Sean Minor Wines Blog

Vin Gris, Caneros - Crafted for wine lovers, enjoyed by food lovers!

Danica Ratkovich - Thursday, April 10, 2014

This limited production wine is perfect for the warmer months of Spring and Summer that are quickly approaching! With the acidity of white wine combined with the fruit characters of red wine, the Vin Gris can be paired with a plethora of foods. Remember to serve this style of wine chilled, not too cold otherwise it will lose its delicate aroma, and not too warm in order to avoid an overly sweet taste!

For CHEESE lovers

Some cheeses are paired better with red, some are paired better with white, but almost ALL can be paired with the Vin Gris! Here are some that pair especially well:

Brie, Swiss, Blue Cheese, Goat Cheese, Sharp Cheddar, Feta, and Gouda.

Try this recipe out! Fromage Fort

1/2 pound cheese pieces 1 garlic cloves
1/4 cup dry white wine Black pepper and Salt

Put about 1/2 pound of cheese pieces in the bowl of a food processor, add 1 garlic clove, about 1/4 cup of dry white wine and a big grinding of black pepper. Salt is usually not needed, but taste the mixture and add some if it is. Process for 30 seconds or so, until the mixture is creamy but not too soft, and then pack it into small containers. The fromage fort is ready to use now, either served cold or spread on bread and broiled for a few minutes. Broiling will brown the cheese and make it wonderfully fragrant.

For MEAT lovers

Meat and the Vin Gris work as a team in complimenting each other. The meats saltiness and spice enhance the wines sweet fruit flavors, and in return the wine reveals the savory flavor of the meat.

Red Meat:

Curried Beef, Grilled Flank Steak, Hamburgers, Roast Pork Tenderloin, and Sausage.


Roast Chicken with Herbs, Roast Turkey, and Roast Duck.

Try this recipe out! Asparagus-Cheese Tartines with Prosciutto

12 thin asparagus spears 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large shallots thinly sliced Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large plum tomatoes, sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick 1/4 cup tapenade
Four 3/4-inch-thick slices of peasant or Pullman sandwich bread
Four 1/8-inch-thick slices each of Italian fontina, fresh mozzarella and Gruyère cheese

1.Bring a large skillet of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to a plate. Wipe out the skillet.

2.Add the oil and shallots to the skillet, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat until softened, 4 minutes. Transfer the shallots to a plate. Add the tomatoes to the skillet, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned on one side, 2 minutes; transfer to the plate with the shallots.

3.Preheat the broiler. Arrange the bread on a baking sheet; toast in the broiler 3 inches from the heat, turning once, 2 minutes.

4.Spread the toasts with the tapenade and top with the shallots, fontina and mozzarella. Broil the tartines 3 inches from the heat for 1 minute, until the cheese has melted. Top the tartines with the asparagus and drape with the Gruyère. Broil the tartines for 1 minute longer, until the Gruyère has melted. Top the tartines with the tomatoes and prosciutto, drizzle with the vinegar and serve.

For PASTA lovers

With the weather warming up, pasta may not get your taste buds fired up, but on that random cold day before summer hits, try the Vin Gris with a simple, quick, and easy pasta dish to showcase the complex fruit flavors this wine possesses.

Pasta with Creamy Mushroom Sauce, Pasta with Truffles, and Grilled Tofu.

Try this recipe out! Rigatoni with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

1 pound rigatoni pasta 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound assorted mushrooms, (such as cremini, shiitake and button), cleaned and sliced
1/2 cup white wine 1/2 cup vegetable stock 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
Cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1.Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking:

2.Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the heat to high. Add the wine and cook for 3 minutes until all the liquid evaporates. Add the stock and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mascarpone cheese. Stir until creamy. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water, and transfer to a serving bowl. Add the mushroom mixture and the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss well to coat pasta, adding the reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Garnish with the chopped chives. Serve immediately.

For VEGETABLE lovers

Try the Vin Gris with a fresh salad or cold grilled vegetables. Having a gathering, make an antipasto platter and serve the Vin Gris and your guests will be VERY pleased!

Grilled Asparagus, Beets, Beans, Mushrooms, Tomato, Vegetable Gratin or Stew.

Try this recipe out! Mushroom Quiche

1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced Freshly grated nutmeg
1 pound oyster mushrooms, stems trimmed and large caps halved or quartered
1 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced 2 cups milk 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and freshly ground white pepper 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 small shallots, minced 1 tablespoon thyme, chopped 2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup shredded Comté or Emmental cheese (2 1/2 ounces) Buttery Pastry Shell

1.Preheat the oven to 325°. In a very large skillet, heat the oil. Add the oyster and white mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the butter, shallots and thyme and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are tender, about 12 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper and let cool.

