6/29/2011

Quick Sip: Keswick Vineyards 2010 Verdejo


Hello Friends,

Today’s ‘Quick Sip’ is the Keswick Vineyards 2010 Verdejo. Keswick Vineyards is a small family-owned and operated vineyard and farm winery that’s located just outside of Charlottesville. To the best of my knowledge, and I get around, Keswick Vineyards is the only producer in Virginia, and perhaps the east coast, to grow and produce a single varietal Verdejo wine. Verdejo is a white wine grape variety that’s indigenous to Spain’s Rueda region. In Spain, Verdejo is capable of producing high-quality, aromatic, and fuller-bodied wines that retain a generous amount of mouth-watering acidity. The Keswick Vineyard’s 2010 example is more on the sleek and crisp side and is the perfect companion to the seasonal warmth of summer.

 Keswick Vineyards 2010 Verdejo


In the glass, the Keswick Vineyard’s 2010 Verdejo displays a brilliant straw-like yellow color with green tones. The swirl and sniff offer inviting aromas of tree fruit and citrus notes with appealing grassy and herbal accents. The palate is light-bodied with crisp acidity, vibrant fruit flavors, and a refreshing medium-length finish. The Keswick Vineyard’s 2010 Verdejo is very food-friendly and is also perfectly refreshing for a summer-patio or picnic sipper. Stephen Barnard, Keswick's winemaker, also has the Midas touch with Viognier, so if you’ve heard about Virginia Viognier and haven’t tried one yet, check these guys out. The 2010 Verdejo clocks in at a moderate 12.8% ABV and retails for $18.95. Of Keswick's 43 acre vineyard, 1 acre is planted to Verdejo and 219 cases were produced. Got a free week or weekend day? Pack a picnic basket, visit Keswick Vineyards, and waste the day away with a bottle of Verdejo whilst enjoying the views and relaxing atmosphere. Cheers!

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 ...more to come!

CLICK HERE to visit Keswick Vineyard's website.

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6/27/2011

Quick Sip: Rancho Rossa Vineyard’s 2006 Syrah


Hello Friends,

Today’s ‘Quick Sip’ is the Rancho Rossa Vineyard’s 2006 Syrah. Rancho Rossa Vineyards is located within Arizona’s Sonoita AVA, which is just southeast of Tucson and the only recognized AVA in the state. Rancho Rossa Vineyards is family-owned and operated and produces 100% estate-grown wines from their 22 acre site. The winery produces approximately 1,200 cases of wine per year and specializes in premium dry varietal bottlings. Much like Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, and other up-and-coming small wine producing regions in the United States, Arizona wines have recently garnered some well-deserved attention. Last year’s eagerly awaited "Blood into Wine" documentary by Tool’s lead singer Maynard James Keenan, chronicles the wine making process in northern Arizona. The documentary, while focused primarily on Maynard’s Caduceus label, also served to spark interest in Arizona wine as a whole.

Rancho Rossa Vineyard’s 2006 Syrah


All 50 states in the U.S. produce wine. Finding wines from states besides California, Oregon, Washington, and New York at your local wine shop can be a challenge -- especially if you don’t live within any of those states. Lucky for me, a wine pal who recently visited Arizona came back with this Syrah – otherwise, I would have never had an opportunity to taste what’s going on in southern Arizona. Let’s pull the cork! In the glass, the Rancho Rossa Vineyard’s 2006 Syrah displays a medium deep, garnet-purple color with plum, blackberry and pepper aromas with trailing raisin and prune nuances. On the sip, the wine is easy-drinking with a soft medium weight palate and good up-front berry flavors that linger into a slightly light spicy finish. The wine clocks in at 13% ABV, retails for $18’ish, and in my opinion, is set for drinking now. We enjoyed this wine with grilled burgers and sweet potato fries. My advice: get out and make a solid effort to find something from the other 46 U.S. states. Like I said, the difficult part will be finding these wines, but for those who do, you’ll likely find pleasure in discovery and consumption. Cheers!

