5/30/2013

#SnoothPVA: Wines of Rioja Farewell


Hello Friends,

You know the old saying; all good things must come to an end. So with that, my wine blogging friends and I wrapped up a fun-filled and enlightening ‘Snooth People’s Voice Wine Awards’ weekend with a 'Wines of Rioja' Farewell event. The tasting and discussion was led by Ana Fabiano, author of The Wine Region of RiojaAna also serves as the U.S. Trade Director at Vibrant Rioja and is the Brand Ambassador for DOCa Rioja.

Wines of Rioja Farewell


Rioja has a long history of growing wine grapes and producing wine that goes back centuries. The region is located in northern (central) Spain and is one of two (the other being Priorat) Spanish wine growing regions to achieve DOCa (Denominación de Origen Calificada) recognition -- Spain's highest level of wine classification. My very first Rioja experience came by way of a dry, racy, and crisp bottle of rosé that I enjoyed with light picnic fare on a beautiful and sunny spring day. When the mood hits, I still reach for the region’s dry and refreshing pink wines. Having said that however, Rioja’s true gift to the wonderful world of wine is their highly-regarded Tempranillo-based wines. While Tempranillo takes center stage in Rioja, other red varieties grown are Garnacha (Grenache), Mazuelo (Carignan) and Graciano. White grape varieties grown are Viura (primary variety also known as Macabeo), Malvasia and Garnacha Blanca.

 Time to fill these glasses and taste!


Rioja is divided into three sub-regions: Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa are to the west and benefit from a cooler climate while Rioja Baja, to the east, experiences a warmer and drier climate. The differences in macro-climates (and soil types) within the appellation allows for a wide amount of diversity and a broad range of styles in the region’s wines. And the good news is that many of these wines are affordable and have a fairly good quality-price ratio. One thing I suggest getting familiar with on Spanish DO (Denominación de Origen ) and  DOCa wine labels are the terms Joven, Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva. This will give you some insight into the amount of aging the wine received both in barrel and bottle before release. For example, Joven is a wine that typically sees little to no barrel/bottle aging and is meant to be consumed in its youth. Whereas Gran Reserva wines must be aged a minimum of two years in the barrel and three years in the bottle. So, you won’t see a Gran Reserva on store shelves for at least five years (and it is not too often that a producer ages the wine for you).

‘The Wine Region of Rioja’


All of this information and more can be found in Ana’s informative and well-written book, which I highly recommend. The book is easy to read, comprehensive, and filled with so many stunning images of the Rioja wine region that you will want to plan a vacation. The book is under $20 on Amazon and pairs nicely with a good bottle of Rioja (trust me)! Below are a few of the wines I enjoyed as well as links to reviews from several passionate wine bloggers that I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know. Thanks for making me part of your event-packed and successful inaugural PVA weekend, Snooth. It was a blast! Cheers!

Gregory Dal Piaz and Ana Fabiano


Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva 2007 (SRP $22): Slightly tart cherry and raspberry fruit intermingled with spice and mineral overtones and supported by a good spine of acidity and fine-grained tannins with a medium-length finish.

Conde de Valdemar Rioja Gran Reserva 2004 (SRP $35): An inviting and nicely integrated wine showing black cherry, ripe plum, and spice box aromas with an earthy edge and a touch of dried herbs. This wine is drinking nicely now and has the potential to further develop with short-term cellaring.

Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva 1994 (SRP $80): This wine shows intriguing and complex of aromas of dark berries, pomegranate, cedar wood and lavender with hints of tea leaves and truffles. The palate has a restrained fruit character with a supple texture that leads to a pleasant, lasting finish.


Read what others are saying about the Wines of Rioja Farewell event:

Snooth writes "PVA Rioja Event"

Benito's Wine writes "Snooth PVA: Wines of Rioja"

VineSleuth writes "What is Rioja Wine?"