2.Scatter 1/4 cup of the cheese and half of the mushrooms evenly over the bottom of the Buttery Pastry Shell. In a blender, mix half each of the milk, cream and eggs and season with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and a pinch of nutmeg at high speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Pour the custard into the pastry shell. Top with another 1/4 cup of cheese and the remaining mushrooms. Make a second batch of custard with the remaining milk, cream and eggs, plus the same amount of salt, pepper and nutmeg as before and pour into the shell. Scatter the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese on top.

3.Bake the quiche for about 1 1/2 hours, or until richly browned on top and the custard is barely set in the center. Let cool in the pan until very warm.

4.Using a serrated knife, cut the pastry shell flush with the top of the pan. Carefully lift the springform pan ring off the quiche. Cut the mushroom quiche into wedges, transfer to plates and serve warm.

Make Ahead The unmolded quiche can be cooled completely, then refrigerated overnight. To serve, carefully cut the quiche into wedges, arrange on a baking sheet and bake in a 350° oven until warm, 10 minutes.

For SEAFOOD lovers

Seafood and fish dishes from fresh to grilled work extremely well with the full bodied flavors of the Vin Gris, next time you make a seafood dish accompany it with an aioli or mayonnaise based sauce to bring out those full body flavors of the Vin Gris.

Seared Ahi Tuna, Anchovies, Grilled Tuna, Grilled Shrimp, Poached Salmon, and Grilled Salmon.

Try this recipe out! Grilled Salmon with Lemon Aioli

1.Heat grill to medium high heat. Coat grill with non stick cooking spray.

2.Squeeze the juice of one lemon on to fish. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

3.Place fish on grill, skin side down.

4.Cover with lid of grill and cook for about 8-12 minutes. Do not turn over.

5.Check to see if fish is done by using a fork and pulling apart the fish gently at the thickest part. If the fish flakes apart easily, and is not fleshy looking inside, it is done. Do not overcook. The fish should be done in no more than about 12 minutes. Using a large spatula, transfer the fish to a plate. Cover with foil until ready to serve. Garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley.

Simple Lemon Aioli

1/2 cup mayo (not low fat) 1/4 cup yogurt, plain 1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon lemon rind, grated fresh pepper and salt to taste

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Pass alongside fish, vegetables, chicken.

If desired, spoon into a small plastic bag. Snip off small corner of bag, squeeze sauce onto fish in zigzag pattern.

Sean's week in Connecticut

Sean Minor - Monday, March 10, 2014
Had a great time last week visiting the East coast and our broker, Phil T. We spent the week visiting restaurants and retailers who carry our wines to say thank you and shake hands, attending tastings and wine dinners, and making new friends! Thank you to all who came out for these events. It was a pleasure meeting you. Cheers!

Blue Lemon Restaurant in Westport, CT. Sean and chef Bryan MalcarneySean with the Opici CT Team - distributor of Sean Minor Wines
Sean with The Crave team.The team at The Crave in Ansonia, CT.

18 International Grape Varieties: Part 1 – 9 Noble RED Grapes

Danica Ratkovich - Saturday, February 08, 2014

In your quest to know more about wine, perhaps you have run across the term “Noble Grapes.”  The term “Noble Grape” is used to describe the international grape varieties with the most widespread appeal.  They are recognizable for their top quality wine and their principle growing regions.  They are readily available and the wine that they produce can be uniquely identified.  This list has been defined mostly by history, and as time goes on and varieties become more popular, they are contenders to join the list.

Understanding the list of International Grape Varieties can help you understand the world’s foremost major flavor profiles for both red and white wine.  It can also help you identify what wine you prefer over others.

There are 18 total Noble Grapes.  Here we will list the 9 RED varieties, listed from lightest to darkest.

  1. Pinot Noir
    The lightest red wine, exploring Pinot Noir is said to help you understand the acidity and aromatics of red wine.

    Notable Regions:
    Oregon, California, Burgundy, Champagne, Chile, New Zealand
    Fun Fact: Pinot Noir is one of France’s oldest grapes, dating back to the 1st century. Shop our Pinot Noir bottles!

  2. Grenache
    This wine is well known for a candied and cinnamon flavor.  Similar varieties include Zinfandel, which you may have heard of.

