1/28/2014

A Trio of Chardonnays from Stinson Vineyards, Rodney Strong Vineyards, and Doña Paula


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 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 and via those wonderful and time-consuming social media portals called Facebook and Twitter.

Having a splash of Chardonnay!


All three Chardonnays I have reviewed for this segment are expressive, refreshing, lightly toasted in character, and reasonably priced. In all three cases, the barrel influence serves to complement the wine’s aroma, flavor, and texture and does not overwhelm. If for some odd reason you find yourself living in the “Anything But Chardonnay” (ABC) club, then any one of these Chardonnays is a good ticket out! For further information and where you can find these wines, see my tasting notes below.

Stinson Vineyards 2012 Chardonnay


Review: Stinson Vineyards 2012 Chardonnay (SRP $21): This wine is straw yellow in color with inviting aromas and flavors of lively stone fruit, citrus blossom, and white flowers with perfumed honey and delicate toasty vanilla tones wrapped around a solid core of bright acidity. On the palate, it shows some richness in the texture with good depth of flavor and medium length. It's nice by itself yet its vibrant personality makes it an agreeable partner to fish, veggie, and poultry dishes. Approximately 200 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Monticello, Central Virginia. (Other info: ABV 13%, 20% new French oak barrels) 89 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Rodney Strong Vineyards 2012 Chardonnay


Review: Rodney Strong Vineyards 2012 Chalk Hill Chardonnay (SRP $22): This is a bright and nicely textured Chardonnay that offers spiced apple, poached pear, and zesty citrus aromas and flavors lightly framed by toasty oak tones. On the palate, the wine is harmonious with a good acid spine, giving it a nice lift and freshness that extends through the medium-length, spice-accented finish. I enjoyed a glass with stuffed flounder but it's also delicious on its own. In the vast sea of Chardonnay, Rodney Strong consistently delivers an agreeable bottle at the $20 price point. Region: Sonoma County, California (Other info: ABV 13.5%, 100% ML, barrel fermented, aged 9 months, cork enclosure, recommended serving temperature 55° F.) 89 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Doña Paula 2012 Estate Chardonnay


Review: Doña Paula 2012 Estate Chardonnay (SRP $14.99): Golden straw in color, this medium-bodied wine exhibits aromas of (tropical) yellow fruit, lemon zest, honeysuckle, and pithy grapefruit notes with trailing (sweet) butter-cream tones. The palate expresses more floral character that the nose suggests, with a supple texture, understated acidity, and a dash of sea-salt on the tangy, medium-length finish. Doña Paula's Head Viticulturist, Martin Kaiser, calls this a “flexible wine” that would pair well with medium-aged cheeses and white meats. It’s also an affordable midweek option to enjoy on its own. Region: Mendoza Argentina. (Other info: 50% fermented stainless, 50% in new French oak barrels, maturation 6-8 months in French oak barrels, ABV 14.1%, screw cap enclosure.) 88 Points. Click here to find this wine.

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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1/20/2014

Quick Sip: Holman Ranch Vineyards 2011 Sauvignon Blanc


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Holman Ranch Vineyards' Estate-Grown 2011 Sauvignon Blanc. The Holman Ranch is a historic property located at the northern end of California’s Carmel Valley appellation (Monterey County). The region (especially to the north) benefits from ample sunshine combined with the cooling effect of a marine layer in the evening. This creates a mesoclimate well-suited to varieties like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Sauvignon Blanc – all of which are grown on the producer’s 19-acre vineyard. This wine is made from the Sauvignon Blanc musquê clone (less greenness), which is popular in California, and grown at an elevation of 1,100 feet. It expresses both good fruit character and acid balance and is a natural partner to a wide array of dishes. Even though Sauvignon Blanc is synonymous with summer – much like Rosé -- these crisp and fresh wines should be appreciated and enjoyed year-round. For further information and where you can find this wine, see my tasting notes below.

