2/13/2017

Quick Sip: Bodega Catena Zapata 2014 Chardonnay and 2013 Malbec

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip comes to me from Bodega Catena Zapata in Mendoza, Argentina. These wines are made from 100% estate-grown fruit from the family’s high-altitude vineyards (3,000 to 5,000 feet above sea level). Founded in 1902 by Italian immigrant, Nicola Catena, the winery remains under family control and is overseen by third and fourth-generation family members Nicolás Catena and his daughter Laura. This is not my first rodeo with the wines of Bodega Catena. This producer is well-regarded for quality-driven wines that consistently deliver good value. For that reason, it is good to have a few bottles on hand for your upcoming backyard cookouts and last-minute get-togethers. I’ve reviewed the 2014 Chardonnay and 2013 Malbec for this post. For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.

Bodega Catena Zapata 2014 Chardonnay

Bodega Catena Zapata 2014 Chardonnay (SRP $20): Fruit for this Chardonnay was sourced from three high-altitude vineyards, all owned by the Catena family that range from 3,100 to 4,700 feet. Aromas of pear tart, citrus blossom and spiced fruitcake are joined on the palate by yellow-fleshed fruit flavors and floral notes. It is noticeably round with a sweet, mouth-filling texture supported by adequate acidity and freshness. A very enjoyable Chardonnay; it ends with a faint mineral streak and overtones of spice lingering on the medium-long finish. Try a bottle with pasta, risotto dishes or oven-roasted chicken. It’s also a satisfying solitary sipper. Region: Mendoza, Argentina. Other info: ABV 13.5%, partial ML, matured in new-to-two year old French oak barrels for 10 months, bottled aged 12 months, and natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Bodega Catena Zapata 2013 Malbec

Bodega Catena Zapata 2013 Malbec (SRP $24): This is a deeply colored and concentrated Malbec boasting aromas and flavors suggestive of dark stone fruit and blackberry preserve intertwined with rose petals, cedar/peppery spice, and underlying hints of wild herbs. On the palate, this wine is medium- bodied with fine, sweet tannins. It has just enough acidity to lift the fruit and provide balance. The texture shows flavor density and richness that carries through the medium-long, earth-tinged finish. This is an overall very satisfying wine; especially when paired with heartier dishes such as leg of lamb, pot roast or pork chops. Region: Mendoza, Argentina. Other info: ABV 13.5%, matured in new-to-two year old French oak barrels for 12-14 months, bottled aged 10 months, and natural 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!

1/25/2017

Under-the-Radar Gems: Chateau Musar (Lebanon) | Linden Vineyards (VA) | Truro Vineyards (MA)

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 from lesser-known wine regions. I often refer to such wines as ‘hidden gems’. One of the more exciting aspects of wine is branching out and discovering regions that tend to fall off the radar of most consumers. Just because these regions are not well known does not mean they cannot deliver on quality. In fact, many of them are more than worthy of your attention. Experiencing such wines can be eye-opening and palate-expanding; and you just may find a new favorite to add to your regular sipping rotation. For further information and where you can find these hidden gems, please see my tasting notes below.

Chateau Musar 2004 Bekaa Valley Rouge

Chateau Musar 2004 Gaston Hochar Rouge (SRP $53): Pale-medium garnet in color, this medium-bodied wine leads with tart red berry fruit, dried cranberries and earthy flavors framed by notes of worn leather, sweet tobacco leaf, forest floor, dried flowers, and fennel seed. It is well-balanced with a generous underpinning of fresh acidity supporting a sleek yet age-worthy frame. This wine opens nicely over time, and ends with more earth and funk-like qualities than the red fruits you catch up-front. What I really like about this wine is its ability to simultaneously juggle a savory complexity coupled with pretty aspects while being anchored by a downright funky core. If you prefer old-world wines with a lot of character, I recommend putting this Lebanese winery on your radar. You will not be disappointed. Region: Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Other info: ABV 13.5%, composition: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, Cinsault, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Linden Vineyards 2006 Hardscrabble Red

Linden Vineyards 2006 Hardscrabble Red (SRP $40): This Cabernet Sauvignon-based blended wine is medium-bodied, supple, and rather streamlined. It offers up a delightful mélange of red berry compote, sun-dried tomatoes, savory herbs, and spice box flavors that are held together by a well-focused frame of firm acidity; a Linden trademark. Rustic yet charming, this is an excellent food wine; especially with earthy dishes. For my readers unfamiliar with the wines of Virginia, this producer is an excellent place to start. You can expect well-made, 100% estate-grown red and white wines that are long-lived and acid-driven as opposed to flavor-driven. Only 454 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Fauquier County, Virginia. Other info: ABV 13.5%, 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot and 11% Cabernet Franc, unfined & unfiltered, matured 18 months in new and used French and Hungarian oak barrels, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Truro Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Franc

