Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ridgeview Merret Cavendish

Ridgeview Merret Cavendish 2013
www.ridgeview.co.uk
Sussex, England

Happy New Year! I know, I know.. you thought I would be drinking Champagne. But as much as I love love love Champagne, there's a whole wide world of amazing sparkling wine out there. And whose bubbly star is on the rise? England. I've been reading about English sparklers in British wine magazines for years, and am so very excited that these wines are starting to have a presence in the US market.

The Ridgeview Cavendish is a traditional blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay, produced using the Champagne method. The grapes are grown in Sussex, England, a region with a cool continental climate similar to that of the Champagne region of France. Cool Sussex nights ensure that the grapes retain their acidity, making for a zippy, zesty bottle of bubbles. After the second fermentation, the wine rests on its lees for nearly two years, imparting a yeasty depth as the perfect counterpoint to the bright acid. So, let's taste (and toast!)...

Review: The Cavendish is a pale gold color, with streaming, small persistent bubbles. On the nose, the wine shows golden orchard fruit and rich, yeasty pastry. The palate is bone dry with bright acid (as advertised!), a medium to full body and a generous mouse. The wine is dominated by savory toasted hazelnuts and fresh brioche, and balanced by soft Meyer lemon curd and baked golden apples. The finish is long and lingery.

I adore this wine. So well balanced, with such intensity of fruit and savory character. A home run in my book.

Food Pairing: Perfect on its own, but vibrant enough to stand up to rich foods. I'm pairing mine with some corned beef with spicy mustard.

Bottom Line: A beauty with balanced fruit, autolytics and fresh acid. I can't wait to try more British bubbles!



www.decanter.com





















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2013
  • PLACE: Sussex, England
  • GRAPE: 26% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, 34% Chardonnay
  • BOOZE: 12%
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2018
  • www.ridgeview.co.uk

Where did I get it? Astor Wines & Spirits
What's the damage? Premium

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Domaine Rousset-Peyraguey Sauternes

Domaine Rousset-Peyraguey Sauternes 2004
Pomport, Bergerac, France
www.sauternes-biodynamie.com


Sauternes -- rich, luscious, sexy. I came across this beauty while out doing my Christmas shopping. I was thrilled to find an older vintage at a reasonable price (~$55). Like the Monbazillac I reviewed over the summer, Sauternes is made from late harvest and botrytized Semillon, Sauvinon Blanc, and Muscadelle.

2004 was a bit of a rough vintage in the the Sauternes region, with little botrytis. While this might prevent it from being a GREAT YEAR, that's okay in my book. The wine may be a little lighter and less unctuous, it will also be more affordable.

Domaine Rousset-Peyraguey is a biodynamic producer in the region with 50+ year old vines, taking great care with their low-intervention grape growing and wine making practices. Their Sauternes experience a slow fermentation then are aged 4-6 years in oak and acacia barrels. So, let us taste!

Review: This beauty is a pale amber color with pronounced aromas of confected citrus, apple blossom, and earthy honeycomb. The palate has a bold, full texture and is lusciously sweet and rich. The sweetness is tempered by bright acid and zippy alcohol, creating a lovely harmony. The flavors on the palate are as intense as the nose promised: honey, orange marmalade, quince paste, and a tiny bit of earthy mushroom and bitter peach pit. I love that hint of bitterness at the finish -- it rounds out the sweetness and adds a savory quality of the wine. Perfectly in balance

Food Pairing: A selection of stinky blue cheese! I paired with a classic Roquefort, creamy Gorgonzola Dolce, and a funky Ewe Calf to be Kidding. Perfection. 