Holman Ranch 2011 Sauvignon Blanc


Review: Holman Ranch Vineyards 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (SRP $18): Light straw in color, this bright and wonderfully refreshing small-production, estate-grown Sauvignon Blanc delivers aromas and flavors of vibrant citrus fruit and green apple with just a whisper of floral notes. The palate is racy and lean with mouthwatering acidity and a pleasant medium-length, fruit-driven finish. It is enjoyable on its own, yet a ready partner to a wide variety of foods. I enjoyed a glass with grilled-chicken Caesar salad and the pairing worked out quite well. Approximately 46 cases of this wine were produced. (ABV 12.5%, cork enclosure.) 88 Points. Click here to find this wine (the '12 is currently available).

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 wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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

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1/14/2014

Quick Sip: Gloria Ferrer 2007 Brut Rosé


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Gloria Ferrer 2007 Brut Rosé. Gloria Ferrer is located in Sonoma County, California and specializes in sparkling wine made using the méthode traditionelle process (the same wine-making method used in Champagne) as well as (still) Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This selection, a ‘Brut,’ meaning dry (with no perceptible sweetness), is versatile and extremely food friendly. It is the last of my 07s and I have enjoyed this vintage on numerous occasions as an aperitif, with picnic fare, and with both brunch and dinner. I mostly enjoy it with Sunday brunch foods such as smoked salmon, frittatas, and one of my favorites; crab cake benedict. It’s vibrant red fruit character, fine texture, and racy acidity complements those food really well.

 Gloria Ferrer 2007 Brut Rosé


Not to sound like a snob or anything, but run-of-the-mill sparkling wine mixed with orange juice doesn’t do much for me or my dish. I’d much rather enjoy a well-made, drier (Brut) or gently sweet (Extra Dry) sparkling wine with the mixture of breakfast and lunch foods you’ll find on a standard brunch menu. And a nice bottle of bubbly does not have to be expensive; it just needs to be good. Lastly, don't reserve the bubbly just for special occasions and holidays. Sparklers are one of the most food-friendliest wines available and deserves a frequent invite to your breakfast, lunch, and dinner table! For further information and where you can find this wine, see my tasting notes below Cheers!

Two flutes coming right up!


Review: Gloria Ferrer 2007 Carneros Brut Rosé (SRP $42): This salmon colored Brut Rosé is composed of 92% Pinot Noir and 8% Chardonnay. It offers bright red berry fruit aromas and flavors with citrus undertones and appealing yeasty accents which bolsters its complexity. Fine and persistent palate-cleansing bubbles sweep across the tongue with a racy acidity that sails through to the crisp and refreshing lingering finish. Overall, this is a delightful, nicely textured, sparkling wine to enjoy any time of the year. Whenever you choose to open it is the special occasion! Approximately 2,500 cases of this wine were produced. (Other info: ABV 12.5%, traditional Champagne method) 90 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Mr. "Yummy" Crabcake Benedict


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

1/09/2014

Quick Sip: BioKult 2012 Grüner Veltliner


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the BioKult 2012 Grüner Veltliner. Grüner, as some people call it, is indigenous to Austria and is the region’s most important and widely planted grape variety. It’s also a versatile white wine grape, capable of producing high-quality, acid-driven wines ranging from fresh and sleek in style, to richly textured and complex.

The Biokult brand is produced by the Michlits family, who I'm told are one of the most influential and creative organic wine-growing families in Austria. All of the fruit used in making the 2012 Biokult Grüner Veltliner was sourced from the family’s bio-dynamic vineyard in Niederosterreich -- Austria’s largest wine producing region. If my tasting note below sounds enticing, then check out Natural Merchants Fine Foods and Wines for this wine and other organic selections.

BioKult 2012 Grüner Veltliner


Review: BioKult 2012 Grüner Veltliner (SRP $12.99): In the glass, this wine displays a straw-yellow color with light green hues. The nose offers a delicate core of bright citrus fruit aromas alongside green apple and lime-zest with muted herbal and peppery spice notes. The aromas carry forward to the (light-bodied) palate with a touch of effervesce on the fruity entry followed by refreshing acidity and a crisp, short-to-medium length finish. Overall, a wonderful food wine – particularly with seafood, shellfish, or poultry dishes – at an attractive, everyday price point. (Other info: ABV 11.5%, 100% certified organic, 100% stainless, screw cap enclosure.) 87 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Getting my Grüner on!