Truro Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Franc (SRP $17.99): What a pleasant [estate-grown] surprise from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This wine is lean, fruit-forward and easy-drinking with well-balanced, yet round acids supporting black raspberry and high-toned red berry fruit aromas and flavors. A dusting of black pepper and baking spice caps off this enjoyable sipper. This is your go-to wine for red sauce dishes, pizza, and grilled burgers. Region: Truro, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Other info: ABV 12.5%, matured 18 months in used American 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!

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

1/11/2017

Quick Sip: Glorie Farm Winery 2014 Cabernet Franc

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is Glorie Farm Winery’s 2014 Cabernet Franc. I had an opportunity to try this wine for #CabFrancDay, a daylong, widely attended virtual celebration of the grape put on by the good folks at Dracaena Wines (who make a really nice Cabernet Franc too). This was not my first foray into New York wines, but it was one of the first Cabernet Francs from the Hudson River region I had a chance to experience. I had several people over for this event and the wine really impressed – in quality, typicity (as two called it textbook), and price (solid QPR).

Glorie Farm started out as a vineyard in 1983, with the planting of Seyval Blanc, a French-American hybrid grape. For a number of years the vineyard sold fruit to local wineries and home winemakers. In 2001, which was a very good and generous vintage, there was enough residual fruit left to produce 60 cases of Seyval Blanc. The 60 cases were produced under the Glorie Farm label. Grape grower Doug Glorie called the wine “fabulous” and in 2004 the winery was officially established. Besides Seyval Blanc and other varieties, Doug grows a really nice Cabernet Franc. The 2014 vintage is expressive, bright, and delicious; a lovely addition to any table. For further information and where you can find this wine, please check out my tasting notes below.

"We make wine really in the vineyard; if you take good care of your vines the wine-making process is much easier" ~ Doug Glorie 

Glorie Farm Winery 2014 Cabernet Franc (SRP $19): Here’s an appealing Cabernet Franc from New York’s Hudson River appellation. Medium ruby in color, this wine is lean, supple and streamlined, delivering a pleasing mix of tart cherry, black raspberry and plum notes which are nicely accented by violets and a smidgen of wild herbs. The flavors are supported by a nice lift of fresh acidity that carries through the satisfying finish. This wine is very enjoyable on its own, yet its bright and fresh character also makes it a versatile dinner companion. Get some in your wine glass! Region: Hudson Valley, New York. Other info: ABV 12%, 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!

12/19/2016

Quick Sip: Noble Tree Wickersham Ranch 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon

Hello Friends,

If you’re looking for a pleasing and affordable, no-fuss Cabernet Sauvignon, then this wine is for you. It is made in an approachable, fruit-forward style and is versatile enough to be enjoyed on its own or with a wide range of foods. The fruit comes from Wickersham Ranch, a sunny mountaintop vineyard in northwest Sonoma County, that’s situated at an altitude of approximately 2,200 feet. This high-elevation Cabernet retails for $25 but is under $20 at Cork Exclusive. Even better, free shipping is offered on any purchase of three or more bottles of wines or spirits. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.


Noble Tree Wickersham Ranch 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $25): Deep ruby, purple in color, this is a solid, everyday drinking Cabernet Sauvignon from a high-altitude site in northwestern Sonoma County. Inviting aromas of red berry fruit mixed with baking spices are joined by purple stone fruit, cracked black peppercorns and star anise on the palate. In the mouth, it’s well-balanced and supple with a good lift of juicy acidity propping up the velvet-like texture. A satisfying, medium-long finish caps off this medium-to-fuller bodied wine. Grab a bottle and add pizza, red sauce pasta dishes, or a gourmet burger and make your dining experience complete. Region: Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California. Other info: ABV 14.8%, wild yeast fermentation, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged for 10 months in 40% neutral French oak, 60% stainless, screw cap enclosure.

Click here to find this wine. It has a suggested retail price of $25 and is available for as low as $19.99 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 Noble Tree Wickersham Ranch 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon for just $19.99 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!

11/28/2016

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.

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

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!

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