1/31/2013

In Review: Hourglass Wine #HGLive Tasting

Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to participate in Hourglass Winery’s first ever live virtual tasting with the good folks at Charles Communications and several of my fellow wine bloggers. This online, interactive tasting was led by proprietor Jeff Smith and winemaker Tony Biagi, formerly of Plumpjack Winery. Named for its position at the narrowest part of Napa Valley's unique hourglass figure, the six acre St. Helena vineyard was originally planted to Zinfandel by Jeff’s father Ned Smith in the mid 1970's. When Jeff took over the hillside site in 1990, the vines were in need of replanting. A prominent UC Davis soil specialists evaluated the six acre parcel and deemed it an ideal site (soil -- formed from volcanic rock, climate, hillside – better drainage, etc.) for growing high quality Cabernet Sauvignon. With Hourglass Winery’s inaugural release in 1997, the winery achieved cult status. With an awesome grand-opening under their belt cork, the winery has experienced repeated success producing small lots of handcrafted, single-vineyard wines.

Some of the tasting line-up


Seeking a site to produce wines of comparable quality to the original Hourglass Vineyard; in 2006, and with a good amount of searching, Jeff purchased a Calistoga property. The 20 acre vineyard, named Blueline, for the two streams that form its boundaries, is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec.

For this tasting, we an opportunity to sample several current releases (all 2010 vintage). All of these wines are seriously good, though the Merlot is not for the faint of heart – but albeit tasty. These wine are limited-production and may be difficult to find. If you happen to come across this label, I recommend savoring the experience. Click here to learn more about Hourglass Winery and please see my tasting notes below.

Corks out and ready to go!


1) Hourglass Blueline Vineyard 2010 Cabernet Franc (SRP $135): Composed of 94% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Petit Verdot, this wine displays a deep garnet color with rich aromas of black cherries, plum, black currant, and sweet spice notes with delicate dried herb undertones and shades of Cabernet Franc’s distinct (and pretty) violet scent. On the sip, it’s round and mouth-coating with a core of dark layered fruit, a [fairly] big, but well-structured body, moderately firm and chewy tannins, and a lengthy fruit-driven finish. 5 Words about this Cabernet Franc: Voluptuous, Ripe, Bold, Balanced, and Youthful.

 Hourglass Blueline Vineyard 2010 Cabernet Franc


2) Hourglass Blueline Vineyard 2010 Merlot (SRP $75): Deeply colored, full-bodied, and opulent wine on a sizable frame with a firm structure and tannic backbone. Big and balanced -- it pulls off an Olympian-like balancing act at 16.5% ABV with layers of [chewy] dark and (to a much lesser degree) red fruit flavors, bittersweet chocolate, and a wisp of minerality on the lingering finish. 5 Words about this Merlot: Intense, Briary, Chewy, Muscular, Legs-4-Days.

Hourglass Blueline Vineyard 2010 Merlot


3) Hourglass Blueline Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($125): A seductive and complex mélange of ripe red and black fruits aromas with hints of cedar and Asian five spice. The aromas extend through to the round palate with a pillow-soft texture and silky tannins that melt into the fruit- laden and rich finish. 5 Word about this Cabernet Sauvignon: Velvety, Luscious, Rich, Harmony, Hedonistic.

Hourglass Blueline Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon 


4) Hourglass Vineyard 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $155): Well-structured and complex with layered mineral-driven dark berry and plum flavors alongside hints of leather and dusty cocoa powder with a solid acid backbone, exceptional depth, and lasting finish. This wine opens up nicely in the decanter (1-2 hours) and is a keeper that will improve with time (in a dark, cool place) in my opinion. 5 Words about this Cabernet Sauvignon: Finesse, Complex, Harmonious, Refined, Delicious.

Hourglass Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample. Thoughts are my own.

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1/28/2013

01.28.2013 Wine Reviews: Boedecker Cellars, Ampelos Cellars, and Lions Drift


Hello Friends,

I know you would never believe this, but I uncork or unscrew a new wine adventure just about every day. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine blogger, and someone who thoroughly appreciates and enjoys the liquid expression of a place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I often tell people that wine is one of the most intriguing beverages in the world. It’s a hobby where there is always something new to taste and learn as well as great people to meet in real life or via those wonderful social media portals called Facebook and Twitter.

