Thursday, December 8, 2016

Emile Beyer Pinot Gris Tradition


Emile Beyer Pinot Gris Tradition 2014
Alsace, France
emile-beyer.fr

Yesterday I went to a fantastic little Vietnamese restaurant in town that lets your bring your own wine. I scoured my cellar, thinking about the best pairing for a spicy savory bowl of Pho. The clear choice was this lovely Alsatian Pinot Gris!

Review: This beauty has intense aromas of lemon drops, honey suckle, and ripe golden apples. The palate is a bit off dry, with just enough sweetness to give the wine a soft, round texture. The flavor is pure lemon candy, with a hint of zippy pineapple. Lovely concentration, if not the most complex of Pinot Gris.

Food Pairing: The mouth coating texture and bit of sugar, make this a wonderful pair for a hot and spicy bowl of Pho!

Bottom Line: Great texture and flavor. Sure to be a crowd pleasing pick!


winemag.com

























Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2014
  • PLACE: Alsace AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPES: 100% Pinot Gris
  • BOOZE: 13.5%
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2018
  • www.emile-beyer.fr/

Where did I get it? Grand Cru Fine Wines and Spirits
What's the damage? Mid Priced 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Château Coupe-Roses Minervois Bastide

Château Coupe-Roses Minervois Bastide 2014
Minervois, Languedoc, France

coupe-roses.com
The Mediterranean coast of France is a veritable treasure trove of deliciousness. You can find everything from bubbles and fresh whites, to rich reds and sweet fortified wines. And don't forget about the rosés!

The sub-region of Minervois is best known for reds made from Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault, Mourvèdre. This red, the Bastide from Château Coupe-Roses, is made mostly from Cinsault and Grenache, with just a hint of Syrah. It's made in a mountainous area of Minervois, on rocky clay-limestone soils. When sipping on the Bastide, you can't help but think of the rustic terroir, strewn with garigue...

Review: The wine is vibrant in the glass, with purple hues and flecks of ruby. The nose shows rich red cherries and a touch of bitter black plum skin. The palate is dry with bright, fresh acidity, easy tannins, and a round texture. The taste is dominated by red berries, minerals, graphite, wild herbs, and a big hit of funky barn-yard-y flavors. Combine all that with a spicy pepper finish, and we have a fascinating glass of wine!

Food Pairing: The herbs, earth, and acid are a perfect pair with smoked Italian sausage and peppers over gnocchi.

Bottom Line: Great complexity and concentration. A little funky, but oh so much fun. And at around $16, a great value, too.


www.princetoncorkscrew.com



























Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2014
  • PLACE: Minervois AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPES: Carignan, Grenache, Syrah
  • BOOZE: 13%
  • CELLAR: Drink through 2018
  • www.coupe-roses.com

Where did I get it? Grand Cru Wines and Spirits
What's the damage? Mid Priced

Monday, October 31, 2016

Modest Monday - Wines Under $10: Domaine de Pellehaut Harmonie de Gascogne Blanc

Domaine de Pellehaut Harmonie de Gascogne Blanc 2015
Gascony, France

pellehaut.com
Gascony is a region in southwest France that's more synonymous with Armagnac than with table wine. However, their wines are nothing to sneeze at! This bottle is from Domaine de Pellehaut (also a Armagnac producer). It's made from Chardonnay, plus a whole host of local grapes: Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng, Folle Blanche, and Sauvignon Blanc.

I'm a huge fan of the wines of the neighboring region of Jurançon. These wines are typically made from Petit Manseng and Gros Manseng -- grapes that are also used in this Côtes de Gascogne blend. It caught my eye, and particularly at $9.99, it was worth a try!

Review: The wine is a bright but pale lemon color, with intense aromas of grapefruit, lemon zest, and green plums. The palate is technically dry, but with just enough sugar to give it a soft, round texture. Tropical fruit is the star here: pineapple, green mango, grapefruit. The finish has a hint of bitterness, lending a nice contrast to the fruit.

I do wish there were a bit more acidity in the wine to give it some more brightness, but all in all this is a highly quaffable wine.

