2/24/2010

Wine Geek Speak: Vin de Paille


Hello Friends,

Today’s geek speak term will appeal to the sweet wine lover in you. The term vin de paille, pronounced ‘van duh pah-yuh,’ is French for ‘straw wine.’ These wines are made from grapes or grape bunches that are either hung or spread out and dried on straw mats or trays. This process allows the moisture to evaporate from the grapes, concentrating the sugars and the overall flavor profile. During the fermentation process, the sugars are high enough to craft a wine with a good level of alcohol, with enough residual sugar to make a tasty and lush dessert wine.

Grape Bunches Drying on Mats 


In Italy the term for this method is called ‘passito.’ Here in Virginia we are fortunate enough to have a few producers who utilize this method to produce fabulous dessert wines. Look for the review of a local liquid treat made using this method on my blog! If you have a favorite wine that's made using this method please share it in the comment section. Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com, and as always, Happy Sipping!

Stay tuned friends ...More to come!

Please Click Here to vote Dezel's My Vine Spot as your favorite wine blog - You can vote 1x per day! Many Thanks :)

Happy Sipping Friends - Tell your friends about www.myvinespot.com and thanks for your support and kind emails !

My Vine Spot © 2006-2010. All rights reserved.

2/22/2010

Big Red Wine Time


Hello Friends,

I recently attended a wine tasting at a friend’s house where the tasting theme for the evening was big red wines. Such a theme can leave the playing field open for some, right? For a white wine or blush drinker, Pinot Noir may come across as big – at least some New World examples can. When someone says "big red wine", what do you think of? I tend to think of a flavorful, full-bodied, rich wine with good concentration and balance. Big red wines also tend to be a bit heady (alcoholic), even tannic, but balance is key. At this themed tasting, each of us was asked to bring a big red wine, and it was no surprise that two of the four wines were Cabernet Sauvignon.

Other grape varieties known for making big red wines include Zinfandel, Nebbiolo, and Syrah, etc. Here in Virginia, Petit Verdot is gaining popularity as a varietal wine and in good vintage years can produce a big red wine with deep color, solid tannins, and good structure. If you are hunting for a Virginia Petit Verdot allow me to point you to the North Gate Vineyards 2008 Petit Verdot. This selection just won a gold medal at the 2010 Virginia Governors Cup competition and can be found for under $20 at the Leesburg Vintner. Below are the wines tasted and the order we tasted them in:

Reds or Big Reds?

  • 2003 Roureda Llicorella Priorat ~ Not sure if I would call this a big red, but it is a nice wine with red fruit, anis, and sweet tobacco leaf aromas. On the palate the wine is smooth and velvety with good fruit and subtle earthy flavors. If I had any of these cellared I would think about drinking them soon. This is definitely a nice intro to Priorat wines. 
  • 2007 Joseph Carr Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley ~ This wine was fuller in body, but not overly “big”. The Joseph Carr is an easy-drinking, fruit-forward style of Cabernet Sauvignon that’s a nice value selection at around $22. It offered currant and blackberry aromas in a smooth and silky, yet structured wine.
  • 2006 Larkmead Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley ~ This is an aromatic, full-bodied, elegantly-styled, and complex wine. This selection offered dark fruit, mineral, smoke, and cocoa notes, complimented by good balance, a solid structure, ripe tannins, and a long lingering finish.  
  • 2004 Selvanova Silicata Aglianico ~ Aglianico is a high quality Italian variety known for big tannins and concentrated flavors. We decanted this wine for 45 minutes prior to tasting, but it could have used more time. This wine was big, meaty, and chewy with licorice, black pepper, spice, and cedar notes. This is definitely not a sipping wine, but a wine to pair with hearty fare. 
Sometimes it's best to decant or aerate a "Big Red Wine"


In closing, we swirled, sniffed, sipped and enjoyed these wine selections over great conversation and fine nibbles. It is always good tasting with others and bouncing thoughts off of another person’s eyes, nose, and palate. So let’s hear what runs across your palate when someone says “big red wine.” Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com , and as always, Happy Sipping!

