9/24/2012

Rodney Strong Vineyard’s Chardonnay & Pinot Noir


Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to sample Rodney Strong Vineyard’s recently released 2010 Chalk Hill Chardonnay and 2010 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. With comfortable fall-like temperatures upon us here in Virginia, I have been grilling out back a lot lately. On two separate occasions, I invited wines from Rodney Strong Vineyards to my dinner table and thoroughly enjoyed them with the main course.

One evening, I grilled lemon-rosemary chicken breast and paired it with the 2010 Chalk Hill Chardonnay. The Chalk Hill appellation is well-suited to Chardonnay and gets the name from its volcanically-derived, white ash soils. Rodney Strong first planted Chardonnay to the area in 1965 and has produced a Chalk Hill labeled Chardonnay since 1977. The 2010 Chalk Hill Chardonnay is 92% barrel fermented (new and neutral) with 9 months barrel maturation and 92% malolactic fermentation (process of converting harsher malic acid to a softer lactic acid ). Tree fruit, citrus, a dash of baking spice and subtle vanilla/toasty oak scents fill the nose and carry through to the palate with a pleasant medium-length finish. The wine is nicely-balanced and well-integrated with a fairly full mouth-feel. While richly textured, the wine’s acidity holds everything together nicely and readies you for another bite of food. This wine sells for $20 and was a nice match for the grilled bird. Two friends, who claimed they didn’t like oaked Chardonnay, enjoyed this one. Like I told them, “Focus less on the oak and more on if the wine is balanced or not --- then tell me what you think.”

 Rodney Strong Vineyard’s 2010 Chardonnay & Pinot Noir


A few days later, I paired the 2010 Pinot Noir with grilled salmon. Pinot Noir, in my opinion, should have a built-in elegance about it. Some less elegant Pinot Noir wines, albeit hedonistic and delicious, are fleshy/ripe and super-sized and come across as Syrah-like and are surprisingly better suited for a New York strip. The Rodney Strong Vineyards 2010 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir flirts with elegance and pairs nicely with flavorful/fatty fish. The wine offers black cherry, tart cranberry, subtle floral perfume, and a generous sprinkling of spice and toasty accents with enough brightness on the palate to make it very food friendly. In my opinion, this is a nice entry-level example that won’t break the bank at $20 and you can enjoy it with a wide variety of foods. In closing, if you cannot find these wines in your local wine shop, then check out Rodney Strong Vineyard’s website and get familiar with the producer and their wines. These two offer good everyday value and were enjoyed by me as well as my dinner guests. Cheers!

Click here to visit Rodney Strong 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. Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample. Thoughts are my own.

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9/10/2012

Quick Sip: Chateau Ste. Michelle 2011 Dry Riesling


Hello Friends,

Riesling is a white wine grape variety well known for its wonderful, tell-tale aromatic charm, diversity, and ability to improve with age; which is somewhat of a rarity for many white wines. Its naturally high acidity makes it a wonderful food wine choice year-round. Riesling spans the sweetness scale from bone-dry, to slightly-sweet, to “dessert” sweet. So, if you think that all Riesling wines are sweet, think/drink again. There is a Riesling style for every palate preference. In the US, Riesling, at least for my taste, performs best in cooler climates such as the Finger Lakes (NY), Oregon, and Columbia Valley (WA). Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, which is situated in Woodinville, Washington, does a nice job in my opinion, with their Columbia Valley portfolio. For the most part, these are pocket-friendly (under $15), everyday drinking wines that are well-made and available nationally.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery 2011 Dry Riesling


Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery produces several different styles of Riesling under the Columbia Valley label ranging from dry to a honey sweet late harvest example. I recently enjoyed a bottle of Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery 2011 Dry Riesling with a nice assortment of sushi. This particular wine is widely available, affordable (SRP $11), and is well-made. It’s a pleasing wine that offers tangy citrus flavors and green pear with palate-refreshing acidity that begs for a bite of food. This wine would have just as easily partnered nicely with seafood, Asian/Indian cuisine, a wide variety of cheeses, or as an aperitif. For spicy ethnic food, I recommend their 2011 Riesling (off-dry) or 2011 Harvest Select Sweet Riesling (slightly sweeter style). The sweetness will temper the spice while the palate-cleansing acidity gets you ready for another bite. If you have trouble finding this wine in your neck of the woods, the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery store has it listed for $9 per bottle. In closing, if you don’t want to break the bank and want to try a nice selection of entry-level Riesling wines that span the sweetness scale, pick up a few bottles of Chateau Ste. Michelle the next time you’re out shopping. Cheers!

