7/30/2014

Recent Sips: A Delightful Duo from Nichelini Family Winery

Hello Friends,

I recently had the opportunity to join the good folks at Cellar Pass for an interactive tasting that featured Nichelini Family Winery's fifth-generation winemaker, Aimée Sunseri. Nichelini Family Winery is located in Napa County’s lesser-known Chiles Valley appellation and specializes in crafting small lots of estate-grown wines. Established in 1890 by Anton and Caterina Nichelini, Nichelini Family Winery is one of the oldest, continuously operated, family-owned wineries in all of California.

Happy Sipping! 
“Our family has a great American story,” said Aimée. The hand-hewn stone winery and family home, all built by Aimée’s great-great grandparents, along with the original Roman wine press, still sit on the family’s property today. With a family motto of “Generation to Generation,” I had a chance to taste two wines crafted by generations: a 2012 Old Vine Muscadelle and a 2011 Reserve Petite Sirah. Both of these wines showed well and the Petite Sirah is a very good choice for just about anything off the grill – particularly burgers and ribs. For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.

Nichelini Family Winery 2012 Old Vine Muscadelle
Review: Nichelini Family Winery 2012 Old Vine Muscadelle (SRP $24): This is one of those oddities you can still find small plantings of in Napa Valley. Muscadelle, previously called Sauvignon Vert, is a white Bordeaux grape that was planted to the producer’s site some 67 years ago. It has survived being pulled up for something with better name recognition and the phylloxera epidemic of the 80s. In the glass, the wine boasts bright aromas and flavors of citrus fruit and quince with floral notes and an appealing, yet muted flinty quality. Overall, this is a vibrant, food-friendly wine that’s a nice alternative white to throw in the mix this summer. Region: Napa Valley, California. (Other info: ABV 13.7, all stainless, cork enclosure). 88 Points. Click here to find this wine. 

Nichelini Family Winery 2011 Reserve Petite Sirah
Review: Nichelini Family Winery 2011 Reserve Petite Sirah (SRP $43): Nichelini Family Winery has produced Petite Sirah since the 1970s. Their 2011 is dark purple in color, almost opaque, with rich and deep blackberry jam, blueberries, and ripe plum aromas, next to cured meat, vanilla bean, and wood spice. In the mouth, this wine is full and voluptuously textured with luscious flavors that mirror the nose, balanced acidity, and uncharacteristically relaxed and round tannins that melt into the spice-accented, generous finish. This Petite Sirah drinks nicely on its own and will also complement grilled and smoked meats. Region: Napa Valley, California. (Other info: ABV 14.2%, 100% Petite Sirah, aged 67% new American oak, cork enclosure.) 90 Points. Click here to find this wine.

About CellarPass: 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 CellarPassTV, 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: These wines were provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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7/21/2014

Quick Sip: Bodegas Franco-Espanolas Rioja Bordon 2004 Gran Reserva

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Bodegas Franco-Espanolas Rioja Bordon 2004 Gran Reserva. Rioja is a significant wine region located in northern Spain with a viticultural history that dates back centuries. The region is best known for its delicious Tempranillo-based blends, which can include amounts of Garnacha (Grenache), Mazuelo (Carignan) and Graciano. Rioja red wines, as I can attest to, typically offer very good value for the money. Additionally, they generally have the ability to age and develop in the bottle. If you’re looking for a satisfying example that already has some bottle age on it, then I recommend taking advantage of this under $20 deal. Lastly, with the seasonal warmth of summer upon us, the region’s drier rosé wines should not be overlooked. They are appealing, reasonably priced, and ideal refreshers and food-partners for backyard cookouts. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

Bodegas Franco-Espanolas Rioja Bordon 2004 Gran Reserva
Review: Bodegas Franco-Espanolas Rioja Bordon 2004 Gran Reserva (SRP $26): Crimson red in color, this medium-bodied Rioja is composed of 80% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, 5% Mazuello, and 5% Graciano. Black cherries, blackberry, and cassis lead onto the palate alongside cedar box, dill, trailing licorice and soft raisin-like notes. This wine is well-balanced and harmonious in the mouth, with fresh, food-friendly acidity lifting mature fruit flavors over a fine, elegant texture. The medium-length finish is pleasing with savory characteristics. Overall, this is a reasonably priced bottle of Rioja with some bottle age on it that's drinking nicely right now. Region: Rioja, Spain. (Other info: ABV: 13.5, matured 36 months in American oak barrels, cork enclosure.) 90 Points.

Click here to find this wine. It has a suggested retail price of $26 and is available for as low as $19.99 on CorkExclusive with FREE SHIPPING on any size order.

