11/28/2016

Quick Sip: Joseph Drouhin 2012 Côte de Nuits-Villages

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the 2012 Côte de Nuits-Villages from Joseph Drouhin. At the ripe old age of 22, Joseph Drouhin founded his eponymous wine company in 1880. Today, it is one of the most well-known and largest estates in all of Burgundy, France. The historic business is currently headed by 4th generation family members. Over the years, the domain has garnered a very good reputation for consistency and quality. This particular village-level red Burgundy (Pinot Noir) from the Côte de Nuits region drinks nicely right now and is both satisfying and reasonably priced. If you are in the market for a solid red wine to wash down Thanksgiving leftovers or just an affordable weeknight red to enjoy with dinner, then look no further my friends. This red Burgundy retails for $35 but can be found for $22.99 at Cork Exclusive. And when you purchase three or more bottles of wines or spirits, shipping is free. For further information, please check out my tasting notes below.


Joseph Drouhin 2012 Côte de Nuits-Villages (SRP $35): Light ruby in color, this wine is poised and fresh with aromas and flavors redolent of tart red berry fruit followed by earth tones, baking spice notes, and muted floral impressions. In the mouth, it’s medium-bodied, harmonious and savory, with good acidity, ending in soft, well-tamed tannins on the medium-length finish. A pleasant wine on its own, this is also a good bottle to share with family and friends at the dinner table. Try it with red sauce dishes, rotisserie chicken, grilled salmon, light cheeses and more. Region: Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France. Other info: ABV 13%, aged 12 to 15 months in French oak barrels (10% new), cork enclosure.  

Click here to find this wine. It has a suggested retail price of $35 and is available for as low as $22.99 on CorkExclusive with FREE SHIPPING on any 3 or more bottles of wine or spirits!

This review is sponsored by: 

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Get the Joseph Drouhin 2012 Côte de Nuits-Villages for just $22.99 with FREE SHIPPING on any 3 or more bottles of wine or spirits!"

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned -- more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!

11/08/2016

Quick Sip: Artesa 2013 Estate Reserve Chardonnay

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the 2013 Estate Reserve Chardonnay from Artesa Vineyard and Winery. Chardonnay is one of the most widely planted varieties in the world due to its ability to thrive in a wide range of soil types and climates. It is also the most popular wine in America; and for good reason: the grape has the potential to produce exceptional wines in a wide range of styles. This selection comes from Artesa’s estate vineyard in Carneros; an appellation with a very good reputation for quality Chardonnay. The fruit was sourced from some of the producer’s best vineyard blocks and was grown at some of the highest elevations in the appellation. This is an attractive Chardonnay from an excellent vintage. It is the type of Chardonnay I personally enjoy with lobster, scallops, salmon fillets or pasta with Alfredo sauce. It is quite satisfying on its own, too. I highly recommend inviting a bottle over for dinner! You can find this wine well under the $35 suggested retail price and other good deals at Cork Exclusive. And even better, shipping is free on any three or more bottles of wine or spirits. For further information, please see my tasting notes below.

“Well, there’s only one way to make great wine – with the finest grapes. We take a multi-appellation approach to winemaking. That vineyard and appellation philosophy is the foundation for all the wines we make.” ~ Artesa Winery

Artesa 2013 Estate Reserve Chardonnay (SRP $35): This pleasing and expressive Chardonnay effortlessly balances barrel richness, fruit flavors, and vibrancy. An inviting nose leads to a fuller-bodied wine brimming with bright tree and dried stone fruit flavors that fold into lemon custard, toasty shortbread and subtle notes of cream. The flavors are propped up with fresh, welcoming acidity, ending in a round, flowing finish. This Chardonnay is drinking beautifully right now. But, do not to serve it too cold. Enjoy this bottle at cellar temperature (i.e., around 55°). As the wine warms in your glass, its charm and beautiful texture will gradually be drawn out. Region: Carneros, Napa Valley, California. Other info: ABV 14.4%, fermented and aged 8 months in 100% French oak barrels (50% new), cork enclosure.

