10/31/2011

5 Takeaways From the Riot in DC


Hello Friends,

I recently attended Wine Riot DC; a millennial-geared wine tasting event. The event was held at Constitution Hall, and next to Constitution Hall, I was probably the second oldest thing there. The event was put on by Second Glass, a group of young, upbeat wine enthusiasts, whose goal is to help wine lovers share wine experiences, discover new wines, remember those wines, and bridge the gap between producer and consumer via modern technology and in-person events. This was the first time Wine Riot was held in DC (hopefully not the last), and before receiving an invite, I admit, I was not familiar with the event. After doing some research about past events, Wine Riot almost appeared to have the label *drunkfest* attached to it. That said, I thought Wine Riot was youthful, energetic, unpretentious, refreshing, and far from a drunk fest. Outside of tasting New World and Old World wines, there were a good number of educational wine seminars that drew a lot of interest and were well attended.

Calm Before the Riot


Millennials (generally 21 to mid 30’s) are the fastest-growing segment of wine drinkers and a very important target audience for wine producers. An extensive amount of research, study, and marketing is done on a consistent basis to determine the best way to reach this young wine buying and consuming crowd. In the interest of research and study, my five general takeaways below are based on conversation and observation at the event.

Stem or Stemless - Which do you prefer?


1. Millennials prefer grape name over wine region (big time). My take: This isn’t so much a millennial thing, but rather an American thing. Because of this, there are some very good wines at fair price points being missed. My message [to Gen-Y]: Grab a wine book, ask questions – the more you learn about wine the more likely you are to enjoy it. Keep tasting and trying new wines from different regions!

2. For wine recommendations, millennials prefer social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs) and word-of- mouth (from friends) over wine scores and printed publications. This event featured a smartphone app specific to the DC event for rating and tracking every wine that was available for tasting. Event goers were later able to check the Second Glass website to see which wines rated best and the nearby stores that carry those wines. To quote Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are A-Changin.”

3. Every wine audience has its "sweet spot" price point. The sweet spot for this audience seems to be $15 and under. Finding very good quality at reasonable price points is their game and in a saturated and competitive market, I say, “Happy hunting!” That said, much of their prey resides in California and Australia.

4. In the end, what’s in the bottle matters, but how do you initially attract this crowd to your bottle of wine? The wine label and packaging appears to matter to this audience. A modern, attractive design with the name of the grape(s) and straight-forward information about what’s inside the bottle is good for starters.

5. For glassware, the event used wine tumblers (pictured above). These shatter-proof tumblers are made from polymer and also feature a convenient thumb indentation for secure gripping. I asked event goers about these tumblers and heard zero complaints. While a generalization, this is not the preferred style of wine glass for most (older adults). We want our stem! Bonus: The folks at this event also don’t mind screw caps or other alternatives to natural cork.

In closing, if you missed the Wine Riot in DC, check out their website below for future tasting opportunities. NOTE: If you must participate in a riot, make it a Wine Riot. Cheers!

CLICK HERE to visit the Second Glass website.

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!

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10/25/2011

Chilean Carménère


Hello Friends,

I recently participated in the Wines of Chile Blogger Tasting, which showcased the Carménère grape variety. Instead of going into event details, let’s talk about the star of the show! Carménère is an ancient Bordeaux variety and one of the six original red Bordeaux grapes. Carménère thrived in Bordeaux until the late 19th century when the phylloxera epidemic wiped out many European vineyards. Phylloxera is a nasty little root louse that feeds on the roots of grape vines and can eventually kill the plant or cause serious damage. When European vineyards were replanted, Carménère was scarce and eventually thought to be extinct. Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t keep a good grape down?” Well, thanks to DNA analysis in the early 1990’s, vines long thought to be Merlot in Chilean vineyards were actually Carménère. Chile is a unique and special wine region. The vineyards are protected by surrounding mountains, deserts, and the ocean. Unlike most of the world's major wine growing regions, Chilean vineyards have never been attacked by phylloxera.

Carménère and Curry


Chilean Carménère is typically approachable and bright with friendly tannins, a range of red to dark berry fruit flavors, a sprinkling of spice, and an almost signature herbal component that’s appealing when nuanced and subtle. Carménère is a wine that won’t break the bank and its food-friendly acidity makes it an ideal match for a wide variety of dishes (pizza, burgers, spaghetti, etc.). For my tasting, curry was the food theme, and the brighter and lighter examples of Carménère paired surprisingly well with curry-based Indian cuisine. In my personal experience with Chilean Carménère wine, I’ve found that the brighter, lighter, and approachable examples tend to be the least expensive. When the price gets near $20 and over, the wines tend to offer more structure and definition, riper/darker fruit flavors, greater depth, and noticeable barrel character/oak tones. These wines can be paired with hearty fare and strong cheeses. In closing, Chilean Carménère is alive and kicking, and – more times than not – sips nicely too. The next time you visit your local wine shop pick up a bottle or two! To learn more about Chilean wines and Carménère visit the link below and be sure to follow@DrinkChile and @WinesofChile on Twitter. Cheers!