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 ...more to come!

CLICK HERE to visit Rancho Rossa Vineyard's website.

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6/20/2011

Albemarle CiderWorks: A Tankard of Hard Cider...


Hello Friends,

During the Colonial Period, hard apple cider was a very popular adult beverage in America. Back then, it was considered safer for consumption than the local water supply since the fermentation process killed any harmful bacteria. Hard cider was also relatively easy to make, and by the 17th century, settlers had already planted apple orchards throughout Virginia for the production of hard cider. The popularity of hard cider eventually declined with the temperance movement, where many apple orchards were removed, and later, Prohibition. By the time Prohibition was repealed (1933), beer, wine, and spirits returned to their former status, but unfortunately, hard cider did not.

Albemarle CiderWorks


On a recent trip to Monticello Wine Country, I paid a visit to Albemarle CiderWorks; a small family-owned and operated business that opened in 2009. Their mission is to grow, produce, and revive the age-old craft of fine cider making. Their ciders, not overly sweet, tart, or bland, are made in the mold of the classic beverages that Americans took a liking to centuries ago. That said, I’m no cider expert but found these ciders to be very pleasing. What I did find eye-opening was that they grew more than 250 unique and heirloom apples. Additionally, not just any apple variety is fit for the production of hard cider. Like wine grapes, it takes varieties that have the necessary amounts of acid, tannin, sugar, etc. to craft high-quality, traditional hard cider.

Lovely Tasting Room


Albemarle CiderWorks makes four different hard ciders. The Jupiter's Legacy and Ragged Mountain are made from a blend of apple varieties and the Pippin and Winesap are made from the variety for which they are named. I think a common misconception novices share is that all hard cider is sweet. We were pleasantly surprised to find that all four examples were refreshing, dry-to-fairly dry, effervescent, light on the palate, and low in alcohol (e.g. 7% ABV). The differences I found came in the textures, fruit profile, intensity of the fruit, perceived sweetness, and other subtleties. While I enjoyed all the hard ciders poured, the Royal Pippin came home with me. Borrowing a few terms I use for wine, I felt it was nicely balanced, crisp and harmonious, and would pair nicely with moderately spicy ethnic cuisine. Before leaving, I took advantage of the gorgeous day and enjoyed a splash of the Royal Pippin out on the relaxing patio.

Vintage Cider Glass


I highly recommend paying Albemarle CiderWorks as well as the surrounding wineries in the Charlottesville area a visit. Cider tastings are $4 and for $3 extra you get to keep the glass which is modeled after a vintage cider glass. Did you know? Our second president, John Adams, and third, Thomas Jefferson, were said to have drunk up to a tankard (a half-gallon) of hard cider a day. Adams lived to the ripe old age of 90, and Jefferson, 83. Both attributed hard cider to their good health and long-life. Coincidentally, both men died on July 4, 1826. In closing, I guess the saying could be, “A tankard of hard cider a day keeps the doctor away.” Cheers!

NOTE: Good news for local cider lovers! Hard cider is making a resurgence in Virginia. Foggy Ridge Cider, located in southwest Virginia, is bottling traditional hard cider crafted with modern techniques. Another cider producer, Castle Hill Cider is opening soon and there are another two scheduled to open next year.

Apple Orchard


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 ...more to come!

CLICK HERE to visit Albemarle CiderWork's website.

