sign the bottles.  Truly an opportunity to sample a taste of California, chat with the maker and bring home a few treats.

This thirty year old “Rock Star” wine maker spoke gregariously with all tasters who approached no matter the topic.  Obviously a lover of the beautiful landscape and fine dining, Mario chatted freely about the spectacular climate Napa offers for growing bountiful grapes and the incredible bike rides.  As tasters swirled and sipped, Mario talked about his rich family heritage of wine makers and how he grew up with the grapevine.

The Intoxicologist with Chicken Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 and Napa Valley Meritage 2006 - photo property of Cheri Loughlin - The IntoxicologistOf course Napa is famous for The French Laundry, but you won’t find Trinchero wines featured on the wine list there.  Mario explained to one woman who asked that most of The French Laundry’s wine choices fall within the $200 dollar range.  Trinchero strives to keep their wines in the more affordable, yet very flavorful category.  He also gave the woman and her friend the heads up that if they are looking for the quality of The French Laundry without the waiting list or price Bouchon is the place to go.  Mario prefers dining at the bar at Bouchon.  I’d have to agree with Mario on that one.

Speaking of bars, once Mario and I began chatting, cocktails were the order of business…after he poured a sample of that lovely Cabernet Sauvignon that is.  His recommended cocktail in Napa is the Clear Conscience (not to be confused with the recent Clear Conscience Mocktail post).  It is something along the lines of muddled cucumber and fresh oranges with vodka and simple syrup.  Shaken with ice and then strained over ice and topped off with soda.  Mario said the aroma was like that of a fresh, spring cucumber salad.

If you have an interest in wine, check out the writers found in Gathering of the Vine.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Cline Cashmere proudly sponsors organizations that support breast cancer awareness.  Since I love a great wine label, Bitch wine made my short list one Wine Wednesday afternoon.  Take a tour through a local wine vineyard; Breezy Hills.

Cheri Loughlin is a leading cocktail and photography resource for beverage companies, event planners, businesses and individuals. High resolution cocktail and beverage stock photography images are available in downloadable digital format in the newly redesigned Stock Photography Gallery at

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Trinchero Tasting & Chat with Wine Maker Mario Monticelli
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