How-to: Blind Wine Tasting

Here at Regale, we love parties – Fresco Croppedespecially one with a good icebreaker, and, even better, something involving wine!  Might we suggest incorporating a little blind wine tasting to your family gathering, game night, company team building, or throwing a whole party aimed at getting your guests interacting with a fun blind tasting.  It will get people thinking, comparing notes, and most importantly… talking! If you are looking for a gorgeous locale as a bonus, come visit us for a private event at Regale and have a blind tasting hosted by one of our wine specialists.  It make your party an event to remember and is great to add to an offsite as a team building activity!

A How-To for a Blind Tasting Party:

The Setup

  1. Gather three-five bottles of wine (definitely throw a Regale bottling in there!) – ideally single varietal bottles from different regions and vintages. Alternatively guests can each bring a favorite mystery bottle to share.
  2. Cover and number your bottles – for our team building events at Regale we have snazzy burlap blind tasting bags printed with numbers, but you can use brown paper bags, decanters, or even wrap your bottles in aluminum foil! Remember- a bottle’s shape can be a cue towards the varietal, so keep this in mind when selecting how to disguise the bottle if your guests are wine savvy.
    IMG_1252    Blind Tasting
  3. Provide tasting cards so your guests can take notes and eventually submit their guesses.  Decide if you want to provide a key of the different offerings or leave them completely in the dark.Lepori_0383

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As guests are tasting, you can sound like an expert by reminding them of…

The Three Steps to Blind Tasting:

  1. Consider the appearance for maturity and other cues
  2. Consider the aroma for varietal cues
  3. Consider the mouth for taste, body, finish, overall quality

Step 1: Appearance – Color and Opacity

  • What color is the wine? Whites gain color as they age, reds are most vibrant when young and fade or take on a more brick color with an orange or brown hue.
  • How opaque is the wine? Can you read text through the wine or is it so opaque that light barely comes through it?

Step 2: Aroma – Smell and Physical Indicators

  • 1st Sniff – Does it remind you of varietals you have tasted in the past?
  • Shirt sniffs vs. long draws; swirling for aeration
  • Think about the descriptors:
    • F – Fruit
    • E – Earth
    • W – Wood
  • Physical reaction – Acidity (salivation), tannin (bitterness), alcohol (heat)

Step 3: Mouth – Taste, Texture, and Finish

  • Body – Light-medium, medium-full, full:
    • Pinot Noir                            Light to Medium
    • Sangiovese                           Light to Medium
    • Cabernet Franc                   Medium
    • Barbera                                 Medium
    • Zinfandel                              Medium
    • Merlot                                   Medium to Full
    • Malbec                                  Medium to Full
    • Syrah                                     Medium to Full
    • Petite Sirah                          Full
    • Cabernet Sauvignon          Full
  • Is the wine balanced?
  • Dry, off-dry, or sweet?
  • Alcohol – Prominent (riper/warmer region) or balanced (cooler climate region)
  • Tannins, if any- how heavy?
  • Length – Short, medium, or long (acidity and complexity)

Conclusion

  • What varietal could it be? Use your past tasting experiences and memory.
  •  Are there any varietals you can rule out?
  • The important part is the journey to reach a conclusion – don’t worry too much about the final guess!

The more you practice, the better you get – so cheers to that!

Team-Building for a Better Business

Here at Regale we take great pride in our goal of helping corporate clients not only have an amazing time in a gorgeous locale while they are onsite, but also encourage the focus on leaving with a stronger sense of community and pride in their company and team! Our diverse range of team-building activities offer something for everyone- from new teams looking for an icebreaker to competitive coworkers looking for bragging rights.

Aroma Discovery

Aroma Discovery: Discover aromas in our Regale wines, learning to describe wine as the winemaker does.  Learn how to explain what you are smelling in the wine by identifying real-life aromas of fruits, flowers and other materials in comparison with our Regale bottlings.
 