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7/15/2014

Quick Sip: Bokisch Vineyards Vista Luna Vineyard 2013 Garnacha Blanca

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the 2013 Vista Luna Vineyard Garnacha Blanca from Bokisch Vineyards in Lodi, California. I had an opportunity to taste this wine for a ‘Lodi Summer Tasting’ event put on by the good folks at Lodi Wine. Bokisch Vineyards is owned by Markus and Liz Bokisch. After working in the vineyards and cellars of both Napa Valley and Spain, Markus found Lodi to have an ideal climate for grape growing and the rest is history. Inspired by the couple’s love of Spanish wines and family heritage, Markus has grown and produced Spanish-style wines in Lodi under the Bokisch label since 2001.

Image from a wonderful wine and cheese pairing event put on by Bokisch Vineyards and Cheese Central in downtown Lodi.  
I had a chance to meet Markus, his wife, and Cindy Della Monica of Cheese Central, this spring, for a wine and cheese pairing event. From Albariño to Graciano, Monastrell, and Tempranillo, all of the wines I have had from Bokisch have been well-made and reasonably priced. I’m particularly fond of their Albariño with light summer fare and seafood dishes. For further information and where you can find this refreshing Garnacha Blanca, which my tasting group found quite delicious, please see my tasting notes below.

Bokisch Vineyards Vista Luna Vineyard 2013 Garnacha Blanca
Review: Bokisch Vineyards Vista Luna Vineyard 2013 Garnacha Blanca (SRP $18): Pale straw in color, this very pleasant and well-made wine leads off with nicely intertwined stone fruit, Asian pear, and green apple flavors backed by subtle notes of white flower. It is bright and fresh in the mouth with a racy crispness that is balanced by the wine’s nice textural qualities.  Overall, this is a delightful alternative white wine that is full of personality and extremely food-friendly. I recommend including a few bottle in your wine rotation this summer. Approximately 244 cases of this wine were produced and it was grown and crafted in accordance with the “Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing Practices.” Region: Lodi, California. (Other info: ABV 13.2%, 100% stainless, 10% Albariño added, cork enclosure.) 88 Points. Click here to find this wine.

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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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7/09/2014

Recent Sips: A Trio of Pinot Noirs from Walt Wines


Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to join the good folks at CellarPass for a virtual tasting with Megan Gunderson, winemaker for Walt Wines. Walt Wines is located in Sonoma, California, and owned by Kathryn Hall, proprietor of Hall Wines. The label honors Kathryn’s parents, Bob and Dolores Walt, who were both dedicated winegrowers themselves. Walt specializes in small-production, single-vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with a laser focus on the latter. They currently produce twelve different Pinot Noirs from select sites along the Pacific Coast, covering terrain from Willamette Valley, Oregon, down to Sta. Rita Hills, California.

A Trio of Pinot Noirs from Walt Wines
The wines featured in this tasting are from Anderson Valley (Mendocino) and Santa Lucia Highlands (Monterey), California. All three, though wildly different, are riper in style with a richness that’s uniquely Californian. They are well-made and most importantly -- nicely balanced. All three are fine solitary sippers, but would also pair wonderfully with meats like rack of lamb, pan-seared duck breast, and game dishes (e.g., venison, rabbit, bison). If you have taken your wine journey full-circle and ended up at Pinot Noir, then Walt Wines is a great producer to get familiar with. For further information and where you can find these Pinot Noirs, please see my tasting notes below.

WALT Wines "Pinpoint Extreme" Anderson Valley 2012 Pinot Noir 
Review: WALT Wines "Pinpoint Extreme" Anderson Valley 2012 Pinot Noir (SRP $65): Medium garnet in color with an inviting and forward nose, this wine is relatively rich and broad textured with raspberry preserve, blueberry, and black cherry flavors accompanied by trailing streaks of bitter-sweet cocoa powder and brown spice. The ripe, deep berry fruit flavors are intertwined with juicy acidity that glides through to the lasting finish. This wine is ripe, yet sophisticated and balanced. While a nice solitary sipper, it would be a wonderful addition to the dinner table for dishes like spiced-rubbed lamb pops or sweetbread (thinking outside the box with this pairing). Region: Anderson Valley, California (Other info: ABV 14.9%, cork enclosure). 91 Points. Click here to find this wine.

WALT Wines ‘The Corners’ Anderson Valley 2012 Pinot Noir
Review: WALT Wines ‘The Corners’ Anderson Valley 2012 Pinot Noir (SRP $65): Medium ruby-purple in color, this rich and concentrated Pinot Noir offers dark purple fruit tones, blueberry, and sweet dried cherry aromas framed by warm spice and (muted) cocoa nibs. The palate mirrors the nose and is full-bodied and balanced with understated acidity, a velvety texture, and flavors that expand and persist on to the lingering, voluptuous finish. This is a delicious and all-around generous Pinot Noir that’s enjoyable on its own and a good match for foods like pan-seared duck breast in port sauce. Region: Anderson Valley, California (Other info: ABV 15.2%, cork enclosure). 92 Points. Click here to find this wine.

