10/29/2013

Quick Sip: Perticaia Cantina Winery 2010 Montefalco Rosso


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Perticaia Cantina Winery's 2010 Montefalco Rosso. I had an opportunity to review this wine during a recent tasting put on by the Montefalco Consortium. The tasting featured the wines of Umbria (central Italy) and the region’s noble red wine grape variety -- Sagrantino. On its own, Sagrantino is capable of producing deeply colored wines with significant amounts of tannin. The wineries of Montefalco are permitted to make a second wine using Sagrantino that's lighter and more accessible than its beefier and longer-lived counterpart, Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG (which requires that 100% Sagrantino be used). The second wine, Montefalco Rosso DOC, is meant to be enjoyed in its youth and must contain between 60% to 70% of Sangiovese with a requirement of 10% to 15% of Sagrantino and the vintner’s choice of up to 30% of any other red wine grape(s). Please see my tasting notes accompanied by a picture I snapped of the bottle below.

 Perticaia Cantina 2010 Montefalco Rosso


Review: Perticaia Cantina Winery's 2010 Montefalco Rosso (SRP $18): This is a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, and 15% Colorino. The wine is 100% fermented and aged (12 months) in stainless steel vats to showcase the purity of the fruit. In the glass, the wine displays a brilliant medium-deep garnet color with inviting red berry and purple fruit aromas accented by muted (pretty) floral notes. The aromas carry over to the palate with fresh (and full) fruit flavors on a slender-to-medium frame, good acid balance, mild tannins, ending with a pleasant medium-length finish. The winemaker, Alessandro Meniconi, said this wine would pair wonderfully with pizza. As you can see in the picture below, I followed the winemaker’s advice and was happily satisfied. Overall, this is an affordable red wine for everyday drinking and a region well worth exploring if you’re not familiar with it already. (Other info: held six months in bottle, ABV 13.5%, cork enclosure.) 86 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Happy Sipping, Happy Eating!


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 provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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10/24/2013

Quick Sip: Chateau Montelena Napa Valley 2011 Chardonnay


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip comes from Calistoga-based Chateau Montelena. The 2011 vintage marks their 40th year producing Chardonnay. In the summer of 1976, this white noble grape helped put Chateau Montelena, as well as the California wine industry, on the world wine map. At a historic blind tasting event known as The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, Chateau Montelena's 1973 Chardonnay took first place against top French equivalents. This historic event is captured in a book written in 2005 by George Taber titled Judgment of Paris. More recently, Bottle Shock (2008), a Hollywood-laced version of the historic tasting hit the big screen and focuses primarily on the winning 1973 bottle of Chateau Montelena Chardonnay. The book, along with the movie, have ushered in a whole new generation of wine enthusiasts who have taken interest in Chateau Montelena, their story, and their wines. I recently enjoyed this bottle over conversation with a few friends. See my tasting notes accompanied by a picture I snapped of the bottle below.

Chateau Montelena Napa Valley 2011 Chardonnay


Review: Chateau Montelena Napa Valley 2011 Chardonnay (SRP $49): Pale straw yellow in color, this wine offers up a pleasant symphony of spiced apple, pear tart, lemon blossom, and citrus peel aromas and flavors. There is a notable richness to the texture that’s lifted by bright, food-partnering acidity, which sails through to the medium-to-long (brown) spice-accented finish. Overall, this wine is well-balanced, shows good depth of fruit and length, and exhibits judicious use of oak. This is a survivor, and a tasty one at that, of the supposed difficult 2011 vintage. (Other info: ABV 13.8%, 10 months in 100% French oak of which 8% was new, cork enclosure.) 91 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Backyard Feathered Friend: Male 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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10/21/2013

A Trio of Riesling Wines from Germany, Alsace, and Austria


Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to participate in a virtual #winechat and tasting hosted by the good folks at Austria Wine USA, the Wines of Germany, and the Wines of Alsace. The tasting featured a trio of dry Rieslings from the 2011 vintage. Dry Rieslings, in general, are very versatile, naturally high in acidity, and pair well with a wide array of foods. For starters, consider enjoying a bottle with seafood, poultry, or Asian food – particularly sushi.

 It's Riesling Time!


As you can see from my reviews below, you don’t have to break the piggy bank to enjoy a nice bottle with lunch, dinner, your favorite book, or just because. While I suggest keeping Riesling in your regular wine rotation, if you’re looking for an occasion to invite a bottle over, try Thanksgiving! See my tasting notes and a picture I snapped of each bottle below. Cheers!

