12/23/2013

Quick Sip: Vinoterra 2011 Rkatsiteli from the Kakheti region of Georgia


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Vinoterra 2011 Rkatsiteli. This wine hails from Georgia (Eurasian country, not the Bulldogs), one of the world's oldest wine-growing regions. Rkatsiteli is an ancient white wine grape variety that’s native to Georgia. Archeological evidence suggests that the grape’s existence in the area dates back to 3000 BC (the evidence being seeds found in old clay vessels). It can be said that today’s “orange wine” trend is founded in the traditional winemaking techniques used in Georgia centuries ago. Traditional methods include macerating, fermenting and storing wines -- including white wines -- on their skins, stems, etc. inside of a quevri (clay vessel). For white grape varieties, this method generally produces an interesting, amber colored, (oftentimes) textured wine. For further information and where you can find this wine, see my tasting notes below.

 Vinoterra 2011 Rkatsiteli 


Review: Vinoterra 2011 Rkatsiteli (SRP $12): This amber colored, Qvevri (clay vessel) fermented, Rkatsiteli wine has pronounced floral aromas and flavors that are complemented by delicate dashes of beeswax and fennel seed with restrained pear and citrus blossom notes. On the palate, it's medium-bodied and harmonious with a bright streak of fresh, food-partnering acidity that sails through to the medium-length finish. For $12, I recommend giving this wine a try. It’s interesting juice for the money that's enjoyable by itself or with food. (Other info: ABV 13%, cork enclosure.) 88 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Vinoterra '11 Rkatsiteli in the Glass


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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12/17/2013

Quick Sip: La Sirena 2009 Le Barrettage


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the La Sirena 2009 Le Barrettage. I had an opportunity to review this wine during last week’s Cellars of Sonoma Holiday Gala. Cellars of Sonoma is a wine tasting room and wine bar located in the heart of Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square that specializes in limited production wines from (mainly) small Sonoma-based producers.

The La Sirena label, which was started in 1994, is the personal project of highly regarded and accomplished winemaker Heidi Barrett. The fruit for this small-lot wine comes from Heidi and husband Bo Barrett’s (of Chateau Montelena Winery fame) personal two-acre estate vineyard. The ’09 Le Barrettage is one of those wines where it pays to be a little patient. From the time I pulled the cork and poured myself a glass, it continued to evolve. For me, the wine really began to reveal itself and fully express its charms with approximately two hours of air. If you get a bottle, sip a little now, decant some for later, and watch how it changes over time. I believe you will be pleased with the outcome. For further information and where you can find this wine, see my tasting notes below.

 La Sirena 2009 Le Barrettage


Review: La Sirena 2009 Le Barrettage (SRP $69): The Le Barrettage is 100% Syrah, with 70% coming from Barrett Vineyards (Calistoga) and the remainder from St. Helena. A deep garnet color leads to an inviting mixture of dark stone fruit, smoke, anise, and spice with underlying toasted oak and kirsch notes. It is rich and concentrated in the mouth with a layered structure of ripe fruit, fine tannins, and noteworthy length. This wine is the perfect pairing partner for hearty winter foods, a warming fireplace, and good friends. Considering the season, it’s also a delicious stocking stuffer for winos on Santa’s "good" list! Approximately 200 cases of this wine were produced. (Other info: ABV 14.8%, 100% French oak barrels 45% new for 22 months, cork enclosure.) 92 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Mother Nature's Fall Artwork in 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! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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12/10/2013

Quick Sip: Gann Family Cellars Alexander Valley 2007 Merlot


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Gann Family Cellars Alexander Valley 2007 Merlot. Gann Family Cellars is a small family-owned winery specializing in estate-grown wines from the Russian River Valley and surrounding area. The Alexander Valley appellation borders the Russian River Valley to the north. The region's warm, sun-filled days are ideal for producing fleshy, rich, and ripe red wines, while cooler evenings play an important role in preserving the wine's natural acidity and provide balance. This Merlot reflects this, showing a ripe fruit character, nice integration due to some bottle age, and harmony between oak, fruit, and acidity. For more information, see my tasting notes and where you can find this wine below.