The V.I.P Table writes "Rioja: An Untapped Resource"

Vindulge writes "Cellar Worthy Rioja"


Backyard Feathered Friend: American Robin


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 trip was provided by Snooth. Thoughts are my own.

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

My Vine Spot

5/28/2013

05.28.2013 Wine Reviews: Black Coyote Wines, CADE Winery, and Raymond Vinyards


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.

Having a splash of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon


Below are a few of my recent sips accompanied by my tasting notes and a picture I snapped of each bottle. All three of these Cabernet Sauvignon wines are from the Napa Valley appellation. Two are from specific sub-appellations (Atlas Peak and Rutherford) within Napa Valley while one is a blend of sub-appellations.  All three, in my opinion, are pretty delicious and offer the depth, length and structure you would expect to find in a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at these price points (which are within the ball-park). 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!

Black Coyote Reserve 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon


1) Black Coyote Wines Atlas Peak Reserve 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $85): My current notes are pretty consistent with a bottle I opened up a several months ago. This is unmistakably Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. It shows richness, good depth of flavor/length, ripe concentration, and sheer fruit intensity that is pure and focused from start to finish. It is full-bodied and expressive with an expansive, velvety texture and balanced tannins with layered red berry and purple stone fruit aromas/flavors that are accented by brown spice, cedar, and graham cracker crust. This wine is big, yet balanced, and lifted by a firm spine of acidity that keeps everything in check/harmony. The 2007 vintage is near impossible to find nowadays; unless you have a friend with some in his/her wine cellar. Wine Enthusiasts rated it 97 points and a regional wine chain surprisingly reduced the price to $50. Needless to say, the ‘Rating Hounds’ quickly snatched it all up. Several of my bottles are from a friend (who is a Rating Hound) who went on a mad hunt for this vintage when it received the high rating. Overall, this is a very tasty wine that’s drinking nicely now with enough acidity, fruit, and tannin to get interesting over time with proper cellaring. My plan is to hold a small vertical (2007-2010) to see if subsequent vintages are consistent (or not) with this bottle of liquid exuberance and lusciousness. Approximately 450 cases of this wine were produced. Click here to visit the producer's site.

CADE Napa Cuvée 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon


2) CADE Cuvée Napa Valley 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $60): The CADE Cuvée is composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec and sourced from select Napa Valley vineyards in (Beckstoffer’s George the 3rd) Rutherford, (Beckstoffer’s Orchard Avenue) Oak Knoll, (Kenefick Ranch) Calistoga, and (Dr. Crane) St. Helena. This wine has an alluring nose of black cherry and cassis with dark berry undertones, allspice, and a kiss of sweet oak and dark chocolate. On the palate, it is smooth with a silky texture and well-integrated tannins with a fleshy mid-palate that leads to a satisfying, lingering finish. Overall, this is a nice bottle of wine to drink now that may also reward those patient enough to cellar it short-term. CADE Winery is a sister winery to PlumpJack and I have recently enjoyed other CADE selections including their Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and Estate and Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. Approximately 288 barrels of this wine were produced which is approximately 7.2K cases. Click here to find this wine.

Raymond Vineyards District Collection “Rutherford”


3)  Raymond Vineyards District Collection “Rutherford” 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $75): I had an opportunity to taste this selection for a recent CellarPass event. The Rutherford edition is one of two appellation specific wines from Raymond’s new small-batch “District Collection” series (the other is Calistoga). This wine displays a brilliant, deep ruby color with inviting blackberry, black currant, dark cherry, and cassis aromas with underlying mocha, and bittersweet chocolate notes along with a pleasant (sweet) spiciness. On the palate, the wine is (fairly) mouth-coating, richly textured, and layered with good depth of flavor, dusty tannins, and a long, persistent finish. I enjoyed this wine both on its own and with a smoked brisket dinner. Approximately 500 cases of this wine were produced. Click here to find this wine.