Food Pairing: We paired it with leftover meatloaf sandwiches. I think chicken or seafood might be a bit more complementary, but this was just fine.

Bottom Line: Easy drinking, approachable white at a solid approachable price point. Perfect Monday night bottle.

winesofsouthwestfrance.com



















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2015
  • PLACE: Côtes de Gascogne IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée)
  • GRAPES: Chardonnay, Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng, Folle Blanche, Sauvignon Blanc
  • BOOZE: 11%
  • CELLAR: Drink through 2017
  • www.pellehaut.com

Where did I get it? Mr Whiskers Wine & Spirits, Nashville, TN
What's the damage? Low Priced

Friday, October 28, 2016

La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva Rioja

La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva Rioja 2005
Rioja, Spain

riojalta.com
I've been holding this wine for a while now, waiting for the prefect time to enjoy it. When fancy steak night rolled around this month (I made two beautiful peppercorn crusted filets) it was finally time to pull the cork!

The Viña Ardanza Reserva is a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha. As is traditional in Rioja, the wine was aged in American oak, with the Tempranillo seeing wood for 36 months and the Garnacha for 30 months. La Rioja Alta prides itself on combining centuries of tradition with modern winemaking technology. I know it sounds hokey, but you can taste the love in the wine...

Review: The wine is a dark ruby color, with a brick hued rim. It has lively aromas of red cherry, black licorice, olive, and a hint of animal. The palate is dry with moderate acid and fine grained, resolved tannin. Cedar, sweet spice, and vanilla complement the fruit flavors of cherry and plum. I love the interplay between the bright red fruits and slightly herbal cedar and olive.

Food Pairing: Filets au poivre!

Bottom Line: This wine has it all - elegance, complexity, structure, and texture. Simply can't as for more than that.


www.alcoholbeverage.com























Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2005
  • PLACE: Rioja DOCa (Denominación de Origen Calificada)
  • GRAPES: 80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha
  • AGEING: Used american oak - Tempranillo for  36 months, Garnacha for 30 months
  • BOOZE: 13.5%
  • CELLAR: Drink through 2018
  • www.riojalta.com

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

DeMorgenzen Reserve Chenin Blanc

DeMorgenzen Reserve Chenin Blanc 2014
Stellenbosch, South Africa
demorgenzon.co.za

Accounting for about 18% of acerage under vine, Chenin Blanc is South Africa's flagship white wine. The DeMorgenzen Chenin is one of the my favorites - just the right balance of fruit, oak, and bright acid.

Review: This Chenin is soft gold color, showing the influence of oak on the wine right off the bat. Aromas of ripe yellow apple and peach, plus a bit of toasty oak, jump from the glass. The palate is dry with bright fresh acid and a soft round texture. The fruit shines, with rich flavors of ripe Bosch pears and yellow apples, along with blossom, caramel, and sweet baking spices. All of the fruit and spice linger, creating a long finish.

I adore this wine. I have a second bottle of the 2014 in my cellar that I'll be holding for a few years. I look forward to seeing how the wine evolves over time. 

Pairing: The richness of this wine was perfect with Greek roast chicken and Tzatziki.

Bottom Line: This is the wine I pull out for my friends that only drink California Chardonnay. The ripe fruit and oak meet their expectations, while the balance and nuance introduce them to something new. 


www.winewatch.com













Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2014
  • PLACE: Stellenbosch
  • GRAPE: Chenin Blanc
  • BOOZE: 14%
  • RESIDUAL SUGAR: 3.8 g/l
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2020
  • www.demorgenzon.co.za

Where did I get it? MacArthur Beveragea
What's the damage? Premium

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Philippe Foreau Vouvray Sec

Philippe Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Sec 1999
Vouvray, Touraine, France
madrose.com

It's fantastic to walk into a store and find old vintages. Don't get me wrong, I love buying something and then waiting 10, 15, 20 years to drink it, but the instant gratification of purchasing a bottle and pulling the cork just can't be beat!