Below are a few of my recent sips -- two Pinot Noir wines and one Pinotage. In my opinion, with Pinot Noir, you will generally get what you pay for.  It’s not the easiest grape to grow or produce and it is rather picky about where it will thrive. Twenty [something] dollars is typically the starting point for decent entry-level selections from top Pinot Noir wine producing regions. Pinotage, which is a uniquely South African grape variety, is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. This creation [Pinotage] reiterates the fact that Pinot Noir is picky about where it wants to be grown. All three wines are pretty good for their respective price points, but if you look a bit online you may be able to find them a little cheaper. Variety, so they say, is the spice of life, so keep an open mind and an open palate and enjoy the experience. Drink well, my friends!

Boedecker Cellars Athena 2009 Pinot Noir


1) Boedecker Cellars Athena 2009 Pinot Noir (SRP $34): My recent piano playing adventure may have lacked harmony, but this Pinot Noir did not. I picked it up at Arrowine (for $30), here in Arlington, Virginia. For you locals, besides having a very good wine selection, this wine shop has a nice cheese, meats, and fine nibbles selection, too. During my visit, I also picked up a pack of rosemary lamb sausage that’s made by Simply Sausage in Landover, Maryland. Medium garnet in color, this is a well-balanced wine with aromas and flavors of expansive black cherries, raspberry jam, dried flowers, and sweet spice notes. On the sip, she’s medium-bodied with a round and soft palate and a medium-length smooth finish. The wine and sausage (with a side of wild mushroom risotto) played very well together -- accentuating the flavors in one another; which in the end, is a win. Click here to find this wine.

Ampelos Lambda 2008 Pinot Noir


2) Ampelos Lambda [The Magnitude] 2008 Pinot Noir ($34):  A harmonious and delectable Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara’s Santa Rita Hills that’s nicely structured and velvety [textured], that exhibits a deep garnet color with a dark cherry character, blue tones, hints of allspice, and mild earth-like nuances on the lingering finish. I recently enjoyed a glass of this, both on its own and with smoked duck breast. Ampelos Cellars is a small, family-owned [low-intervention grower and wine producer] winery that’s located in the Santa Rita Hills that hit my palate radar a few years ago and I have since enjoyed several of their Pinot Noir wines. I found this selection here locally at UnWined wine shop in Alexandria, Virginia. Only 41 barrels of this wine were produced. Click here to find this wine.

Lions' Drift 2009 Silkbush Mountain Vineyard Pinotage


3) Lion’s Drift 2009 Silkbush Mountain Vineyard Pinotage (SRP $18):  This is a nice selection from South Africa's Western Cape that everyone at the table thoroughly enjoyed. Pinotage is largely unique to South Africa and is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut – or we could say where Burgundy meets the southern Rhone. Pinotage was bred at Stellenbosch University in the 1920’s and came to prominence some four decades later after winning numerous awards and garnering local attention. You can say I have a love-hate relationship with the variety. Pinotage can throw some unexpected sharp elbows (harsh acidity) and its meatiness/smokiness can overwhelm. However, when everything is in harmony, including the smoke, wild game, acid balance, tannins, and fruit – it can be a very appealing wine (especially with something like pan roasted duck breast). It’s also, one of very few red wine grapes – similar in a sense to Gamay (Beaujolais), which can produce aromas/flavors (e.g., white stone fruits) associated with white grape varieties. This Pinotage has a nice brightness about it; with pleasant cranberry and raspberry aromas/flavors that are complemented by purple stone fruit undertones with soft anise notes and a pinch of [vanilla spiced] toasted nuts. It hides the 14.5% ABV rather well (good balancing act), ending with sweet tannins in the medium-length finish. Click here to find this wine.

My backyard feathered friend: American Goldfinch


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends!

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1/24/2013

01.24.2013 Wine Reviews: Pic & Chapoutier, Domaine De La Mordoree, and Louis Cheze


Hello Friends, I know you would never believe this, but I uncork or unscrew a new wine adventure just about every day. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine blogger, and someone who thoroughly appreciates and enjoys the liquid expression of a place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I often tell people that wine is one of the most intriguing beverages in the world. It’s a hobby where there is always something new to taste and learn as well as great people to meet in real life or via those wonderful social media portals called Facebook and Twitter.