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6/16/2011

#CrushUp with Don Sebastiani & Sons


Hello Friends,

Last week I had the pleasure of participating in the #CrushUp Twitter TasteLive event. This exciting tasting, which featured simultaneous tweet-up parties in four big cities, was put on by Michael Wangbickler of Balzac Communications and Marketing. The tasting offered the opportunity to sample the newest release of wines from Don Sebastiani and Son’s ‘The Crusher’ label. The Sebastianai family name dates back to 1904, when Samuele Sebastiani, Don’s grandfather, grew wine grapes and opened a winery in Sonoma County. Today, Don Sebastiani and Sons is an international wine négociant that’s well-known for producing satisfying, everyday value wines. Like me, many of you may be familiar with brands like Smoking Loon and Pepperwood Grove, which are also in Don Sebastiani and Son’s portfolio. These brands provide good quality-to-price-ratio at $10 and under. The Crusher label is appellation specific, featuring wines sourced from the up-and-coming Clarksburg AVA that’s located just southwest of Sacramento. The suggested retail price for wines under The Crusher brand is $18. In my humble opinion, the QPR (quality-to-price-ratio) really starts to kick in when you jump into The Crusher’s red wine lineup. If you see The Crusher wines at your local wine shop, buy with confidence. The endless stream of positive tweets was proof that many wine enthusiasts developed a crush on The Crusher during the #CrushUp Twitter tasting. Below are my notes from the event. And, yes, I do have a bit of a crush on The Crusher too. Cheers!

"From the vineyard, to the Crusher, to your table"


The Crusher 2010 Rosé (97.5% Pinot Noir, 2.5% Viognier)- A fresh rosé with gentle aromas of strawberry, rhubarb, and melon with a fairly fleshy mouth-feel. The palate is bright with delicate red fruit, a hint of sweetness, and good food-friendly acidity. With summer around the corner, this is one wine you’ll want to keep in the fridge for those backyard BBQ’s.

The Crusher 2009 Chardonnay – Tree (namely apple) and tropical fruit wrapped in toasty oak tones and accented by hints of baking spice with moderate acidity. This style of Chardonnay, which lends itself to a generous amount of barrel character, would pair nicely with smoked white meats.

The Crusher 2009 Pinot Noir – Medium ruby in color, boasting black cherry and currant aromas with smoky bacon undertones and faint mocha and spice notes. On the palate this wine was fuller and less bright than expected, but good overall balance and complexity. I had Texas brisket on my mind all night after sipping this Pinot.

The Crusher 2009 Petite Sirah (97% Petite Sirah 3% Alicante Bouchet) - Judging by the steady stream of glowing tweets during the tasting of this wine, it can easily be described as “wine of the night.” This inky colored wine offers inviting blueberry pie, blackberry, and vanilla aromas with a dash of pepper and sweet baking spice. The palate is round and lush with a pleasant medium length finish. Overall a very appealing and generous wine.

The Crusher 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – Red currant and berry aromas give way to herbal and spice notes with very subtle vegetative nuances. The palate is medium-bodied with a velvety texture and a medium-length, slightly drying finish. This is a nice dinner wine to enjoy with lamb or venison dishes.

Many thanks to Mike and Don Sebastiani and Sons for the opportunity! 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 ...more to come!

CLICK HERE to visit the  Don Sebastiani and Sons website.

CLICK HERE to visit Balzac Communications and Marketing website.

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6/13/2011

Sometimes I Don’t Follow My Own Advice


Hello Friends,

It was only a few weeks ago that I encouraged a lady who frowned down on wines priced under $10¸ to give the two inexpensive wines being poured a try. After all, we were at a wine tasting, it was free, and you do have the option to spit. The point I was trying to convey to the lady was not to judge a wine by its price tag. Instead, look at the wine, sniff it, swish it around your mouth, and either swallow it or spit it out, and then decide whether you like it or not. As a matter of fact, I often times encourage people, especially those who label themselves a red wine or white wine person, to come from out of their comfort zone and try new things. You may just find a new favorite, right? Oddly enough, at a recent tasting, I found myself in a similar situation. This time, a lady was encouraging me to try a *wine* that I skipped over. To say I actually skipped over a wine, you would first have to consider ‘chocolate wine’ a wine.

Chocolate Wine: Are You a Fan?