Now this 17 year old Vouvray may be nearing the end of its drinking window, but it was still a fantastic find. In fact, the wines of the Foreau family on Domaine du Clos Naudin are known for their remarkable age-ability.

Review: This Vouvray is a deep gold color with aromas of dried pineapple and mango, brûléed lemon skin, and candle wax. It's quite dry with fresh acidity and a mellow balanced alcohol. The dried tropical fruit from the nose are present on the palate, on a backdrop of dried straw, citrus, and lanolin. The fruit lingers for a moment, with a waxy finish.

This wine is certainly still beautiful after 17 years (I enjoyed every drop!), but I wish I had been able to taste it when it was in its youth. I can only image the fresh, ripe fruit and lush texture. I guess I need to stock up on the current vintage now!

Food Pairing: Seared scallops topped with preserved lemon gremolata.

Bottom Line: A fascinating and delicious expression of aged Chenin.

terroir-france.com





 






Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 1999
  • PLACE: Vouvray AOC  (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPE: Chenin Blanc
  • BOOZE: 12.7%
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2020
  • www.francois-chidaine.com

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

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Nicolas Francois Billecart

Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Nicolas Francois Billecart 1978
Mareuil-sur-Ay, Champagne, France

I can't tell you how excited I was when my father told me what he had found. Hiding in my grandfather's basement was a good condition 1978 Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Nicolas Francois! My grandfather couldn't recall where exactly it came from, but encouraged us to enjoy it none the less.

Cuvee Nicolas Francois Billecart is a tribute to the house's founder. It is made only in the most exceptional years from Grands Cru Chardonnay in the Côte des Blancs and Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims. In 2015, a case of the 1978 vintage sold for $3,981 at Sotheby's. Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled to taste a wine of this quality with such age.

Review: This beauty is a deep gold color, bordering on amber, with slow moving pin-prick bubbles. The wine has an intense nose of apricot, bitter almonds, caramel, with just a hint of apple cider vinegar. The palate is dry with bright, zippy acid and a very slight mousse. Dried quince, toasted almond, and brioche come together with some earthy cheese rind for a right full flavor.

Food Pairing: This wine is simply too fine to pair with food. It's rare to find a wine of this age and quality. Simply enjoy.

Bottom Line: I loved the concentration of flavor and the nuance of age. What a spectacular bottle.

nytimes.com





















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 1978
  • PLACE: Champagne AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPES: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
  • BOOZE: 12%
  • CELLAR: Drink now -- it's time. 

Where did I get it? An Amazing Family Find
What's the damage? Super Premium

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Domaine des Baumard Carte d'Or

Domaine des Baumard Carte d'Or 2011
Coteaux du Layon, France

baumard.fr
Baumard is one of my go-to producers in the Loire valley. I'm a fan of their whole line, from their full, dry Savennières to their luscious Quarts de Chaumes.

The Carte d'Or comes from the region of Coteaux du Layon within Anjou, across the Loire river from Savennières. The wines are made from some combination of very ripe grapes (lots of sugar), grapes affected by noble rot (which concentrate the sugars), or grapes dried on the vines (which also concentrates the sugars). As you might then expect, wines of the Coteaux du Layon are all sweet (vinified to leave some residual sugar), varying from semi-sweet to intensely sweet.

Review: The Carte d'Or has a deep golden color and gorgeous aromas of white peach, apricot, honeysuckle, and preserved lemon. It is medium sweet with bright acid, creating a full bodied wine, redolent of stone fruit, minerals, and waxy honeycomb. The finish lingers with flavors of honeyed peaches.

Food Pairing: The sweetness and acidity of this wine make it so versatile. I paired with a spicy pork chili -- the wine was not only able to stand up to the heat, but the sweetness provided an excellent counterpoint to the spice. Perfection.

