1/27/2011

Quick Sip: Folie à Deux 2008 Napa Valley Merlot

Hello Friends,

Today’s “Quick Sip”, the Folie à Deux 2008 Napa Valley Merlot, is the latest release for the Oakville wine producer. Folie à Deux, a French term meaning “shared fantasies”, reflects the producer’s goal of making enjoyable wines that in the producer’s words, “deliver a delightful shared experience.” Many of you are probably familiar with Folie à Deux’s second label, the hugely popular, provocatively named, and attractively priced (under $10) Ménage à Trois wine blends. In addition to Merlot, Folie à Deux produces a varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. With the exception of the Cabernet Sauvignon ($24), the remaining Folie à Deux varietal wines are priced under $20, which is an attractive price point for wine-buying consumers. Enough of my typing, let’s uncork the Merlot and share a fantasy!

Folie à Deux 2008 Napa Valley Merlot


In the glass, the Folie à Deux 2008 Napa Valley Merlot displays a clear rim surrounding an attractive clear garnet color. The swirl and sniff boasts fragrant scents of sweet cherry and ripe plum laced with baking spices. The palate is soft and supple with red fruit flavors extending to the mid-palate and spice nuances on the medium length finish. I enjoyed this wine with grilled chicken and mixed veggies and it paired nicely – complementing, not overwhelming the dish. The Folie à Deux 2008 Napa Valley Merlot retails for $18, has a real cork enclosure, and clocks in at 14.5% ABV – though sips as if it were a bit lower ABV. For under $20, this is a good midweek wine to consider that sips well on its own, but also pairs well with a wide variety of dishes.

** Local Twist **From a sippers perspective, Merlot does pretty good here in Virginia; generally producing soft, bright wines that pair well with a wide variety of foods. In my humble opinion, Merlot would probably be a more prominent varietal if it were not such an important blending variety - especially for the state's Bordeaux-style blends. Like Cabernet Franc, Merlot is a work-horse variety that is important and one of the top wine grapes in acreage today. Disclosure: A sample was provided to www.myvinespot.com for review. 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!

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CLICK HERE to visit the Folie à Deux website.

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1/24/2011

Getting Vertical with Gadino Cellars

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Hello Friends,

I recently paid a visit to Gadino Cellars, located in Washington, Virginia, to partake in their 3rd annual Cabernet Franc vertical tasting event. The event, led by charismatic owner Bill Gadino, featured vintages from 2004 to 2008 and a barrel sample from the 2010 vintage. Light appetizers were provided by Iron Bridge Wine Company in Warrenton, Virginia, and Chef Milton did a very good job of preparing foods that paired nicely with the Cabernet Franc wines.

Bill Gadino (Owner) and Derek Pross (Winemaker)


So what is a vertical tasting? A vertical tasting is a classic-themed tasting where the wines selected are from the same producer, generally the same wine (varietal), and from different, but often times, contiguous years. The point of such a tasting is to learn more about an individual producer, the producer’s style, and how the varying growing seasons affect the wine from year to year. In Gadino Cellar’s case, the fruit source was pretty much the same from year to year, so this vertical tasting also presented the opportunity to sample the vine maturity and to better understand similarities, as well as differences, produced from the vineyard.

Getting Vertical with Gadino Cellars


Cabernet Franc is one of the leading red wine grape varieties in Virginia. In the vineyard, Cabernet Franc does fairly well and typically produces accessible wines that are light to medium in color, body, flavor, and tannin. For Bill Gadino, as with most of us, a strong emphasis is placed on the happy marriage of food and wine. This is reflected in Gadino Cellar’s food-friendly style of Cabernet Franc wines. The 2004 thru 2006 vintages, considered overall normal years by Virginia standards, are light to medium brick in color and easy drinking with soft red fruit flavors, light spice and cedar components, a lean, yet rounded mouth feel, and moderate acidity. These wines are ready to be consumed now and will compliment, not over-power, a wide variety of food dishes.

