9/23/2015

Quick Sip: Fritz Underground Winery 2013 Estate Grown Malbec

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is Fritz Underground Winery 2013 Malbec. I had an opportunity to review this wine for a sustainability virtual tasting put on by the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley and McCue Communications. Called a “natural wonder,” Fritz Underground Winery was originally built into the side of a hill in the 1970s to conserve energy. Winemaker Brad Longton calls the eye-catching masterpiece a “hobbit hole,” adding, “we do a pretty good job being able to maintain 60 degrees nine months a year down there.” The winery is situated at the northernmost region of Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley appellation and has produced estate-grown wines since 1979. In the cellar, water conservation methods are employed as well as gravity flow systems. The latter circumvents pumping, lessens electricity usage, and is gentler on the resultant wines.

Fritz Underground Winery is a participant in the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW) program. Their 16 acre vineyard is planted to Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Malbec, which is not a household name in the area, was initially planted to flesh out and add more luscious qualities to their Cabernet Sauvignon. Brad calls Dry Creek Cabernet “unique,” going on to say, “I love it, it’s not a fruit forward California Cabernet; it has a lot of olive notes to it.” While Malbec does a great job contributing as a blender, by 2010 it was performing so well that the winery decided to make it on its own. Since then, it’s been one of the most popular red wines in the tasting room. Simply put, I find it delicious and well worth seeking out. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.


Review: Fritz Underground Winery 2013 Malbec (SRP $45): Malbec shines brightly at Fritz Underground Winery’s estate vineyard. A lovely deep garnet color, this wine represents an expressive, fruit-forward rendition of Dry Creek Valley Malbec. Aromatically intoxicating, this wine is rich, deep, and harmonious, showing juicy blueberry and purple stone fruit flavors alongside streaks of sweet black cherries that are nicely accented by notes of floral perfume and chocolate bark. Overall, this is a delicious, full-bodied wine marked by dark fruit flavors that are framed by ripe, well-integrated tannins, ending in a long, lingering finish. Quite tasty on its own, enjoy with grilled meats, roasted lamb, or venison. Approximately 245 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Dry Creek Valley, California. Other info: ABV 14.5%, matured 15 months one year in French oak barrels -- 40% new oak, cork enclosure. Rating: 93 Points. Click here to find this wine.

I would like to thank Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley and McCue Communications for their time and invitation to this enjoyable virtual tasting. Cheers!

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.

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

9/14/2015

Quick Sip: Domaine Roger Belland 2011 Santenay Premier Cru Beauregard


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the 2011 Santenay Premier Cru Beauregard from Domaine Roger Belland. It still surprises me to this day how many consumers embrace Pinot Noir, in part thanks to the 2004 movie Sideways, but are unfamiliar with red Burgundy wines made from Pinot Noir. The same can be said for lovers of Chardonnay who overlook Chablis – a highly regarded village in northern Burgundy that produces exceptional white wines from the Chardonnay grape variety. In my years of routinely visiting wine shops and chatting with consumers, I’ve come to the conclusion that many consumers – not all -- are varietal-centric when it comes to purchasing wine. In other words, they want to see the name of the grape or grapes on the front or rear of the wine label. So yes, Americans are hooked on varietal names but a little wine education shouldn’t stand between a budding wine enthusiast in their quest for wines of good typicity and character at fair price points.

While there are some exceptions, you generally get what you pay for when it comes to Pinot Noir [aka red Burgundy]. And for Pinot Noir lovers seeking value, the region of Santenay, the most southerly village in the Côte de Beaune, is an appellation you want to put on your wine radar. Santenay offers some very good values in quality for Burgundian reds and this selection from Domaine Roger Belland is a great starting point. Burgundy is not just the home of Pinot Noir, but the region that set the golden standard for the finicky, fickle, and demanding grape variety. The wine-savvy bunch at Cork Exclusive are running a good deal ($34.99 versus $45) on this red Burgundy right now that includes free shipping on any 3 or more bottles of wine or spirits. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