CLICK HERE to visit the Wines of Chile website.

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!


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10/18/2011

TasteLive Review: Luscious Hedonism


Hello Friends,

I recently joined a panel of wine bloggers for a virtual TasteLive event called “Luscious Hedonism.” Nice ring to it, eh? Summer has come to an end and the cooler temperatures of fall are ideal for hearty foods and more substantial and rich red wines. This tasting offered just that – wine selections that pair well with a hearty meal and a table full of good friends. The tasting featured four small-lot California Cabernet Sauvignon wines from two small boutique producers (Chateau Felice and Krutz Family Cellars) and two larger producers (Rodney Strong Vineyards and Wente Vineyards). Small-lot wine, also referred to as limited quantity or production, is generally a wine that’s handled and made with special care from ground to glass. These small batches of wine may be the producer’s best vineyard block(s) or barrels. To clear up a misconception; a small lot wine can be produced from a small or large winery – not just the former. One thing this particular tasting accomplished was to highlight the diversity of Cabernet Sauvignons across the four distinct regions on California’s north coast. Below you’ll find the wines we tasted, a few words about the producer, and my Twitter tasting notes.

Chateau Felice 2007 La Craie American Celebration


Of the four producers, I was most unfamiliar with Chateau Felice. Their 2007 La Craie American Celebration is sourced from the producer’s private estate in the Chalk Hill AVA of Sonoma County, California. This Bordeaux-style blend is comprised of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc. One of the tasters who had visited the property commented on how beautiful it was. NOTES: Deep garnet color with black cherries and cassis scents with mineral undertones and a pinch of dried herb. On the palate, this wine boasts a lovely texture, nice acidity, and good balance between delicacy and brawn, ending in a long spice/mineral-driven finish. (75 cases, $50)

Krutz Family Cellars 2007 Stagecoach Vineyard Cab Sauv


Next up was the 2007 Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec) from Krutz Family Cellars. Stagecoach Vineyard is one of the best known and largest vineyards in Napa Valley. Patrick Kurtz, owner and winemaker, hails from Mississippi. A visit to California in 2002 resulted in Patrick working at a wine shop and helping with various wine projects. It didn’t take long for Patrick to forge relations with local growers and launch his own label. He released his first vintage the following year. On the front or rear of every Krutz Family Cellars label, you will find a magnolia – Mississippi’s state flower. I’ve enjoyed both the Krutz Family Cellars Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon on numerous occasions, and I hear they make one heck of a Malbec. NOTES: Dried herb, sweet tobacco leaf, currant, subtle vegetal notes, and blackberry aromas comingle with earthy/cocoa nuances. The aromas extend to the round and supple palate with slightly grainy tannins and a pleasing lingering finish.  (390 cases, $75)

Rodney Strong Alexander’s Crown 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon


The Rodney Strong Alexander’s Crown 2008 (100%) Cabernet Sauvignon was next. This single-vineyard wine is sourced from the Alexander’s Crown vineyard in the Alexander Valley AVA in Sonoma County. Rodney Strong was established in 1971 and is recognized as the first vineyard in Sonoma County to produce a single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Rodney Strong is also one of the pioneering producers of Sonoma County’s modern wine industry. Their name is a well-known and their wines are widely available. NOTES: The complex nose is inviting with brambly red and dark fruit, mint, sage, cocoa, and an underlying touch of baking spice. Bold and nicely focused on the entry with an attractive mid-palate, supple, yet firm tannins, and a dusty/juicy finish. This wine gets better (and aromas become more pronounced) as it breathes; especially around the 2-3 hour mark. This is a nice wine to pair with grilled steak. (Approximately 1000 cases, $75)