Along My Walking Trail: Great Blue Heron



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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5/21/2013

#SnoothPVA: South African Wine Lunch


Hello Friends,

Following an enjoyable and informative Wine of Austria Master Class, we jumped on a bus and headed to the Institute of Culinary Education for a South African Wine Pairing Luncheon hosted by Wines of South Africa. Going into this tasting, I had familiarity with some of the region’s refreshing Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc wines as well as Pinotage – a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut that is largely unique to South Africa. As a matter of fact, a few years ago I hosted a ‘Pinotage Party’ on Twitter with fellow wine blogger @BrainWines to draw attention to the often misunderstood and underrated grape variety.

South African Wine Lunch


South Africa has a long wine growing history dating back over three centuries. However, at a time when other new world wine regions were advancing, South Africa’s wine industry was set back by apartheid (1948-1994). In response, trade sanctions were imposed, preventing South African wines from being imported into the U.S. and other markets. Since that time, South African wine has experienced a renaissance of sorts and is growing in popularity. "Chenin Blanc is no longer called Steen and varietals such as Syrah are taking their rightful place among the world’s finest," said the folks at Snooth. Adding that, “ Pinotage ... the black sheep of the vitis vinifera family, is finding new appreciation as producers begin to understand how to coax the most from each variety in South Africa’s famously complex soils.”

Curry Mussels


Our lunch, prepared by Chef Hugo Uys, who has experience with the flavors of South Africa, consisted of traditional cuisine. Everything served was delicious -- so much so that I cleaned every plate that was put before me. There were also several wines on the tasting sheet I found agreeable – particularly the red blends that I do not see too much of on store shelves here in Virginia.  

Smoked Ostrich


Wines and dishes of note start with a refreshing flute of Graham Beck Brut N.V. (SRP $18). This is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that’s crisp, clean, and versatile and priced just under the $20 sweet-spot for wine consumers. It is also widely available nationally so check with your local wine shop for a bottle. The bubbles paired nicely with the curry mussels dish (with lychees, shallots, white wine and dry sherry, in a curry emulsion), which was an extremely pleasing and flavorful dish. 

Boekenhoutskloof  ‘The Chocolate Block’ 


Our entrée, and a first for me, was a delectable smoked ostrich dish with roasted root vegetables, gorgonzola mousse, herb port reduction, homemade sultana/apricot chutney, and an oven-baked spicy potato chip. It had a texture (even taste) that I would liken to beef (not chicken like everything else) and paired well with a few of the red blended wines we had an opportunity to taste.  Some of the reds enjoyed were a 2008 Kanonkop Paul Sauer (SRP $42); a Bordeaux-style blend comprised of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc, and 9% Merlot. This wine shows aromas and flavors of ripe red and dark berry fruit, plum, smoke, and anise alongside hints of leather and floral perfume with a full-bodied velvety texture. The 2010 Boekenhoutskloof  ‘The Chocolate Block’ (SRP $34), a blend of 72% Syrah, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Grenache Noir, 6% Cinsaut and 2% Viognier, exhibits a superbly ripe, luscious, and silky smooth profile with well-integrated barrel character made complete by a solid acid backbone. The 2009 Glenelly 'Lady May' (SRP $49.99), a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot is a polished wine that flirts with elegance and finesse showing a dark fruit core with moderate complexity, a juicy mid-palate, and a lengthy finish. 

Tipsy Tart


For the sweet ending, we enjoyed a scrumptious and lip-smacking Tipsy Tart (tart soaked in rooibos infused brandy, vanilla ice cream and a brandy date syrup) with a splash 2010 Ken Forrester ‘T’ Late Harvest (SRP $54.99, 375ml). This tasty golden colored wine is 100% Chenin Blanc with rich aromas of dried apricot, fig, floral honey, and tropical overtones with balanced acidity. In closing, this was a wonderful (and memorable) experience that opened my eyes to new cuisine as well as several (premium) expressive red blended wines. I had such a nice time that I plan on finding several of these wines and some ostrich fillets and recreating this delightful experience (as best I can) for a few friends. Cheers! 