WALT Wines Sierra Mar Santa Lucia Highlands 2012 Pinot Noir
Review: WALT Wines Sierra Mar Santa Lucia Highlands 2012 Pinot Noir (SRP $65): This is a Pinot for Cabernet lovers. It’s mouth-filling and richly extracted with purple and dark red fruit flavors besides nuances of cedar and spice box. Though broad-shouldered and assertive, it wears its weight relatively well and you can't deny the deliciousness. For this particular Pinot Noir, you will want to reserve the salmon and go with a nice slab of red meat. Region: Santa Lucia Highlands, California. (Other info: ABV 15.5%, cork enclosure). 90 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Backyard Feathered Friend: Red-Bellied Woodpecker
About CellarPass: 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 CellarPassTV, 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: These wines were provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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7/03/2014

Quick Sip: Zonte's Footstep Lake Doctor 2010 Shiraz

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Zonte's Footstep Lake Doctor 2010 Shiraz from the Fleurieu Peninsula wine region of South Australia. Shiraz, which rhymes with pizzazz, and at times packs it, is Australia’s workhorse grape variety. It’s expressed both as a single varietal wine and also plays nicely with other grapes in some of the region’s Shiraz-based blends. Stylistically, Shiraz/Syrah is capable of producing a pretty diverse range of wines, from fresh and easy-drinking with added richness, to full-bodied, concentrated, ripe, and long-lived. This wine falls in the middle of the two, leaning more towards the easy-drinking style. At $16.99, it’s reasonably priced, offers good value, and is below the suggested retail price of $24. For further information and where you can find this Shiraz, please see my tasting notes below.

Zonte's Footstep Lake Doctor 2010 Shiraz
Review: Zonte's Footstep Lake Doctor 2010 Shiraz (SRP $24): Deep ruby in color, this Shiraz exhibits aromas and flavors of ripe blueberries, blackberries, sweet fruitcake, a touch of bittersweet chocolate, and an underlying underbrush component. In the mouth, it’s smooth and round with a broad, velvet-like texture, understated acidity, and melted tannins. There’s a nice savory lift on the finish, which I’ll attribute to the 5% splash of Viognier. Overall, this is a pleasing, under $20 Shiraz from ‘Down Under ' for everyday drinking.  It’s nice on its own and will pair well with foods like a meaty pizza, gourmet burgers, or Asian-glazed short ribs. For the price, this satisfying bottle may well be just what the doctor ordered! Region: Fleurieu Peninsula, Australia. (Other info: ABV 14%, screw cap enclosure). 88 Points.

Click here to find this wine. It has a suggested retail price of $24 and is available for as low as $16.99 on CorkExclusive with FREE SHIPPING on any size order.

Happy Sipping! 

This review is sponsored by: 

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7/01/2014

Quick Sip: Borra Vineyards 2013 Artist Series Nuvola

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Borra Vineyards 2013 Artist Series Nuvola. Borra Vineyards was founded by Steve Borra in 1975 and is Lodi’s first bonded boutique winery. They have 234 acres of estate vineyards and operate under the helm of winemaker Markus Niggli – a native of Switzerland that seeks to highlight Lodi's brighter side through his wines. The Nuvola is 100% Gewürztraminer and is made in a dry style. The fruit was sourced from Mokelumne Glen Vineyards and grown along the banks of the cooling Mokelumne River. Mokelumne Glen Vineyards specializes in German varieties and Borra Vineyards acquires lesser known German varieties such as Kerner and Bacchus from them along with better known grapes like Riesling – none of which would you expect to find planted in Lodi, California. Markus employs a non-interventionist approach to winemaking and is crafting some of the most interesting, pleasing, and exceptionally bright, white wines I have tasted from Lodi. I recommend visiting their website and getting to know them and their wines a little better. For further information and where you can find this Gewürztraminer, please see my tasting notes below.

Borra Vineyards 2013 Artist Series Nuvola
Review: Borra Vineyards 2013 Artist Series Nuvola (SRP $19): Nuvola, Italian for cloud, is 100% Gewürztraminer made in a dry style. The wine presents reticent notes of citrus blossom, bruised apple, and honeysuckle on the nose, alongside a hint of almond and a musky spice component. The aromas continue through the light-to-medium bodied palate, led by lemon and lime zest with an underlying backbone of minerality, keen acidity, and a refreshingly crisp finish. Overall, this is a delightful summertime/anytime wine that's a perfect accompaniment to a wide variety of foods and occasions. It doesn’t reach out and grab your attention with Gewürztraminer’s unmistakable and unsubtle tell-tale characteristics; but it’s well put together, bright from start to finish, moderately complex, and delicious. Approximately 71 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Lodi, California. (Other info: ABV 13.6%, Mokelumne Glen Vineyards, cork enclosure). 88 Points. Click here to find this wine.

“New wines boldly turn pre-conceived notion about Lodi on its head.” ~ Borra Vineyards
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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