Bottom Line: This is a lovely wine with great balance and precision. Could it have more intensity and spicy ginger notes from botrytis? Sure. Does it need it? Meh. It went over just fine and dandy at my holiday table. 


bordeaux-traders.com



















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2004
  • PLACE: Sauternes AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPE: Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle
  • BOOZE: 14% 
  • CELLAR: Drink through 2020
  • www.sauternes-biodynamie.com

Where did I get it? Grape + Bean
What's the damage? Super Premium

Monday, December 28, 2015

Modest Monday - Wines Under $10: Martini & Rossi Asti

Martini & Rossi Asti
Piedmont, Italy
www.martini.com

Every time I have a sip of the Martini & Rossi Asti, I can only think "Well, hello old friend." I know it's more or less verboden for a wine professional to like super cheap, super sweet wine, but it's like coming home for me. (This was my go-to wine in college.)

Unlike the frizantte Moscato d' Asti I reviewed a few months back, the Asti is fully sparkling (at 5+ atmospheres of pressure). This stylistic difference in the two categories makes the Asti, perhaps, a bit less delicate, but no less delicious.

Review: The Asti has a soft, pale straw color with boldly effervescent bubbles. The pronounced aromas of white flowers, peach and apricot jump from the glass. The palate is richly sweet, but with enough acidity and zippy bubbles to cut through. Flavors of ripe stone fruit and honey linger for just a moment, leaving you with a short, but fresh finish.

Food Pairing: A fun and festive libation! I remember ringing in the new year with a magnum of Martini & Rossi Asti, circa 2004!

Bottom Line: Fresh and sweet. And cheap! I got this at Wegmans for $8.99. Can't beat that for some sweet and fun bubbles.

winecountry.it





















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: Non Vintage
  • PLACE: Asti D.O.C.G. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita)
  • GRAPE: Muscat
  • BOOZE: 7.5%
  • CELLAR: Drink now
  • www.martini.com

Where did I get it? Wegmans
What's the damage? Low Priced

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Pierre Gimonnet Blancs de Blancs Cuis 1er Cru Champagne

Pierre Gimonnet Blancs de Blancs Cuis 1er Cru Champagne
Côte des BlancsChampagne, France
www.champagne-gimonnet.com

Happy day after Christmas! This time of year is always full of celebration. And what's a better way to celebrate than with bubbles? With any luck, folks will be rediscovering the joy of sparklers throughout the holiday season and incorporate them into their daily lives. Because what is better than Champagne Tuesday?

The Gimonnet is one of my favorite Grower Champagne producers. They make wine from a series of grand cru and premier cru parcels throughout the Côte des Blancs region of Champagne. This particular wine is from premier cru plots in the village of Cuis.

Review: This Gimonnet is pale lemon color with small, persistent bubbles. It has fresh aromas of golden apple, slate, mineral, and brioche. On the palate the wine is quite dry with racing acid and a generous mousse. The mineral notes stand out the most for the on the palate, with apple and quince peeking out at the finish.

I particularly enjoy the near bracing levels of acidity in this Champagne, plus the ripe fruit and hint of autolysis. This level of flavor development, integration, and freshness makes this wine an excellent value (roughly $45).

Food Pairing: Food is welcome, but personally I like this wine to stand alone as an aperitif!

Bottom Line: Bright, fresh, lively and linear. And good value for your dollar. 


nytimes.com






















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: Non Vintage
  • PLACE: Champagne AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPE: 100% Chardonnay
  • BOOZE: 12.5%
  • CELLAR: Drink now
  • www.champagne-gimonnet.com

Where did I get it? Astor Wines & Spirits
What's the damage? Super Premium

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

François Chidaine Les Bourains

François Chidaine Les Bourains 2013
Montlouis Sur Loire,
www.francois-chidaine.com
France


I'm a huge Chenin Blanc fan. The grape is so versatile: dry, sweet, clean, savory, still, sparkling. You name it, there's a style of Chenin to suit your palate. 

I was excited to come across this wine at a recent tasting group. It hails from Montlouis Sur Loire, a commune within Tourine, directly across the Loire River from Vouvray. 

This Chenin is made by producer François Chidaine, a champion of biodynamic viticulture. The Les Bourains vineyard, named for the particular type of limestone here, is planted on -- you guessed it, limestone! And some clay, too.   