Wente Vineyards 2008 The Nth Degree Cabernet Sauvignon


Last but not least, was the Wente Vineyards 2008 The Nth Degree Cabernet Sauvignon (95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot). Wente Vineyards was founded in 1883 and is located in California’s Livermore Valley and farms nearly 3,000 acres of estate vine plantings between the Livermore Valley and Monterey. In 1936, Wente produced the first California wine to be labeled Chardonnay. That said, their Chardonnay wines (Eric’s Small-Lot, Riva Ranch, Morning Fog, etc.) are definitely worth seeking out. I’ve enjoyed wines from Wente Vineyards in the past and they consistently manage to offer good quality wines at reasonable prices. The Nth Degree portfolio represents Wente Vineyard’s limited production, hand-crafted premium wines. NOTES: The wine shows a beautiful deep, dark color, with blackberry, ripe plum, toast/smoke, and cassis aromas, with shy eucalyptus scents. The entry is full and round with generous fruit, fine-grain tannins, and a nice mid-palate with hints of smoke and spice on the finish. This is also a nice wine to pair with grilled steak. Allow this wine to breath for a while and you will get the most out of this bottle.(Approximately 500 cases, $50)

In closing, due to their limited production, small-lot wines are typically available exclusively at the producer’s tasting-room, their wine club, via mail order, or special events (dinners, vertical tastings, etc.). Click on the links below to visit the producer’s websites for further information. Cheers!

CLICK HERE to visit Chateau Felice's website.

CLICK HERE to visit Krutz Family Cellar's website.

CLICK HERE to visit Rodney Strong Vineyard's website.

CLICK HERE to visit Wente Vineyard's website.

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!

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10/10/2011

In 47 Words: Farm-to-Table/Vineyard-to-Glass


Hello Friends,

Regional wine week kicked-off yesterday and runs to October 15, 2011. Wine lovers are encouraged to submit a 47-word essay about local wine to drinklocalwine@gmail.com. A select number of essays will win one of several nice wine related prizes. For further details click here.

My 47-word submission below, is kindly geared towards the "Go Local" crowd that seeks out locally grown and raised foods, but not wine -- even though they drink wine. If farm-to-table is acceptable, then vineyard-to-glass should be too. My motto is "sip global, support local", so I'm not saying only buy/drink local wine from your respective state. I'm simply asking you to give the local wine in your corner of the world a try. On Twitter? Join the local wine conversation by using the #drinklocal hash-tag. Cheers!

I do enjoy the local juice from my corner of the world!


In 47 Words:

Some consumers desire locally grown foods, failing to realize that wine is an agricultural product. Chances are there’s a wine industry in your backyard. If you value local foods, then check out your local wine scene. You may find a wine to pair with your local cuisine.

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

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10/04/2011

Wednesday #WineChat: Cabernet Franc


Hello Friends,

This Wednesday (aka tomorrow) I’m delighted to be a guest-host for Marie Payton’s weekly Twitter wine conversation called #winechat. Marie is a passionate wine enthusiast that writes the Life of Vines wine blog. The subject of tomorrow's #winechat is Cabernet Franc. This ancient red wine grape variety is primarily used for blending in the famed Bordeaux region of France. However, in the Loire Valley, Cabernet Franc produces the red fruit-filled and (often-times) easy-drinking wines of Chinon, Anjou, Saumur, and Bourgueil.

At least three of the Cabernet Franc wines I'll pour tomorrow


Cabernet Franc thrives in cooler climates so it’s an attractive option for regions like the Finger Lakes (NY) and Canada. Cabernet Franc also ripens fairly early and is a popular selection for Virginia and other east coast regions that may experience difficulty in less than average growing seasons with later ripening varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon. And speaking of Cabernet Sauvignon, in 1996, researchers at UC Davis discovered that Cabernet Franc was one of two parents of Cabernet Sauvignon. The other is Sauvignon Blanc. It’s rather hard to believe that this odd couple could produce such a bold variety that’s commonly referred to as “King of the Reds.” Well, enough of my rambling – join us on Twitter tomorrow at 9pm EST / 6pm PST to taste, tweet, learn, and share thoughts and experiences. Again, the subject is Cabernet Franc, so visit your wine cellar or run to the local wine shop and pick up a bottle. The Twitter hash-tag for tomorrow's wine conversation is #winechat. Hope to see you online over a splash of Cabernet Franc and a healthy pour of tweets. 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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Dezel's My Vine Spot © 2006-2011. All rights reserved.

10/03/2011

Riesling Hour Review: #FLXWine


Hello Friends,

Today, wine is being produced in all 50 US states. Within those states there are a few wine regions that have successfully matched a classic grape variety with its terroir and went on to produce distinctive, world-class wines that are capable of holding their own against top renditions of the wine world. For example, the Napa Valley (CA) does it with Cabernet Sauvignon, and the finicky Pinot Noir grape variety has put the Willamette Valley (OR) on the world wine map. Despite advancements in viticulture and enology, Mother Nature has a fair amount of influence over which wine regions are capable of this and which are not. Some regions are too cold, others too hot, some deal with rainfall and severe storms during the height of the growing season, while others enjoy picture-perfect weather during this critical time. Generally, for a region to gain some degree of global recognition on the world wine map, the producers within that region must come together to focus on one or two varieties and craft well-defined, high-quality wines reflective of that region’s unique characteristics and growing season.