Blind Tasting in the Gardens

Blind Tasting: Test your knowledge of different varietals and growing regions under the guidance of one of our wine specialists. Work together in small groups or individually to identify the mystery wines using three basic senses – taste, smell, and sight.  Each member of the winning team will receive a member area tasting pass for two!

 

Successful Saber
Champagne Sabering: Learn a new a party trick from Regale’s seasoned wine professionals- how to extravagantly open a bottle of sparkling wine using a Champagne Saber, in our case a blunt designer version specially crafted for popping corks in style. The saber is slid along the body of the bottle to break the entire neck away from the bottle, leaving only the base of the bottle open and ready to enjoy.  Your guests can watch and learn, or join in on the fun as they don safety googles, gloves, and a brave face!

 

Cork Engineering: In this high tech world get back to basics with this low tech form of fun!  Teams will be given a set supply of corks and rubber bands and will set out to build the tallest cork tower possible.

Cork TowerCork Engineeringteam 5

 

Wood-Fired Pizza Making Competition: Put your culinary creativity to the test with this team building activity facilitated by our wood-fired pizza specialists.  Teams will be assembled and set at stations with a variety of toppings and sauces to construct what you believe to be the best pizza.

Pizza Making Dough & Sauces

Finished Pizza CompetitionPizza Ingredients

 


 

 

 

 

Sports Package: Your guests can entertain themselves with a variety of different physical activities, from croquet and bocce ball to foosball and ping pong. With an in-house bocce ball court, badminton court, foosball table, two ping pong tables and two croquet sets you can even set up a tournament for your guests to throw down a little healthy competition amongst each other! Our rainy day back-up option includes an indoor set up of two ping –pong tables, one foosball table and an assortment of classic games such as chess, dominos, backgammon, dice, playing cards & poker chips.

Foosball Table

Ping Pong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeopardy in the Barrel Room
Wine 101 with Wine Jeopardy: Learn the basic fundamentals of wine tasting from a Regale wine specialist.  You’ll be taught a basic understanding of wine terminology, where wine comes from, and how to taste.  Then test your listening skills with a wine focused rendition of America’s favorite quiz show.

 Wine Blending In Progress

Wine Blending: Try your hand as a winemaker for a day. Work in teams to develop the winning Bordeaux style blend from traditional varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Use beakers and graduated cylinders to measure the components of your concoction, tasting the myriad options as you work.

 

 

Wine Flight, Missing Sight Scavenger Hunt: Sighted leaders must coach and anticipate the needs of their blindfolded cohort as they navigate the Regale gardens and villa in search of tools to open and serve a bottle of wine. Each member of the team will give up their sight, then play the role of leader in this communication-building scavenger hunt.

 

Grape Stomping Platform

Wine Stomping: While learning to stomp wine in the traditional fashion, gain a new appreciation for winemaking and the lengths our ancestors went to in creating this desirable beverage.  Work as a team to stomp your way to victory in a race to produce the most grape juice, using only your bare feet!  Feel the rush of grapes squeezing out from between your toes as you begin to understand this time honored tradition.

 

We also partner with amazing companies to host Casino Nights, Painting Parties, Culinary Chef Competitions and anything else you can dream of!

Casino PartyPaint NitePizza Chef Dan with Hands on Gourmet

 

 

 

 

All of this, and amazing wine in a gorgeous venue- what more could you ask for?

What’s so ‘Super’ about that Tuscan?

It is a matter of much debate who was the first to coin the now trendy moniker, although their origins are mostly attributed to the hallmark wines Tignanello and Sassicaia beginning in 1974, both marketed by Antinori. What is more clear about the history of these lovely wines is that Super Tuscans originated in Italy as wine estates aimed to make higher quality wines that didn’t necessarily fit the strict legal regulations in place for wine production as set out by the DOC.

