8/09/2016

Recent Sips: Alta Vista, Pagos del Moncayo, and Weingut Schröck

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.

Reminder: You should be drinking rosé year-round!

The wines selected for this post represent good value in their respective category: rosé, red table wine, and dessert wine. This is a trio that can easily get you through a 3-course dinner. And you will be representing Argentina, Spain, and Austria on the table. I suggest pouring the rosé with starter dishes, the Garnacha with the main course, and the Spätlese with the dessert course.  For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.

Alta Vista 2015 Malbec Rosé

Alta Vista 2015 Malbec Rosé (SRP $12.99): This juicy, ruby red colored Argentinian rosé is made from 100% hand-harvested Malbec grapes. Light, vibrant, and well-balanced, flavors are redolent of ripe cherries, raspberry pulp, and white flowers. A pleasant beam of citrusy acidity carries the wine through the short-to-medium long finish. This wine is satisfying on its own, diverse on the table, and good value for the money. The feathered friend on the front label is the Tijereta (Tyrannus Savana) bird. This scissor-tailed flycatcher migrates to the region in spring; just in time to enjoy the new rosés of the season! Region: Mendoza, Argentina. Other info: ABV 12.5%, all stainless, cork enclosure, cork enclosure, imported by Kobrand Corporation, NY. Click here to find this wine.

Pagos del Moncayo 2013 Garnacha

Pagos del Moncayo 2013 Garnacha (SRP $26): This pleasing bottle of Garnacha delivers good value for the money. The fruit is hand-picked and foot-crushed. It is medium-to-full bodied, well-balanced, and offers good depth and appealing nuance. Grown in Campo de Borja, a wine appellation in the Aragón region of northeastern Spain, this Garnacha pours a beautiful deep ruby color. Ripe dark cherries, blackberry preserve and anise flavors lead the way, and are nicely accented by smoke, white pepper, baking spice, and cedar tones. The flavors continue to gain momentum through to the richly textured, supple finish. Enjoy this bottle with just about anything hot off the grill. Region: Campo de Borja, Spain. Other info: ABV 14.5%, Crianza: matured 10 months in American oak barrels, bottled unfiltered, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Weingut Schröck 2013 Spätlese

Weingut Schröck 2013 Spätlese (SRP $30 / 375ml): This wine comes from the Schröck estate in the historic village of Rust. Renowned for its botrytized sweet wines, this small town in Burgenland, Austria, is where Heidi Schröck cultivates approximately 24 acres of vines and crafts well-balanced dessert wines. This year marks her 28th harvest after taking over the family business. The 2013 Spätlese is composed of equal amounts of Welschriesling and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc). It pours a pale-yellow color, offering ripe stone fruit, tropical fruit, and floral perfume aromas that also extend to the palate. Light-to-medium in body, a nice lift of acidity balances the sweetness and keeps the wine relatively light on its feet. The pleasing, medium-long finish is tinged with hints of honey and marmalade. The producer recommends pairing a bottle with lobster or smoked catfish, which serves as quite the contrast when you think about it. I enjoyed this wine on its own and with blue-veined cheeses, dried apricots, figs, and a nice assortment of raw nuts. This wine is rather delightful and definitely worth seeking out. Region: Burgenland, Austria. Other info: ABV 12%, fermentation and aging in large acacia barrels, screw cap 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: These wines were provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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

7/25/2016

Alternative White Wine Flight with Tercero Wines, Alpha Estate, and Maior de Mendoza

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.


When I first got into wine, one of the first things I did was become wholly familiar with the “big six” grape varieties. Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc make up this exclusive club along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. These noble varieties share a commonality: they are widely planted/widely available, have excellent name recognition, and a proven track record of producing world class wines in a wide range of styles. And while the ‘big six’ are near and dear to my heart and wine glass, there’s a myriad of grape varieties that are well worth getting to know. I’ve recommended three in this post: Grenache Blanc, Malagouzia and Albariño. For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.