Below are a few of my recent sips – all wines from the Rhone Valley, which sits in southeast France. Winemaking in this region predates the Romans and bargain hunters seeking interesting and substantive red wines find this region attractive. The Rhone Valley also produces some rather nice white and rosé wines, which is what I have reviewed below. Variety, so they say, is the spice of life, so keep an open mind and an open palate and enjoy the experience. Drink well, my friends!

Pic and Chapoutier 2011 Côtes du Luberon Blanc


1) Pic and Chapoutier 2011 Côtes du Luberon Blanc (SRP $12):  This wine is a collaborative effort between Anne-Sophie Pic (French chef) and Michel Chapoutier (Rhone wine-grower). It’s a white blend that hails from the Luberon appellation, which is located in the southern Rhone. I rarely see wine from this appellation on store shelves, so I picked it up when I spotted it at a local wine shop. This light-to-medium bodied wine offers aromas and “delicate” flavors of white-stone fruits, white flowers, and very subtle mineral undertones with refreshing (food-partnering) acidity. It has a nice, slender texture and ends with a short, clean finish. The label says pair it with grilled sea bass, but it did a good job with stuffed flounder for us. Overall, this is a fairly simple, but well-made wine that won’t break and would complement a wide variety of foods. It could also be served as an aperitif. Click here to find this wine.

Domaine De La Mordoree 2011 Tavel Rose


2) Domaine De La Mordoree 2011 Tavel Rose (SRP $30): Tavel is an appellation in the southern Rhone and is the only AOC in France to only produce rosé wine (… I think). Of course, these are not your ordinary/average bright and light Rosé wines. These are relatively substantive, [beautiful] salmon colored wines that will pair well with fatty fish like salmon and tuna. This particular example has nice weight on the palate (medium-to-full in body) with fleshy red fruit and perfume-like/floral complexities that’s balanced by good structural acidity. There is a slight (very slight) bitterness on the finish, which may be the alcohol (14.5% ABV), but all around a very nice Rosé from Tavel. In my opinion, you should serve a wine like this at same temperature you would a fuller-bodied Chardonnay [cellar temperature … around 55°F]. Click here to find this wine.

Domaine Louis Cheze 2009 Condrieu


3) Domaine Louis Cheze 2009 Condrieu (SRP $45): The small appellation of Condrieu, located in the northern Rhone just south of Côte Rôtie, makes white wine exclusively from the Viognier grape variety. Condrieu is the homeland of Viognier and is considered the benchmark for fine examples throughout the wine world. This example, pale gold in color, exhibits aromas of mandarin orange, pretty lilac scents, hay, and a touch of [dried] apricot and peach that extends to the palate with good viscosity and acid balance ending with a nice dash of spice in the medium-length finish. I enjoyed a glass of this with a warm and delicious bowl of bouillabaisse; which was a surprisingly good pairing. I also enjoyed another glass with a good book. Overall, this is a nice entry-level [ish] example at an entry-level price point. Unfortunately, Condrieu isn't cheap. Lastly, Condrieu, in my opinion, is also one of the few examples of Viognier that can gain complexities and evolve with a little patience. Outside of the northern Rhone, most Viognier wines are meant to be consumed in their youth. Click here to find this wine.

Happy Sipping from #DC, my friends!



Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends!

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1/21/2013

01.21.2013 Wine Reviews: Twin Vines, Arca Nova, and Caiu A Noite


Hello Friends,

I know you would never believe this, but I uncork or unscrew a new wine adventure just about every day. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine blogger, and someone who thoroughly appreciates and enjoys the liquid expression of a place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I often tell people that wine is one of the most intriguing beverages in the world. It’s a hobby where there is always something new to taste and learn as well as great people to meet in real life or via those wonderful social media portals called Facebook and Twitter.

 Portugal White Wines: Low Cost, High Reward


Below are a few of my recent sips – all refreshing white wines from Portugal accompanied by my tasting notes and a picture I snapped of each bottle. Generally speaking, Portuguese white wines are light and bright, low in alcohol, compatible with a wide variety of foods, and won’t break the bank. For those of you unfamiliar with the wines of Portugal; I encourage you to pick up a bottle the next time you visit your local wine shop. Variety, so they say, is the spice of life, so keep an open mind and an open palate and enjoy the experience. Drink well, my friends!