Buy wine online and get 50% off shipping of 6 or more bottles with coupon code "vinefeb" .

Stay tuned friends ...More to come!

Please Click Here to vote Dezel's My Vine Spot as your favorite wine blog - You can vote 1x per day! Many Thanks :)


Happy Sipping Friends - Tell your friends about www.myvinespot.com and thanks for your support and kind emails !


My Vine Spot © 2006-2010. All rights reserved.

2/18/2010

Q&A with Jordan Harris of Tarara Winery


Hello Friends,

Today's Q&A session is with Jordan Harris, winemaker and General Manager of Tarara Winery, located just north of Leesburg, nearby the small village of Lucketts. Tarara Winery is nestled on a beautiful 475 acre farm property that’s bordered by the Potomac River. Jordan came to Tarara Winery in 2007 from Canada, where he was an accomplished winemaker in the Niagara region of Ontario. With great customer service behind the bar, picturesque scenery, and award-winning wines, Tarara Winery is one of the most popular wine destinations in Loudoun County. This Q&A will give you some insight into the winery and why you should forge a relationship with this producer. Read on and enjoy, friends.

Winemaker Jordan Harris of Tarara Winery


Dezel: Is there a special bottle that initially got you into wine? If so, tell us a little about that experience.
Jordan Harris: I first got excited about wine working in a restaurant as a bus boy. The first wine that got me excited was the 1991 Masi Costasera Amarone della Valpolicella. I remember it being a complex beverage with massive weight showing lots of dried fruit character. My friend who let me try it ended up being the best man at my wedding, go figure.


Dezel: In your personal experience, how does growing wine grapes and making wine in Canada compare to growing wine grapes and making wine in Virginia?
Jordan Harris: There are several similar characteristics with Northern Virginia and the Niagara Peninsula in regards to pressures growing grapes. They are both quite humid which makes mildew the biggest target of both. The big difference with viticulture is that Niagara tends to be about 5-10 degrees cooler allowing grape varieties like Riesling and Pinot Noir to get the hang time they need, but they struggle ripening Syrah, Cabs, or Viognier like we can here. Winemaking is different for me because there I was trying to tame the ripping acids that give their Riesling and Pinot great character, here I have to concentrate on the tannins and flavor development.

Beautiful Shadow Lake at Tarara Winery ~Perfect Spot for a Sip!


Dezel: Many winemakers tell me they came to Virginia “for the challenge.” Has it been challenging?
Jordan Harris: Yes and no. It is challenging everywhere, just for different reasons. I like wine-growing in Virginia because there is incredible potential and differing terroirs all across the state. To make the best wines takes attention to detail wherever you are. I do not believe we are at any disadvantage nor do we have more challenges in Virginia in comparison to anywhere else.


Dezel: Tell us a little bit about today’s Tarara Winery. What’s new?
Jordan Harris: We are getting more focused. We are better examining the vineyards and varieties we use. Therefore we are narrowing the number of wines we make and concentrating on the vineyards to express the wine best. We are also not trying to force grape varieties and styles that do not suite or match our ultra-premium approach.


Dezel: As a winemaker, tell us a little about your wine style and winemaking philosophy. What can Virginia wine lovers expect out of a bottle of Tarara wine?
Jordan Harris: I am not sure I have a set style. My goal is to best express the vintage, the vineyard and the variety as it relates to that vineyard. Since making wine in Virginia I have found my Reds to be more structured asking for some bottle age or great food pairings and my whites to be softer, fuller and more aromatic and they should be consumed younger. That was the opposite when I was making wine in Canada. In vintages like 2007 you could expect Tarara wines to have massive structure, body and fruit. In vintages like 2008 you could expect something with more complex aromatics, yet also more approachable today.