Spectacular views from the expansive front porch


The 2007 growing season, considered good to very good, even great, for most local grape growers, produced a wine that’s violet crimson in color (darker than 04-06), with dark cherry, raspberry, spice, black pepper, and subtle violet aromas. The 2007 offers riper fruit, moderate complexity, smooth tannins, supple texture, and the presence of acidity, which makes it a good food partner to one of Bill Gadino's favorites -- Italian cuisine. In 2008, Gadino Cellars began using the saignée method to produce a Rosé wine. This method had a direct influence on their 2008 Cabernet Franc wine. The 2008 Rosé wine Gadino Cellars produced by way of the saignée method is a by-product of red wine fermentation. Early in the wine-making process of the Cabernet Franc wine, some of the juice is bled [removed] from the tank. The lighter colored bled juice is then used to make the Rosé wine. The remaining juice in the tank, which will make the Cabernet Franc, will ultimately be more flavorful and deeper/darker in color because the ratio of skin to juice contact is higher. This, compounded with a fairly nominal 2008 growing season, produced a 2008 Cabernet Franc that is slightly darker and larger in style than the 2007. The 2007 for me, has greater depth of flavor and complexities, but the 2008 has more structure, tannin profile, and capable of standing up to more substantial foods. The 2010 barrel sample, which will be available in 2012, shows good flavor and color intensity and gave a glimpse into the potential of the 2010 vintage. In closing, if it’s well-made, food-friendly Cabernet Franc wines you seek, check out Gadino Cellars. Winemaker Derek Pross is doing a good job in the winery and he’s also a good tweep to follow on Twitter. If you’re not following Gadino Cellars – CLICK HERE to follow their tweets and discuss Virginia wine.

Bill Gadino serving up barrel samples of the 2010 vintage


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!

CLICK HERE to friend up Gadino Cellars on Facebook.

CLICK HERE to visit Gadino Cellars and Winery website.

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

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1/17/2011

Quick Sip: 2008 Quivira Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel


Hello Friends,

Today’s “Quick Sip”, the 2008 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel [95% Zinfandel, 5% Syrah], is the latest red wine release from Quivira Vineyards and Winery. Quivira Vineyards and Winery is located in the Dry Creek Valley and is a solar-powered producer that has been a Demeter-certified biodynamic and organic winery since 2005. The Dry Creek Valley is an AVA (American Viticultural Area) located in the northern part of Sonoma County, California and is well-suited for growing high-quality Zinfandel wine grapes. As a matter fact, the Zinfandel grape variety has thrived in the area since the late 19th century and was the most widely planted wine grape in California before prohibition. Today, Zinfandel ranks as one of California's top producers.
2008 Quivira Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel


In the glass, the Quivira 2008 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel displays an attractive deep garnet color. The swirl and sniff reveals ripe red fruit, sweet plum, blackberry, and baking spice aromas with a dash of peppery spice on the back end. The palate is clean and fairly bright, with ripe, not jammy fruit, that’s balanced by good food-friendly acidity and moderately firm tannins on a rich and brisk medium length finish. I paired this wine with a freshly made vegetable pizza and the mozzarella softened the boyish tannins and the wine’s bright acidity made it a great food partner – overall, a very pleasing pairing. The Quivira 2008 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel retails for $20, has a real cork enclosure, and clocks in at 14.8% ABV. Enjoy this wine now, perhaps with pizza (hint-hint), or hold on to it for a few years and see where it goes. The ripe fruit and acid-tannin balance makes it a cellar-worthy selection that will more than likely reward its owner down the road.

** Local Twist **  Zinfandel is not well suited to Virginia. The summers are too warm [hot] and humid and the occasional rain-fall during the growing season doesn’t help much either. That said, local producers like Burnley Vineyards in Barboursville, Virginia produce and bottle a Zinfandel wine, but the fruit comes from California. Disclosure: A sample was provided to www.myvinespot.com for review. 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!

CLICK HERE to follow Quivira Vineyards and Winery on Twitter.

CLICK HERE to visit Quivira Vineyards and Winery website.