 Twin Vines 2010 Vinho Verde


1) J. M. Fonseca Twin Vines 2010 Vinho Verde (SRP $8.99): I paired this wine with the New England Patriots victory over the Houston Texans. It made for a nice pre-game, aperitif wine. This is a blend of 50% Loureiro, 25% Trajadura, 20% Pederna, and 5% Alvarinho. Almost clear in color, this fresh and lively Vinho Verde displays [very] soft aromas and flavors of citrus fruit, melon, and some floral action on a simple, slender frame. Like many Vinho Verde wines, there is a nice tingling, prickling sensation on the palate that follows through to the crisp, clean, and short finish. The wines from the Vinho Verde DOC, particularly white, are best consumed in their youth. Thus, I probably let a little of the fruit get away from me on this one. These wines are best served chilled and can be enjoyed as an aperitif or paired with ethnic cuisine (e.g., Thai, Indian), seafood, or light (summer) fare. My tip: spend $10 and see if these bright Portuguese white wines agree with you – I bet they will. Click here to find this wine.

 Quinta Arcos Arca Nova 2011 Alvarinho


2) Quinta Arcos Arca Nova 2011 Alvarinho (SRP $10): This is a pleasantly refreshing wine that’s a wonderful summer companion. But its food-friendly nature and pocket-friendly price makes it a nice year-round buy to enjoy on its own or pair with tapas, poultry, and Asian foods. I enjoyed this Alvarinho from the Minho region with a delicious [zesty] seafood salad. This straw colored, fruit-driven wine offers delicate aromas/flavors of lime, lemon zest, and citrus peel with soft white flower nuances and a short, crisp finish. Overall, a nice quaffing wine that’s fresh and clean with good food-friendly acidity. There is a lot more to Portuguese wine than Port, so check out the dry reds and whites coming from this region (if you haven’t done so already). Click here to find this wine.

 Caiu A Noite 2010 Vinho Verde


3) Caiu A Noite 2010 Vinho Verde (SRP $8): I recently enjoyed this sleek and vibrant wine on its own as well as with Oysters Rockefeller. It’s a blend of Loureiro, Trajadura, and Arioto. This light, refreshing, and slightly effervescent Vinho Verde offers green apple and fresh lemon/lime flavors with a faint mineral tang in the short, clean finish. It's for sure, a nice, serviceable wine at a budget-friendly price point that offers good food-matching compatibility with white fish, shellfish, etc. And while labels don’t speak to the quality of the wine, there is something rather eye-catching and refreshing about this one. Click here to find this wine.

 My backyard feathered friend: Carolina Wren


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Disclosure: This review was made possible by the good folks over at Wines of Portugal and Vinho Verde Wines. Photos and thoughts are all my own.Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends!

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1/14/2013

01.14.2013 Wine Reviews: Domaine Carneros, Sheldon Wines, and Krutz Family Cellars


Hello Friends,

I know you would never believe this, but I uncork or unscrew a new wine adventure just about every day. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine blogger, and someone who thoroughly appreciates and enjoys the liquid expression of a place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I often tell people that wine is one of the most intriguing beverages in the world. It’s a hobby where there is always something new to taste and learn as well as great people to meet in real life or via those wonderful social media portals called Facebook and Twitter. Below are a few of my recent sips, brief tasting notes, and a picture I snapped of each bottle. Variety, so they say, is the spice of life, so keep an open mind and an open palate and enjoy the experience. Drink well, my friends!

 Domaine Carneros Winery Brut Rosé NV


1) Domaine Carneros Winery Brut Rosé NV Cuvée de la Pompadour (SRP $30 something): This was one of several sparklers I rang in the New Year with. It’s a blend of 58% Pinot Noir and 42% Chardonnay and sports a nice pale salmon-pink color in the glass. A vibrant red fruit core – namely strawberry, fills the nose with citrus, slight almond, and brioche notes. The aromas extend to the palate with bracing acidity and a richer mouth-feel than you would expect with very fine, yet persistent beads. I enjoyed this wine both on its own and with a small plate of bacon-wrapped scallops. Domaine Carneros is located in Carneros (where else, right) on the Napa Valley side of the appellation and specializes in sparkling wine and Pinot Noir. Check them out; their juice is probably at a wine shop near you. Click here to find this wine.

