8/27/2013

Lodi Summer Whites w/ Watts Winery, Acquiesce Winery, Borra Vineyards, St. Jorge Winery


Hello Friends,

Just about every day, as wine o'clock approaches, you can find me uncorking or unscrewing a new wine adventure. 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 find wine to be 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 a sea of friendly "wine peeps" to meet in real life or via those wonderful and time-consuming social media portals called Facebook and Twitter.

Lodi Summer Whites


I had an opportunity to review several white wines for a recent #LodiLive summer tasting event put on by the good folks at Charles Communications and Lodi Wine (aka LoCA). The Lodi appellation (Central Valley of California) is largely known for red wine production with Zinfandel topping the charts. Outside of Zinfandel, the diversity of the area supports the production of over 75 grape varieties. Lodi’s diurnal temperature swings aid in allowing the grapes to develop full flavors during the region’s warm and sun-filled days. While the cooler nights provide balance and allow the berries to retain their natural acidity. This bodes well for both white and red varieties and is the reason why some of the region's wines are ripe and (even) fleshy yet wonderfully bright and harmonious from start to finish. Some may call this having the best of both worlds in the glass. Below are four nice selections from the Lodi appellation accompanied by my 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!

Watts Winery 2012 Upstream Chardonnay


1) Watts Winery 2012 Upstream Lodi Chardonnay (SRP $15): This is a light-bodied and affordable everyday Chardonnay with a refreshing mélange of soft tree fruit, citrus notes, and a (muted) dusty talc-like/floral component on a lean frame with crisp acidity through the short-to-medium length finish. Overall, this is a nice summertime/anytime sipper that’s enjoyable by itself yet also has the ability to be a good partner to a wide variety of warm weather fare. (Other info: ABV 12.5%, stainless fermentation, cork enclosure). Click here to find this wine.

Acquiesce Winery 2012 Belle Blanc


2) Acquiesce Winery Estate-Grown 2012 Belle Blanc (SRP $24): This is an aromatic and delightful Rhone-inspired blend composed of 60% Grenache Blanc, 30% Roussanne and 10% Viognier. Inviting aromas of pear, white peach, honeysuckle, and melon fill the nose with a fleshy texture that’s balanced by firm underlying acidity. This wine shows full, fresh flavors on a light-to-medium racy frame and is ready for summertime/anytime sipping with subtle spice elements on the medium-length finish. Approximately 150 cases of this wine were produced. (Other info: ABV 13.5%, Mokelumne River AVA, stainless, food-friendly). Click here to find this wine.

 Borra Vineyards 2012 Intuition


3) Borra Vineyards’ Intuition 2012 Field Blend White (SRP $22): This is a moderately complex and intriguing white blend composed of 60% Kerner, 20% Riesling, and 20% Gewürztraminer. Winemaker Markus Niggli broke the rules with this wine -- planting cool climate [German] grape varieties in Lodi's sunny and warm Mediterranean climate. He then reduced yields to a mere one ton per acre to concentrate and intensify the fruit. The result is a pleasing wine that shows inviting aromas of creamy custard, sweet pastry, lemon zest, and spiced honey notes wrapped in a lovely texture with good balancing (bright) acidity. This wine is an unusual suspect for the Lodi appellation and good juice for the money (in my opinion). Besides, when is the last time you had Kerner? Approximately 200 cases of this wine were produced. Cheers! (Other info: ABV 13.3%, 9 months 50% new American oak and 50% once used French oak barrels, natural cork enclosure). Click here to find this wine.

St. Jorge Winery Winery 2011 Verdelho Seco


4) St. Jorge Winery 2011 Verdelho Seco (SRP $18): This wine has a bright and focused core of tropical fruit aromas with suggestions of ripe pear and (subtle) dried flowers alongside delicious notes of stone fruit. The wine carries its weight well with a creamy mid-palate and an agreeable firm spine of fresh acidity that leads to a clean medium-length finish. While having a nice overall vibrancy (from start to finish), this wine has some substance and can pony up to richer dishes – think lobster mac-and-cheese and fettuccine alfredo. Another pairing idea recommended by winemaker Vern Vierra that I can see working out well is wild salmon covered in a sweet Cajun chili sauce. Yummy! (Other info: ABV 14.8%, natural cork enclosure). Click here to find this wine.