Tercero Wines 2013 Santa Ynez Valley Grenache Blanc (SRP $25): This gem comes from winemaker Larry Schaffer of Tercero Wines in Los Olivos, California. Mr. Schaffer’s passion and specialty is crafting Rhone-inspired wines. Don’t let the screw cap enclosure on Larry's red and white wines fool you – these wines are built to last. This Grenache Blanc is just coming into its own and has the capability to improve in the cellar over time. Made in an appealing, refreshing style, this wine is inviting and aromatic, with rich flavors redolent of quince, well-ripened yellow fleshed and pithy fruits backed by lemon curd notes and lingering hints of petrol. The acidity is bright and fresh, keeping the wine’s relatively generous mouthfeel in check. The finish is medium-long and textured. Don’t serve this wine too chilled; the aromas and flavors open up nicely somewhere between 55 and 60 degrees. This is a beautiful example of Grenache Blanc for anytime enjoyment that will also shine at the dinner table. Approximately 175 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Santa Ynez Valley, California. Other info: ABV 13.6%, fermented in neutral French oak barrels, matured in neutral French oak barrels for 10 months, screw cap enclosure. Click here to find this wine.


Alpha Estate 2015 Turtles Vineyard Malagouzia (SRP $18.99): Malagouzia (or Malagousia) is a white grape native to Greece. Several decades ago, this lesser-known variety was nearly extinct. Today, it is planted throughout the vineyards of Greece. Fruit for this wine comes from a single vineyard block aptly named ‘Turtles,’ which is situated at an elevation of more than 2,000 feet. This site was an ancient nesting area for local turtle species that the good folks at Alpha Estate continue to preserve and protect. Pale yellow in color, this wine is bright and lively, delivering aromas and flavors of citrus fruit and melon, backed by notes of honeysuckle and hints of rose petal and citrus peel. It is crisp and tangy in the mouth, remaining fresh throughout, and ending in a nice, medium-long textured finish. I can see this bottle pairing exceptionally well with Mediterranean fare, summer salads or a cheese, nut and fruit platter. Give it a try! It is an interesting and enjoyable alternative dry white wine to add to your sipping rotation. Region: Macedonia, Greece. Other info: ABV 12.5%, all stainless, two months sur lie, screw cap enclosure, imported by Diamond Importers Inc. Chicago, IL. Click here to find this wine.


Maior de Mendoza 2015 Fulget Albariño (SRP $11): Rías Baixas not only grows deliciously refreshing wines made from the Albariño variety, but women have equal footing in the region’s winemaking industry. I believe at least 50% of the vintners there are female, which is awesome! At Maior de Mendoza, winemaking duties are led by well-respected oenologist and consultant, Cristina Mantilla. The Fulget Albariño is clean, cool, and delightfully crisp with bright citrus and apricot notes. It has a mouthwatering raciness with ample acidity that lifts the fruit from start to finish. This is a very pleasing wine for summer and beyond that won’t break the piggy. Enjoy this bottle on its own or pair it with tapas, fish tacos or chicken kabobs. By the way, Fulget is a Latin word meaning glow, and this wine does have an unending vibrancy to it that I think you will appreciate. Region: Rías Baixas, Spain. Other info: ABV 12%, all stainless, cork enclosure, imported by M Imports, LLC in Fairfield, CT. 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: These wines were provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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

7/11/2016

Quick Sip: Angels & Cowboys Sonoma County 2015 Rosé

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is Angels & Cowboys Sonoma County 2015 Rosé. Angels & Cowboys is a collaborative effort between the co-founders of Cannonball Wine Company, Yoav Gilat and Dennis Hill, and northern California graphic artist, Michael Schwab. The joint business endeavor is clearly headed in the right direction. Everything about the packaging is appealing and on point; and the pale salmon colored wine is drop dead gorgeous. This rosé is made from a blend of Grenache Rouge, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Grenache Blanc; all sourced from distinct sites in Carneros, Alexander Valley, and Dry Creek Valley. The grapes harvested were picked with the sole intention of making rosé, as opposed to saignée -- a by-product of red wine fermentation -- or other methods. Stylistically, Angels & Cowboys looked to the south of France for inspiration; drawing on lightness of color and body, combined with a sense of refinement and a lively, refreshing character.