Read what others are saying about the South African Wine Lunch :

Snooth writes "The Wines of South Africa"

Benito's Wine writes "Snooth PVA: Wines of South Africa"




Backyard Feathered Friends: 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! Disclosure: This trip was provided by Snooth. Thoughts are my own.

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

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5/20/2013

Robert Mondavi Winery tasting with CellarPass


Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to join the good folks over at CellarPassTV for a live virtual tasting with Robert Mondavi Winery. CellarPassTV, who I have done previous tastings with, is an informative (weekly) live wine broadcast where some of California’s top winemakers, winery owners, and people in the food and wine industry are interviewed by host Sarah Elliman. Their website, CellarPass.com, is a leading destination for online winery reservations that’s well worth checking out if you’re thinking about visiting California wine country.

The Tasting Lineup


This broadcast featured special guest, Chef Jeff Mosher, and was recorded from the Robert Mondavi Winery kitchen. Chef Mosher prepared two dishes that sounded amazing to pair with the Robert Mondavi Winery 2010 Unoaked Chardonnay and Stags Leap District 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. Since Robert Mondavi Winery was one of the first producers to promote tours, arts, and culinary programs, it was quite fitting for CellarPassTV to do their first wine and food pairing segment from the winery’s kitchen. Sarah, the chef, and Rich Arnold, who focuses on white wine production, later enjoyed the marriage of food and wine from Robert Mondavi’s beautiful (special event) vineyard room. Click here (Part I, Part II) to watch the video recordings. The segments are fairly informative and may give you some pairing ideas for Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. See my review of the wines below. Cheers!

Robert Mondavi 2010 Unoaked Chardonnay


1) Robert Mondavi Winery 2010 Unoaked Chardonnay (SRP $32): While unoaked, this Chardonnay undergoes (partial) malolactic fermentation and sur lie aging, which gives it a moderate richness and luscious texture, yet retains a good amount of brightness and balanced acidity. In the glass, it shows aromas and flavors of soft tree fruit with refreshing hints of orange blossom and shy floral notes. It really comes into its own around cellar temperature (55°F); highlighting its moderately curvaceous figure and vibrant food-partnering acidity. I enjoyed this wine on its own and with grilled tilapia the following day. This is a winery exclusive selection that can only be found at the tasting room or winery website. 1,224 cases of this wine were produced. Click here to find this wine.

Robert Mondavi Stags Leap 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon


2) Robert Mondavi Winery Stags Leap District 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $85): Nicely crafted and deeply colored, full-bodied wine displaying succulent red and blueberry fruit aromas/flavors with black currant, mocha notes, and a light dusting of sage and sweet baking spice. Velvety textured, it shows a sense of elegance with refined tannins, lovely acidity and a pleasant lasting finish. It’s drinking well now but the overall structure and acidity provides potential and longevity. This selection can only be found at the winery or the Robert Mondavi website. 679 cases were produced. Click here to find this wine.

Image from my visit to Robert Mondavi Winery


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: These wines were received as a media sample for an event. Thoughts are my own.

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5/14/2013

#SnoothPVA: Wines of Austria Master Class


Hello Friends,

My last day in Manhattan for Snooth’s People Voice Wine Awards started off with a 'Wines of Austria Master Class.' This event, dubbed “The Many Faces of Grüner Veltliner,” was led by Master Sommelier Aldo Sohm, who also had a wine in the tasting lineup. It was still mid-morning, but a vibrant and refreshing variety like Grüner Veltliner, in my opinion, was a good way to kick-start the day. Besides, I was very interested in getting to know Grüner’s many faces and styles a bit better.