Jordan pouring Tarara's finest @ DC Food & Wine Festival


Dezel: You are one of the few and first Virginia producers to move their entire portfolio to a screw-top enclosure system. What compelled you to do this? In your humble opinion, is it better for the wine in the end?
Jordan Harris: Our wine is about what is in the bottle and using screw-tops is the only way I can assure you will receive what we intended. Corks cause that lovely taint showing moldy newspaper or dank basement aromas and finishes with the taste of crushed aspirin in a percentage of their wines. Screw-tops also maintain a consistency with bottle age while gaining complexity whereas bottles with cork closures will show more bottle to bottle variation after several years. If the best part of a bottle of wine is opening it, it is a bad bottle of wine. I guess what I mean is, in my humble opinion screw-tops are better for the wine. It is not really new anymore, it just has not been adopted strongly here yet.


Dezel: What are your favorite food and Tarara wine pairings? Help us out here so we can try these at home.
Jordan Harris:
1) Steak and Frites – Meritage 2007
2) Fields of Athenry Lamb Sausage – Syrah 2007
3) Oxtail Ragout – Cabernet Franc 2007
4) Rare Sesame Crusted Tuna – Viognier 2008
5) Local Rockfish w/lemon butter – Charval 2008

Wine is meant to be shared with food and friends.


Dezel: What do you consider to be the best thing about the Virginia wine industry as well as an area the industry can improve in?
Jordan Harris: We have such incredible potential to make the best Rhone varieties in the USA. We are a three hours drive from one of the most wine sophisticated cities (New York City) and one hour from a close second (Washington DC) in the world. We need to be more confident in Virginia’s ability for quality grapes and be more innovative and sustainable.


Dezel: Besides your own wines filling your wine glass, tell us some other local and global selections you thoroughly enjoy – region or producer specific is fine.
Jordan Harris:
1) Glen Manor Sauvignon Blanc 2007 or 2008 – Virginia
2) Delaplane Cellars Syrah 2007 – Virginia
3) K Vintners Ovide 2003 –Walla Walla
4) Pax Wine Cellars Walker Vine Hill Vineyard 2002 – Russian River
5) Georg Breuer Riesling Terra Montosa 2001 – Rheingau
6) Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage 2005
7) Cave Spring CSV Riesling 2003 – Niagara Peninsula
8) Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 – Margaret River
9) Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva 2004
10) Tenuta Sette Ponti Crognolo 2007 – Toscana


Dezel: Any new wines or events at Tarara this spring that we should know about?
Jordan Harris: June 12th is our second annual Fine Vine…Just say Viognier event. There is a tasting panel (we are not included in the panel) of sommeliers, wine writers, wine aficionados, etc that select the top 5 Viogniers they taste from Virginia. All Virginia wineries are invited to submit wines. Each Viognier is paired with a course created using locally sourced food for a beautiful 5 course meal. We will also host local music and separate tasting seminars and other entertainment throughout the day. More information regarding the wines selected and the restaurants that will be here will be posted as it comes available on our website at http://www.tarara.com/

We also have our Toast to the Tunes Concert Series starting in June and will host a concert every Saturday night through the summer. We also host weekly premier, cellar and vineyard tastings starting in the spring (Premier has already started) and have music on our deck every Sunday through spring, summer, and fall.


Dezel: Thanks for your time and appearing on My Vine Spot Q&A, Jordan. I enjoyed learning more about you and Tarara Winery and I know my friends will too. To learn more about Tarara Winery, friends, click on the link below.

Winery Info: Tarara Winery, 13648 Tarara Lane, Leesburg, VA 20176 Telephone: (703) 771-7100



Buy wine online and get 50% off shipping of 6 or more bottles with coupon code "twojan" .



Stay tuned friends ...More to come!


Please Click Here to vote Dezel's My Vine Spot as your favorite wine blog - You can vote 1x per day! Many Thanks :)

Happy Sipping Friends - Tell your friends about www.myvinespot.com and thanks for your support and kind emails !

My Vine Spot © 2006-2010. All rights reserved.