"There's a lover, a trailblazer and a rule breaker in all of us. Dare to indulge." ~ Angels & Cowboys

Coming off their first vintage in 2013, popularity for the rosé increased; as did production, going from 3K cases in 2014 to doubling that amount the following year. And by overwhelming request, their customer-base influenced a change from cork closure to screw cap for rosé. Currently, there is no tasting room, but don’t let that stop you from getting your hands on this delicious wine. You can find this rosé and Angels & Cowboys’ Proprietary Red blend in select wine shops and restaurants. Gotham Wines in New York City carries this rosé for the pocket-friendly price of $12.99 and can ship directly. I highly recommend adding this wine to your summer rotation and make sure to save a bottle or two for Thanksgiving festivities. It really offers great overall value. Remember: while rosé is largely synonymous with summer, its versatility and food-friendly nature offers year-round satisfaction and pleasure. For further information and where you can find this rosé, please see my tasting notes below.

Angels & Cowboys Sonoma County 2015 Rosé

Angels & Cowboys Sonoma County 2015 Rosé (SRP $14.99): Everything about this rosé is appealing: the packaging, price point and, most importantly, the juice inside the bottle. It pours a lovely light salmon color with a marked delicacy, freshness and nuance. Aromas and subtle flavors of citrus blossom and white flowers lead the way, followed by faint red berries and an understated mineral underpinning. Though sleek & racy, this rosé has brisk acids and carries enough weight and texture to move onto the dinner table with main course entrees such as grilled fish, poultry, and most vegan dishes. It is also a pleasure to sip all on its own and a perfect companion for summer salads, sushi or picnic fare. Approximately 6,000 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Sonoma Country, California. Other info: ABV 12.8%, aged on its yeast lees for a little over 2 months, screw cap enclosure. Click here to find this wine.


I would like to thank Protocol Wine Studio for hosting the month-long ‘Sonoma’s Rosé Revolution!’ program. This was an enjoyable virtual event extending throughout June that also highlighted rosés from Passaggio and Pedroncelli Winery. 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, informative, 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: This wine was a sample provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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

6/30/2016

Quick Sip: The Winery at Bull Run 2015 Chambourcin Rosé

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is The Winery at Bull Run’s 2015 Chambourcin Rosé. The Winery at Bull Run is located in Centreville, Virginia and borders the historic Manassas National Battlefield Park. Situated on over 225 sprawling acres, The Winery at Bull Run is the largest operating farm in Fairfax County.  The winery crafts Virginia-grown wines from its two on-site vineyards; over 8 acres are planted in Centreville and approximately 42 acres are planted at their second property in Little Washington, Virginia.

Rosé shines and shines brightly during the warm summer months.

Chambourcin is a hardy French-American hybrid grape variety that’s fairly prevalent on the east coast. It was first introduced by French hybridist Joannes Seyve in 1963, but its true origins and parentage are all but a question mark. What we do know, however, is Chambourcin is more than capable of producing some very nice full-flavored, deeply colored red table wines. And clearly, Chambourcin is quite proficient at making thirst-quenching pink wines too! While rosé is good anytime, it truly shines brightly and refreshes during the warm summer months. If you’re local, The Winery at Bull Run is approximately 30 minutes from the nation's capital, so get out and enjoy the atmosphere, views, weekend entertainment, all the sunshine you can stand, and the wine! For further information and where you can find this rosé, please see my tasting notes below.

The Winery at Bull Run 2015 Chambourcin Rosé

The Winery at Bull Run 2015 Chambourcin Rosé (SRP $29): The Chambourcin fruit for this wine was sourced from the producer’s Rock Mill estate vineyard in Little Washington, Virginia.  This rosé pours a vibrant, ruby red color with lifted aromas of fresh red berries. In the mouth, it is light-to-medium bodied with waves of up-front red fruit notes redolent of raspberry, tart cherries and cranberry. The flavors wrap around a nice spine of acid and are rounded out by a delicate wisp of sweetness. The finish is medium-long and pleasingly fruity. It’s refreshingly satisfying all on its own, yet a nice partner to summer salads, Mediterranean fare, or finger foods. I’ve been on a barbeque kick of late, so I enjoyed it with pulled pork & sliced brisket sliders with all the fixings. Approximately 406 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Little Washington, Virginia. Other info: ABV 13%, 100% Chambourcin, all stainless steel, screw cap 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 provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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