Review: This Chenin has a soft gold color and expressive aromas of honey suckle, white peach, and mineral. The palate is dry, but with the softest bit of sugar to round out the texture and balance the bright acid. Ripe peaches dominate the flavor profile, and are complemented by green melon, minerals, honeycomb, and saffron. The finish is delicate, but long lived. 

Food Pairing: Perfect with a cheese plate. The bright acid and slightly earthy, savory character would complement a soft ripened cow or goat's milk cheese. 

Bottom Line: This is a gorgeous, clean presentation of Chenin Blanc: bright and fresh, driven by fruit and minerals. I dig it.

terroir-france.com





 






Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2013
  • PLACE: Montloius Sur Loire AOC  (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPE: Chenin Blanc
  • BOOZE: 12%
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2020
  • www.francois-chidaine.com

Where did I get it? Sampled at tasting group! But I bet you can order from a wine shop near you.
What's the damage? High Price

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Albemarle CiderWorks Brut D'Albemarle

Albemarle CiderWorks Brut D'Albemarle Cidre Bouche
North Garden, Virginia
www.albemarleciderworks.com

Last month I went touring and tasting in central Virginia and got to visit my favorite local cidery. I was thrilled to find that Albemarle is now making a Champagne-style cider. The Brut D'Albemarle is a bottle conditioned Cidre Bouche (fancy talk for cider under cork) made with Pippin apples. So, what's under the cork?

Review: The Brut D'Albemarle is a gorgeous pale gold color with bright aromas of sweet apple blossom, fresh apple, and toasty pastry. It is bone dry on palate, with fine pin-prick bubbles and zippy acidity. The floral and pastry notes from the nose come through, along with bold apple flavors. It also has a touch of savoy mushroom providing a perfect counterpoint to the tart fruit. The finish is long and lingering.

Food Pairing: Great on a chilly night with chicken and dumpling soup. The slight mushroomy character is enhanced by the fresh herbs in the soup, and the bright acidity cuts through the richness of the dumpling. So very complementary.

Bottom Line: Bright and fresh, with a soft creamy texture. Simply perfect.























Beer Geekery:
Where did I get it?  Albemarle CiderWorks Tasting Room
What's the damage?  Premium

Friday, December 18, 2015

Alaverdi Monastery Cellar Rkatsiteli

since1011.com
Alaverdi Monastery Cellar Rkatsiteli 2010
Kakheti, Republic of Georgia

Last year I had the pleasure of visiting the Alaverdi Monastery in the eastern region of the Republic of Georgia. The monks here have been making wine since the 11th century, using ancient methods of wine production -- fermentation in clay pots (called Qvevri) buried in the ground.

Alaverdi Monastery















I brought this particular bottle back with me from my visit! It is made from Rkatsiteli grapes in the traditional method: fermented with stems and skin in Qvevri for 3 to 6 months. This produces an amber colored with full of tannic grip and rich flavor.

In Georgia, these skin fermented white wines are called "amber" wines. The rest of the world seems to be calling them "orange" wines. I shall bow to peer pressure and also call them orange.

Tasting at the Monastery
Review: This Rkatsiteli has a deep orange color with hints or amber. It has complex aromas of ripe apricot, sweet fruit cocktail, honey, earthy minerals, and an odd mature note of dusty book jacket. On the palate it's dry with moderate acidity and grippy, slightly astringent tannin. While the apricot and honey notes are still present on the palate, I find myself tasting much more savory notes of dried thyme and washed cheese rind.  The finish is medium in length. 

This is probably the best made orange wine I've had. There is a clear interplay between the fresh fruit and savory sides of the wine, all set upon a bright, yet slightly astringent backdrop. Particularly with food...

Food Pairing: Roast pork with lemon and thyme. This will play up the brightness and herby quality in the wine, and play well with the earthiness.

