6/25/2012

Quick Sip: Glen Manor 2011 Sauvignon Blanc

Hello Friends,

Last Thursday for National Sauvignon Blanc Day (#SauvBlanc on Twitter), I opened a bottle of the Glen Manor Vineyards 2011 Sauvignon Blanc. Glen Manor Vineyards' is a small family-owned operation in Front Royal, Virginia. They specialize in producing small batches (approximately 2K cases) of 100% estate-grown wine. Proprietor and wine-grower, Jeff White, worked and grew wine grapes on his family’s farm for Linden Vineyards from 1993 to 2005 before starting his own winery. Today, Glen Manor Vineyards is recognized by many as one of the top producers of quality wines in the state.

Glen Manor Vineyards 2011 Sauvignon Blanc


Sauvignon Blanc generally prefers a cool-to-moderate climate, which Virginia is not. But Glen Manor Vineyards is ideally situated on a higher elevation site, which in normal-to-good years, results in bright and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc wines with good typicity and acidity. The 2011 growing season was extremely wet ( ... particularly during harvest), but Jeff’s Sauvignon Blanc was picked before the rain storms arrived. Aromas of dried herb, lemon-grass, citrus (grape-fruit), and a slight mineral edge fill the nose and palate along with good food-friendly acidity and a vibrant lingering finish. This is a good aperitif wine that would also pair well with shellfish, salads or light summer fare. I picked this bottle up at Glen Manor Vineyards' tasting room for $23 and enjoyed it with barbecue shrimp. Besides a hand-full of producers here in Virginia, I often look to Bordeaux [FR], the Loire Valley [FR], and Marlborough [NZ], just to name a few, for my Sauvignon Blanc fix. In closing, the light, crisp, and refreshing qualities of Sauvignon Blanc match perfectly with the warmer months; so be sure to get some in your glass! Cheers!

Click here to visit Glen Manor Vineyards' 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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6/18/2012

#KundeLive with Kunde Family Estate


Hello Friends,

I recently had the opportunity to participate in Kunde Family Estate’s virtual tasting and Ustream live video broadcast event, aptly named #KundeLive. This tasting event featured fourth generation wine-growers Marcia and Jeff Kunde, winemaker Zach Long, and several of my good wine blogging buddies. Kunde Family Estate is a family-owned and operated producer in Kenwood, California. Their 1,850 acre estate is situated in the heart of the Sonoma Valley, with more than 700 acres under vine. The producer’s roots – no pun intended, date back to 1904 when founder Louis Kunde, who emigrated from Germany, purchased Wildwood Vineyards (originally planted to Zinfandel in 1879). Today, Kunde is operated by fourth and fifth generation family members and is committed to sustainable agriculture and responsible vineyard practices. Their portfolio consists of a diverse selection of 100% estate-grown wines.

The Kunde Family Estate #KundeLive Lineup 


For our event, we tasted the 2011 Magnolia Lane Sauvignon Blanc (SRP $17), 2009 Red Dirt Red (SRP $30), and the 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $45). I confess, I typically don’t look to California for Sauvignon Blanc [I know … shame on me]. However, I have recently enjoyed several tasty California examples that offer bright aromas, fresh flavors and good balance. The Sonoma Valley Magnolia Lane Sauvignon Blanc, named after the 100+ year old Magnolia trees that boarder the Kunde Family Vineyards ranch entrance, embodies the three aforementioned qualities -- bright, fresh, and balanced. It’s a pleasant, food-friendly, summer sipper that offers fresh tropical fruits and lemon grass scents with nice palate weight, yet bright acidity and clean fruit flavors. Approximately 5% of the wine was fermented and aged in neutral French oak and a splash (1%) of barrel fermented Semillon was added to enhance the texture.

The 2009 Red Dirt Red, a blend of 30% Barbera, 26% Petite Sirah, 22% Syrah, 15% Zinfandel and 7% Sangiovese, pays tribute to the red volcanic soils formed at the estate a very long time ago [notes suggest 5 million years]. The Red Dirt Red offers ripe brambly mixed berry fruit and dried cherry aromas with a touch of spice. The palate has a slightly grainy texture, supple tannins, and a harmonic structure with a pleasing medium-length finish. Following the tasting event, the Red Dirt Red paired wonderfully with my smoked brisket dinner.

Last up, the 2009 Estate Reserve Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon is a delicious wine that I described on Twitter that evening as “, ... sassy, sophisticated, and succulent." The Cabernet fruit is grown on some of the highest peaks on Kunde’s mountain top vineyard. Winemaker Zachary Long says, “We feel with a view this spectacular, the grapes must be exceptional!” The Cabernet exhibits a nice range of depth, complexity, and nuance, boasting cherry, blackberry jam, cocoa powder, and toffee aromas that extend to the palate with a rich texture, well integrated tannins, and a lasting finish. I’ve enjoyed wines from Kunde Family Estate on numerous occasions and they have always been solid and what I consider fairly priced (aka in the ball-park) based on the overall quality and complexity delivered in the bottle. In closing, Kunde Family Estate is a Sonoma County producer that’s crafting estate-grown, sustainably farmed wines that are worth seeking out – especially for those of you who appreciate good quality wines that represent a sense of place in the glass. Cheers!

Click here to visit the Kunde Family Estate website.

Click here to watch the Ustream video of the event.

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.

Disclosure: This wine was provided as a media sample to participate in an online event. Thoughts are my own.