Bottom Line: Bright, balanced, and delicious. (And a great price, right under $20).

terroir-france.com





 






Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2011
  • PLACE: Coteaux du Layon AOC  (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPE: Chenin Blanc
  • BOOZE: 12%
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2017
  • www.baumard.fr/

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

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Jean-Claude Raspail Clairette de Die Tradition

Jean-Claude Raspail Clairette de Die Tradition
Die, Rhone Valley, France
raspail.com

Naturally sparkling wines are all the rage these days, but this isn't a new idea. The folks around the town of Die in the Rhone Valley have been making naturally sparkling wines for, well, ever. The technique is even called the Methode Dioise Ancestrale: a slow fermentation begins in cool temperature vats for one to two months, and then the wine is transferred to the bottle for another four months to complete the fermentation. The finished product is a naturally sweet sparkling wine!

This is quite different than Methode Traditionelle sparkling wines like Champagne, Cava, and Franciacorta. These wines are fermented to dryness, then bottled with yeast and sugar and fermented again in the bottle, and then disgorged (the spent yeast is removed from the bottle). Methode Ancestrale wines only undergo one fermentation (part in a vat, part in the bottle) and then are not disgorged. The Jean-Claude Raspail is "Agriculture Biologique" -- fancy French for organically grown. Doesn't get more natural than that!

Review: This Clairette de Die is fluffy and fragrant. It's a golden yellow color with a small bead and frothy texture. Aromas of honeysuckle, green apple, white peach are positively intoxicating. The wine is medium sweet (more than off dry, but not fully sweet) with bright acid. This, along with the mousse, creates a beautiful mouth-coating texture. Flavors of dried golden apple and honeysuckle dominate the palate. The finish drops off relatively quickly, leaving me with a sweet freshness.

The blending of Clairette (25%) provides the Muscat (75%) with a much needed zesty acid. The resulting balance is of delicate flavors and soft texture is quite lovely.

Pairing: The perfect aperitif.

Bottom Line: Light and sweet, easy and fun! 

www.amuseewine.com





















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: Non-Vintage
  • PLACE: Clairette de Die AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée)
  • GRAPES: 75% Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, 25% Clairette Blanches
  • BOOZE: 7.5% 
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2018
  • www.raspail.com

Where did I get it? Astor Wines and Spirits
What's the damage? Mid Priced

Monday, August 22, 2016

Modest Monday - Wines Under $10: Cecilia Beretta Prosecco

Cecilia Beretta Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut 2015
Verona, Italy
ceciliaberetta.it

I moved to Nashville, Tennessee a few months ago. In my honor (well, no, but wouldn't that have been nice?) Davidson County has started to allow wine to be sold in the grocery store! Huzzah! I was out at my local Trader Joe's, saw this sparkler on the shelf for a whopping $9.99, and decided to give it a special new home.

The Cecilia Beretta Prosecco is from the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore region in the heart of Treviso. I was particularly excited to see a wine with this level of geographic specificity (production area is limited to 15 communes) and quality level (DOCG Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) for this price.

Review: This Prosecco is a soft straw yellow with large, streaming bubbles. It has bright aromas of ripe bosc pears, yellow apples, and fragrant white flowers. On the palate the wine is a hint off dry, reinforcing the ripe nature of the wine: more pears, lemon, and lemon meringue pie. 

I particularly like the ripe, overall luscious impression this wine gives with its intense fruit flavors and round texture.

Food Pairing: We paired this with leftover lasagna on a Monday night. Worked great!

Bottom Line: Great concentration and texture. Amazing price!

www.italiquore.com
Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2015
  • PLACE: Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita)
  • GRAPE: Glera
  • BOOZE: 11% 
  • CELLAR: Drink now
  • www.ceciliaberetta.it
Where did I get it? Trader Joe's
What's the damage? Low Priced 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tegernseerhof T26 Grüner Veltliner

Tegernseerhof T26 Grüner Veltliner 2015
Wachau, Niederösterreich, Austria

tegernseerhof.at
This wine is made by Martin Mittelbach at his family's Tegernseerhof winery.  The Tegernseerhof family has been making wine in the Wachau since 1176. Needless to say, they know their stuff!

The Tegernseerhof T26 Grüner Veltliner gets it name from Tank 26 - the tank from which it was hand selected during its first vintage. This wine is classified as Federspiel, a measure of potential alcohol used in the Wachau, indicating that the finished dry wine will have an alcohol between 11.5 and 12.5 percent.