    Notable Regions:
    France, Spain, Italy, Australia, California, Washington
    Fun Fact: The 3rd Friday of December  is the annual Grenache Day.

  3. Merlot
    Merlot wines can taste very different depending on the climate in which the grapes are grown.  Cool climates tend to be more earthy and hot climates tend towards a fruit-forward flavor.

    Notable Regions:
    Bordeaux, Italy, California, Washington, Australia, South Africa, Chile
    Fun Fact: Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are often confused.  One way to tell the difference is that Merlot stains orange on the rim because it is so sensitive to light.

  4. Sangiovese
    Another aromatic wine, Sangiovese is savory mostly and pairs well with lots of food.

    Notable Regions:
      Italy, Corsica, Argentina, California, Washinton, Romania, Australia, Chile
    Fun Fact: Sangiovese is pronounced “Sahn-geo-VAY-zay”

  5. Nebbiolo
    This is a very unique wine as it is light in color, savory, and high in tannins/acidity.  It is very picky about where it grows.

    Notable Regions: 
    Mostly completely Italy! A little in Oregon, Tasmania, New Zealand
    Fun Fact: This grape was named for the Italian word for “fog” – nebbia.  Harvest season for this grape was very foggy at its homeland in Piedmont, Italy.

  6. Tempranillo
    This Spanish grape is a great food-pairing wine because of its savory qualities.  It is well-known as the base for Rioja blends.

    Notable Regions:
    Spain, Portugal, USA, Australia
    Fun Fact: The Tempranillo grape ripens early, and growers gave it its name accordingly – “little early one”

  7. Cabernet Sauvignon
    This grape is arguably the most famous red in the world!  The grape is adaptable to be grown in many different regions, but maintains a recognizable flavor.

    Notable Regions:
    France, Chile, USA, Australia, Italy, South Africa, Argentina
    Fun Fact: It was discovered around 1996 that Cabernet Sauvignon was actually a natural cross of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc that occurred in the 1600s. Shop our Cab bottles!

  8. Syrah
    Big and Bold with a full body, this grape contains high amounts of antioxidants.

    Notable Regions:
    Rhone, Australia (known as Shiraz), California, Washington. 
    Fun Fact: Petite Sirah is not the same grape as Syrah.  It is a different varietal made with Syrah as one of its “parents.”

  9. Malbec
    This is also a “candied” grape, but more full-bodied than the Grenache.  With robust tannins and plump darker berry flavors, it is a bold choice. 

    Notable Regions:
    Argentina, France, USA, Chile, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand 
    Fun Fact: Argentina grows 75% of the world’s Malbec grapes.

Now you know about the red Noble Grapes!  Stay tuned for the white varieties. 

Don’t forget to explore our red wines, now that you have !  Shop now.


Wine and Food Pairing

Danica Ratkovich - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” – Julia Child

We know that wine is the most important consumable in all of our lives, but food comes in at a close second… especially when you can have wine WITH the food!

Pairing wine and food together is ultimately up to you.  It can be very simple or complicated, and there are often many options!  The best way to learn how to pair wine with your meal is to “practice.” Choose a wine to go with each dinner, and your instincts will help shape your future choices.

Here is a very basic guide that can get you started:

Red wine: lighter, easy-to-drink

  • Examples: Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz/Syrah, and Gamay Like our Sean Minor Red Blend, Napa Valley 2009, or our Sean Minor Pinot Noir, Carneros 2011, or Four Bears Pinot Noir, Central Coast 2012!
  • Pair with: Meat, Poultry, Salmon (or other oily fish)

Red wine: full-bodied, richer

  • Examples: Red Zinfandel, Red Blends, Cabernet Sauvignon Like our Sean Minor Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2010 or Sean Minor Red Wine, Napa Valley 2009!
  • Pair with: Strong-flavored foods, rich meats and sauces, heavy casseroles

White Wine: lighter, easier-to-drink

  • Examples: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chablis Like our Four Bears Vin Gris, Carneros 2012 or Four Bears Sauvignon Blanc, California 2012!
  • Pair with: Light dishes like salads, soups (broth-based and lightly spiced), or delicate fish

White Wine: medium body

  • Examples: Chardonnay, Viognier…  Like our Four Bears Chardonnay, Central Coast 2011!
  • Pair with: Poultry, salads, soups, strongly-flavored fish, lean pork or beef.