 Sheldon Wines 2011 Vinolocity Blanc


2) Sheldon Wines 2011 Vinolocity Blanc (SRP $30): I was introduced to Sheldon Wines last year during a late fall TasteLive virtual Café-140 tasting that celebrated the end of harvest and new wine releases. The 2011 Vinolocity Blanc is a tasty blend composed of 50% Grenache Blanc, 25% Rousanne, and 25% Viognier. At first sniff, the wine displays a tree fruit core (apple and pear) with spicy cider accents and subtle ginger-like and floral undertones. On the palate, the wine is fresh, supple, and slightly round with good balance and acidity. For me, the wine starts to express even more of its charm around cellar temperature (approximately 55F) – which accentuates its texture and brings out some [very] soft mineral components. I enjoyed this wine on its own and with a roasted garlic sauce pizza topped with shiitake and button mushrooms, caramelized onions, feta, truffle oil, and other tasty things. Sheldon Wines is a micro-winery in Sonoma’s Russian River that specializes in small lot, hand-crafted California wines. Only 100 cases of this wine were made and there is still a little available on their site [as of this post]. Check out the Sheldon Wine website here and be sure to read the wonderful story behind the husband-and-wife team who are living their dream and making good wine in Sonoma County, California. Click here to find this wine.

 Krutz Family Cellars 2010 Martinelli Rd Chardonnay


3) Krutz Family Cellars 2010 Martinelli Road Chardonnay (SRP $45): This was a selection I had an opportunity to taste last year during a late fall TasteLive virtual Café-140 tasting. I’ve enjoyed previous vintages of Patrick Krutz’s [well-done] single-vineyard Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines in the past. This Russian River Valley Chardonnay offers inviting scents of baked apple, pear, a nice (subtle) sweet spiciness, and toasted nuts that follow through to the medium-bodied palate with a lightly toasted finish of sweet butter-cream and lemon zest. The wine has a nice layered texture about it, good depth of flavor, and a lasting finish. Several of my guests who tasted it appreciated and noted the delicate balancing act between the wine’s richness and brightness. I enjoyed this Chardonnay on its own and had a glass (what was left) the following day with smoked salmon pinwheels. Krutz Family Cellars is a small family-run winery in Sonoma County that specializes in limited production, vineyard-designated California wines. Click here to find this wine.

 My backyard feathered friend: The Northern Cardinal


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends!

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1/07/2013

01.07.2013 Wine Reviews: Chateau Ste. Michelle, Loimer, and Peter Lehmann


Hello Friends,

I know you would never believe this, but I uncork or unscrew a new wine adventure just about every day. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine blogger, and someone who thoroughly appreciates and enjoys the liquid expression of a place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I often times tell people that wine is one of the most intriguing beverages in the world. It’s a hobby where there is always something new to taste and learn as well as great people to meet in real life or via those wonderful virtual bridges called Facebook and Twitter.

Riesling: Diverse, Versatile, and Food-Friendly!


Riesling is a white wine grape variety that prefers a relatively cool climate. It’s well known for its wonderful, tell-tale aromatic charm, diversity, and ability to improve with age; which is somewhat of a rarity for a white wine. Its naturally high acidity makes it easy to pair with a wide variety of foods year-round. And to debunk a myth; all Riesling wines are not sweet – they span the sweetness scale from bone-dry, to slightly-sweet, to “dessert” in the glass. Below are three recent Riesling sips, brief tasting notes, and a picture I snapped of each bottle. Variety, so they say, is the spice of life, so keep an open mind and an open palate and enjoy the experience. Drink well, my friends!

 Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery 2011 Riesling


1) Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery 2011 Columbia Valley Riesling (SRP $10): This is Washington State’s oldest winery and the area’s largest Riesling producer (I believe). The 2011 Columbia Valley Riesling is a pleasant yet uncomplicated wine with vibrant pear and stone fruit flavors, refreshing food-partnering [citrus] acidity and a faint hint of sweetness that lingers through to the crisp, clean finish. Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Columbia Valley Riesling is nationally available and for under $10 is a reliable entry-level Riesling to match with a wide variety of foods and also drinks nicely on its own. I enjoyed a few glasses with a [big] plate of Panda Express orange chicken, Beijing beef, and fried rice. The portions were so generous it was enough food for two people. Both the bottle of wine and a two entrée meal were just under $20, so try this out if you’re seeking a tasty combo for a cheap date night. Click here to find this wine.

 Weingut Fred Loimer 2011 Riesling Kamptal


2) Weingut Fred Loimer 2011 Riesling Kamptal (SRP $25): This is a selection I had an opportunity to taste for a “Summer of Riesling” Twitter tasting that was put on by the good folks over at @AustrianwineUSA. A friend, who sampled the wines with me, was so pleased with this selection that he found several more bottles and I recently enjoyed another glass with dinner. Riesling is Austria’s second most important white wine grape variety behind its native Grüner Veltliner. The region’s gift to consumers like me are dry (as well as sweet), food-friendly wines that can accompany a wide range of foods. The moderately complex and refreshing 2011 Riesling Kamptal offers lemon-lime, tangerine, and green apple scents and flavors with a nice, but delicate, mineral presence that’s complemented by brisk, palate-cleansing acidity with a clean medium-length finish. Two glasses paired nicely with Thai cuisine – tempering the heat and prepping me for another bite! Click here to find this wine.

 Peter Lehmann 2009 Eden Valley Riesling


3) Peter Lehmann 2009 Eden Valley [South Australia] Riesling (SRP $15): Australia is a region that’s generally seen as warm-to-hot in climate and is largely looked to for inexpensive, riper-styled Shiraz. They also produce much pricier and complex examples that flirt with elegance and finesses. A region’s broad-scale climate doesn’t define the climate of the entire region – there are many other factors at play. The higher altitude of the Eden Valley provides a cooler macroclimate where varieties like Riesling can thrive. The Peter Lehmann 2009 Eden Valley Riesling offers appealing citrus, petrol (very pronounced), diesel, and mineral notes on a lean frame with good food partnering acidity. Besides being a good entry-level Aussie Riesling, doesn’t the artwork on the label remind you of the lead singer for the Go-Go’s? I believe I had a poster of Belinda Carlisle on my wall back in the day! Click here to find this wine. #WeGotTheBeat

 My backyard feathered friend: Black-capped Chickadee


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends!

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1/03/2013

01.03.2013 Wine Reviews: Freedom Run Winery, Flora Springs Winery, and Elk Run Vineyards


Hello Friends,

I know you would never believe this, but I uncork or unscrew a new wine adventure just about every day. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine blogger, and someone who thoroughly appreciates and enjoys the liquid expression of a place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I often times tell people that wine is one of the most intriguing beverages in the world. It’s a hobby where there is always something new to taste and learn as well as great people to meet in real life or via those wonderful virtual bridges called Facebook and Twitter. Below are a few of my recent sips, brief tasting notes, and a picture I snapped of each bottle. Variety, so they say, is the spice of life, so keep an open mind and an open palate and enjoy the experience. Drink well, my friends!

 Freedom Run Winery Estate 2010 Cabernet Franc


1) Freedom Run Winery Estate 2010 Cabernet Franc (SRP $22): This is a small family-owned and operated winery that I was introduced to by way of the Empire State Cellars' [New York] Wine Club. Without this service, getting my hands on this and like bottles (from small producers in NY) would be near impossible without going to the tasting room. Unmistakably Cabernet Franc, this selection out of New York's Niagara Escarpment shows distinct cherry, raspberry and violet scents interwoven with [slight] field herbs, spice, and trailing notes of sweet tobacco leaf. The aromas carry over to the palate with fresh fruit flavors on a slender frame, good balancing acidity, a supple texture, and a pleasant medium length finish. I had Chinon with my turkey dinner for Thanksgiving; but, this selection could have easily partnered up with it, too. Click here to find this wine.