Click here to find this wine. It has a suggested retail price of $35 and is available for as low as $25.99 on CorkExclusive with FREE SHIPPING on any 3 or more bottles of wine or spirits!

This review is sponsored by: 

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Get the Artesa 2013 Estate Reserve Chardonnay for just $25.99 with FREE SHIPPING on any 3 or more bottles of wine or spirits!"

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned -- more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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10/26/2016

#MerlotMe: Cliff Creek Cellars 2012 Merlot

Hello Friends,

Today’s pick is another fine bottle of wine I opened in celebration of ‘International Merlot Month.’ This wine hails from the Rogue Valley appellation in southern Oregon. The Rogue Valley is the southern-most of the state’s viticultural areas. It is generally warmer and drier, and much less defined in terms of principal grape varieties than the state’s highly regarded and well-known Willamette Valley region to the north. In the Rogue Valley, you’ll find classic Bordeaux varieties; Rhone inspired wines, including Syrah and Viognier; Spanish grapes; and more.

Cliff Creek Cellars 2012 Merlot 

For around a century, the Garvin family farmed Sam’s Valley; running cattle and growing a variety of grasses on its 230 plus acres. In 1999, at the ripe young age of 70, Vern Garvin and his wife Dorothy began planting a vineyard on the property and the rest is history. Today, second and third generations of the Garvin family continue to preserve their vision and legacy. What started with 15 acres of vines has expanded to approximately 70 acres. The winery uses 100% estate grown fruit in their Cliff Creek Cellars wines and sells residual fruit to other producers. Stylistically, the winery produces French-inspired wines out of southern Oregon fruit. My personal experience with Rogue Valley wines has been limited, since many of the producers are small, family-run operations that tend to sell direct to consumer through the tasting room. However, I’ve discovered several hidden gems in the area and I’m adding Cliff Creek Cellars to the list. Their 2012 Sam’s Valley Vineyard Merlot is a wonderful food wine that absolutely deserves to be on your wine radar. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

From our vineyard to your table. Enjoy! ~ Cliff Creek Cellars

Cliff Creek Cellars 2012 Merlot (SRP $25): Bright ruby in color with violet reflections, this Merlot offers an aromatic melody of dark cherries and black currant laced with suggestions of forest floor, dried herbs, and spiced barrel notes. In the mouth, it is light-to-medium bodied and streamlined in texture, with an attractive feminine quality. The flavors are bright, mirroring the nose, and show a bit of restraint. A nice lift of acidity gives the wine good energy from first sip through to the vibrant, satisfying finish. This is just the ticket with light cheese selections, herb roast chicken, grilled veggies, mom's homemade meatloaf and more. It is truly a wonderful food wine. Only 195 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Rogue Valley, Oregon. Other info: ABV 13.6%, 19 months maturation: 34% 1-3 year barrels (100% French oak), 33% new oak barrels (95% French, 5% American), 33% neutral barrels, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was a sample provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!

10/19/2016

#MerlotMe: Duckhorn Vineyards 2013 Napa Valley Merlot

Hello Friends,

Thanks to excellent reads like ‘Judgment of Paris’ by George Taber, and the movie Bottle Shock – a fictionalized, Hollywood version of the actual events – many of us are familiar with the historic wine competition held in Paris, France, in the spring of 1976. Wines from two little-known Napa Valley producers triumphed over some of the finest examples from Bordeaux and Burgundy putting California on the wine map. The main grapes at this pivotal blind tasting were Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. These two highly-regarded varieties are the most successful and widely planted grapes in the valley today.