2/13/2010

Pinotage Party Recap: “I’m Coming Out!”

Hello Friends,

The Pinotage Party is here and we are changing the song from “Don’t Let Me be Misunderstood” to the 80’s hit by Diana Ross, “I’m Coming Out,” because that’s exactly what we’re doing, bringing a good bottle of Pinotage out via our respective wine blogs for all to see. For those who already enjoy a good bottle of Pinotage from time to time, great! Hopefully this will open up your eyes to some new selections or remind you about a selection you have enjoyed in the past. For those of you who have reservations about Pinotage, I hope you use these reviews to give Pinotage a chance in your glass. Check out the reviews from my awesome wine blogging buddies who participated in the “Pinotage Party” below. If you did not participate and have a Pinotage to recommend, please chime in and let us know what it is. Thank you to all who participated.

Pinotage Grapes

  • Peter May, founder of The Pinotage Club, who has an excellent wine blog that is dedicated to the South African grape variety that we are celebrating, reviewed the Beyerskloof Pinotage 2008 and the Kanonkop Estate Pinotage 2006. Both of these wines are from Stellenbosch, South Africa. If you want to expand your Pinotage horizons, friends, subscribe to Peter’s wine blog here.

  • Sue Courtney of Wine of Week wine blog reviewed the Kerr Farm Kumeu Pinotage 2004 from Auckland, New Zealand. Although I have heard a lot about New Zealand Pinotage, these wines are difficult to find here in the States. Sue’s informative review really has me excited to find one!

  • Old school punk rocker and fellow wine blogging buddy Ben of Vinotology reviewed the Fleur Du Cap Pinotage 2007 from Stellenbosch, South Africa. Ben says, "Waiter, There's a Pig in My Wine." Click on the link for the pork filled details, friends.

  • My friends The Terroirists reviewed the Sebeka Shiraz-Pinotage 2007 from the Western Cape of South Africa. Check out their review and the goose hunt my wine pals had to go on to find a Pinotage in Walla Walla, Washington St.

  • Tonisha, of The Grapevine wine blog reviewed the Golden Kaan Pinotage 2006 from the Western Cape of South Africa. Tonisha paired this wine with a dish and the result was what she calls “amazing!” Click here to read the delicious details, friends.

My selection for the “Pinotage Party” was the Spier Private Collection Pinotage 2006. Spier was among one of the first established farm winery’s in the acclaimed Stellenbosch wine producing region. The “Private Collection” label is made in limited quantities from hand-selected & sorted fruit and only released in good vintage years.

Pinotage Pours of Joy

The Spier Private Collection Pinotage 2006 is a fruit-focused, solid structured wine with a complex frame-work. It does not have the overwhelming gamy, smoky, and sometimes austere character that turns some tasters away. In the glass, the Spier Private Collection Pinotage 2006 exhibits a deep, rich garnet color that shows its concentration. The swirl & sniff offers intense dark cherry and plum aromas with toast and spice undertones and a faint hint of tobacco leaf. On the sip, the wine is mouth-filling and ripe with rounded tannins and a lush texture with a long juicy finish. This wine clocks in at 14.5% alcohol by volume and has a real cork enclosure. In my humble opinion, this is more of a food wine that would pair nicely with pork, game, and lamb dishes. While this Pinotage is well made, for $20 you have to think about dropping the Cinsaut and looking for a straight entry level Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley or Russian River Valley. But depending on your evening fare, a Pinotage wine of this stature may very well be a better paring than that of its parent Pinot Noir. Either way, if you curious about Pinotage, this is definitely worth your buy and try, friends.


Stay tuned friends ... lot's more to come, including a Tannat tasting by Keith of @brainwines !

Please Click Here to vote Dezel's My Vine Spot as your favorite wine blog - You can vote 1x per day! Many Thanks :)

Happy Sipping Friends - Tell your friends about www.myvinespot.com and thanks for your support and kind emails !

Dezel's My Vine Spot © 2006-2010. All rights reserved.