Just recently, I’ve noticed more ‘chocolate wine’ on wine shop shelves and they are more popular than I thought -- especially among new wine drinkers. So what exactly is chocolate wine? I’ve seen two types: the kind that looks like a regular red wine and something else that resembles a Wendy’s Chocolate Frosty. The first example is usually a base red wine infused with some type of chocolate flavoring and the latter adds cream and artificial color to the mix. On a positive note, if chocolate wine is your thing, wine shops like Total Wine carry up to three labels (e.g. ChocoVine, Brown Cow, and Red Decadence) that are all under $10. The lady who tried to encourage me to try the Brown Cow Chocolate Wine said it was her favorite new wine. Virginia is riding the growing popularity of this product too. There are at least three Virginia producers that make a ‘chocolate wine’ and I always hear glowing comments about these sweet treats. In the end, there are two types of wine – those you like and those you don’t like. Some people like chocolate and wine and others prefer chocolate in their wine. In my humble opinion, the latter should probably be called an adult beverage. That said, I do appreciate cocoa nuances that can be found in some red wines as a result of maturation in new oak barrels. Keeping an open mind and an open palate, before leaving the store, I revisited the tasting bar and did a sip and a spit to confirm my thoughts about the chocolate wine. I was correct; it tasted like a sweet White Russian milkshake, and while ‘wine’ sounds good for marketing purposes – adult beverage is more appropriate. Not being a wine-snob by any stretch, but for my taste, complex, balanced, and naturally made dessert wines are my preference, and if inclined, I’ll pair it with chocolate. Cheers!

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 ...more to come!

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

My Vine Spot

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6/09/2011

Quick Sip: D'Alessandro Winery 2008 Nero d' Avola


Hello Friends,

Today’s ‘Quick Sip’ is the d'Alessandro Winery 2008 Nero d' Avola. The d'Alessandro Winery was founded in 2006 and is located on the southwestern coast of Sicily. The label combines old world style with new world techniques to produce traditional Sicilian varietals and wines. Sustainable viticulture practices are employed and all the grapes used in d'Alessandro wines are manually harvested. Additionally, over 8,000 square feet of solar panels power the wine production facility. D'Alessandro wines have been well received upon their recent entry into the American wine market and are affordably priced. Today’s wine is produced from 100% Nero d' Avola, a native red-grape of Sicily known for making some of the area’s nicest wines. Let’s uncork this wine and take a swirl, sniff, and sip.

d'Alessandro Winery 2008 Nero d' Avola


The d'Alessandro Winery 2008 Nero d' Avola is medium brick-red in color with rich berry and sour-cherry aromas that mingle with black olive and complex, mineral-anise accents. These aromas extend to the medium-bodied, well-balanced palate with subtle herbal overtones. While Nero d' Avola can be low in acidity, this particular wine is made in an easy-drinking, food-friendly style with moderate acidity and a pleasant medium-length finish. The wine saw no oak and was matured in cement tanks for three months before bottling to, as the producer put it, “allow the real taste of the rich Sicilian land to shine through.” Like a number of good QPR (quality-to-price-ratio) Italian wines, this selection pairs well with a wide variety of foods and sips nicely on its own. The d'Alessandro Winery 2008 Nero d' Avola clocks in at a moderate 13% ABV, has a synthetic cork enclosure (indicative of a wine meant to be consumed young), and retails for $14.99. Visit the link below to find out more about this producer and where their wines can be found.

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 ...more to come! Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample.

CLICK HERE to visit the d'Alessandro Winery website.

