Wine Review: Viansa Sonoma 2014 Carneros Chardonnay and B.R. Cohn 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast Silver Label

Two wines came to our door earlier this month. That they were said to be perfect to “savor while you stir” was intriguing. I love to cook. I love to drink wine. I have enjoyed both of these life joys in tandem on too many occasions to count, so my agreeing to review said wines was a foregone conclusion. For the purposes of this review, I received a bottle of Viansa Sonoma 2014 Carneros Chardonnay Signature Series and one of B.R. Cohn 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast Silver Label. Suggested recipes, shared courtesy of Paula Leduc Catering, pairings are included for each.


Viansa Sonoma 2014 Carneros Chardonnay Signature Series

Alc: 15%
SRP: $45.00

This is a sunset-yellow pour, full-bodied, and carrying a diverse basket of citrus, tropical, and stone fruits in its aroma. White peach and pineapple lead that parade, supported by orange peel, fresh lemon, golden apple, and a touch of grapefruit, as well as essences of sweet cream butter and vanilla, all arranged on a slab of rain-washed stone. When sipped, the flavors of peach and pineapple shout across the palate, bringing with them essences of butter, cream, and furtive whispers of toast. These subtleties, along with an underlying hint of oak conjure images of collected pantry items being transformed into baked sweets by skilled hands. Significant acidity takes a measured bite out of the sweeter elements and oak, dialing them back a touch and bringing a somewhat broad flavor palate into harmony to produce a lasting finish of the kind that would bring down the proverbial house if drinking wine were more like vocal performance competitions, and likely lead to multiple encores. A playful wine with luscious fruitiness, this is one to enjoy right now, perhaps as you prepare a nice Little Gem Lettuce Salad.


Little Gem Lettuce (with persimmon, grapes, toasted almond dressing)

Serves: 4

  • 2 head little gem lettuces, trimmed and washed
  • 2 fuyu persimmon, cut into small wedges
  • 1 cup or more muscat grapes, sliced
  • ½ cup or more warm almond dressing
  • Handful of mixed herbs (tarragon, chervil, lemon-thyme)

Toasted Almond Dressing

  • 2 tbs. Diced shallot
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs. Champagne vinegar
  • ½ cup chopped almond
  • ½ cup almond oil


  1. Combine shallot, mustard and vinegar in a small bowl
  2. In a medium saute pan dry toast the chopped almond until fragrant.
  3. Add oil and stir. You want to warm the oil not burn it.
  4. Pour over the shallot, mustard and vinegar. Stir.


B.R. Cohn 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast Silver Label

Alc: 14.9%
SRP: $22.00

Smelling of black cherries bathed in pools of dark chocolate, this is a dark ruby-colored wine full of body. Its most prominent flavor essences rep for the cherries packing its nose, as well as calling forth plum and cassis carried in a satchel of new leather. Faintly woody beneath the fruit, with a tannic rusticity that pleases and adds dimension to its fruity attributes, this is a wine that’s as easy to drink as prelude to a meal as with one, and conducive to sharing with friends. True as this is, a few years of cellar storage could prove to be time well-spent as far as smoothing its tannins and honing its tertiary flavor and aromas, though this detracts not at all from its current enjoyable nature. Good acidity, high alcohol, and a respectable medium-long finish that re-summon cherries, subtle chocolate, and oak barrels for final runway twirls make this wine one to watch as well as sip with your Roasted Duck Breast dinner.


Roasted Duck Breast with pearl onion, huckleberry and potato

Serves: 4

  • 4 Duck breast skinned scored
  • 1 doz. Pearl onion peeled and blanched in salted water
  • ½ cup B.R. Cohn Cabernet
  • 1 cup duck stock
  • 2 tbsp. Huckleberry preserves
  • 2 cup russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes, blanched in salted water


  1. Season duck with salt, pepper and thyme.
  2. Place skin side down in a cold non-stick pan.
  3. Place pan over medium flame and slowly render the fat from the duck, pressing gently.
  4. Once the skin is golden brown, flip the duck over and place the pan in a 350˚ oven for a about 5 minutes or until the internal temperature of 135 ˚.
  5. Remove duck breast from pan and set on a cutting board to rest. Keep the rendered fat in the pan.
  6. Return pan to stovetop and turn flame to medium high.
  7. Add pearl onions and caramelize.
  8. Meanwhile slice the duck and arrange on a platter.
  9. Deglaze with wine.
  10. Add stock and bring to the boil.
  11. Add huckleberry preserves and reduce.
  12. Add cooked potatoes and toss well.
  13. Season with salt and pepper and pour over the duck.


Recipes courtesy of Paula LeDuc Catering.


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