Review: The T26 is a pale gold color with aromas of green melon and ripe citrus. The palate is dry with the smallest hint of an oily texture, and is dominated by minerals, yellow apples, and white pepper. The finish is long and deliciously refreshing. 

Food Pairing: I enjoyed this wine on pizza night! The acidity was the perfect counterpoint to a pie topped with nutty Fontina and salty prosciutto. 

Bottom Line: The balance and brightness in the T26 just can't be beat. 

www.austrianwine.com



Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2015
  • PLACE: Wachau, Niederösterreich, Austria
  • GRAPE: Grüner Veltliner
  • BOOZE: 12.5%
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2018
  • www.tegernseerhof.at

Where did I get it? DCanter Wines
What's the damage? Mid Priced

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Jim Barry The Cover Drive

Jim Barry The Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Coonawarra, Australia

jimbarry.com
So, confession time. I know this might be verboten among wine people, but I'm not the biggest fan of BIG red wines. Many rich, opulent California style Cabernets just fall flat with me. I'm looking for more acidity, more bite, less oak...

You can just imagine my joy when I discovered the wonderful Cabernets of Coonawarra a few years back. The wines I've tasted have been delicious examples of pure Cab, without being (what I would consider) over ripe or over oaked. Perfect for me!

Review: The Cover Drive (named for an old cricket field, the one which the vineyard now resides) is a deep ruby color. It has fresh aromas of blackberry, black currant leaf, and sweet green herbs. The palate is dry with moderate acidity and smooth, fine grained tannin. The black fruits (blackberry, plum, currant) dominate the palate with just a hint of toasty oak and sweet vanilla. Mint - a signature of Coonawarra Cab - comes out, particularly on the finish. 

Food Pairing: Lamb burgers made with dill and parsley. The herbs in the burger play beautifully with the herbaceous note in the wine.  

Bottom Line:  One of my favorite Cabernets, beautiful purity of fruit. So well balanced, full flavored but not overly opulent. A home run (or however cricket is scored) in my book.  






www.surf4wine.co.uk





















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2012
  • PLACE: Coonawarra, South Australia
  • GRAPE: Cabernet Sauvignon
  • BOOZE: 13.5%
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2019
  • jimbarry.com


Where did I get it?  MacArthur Beverage

What's the damage?   Mid Priced

Sunday, July 24, 2016

François Chidaine Clos Habert

François Chidaine Clos Habert 2011
Montlouis Sur Loire, France
www.francois-chidaine.com

Oooh, yay. Another gem from François Chidaine, hailing from the small Franch commune of Montlouis Sur Loire.

Like all of their wines, this Chenin Blanc is made under biodynamic conditions. The wine is fermented with native yeasts in 600 liter wooden casks. Malolactic fermentation is prevented in order to retain bright acidity in the wine.    

Review: The Clos Habert is a deep golden color with aromas of white flowers, honey suckle, and dried apricots. The palate is a tad off dry with a round, supple texture. The age of the wine is beginning to show on the palate, with dried stone fruit, honey, waxy lanolin, and a hint of earth. The finish is long and full of honey. Classic Chenin. 

Food Pairing: I paired this beauty with a simple roast chicken. Perfect. 

Bottom Line: Fruit, floral, earth. Amazing balance and length. 

terroir-france.com





 






Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2011
  • PLACE: Montloius Sur Loire AOC  (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPE: Chenin Blanc
  • BOOZE: 14.2%
  • RESIDUAL SUGAR: 10g/L
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2018
  • www.francois-chidaine.com

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Paraduxx C Blend

www.paraduxx.com
Paraduxx C Blend 2010
Napa, California

So Donald Trump is officially nominated for the highest office in the land. It seemed only fitting to open up a wine called Paradox. Well, Paraduxx anyway...

The Paraduxx wine label is part of Duckhorn's prolific family of wines (to be clear, no affiliation of which I am aware to politics of any flavor). Under this label they primarily focus on blends of Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, sometimes with other yummy grapes included. The C blend is 60% Cabernet and 40% Zin, with 16 months in a mix of French and American oak.