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

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6/06/2011

Quick Sip: Three2One Cellars 2009 Tranquility


Hello Friends,

Today’s ‘Quick Sip’ is the Three2One Cellars 2009 Tranquility. Three2One Cellars is a new and exciting collaborative effort between Loudoun County winemakers Jordan Harris (Tarara Winery), Ben Renshaw (8 Chains North Winery), and Clyde Housel (Hiddencroft Vineyards). Their first release from the new label, the 2009 Tranquility, is a limited-production, single vineyard wine. The 2009 Tranquility is named for the vineyard from which 100% of the fruit is grown. Tranquility Vineyard, managed by Ben Renshaw, is a 7 acre site located in the rolling hills of Purcellville and planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat and small amounts of Pinot Gris. Tranquility Vineyard is one of Loudoun’s top wine sites and I’ve enjoyed a number of good wines over the years that were partially or entirely produced from this vineyard. The 2009 Tranquility, hatched out of blending trials conducted by the three Loudoun County winemakers, is a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon and 23% Tannat. Let’s uncork the bottle and get a sniff and a sip of what’s inside.

Three2One Cellars 2009 Tranquility


In the glass, the Three2One Cellars 2009 Tranquility displays a medium-deep, yet clear garnet color. The swirl and sniff reveals expressive aromas of bright red fruit, blackberry, and soft toasty impressions, with sweet spice overtones and a faint suggestion of cedar. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied and balanced, offering red fruit flavors with medium-firm, but approachable tannins, good acidity, a round and spicy mid-palate, concluding in a supple lingering finish. The Three2One Cellars 2009 Tranquility clocks in at a moderate 13.5% ABV, retails for $45, and is both flexible and food-friendly. Only 150 cases of the Three2One Cellars 2009 Tranquility were produced and each tasting room will carry 50. Congratulations to Jordan, Ben, and Clyde on this first-of-its-kind wine venture in Loudoun County!

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 ...more to come! Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample in order to participate in a wine tasting.

CLICK HERE to visit the Tarara Winery website.

CLICK HERE to visit 8 Chains North website.

CLICK HERE to visit Hiddencroft Vineyard's website.

CLICK HERE to follow Three2One Cellars on Twitter.

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

My Vine Spot

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6/02/2011

Quick Sip: Flowers 2007 Andreen-Gale Pinot Noir


Hello Friends,

As part of MUSEXPO, a four day conference in Hollywood, California, that showcases more than 40 international music artists, I had the pleasure of participating in a virtual Twitter Taste-Live event. The event was put together by Joel Quigley, co-founder of Creative Furnace, and was held last month. One of the wines that received two purple thumbs up amongst the wine blogger panelists and tasters at my home, was the Flowers 2007 Andreen-Gale Pinot Noir. Flowers Vineyard and Winery is a Sonoma Coast producer that specializes in estate-grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The 2007 Andreen-Gale Pinot Noir is 100% estate fruit that’s farmed using organic and sustainable practices and grown in some of the coolest regions of the Sonoma Coast appellation.

Flowers 2007 Andreen-Gale Pinot Noir


The 2007 Flowers Andreen-Gale Pinot Noir conveys balance, delicacy, and elegance. The wine displays a brilliant ruby color and exudes black cherry and spice aromas with pretty perfumed floral notes and touches of citrus peel and tea leaf. The palate is smooth with a velvety texture, mild tannins, and nice acidity on the mid-palate that’s complimented by a lingering finish. The 2007 Flowers Andreen-Gale Pinot Noir retails for $55, clocks in at 13.5% ABV, and is suited to pair with a wide variety of foods. The owners, Walt and Joan Flowers, named the Andreen-Gale after their mothers, Dorothy Andreen and Ella Mae Gale. To quote the wine’s technical note, the owners said of this wine, “Our mothers would be proud.” My friends and I agree -- they sure would be proud. Cheers!

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 ...more to come! Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample in order to participate in a wine tasting.

CLICK HERE to visit the Flowers Vineyard and Winery website.

CLICK HERE to make friends with Flowers Vineyard and Winery on Facebook.

CLICK HERE to follow Flowers Vineyard and Winery on Twitter.

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


My Vine Spot

  • Please Click Here to vote Dezel's My Vine Spot as your favorite wine blog - You can vote 1x per day!
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Happy Sipping Friends - Tell your friends about the blog and thanks for your support and kind emails !

Dezel's My Vine Spot © 2006-2011. All rights reserved.

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