Sanderling Bird at #OBX Beach


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 provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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8/20/2013

A Trio of Greek Wines with Protocol #WineStudio


Hello Friends,

Just about every Monday at 9PM EST, I participate in a virtual wine chat called #winestudio. This interactive and engaging online experience is focused on wine education and put on by the good folks at Protocol Wine Studio. We recently spent a few weeks covering Greek wines -- a region that can be a daunting and intimidating experience even for well-seasoned wine consumers. With grape names like Assyrtiko and Xinomavro, the average consumer is likely to pass over these wines and seek out a label they are more familiar with – at least something they can readily pronounce. Having said that, the limited selections I have come across at local shops have been priced just under the $20 sweet-spot for consumers and offer relatively good quality-price ratio. Once you get into these wines and start enjoying them, the grape names will roll off the tongue (with a little practice).

Pouring a Splash of Moschofilero


Greece is steeped in viticultural history which goes back well over 4000 years. The region also boasts over 300 indigenous grape varieties. Of the myriad of grape varieties, a handful have broken into the competitive US market and are generally well liked by consumers who give them a try. Below are three selections accompanied by my tasting notes and a picture I snapped of each bottle. All of these wines were pleasing and well-made – as I’m sure you can ascertain by the reviews I have left. Whether you find these particular wines or not, I encourage you to check your local wine shop for reasonably priced Greek wines – you may find a new favorite. You know my old saying, “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 Skouras 2012 Moschofilero


1) Domaine Skouras 2012 Moschofilero [Peloponnese] (SRP $18): This wine shows appealing aromas of citrus zest, honeysuckle, and white flowers with a pleasant underlying minerality. The palate mirrors the wine's aromas with bright fruit that’s balanced by zippy palate-cleansing acidity. Overall, this wine is fresh and lively with a food-friendly nature that’s perfect for summertime/anytime sipping. (Other info: ABV 12.5%, stainless, no ML). Click here to find this wine.

Domaine Sigalas 2011 Assyrtiko-Athiri


2) Domaine Sigalas 2011 Assyrtiko-Athiri (SRP $18): This is a pleasing white wine from the Greek island of Santorini. It boasts subtle aromas of orange blossom, bright yellow fruits, petrol tones, and a slight hint of salinity with a muted mineral edge. The palate mirrors the wine's aromas with a lovely backbone of acidity, fresh fruit flavors, and a short-to-medium length mineral-laced finish. Overall, this interesting wine, which is both delightful and refreshing, gets bonus points for having an appealing supple texture. (Other info: ABV 13.9%, 75% Assyrtiko, 25% Athiri). Click here to find this wine.

Alpha Estate 2009 Hedgehog Vineyard Xinomavro


3) Alpha Estate 2009 Hedgehog Vineyard Xinomavro [zee-NO-mav-ro] (SRP $24): This deep-colored wine exhibits aromas and flavors of dark-purple stone fruit and black cherries alongside brown spice, woodsy tones, subtle hints of graphite, and notes of vanilla and black pepper. The wine fills the mouth but is not overly weighty on the palate. Its ripe fruit flavors are balanced by good acidity with a round texture and mildly grippy tannins that persist through to a medium-long finish. This is an overall pleasant and moderately complex wine that can easily saddle up to the full and rich flavors of grilled red meats. (Other info: ABV 13.5%, aged 12 months in French oak then 12 months in bottle, Amyndeon region, cork enclosure). Click here to find this wine.

 Try Mussels with the Moschofilero!


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 provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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8/13/2013

A Trio of Rosé Wines from Kramer Vineyards, Holman Ranch Vineyards, Port of Leonardtown


Hello Friends,

Just about every day, as wine o'clock approaches, you can find me uncorking or unscrewing a new wine adventure. 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 find wine to be 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 a sea of friendly "wine peeps" to meet in real life or via those wonderful and time-consuming social media portals called Facebook and Twitter.

Pouring Kramer Vineyards 2012 Rosé of Carmine


I recently enjoyed a trio of drier-style rosé wines that were fresh, fruity, and had summertime sipping written all over them. All three are extremely versatile and flexible partners to a wide variety of foods – especially warm weather fare (hint-hint). Below are the wines accompanied by my tasting notes and a picture I snapped of each bottle.

This month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday theme this is Dry Rosé, so I encourage you to search for hash-tag #WBW80 on Twitter and check out some of the selections other wine bloggers have highlighted on their sites. 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!

Kramer Vineyards 2012 Rosé of Carmine


1) Kramer Vineyards' 2012 Rosé of Carmine (SRP $18): This is a crisp and refreshing rosé made from the rare and hard to find Carmine grape variety that is a cross of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, and Merlot. In the glass, this rosé displays a deep salmon-pink color with vibrant red berry fruit aromas (strawberry, watermelon, etc.), rose petals, and a touch of dried herbs with a brisk underlying citrus acidity. It’s dry, lively, fresh and the perfect accompaniment to a variety of warm weather foods. Approximately 66 cases of this wine were produced and it is only made when Mother Nature cooperates. (Other info: ABV 10.9%, cork enclosure). Click here to find this wine.