Selbach 2011 Mosel Riesling Dry


1) Selbach 2011 Mosel Riesling Dry (SRP $14): This wine is crisp and lively with aromas and flavors of green apple, lemon zest, and a hint of lime peel on a light-bodied and racy frame with a nice stony note in the short-to-medium length finish. I don’t need to tell you this wine is food-friendly, right? I enjoyed this wine with the NFL Sunday Ticket and a bucket of seasoned wings and all the fixings. (Other info: ABV 12.5%, screw cap enclosure.) 85 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Domaine Ehrhart Vieilles Vignes 2011 Riesling


2) Domaine Ehrhart Vieilles Vignes 2011 Riesling (SRP $16): Sleek and refreshing, this wine shows citrus blossom, white floral notes, and a touch of honeydew on the nose and palate. Bright fruit flavors are balanced by zippy acidity in this delightfully fruity, crisp, and dry Riesling. While enjoyable on its own, food paring options are nearly countless. (Other info: ABV 12.6%, certified organic, wines rest on their lees for up to six months before bottling, cork enclosure.) 87 Points. Click here to find this wine. 

Salomon Undhof Steiner Kögl 2011 Riesling


3) Salomon Undhof Steiner Kögl 2011 Riesling (SRP $30): This wine is produced from vines 50 years of age and older. Pure and focused, this moderately complex and elegant Riesling shows inviting aromas and flavors of ripe stone fruit, white flowers, spicy honeysuckle, and lemon blossom, all wrapped in a core of bright, mineral-laced acidity with a wonderfully refreshing finish. Overall, this is a very pleasant, dry, and versatile wine that's well worth seeking out to enjoy with food and friends. (Other info: ABV 13.5%, screw cap enclosure.) 90 Points. Click here to find this wine. 

Try this with a bottle! 


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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10/14/2013

Quick Sip: James Family Cellars 2010 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay


Hello Friends,

Last week on Cellars of Sonoma #TVTuesdayLive, host Scott Jordan welcomed special guest Jeff James of James Family Cellars. Jeff, along with his wife Judy, own and operate this micro-boutique Sonoma-based winery. The family planted their estate vineyard in 1998 and sold fruit to nearby producers. In 2007, they decided to keep their fruit and start their own label. While specializing in small batches (under1k cases per year) of estate-grown Pinot Noir, James Family Cellars also makes a nice Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. Jeff’s 2010 Chardonnay is aged in new (25%, 8-9 months) and neutral French (75%) oak barrels and goes through partial malolactic fermentation (conversion of a sharper malic acid to a softer lactic acid). See my tasting notes accompanied by a picture I snapped of the bottle below. Cheers!

 James Family Cellars 2010 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay


Review: James Family Cellars' 2010 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay (SRP $30): I have a feeling that when Jeff James makes his Chardonnay that he has the Cellars of Sonoma annual ‘Lobster Lunch’ summer feast in mind. This is the perfect Chardonnay to pair with such a dish. In terms of style, it is halfway between crisp/racy and rich/toasty – offering the best of both worlds. I enjoyed this wine last year and my notes are pretty consistent. On the nose, it boasts inviting aromas of tart green apple, spiced pear, and light yellow fruit tones (tropical) alongside sweet (yet subtle) buttered toast and delicate vanilla bean notes. The palate is round, yet succulent, with supple fruit flavors and (vibrant) food-partnering acidity ending in an agreeable medium-length finish. The oak is used judiciously in this wine, complementing --  not overpowering, while the acidity gives the fruit a nice lift. For those of you still in the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) club, this selection may compel you to cancel your membership! Approximately 240 cases of this Chardonnay were produced. (Other info: ABV 14.2%, cork enclosure). Click here to find this wine.

Happy Chardonnay Sipping! 


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 provided for review. Thoughts are my own.
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10/07/2013

Quick Sip: Bonny Doon Vineyard 2011 Le Cigare Blanc


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Bonny Doon Vineyard 2011 Le Cigare Blanc. I had an opportunity to review this wine for a recent episode of CellarPass TV. Bonny Doon’s founder, Randall Grahm, initially set out in the late 1970s to make the “Great American Pinot Noir.” Living up to its name, “The Heartbreak Grape,” he abandoned the idea and charted a seemingly unexplored course in the early 1980s that would earn him the the moniker, “The Original Rhone Ranger.” The Le Cigare Blanc is the producer’s homage to the complex blended wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. See my tasting notes accompanied by a picture I snapped of the bottle as well as a classic (space) rock music pairing recommendation below. Cheers!