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

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6/11/2012

The Wine Connection: A Spur and a Flat-Iron


Hello Friends,

Depending on how old you are, you may remember classic television game shows like The Dating Game and The Love Connection. These shows sought to connect compatible people and entertain those of us who watched. Here at My Vine Spot, I’m marrying food and wine on the blog show -- The Wine Connection. Generally speaking, food and wine should complement one another; bringing out each other’s best traits to create a pleasant dining experience. Food and wine can also be a not-so-pleasant experience, producing off flavors and bringing out the worst in both food and wine. Last week I participated in a Murrieta's Well, BBQ-themed, virtual tasting with Fifth Generation Winemaker, Karl Wente, and special guest, Executive Chef Matt Greco. Murrieta's Well, not too far from Wente Vineyards, is a historic winery (founded in 1883 by Louis Mel) in Livermore, California. The property was purchased by the Wente family from the original owner and eventually resurrected in 1990 by Phillip Wente. Today, Murrieta's Well specializes in small-lot wines and estate blends made from Livermore Valley fruit.

Murrieta's Well 2009 The Spur


One contestant for today’s show is a 2009 estate-blend from Murrieta’s Well named The Spur. The Spur consists of all five Bordeaux varieties (32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Malbec, 21% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot) and a small amount (6%) of Petite Sirah. The potential match is a spice-rubbed flatiron steak recipe provided by Chef Greco. The flatiron steak (aka chuck) is a lesser known and relatively inexpensive cut that’s fairly tender, but usually used for roasts or ground beef.

Grilled Flat Iron-Steaks


Following the chef's recipe; I rubbed the steak with smoked paprika, ancho powder, ground cinnamon, star anise, ground allspice, ground cloves, salt, sugar, and then grilled it over charcoal. For what I paid for the steaks (approximately $6 each), they came out flavorful and more tender than expected. As for the wine; The Murrieta’s Well The Spur (SRP $25) displays a deep ruby color with inviting aromas of dark cherry, mixed berry, cocoa powder, and hints of vanilla, cedar and baking spice. The aromas carry through to the palate, with a nice overall richness, good acid balance, a velvety texture, and supple tannins, ending in a pleasant lasting finish. The steak and wine complemented each other well, with the wine bringing out [highlighting] the spices rubbed into the steak. The thinner cut of the steak worked well with the savory aspects of the wine. I close this episode out by saying we made a good (and delicious) match!

Click here to visit the Murrieta's Well website.

Disclosure: This wine was provided as a media sample to participate in an online event. Thoughts are my own.

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

  • 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.

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6/04/2012

California Wine Club: Fess Parker Winery


Hello Friends,

I was recently selected to participate in Mom Spark Media’s blog review campaign for the California Wine Club. The California Wine Club, which I had some familiarity with, has been in business for over twenty years and specializes in hand-selected artisan wines from [namely] family-owned and operated producers. I was gifted a three month Premium Club membership, which is the company’s oldest and most popular wine club. This level of membership features wines from smaller “mom & pop” producers and is valued at $150 (so $50 per shipment). The way it works: for the next three months, I will receive one shipment per month. Each shipment includes two bottles of wine as well as a newsletter that contains information about the producer, food pairing ideas, the club owner’s tasting notes, recipes, and other interesting reading material.

Fess Parker Winery


This month’s California wine adventure comes from Fess Parker Winery in Los Olivos – a small town located in the heart of Santa Barbara Wine Country. The winery was established in 1989 by the late actor Fess Parker (1924-2010), who was famous for his roles as Walt Disney’s Davey Crockett and Daniel Boone in the 1950's and 60's. The business remains family owned with Fess Parker’s son Eli and daughter Ashley overseeing operations. The two wines included in the shipment were the 2010 Santa Barbara County Riesling (SRP $17 / Member Reorder Price $10.99) and 2010 Parker Station Pinot Noir (SRP $26 / Member Reorder Price $12.99). The semi-sweet Santa Barbara Riesling was quite the crowd pleaser, delivering white stone fruit, mandarin peel, and melon scents that extend to the palate with bright and refreshing fruit flavors and a touch of sweetness on the clean, medium-length finish. This versatile wine paired nicely with the light appetizer dishes I made and also sipped well on its own. The 2010 Parker Station Pinot Noir is made from fruit sourced from Monterey County, Santa Ynez Valley (estate vineyard), Paso Robles, and Madera County. The Pinot offers black cherry, pomegranate, and cranberry aromas with a nice sprinkling of baking spice and shy earthy accents. This is a medium weight, unpretentious Pinot Noir with moderate acidity and light red fruit flavors that will compliment a wide variety of foods. I matched it with a honey mustard pork loin and everyone enjoyed the pairing. If you like trying a wide variety of [California] wines that are typically not available in most wine shops or grocery stores, then this wine club is worth some consideration. If you enjoy learning about who produced the wine in your glass and where the grapes were grown, this is all the more reason to check this wine club out. The wine club owners, Pam and Bruce Boring, visit wineries and hand-select the wines they feel are good value, solid picks for their wine club members. At $50 per shipment, including shipping; the price point with all the information, factoids, recipes, etc. is a fair deal. In my opinion, the real cost-saving benefits kick in when you’re a member and can purchase at club prices -- for example, this Riesling at $10.99 and Pinot Noir at $12.99. Cheers!

NOTE: The California Wine Club is offering new readers and gift givers 4 bottles for the price of 2 when you sign up. Use the code vine12 at checkout to take advantage of the offer.

Click Here to visit the California Wine Club's website.

Click here to check out @cawineclub and @boringwineguy on Twitter.

Disclosure: This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.

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

  • 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 !

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