 Flora Springs Winery 2009 Limited Release Cabernet Franc


2) Flora Springs Winery 2009 Limited Release Cabernet Franc (SRP $48): You don’t see much Cabernet Franc [as a varietal wine] coming out of the Napa Valley -- since growers can consistently ripen its offspring, Cabernet Sauvignon. The latter is better known, fetches more money, and has the potential to make wines of greater character, complexity, and depth. This limited production Cabernet Franc, from the Rutherford appellation, offers inviting aromas of black cherry, sweet plum, and warm spice shaded by touches of anise, cedar, and vanilla/cocoa bean. It is rich yet balanced with smooth tannins, a core of (softer than the nose suggest) black cherry and blackberry fruit finishing with a touch of spice in the lasting finish. I originally found several bottles of this wine on WTSO and my friends who shared a glass with me also enjoyed it. This wine is sold out so click here to visit the producer’s website for future release information.

 Elk Run Vineyards 2008 Cold Friday Cabernet Franc


3) Elk Run Vineyards 2008 Cold Friday Vineyard Cabernet Franc (SRP $25): This is a small Maryland-based producer that’s been producing wine since the early 1980’s. Dried cherry and raspberry mingle with [sweet] spice, a touch of mocha, and a hint of wild herb in this soft (middling acidity), round, and very approachable single-vineyard Cabernet Franc. On a cold winter day, this wine along with a bowl of hot Texas chili and a big square of jalapeno corn bread provided ample warmth and satisfaction. Click here to find this wine.

Along my walking trail: Jones Point Lighthouse (built 1855)


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends!

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

My Vine Spot

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1/01/2013

01.01.2013 Wine Reviews: Biltmore Estate, Lallier, and Breaux Vineyards


Hello Friends,

I know you would never believe this, but I uncork or unscrew a new wine adventure just about every day. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine blogger, and someone who thoroughly appreciates and enjoys the liquid expression of a place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I often times tell people that wine is one of the most intriguing beverages in the world. It’s a hobby where there is always something new to taste and learn as well as great people to meet in real life or via those wonderful virtual bridges called Facebook and Twitter. Below are a few of my recent sips, brief tasting notes, and a picture I snapped of each bottle. Variety, so they say, is the spice of life, so keep an open mind and an open palate and enjoy the experience. Drink well, my friends!

Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs Brut NV


1) Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs Brut NV (SRP $24): Sparkling wine made in the traditional method, as they do in Champagne, by the nation’s most visited tasting room and winery in Asheville, North Carolina. The wine is fresh and lively on the palate with a myriad of fine and persistent bubbles and aromas/flavors of lemon curd, subtly toasted bread, and some tree fruit accented notes. I also recommend trying their North Carolina-grown Reserve Blanc de Blancs. Click here to find this wine.

Lallier Champagne Grande Reserve Grand Cru Brut NV 


2) Lallier Champagne Grande Reserve Grand Cru Brut NV (SRP $48): This Champagne is a blend of 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay that offers aromas of bread dough/yeast, chalk, a toasty character, and a subtle nutty oxidative quality with underlying citrus fruit, apple and spice notes. While not many, this wine displays a persistent stream of medium sized bubbles with a lively and refreshing palate. It retails for the mid to upper $40’s but I found it on WTSO for a slightly discounted price. Keep your eyes peeled as the website may run it again. Click here to find this wine.

Breaux Vineyards 2010 Viognier


3) Breaux Vineyards 2010 Viognier (SRP $32):  A pleasant Viognier from a small family-owned and operated wine grower (over 100 acres under vine) and producer in northern [Loudoun County] Virginia. This Viognier is fairly fat and round in the mouth with middling acidity and tropical and dried stone fruit aromas/flavors with baking spice notes, [sweet] toasty accents and delicate white flower undertones with a lingering spice-driven finish. Shying away from their [usual] sleek/racy/fruit-forward style of Viognier and overcoming an extremely hot/humid and arid [2010] growing season, the good folks at Breaux pulled off a tasty, more voluptuous version of Viognier that I enjoyed with smoked salmon and caper spread. This wine is sold out so click here to visit the producer’s website for future release information.

Wishing all of you a grape #2013. Cheers! 


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends!


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.

Thanks for reading and please tell your wine-loving friends about the blog. Cheers!

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