Wines of Austria Master Class


Grüner Veltliner is Austria's flagship (indigenous) white grape variety and the nation's most widely planted wine grape (red or white). Some Grüner Veltliner, however, is being replaced by Zweigelt – Austria’s most widely planted red grape variety that produces fairly light-bodied, red fruit-filled wines with soft tannins. Austria is located in central Europe and borders Germany. Unlike Germany, however, the region generally produces wines that are drier in style and has a climate that can be likened to Burgundy (warmer than Germany). This bodes well for some of Austria’s fuller-bodied red grape varieties (e.g., Blaufränkisch) that ripen late and require the warmth and longer growing season to fully develop ripe and complex flavors.

All ready to go!


Up until this tasting, I was largely familiar with one-to-two faces of Grüner Veltliner – namely examples that are fresh and sleek with a range of tree, citrus, and stone-fruit aromas and flavors, brisk acidity, and a distinct underlying spicy character (particularly white pepper). Selections like these are typically under $15 and I’ve found them in the past at a few nearby wine shops. The first two wines we started off the tasting with -- a 2011 Pfaffl Austrian Pepper (SRP $13.99) and 2011 Stadlmann (SRP $15.99) -- were both delightful and resembled the style of Grüner Veltliner I was more accustomed to – with the latter having a pleasant mineral edge.

Enjoying 'The Many Faces of Grüner Veltliner'


Before the tasting started, there was one question I had after reviewing the tasting sheet. I was curious to find out the difference between, let’s say a $10 Grüner Veltliner versus an example that’s $30 or more (besides $20 or so dollars). Unlike Chardonnay, for example, with Grüner Veltliner you can typically remove expense factors like pricey new French oak barrels from the final equation. The more I sniffed and sipped my way through the wines, the answer to my question (which I hadn’t asked yet) was becoming quite apparent. Austria has a wide variety of soil types, including mineral-rich, rocky soils – as conveyed to us in detail by Master Sommelier Aldo Sohm. Clearly, these rock-based soil types in particular, seem to bring out a more interesting, more mineral-driven – even a (fairly) rich -- rendition of Grüner Veltliner (though the richness may have more to do with the wine-making). Additionally, many vineyards are trending organic and biodynamic with minimal intervention in the cellar in a quest to craft terroir-driven wines that reflect the land and vintage.

 Master Sommelier Aldo Sohm


Some wines of note were Aldo’s interesting and tasty (limited production) 2011 Sohm and Kracher (SRP $38), which was delicate with a lovely texture, boasting lime, citrus peel, hay, and a touch of spice with a firm mineral acidity. A different side of Grüner Veltliner came through in a bottle of 2011 Prager Stockkultur (SRP $90). This selection shows expressive and ripe tropical and stone-fruit aromas/flavors with a (fairly mouth-filling) richness that’s balanced with fresh acidity and a touch of sweetness in the lengthy finish. Even a little more unique, yet quite enjoyable, was the 2011Veyder Marlberg Kreutles (SRP $30), which offers a pleasant tropical core followed by nuances of spice, fennel seed, and a pretty floral perfume component with an agreeable citrus based, yet mineral laced, refreshing acidity. Another nice example came by way of a bottle of 2011 F.X. Pichler Smaragd Dürnsteiner Liebenberg. This wine is well-balanced with (focused) tree fruit and sweet floral tones alongside citrus hints, (exotic) spice and mineral notes with a beautiful texture, good depth of flavor, and a crisp, medium-length stony finish.

Primary rock is abundant


In closing, I did discover several very likeable -- and even age-worthy -- (new) faces of Grüner Veltliner that I was not completely familiar with that I plan on revisiting in the near future. With warmer weather ahead, don’t pass up on a versatile, food-friendly, and (generally) pocket-friendly wine like Grüner Veltliner to satisfy your spring and summertime sipping needs. Cheers!