2/11/2010

On Cork’d: “Terroir” A Term Misused, or am I just Wrong?

Hello Friends,

I’ve been tapped by the good folks at Cork’d, the social wine community, to contribute original content on their Cork’d Content site. I’m delighted to be in the company of other wine bloggers and to contribute to the juicy conversation that covers a variety of wine related topics. Some topics are entertaining, others are enlightening and educational, but in the end, it all goes back to the beverage we enjoy – wine!

Visist Cork'd and join the fun!

My first article asks the question “What is terroir?” Is there really a definitive answer nowadays? Please take a look and comment. I have provided a link below and would love to hear what you have say. Also, please take a careful look through the other articles as well. There are many talented bloggers at Cork’d Content and the articles make for some great reading. I look forward to periodically contributing to Cork’d Content as well as reading what my wine blogging friends have to say.

LINK: Terroir: A Term Misused, or am I just Wrong?


Stay tuned friends ... lot's more to come!

Please Click Here to vote Dezel's My Vine Spot as your favorite wine blog - You can vote 1x per day! Many Thanks :)

Happy Sipping Friends - Tell your friends about www.myvinespot.com and thanks for your support and kind emails !

Dezel's My Vine Spot © 2006-2010. All rights reserved.

2/08/2010

In Review: The Sipping Point - A Crash Course in Wine

Hello Friends,

Looking for a good wine book to kick-start your palate and help demystify the ABC’s of wine? Laurie Forster, also known as “The Wine Coach”, has just what you need in a sleek and attractive book titled The Sipping Point – A Crash Course in Wine. This informative book is easy to read and loaded with a wealth of valuable wine information. This is the type of book I should have had when I first got into wine in 2005. It would have made figuring out grape varieties, pronunciations, food and wine pairings, etc. a whole lot easier. Wine can be intimidating, and The Sipping Point is spot-on for the person who enjoys wine but knows nothing about wine; except for the fact that it inspires mirth and tastes good. The Sipping Point is also chock-full of eye-catching color pictures, snappy quotes, and it answers many of the common questions that a wine novice would ask. To order a copy of “The Sipping Point”, visit Laurie’s website or the Amazon store. Also, be sure to check Laurie’s event calendar; I’m sure there is a tasting event or two that may interest you. Remember, the more you learn, the more fun wine can be.

The Sipping Point - A Crash Course in Wine

Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com , and as always, Happy Sipping!

Stay tuned friends ... lot's more to come!

Please Click Here to vote Dezel's My Vine Spot as your favorite wine blog - You can vote 1x per day! Many Thanks :)

Happy Sipping Friends - Tell your friends about www.myvinespot.com and thanks for your support and kind emails !

Dezel's My Vine Spot © 2006-2010. All rights reserved.

2/04/2010

Pinotage: "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"


Hello Friends,

Remember the 60’s hit by Nina Simone “Don’t let me be misunderstood”? Well that song title fits Pinotage like a leather glove. Pinotage is a wine that turns some wine drinkers away, even in the grapes homeland of South Africa. Some of this reaction may be fair. Before vineyard and winery techniques improved, there were some harsh examples released for public consumption coming out of South Africa. Nowadays, there are some nice examples of Pinotage waiting to be uncorked or unscrewed and enjoyed. Pinotage is largely unique to South Africa and is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. Pinotage was bred at Stellenbosch University in the 1920’s and came to prominence some four decades later after winning numerous awards. Other wine producing regions doing good things with Pinotage are California and New Zealand. Believe it or not, we are doing good things with Pinotage right here in Virginia.

Join us for the Pinotage Party, friends!