It is hard to imagine in the relaxed landscape of California where we have some general laws about labeling appellation or varietal but otherwise are relatively free to experiment, blend, and proprietarily name to our delight. In Italy the DOC regulations mandated everything from which varietals could be grown in which regions including the strict percentages in which they must be blended (like the inclusion of white grapes in Tuscan red wine!), to precise accepted levels of alcohol, acidity, and extract as well as establishing viticultural regulations such as restrictions on yield and specific winemaking practices. These laws preserved the practices of low quality and high quantity. Wine estates that dared step outside the box were relegated to the lowest generic label of Vino da Tavola (or table wine) that had been historically the mark of bulk swill. These quality wines changed the ideology by wearing Vino da Tavola as a badge of honor, which began a revolution in Tuscan estates. With the goal of creating wines of more depth, intensity and body, estates began the previously unthinkable use of French oak barrels and blending with international varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon.

Regale Winery Super TuscanOur Regale Super Tuscan calls to mind that focus on quality that is present in all Regale Wines, and pays homage to the producers who dared to step outside the expected boundaries of the time. In classic Tignanello style, our Super Tuscan is a blend of predominantly Sangiovese with a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon. While we didn’t trek to Italy, our Super Tuscan grapes were sourced from the Napa Valley on the lower end of the Silverado Trail. With a smoky, earthy nose, ripe cherry and currant on the palate and a rich tannic finish, this wine definitely represents what you would expect from a classic Super Tuscan.

Now that you know a little more about the history of Super Tuscans, come taste at Regale to see just how super a Super Tuscan can be!

Weddings at Regale Winery

Here at Regale, we love weddings. Maybe it is just that our events team is made up of a bunch of romantics, but we would be lying if we said that we didn’t tear up during many of the ceremonies, heartfelt toasts, and quiet moments that make up a beautiful wedding day.  One of our favorite photographers, Ben Wild,  just sent us these dreamy photos and we thought it would be a perfect chance to highlight our amazing spaces at Regale. Hope you enjoy!

 Balcony Bride Close

Regale is a truly unique, exclusive venue designed to reflect old world wineries in Italy & France.  Our lovely Italian fountains, ornate gardens, olive orchard & vineyard offer an unforgettable setting for your event.

Regale Facade      Fountain

Formal Gardens

Lush gardens with fountains, an olive orchard, open lawn space and a bocce ball court complete with a view of the mountains is a beautiful outdoor ceremony location.  For your reception following the ceremony, utilize the gardens in conjunction with our outdoor bar and courtyard which includes a covered portico with large granite tasting bar and a neighboring wood-fire pizza oven.

Ceremony Seating: 150+ maximum – Standing Reception: 130+ with limited iron tables seating

Gardens Pano

Bocce Bride

Ceremony Set Pano

Ceremony Reverse

Executive Dining Room/Bride’s Dressing Room

This second-story room in the villa has a working fireplace and an Italian fresco mural as well as its own private bathrooms and bar.  A beautiful space for a pre-dinner reception or a palatial bride’s room.

    Dinner & Meeting Seating: 50 maximum – Standing Reception 100 maximum 

    Executive Dining Room Reception with Doors Executive Dining Room Reception

Bride Behind Bar

Bride Staircase     Bride Window

Veranda

This second-story enclosed veranda overlooks our formal gardens and is accessible via an exterior staircase and elevator or through the executive dining room.  This beautiful space, protected from the elements, is perfect for a reception, small seated dinner, or covered ceremony.

Dinner & Meeting Seating: 70 maximum – Standing Reception: 100 maximum – Ceremony Seating: 100 maximum

      Veranda ReceptionVeranda Balcony Bride

Barrel Room

Our barrel room is complete with cocktail seating and opens into the adjoining tasting room creating the perfect space for dancing after dinner, or can be utilized as a cozy interior space for meetings or dining in case of inclement weather.

Standing Reception/Dancing: 140+ maximum – Dinner Seating: 130 maximum

Barrel Room Corner   Barrel Room Head Table

Barrel Room Pano

Vineyard Patio

Our outdoor patio is surrounded by Chardonnay vines and complete with market lights, private bathrooms and a fountain. The vineyard patio is a romantic setting for an outdoor dining experience.