Bottom Line: Complex and compelling. Not necessarily an everyday wine for me, but definitely something I'm happy to have experienced.


news.hvino.com






















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2010
  • PLACE: Kakheti, Georiga
  • GRAPE: Rkatsiteli
  • BOOZE: 13%
  • CELLAR: Drink Now through 2020
  • www.since1011.com

Where did I get it? Alaverdi Monastery Tasting Room
What's the damage? High Priced


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Barkan Vineyards Classic Chardonnay

Barkan Vineyards Classic Chardonnay 2014
Dan, Israel

At the end of September I tasted the Barkan Pinot Noir -- now let's try their Chardonnay! This one comes to us from the kibbutz of Dan. The grapes are sourced from the Upper Galilee and Jerusalem Mountains.

Barkan Vineyards has a long wine-making history in the region, dating back to the beginning of the 19th century. In 2000 the winery was overhauled, becoming a modern center of wine-making in Israel.

Review: This Chardonnay is a pale golden yellow color, with ripe aromas of sweet meyer lemon, golden apple, and a hint of pineapple. On the palate the wine is dry, but with the tiniest hint of sweetness. A moderate level of acidity lends balance to the round body. The flavors from the nose come through on the palate with a short citrus finish. Unfortunately, there's a bit of bitterness that does linger on. 

Food Pairing: The freshness in the wine begs for a fresh, bright salad.

Bottom Line: Not my favorite Chardonnay -- that bit of bitterness is a bit too much! That being said, I enjoyed the fruit flavors and the structural balance of the wine. Not a home run for me, I respect the effort.



israelwinexp.com









 










 

















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2014
  • PLACE: Upper Galilee and Jerusalem Mountains, Israel
  • GRAPES: Chardonnay
  • BOOZE: 13%
  • CELLAR: 2014
  • www.barkan-winery.co.il/

Where did I get it? Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage? Mid Priced


Monday, November 30, 2015

Recanati Cabernet Sauvignon

Recanati Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Galilee, Israel
recanati-winery.com

Recanati is an Israeli wine label with deep Italian roots. The family had a long history of wine-making in Italy prior to settling in the region in the 1930s. in 2000, Lenny Recanati revived the family business and opened Recanati in Israel's Hefer Valley.

Review: The Cabernet is a rich ruby color. It has intense aromas black currant, plum, bittersweet cocoa, and a hint of mint. It's a dry wine with a medium body, soft tannin, and flavors of  rich black fruit and sweet toasty oak.

I'm pretty pleased with this Cab. It certainly doesn't have the big power of a California Cab or Bordeaux, but it does have a lovely approachable softness. I particularly like the integration in this wine, where the fruit and oak play so nicely together.

Food Pairing: Lightly minted lamb sliders to play off of the hint of mint in the wine. And the relatively low tannins will allow you to spice it up with a bit of harissa.

Bottom Line: A wine with some complexity, but still an approachable simple quality. Solid in my book.


israelwinexp.com









 
















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2014
  • PLACE: Galilee, Israel
  • GRAPE: Cabernet Sauvignon
  • BOOZE: 14%
  • AGEING: 5 months in French Oak
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2017
  • www.recanati-winery.com

Where did I get it? Planet Wine
What's the damage? Mid Priced


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Barone Pizzini "Animante" Franciacorta Brut

Barone Pizzini "Animante" Franciacorta Brut
baronepizzini.it

Brescia, Lombardy, Italy

When Americans think Italian bubbles, most think Prosecco. But there's a whole wide world of Italian sparkling wine out there. In my humble opinion, Franciacorta is its king.

These beautiful bubbles hail from the province of Brescia in Lombardy, Italy. Franciacorta is made in the Metodo Classico -- the same process as Champagne! The grapes are even the same, except most producers substitute a bit of Pinot Bianco in place of Pinot Meunier.

A small point of differentiation that can make a big difference is the minimum ageing period: non-vintage Champagne must spend 12 months on the lees before disgorgement, where Franciacorta must spend 18 months. While many producers in both regions go above and beyond the minimum, you can be guaranteed an extra boost of autolysis in even entry level Franciacorta.