White Wine: sweet

  • Examples: Gewurztraminer, White Zinfandel, Riesling, Vouvray, or dessert wines like Port or sherry
  • Pair with: Dessert!  (FYI, chocolate is difficult to pair with)

Sparkling Wine: Champagne, etc.

  • Pair with: Anything!  Champagne tastes great with most things, just open a bottle and celebrate!

Gift Ideas for Wine Lovers

Danica Ratkovich - Saturday, December 14, 2013

As you are shopping this year, we thought we’d put together a quick sampling of some gift ideas we thought were eye-catching and nifty for your wine-loving friends and family.  (Or maybe for you!)

1. Thinking Practically
The Corkcicle - cooling and corking mechanism rolled into one!
2. Good for Laughs
Incognito wine glass – Hey, mugs are easier to wash than wine glasses!
wine mug
3. Feeling Classy
Leather Travel Wine Gift Set – sophisticated way to transport and enjoy your wine away from home.
Leather Travel Wine Gift Set
4. The Decorative
Antique Corkscrew Bookends – Such a stunning addition to a book nook or cookbook shelf.
Book Ends
5. Do it Yourself!
Recycled Cork Wine Charms – use some of those old corks you’ve been saving to make some personalized gifts.
6. Drink Up!
Of course, giving actual wine would never disappoint a wine lover! And boy, do we have a great selection to choose from. Get your orders in fast to get them in time!
All of our wines make great gifts. We pride ourselves in being able to make great wine while not breaking the bank – great for gifting season.
Why not choose from one of our 3 Pinot Noirs? They are some of our most popular bottles.
Build your own gift pack at Mix and match any quantity of our wines to make the 12 bottle case of your choice and enjoy free shipping!
CLICK HERE to visit our store.
Point North

Whether you opt for any of these gift ideas, or some of your own, we hope that you are enjoying the giving spirit of the holidays. Happy shopping!

Pairing Wine for Thanksgiving Dinner

Danica Ratkovich - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving is here!  It’s the time for family and the time for feasting.  Finding a wine or several wines to serve for Thanksgiving dinner can be a daunting task.  Not only do you want to please your dinner guests, but you want it to complement the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, and other traditional parts of the meal.

We have three pieces of advice.

  1. Pick one meal item with which to pair the wine.
    Instead of trying to find the one wine that will go with every dish, pick your best entrée or side.  We’re talking about the one that you are the most proud of, the pièce de résistance.  Pick a wine that will best complement that dish.

  2. Pick a light and lively wine.
    Thanksgiving dinner is heavy.  You want to avoid picking a wine that will help them fall asleep on the couch in the middle of conversation.  The less complex the wine, the better.  Our suggestion for a great traditional wine for dinner is any one of our 3 Pinot Noirs.  Pinot Noir pairs very well with the main dishes like stuffing or turkey because of its subtle earthy tones
    Four Bears Central Coast Pinot Noir Tasting Notes  
    Sean Minor Carneros Pinot Noir Tasting Notes 
    Point North Oregon Pinot Noir Tasting Notes  

  3. Drink what you love and don’t “stress it.” 
    Don’t stress so much that you forget to enjoy the holiday and the company.  You can never go wrong with something that you know you love (like our wines!) and there is no reason to drink something you don’t prefer just because it might go better with your sweet potatoes.

At Sean Minor, we would like to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.  We are thankful for many things this year.  As always, family is something that means a lot to us and a constant source of gratitude.  Also, we are thankful for all of your support, and hope to continue to bring you delicious wine for years to come.  Enjoy a safe and scrumptious holiday!

An Evening Under the Stars Benefiting the Prevention of Child Abuse

Danica Ratkovich - Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sean Minor Wines is honored to announce our participation in An Evening Under The Stars: an event put on by The Child Abuse Prevention Center on October 26th.  As you know, kids are very important to us, so we are proud to be a part of an event that will fund abuse prevention.

The event will be held at the private Screeching Owl Ranch in Clarksburg, CA, just ten minutes from downtown Sacramento.  Tickets are $100 for a night of food and wine from some of the area’s top chefs and wineries using local and seasonal ingredients.  There will be live music by Unsupervised – a band including Mayor Pro Tem Chris Ledesma and Former Mayor Cindy Tuttle of West Sacramento, along with Supervisor Phil Serna of Sacramento County and Supervisor Mike McGowan of Yolo County!

The Child Abuse Prevention Center does great work in the Sacramento area with several non-profit agencies working together towards child abuse prevention.  The CAP Center is used for resources, administration, and training for these agencies.  Their mission is “To prevent child abuse and neglect by supporting individuals, families and communities to nurture, protect, praise and love children, today and for generations to come.” Your money will definitely be going to a great cause!  Visit their website here.

