Lightning Wines is entering new territory – our first ever blog post!

Besides kicking back and drinking Lightning CdP Blanc this summer, I’ve also been reading about my handsome husband…..check this mention out….

Edible Marin & Wine Country   SUMMER 2014


My personal brand, Lightning Wines, is my occupation and my life.  I make Rhone varietals, focusing predominantly on single-vineyard Grenache, showcasing different growing regions around California. So far that includes El Dorado, Mendocino, San Luis Obispo and Sonoma counties.

When I was a kid in Texas, my mom drank Jack [Daniel’s] and Coke and Schlitz beer ponies, so I didn’t grow up with wine. If wine coolers count, we could say my first wine experience was in 1985. I started experimenting with wines resembling what I might drink today in about 1990, when I was in college.

Without a doubt I am influenced by my Texas upbringing. My goal is to enhance the times being had by friends and family, whether on the front porch telling lies or sitting down to a nice meal made with loving hands. I think folks in the South are typically raised with a certain foundation, and a big part of that happens around the dinner table. The way that I want people to embrace my wines and use them in their lives is very Southern in nature when you think in terms of hospitality, friendliness and community.

My favorite Southern food? That’s an easy one. It’s chicken fried steak. As I started learning how to cook, I made the foods that I grew up with—a combination of Texas comfort and Louisiana spice. In turn, I have always gravitated towards wines that pair with the foods that I like to cook, which tend to be Rhones and Burgundies. So I have to say that my Lightning Sonoma County Grenache would pair very well with chicken fried steak. If you throw in a little bayou spice, the meal will pair better with my Grenache Blanc blend from Paso, Lightning CdP Blanc. It has the fruit and the weight to meld perfectly with that meal.

Southern trait that has stayed with me? Well, in this format, with no way for anyone to dispute or prove otherwise, I’ll say I’m still a gentleman.

Forget about Randy though! Let’s focus on the wine……

Grape Nutz   KEN ZINNS

Overall favorite wineries at this small tasting included Kale and Petrichor, two producers that have impressed me in the past and did so once again with their latest wines. I thought that the Two Shepherds wines took a step up with their new releases. Of producers whose wines I’d never tasted before, Kieran Robinson, Lightning, and MacLaren stood out. All three are fairly new wineries, and I thought that the wines from Lightning were especially noteworthy. I will make an effort to taste more wines from this trio of new and “under the radar” producers.


Time Out With Phillip Silverstone     [Phillip posted this online and in 14 newspapers!]


Sharing some tips and some summer wine choices

I was recently asked to host a wine tasting in an exotic car showroom. So the question I asked myself was this: Do I stick to my under $10 a bottle wines or do I pour wines with a price tag more appropriate for the type of consumer who will buy one of these cars (average price $200,000). Well, you know the decision I have made — the under $10 bottles of course. I’m not out to impress anybody with a price tag, I am out to pour them stunning wines, and $10 is more than adequate to accomplish my objective.

While at the pre-event I was chatting with a woman about these very sexy cars, and then the conversation changed to wine (I think I may have been responsible for that) and she told me that she has stomach cramps every time she drinks a glass of wine. My initial response was going to be the one the doctor used when his patient said: “Hey, doc, it hurts when I lift my arm this high.” The doc responded: “My diagnosis is simple…don’t lift it that high.”

Obviously, she can eliminate her cramps simply by abstaining from wine. But that’s an easy way out. An alternative medicine doctor I visited several times in London, Alla Svirinskaya (www.allasvirinskaya.com) provided the answer to this very issue during one of my sessions. I learned that people with digestive disorders that are irritated by wine, often causing cramps, can be eased, and in many cases eliminated, by dipping a piece of bread in olive oil prior to quaffing the nectar. I can tell you from experience, the remedy works. Not sure I understand why, but it does. Wish I could help the man with the arm problem, but that’s way out of my reach!

Many people find white wine, especially dry young whites from Germany, gives them heartburn. Me too! I recently discovered that a Prilosec OTC pill about 1 hour prior to drinking, will seriously improve the digestive system’s intolerance of these acidic wines.

I also have a word of advice for anybody who suffers allergic reactions to wine, getting ruddy faced, coughing, and generally sounding wretched. This malady, which generally affects people after red wine, is probably caused by the histamines produced from the skins of the red wine grapes. If you pour a glass of wine and let it sit for about 30 minutes, you’ll find the histamines dissipate into thin air and you can quaff away to your heart’s — and nose’s — content.
Just imagine how much information I could have shared with you if I’d have gone to med school. Though I’d never have been a doctor — I just don’t have enough patients!

OK enough already with the jokes. Here are two wines for your summer quaffing from the exciting Lightning Wines collection.

Lightning Wines Sonoma County Grenache “Kick Ranch” grapes were grown in California’s Sonoma County. The wines are aged in oak barrels, which adds a bold structure and a more complex character than I can remember tasting in recent Grenaches that have come my way. There are so many distinct flavors which include dark berries, a touch of spice, a drizzle of pepper with a hint of licorice. Just 138 cases were made, so it’s not surprising that this very unique wine is selling for approximately $38 a bottle. Lightning CdP Blanc gets its fruit from Starr Ranch in Paso Robles, owned by vigneron Judy Starr. The wine is a blend of three grapes: Grenache Blanc, Piquepoul Blanc and Roussanne. CdP stands for Chateauneuf Du Pape a region of France celebrated for its red grapes and these three whites are the same varieties found in France’s CdP’s. The white versions are rarely seen or heard. So Lightning’s very own version is a welcome surprise. There is a trace of honeysuckle and floral notes. An easy summer sipper and a nice change from Chardonnay. It’s approximately $25 a bottle, but only 110 cases were made. Visit www.lightningwines.com to read more about the wines and place orders. If they are sold out place an order for their next vintage. Cheers!

Phillip Silverstone’s column appears each week in Ticket. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is heard worldwide anywhere and anytime on Tunein Radio. On their app search: Phillip Silverstone or on the web at http://bit.ly/1kqcRmk. New podcasts are available every Saturday. For more information about Phillip: http://www.thesilverstonecollection.com