The Animante is made of Chardonnay, Pinot Nero, and Pinot Bianco. Following the secondary fermentation in bottle, the wine rests for 20 to 30 months on the lees, bringing out a lovely toasty character. As with all products from Barone Pizzini, this wine also happens to be organic.

Review: The Animante is a gorgeous golden color with small, persistent bubbles. The nose is full of quince, pear, and ripe apple; toasted hazelnuts and almonds; fresh pastry, popover, and brioche. The palate is dry with a round texture and a generous mousse. All of the notes from the nose are present, plus a hint of minerality. The finish is long and lingering. 

This wine is truly spectacular. Integrated fruit and autolytics; balanced structure of moderate alcohol, zest acidity, and teeny tiny bubbles. Long, long finish.

Food Pairing: Anything from oysters to lamb! I put this with a rich goat cheese and roasted fennel salad.

Bottom Line: Complexity and intensity abounds. An amazingly rich alternative to Champagne. 


winecountry.it




















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: Non Vintage
  • PLACE: Franciacorta DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita)
  • GRAPES: Chardonnay 78%, Pinot Nero 18%, Pinot Bianco 4%
  • BOOZE: 12% 
  • AGEING: 20-30 months on the lees
  • CELLAR: Drink for up to 5 years post disgorgement (it has the date on the bottle!)
  • www.baronepizzini.it/
Where did I get it? I picked this up at as a sample at a tasting. 
What's the damage? Super Premium 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Domaine Manoir du Carra Beaujolais Villages Nouveau

Domaine Manoir du Carra Beaujolais Villages Nouveau 2015
Beaujolias, Burgundy, France

Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé! Well, it arrived on Thursday. I'm a little late to the party, but better late then never... Feel free to see this post for a reminder of the style of Beaujolais Nouveau.

A few years ago I set to tasting 5 on the auspicious day. This year, I'll simply taste my favorite: Domaine Manoir du Carra's Villages level Nouveau.

Review: As expected, this wine has a bright purple hue and aromas of fresh, ripe black cherries, raspberries, and a hint banana skin. On the palate, the Nouveau is dry and light bodied, with moderate acidity and no tannin to speak of. The fruit flavors persist, with just a bit of spicy cinnamon. The finish is short and easy. 

I love the fresh, fruity quality of this wine. I know some of my wine colleagues think Nouveau is a bit of joke, but I really like it. It's simple and easy. Accept it for what it is -- and if you like it, enjoy!

Pairing: A crowd pleaser at your Thanksgiving feast. With all those heavy foods on the table, who doesn't want to reach of a light, easy red. Serve with a bit of a chill for the most flavor!

Bottom Line: Light and fun. 


burgundytoday.com






















Wine Geekery:

  • VINTAGE: 2015
  • PLACE: Beaujolais Village AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPE: Gamay
  • BOOZE: 12.5%
  • CELLAR: Drink now through December 31, 2015
  • www.manoir-du-carra.com/

Where did I get it? Planet Wine
What's the damage? Mid Priced

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Hai "Ely" Emerald Riesling

Hai "Ely" Emerald Riesling 2014
Galilee, Israel

Hanukkah is right around the corner, so that means it's time for another round of Kosher wine posts! For a refresher, you can see this post on what makes a wine Kosher.

Hai (often Chai) means life! And this light white is a little toast of life, indeed. It's made of Emerald Riesling, a man-made crossing Muscadelle and Grenache. This high-yielding variety is known for making light, fragrant wines. While Emerald Riesling has fallen out of popularity, I'm pretty pleased with this little wine.

Review: The Ely has a bright lemon-green hue and aromas of white and yellow blossoms, green apple, and lime zest. The wine is dry with bright acid and a medium body. The flowers persist on the palate, but the fruit changes to ripe golden apples and tart grapefruit. The finish is short and easy. 

Food Pairing:  I would serve as an aperitif. 