Click here to visit Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery 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. Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample. Thoughts are my own.

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

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9/06/2012

Quick Sip: Hawk and Horse 08 Cabernet Sauvignon


Hello Friends,

I don’t necessarily need a special day to uncork and enjoy a Cabernet-based wine, but since there is a day for everything from apples to zucchini, then why not have a day to celebrate Cabernet, right? Besides, during past events, I noticed that this event encouraged a number of people to try Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc or their French counterparts – namely Bordeaux and Loire Valley red wines. And I totally endorse the idea of wine adventurism and tasting new wines and learning about new wine regions. The more you learn about wine, the more you are likely to enjoy it. #CabernetDay, as we call it on Twitter, was started three years ago by Rick Bakas of Bakas Media. It combines a myriad of online tasters and social media for a unique opportunity to engage with countless like-minded wine enthusiasts from all over the wine globe. For one day – all day long, we tweet, we sip, and we enjoy!

Hawk and Horse Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon


One of the wines I thoroughly enjoyed [from start to finish] on #CabernetDay was the 2008 Hawk and Horse Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon (98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot) from the Red Hills AVA of Lake County, California (which is north of Napa Valley). Hawk and Horse Vineyards, who released their first vintage in 2004, is a small family-owned-and-operated bio-dynamic/organic grower that has 18 acres of vine plantings primarily planted to Cabernet Sauvignon – a grape variety that apparently is well suited to the area. For me, this is a very pleasing, but still youthful wine that’s well-structured and balanced; offering blackberry, sweet dark cherries, plum, spice, and subtle perfume (of spring flowers) aromas that extend to the palate with medium tannins which lead to a nice lingering/lasting finish. The good folks at Hawk and Horse Vineyards made 1,150 cases of this tasty juice, which was hand-farmed and cropped at a low 1.7 tons per acre. While it drinks well now and improves with aeration; for the patient, I think it’s a wine that will reward its owner even more in several years.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Hawk and Horse Vineyards’ Latigo; a delicious Cabernet Sauvignon port-styled wine. Invite one or both of these bottles to your dinner table this fall. I believe you and your guests will be well pleased. The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon sells for $65, is sealed with natural cork, and clocks in at 14.1% ABV. To find this wine and learn more about Hawk and Horse Vineyards, click here. Cheers!

Click here to visit Hawk and Horse 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. Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample. Thoughts are my own.

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

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9/03/2012

TastingRoom.com: Innovations in Wine Tasting


Hello Friends,

The good folks over at TastingRoom.com have cleverly put together one of the most well-thought-out and reasonably priced concepts in wine tasting that I’ve had the pleasure to experience. For me, and probably for you too, variety is the spice of life when it comes to wine. I do have my personal favorites, but as a part of enjoying and learning more about wine – reading is good, but tasting is better. George Taber, author of Judgment of Paris, says, “We’re living in the golden age of wine.” This assertion is proven by an abundance of good quality wines at accessible price points being produced all over the world. This is what keeps my hobby exciting. There are always new things to taste, learn, and enjoy!

Take A Tour of  Paso Robles!


TastingRoom.com gives wine enthusiasts a chance to try a wide variety of wines by the pour (1.7 oz; which, by the way, are generous pours) before purchasing the wine in larger formats. They call it, “Wine Your Way.” How is this done, you ask? TastingRoom.com partners with top producers around the world and specializes in themed sampler packs that allow you to sample wine by the taste (50ml/1.7oz) or by the glass (100ml/3.4oz). You can later order your favorite wines by the bottle (750ml) or by the glass in four (100ml/3.4oz) single serving bottles. The sample pack I had an opportunity to try is the “Tour of Paso Robles,” which is reasonably priced at $19.95. It features 6 different wines (50ml/1.7 oz) from six different producers as well as information about the region, the producers, and tasting notes. I found all of these wines pleasant – some more than others, and plan to order a few by the glass and also try some other sampler packs by the pour. If you like tasting and learning about different wine regions as much as I do, then this new innovative way of tasting wine is for you. When TastingRoom.com says “Taste wine your way” and “Enjoy wine the way you want,” they mean it. Get started by clicking here and checking out their website. Cheers!

Click here to visit the TastingRoom.com 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. Disclosure: This review was made possible by TastingRoom.com. Thoughts are my own.

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

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

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