Domaine Roger Belland 2011 Santenay Premier Cru Beauregard

Review: Domaine Roger Belland 2011 Santenay Premier Cru Beauregard (SRP $45): Garnet in color, this wine is aromatic and appealing, boasting ripe plum fruit, pomegranate, and blackberry flavors interwoven with attractive touches of floral perfume and dusty spice notes. In the mouth, it is medium-bodied with good fruit intensity matched by a mouth-filling texture. It has a solid mid-palate, with a nice underpinning of acidity that drives through the medium-length, mildly gripping finish. Overall, a delicious red Burgundy from the village of Santenay that offers good value in quality that’s ready to drink now; though it benefits from a 30 minute decant. Enjoy with traditional Burgundian dishes like beef bourguignon or lamb, duck breast, and fatty fishes (i.e., tuna, salmon). Region: Santenay, Burgundy, France. Other info: ABV 13%, matured one year in French oak barrels -- 30% new oak, cork enclosure. Rating: 90 Points.

Click here to find this wine. It has a suggested retail price of $45 and is available for as low as $34.99 on CorkExclusive with FREE SHIPPING on any 3 or more bottles of wine or spirits!

This review is sponsored by: 

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Get the Domaine Roger Belland 2011 Santenay Premier Cru Beauregard for just $34.99 with FREE SHIPPING on any 3 or more bottles of wine or spirits!"


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.

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

9/02/2015

Quick Sip: Markus Wine Co. 2014 Nuvola

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the 2014 Nuvola from Markus Wine Co. in Lodi, California. This delightfully dry wine is produced from 100% Gewürztraminer, an Alsatian white wine grape that’s not a household name in Lodi, much less California. Swiss-born winegrower Markus Niggli, who founded this label last year, also makes wine for highly-regarded Borra Vineyards and has a knack for highlighting the region's brighter, more energetic side through his diverse selection of wines. His portfolio currently includes a Lodi-grown Torrontés as well as a few delicious Kerner-based blends. In a region largely known for red wines, particularly Zinfandel, Markus is among a number of small, artisanal producers doing something totally different and exciting. It comes as no surprise that a region [Lodi] with some of the nation’s oldest Zinfandel and Cinsault vines and over 75 wine producing grape varieties was recently nominated for Wine Enthusiast's 2015 Wine Star Award's "Region of the Year."

Learn more at borravineyards.com/markus

The Gewürztraminer fruit that went into this bottle of wine was sourced from Mokelumne Glen Vineyards and grown along the banks of the cooling Mokelumne River. The result is a sleek and fresh wine that is very versatile at the table -- one that begs to be shared with friends and food. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention something I’m sure you picked up on too – the attractive, eye-catching packaging. The artwork on all Markus Wine Co. labels is made possible through a long-term collaboration with University of the Pacific art students. Many consumers, especially wine shoppers, buy with their eyes. This bottle clearly stands out on a crowded store shelf, but most importantly, the juice inside the bottle is quite tasty. For further information and where you can find this Gewürztraminer, please see my tasting notes below.

Markus Wine Co. 2014 Nuvola

Review: Markus Wine Co. 2014 Nuvola (SRP $18.99): This is a lean and lively rendition of Gewürztraminer that shows subtle aromas and flavors suggestive of citrus fruit, honeyed pear, and green apples backed by dried herbs and spice. The palate is streamlined, crisp, and tight, with palate-cleansing acids that drive through the medium-long, clean finish. Overall, a reasonably priced wine with unique character and a vibrant personality that partners well with almost every occasion, every palate preference, and a wide variety of dishes. The producer recommends, which I entirely agree, enjoying a bottle with a big bowl of creamy butternut squash soup topped with toasted onions and a dollop of crème fraiche.  Only 65 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Lodi, California. Other info: ABV 13.2%, native yeast, no ML, 100% stainless, screw cap enclosure. Rating: 90 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.

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

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