Holman Ranch 2011 Rosé of Pinot Noir


2) Holman Ranch ‘Estate Grown’ 2011 Rosé of Pinot Noir (SRP $22): This wine is light, crisp, and dry with fresh strawberries, watermelon, and rose-hip notes alongside underlying hints of citrus peel supported by firm acidity. This is a nice summertime staple from California’s Carmel Valley (Monterey County) and is refreshing and extremely food-friendly. I enjoyed with grilled bacon-wrapped scallops. I keep rosé wines in rotation year-round, but with the seasonal warmth (and humidity) of summer upon us, this bright selection from Holman Ranch was right on time. Cheers! (Other info: ABV 12.5%, natural cork enclosure). Click here to find this wine.

Port of Leonardtown Winery Wicomico Rosé


3) Port of Leonardtown Winery 2011 Wicomico Rosé (SRP $13.99): This is a dry Rosé from Maryland made from the Chambourcin (French-American hybrid) grape variety. It is a delightful summertime sipper with vibrant red berry fruit and lingering floral notes. With bright acidity and fresh fruit, this pocket-and-palate-friendly selection has the ability to partner with a range of foods. I enjoyed this wine by itself and with a tasty grilled ham sandwich from the HoneyBaked Ham store. (Other info: ABV 12.5%, 92% Chambourcin / 18% Traminette, aged in stainless). Click here to find this wine.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail


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 provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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

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8/06/2013

CellarPass TV with VGS Chateau Potelle


Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to join the good folks at CellarPassTV for a live virtual tasting with Jean-Noël Fourmeaux. CellarPassTV, who I have done previous tastings with, is an informative weekly 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.

Tasting the wines of VGS Chateau Potelle


The show’s special guest, Jean-Noël, is the proprietor and winemaker of VGS Chateau Potelle, which is located in Saint Helena, California. A 3rd generation winemaker from Bordeaux, Jean-Noël left France in 1980 to become part of what he calls “The California wine adventure.” Approximately four years prior, the game-changing Judgment of Paris (May 24th, 1976) blind tasting had taken place in Paris where little-known California wines, judged by well-regarded French wine experts, defeated top French wines.

This seminal event compelled a number of passionate growers and winemakers to take root in California where a new chapter of discovery, experiences, and excitement was taking place and still being written. “We wanted to be creative in making wine rather than being constrained by the years of traditions that existed in France,” said Jean-Noël. In the #CellarPassTV video broadcast, which you can view here, Jean-Noël talks a little about the old days as well as what’s going on with VGS Chateau Potelle today. Below are my tastings notes for two of the wines I had an opportunity to sample during the show accompanied by 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 Potelle Winery VGS Explorer


1) Chateau Potelle Winery VGS Explorer 2009 [Napa Valley] The Illegitimate (SRP $40): This is a deep colored and aromatic blend composed of 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 17% Zinfandel, and 11% Syrah. Rich aromas of black cherry, raspberry jam, and cassis are framed by warm spice and subtle oak with gentle mineral notes. It’s full-bodied with understated acidity and firm tannins that pick up pace and carry through to the lasting finish. This is a nice food wine (particularly grilled meats) and a good candidate for short-term cellaring. Approximately 1000 cases of this wine were produced. (Other info: ABV 14.5%, 14 months French oak barrels, whole cluster pressed w/ native yeast, natural cork enclosure). Click here to find this wine.

Chateau Potelle Winery Mount Veeder Zinfandel


2) Chateau Potelle Winery VGS Mount Veeder 2010 Zinfandel (SRP $65): Dark ruby-purple colored with fragrant and inviting raspberry, black cherry, blackberry and vanilla bean aromas with a mild dusting of sweet brown spice. The aromas extend to the palate with generous fruit flavors supported by delectable tannins and well-balanced acidity. While ripe, this wine has a wonderful freshness and juiciness about it with a rich mid-palate and a velvety lasting finish. I enjoyed a glass of this tasty juice on its own tonight. Approximately 600 cases of this wine were produced. (Other info: ABV 14.8%, natural yeast fermentation, 17 months in French oak barrels, natural cork enclosure). 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! Disclosure: These wines were provided for an event. Thoughts are my own.

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

My Vine Spot

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