8/27/2012

Quick Sip: Jefferson Vineyards 2010 Cab Franc


Hello Friends,

Today’s ‘Quick Sip’ is the Jefferson Vineyard's 2010 Cabernet Franc. For me, moving to Virginia from the west coast late in 2003 had its perks. I wasn’t into wine back then nor did I have any idea that Virginia produced wine, but I had an interest in political history and four of the first five Presidents of the United States were from Virginia. If you think presidential elections are offensive nowadays, check out the election of 1800 (Thomas Jefferson, John Adams) and 1828 (Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams). Whilst bad news traveled slow back then, there was some serious, below-the-belt (morals, ugly rumors, mistresses, etc.) mudslinging going on. In 2005, during a tour of Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's abode), someone on the tour recommended we visit Jefferson Vineyards (a short distance away). For many people, White Zinfandel and [unfortunately] Boone’s Farm are their introduction into the world of wine. I like to think I started off on higher ground with Virginia wine. I didn’t know Merlot was a red wine or how to pronounce Viognier back then, but after ending that Monticello trip with visits to First Colony and Kluge Estate (now Trump Winery), I found myself a new hobby and it has been a grape journey since.

Jefferson Vineyard's 2010 Cabernet Franc


Several weeks ago, while visiting Total Wine, I picked up a few bottles of Jefferson Vineyard’s 2010 Cabernet Franc for $18 per bottle. The wine is blended with 10% Tannat and 6% Lemberger and was one of the 12 wines selected to the 2012 Governor's Cup Case (the top 12 scoring wines of the statewide competition) this spring. The medium ruby-colored 2010 Cabernet Franc is a relatively easy-drinking, smooth-textured example with soft acidity and a [sweet] black cherry and plum core interwoven with spice, subtle earth tones and underlying woodsy notes that give way to a medium-length spicy finish. I paired it with a wasabi-crusted meatloaf dish and enjoyed the remainder on its own. For under $20, in my opinion, this is a wine well worth checking out and enjoying now or over the next two years. As for the vintage [2010], it's one that produced better overall reds than whites (remember the extreme heat and dryness early on). If you fancy wine and history and have a few days to spare, I highly recommend exploring the Monticello Wine Trail. Fall is right around the corner and is a beautiful time of year to visit the area’s tasting rooms, downtown mall, and restaurants. Cheers!

PS ... Suggested book pairing: Richard Leahy's Beyond Jefferson’s Vines. Click here for additional information and pick up a copy on Amazon.com.

Click here to visit Jefferson Vineyard's website.

Click here to visit the Monticello Wine Trail'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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8/20/2012

#Winechat: Australian Riesling


Hello Friends,

Last Wednesday, I joined the #winechat crew on Twitter for a fast, furious, and fun-filled hour of tweeting and tasting Australian Riesling – a grape that a lot of people don’t typically associate with Australia. Generally, when you think about Riesling, you think about cooler-climate wine regions such as Germany, Alsace (FR), Austria, and closer to home -- the Columbia Valley (WA) and Finger Lakes (NY). While Australia is by and large warm-to-hot and fairly dry, it also has unique mesoclimates allowing for robust reds in warmer areas and refreshing white wines in cooler areas. A common misconception about Riesling is that it only produces wines that are sweet. But in reality, Riesling spans the sweetness scale from “dessert” sweet, to slightly-sweet, to bone-dry. Many well-made Australian Riesling examples that I have tasted fall into the dry category. They are usually mineral driven with racy acidity -- somewhat angular, with a delicate-to-medium citrus core and a food-friendly nature.

2010 Barossa Valley Reserve Riesling


The #winechat discussion was led by @SMCBarros, @vintagemd, and special guest (@PetePikes) -- winemaker for Pike’s winery in the Clare Valley. @PernodRicard, a top global producer of wine and spirits, was kind enough to provide samples from Jacob’s Creek to a number of participants. For the event, I tasted the Jacob’s Creek 2010 Barossa Valley Reserve Riesling. The Barossa Valley is located in South Australia and is known mainly for Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. The cooler areas are where you will typically find Riesling and Chardonnay. In the glass, the 2010 Barossa Valley Reserve Riesling is a light straw color in appearance with bright aromas of citrus zest, fresh lemon-lime juice, nectarine and subtle floral hints. The aromas follow through to the palate with a vibrant, tangy entry and refreshing acidity with a slight orange zest and mineral finish. In my opinion, this is a nice summertime/anytime dry quaffing/food-friendly wine that won’t break the bank at $13. I enjoyed this wine on its own and with Thai cuisine and believe it’s versatile enough to complement a wide variety of dishes.

Click here to view the upcoming #winechat schedule on Marie Payton's 'The Life of Vines blog'. And remember, friends don’t let friends’ miss #winechat. Cheers!

Click here to visit Jacob's Creek 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!

My Vine Spot

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8/13/2012

Quick Sip: TR Elliott 2008 Queste Pinot Noir


Hello Friends,

Pinot Noir, often referred to as the heartbreak grape for its finicky and temperamental nature, is the Holy Grail for some grape-growers and winemakers. The character Miles, from the hit movie Sideways, extoled the virtues of Pinot Noir, eloquently saying:

"Um, it's a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It's uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet."