That same year, Dan and Margaret Duckhorn founded Duckhorn Vineyards in St. Helena; a city in Napa County. Inspired after a visit to Bordeaux’s famed Saint-Émilion and Pomerol appellations, where Merlot is the predominant grape, Mr. Duckhorn decided to focus on the variety. He felt Merlot was underappreciated in North America and thought Napa was an excellent place to grow it. At the time, Merlot was more popular in blends than on its own. The winery’s first vintage was in 1978. Nearly four decades later, the name Duckhorn Vineyards is without a doubt synonymous with quality, Napa-grown Merlot. As my social media friend Thomas Riley, author of The Grape Belt, recently said, “The Duckhorns are nothing if not reliable.” Duckhorn produces several Merlots from estate fruit and top sites within Napa Valley. The 2013 Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot is an appellation blend. It is a great summer-to-fall transition wine and an excellent choice for a dinner party; especially if the flavors of autumn are being served. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

 "I liked the softness, the seductiveness, the color, the fact that it went with a lot of different foods; It seemed to me to be a wonderful wine to just enjoy. I became enchanted with Merlot." ~ Dan Duckhorn

Duckhorn Vineyards 2013 Napa Valley Merlot (SRP $54): This Merlot pours a deep ruby color with purple highlights, offering enticing aromas and juicy flavors redolent of purple stone fruit and black cherry interwoven with spice cake, mineral, hints of coffee grounds and anise seed. It is fuller-bodied and round in the mouth, with expansive texture, deep fruit flavors, and ripe tannins – all held together with [adequate] balancing acidity. It shows richness on the medium-long, polished finish. A very satisfying wine that is drinking nicely right now; just pop, pour and savor. Enjoy with tomato-based dishes, rotisserie chicken, autumnal fare and more. Region: Napa Valley, California. Other info: ABV 14.5%, 88% Merlot | 7% Cabernet Sauvignon | 5% Cabernet Franc, 15 months maturation in 100% French oak (25% new), cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was a sample provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!

10/10/2016

#MerlotMe: Trefethen Family Vineyards 2013 Merlot

Hello Friends,

Breaking News: Wine enthusiasts all over the world are celebrating ‘International Merlot Month’ throughout October! I’m kicking it off here with Trefethen Family Vineyards' 2013 Merlot. If this month-long event is news to you, then I invite you to join the fun and add to the discussion. Please share your favorite Merlot experiences, tasting notes, and images on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and tag them with hashtag #MerlotMe.

Trefethen Family Vineyards is one of the early pioneering families of Napa Valley. Established as Eshcol winery in 1886 by a Scottish sea captain, the building was eventually neglected and left to ruin. The modern era for the winery began when the Trefethen family purchased the abandoned property in 1968 and began work on restoring the historic winery to its former self. At the time, there were fewer than 25 wineries in Napa Valley and wine grapes were not the region’s top crop. According to John Trefethen, “Plums, prunes and walnuts were the dominant crops.”

I really think Miles would love this Merlot!

Today, Trefethen remains family-owned and specializes in 100% estate-grown wines produced from their Main Ranch in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley appellation. The Merlot fruit grown on this site benefits from warm days, which ripen and slowly matures the berries while the cooler nights help retain the natural, balancing acids.

Generally speaking, Merlot is oftentimes – and sometimes rightly so – seen as lacking in structure, mid-palate depth, and length. However, when the site and growing conditions are ideal and there is a laser focus on quality, as is the case here, results can be a harmonious, well-structured wine with admirable depth and length.  These examples have the potential to further develop in the bottle over time. The Trefethen Family Vineyards' 2013 Merlot is quite appealing and a welcome addition to any dinner table. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

Trefethen Family Vineyards 2013 Merlot

Trefethen Family Vineyards 2013 Merlot (SRP $40): This deep ruby colored Merlot is drinking beautifully right now. Inviting scents of ripe plum, dried cherries, and spice fill the nose. The aromas extend to the palate, where they’re nicely wrapped in a delicate bow of vanilla bean and spiced fruitcake, while a dash of dried herb towards the back-end adds complexity. In the mouth, this wine is full-bodied with a rich texture that builds through the mid-palate. There is good balance of lifting acids and well-integrated tannins. The wine ends in a medium-long, polished finish. A pleasure to sip and an excellent addition to the dinner table – enjoy this wine with rosemary & garlic roasted pork loin, red sauce dishes, cornish hen and more. Region: Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, Napa Valley, California. Other info: ABV 14.8%, 95% Merlot | 4% Malbec | 1% Cabernet Sauvignon,  18 months in (40% new) 50% French oak, 36% American and 14% Hungarian oak barrels, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was a sample provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!