 Bonny Doon Vineyard 2011 Le Cigare Blanc


Review: Bonny Doon Vineyard 2011 Le Cigare Blanc (SRP $28): This is an appealing Rhone-inspired blend composed of 62% Grenache Blanc and 38% Roussanne from the Beeswax Vineyard in the Arroyo Seco appellation of Monterey County. The wine displays pleasant aromas of tree fruit, melon, and citrus blossom interwoven with mineral tones, muted honey notes, and understated hints of the very thing the vineyard is named after (Beeswax if you’ve forgotten already). The aromas extend to the palate with a nice brightness throughout. While lean, it shows some richness in the texture that’s perfectly balanced by fresh, racy acidity that persists through to the crisp, medium-length finish. Overall, this is a wonderful food wine that is also enjoyable on its own. It is also a bottle that has the potential to get more interesting with short-term cellaring. Approximately 1,650 cases of this wine were produced. (Other info: ABV 12.5%, bio-dynamically farmed, complete malolactic fermentation, saw some time in French oak barrels, screw cap enclosure.) Click here to find this wine.

Hawkwind: Hall Of The Mountain Grill #1974 #SpaceRock


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 provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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10/02/2013

A Trio of Sparkling Wines from Franciacorta: Montenisa, Ronco Calino, and Villa Franciacorta


Hello Friends,

I recently had a chance to jump online with the good folks at Balzac Communications and a number of ready wine enthusiasts for a virtual tasting. Several wines from Franciacorta were featured. Franciacorta is located in the northern Italian region of Lombardy and has a moderate climate tempered by the grand Lake Iseo. The region has produced still (not effervescent or sparkling) wines since the 16th century. However, for the last five decades, area vintners have worked together to collectively make a name for themselves as a sparkling wine region. As a result, Franciacorta became the first Italian wine region to exclusively produce sparkling wines --- all made in the traditional method like they've done for centuries in the Champagne region of France. Franciacorta is also the first sparkling wine to obtain Italy’s highest appellation award of DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita).

Franciacorta ... Blend of Passions


Having said that, I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne.” While Franciacorta uses the same method as Champgane, the region takes advantage of its cooler temperatures and makes its own diverse, individualistic styles of bubbly. Grape varieties used in Franciacorta DOCG sparkling wines are Chardonnay, Pinot Nero (aka Pinot Noir), and up to 50% of Pinot Bianco. Below is a trio of Franciacorta sparkling wines accompanied by my tasting notes and a picture I snapped of each bottle. In closing, always keep in mind that sparkling wine is not just for special occasions, but for any occasion! And the bubbles from Franciacorta are good to keep in your sparkling rotation!

Montenisa NV Brut


1) Montenisa NV Brut (SRP $37): This is a sparkling wine made in the traditional method and composed of Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, and a small percentage of Pinot Nero (Noir). It has a persistent, fine bead with aromas of spiced pear and baked apple accented by apricot, spicy yeast, and soft toasted almond notes. The aromas extend to the palate with refreshing and cleansing acidity that frames the fruit nicely. This sparkling wine is completely enjoyable on its own and would pair wonderfully with a wide variety of foods. Overall, a delicious and well-balanced sparkler with good length and depth of complexity. (Other info: ABV 12.5%, first fermentation partly in stainless, partly in barriques, second in the bottles, contact on the yeasts for at least 30 months)  Click here to find this wine.

Ronco Calino NV Brut


2) Ronco Calino NV Brut (SRP $30): This selection is a blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir (from Burgundy clones). It shows upfront apple notes followed by yellow fruit and floral tones alongside melon, muted honey, and butter cream. On the palate, it has a slightly creamy mousse, elegant acidity, and is nicely structured with a crisp, vibrant finish. Overall, a versatile, food-friendly, and reasonably priced sparkling wine that is moderately complex and highly enjoyable. (Other info: Approximately 20% fermented in French oak barrels, ABV 13%, cork enclosure) Click here to find this wine.

Villa Franciacorta 2007 Millesimato Brut


3) Villa Franciacorta 2007 Millesimato Brut (SRP $35): This sparkling wine is alluring and nuanced with textural finesse, good length, mature fruit, and focused acidity. It offers elegance, fine bubbles, and considerable complexity at a fair price point considering what it delivers. I know bubbly is typically best served well-chilled, but this selection comes into its own around cellar temperature in my opinion. Don't wait for New Year's Eve, the special occasion is when you open this one! (Other info: Composed of Chardonnay, Pinot Nero, and Pinot Bianco, ABV 12.5%, cork enclosure) Click here to find this wine.

Check them out, folks!


Stay tuned! I have another round of bubbly from Franciacorta coming up in a future post!

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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