Introducing Tyler Florence Wines

Tyler Florence debuts his own line of wines with the Michael Mondavi Family Estate. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

I’m spending this Christmas with Tyler Florence.

OK, just his wines. But still….

Yes, the Food Network darling and celeb chef of Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco has introduced his own line of wines in partnership with members of the Mondavi family.

Florence and the Michael Mondavi Family Estate in Carneros have launched three limited-edition wines: TF Pinot Noir ($40), TF Zinfandel ($40) and TF Cabernet Sauvignon ($65). They’ve also crafted a more modestly priced duo of wines: Tyler Florence Sauvignon Blanc ($20) and Tyler Florence Cabernet Sauvignon ($25).

The Tyler Florence Wines are available on the Web, and at select retailers.

The 2010 Tyler Florence Sauvignon Blanc is made from grapes sourced from both the warmer Pope Valley and the cooler part of southern Napa Valley. The screw-cap varietal is crisp with just a touch of creaminess from the cold tank fermentation and subsequent barrel fermentation. It’s an easy drinking wine with grapefruit and orange blossom characteristics. If you’re serving seafood for any holiday repast, this would be an ideal accompaniment.

The 2010 TF Pinot was crafted with fruit from the Gallery Vineyard at the base of Prayer Mountain on the property surrounding the Michael Mondavi Family Estate in the Carneros district at the southern tip of the Napa Valley, an ideal area for Pinot Noir vineyards. This wine explodes with cherries and raspberries. There’s almost a brambly, meaty quality to the wine, which made me instantly want to enjoy it with salumi.

Chef Tyler Florence. (Photo courtesy of the chef)

The grapes for the 2008 TF Zin hail from old vines in the dry-farmed Hoodoo Creek vineyard on the north side of Mount St. Helena in Lake County. It’s a powerful wine with dried plum, chocolate and violet characteristics ideal for the leg of lamb we’ll be cooking tonight.

At 16 percent alcohol, it’s one of those big California Zins that pack a punch. But since I’m not driving tonight, I have no qualms about indulging in that second glass. After all, it’s not every night you get to have Tyler Florence in your home.

Wishing Tyler, and every one else out there, a warm, wonderful, delicious holiday!

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