Dinner Seating: 140 maximum – Standing Reception: 140+ maximum – Ceremony Seating: 100 maximum

Vineyard Bride

Vineyard Patio BarnVineyard Patio Closeup Flowers

Vineyard Patio Sweetheart

    Mrs. Chair Vineyard Patio  Bridal Rose Arch

Photos by B. Wild Photography
Rentals by Williams Party Rentals

 

Past, Present, & Future Pinot Noir

 

The winery celebrated our 5th Anniversary this month, with a tasting of different vintages of our Estate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to showcase the past, present and future of Regale.  It was definitely a time to reflect on how much the winery has changed over the years, and how far we have come since we began pouring tastings in the “gardens” back when it was less garden and really just more… dirt.

98front building through olivesIMG_1053


 

 

From a wine standpoint, it was great to see the progression of our Estate Pinot Noir vineyard as we tasted the 2008 Estate Pinot Noir which was the first real production vintage, the 2012 which is our current vintage, and the 2014 straight from the barrel which will be bottled later this year.  The 2008 vintage, of which we were lucky enough to have a few cases left, has aged beautifully and is definitely coming into its own – a rare treat for anyone who was able to keep from drinking it over the last five years since its release. As with people, we often see when wines age they become more of what they have always been.  A mediocre wine will only stand to disappoint, while a wine with structure, complexity, and pedigree stands to become so much more.

As a few people noticed in the tasting notes, only 188 cases were produced in the 2008 vintage, while in the 2012 current vintage, there were 433 cases produced.  When talking about our Estate vineyard this is one of the most common questions that comes up – how much wine does our vineyard produce? While this should seem like an easy formula, it is in fact anything but. On average a vineyard can produce between 1 and 4+ tons of grapes per acre under vine.  Many things affect this production level including the age of the vineyard, growing conditions, pruning style, and winemaking choices.

Our Estate Pinot Noir vineyard is all hillside with 3.5 acres densely planted – about 4,000 Pinot vines in total, which are a mix of Dijon clones 115 and 777, and Pommard clone 5.  The vineyard was originally planted back in 2006 from 2 year old rootstocks which were grafted and grown in a nursery. When a vineyard is first planted, the production is limited and will increase each year until the 4th or 5th harvest when the vines reach their full potential. For example in 2007 we only harvested 1 ton for the “test” vintage, while in 2008 we were up to 4 tons and since 2010 we have been at full capacity with around 12 tons per year from the 3.5 acres under vine.  As we ponder the wines in progress, the 2013 and 2014 vintages were both stellar in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the wines are showcasing those great growing years.

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Looking at where the winery has come from and where we are headed, we could not be more excited to see what the next 5 years hold for the winery and for the wines still to come. The past 5 years have brought dozens of amazing wines, an Estate vineyard at full production, a gorgeous winery building with manicured gardens, and myriad celebrations of all kinds. The fond memories are not only ours, but shared with our guests and extended Regale family who have, over the past five years, celebrated birthdays, marriage proposals, weddings, babies, and new friends while sipping a glass of Regale wine or relaxing in our gardens.  So here’s to our guests- for giving us a reason to make wine, and a reason to celebrate!

April News from Regale Winery

 

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Mother’s Day MarketSunday, May 03, 2015
Complimentary for Club Members

• Would you like to find the perfect gift for Mom or a special treat for yourself? Join us to sip wine and browse some beautiful one-of-a-kind items from our boutique vendors, the Sunday before Mother’s Day! A few of the vendors that will be showcasing their wares are:

  • Snake & Butterfly selling Artisan Chocolates & Confections
  • Miche Handbag selling Handbags, Albums & Crochet
  • Lauratas selling Sterling Silver & 18k Gold Designed Jewelry
  • Silpada Designs selling Sterling Silver & Brass Jewelry
  • Brix Chocolate selling Wine Pairing Chocolates
  • reWINEd Designs selling Oak Barrel Furniture & Gifts

Regale 5th Anniversary CelebrationSunday, May 10, 2015 (Mother’s Day)

1RESERVATIONS REQUIRED 

CLICK HERE to reserve tickets.