Bottom Line:  Fresh, light, and fruity.

israelwinexp.com









 















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2014
  • PLACE: Galilee, Israel
  • GRAPE: Emerald Riesling
  • BOOZE: 11.5%
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it? Fairway Wines & Spirits
What's the damage? Mid Priced



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Domaine de la Mordoré Dame Rousse Rosé

Domaine de la Mordoré Dame Rousse Rosé 2014
domaine-mordoree.com
Tavel, Rhone Valley, France

Fall may have fully fallen, but won't stop a rosé lover! And this Tavel can certainly hold up to a little cooler weather.

Review: The Dame Rousse (translated to the Redheaded Lady) is a gorgeous deep salmon pink. The nose shows vibrant aromas of ripe raspberries, currant, floral orange blossom, and a hint of sweet citrus. On the palate, it presents as dry with a full, round body and mellow acidity. The citrus really pops for me -- mandarin and Valencia oranges with a touch of meyer lemon. These flavors play brilliantly with the red fruit and floral notes. The finish is moderate in length.

I love the depth and concentration of flavors in this wine. It has the intensity and purity I've come to expect from Tavel, and I couldn't ask for more. I'm not big on point, but Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate gave the Dame Rousse 93 points and I certainly can't argue with that.

Pairing: Citrus roast chicken, highlighting the mandarin notes in the wine!

Bottom Line: Pure, intense fruit and layers of flavor, all wrapped up in a soft, lush body. I'm pleased to know you, Redheaded Lady!

www.amuseewine.com





















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2014
  • PLACE: Tavel AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée)
  • GRAPES: 60% Grenache, 10% Cinsault, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Clairette, 5% Bourboulenc
  • BOOZE: 14.5% 
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2018
  • www.domaine-mordoree.com

Where did I get it? It was a gift!
What's the damage? High Priced

Thursday, November 12, 2015

B.R. Cohn Late Harvest Sémillon

B.R. Cohn Late Harvest Sémillon 2009
Herrick Vineyard, Russian River Valley, California
brcohn.com

Every time I'm in Sonoma I make a point to stop by the B.R. Cohn tasting room. They make some of my favorite California Cab, not to mention my favorite olive oil of all time.

Tonight, however, I have a little something different! A delicious late harvest Sémillon!

Review: This little gem is a deep lemon color with pronounced aromas of honeysuckle, orange marmalade, and ripe apricots. On the palate it is richly sweet with a soft round body. The flavors of honey, candied citrus and preserved stone fruit linger for a long finish. This wine is simple, round, and luminous. I especially like the clean finish, and how the brightness of the wine complements the sweetness.

Food Pairing: Blue cheese stuffed figs. 

Bottom Line: A delightful little dessert wine, perfect for the early fall in its simplicity and lightness. 


sonomapassport.com





















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2009
  • PLACE: Russian River Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area)
  • GRAPE: Sémillon
  • BOOZE: 11%
  • CELLAR: Drink now
  • brcohn.com

Where did I get it? B.R. Cohn Tasting Room
What's the damage? High Priced, 375 mL

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Amerigo Vespucci Valpolicella Ripasso

Amerigo Vespucci Valpolicella Ripasso 2011
Valpolicella, Veneto, Italy
www.italyswine.it

Ripasso = reopassed. Ripasso = yummy. The spent grape skins from Amarone production are reused and pressed again with the fresh grapes used in Valpolicella production. The result is a "baby Amarone" of sorts. It has a handful of Amarone, paired with the lightness of Valpolicella.

Review: The wine has a gorgeous ruby hue and bright aromas of sweet dried raspberry and tart cherries; savory smoked meat; and herbal notes of bay leaf, thyme, and violets. The palate shows moderate acidity, slightly spirity alcohol, and ripe, fine grained tannin. I love the flavors of this wine: red currant jam, salty cured Iberico ham, lavender, graphite, wet leaves, and bitter cocoa. So many layers! The finish is medium in length, bringing you back for another sip. 


