4/30/2014

Quick Sip: Knapp Winery 2012 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Knapp Winery Estate Grown Cayuga Lake 2012 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine from Finger Lakes, New York. This dessert wine is sumptuous, satisfying, and pleasing at entry-level pricing. The fruit for this sweet treat was picked late in the season while frozen on the vine and pressed before thawing, resulting in tiny amounts of sweet, concentrated juice. Because these wines can only be produced naturally in certain regions, the risk involved (e.g., berries remain on the vine much later than regular harvested grapes), labor intensiveness, and low yields, true ice wines generally fetch a pretty penny for a half bottle (375ml). Vidal Blanc is a white hybrid grape variety that has good natural acidity which makes it a good candidate for balancing the higher residual sugars found in dessert wines. At this price point, I recommend grabbing a bottle or three to enjoy with friends after dinner, either with dessert (e.g., almond pound cake, fruit tart) or as the dessert itself. For further information and where you can find this selection, please see my tasting notes below.

Knapp Winery and Vineyard 2012 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine


Review: Knapp Winery 2012 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine (SRP $25 / 375ml): Lip-smacking, fragrant, and delicious, this wine’s slightly rich, viscous texture wraps around a sweet and succulent core of apricot preserve, mandarin oranges, spiced citrus marmalade, and honey. The flavors and sugars are balanced by a refreshing tang of acidity. It is nice by itself and equally as enjoyable with a slice of almond pound cake – trust me, I know! As far as traditional ice wine pricing goes, this sweet treat represents a good value that’s well worth seeking out. Approximately 24 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Finger Lakes, NY. (Other info: ABV 12%, 100% Vidal Blanc, grapes grown in 2011 through 2012 – harvested January 3rd, 2012, at 11° and pressed while frozen, cork enclosure.) 89 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Serve in a cordial glass and enjoy!


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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4/22/2014

Quick Sip: HALL Wines 2011 Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the HALL Wines 2011 Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon. I had an opportunity to taste this wine during a recent episode of CellarPass TV that featured a live virtual tasting and interview with Steve Leveque, winemaker for Hall Wines in St. Helena, California. Hall Wines specializes in single-vineyard and limited-production wines with a focus on classic Bordeaux varieties. This (100%) Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Diamond Mountain District sub-appellation of Napa Valley. This sub-appellation is one of the valley’s northernmost wine regions. In normal years, the region’s warm climate, high altitude vineyards – which rise above the fog-line and take advantage of early morning sun -- and porous volcanic soils, tends to produce well-structured, robust wines with good ageability. The 2011 vintage, which was anything but normal, was characterized by early dampness and a cooler than usual growing season. While Cabernet Sauvignon prefers a warm, dry, and balanced growing season, the good news is there are survivors of this challenging vintage. And those survivors who express the vintage well, much like this selection, will most likely be less ripe (than in normal years), brighter, nicely nuanced, and may even flash a [faint] green leg or two. For further information and where you can find this selection, please see my tasting notes below.

HALL Wines 2011 Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon


Review: HALL Wines 2011 Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $135): Medium-deep garnet in color, this wine offers an expressive melody of dark berry fruit and red plum aromas alongside savory herbs, brown spice, bitter cacao notes, and hints of rose petal. The aromas carry through on the palate and are balanced by a firm spine of acidity. While fairly full-bodied, the wine is remarkably light on its feet with ripe tannins, a graceful yet velvety texture, and a pleasant, mineral-accented lingering finish. Overall, this wine expresses the coolness of the vintage in flavor profile -- showing nuance, some restraint, and an agreeable brightness from start to finish. As for food pairings, this Cabernet’s acidity lends itself to a wide range of dishes including herbes de Provence-crusted lamb chops, pan seared duck breast, and red wine-braised short ribs. Note: I found that this wine benefits from an hour or so of breathing in a decanter and is also a good candidate for short-to-long-term aging. Region: Diamond Mountain District, California. (Other info: ABV 15%, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, cork enclosure.) 92 Points. Click here to find this wine.

 Springtime Bloom from my Cherry Tree


About CellarPass TV: #CellarPassTV is an informative weekly wine broadcast in which 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. To view this episode of CellarPass TV, click here.

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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4/09/2014

Quick Sip: WALT Rita’s Crown 2012 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to join the good folks at CellarPass for their 2014 kick-off episode which featured a live virtual tasting and interview with Steve Leveque, winemaker for Hall Wines in St Helena. Hall Wines is owned by Kathryn Hall and specializes in single-vineyard and limited-production wines with a focus on classic Bordeaux varieties. The tasting featured two Cabernet Sauvignons from Hall and a Pinot Noir from their WALT label. In this segment, we will focus on the Pinot Noir. The WALT label honors Kathryn's parents, Bob and Dolores Walt – both dedicated winegrowers themselves. The WALT tasting room is located in Sonoma and specializes in crafting small-batches of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from top sites along the Pacific Coast. The wine I tasted was the WALT Rita’s Crown 2012 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir. The Sta. Rita Hills is a sub-appellation located on the western end of the Santa Ynez Valley that’s making a name for itself with personality-driven Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. I have a feeling that old Miles, the pinotphile from Sideways, would really enjoy this wine. For further information and where you can find this selection, please see my tasting notes below.