Review: This beauty is a deep ruby color with rich aromas of black cherry, plum, stewed prunes, and tart cranberry. The palate is technically dry (but with a hint of sugar to add roundness), with moderate acid and finely grained ripe tannin. Rich black fruit flavors, along with anise, bay leaf, toast, and sweet spice create complexity and intensity. The finish is moderate in length, with lingering fruit and spice.

Food Pairing: Seared duck breasts with a cherry (and C blend!) reduction.

Bottom Line: Excellent concentration, complexity, and intensity, wrapped up in a ripe, smooth package. Absolutely lovely. 


napavalleypassport.com


















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2010
  • PLACE: Napa Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area)
  • GRAPES: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Zinfandel
  • AGEING: 16 months in oak, 78% French, 22% American, 40% new
  • BOOZE: 14.5%
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2020
  • www.paraduxx.com

Where did I get it? 'Twas a gift!
What's the damage? Super Premium 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Grosjean Gamay

Grosjean Gamay 2013
Valle d'Aoste, Italy
grosjean.vievini.it

I spotted this wine near the counter in my new neighborhood wine shop, Village Wines. The Valle d'Aoste region is tucked in just north of Piedmont, along the French and Swiss borders with Italy. You'll see also see it spelled "Vallée d'Aoste" as it is known to the many local French speakers.

The Valle d'Aoste is the smallest region within Italy, in both its size and population. It may be tiny, but is home to the highest elevation viticulture in all of Europe. Very little is exported from the region, so I was particularly excited to see it.

Review: This Gamay is a medium ruby color with aromas of ripe cherry, red plum, and a tiny metallic hint of graphite. It's dry with low-to-medium acid and very little tanin, resulting in a light bodied wine. Flavors of confected but tart red fruits (cherry and red raspberry) are simple and easy, with a short finish. 


Food Pairing: A solid porch sipper on a hot summer day -- or pair with a green salad topped with strawberries. 

Bottom Line: An easy drinking red. Put a little chill on it to bring out the wine's full flavor.

skurnik.com


Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2013
  • PLACE: Vallée d'Aoste DOP (Denominazione di Origine Proteta)
  • GRAPE: Gamay
  • BOOZE: 12.5% 
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2017
  • grosjean.vievini.it

Where did I get it? Village Wines, Nashville, TN
What's the damage? Mid Priced 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Perseval-Farge C. de Pinots Champagne

Perseval-Farge C. de Pinots 1er Cru Champagne
Montagne de ReimsChampagne, France
perseval-farge.fr

I encountered this wine at a tasting event last fall in DC and just had to bring a bottle home with me. The C. de Pinots is made by Perseval-Farge in the premier cru village of Chamery. As the name would imply, it is a blend (cuvée) of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Pinot Meunier. The wine is a blend across multiple vintages, where some of the reserve wines spend time in oak. This treatment allows for greater stability and enhances the autolytic (toasty and yeasty) character of the wine.

Review: This sparkler is a golden color with just a hint of salmon and a stream of small persistent bubbles. It has fragrant aromas of apple and brioche. The wine is dry (dosage level of only 7g/L, squarely in the Brut category) with generous but not searingly high acidity, creating a round texture with a generous mousse. Flavors of fresh red plums, quince, delicate hazelnut, and almond croissant are fully expressed on the palate. The flavors last a moderately long time and finish cleanly.

Food Pairing: I enjoyed this with a bowl of fresh berries.

Bottom Line: Positively delightful texture, with excellent fruit concentration and toastiness. How I wish I bought a case!

nytimes.com






















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: Non Vintage
  • PLACE: Champagne AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPES: 55% Pinot Noir, 45% Pinot Meunier
  • BOOZE: 12%
  • CELLAR: Drink now
  • perseval-farge.fr

Where did I get it? Arrowine
What's the damage? Super Premium

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Broadbent Rainwater Madeira

Broadbent Rainwater Madeira
Madiera, Portugal

www.broadbent.com

Happy (slightly belated) Independence Day! You many not think it, but there are few things more patriotic than a glass Madeira. Madeira was used to toast not only the Continental Congress's signing of the Declaration of Independence, but also President George Washington's inauguration.