Food Pairing: Hard cheeses and spicy salumi. 

Bottom Line: The Amerigo Vespucci is definitely worth exploring! Ripe, savory, balanced, and delicious. 

www.winecountry.it


Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2011
  • PLACE: Valpolicella Ripasso DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata)
  • GRAPES: Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara
  • BOOZE: 13.5% 
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2017
  • www.italyswine.it

Where did I get it? Vienna Vintner
What's the damage? High Priced 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mt. Hood Winery Syrah 2008

Mt. Hood Winery Syrah 2008
mthoodwinery.com

Columbia Valley, Oregon

A few years back the Spouse and I did a trip through the Columbia River Gorge between Oregon and Washington. We picked up this gorgeous Syrah at Mt. Hood Winery.

I can't say enough good things about this winery. Not only were the wines fantastic, but the hospitality was warm and welcoming.

Review: This Syrah is a deep garnet color, showing some evidence of its age. The wine has rich aromas of dried black currants, sweet spices, and smoke. On the palate, the wine is dry with fresh acidity and soft, resolved, well-integrated tannin creating a round lush mouthfeel. The dried dark fruit and savory smoke from the nose are joined by a hint of toasty oak, black pepper, and dried herbs. The finish is long and lingering. 

Food Pairing: Perfect with Sheppard's Pie! 

Bottom Line:  This Syrah has developed beautifully, with rich savory notes enhancing the fruit character. Just lovely. I wish I had bought more than one bottle!



www.oregonlive.com













Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2008
  • PLACE: Columbia Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area)
  • GRAPE: Syrah 
  • BOOZE: 12.5%
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2016
  • mthoodwinery.com

Where did I get it?  Mt. Hood Winery's Tasting Room
What's the damage?   Premium

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Barkan Vineyards Classic Pinot Noir

Barkan Vineyards Classic Pinot Noir 2013
Negev, Israel
barkan-winery.co.il

Another episode in the Kosher Wine Chronicles! This time, Pinot Noir.

The grapes for the Barkan Classic Pinot come from the southern, dessert region if Negev, Israel. Grapes have been planted in Negev since ancient times. So what happens when ancient history and modern wine-making combine? Let's find out!

Review: This Pinot has a deep ruby color and a nose of stewed red plums, rose petals, and sweet green herbs. The palate is dry (but with a tiny hint of sweetness), with moderate acid and soft tannins. The plum notes from the nose are pumped up and joined by sweet oak notes of vanilla and clove. The finish is medium in length. 

Food Pairing:  Roasted eggplant and walnuts!

Bottom Line:  I find this wine a little flat -- the fruit too ripe, the acidity too low. That being said, it's pretty tasty. Not perfect, but I'm sure it would be a crowd pleaser.  

israelwinexp.com









 










 
















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2013
  • PLACE: Negev, Israel
  • GRAPES: Pinot Noir
  • BOOZE: 13%
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2016
  • www.barkan-winery.co.il/

Where did I get it? Planet Wine
What's the damage? Mid Priced


Monday, September 21, 2015

Modest Monday - Wines Under $10: Quinta de Paços "Casa de Paços" Vinho Verde Rosé

Quinta de Paços "Casa de Paços" Vinho Verde Rosé 2014
quintapacos.com

Minho, Portugal

Rosé season is nearly over. Sad day. But that means some retailers are putting their stock of rosés on sale. Happy day! I picked this beauty up at Astor Wines and Spirits for $7.50 -- including tax!

The Casa de Paços Vinho Verde is made from three native red Portugese grapes: Vinhão (also known as Sousão) is a highly acidic, thick skin grape that imparts a rich color; Borraçal (also known as Caiño Tinto) is a delicate, perfumed, tart grape; and Espadeiro, a red grape primarily grown in the Minho region and across the border in Spain. Remember Vinho Verde mean green wine -- as in young wine -- and has no bearing on the wine's color!