Read what other wine bloggers are saying about the Wines of Austria:

Snooth writes "AUSTRIAN GRUNER VELTLINER"

Benito's Wine writes "Snooth PVA: Wines of Austria"


The Reverse Wine Snob writes "Gruner Love Featuring the Stadlmann"





Meg Houston Maker writes "Lingering Flavors, Lingering Questions"


Backyard Feathered Friends: The 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! Disclosure: This trip was provided by Snooth. Thoughts are my own.

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

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

5/13/2013

05.13.2013 Wine Reviews: Martin & Weyrich, Macchia Wines, and Gann 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.

Pouring the Martin & Weyrich Pink Moscato Allegro


Below are a few of my recent sips accompanied by my tasting notes and a picture I snapped of each bottle. All three of these wines are from California with two being appellation specific (Lodi and Russian River Valley). With the seasonal warmth upon us, I know many of you will be inviting friends and family over and firing up the grill. These three wines have the potential to complement your backyard cookout. Check this out! The Martin & Weyrich is a nice quaffing wine to kick-start the evening. While the Macchia will partner up with the baby-back ribs and burgers you pull off the grill. Last but not least, save room for a tasty liquid dessert with the Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc from Gann Family Cellars. 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!

Martin & Weyrich 2011 Pink Moscato Allegro


1) Martin & Weyrich 2011 Pink Moscato Allegro (SRP $12): I’ve read numerous places that Moscato is an extremely popular nightclub wine. But, since I’ve long retired my dancing shoes and glittery (MJ) glove; I have to find other things to throw at it besides a dance floor. In my experience, mildly spicy ethnic cuisine works quite well with Moscato. The residual sugar (that helps to make most examples accessible to the masses) tempers the heat and the acidity (assuming the wine is cloyingly sweet) cleanses the palate and preps you for another bite. A well-balanced Moscato can also be used as an aperitif to kick-start your evening. This example is slightly sweet with a light effervescence and is filled with vibrant red fruit flavors that are accented by orange blossom and a (subtle) flinty component towards the back end. Good balancing acidity, especially towards the finish, gives it a nice and needed lift. Overall, this is a refreshing and crowd-pleasing wine that won’t break the piggy bank. And since it is 8% ABV, you can have an extra glass or two. Click here to find this wine.

Macchia Amorous 2011 Sangiovese


2)  Macchia Amorous 2011 Sangiovese (SRP $22): I had an opportunity to taste this for a Snooth virtual wine event featuring select Lodi, California wine producers. This wine is full-bodied with a nice mix of ripe red and blue fruit aromas and flavors with sweet oak, cocoa powder, (subtle) hickory smoke, and mocha cream and brown spice notes. It’s round and smooth on the palate with middling acidity and a pleasant medium-length finish chock-full of ripe fruit and baking spice. This is a good bottle to pair with a backyard barbeque (hint-hint) and good friends on a gorgeous spring or summer day. Click here to find this wine.

Gann Family 2005 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc


3) Gann Family Cellars 2005 Late Harvest (Russian River Valley, CA) Sauvignon Blanc (SRP $30, 375ml): This tasty dessert wine is a result of a vintage that produced more good quality Sauvignon Blanc fruit than expected. Some of the fruit developed “noble rot” and the result is this golden colored, well-balanced late harvest wine. In the glass, this sweet treat exudes inviting aromas of dried stone fruit, grapefruit, a hint of floral perfume, and notes of tropical fruit and honey. The aromas extend to the (slightly) viscous textured palate with good balancing acidity and a fruit-driven, medium-length (lip-smacking) finish. Overall, it is a well-made dessert wine that despite some richness is quite light on its feet. I recommend enjoying it in small amounts after dinner for dessert. Click here to find this wine. 