See you there for a wonderful evening, and thank you to CAP for the opportunity to be involved!

Sean Minor Featured On The Food Studio Podcast

Danica Ratkovich - Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"So we decided to set a path and course to really present wines and produce wines that hopefully exceed expectations, but truly are that kinda "Monday through Tuesday" on your pocketbook - they're enough to serve Friday andSaturday, and really go to the appellations that tickle our fancy for the particular varieties that we are working with. And again, produce wines that I think people will feel that they truly exceed the price." -  Owner, Sean Minor

Our owner recently had the opportunity to be featured on The Food Studio podcast channel, talking about our wines and what sets us apart from other wine producing companies!  Via The Food Studio, here is why you want to listen!

  1. Sean shares the mission and purpose of Sean Minor Wines, which is to bring high quality wines to those with tighter family budgets. Family is the key driver of this company.
  2. Hear about the meticulous process on how they select their fruit from local family growers…and why that matters!
  3. Learn all about Sean Minor’s newest project, which is a joint effort to produce an Oregon Pinot Noir called Point North.
  4. And finally, Sean shares some advice for the novice wine drinker on how to really enjoy drinking wine!



Sean also talks about our extensive social media presence.  Have you followed us yet?

facebook  twitter  linkedin  instagram  googleplus  pintrest  youtube

Summer Issue of Folsoms Style Magazine Recommends Our 4Bears Chardonnay

Danica Ratkovich - Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"Sean Minor and his family live in Sacramento, but source grapes from all over California to make their wines. Considering the quality, Minor obviously has some great grape sources, as he produces top caliber wines at reasonable prices.

I have been a fan of Sean Minor wines for several years, but think his current line-up includes some of the best available. I especially like the Chardonnay from his Four Bears label, named for his four children and sold at an affordable price point. Minor also produces wines under the Sean Minor label—which are a little higher in price (in comparison to the Four Bears’ bottles)—including a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Pinot Noir and a red table blend.

Sean Minor Four Bears Chardonnay 2011 is a great summer wine, full of apples and white peach flavors. With a little butter, a little oak and a little acidity, it’s amazingly balanced and will keep every Chardonnay drinker at your party happy! Selling at about $14 a bottle, this wine’s a perfect choice for barbecuing with friends and will definitely complement this month’s recipe, Grilled Carne Asada Tacos." Read more here.

Richard Righton, Owner-Bidwell Street Bistro in Folsom

Also check us out in the 'Bottom Line', our Central Coast Pinor Noir has been recommended!

Four Bears Vin Gris

Danica Ratkovich - Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Four Bears Vin GrisIntroducing our 2012 Four Bears Vin Gris! 

We know you will love it as much as we do.  Don't let the rose color fool you; this wine is not sweet, rather it is the perfect balance of fruit forward with a dry finish.  As the weather heats up, it pairs perfectly with light meals such as chicken and salmon.  Relax on the porch on a summer evening and enjoy the refreshing taste of our Vin Gris!

Click Here to visit our order page - our brilliant and beautiful Vin Gris is just waiting for you.  Don't miss out on this limited production wine as we don't make it every year.  Only 1300 cases produced.
Our Vin Gris is a bright and vibrant pink-hued rosé with strawberry, cranberry and ripe watermelon aromas on the nose. On entry, the wine displays bright strawberry and tart cherry flavors. Mid palate flavors of apricot and ripe berry fruit characters are well balanced with spicy and crisp acidity that linger creating a refreshing and lengthy finish. 

This wine is produced using the classic saignée method, allowing juice to remain in contact with the Pinot Noir skins for about 24 hours. The juice then is “bled” from the Pinot Noir tank before fermentation begins and inoculated on its own in a separate tank. The resulting wine is fermented dry developing its pink color, aromatics and bright fruit flavors. 

Appellation: Carneros 
Composition: 100% Pinot Noir 
Alcohol: 11.5% 
pH: 3.65 
Ta: 0.70
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Upcoming Events

Wine Tasting: THINK Sean Minor - Fenton, MI 30-Apr-2014

Join us at The Laundry for the THINK series Wine Tasting on Wednesday, April 30 at 6pm. (http:/..

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In Store Tasting & Live Radio Event - Hardings Market - MI 01-May-2014

Join Owner/Winemaker Sean Minor and 106.5FM with Ken Lanphear, for an in store tasting and live ..

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