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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1/06/2014

A Trio of Sparkling Wines from Franciacorta: Bellavista, Antica Fratta, and Lo Sparviere


Hello Friends,

Today’s Recent Sips segment features three pleasing sparkling wines from Italy's Franciacorta DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). I had an opportunity to try these wines for an enjoyable and informative virtual tasting put on by the good folks at Balzac Communications and Franciacorta USA. When most people hear the phrase, “Italian bubbles," Prosecco, Asti, and Lambrusco are usually the first things that come to mind. These sparklers have better name recognition in the US, are more widely available, and easier to find than Franciacorta. But don’t let that deter you from asking your local wine shop if they carry any Franciacorta or can get some.

Inside a Flute of Franciacorta 


Sparkling wines from Franciacorta are produced using the méthode traditionnelle process as they do in the Champagne region of France. This process involves the wine undergoing a second fermentation in the bottle. The grapes used in Franciacorta DOCG sparkling wines are Chardonnay, Pinot Nero (aka Pinot Noir), and up to 50% of Pinot Bianco (aka Pinot Blanc). The region, located in Lombardy (northern Italy), has produced still (not effervescent or sparkling) wines since the 16th century. However, starting in the 1960s, area vintners worked together to collectively make a name for themselves as a serious, high-quality sparkling wine region. As a result, Franciacorta became the first Italian wine region to exclusively produce sparkling wines made in the traditional method. Franciacorta is also the first sparkling wine to obtain Italy’s highest appellation award of DOCG.

Sushi and Franciacorta


While Franciacorta uses the same method and two of the three grape varieties as Champagne (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) to produce their sparkling wines, the region takes advantage of its cooler temperatures and makes its own diverse, individualistic styles of bubbly. Unlike Champagne however, the region does not struggle to ripen fruit, therefore you may detect more richness and fruit flavor/ intensity in their sparkling wines. For further information and where you can find these wines, see my tasting notes below. Lastly, 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 wine rotation!

Bellavista Franciacorta NV Cuvée


Review: Bellavista Franciacorta NV Cuvée (SRP $35): This wonderfully refreshing sparkling wine is composed of 80% Chardonnay and equal parts Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. It shows pleasant aromas and flavors of citrus blossom, wild flower, almond, subtle ginger tones, and muted spicy yeast rolls. A fine but sparse bead gives way to a racy structure, good texture, and a lingering, refined finish. Overall, this is a moderately complex, food-friendly and affordable sparkler that improves in the glass as it shifts from chilled to cellar temperature. (Other info: ABV 12.5%, Ferments and ages for 7 months in small oak barrels.) 89 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Antica Fratta Franciacorta Brut NV


Review: Antica Fratta Franciacorta Brut NV (SRP $25): This pale straw colored sparkler is enticing and lively with a frothy mousse leading to aromas and flavors of mature tree fruit, honeyed brioche, and (zesty) citrus undertones. The wine’s vibrant character makes it an ideal aperitif or a pleasing “any occasion” sparkler. It’s also the perfect partner to a wide variety of foods. I enjoyed a glass with a tasty platter of sushi. Clearly, bubbles are not just for special occasions or holiday celebrations when you can pick up a bottle like this for two Hamilton bills and a Lincoln. (Other info: ABV 12.5%, Traditional Method, 100% Chardonnay.) 88 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Lo Sparviere NV Satén


Review: Lo Sparviere di Gussalli Beretta Franciacorta NV Satén (SRP $25): Sparkling wines from Franciacorta labeled Satèn are made exclusively from white grape varieties. The bottle pressure for these wines is slightly lower than other styles resulting in a more textured mouth-feel and relaxed mousse. This wine is 100% Chardonnay. It offers aromas and flavors of bright tree fruit, white flowers, and toasty notes with a burst of effervescence and citrusy acidity giving way to a pleasant, textured mouth-feel and medium-length finish. Overall, this wine is an ideal aperitif or a good accompaniment to light hors d'oeuvres and cheeses at a budget-friendly price point. (Other info: ABV 13%, 24 months aging on lees, 20% fermented in oak where it undergoes malolactic fermentation, remaining 80% in steel.) 87 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Backyard Feathered Friend: 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 review. Thoughts are my own.

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

My Vine Spot

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