Old Town Alexandria, Virginia


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

My Vine Spot

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

5/07/2013

#SnoothPVA: White Wines of Italy


Hello Friends,

Italy is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. It is also one of the world’s largest wine producers. The ancient Greeks called southern Italy, Enotria, which means 'the land of wines.' From the northern tip to the southern toe of this boot-shaped country, this is very much still applicable today. With twenty wine regions, an uncountable number of wine producers, a myriad of wine styles, and over a thousand grape varieties planted, for some, the topic of Italian wine can be an intimidating endeavor. And I have not even begun to talk about how confusing some of the wine labels can be.

#SnoothPVA White Wines of Italy


Why even bother, right? Well, in a (very tiny) nutshell, here is why. Italy is an extremely diverse region with a wide variety of wines that are made in a broad range of styles. There's something for every palate! Many Italian wines, both white and red, have a pleasing food-friendly nature about them and are also reasonably priced – so no breaking the piggy bank to sip well. Even for someone well-versed in Italian wines; this diversified wine region provides an opportunity to “think outside the box" and possibly find a new favorite. Like with just about anything you take up in life, the more you learn and know about the subject, the more likely you are to enjoy and appreciate it. This holds true for wine too – especially wine regions that may initially come off as difficult to understand.

Giuseppe Capuano (l) and Gregory Dal Piaz (r)


Following a wonderful Ribera del Duero luncheon, I had an opportunity to attend a ‘White Wine of Italy Master Class.’ This event, a part of Snooth’s inaugural "People's Voice Wine Awards," was led by Giuseppe Capuano of Vias Imports Ltd. and Snooth's editor-in-chief, Gregory Dal Piaz. Clearly, we didn’t have time to cover all the country’s wines. Instead, we worked our way from north to south tasting select white wines from several different provinces. Below are short reviews of a few wines (some new to me) I enjoyed (or found interesting) during this informative event. The three common characteristics I found in all of the white wines we tasted were balance, [moderate] complexity, and food-friendliness. These wines, while delightful on their own, beg to be shared with friends, family, good conversation, and a delicious meal. In closing, please check out the links below and see what other wine writers who attended this event are saying. Cheers!

Keeping w/ the Italian theme I dined at Eatly. #Yum


Strasserhof 2011 Kerner Valle Isarco DOC (SRP $26.99): This is an interesting wine (in a good way) that comes from the Isarco Valley -- Italy's northernmost region. This was my first experience with the Kerner variety; a grape that’s a cross between Riesling and Trollinger. This wine shows nice floral notes and an inviting [sweet holiday baking] spice component with stone fruit and citrus peel aromas and flavors that are complemented by a lovely mineral acidity. Overall, a delightful, moderately complex wine that’s extremely food-friendly.

Nuraghe Crabioni 2011 Vermentino di Sardegna DOC (SRP $20.99): This wine hails from the island of Sardinia which lies in the central Mediterranean. Moderately complex aromas of lemon zest and melon with hints of fennel, ginger, and a touch of salinity give way to balanced flavors and a fresh acidity that persists through to the medium-length finish. Overall, an intriguing wine with a soft texture that offers nice complexity and satisfaction at the $20 “sweet-spot” price point. 

Terredora Terre di Dora 2011 Fiano di Avellino DOCG (SRP $23.99): Avellino is a DOCG within the Campania region of the southwestern portion of Italy. While this wine is probably not for everyone, this selection was one of the more interesting of the twelve wines tasted. It’s fully flavored with (very) restrained fruit and a generous amount of up-front (and throughout) mineral, earth, floral components, soy, spice notes, a mild nuttiness, and something that I likened to pungent cheese rind. On the palate, it’s soft and fairly round with middling acidity and a medium length finish. Overall, this is an interesting wine that may appeal to those who do not mind the fruit being the opening act for the more earth-and-mineral focused headlining band.    



Read what these bloggers are saying about the White Wines of Italy :


The V.I.P Table writes "A Regional Tour of Italian Whites"



The Reverse Wine Snob writes  "Exploring the White Wines of Italy"



Happy Sipping, 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! Disclosure: This trip was provided by Snooth. Thoughts are my own.

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