9/21/2016

Italian White Wine Flight: Grechetto, Trebbiano, and Pecorino

Hello Friends,

Just about every day, as wine o'clock approaches, you can find me uncorking or unscrewing a new wine adventure. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine writer, and someone who appreciates the liquid expression of place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I find wine to be one of the most intriguing beverages out there. It is an area of interest where you never run out of great people to meet and new things to taste and learn.

The wines selected for this post all are made from lesser-known white wine grapes. The fact that a variety doesn’t have the worldwide name recognition as let’s say, Chardonnay, Riesling, or Sauvignon Blanc, doesn’t mean the grape isn’t capable of producing exciting wines. A countless number of wine grapes – many ancient and native to Italy -- remain well under the radar in the region. You may not be able to pronounce the name of the grape or the region, but over time you will learn. And you never know, while exploring the vast world of wines you just may find a new favorite or two to add to your list. It goes without saying that the trio of Grechetto, Trebbiano and Pecorino is a great (and delicious) place to discover new Italian wines and broaden your palate. For further information and where you can find these selections, please see my tasting notes below.

Castello di Magione 2013 Monterone Grechetto

Castello di Magione 2013 Monterone Grechetto (SRP $25): Clay Fritz, owner and winemaker of Fritz Winery in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley, found himself bitten by the Italian wine bug during a trek to Umbria to join the ‘The Order of Malta’ – an ancient humanitarian service that provides global relief to areas impacted by natural disasters. This visit led Mr. Fritz to start a small wine business where he imports select Umbrian wines to California. Grechetto is a white grape variety grown mainly in the Umbria region of central Italy. This selection offers an inviting nose with citrus blossom and stone fruit flavors accented by a dab of floral perfume. It is medium-bodied in the mouth with a plump texture and round, yet bright acids. Overall, a very delightful sipper and food wine that can stand up to richer dishes including white cream sauces and the like. Giulia Luccioli, Senior Managing Director of a group of leading wine estates in Italy said, “Grechetto wines are typically paired with truffles (abundant in Umbria),” during a recent chat. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the delicious Malbec Mr. Fritz grows on his Dry Creek Valley property. So there you have it, friends; a very nice red and white recommendation for the dinner table! Region: Colli del Trasimeno DOC, Umbria, Italy. Other info: ABV 13.5%, cork enclosure, 11%, all stainless, cork enclosure, imported by Fritz Imports in Cloverdale, CA. Click here to find this wine.

Cantina Dei Colli Ripani 2014 Trebbiano

Cantina Dei Colli Ripani 2014 Trebbiano (SRP $12): Trebbiano is quietly one of the most widely planted varieties in the world. In France the variety is known as Ugni Blanc, and besides producing wine, the grape plays an important role in the production of brandy spirits. This wine hails from Marche, a region in central Italy where Trebbiano thrives. Pale straw in color, this wine is fresh and racy, delivering a delicate mix of wild flowers, orange blossom and citrus peel. There’s a suggestion of beeswax that’s more noticeable on the nose than the palate. This wine has a balancing acid lift with a short-to-medium long, clean finish. It is a great aperitif and will work well with most salads and fresh seafood. Overall, a straight-forward yet well-made wine that delights and satisfies without breaking the piggy bank. Region: Marche, Italy. Other info: ABV 12%, cork enclosure, imported by ZGR Imports LLC in Dana Point, CA. Click here to find this wine.