Riesling Hour: First Flight


The Finger Lakes are one of those special wine regions. They have the right climate and soil type(s) to produce high quality wine from one of the world’s most versatile and intriguing white wine grape varieties – Riesling. A region originally thought too cold to grow vinifera varieties, experienced a turning-point in the early 1960’s when Dr. Konstantin Frank successfully grew and made wine from Riesling and other cool-climate varieties. Today, the Finger Lakes wine region is internationally-recognized for their world-class Riesling.

Riesling Hour: Second Flight


I recently had the opportunity to participate in Riesling Hour, a large virtual Riesling tasting put on by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance to celebrate the 2010 vintage. I do not know the final stats, but the event was well attended. Those who searched on hash-tag “#FLXWine” that evening witnessed an endless stream of tweets [thoughts, tasting notes, food pairings, etc.] centered on the Riesling wines of the Finger Lakes that poured – no pun intended – into the following day. The 2010 growing season for the east coast was warmer than normal with low to moderate rainfall. Bud break came early, harvest came early, and I recall seeing a few tweets that stated 2010 was the warmest growing season seen in the Finger Lakes in 37 years. If there was one item of concern for Finger Lakes growers, I’m sure it was when to pick. With Riesling, you want to retain the grape's wonderful brightness and lovely natural acidity. I had a chance to taste six [2010] dry Riesling wines from the following producers: Anthony Road Wine Company, Atwater Estate Vineyards, Billsboro Winery, Fox Run Vineyards, Hunt Country Vineyards, and Lucus Vineyards. Based on what I sipped, the biggest difference was fruit – some of the wines offered fresh ripe flavors while others were soft and delicate. See some of my tweets (short tasting notes and comments) from Riesling Hour below. I would also like to thank the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance for the opportunity to taste and tweet about the Finger Lake's 2010 vintage -- it was great fun. Cheers!

PS ... There is always a Finger Lakes wine conversation happening on Twitter; just search #FLXWine hash-tag and join the discussion.

Wine Tasting Notes

@myvinespot: @anthonyroadwine 2010 Dry Riesling: Fresh, lemon citrus, lime zest, vibrant acidity, mineral nuances throughout. Nice start! #FLXWine


@myvinespot: @atwaterwine Tangy and refreshing w/ a soft delicate frame, demure tree fruit and subtle mineral/slate notes. #FLXWine #wine


@myvinespot: @Billsboro 2010 dry Riesling: Dominated by food-friendly acidity & pronounced mineral character followed by tree fruit & melon #FLXWine


@myvinespot: @foxrunvineyards 2010 dry Riesling: Light-bodied, citrus and floral flavors, w/ brisk acidity, ending in a crisp finish #FLXWine #wine


@myvinespot: @HuntWines 2010 Dry Riesling: Classic aromas of petrol, w/ floral scents & tree fruit hints w/ an oily lingering finish #FLXWine #wine


@myvinespot: @LucusWinetalk Simple, yet satisfying ... Floral front, lemon rind, nicely balanced, with good food-friendly acidity #FLXWine #wine

Wine Tasting Comments

@myvinespot: When it comes to food, a dry Riesling pairs nicely with just about everything :-) #FLXWine #wine


@myvinespot: Anyone else notice the high QPR (quality price ratio) on Finger Lake Riesling tonight? #FLXWine #wine


@myvinespot: Great when a classic wine grape like Riesling finds a new home (Finger Lakes). Wish these wines were more accessible here. #FLXWine #wine


@myvinespot: Riesling is one of the most versatile & food-friendly wines available. The Finger Lakes is producing world-class examples. #FLXWine #wine


@myvinespot: "Riesling grows well in the cool-climate and the varied soils of the Finger Lakes." ~ Finger Lakes Wine Alliance #FLXWine #quote


@myvinespot: "The warmest growing season in 37 years resulted in a harvest that was two or three weeks earlier than normal" @atwaterwine #FLXWine #quote


@myvinespot: Enjoying the refreshing acidity, fresh fruit flavors, mineral character, and LOW alcohol, that is Finger Lakes Riesling. #FLXWine #wine


@myvinespot: Finger Lakes Riesling wines are dynamic, food-favoring, and as seen tonight -- gaining fans one sip at a time! #FLXWine #wine

Picture from my visit to Dr. Konstantin Frank


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 visist the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance website.

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!
  • Friend me up on Face-Book here.

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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