Yesterday I popped open a bottle of the historic beverage myself to toast America's birthday. I went with a lighter style of Madeira -- Rainwater -- to go with the steamy summer night. (In case you missed me, my 3 month absence from blogging has come to a close as the relocation from Washington, DC to Nashville, TN has finally been completed. Can you believe that it's EVEN MORE HUMID here than it was in DC? Crazy business.) The name Rainwater is said to have originated when a shipment was diluted by rain during transit across the Atlantic to the United States; hence the style's light character.

Rainwater is not made from one of the noble white grapes grown on the island (Malmsey, Bual, Verdelho, Sercial), but from the red grape Tinta Negra. Most wine made on the island, roughly 90 percent, is made from this workhorse grape. This one is categorized by its level of sweetness (Medium Dry), rather than with an age indication.

Review: The Madeira has a beautiful pale amber hue and aromas of roasted almonds, orange marmalade, and dried dates. The palate is shows a hit sweetness, balanced by brisk acidity. The texture is soft and supple, with bright flavors of nuts, caramel, confected citrus, and a hint of roasted coffee. The finish is long and flavorful.

This wine is reminiscent of Madeira made from Bual grapes, where nut and fruit characteristics dominate the relatively sweet, brightly acidic wine.

Food Pairing: Perfect on its own, served slightly chilled as an aperitif. Or drink with some stinky cheeses or rustic Pâté.

Bottom Line:  I particularly enjoyed the lively acidity in the wine, keeping it refreshing even with the high level of residual sugar. The perfect summer drink to sip on a warm sticky day - holiday or not. Open one bottle and it will last you the whole season!



eximteco.tripod.com











Wine Geekery:
  • PLACE: Madeira
  • GRAPE: Tinta Negra
  • VINTAGE: Non-Vintage
  • BOOZE: 19.0%
  • RESIDUAL SUGAR: 67.5 g/L
  • CELLAR: Drink now, but will hold for a very very long time
  • www.broadbent.com/

Where did I get it? Village Wines, Nashville, TN
What's the damage? High Priced (but only barely)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Castello di Gussago La Santissima Franciacorta

Castello di Gussago La Santissima Brut Franciacorta
Brescia, Lombardy, Italy

castellodigussago.it
A new wine store, Grand Cata, opened in DC a few weeks ago. I stopped in for a visit and was thrilled to find -- in addition to all sorts of other wonderful things -- a gorgeous new Franciacorta!

This beauty from Castello di Gussago is made mostly from Chardonnay grapes, with a splash of Pinot Noir thrown in for balance. After the second fermentation the wine is rested on the fine lees for 25 months before disgorgement, contributing the wonderful richness of this wine!

Review: La Santissima is a golden color with fine, persistent bubbles and pronounced aromas of baked yellow apples and toasted hazelnuts. The palate is dry with bright acidity and a full, round texture. I love the rich autolytic flavors of yeast, brioche and pastry, along with apple and ripe pear. The length has impressive lingering richness.

Food Pairing: Perfect with Easter dinner of roast lamb and herbed potatoes.

Bottom Line: Rich flavors, balanced with bright freshness. Absolutely delicious.

winecountry.it




















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: Non Vintage
  • PLACE: Franciacorta DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita)
  • GRAPE: 90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Nero
  • BOOZE: 12.5% 
  • AGEING: 25 months
  • CELLAR: Drink through 2018
  • Castello di Gussago
Where did I get it? Grand Cata
What's the damage? Super Premium 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Château Mukhrani Réserve du Prince

Château Mukhrani Réserve du Prince 2010
www.chateaumukhrani.com
Mtsheta, Republic of Georgia

This is another gem I brought back from my visit to
Château Mukhrani a few years ago. The Réserve du Prince is a beautiful example of old world meets new world, where native grapes and native yeasts are combined with modern winemaking techniques. Goruli Mtsvane grapes are hand harvested from the Château Mukhrani estate and then gently destemmed. Skin contact is allowed for a few hours before pressing and fermentation by native yeasts. The wine then experiences a partial malolactic fermentation (converting hash appley malic acid into soft buttery lactic acid) and ageing in Caucasian oak. The result is a wine with Georgian roots that can hold its own next to a fine white Burgundy.