Review: This Vinho Verde rose has a rich ruby-pink hue and aromas ripe red berries and sage. It's dry with bright acidity, a light body, and flavors of candied cherry and cranberry, and a hint of green herbs. The finish short and easy.

Food Pairing: I had this on the patio as an aperitif!

Bottom Line: A tasty little end of summer treat!


alemdovinho.com


















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2014
  • PLACE: Vinho Verde DOC (Denominação de Origem Controlada)
  • GRAPES: Vinhão, Borraçal, Espadeiro
  • BOOZE: 11%
  • CELLAR: Drink now
  • www.quintapacos.com/

Where did I get it? Astor Wines and Spirits
What's the damage? Low Price

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Joseph Mellot La Graveliere Sancerre

Joseph Mellot La Graveliere Sancerre 2012
Loire Valley, France
www.josephmellot.com

Another Kosher wine! This time, we go to the Loire for a bright Sancerre. I'm particularly excited for Joseph Mellot because this wine is simply Kosher -- not Mevushal. This means that it hasn't been boiled (and that observant Jews would not be able to drink it if I served it). Luckily it's just me (a non-observant Jew) and the Catholic spouse for dinner.

A bit about the winemakers... The Mellot family has been making wine in Sancerre since the early 1500's. Like Domaine Hippolyte, the estate is well entrenched in sustainable practices and terrior driven wines. The La Graveliere is made from grapes grown primarily on clay and limestone. The grapes as fully destemmed (which I like in my Sauv Blanc to reduce phenolic bitterness) and fermented in stainless steel.

Review: This wine is a pale lemon color with aromas of jasmine, green pears, and lemon flesh. The palate is bone dry with bright acidity and a soft mouth feel. It has flavors of lemon custard, green melon, passion fruit, steely minerals, and sweet green herb. The slate and citrus linger for a generous finish. 
Food Pairing: That herbaceous tone goes beautifully with braised chicken and fennel!  

Bottom Line: Perfect layering of flavors and bright acid. It comes just barely premium priced ($31) and worth every penny. Delicious


terroir-france.com





 






Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2012
  • PLACE: Sancerre AOC  (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPE: Sauvignon Blanc
  • BOOZE: 12.5% 
  • CELLAR: Drink through 2020
  • www.josephmellot.com

Where did I get it? Wegman's
What's the damage? High Price

Monday, September 14, 2015

Modest Monday - Wines Under $10: Herzog Wine Cellars Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc

Herzog Wine Cellars Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc 2014
Clarksburg, California
herzogwinecellars.com

It is time for Modest Monday: Kosher edition!

Yesterday was the start of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and I've been popping some Kosher bottles!

Tonight I bring you a little tasty white wine from California. The Baron Herzog line, named for an family ancestor, Philip, who made wine in Slovakia for the member of the Austro-Hungarian court back in the day, is an entry level offering by the winery.

The grapes are sourced from Clarksburg in the northern stretch of California's Central Valley. Cooling fog and breezes from the San Francisco Bay help to keep Clarksburg more temperate than other parts of the valley.

Review: This Chenin shows white flowers and sweet candied peaches on the nose.  It is a bit off dry on the palate, with more sweet stone fruit, orange blossom, and a touch of spicy ginger. The wine has a relatively low level of acidity, giving it a waxy, mouthcoating texture. The finish is medium in length, reminding me of canned peaches in syrup. 

Food Pairing: Serve with lighter fare during your first course, or as an aperitif.

Bottom Line: I wish the Baron had a bit more acidity to liven up the feel of the wine, but the flavors are solid and fruity. Not my first pick for a Chenin (I'm a sucker for Loire Chenin), but likely a crowd pleaser at $9.


dogtrekker.com





















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2014
  • PLACE: Clarksburg AVA (American Viticultural Area)
  • GRAPE: Chenin Blanc
  • BOOZE: 12%
  • CELLAR: Drink now
  • herzogwinecellars.com

Where did I get it? Wegman's
What's the damage? Low Price