Despite the despair this fickle variety may bring, some men and women embark on a life-long wine journey to craft the highest quality Pinot Noir possible.

TR Elliot Queste 2008 Pinot Noir


During a recent episode of Cellars of Sonoma #TVTuesdayLive web broadcast, host Scott Jordan welcomed special guest winemaker Ted R. Elliott. Ted is the owner/operator of TR Elliott Winery -- a boutique winery in Santa Rosa [Sonoma County] that produces small batches of nothing but Pinot Noir from select vineyards in the cool climate of the Russian River Valley. Ted was influenced by the late Richard Graff; an influential pioneer [mid 1960’s] of California Pinot Noir and Chalone Vineyard fame. For this episode, several of my wine blogging buddies and I had an opportunity to taste Ted’s 2008 Queste Pinot Noir and enjoy a very entertaining and informative show (which I suggest you watch with a glass of your favorite wine). The 2008 Queste is a focused and delicious 16 barrel blend sourced from two Russian River Valley vineyards [Hallberg and O'Connell Vineyard]. In the glass, the wine is a medium-deep ruby color with inviting aromas of black cherry, dried cranberry, baking spice (led by cinnamon) and floral/perfume scents suggestive of violets with delicate earthy notes. On the palate, the 08 Queste is slightly rich and well-balanced with a tart red fruit core [especially up-front], gaining depth on the mid-palate with a touch of spice on the lasting finish. In my opinion, this is a versatile, food friendly wine that I also enjoyed sipping on its own. Ted’s wines are not in stores due to limited production, but can be found via the TR Elliott and Cellars of Sonoma websites (see below). This particular wine, which is fairly priced in my opinion based on its quality, retails for $42 and is $31.50 for Cellars of Sonoma club members. If you enjoy a Pinot Noir with personality and character, give Ted’s Russian River Valley examples a try. In closing, Ted is always on the quest for the perfect Pinot Noir -- hence the name Queste. Most serious Pinot Noir growers and winemakers enjoy the challenge and pursuit. And wine enthusiasts like myself appreciate their efforts. To view the winemaker interview click on the UStream window below or click here. Cheers!

Cellars of Sonoma TR Elliott Interview


Video streaming by Ustream

Click here to visit the TR Elliott Winery website.

Click here to visit the Cellars of Sonoma 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!

My Vine Spot

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Happy Sipping Friends - Tell your friends about the blog and thanks for your support and kind emails !

8/06/2012

California Wine Club: Tobin James Cellars


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 specializes in hand-selected artisan wines from family-owned and operated [California] producers and has satisfied customers for over twenty years. Because of my appreciation and enthusiasm for wine -- and penchant for tweeting, blogging, and all that grape stuff, I was gifted a three month Premium Club membership along with several other passionate wine bloggers. The first shipment I received, which you can read about here, was from Fess Parker Winery. This month’s California wine adventure comes from Tobin James Cellars; a producer located in Paso Robles, California. Tobin James is named for the gentleman who founded the wine destination back in 1994. The two wines included in this month’s shipment are the 2010 Radiance Chardonnay (SRP $18 / Member Reorder Price $10.99) and 2008 Titan Hills Fiasco A Reserve Red Wine (SRP $21 / Member Reorder Price $11.99).
2010 Radiance Chardonnay


The Tobin James 2010 Chardonnay Radiance is [clearly] a tasting room favorite. Tobin says, “If someone doesn’t like our Radiance Chardonnay, they need to see a psychologist!” The fruit for the Radiance is all sourced from Lockwood Vineyard in Monterey County, California. The wine's color [a golden yellow] and profile is suggestive of a warm climate Chardonnay. The swirl and sniff offer medium [soft] tropical aromas, namely pineapple, with a touch of tree fruit, some trailing banana notes, and cedar-like undertones. The aromas extend to the palate with soft acidity and a short-to-medium length finish. The wine is clean, yet uncomplicated, but paired fairly well with my fish and chips dinner. The club price of $10.99 (or less), in my humble opinion, is in the ball-park for this particular vintage of Tobin James Radiance. I give the bottle bonus points for the eye-catching label – you can spot it from a mile away (so to speak).

2008 Titan Hills “Fiasco” A Reserve Red Wine


Several days later, I grilled blue-cheese and bacon burgers and opened the red blend. The Fiasco is a blend of 55% Syrah, 25% Zinfandel, and 20% Barbera that offers ripe (borderline baked … think pie filling) blackberry and black cherry aromas/flavors interwoven with kirsch, brown baking spice, a touch of molasses and cedar. The palate is round and velvety with soft acidity, smooth tannins, and a ripe, fruit driven-attack that extends throughout the pleasant (though slightly warm) medium-length finish. My grilled burgers paired nicely with this wine. The regular price ($21), in my opinion, is fair – and the club price ($11.99) – is a really good deal. The Fiasco makes for a nice midweek wine that sips well on its own and is a nice match for grilled fare and meaty specialty pizzas.

In closing, the Premium Club membership, the company’s oldest and most popular club level, works out to about $50 per shipment. The real savings kicks in on reordering wines that you have received in shipments and enjoyed. Each shipment includes two bottles of wine as well as a newsletter that contains information about the producer, food pairing suggestions; the club owner’s tasting notes, recipes, and other interesting reading material. Not a bad gift for you or one of your wine-loving friends. 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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