 Gann Family Cellars Alexander Valley 2007 Merlot


Review: Gann Family Cellars Alexander Valley 2007 Merlot (SRP $28): An exceptional 2007 vintage produced a deeply colored and polished Merlot that offers an inviting mélange of black cherry jam, juicy blueberry, and cassis with a sprinkling of savory spice and a light dusting of cocoa powder. On the palate, it’s mouth-coating, ripe, and round with a velvety texture, understated acidity, and soft, supple tannins that melt into the medium-length (brown) spice-accented finish. Overall, this is a pleasing and harmonious bottle of wine for the money that’s coming together nicely. Enjoy now or cellar short-term. I can even see old Miles warming up to it! Approximately 315 cases of this wine were produced. (Other info: ABV 14.4%, matured in French oak barrels, cork enclosure.) 90 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Backyard Feathered Friend: (Male) Downy Woodpecker


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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12/09/2013

Quick Sip: Joseph Jewell Appian Way Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Joseph Jewell Appian Way Vineyards' 2010 Pinot Noir. I’m reviewing this wine ahead of the Holiday Gala that Cellars of Sonoma is putting on this Tuesday, December 10, 2013, from 6PM to 10PM PST. Micah Joseph Wirth and Adrian Jewell Manspeaker, the two young gents that make up Joseph Jewell, will be among eight producers pouring their wines at Cellars of Sonoma tasting room and wine bar for the gala. For those who cannot make it in person, the holiday event will feature a live feed. Online viewers can sign in and check out the happenings, ask questions, and learn about the small Sonoma-based vintners whose wines are sold through the tasting room.

 Joseph Jewell Appian Way 2010 Pinot Noir


Joseph Jewell is one of those feel-good stories where passion and perseverance trump all other factors. Micah and Adrian’s story began inside a garage in 2006 with an investment in two French oak barrels, a small basket press, and an exceptional vintage (particularly for Russian River Valley Pinot fruit).  The duo produced and bottled 50 cases of wine that were well-received and soon after launched the Joseph Jewell label -- a play on their middle names. Today, Micah and Adrian work with select growers in Sonoma County and specialize in the production of small-lot, single-vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel. See my tasting note on the Appian Way Vineyards' Pinot Noir accompanied by a picture I snapped of the bottle and a link to the wine below.

Corks Out, Ready to Taste!


Review: Joseph Jewell Appian Way Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir (SRP $45): This Russian River Valley Pinot Noir displays a nice, purple-ruby color in the glass. Medium-bodied and tangy, aromas and flavors of sour cherry, cranberry, and rhubarb lead the way with underlying spice and underbrush components. The flavors are wrapped in a firm core of fresh acidity that sails through to the medium-length, pleasing finish. Overall, this is a soft, well-balanced, and supple Pinot Noir with medium depth and length that's great on its own or with food. Pork belly, duck breast, and lamb chops all come to mind. Approximately 125 cases of this wine were produced. (Other info: ABV 13.7%, cork enclosure.) 90 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Just a suggestion ... #lamb


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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12/03/2013

#DirtDontLie with Clos Pepe Estate Sta. Rita Hills 2009 Pinot Noir


Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to participate in a virtual “Tweet Jam” put on by Central Coast Wine and Food and Amy Corron Power, writer for Another Wine Blog. This Twitter-based tasting featured the Clos Pepe Estate Sta. Rita Hills' 2009 Pinot Noir. Joining us online to answer questions, inform, and entertain, was Wes Hagen -- vineyard manager and winemaker at Clos Pepe as well as a glowing YouTube personality. The catchy hash-tag we used for the Twitter tasting, #DirtDontLie, speaks to the producer’s minimal intervention approach to wine-making and desire to craft estate-grown wines that best express the vineyard, vintage, and grape variety.

#DirtDontLie Tasting w/ Clos Pepe


For Clos Pepe Vineyards and the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, those grape varieties are chiefly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Sta. Rita Hills AVA (American Viticultural Area) is located in Santa Barbara and is part of the greater (and generally warmer) Santa Ynez Valley AVA. The Sta. Rita Hills has a moderating maritime influence and its cool [overall] macro-climate, ample sunshine, and long growing season are well-suited to Burgundy's two key grape varieties.

Wes wrote the original AVA petition and helped define the appellation’s boundaries. In 2001, the Sta. Rita Hills was officially recognized as an AVA. Since that time, area winegrowers, winemakers, farmers, and the quality of wine coming out of this small sub-appellation have assisted in putting the Sta. Rita Hills name on the Pinot Noir wine map – which, by the way, is fairly limited. Please see my tasting notes accompanied by a picture I snapped of the bottle and a link to the wine below.

 Clos Pepe Estate 2009 Pinot Noir


Review: Clos Pepe Sta. Rita Hills 2009 Estate Pinot Noir (SRP $62): This wine displays a beautiful (medium) crimson-garnet color in the glass with layers of fresh acidity over aromas of perfumed raspberry, black cherry, dried rose petals and brown spice with a trace of mineral undertones. The palate matches the nose with good depth of fruit, length, and a lovely texture. It's drinking nicely now (especially with 30 to 45 minutes of air) and will continue to develop over time. Overall, this is a delicious and elegant Pinot Noir that begs for a table, good company, and a scrumptious meal (I’m thinking grilled lamb chops or seared duck breast). Approximately 900 cases of this wine were produced. (Other info: ABV 14.1%, cork enclosure.) 93 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Mother Nature's Fall Artwork in 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! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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

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