Review: The wine is an intense yellow-gold color with pronounced aromas of ripe peach, mandarin, and toasty oak. The palate is dry with bright acid and a creamy texture. Flavors of peaches, honey dipped pears, and white flowers. The oak notes of cedar and toast and expertly integrated. I love the finish where the sweet stone fruit ends and a hint of bitter grapefruit coats the tongue and lingers. Oh so pretty and pleasing.   

Food Pairing: Citrus roast chicken and herbed potatoes.

Bottom Line: Incredibly well made, balanced, and nuanced.

news.hvino.com





















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2010
  • PLACE: Mtsheta, Georiga
  • GRAPE: Goruli Mtsvane
  • BOOZE: 12.5%
  • CELLAR: Drink Now
  • www.chateaumukhrani.com

Where did I get it? Chateau Mukhrani Tasting Room
What's the damage? Super Premium


Monday, March 21, 2016

Modest Monday - Wines Under $10: Badet Clement & Co Pontificis

Badet Clement & Co Pontificis 2013
Languedoc-Roussillon, France

I came across the Pontificis at Trader Joe's, selling for a whopping $6.99. This Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre blend comes from the Mediterranean Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, not the Southern Rhone as the name might imply. But a Chateauneuf du Pape -esque wine for under $10? Totally worth a try.

Review: The Pontificis is a medium ruby color with mild aromas of ripe strawberry and violet candy. The palate is dry, with relatively low acid and little tannin. The star of the wine is the ripe fruit (strawberry, red cherry, raspberry) and slight floral and herbal notes. 

Food Pairing: Chill it down a touch and pair with your casual cookout. 

Bottom Line: I wish there were more tannin, acidity and concentration, but all in all, this is an easy and drinkable wine.


www.princetoncorkscrew.com



























Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2013
  • PLACE: Pays d'Oc IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée)
  • GRAPES: 45% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre
  • BOOZE: 13%
  • CELLAR: Drink Now

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

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Bartenura Moscato

bartenura.com
Bartenura Moscato 2014
Lombardy, Italy

My first Kosher post of 2016! Bartenura is one of the more popular Kosher Moscatos, known by their "Out of the Blue" and "Hello Bluetiful" campaigns, seen on billboards across the country. I see this one every time I use the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel:

Northbound I 95, Baltimore, MD
Apparently the Bartenura Moscato was even featured in the "Backstage Creations Giving Suite" at the 2014 Emmy awards.

Well, that's a lot of hype... On to the wine! These Muscat grapes are sourced from the Pavia region of Lombardy, Italy. This wine is not only Kosher, but also Mevushal (remember that means boiled wine). Can the delicate floral and peachy aromas of Muscat stand up to flash pasteurization? Let's find out...

Review: The Bartenura is a pale straw color with very slight pétillance (spritz!). It has soft aromas of apricot, orange blossom, and honeysuckle. The palate is sweet with relatively low acid and a round, soft body. The stone fruit and floral notes from the nose emerge on the palate, with a ripe-peaches-in-syrup quality. 

The low acid gives the wine an almost oily texture, where I wish it had a brighter and fresher quality. That being said, I do like the sweet richness of the wine. Certainly dessert in a glass. 

Food Pairing: I would love some berries and grilled peaches to brighten up the wine!

Bottom Line: Rich and sweet. Not the most nuanced of Moscatos, but still tasty. 


winecountry.it




















Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2014
  • PLACE: Provincia di Pavia IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica)
  • GRAPE: Muscat
  • BOOZE: 5%
  • CELLAR: Drink now
  • bartenura.com

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