Complimentary for wine club members and their guests.  Must “purchase” (reserve) free ticket to attend.

  • Join us in celebrating an amazing 5 years! Taste wines from past vintages and barrel samples of upcoming releases to see where we have come from over the past five years and as we look toward the future.  Club member may reserve up to four tickets. Please note, you MUST “purchase” free tickets on line to attend.
  • If you have to cancel, please let us know as this will be a sold out event. All attendees must be over the age of 21.

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SAVE THE DATE:

Blind Tasting Class

June 7, 2015 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
$20 per person, Club Members Only
Purchase Tickets

  • Challenge your senses and test your knowledge of different varietals and growing regions through blind tasting of mystery wines.  Guess the varietal, region, and vintage in this fun and interactive tasting.

Father’s Day Jeopardy Game

June 21, 2015 • 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Complimentary for wine club members and their guests.  Must “purchase” free ticket to play. CLICK HERE to reserve tickets.

  • Think you know everything about wine, or just more than the next guy?  Join up with some friends to create a winning brain trust! Regale takes on America’s Favorite Quiz Show with a focus on wine and winemaking, challenging you with a range of questions in a fun team format. Rack up the points with your wine knowledge and then play it safe, or risk it all in Final Jeopardy. All attendees must be over the age of 21.

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PRIVATE EVENTS: 

Wine BlendingIMG_0741

  • Try your hand as a winemaker for a day. Work in teams to develop the winning Bordeaux style blend from traditional varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Use beakers and graduated cylinders to measure the components of your concoction, tasting the myriad options as you work. Learn more about the imaginative Private Event and Team Building options we offer on our website at www.regalewine.com

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Are you Ready to Rendezvous?

3Update from Rendezvous Wine Bar Downtown Campbell

• Rendezvous “Sipping Poolside” Happy Hour flight paired with our smoked salmon bruschetta. The wine flight consists of an Italian Pinot Grigio, a Riesling from Washington, and Mount Eden Vineyard’s Chardonnay from Edna Valley, CA. Come in and try this beautiful combo!

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Regale’s Clones 4

• Learn about our new Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir Blend and the cloning process in our recent blog: Clones, Clones, Everywhere “While many plants are grown via seed, wine vines are propagated via a cutting – that is taking a healthy “mother” vine and cutting a piece off.  This cutting is then planted and grows into a new vine with identical genetic material, therefore a clone of the mother vine.” 

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In addition to special announcements and interesting tidbits, we also feature our Blog and even some contests on social media. Be sure to check us out and become part of the conversations!

Back to our Rootstock: March

Our grape vines have settled in, confident tEstate Chardonnay Vineshat Spring is fully upon us, as they began the process of flowering.  I am sure their roots are thankful for any errant rain storms blowing through the mountains, as their leaves have truly fleshed out, soaking up the sunny days that have been far too ever-present in this multiple year drought.

After budbreak (which was quite early this year itself), the second main stage in a grape vine’s life cycle is flowering, which typically occurs after about a month of vegetative growth.  In this oddly early year, flowering began in our Estate Pinot Noir & Chardonnay vineyards in March.

Flowering VinesDuring flowering, vines develop tight bunches of tiny flowers, with each flower having the potential to form a single grape, together making up a cluster. During the flowering stage, there are a number of things that can damage the tender young shoots of our grape vines, from parasites to weather concerns of frost, wind, or excessive rain.

As the season progresses, the grape flowers will grow, and open allowing for pollination and fertilization to follow, after which the flower transforms into a grape.  Despite the early budbreak and all the concerns that come along with it, this year is still shaping up beautifully!