6/27/2016

Quick Sip: Pedroncelli 2015 Dry Rosé of Zinfandel

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is Pedroncelli’s 2015 Dry Rosé of Zinfandel. Pedroncelli was the third producer to join Protocol Wine Studio’s month-long ‘Sonoma’s Rosé Revolution!’ program known on Twitter as [hashtag] #winestudio. This wine themed program runs every Tuesday at 9PM EST and is highly interactive and a whole lot of fun [so tune in!]. Pedroncelli Winery is situated in Sonoma County, and the Pedroncelli family has called the region home since 1927. Today, four generations of the Pedroncelli family oversee winery and farming operations. Pedroncelli has produced a Zinfandel-based rosé since the mid-1950s. Back then and through the 1970s, their rosés were fruit forward and sweeter in style. In the last ten years, however, their rosés have become drier and zippier. This is a style largely in demand nowadays as these rosés are enjoyed for their versatility, refreshing nature, and food-friendliness.

This rosé is an excellent choice for barbeque fare. 

Rosé can be made in a variety of ways and the 2015 Dry Rosé of Zinfandel employs two.  The first uses free run juice from grapes picked early (to preserve freshness and acidity) and this makes up 60% of the blend.  The remainder is juice bled from a fermenting tank of fully ripened Zinfandel – this is known as the saignée method. The resultant wine is ripely fruited, even a bit fleshy, with mouthwatering acidity. This type of rosé pairs wonderfully with barbecue fare, which is what I enjoyed it with. There’s a smidgen of residual sugar on the back-end that serves to complement thick, sweeter sauces, too. This rosé is affordable, fun, and ripe for summer sipping! For further information and where you can find it, please see my tasting notes below.

Pedroncelli 2015 Dry Rosé of Zinfandel

Pedroncelli 2015 Dry Rosé of Zinfandel (SRP $12): This medium-bodied rosé is produced from 40 to 65 year old Zinfandel vines grown in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley.  The wine sports a vivid, brilliant pink color, offering succulent fruit intensity, driven by fleshy red berry flavors that are underscored by juicy acidity. There are trailing hints of grapefruit and a delicate kiss of sweetness filling out the refreshingly, crisp finish. Overall, a very satisfying, no-fuss and affordable rosé suitable for picnics, cookouts, and summer pleasure. As with most rosés, the producer recommends enjoying this bottling in its youth while it is fresh, vibrant and fruity. Approximately 2,000 cases of this pink juice were produced. Region: Sonoma Country, Dry Creek Valley, California. Other info: ABV 13.9%, all stainless steel, screw cap 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 provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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

6/21/2016

#SummerSips with Vinkara Wines, Villa Maria Estate, and Biokult

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.

#SummerSips with Vinkara Wines, Villa Maria, and Biokult

The summer heat is finally here, and the selections for this post are all ideal warm weather wines for lunch, picnics or just to keep cool on the porch or poolside. All three recommendations are fun, affordable, and guaranteed to refresh! For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.

Vinkara 2013 Narince

Vinkara 2013 Narince (SRP $15): Narince means “delicately” in Turkish. This white grape variety is indigenous to Anatolia in north central Turkey. It is one of several ancient varieties – all native to the region, that Ardic Gursel of Vinkara seeks to introduce to the rest of the wine world. The wine pours a pale yellow, with aromas and flavors suggestive of citrus blossom, lemon peel, and dried floral notes followed by stony hints. It is medium-bodied with a refreshing lift of acidity that extends through the finish. A particularly good food wine, I enjoyed a glass with an Old-Bay seasoned shrimp salad. For those of you who have not tried a Turkish wine, this producer is a great place to start. Region: Black Sea Region, Turkey. Other info: ABV 13%, cork enclosure, imported by Winebow Inc. in NY, NY. Click here to find this wine.