This week a few of my Twitter friends joined the #pinotageparty with Keith of Brain Wines and me with the plan to review a bottle of Pinotage and post it to our respective blogs next Friday - February 12th, 2010. The idea here is to show that Pinotage is a wine worth buying and trying despite what you may have heard. To search the Pinotage Party on Twitter use the #pinotageparty hash-tag. The Pinotage Party-Goers include:

~~~ The Pinotage Party Roll ~~~

Keith of Brain Wines
John of
Anything Wine
Benjamin of
Vinotology
Randy of
The Wine Whore
Tonisha of
The Grapevine
Lindsay of Ronga's Rant
Peter May of
The Pinotage Club
Tammy of To Close to the Mason-Dixon
Gwendolyn of
wine.com blog
Sue of Wine of the week blog
Steven of Terroirists Wine blog
The Sassy Sisters of The Wine Harlots Wine blog

Check out these great blogs, friends !!!



Stay tuned friends ... lot's more to come!

Please Click Here to vote Dezel's My Vine Spot as your favorite wine blog - You can vote 1x per day! Many Thanks :)

Happy Sipping Friends - Tell your friends about www.myvinespot.com and thanks for your support and kind emails !

Dezel's My Vine Spot © 2006-2010. All rights reserved.

2/02/2010

Why are Roses in the Vineyard?

Hello Friends,

Ever wonder why some vineyards have roses planted throughout? For the average Virginia wine lover, an attractive rose plant accents the natural beauty and landscape of the Virginia countryside and makes the ritual of swirling, sniffing, and sipping fine Virginia wine even better. I took the healthy red beauty pictured below last year at Linden Vineyards, producer of some of the finest white and red wines in the state of Virginia.

What a Beauty !!!

So back to the question, why are roses planted in the vineyard? Well, roses are more susceptible to the same type of fungal disease (e.g., powdery mildew, downy mildew) as the grapevine. The roses in the vineyard serve as an early warning sign to the vineyard manager that action needs to be taken soon, or the grapevines will be infected next. Roses also welcome desirable insects that prey upon insects that are harmful to the vineyard. The next time you see roses in the vineyard that are as healthy as the one pictured, you will know the vines are doing just great! Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com , and as always, Happy Sipping!

Stay tuned friends ... lot's more to come!

Please Click Here to vote Dezel's My Vine Spot as your favorite wine blog - You can vote 1x per day! Many Thanks :)

Happy Sipping Friends - Tell your friends about www.myvinespot.com and thanks for your support and kind emails !

Dezel's My Vine Spot © 2006-2010. All rights reserved.

2/01/2010

Quick Sip: Kluge Albemarle Simply Red 2005

Hello Friends,

The last time I visited the Kluge Estate Farm Shop, I enjoyed a bottle of Kluge Albemarle Simply Red 2005 with friends. Since the 2002 vintage, I have been a fan of the Simply Red label because of its value and what it delivers in the bottle. This Bordeaux-styled blend is fairly consistent from vintage to vintage and makes for a very nice everyday, easy-drinking wine that sips nicely on its own and is also food-friendly.

Albemarle Simply Red 2005

The Albemarle Simply Red 2005 is like a number of well-made Virginia red wines suited to this style, in that it offers good but balanced fruit with just the right amount of acidity and moderate alcohol (13% alcohol by volume), packaged in a medium-bodied wine. You can pair this wine with anything from pizza to fatty fish like tuna and salmon, and for $13 - $14, you won’t break the piggy bank. While the Simply Red label is a very nice offering, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Kluge Estate is also one of the top sparkling wine producers in the state of Virginia. Visit their website or check your local wine shops and inquire about the Kluge Estate offerings. Total Wine and Shoppers carry select Kluge wines, including some sparkling selections and the Simply Red. Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com , and as always, Happy Sipping!

Info: Kluge Estate 100 Grand Cru Drive Charlottesville, VA 22902 Tel: 434-977-3895

Stay tuned friends ... lot's more to come!

Please Click Here to vote Dezel's My Vine Spot as your favorite wine blog - You can vote 1x per day! Many Thanks :)

Happy Sipping Friends - Tell your friends about www.myvinespot.com and thanks for your support and kind emails !

Dezel's My Vine Spot © 2006-2010. All rights reserved.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...