Rio Maggio 2012 Falerio Pecorino

Rio Maggio 2012 Falerio Pecorino (SRP $23): By the 1970s the ancient Pecorino grape was nearly extinct. Producers like Rio Maggio and other growers revived the variety and today it is experiencing a bit of a renaissance in Marche. Pecorino is native to the region and is naturally low-yielding. It is known for its aging potential and is said to show its true character at 3 to 4 years of age. This wine pours a light straw yellow color. It is round and rather broad textured in the mouth, with fine acid balance. It leads with appealing floral notes, fennel seed and citrus blossom. There’s a trailing honeyed nuttiness – which I find appealing -- that runs through the finish. As you would any fuller-bodied Chardonnay, serve and enjoy this intriguing white wine at around 55°~57°. Locals enjoy Pecorino with fresh regional seafood. It also pairs well with the cheese that shares its name. Region: Pecorino Falerio, Marche, Italy. Other info: ABV 13.5%, matured in stainless, spends approximately four months on lees, cork enclosure, imported by ZGR Imports LLC in Dana Point, CA. Click here to find this wine.


I would like to thank Protocol Wine Studio for hosting the month-long program on central Italy. It was a very informative and enjoyable event. To join this highly interactive, Twitter-based wine education program use hashtag #winestudio and tune in every Tuesday at 9PM EST. The subject may vary from month-to-month, but it is always wine-themed, educational, and a whole lot of fun. Cheers!

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: These wines were provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!

9/07/2016

Bodega Colomé 2015 Torrontés: Delicious and Budget-Friendly!

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is Bodega Colomé 2015 Torrontés. Bodega Colomé was founded in 1831 and is one of the oldest wineries in Argentina. Today the winery is part of the Hess Family Wine Estates’ portfolio – a family-owned, fourth-generation company started in 1844. Where Malbec is the jewel of Argentinian reds, Torrontés is the region’s flagship white wine. I first started seeing Torrontés surface in wine shops six or so years ago. Along with rosé and entry-level, less expensive rieslings, Torrontés proved to be a popular summer staple at many of the weekend tastings I regularly attend. Consumers love it! Generally speaking, there is a lot to admire about Torrontés: it’s racy and bright in character, extremely aromatic, floral laced, fruit-forward, food-friendly, and last but not least, [very] affordable.

Delicious and Budget-Friendly!

Fruit for the Colomé Torrontés is sourced from mature (i.e. 30-60 year old) vines in the Calchaqui Valley. Located in the northwestern region of Argentina, the Calchaqui Valley is known for its high-altitude vineyards – some peaking at nearly 10,000 feet. The Torrontés fruit for this bottling grows at 1700 meters (5577 ft.) above sea level and comes primarily from Finca La Brava in the town of Cafayate. Higher elevation sites are considered very important for Torrontés according to the producer, helping retain freshness and acidity. My recommendation: kick back with friends and enjoy this refreshing white wine with a nice assortment of appetizers. Even though this wine is ripe for summer sipping, it’s a versatile, all-season, any occasion type of wine that will complement a wide range of foods. And now for the good news: you can find this wine online for as low as $10 per bottle! For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

Bodega Colomé 2015 Torrontés

Bodega Colomé 2015 Torrontés (SRP $15): Pale straw-yellow in color, this wine opens with inviting scents of rose water and white flowers followed by lemon zest and orange blossom. There’s a lingering suggestion of wet stone dribbling towards the back end. Medium in body, the aromas, led by floral tones, transfer to the palate leaving a crisp mouth-feel with good texture and a refreshing acid lift. This is a great everyday wine offered at a reasonable price point. It makes for a nice aperitif and will pair well with summer salads, grilled chicken, fish tacos, Asian cuisine, and most stir-fry dishes. Region: Calchaqui Valley, Salta, Argentina. Other info: ABV 13.5%, all stainless, screw cap enclosure, imported by Hess Collection Winery, Napa, CA. Click here to find this wine.


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was a sample provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!

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