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


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1/10/2011

Route 9 Barrel Tasting: January 15th & 16th, 2011

Hello Friends,

Looking for something fun to do this weekend…something that involves swirling, sniffing, and sipping spitting wine with a double-splash of education? Sebastian Marquet, winemaker at Doukénie Vineyards, has put together a Loudoun County Route 9 barrel tasting event that includes Doukénie Winery, Hillsborough Vineyards, Loudoun Valley Vineyards, and Sunset Hills Vineyards. If you’ve had your ear to the vine, then you’ve heard that local grape-growers and winemakers are expecting very good things from the recent 2010 vintage. The growing season was warm-to-[very] hot with a fairly dry summer and many growers I’ve chatted with were pleased with the overall quality of fruit brought in. A barrel tasting event such as this, offers the unique opportunity to experience and evaluate the early stages of the vintage first-hand. It’s a chance to see what an immature wine looks like, smells like, and tastes like through its process of development. In short, you get to sample the future and gauge the potential of the developing wine(s) and vintage(s). Furthermore, the winemaker and/or grape-grower are usually on-hand and available to provide information about the wines and to answer questions.

Sebastian nosing around the barrel room during my visit


On a recent visit to Doukénie Winery, I bumped into Sebastian in the tasting room. After a brief chat, he offered to take me down to the barrel room to sample some of his developing 2010 wines. I’ve found that most local winemakers enjoy discussing and getting honest feedback about their wines, particularly those developing, from everyday wine drinkers just like you. Sebastian is pleased thus far with the 2010 vintage and the reason for that showed in the samples we tasted. The reds {Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petit Verdot} are ripe, but not overly, very masculine, well-structured, firm tannin profiles, and gaining some secondary complexities from their short time spent in barrel. These wines are far too young to enjoy now or cast judgment on, but based on the wines sampled, the future looks bright for Doukénie 2010 red wines. It is important to note however that many immature wines will show their youthfulness, rough edges, and sharpness, so to really appreciate them, a certain degree of forgiveness is imperative. The take-away from a barrel tasting, at least for me, is the valuable insight and education gained from tasting and discussing the young wines with the grape farmer and/or winemaker, and then revisiting the wines when they are bottled and ready to enjoy. Other than that, you’ll be surrounded by wine lovers and barrel tasting is just plain fun! 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!

CLICK HERE for more information and to purchase tickets. You can also call 540-668-6464 x202 or e-mail maria@doukniewinery.com.  ** 20% of proceeds will be donated to Inova Hospital **


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1/05/2011

Quick Sip: 2007 Château O’Brien Cabernet Franc Cellar Collection


Hello Friends,

Today’s “Quick Sip” is the Chateau O’Brien 2007 Cabernet Franc Cellar Collection. Chateau O’Brien is located in Markham, Virginia, and is one of the few Virginia producers to grow and produce a varietal Tannat. As a matter of fact, Tannat is their flagship red wine – made in a classic dry and late harvest style. Chateau O'Brien also grows and produces Cabernet Franc, which is one of the state's most widely planted red wine grape varieties. Overall, 2007 was a good to very good growing season for Virginia grape farmers. It was warm-to-hot and fairly dry, allowing producers to make riper and fuller wines than in normal years. The 2007 Cabernet Franc Cellar Collection more or less reflects this.

2007 Cabernet Franc Cellar Collection

In the glass, the 2007 Cabernet Franc Cellar Collection displays a dark ruby color and inviting aromas of black cherry, blackberry, sweet spice, hints of oak, and a faint minty impression. The palate is smooth and round with light tannins, modest acidity, moderately ripe fruit flavors, and soft toasty notes on a medium length spicy finish. The 2007 Cabernet Franc Cellar Collection retails for $29, clocks in at 13.9% ABV, and has a real cork enclosure. Try pairing this wine with winter vegetable stews and roasts or enjoy it with a good book while sitting next to the fireplace. This wine is currently tasted on Chateau O’ Brien’s Cellar Collection Tasting menu ($10 per person)that's offered on Saturday and Sunday.

CLICK HERE to follow Chateau O'Brien on Twitter.

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

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