Villa Maria 2016 Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc

Villa Maria 2016 Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc (SRP $14.99): Villa Maria is a well-known family owned New Zealand winery that was founded in 1961. Year-in and year-out, you can count on this producer to deliver solid and affordable Marlborough wines made from the noble Sauvignon Blanc grape variety. The 2016 growing season was relatively cool with a prolonged Indian summer providing ideal ripening conditions. The resultant wine is pale straw in color, with aromas of fresh cut herbs, lemon oil and lime. It is sleek and racy in the mouth, brimming with vibrant citrus fruit and guava flavors alongside chives, cut grass and lemongrass, ending with a lively, slightly tart finish. This is a very nice summer refresher for which the food pairing possibilities are endless. Unscrew, pour, and enjoy! Region: Marlborough, New Zealand. Other info: ABV 12.5%, screw cap enclosure, imported by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates LTD in WA. Click here to find this wine.

Biokult 2015 Zweigelt Rosé

Biokult 2015 Zweigelt Rosé (SRP $13.99): The Biokult brand is produced by the Michlits family. They are one of the most influential and creative organic wine-growing families in Austria. Zweigelt is Austria’s most widely grown red grape variety and the fruit for this rosé comes from a Demeter-certified Biodynamic vineyard in the Niederösterreich - Qualitätswein appellation. Pale cranberry in color, flavors suggest ripe cherry pulp and fresh raspberries elevated by a springy, citrus-tinged acidity. This wine is fun, straight-forward and lively, with just a smidgen of residual on the back-end. For that reason, it paired very well with my batch of moderately spicy jerk wings and fixings. Overall, this is a rosé that won’t break the piggy bank that you’ll want to pack in your picnic basket or cooler for outdoor get-togethers. Region: Niederösterreich, Austria. Other info: ABV 10.5%, all stainless, 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: These wines were provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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

6/13/2016

Quick Sip: Passaggio 2015 Merlot Rosé

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is Passaggio’s 2015 Merlot Rosé. Passaggio is based in Sonoma County, California, and owned by winemaker & certified social media rock-star, Cindy Cosco. In 2004, Ms. Cosco retired from a fifteen year career in Law Enforcement to pursue her passion for winemaking. Her winery specializes in small lots of handcrafted wines that are sourced from some of the area’s top vineyards. Last Tuesday, Ms. Cosco kicked off Protocol Wine Studio’sSonoma’s Rosé Revolution!’ program. This rosé session runs four weeks and is an open discussion about the pink wines of Sonoma County with some of the people who produce them. To join this highly interactive, Twitter-based wine education program use hashtag #winestudio.  I recommend following the hashtag and tuning in every Tuesday at 9PM EST. The subject may vary from month-to-month, but it is always wine-themed, informative, and a whole lot of fun.

Here’s a bottle that won’t disappoint on a warm, sunny day. 

The Merlot fruit for this rosé was sourced from a single vineyard in Sonoma County. Rosé is made in a variety of ways, but the fruit for this wine was picked with the intent of making rosé. After Ms. Cosco and a group of friends picked the fruit, the berries were taken straight to the winery, pressed, and fermented in cold stainless steel tanks to preserve its fresh, fruity character. For many of us, the warmer weather means a lot of outdoor parties, events and activities. This rosé is an ideal refresher to complement such summer get-togethers. Ms. Cosco says, “I believe something magical happens when you bring wonderful friends, awesome food, and great wines together." And I wholly agree with that! For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

Passaggio 2015 Merlot Rosé

Passaggio 2015 Merlot Rosé ($28): Simply put, this rosé is pretty to look at and fun to drink. A brilliant bright pink in color, this refreshing wine delivers waves of fresh red berry fruit and plum aromas and flavors. It is succulent and juicy with round acids, giving way to a slightly gripping, clean and textured finish. Delicious on its own, this wine is versatile at the table as well. I enjoyed it with Mediterranean fare, but think grilled chicken salad, tapas or picnic fare (like a ham sandwich, potato chips, and deviled eggs). Only 48 cases of this wine were produced, so get it while the getting is good. Region: Sonoma County, California. Other info: ABV 13.2%, screw cap 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 provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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

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