WALT Rita’s Crown 2012 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir


Review: WALT Rita’s Crown 2012 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir (SRP $65): This wine is medium garnet in color with inviting aromas and flavors suggestive of sweet black cherries, raspberry and spiced tea with underlying earth tones. The palate is full, generous, and flavorful with a velvety texture that’s balanced by elegant acidity leading to a nice vanilla bean accented finish. Overall, this is a delicious, riper style Pinot Noir that maintains very good balance throughout. It is both a fine solitary sipper and a good match for dishes like seared duck breast and herb-crusted rack of lamb. Region: Sta. Rita Hills, California. (Other info: ABV 14.6%, barrel matured in French oak, approximately 40% new, cork enclosure.) 92 Points. Click here to find this wine 

Enjoying a splash off the Chesapeake Bay [Maryland]


About CellarPass TV: #CellarPassTV is an informative weekly wine broadcast in which 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. To view this episode of CellarPass TV, click here

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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4/01/2014

Lodi Wines for Backyard BBQ: Klinker Brick, St. Amant Winery, Mettler Family, Harney Lane


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.

Learn more about Lodi wine at lodiwine.com


I had an opportunity to taste the four wines below during an event put on by the good folks at Charles Communications and Lodi Wine (aka LoCA). For many of you, the seasonal warmth of spring and summer are ideal for backyard barbecues. For your drinking and food-pairing pleasure, check out the tasty Lodi selections I’ve reviewed below. All four wines are grill-friendly in nature and great matches for just about any red meat. The meat’s fat (and protein), smokiness, texture, and full flavors will marry nicely with these ripe and juicy wines. For further information and where you can find them, please see my tasting notes.

Klinker Brick Winery 2011 Brick and Mortar


Review: Klinker Brick Winery 2011 Bricks & Mortar (SRP $30): This deeply colored red blended wine is composed of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Petite Sirah, and 10% Old Vine Zinfandel. Rich aromas of plum, boysenberry, and blackberry preserve fill the nose with hints of allspice and cocoa nibs. The palate is full-bodied and round with layers of generous fruit, a velvety texture, and a spice-accented, delightful finish. Overall, this wine is large-framed and ripe, but it carries the weight and alcohol well. I enjoyed it both on its own and with spare ribs. Region: Lodi (Mokelumne River AVA), California. (Other info: ABV 15%, matured in American oak, cork enclosure.) 90 Points. Click here to find this wine.

St. Amant Winery 2012 Old Vine Zinfandel


Review: St. Amant Winery Marian’s Vineyard 2012 Old Vine Zinfandel (SRP $24): While the term “Old Vine” has no legal definition, the fruit for this wine comes from an 8.3-acre block that was planted on the Mohr-Fry Ranch in 1901. Difficult not to think of these century-old berries as anything but old vine, eh? Deep garnet in color, this wine exhibits aromas and flavors of smoked cherry, wild berry, ripe plum, and a toasty sage-like component. It is slightly briary in character with understated acidity, well-concealed alcohol, and ends with a pleasant, medium-length, spice-accented finish. Winemaker Stuart Spencer recommends having a glass with grilled burgers, tri-tip steak, ribs, or his personal favorite, “chocolate salad.” I enjoyed a glass with a burger and the pairing worked out nicely – especially with all the maple-and-pepper bacon I placed on top of the patty. Though, the chocolate salad creation sounds pretty interesting! Approximately 403 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Lodi, California. (Other info: ABV 15.1%, Aged in barrel 10 months, 30% new, cork enclosure). 88 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Mettler Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon


Review: Mettler Family Vineyards 2010 Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP: $24): The Mettler family has grown grapes in Lodi, across six generations, since 1899 -- which is impressive to say the least. Their estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with 13% Petite Sirah and 1% Petite Verdot. In the glass, the wine displays a deep garnet-purple color with aromas of black cherries, blackberry, and mulberry intertwined with spice box, cedar shavings, and underlying floral tones. The aromas carry over to the palate with a fairly rich, round mouth-feel, ripe tannins, and balanced acidity, finishing with a savory mix of [baking] spices and dried herbs. Overall, this is a nice wine that won’t break the piggy bank that’s sure to complement spring and summertime backyard barbecues – think grilled burgers, sausage, chops, chicken, etc. Region: Lodi, California. (Other info: ABV 14.9%, 22 months in French oak, cork enclosure.) 89 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Harney Lane Winery Lizzy James 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel


Review: Harney Lane Winery 2011 Lizzy James Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel (SRP $35): This wine is full-bodied and ripe with an expressive mix of wild berries, black cherry fruit jam, sweet plum, and baking spice aromas. The palate matches the nose in this dense, yet juicy, fleshier textured wine which carries its rich fruit flavors and high alcohol relatively well. It completes with a spicy, vanilla-oak accented medium-length (slightly drying) finish. Zinfandel loves ribs, and this assertive wine would pair best with a rack that benefits from a bit of smoke and a bold and flavorful mopping sauce.  Approximately 443 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Lodi, California. (Other info: ABV 15.9%, 22 months French oak maturation, cork enclosure). 88 Points.  Click here to find this wine.

Fire up the grill with Lodi 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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