2/08/2016

Quick Sip: Clos de La Tech Domaine Lois Louise Estate 2009 Pinot Noir

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the 2009 Domaine Lois Louise Estate 2009 Pinot Noir from Clos de La Tech. Situated in the cool-climate, high-elevation Santa Cruz Mountains appellation, Clos de La Tech specializes in crafting small lots of high altitude, single-vineyard Pinot Noir. Their mission, simply put, is – “to make the New World's best Pinot Noir.” Founded in 1994 by T.J. Rodgers, CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, and his wife, Valeta, the company’s silicon chips are featured on the crest of select bottles.

Clos de La Tech wines are produced from three distinct estate vineyards. Their Domaine Lois Louise estate, named after Mr. Rodgers’ mother, is a 163 acre, steep-slope site reaching 1,700 feet, with 35 acres planted. The vines are naturally low-yielding (i.e., below one ton per acre) and so steep that a one-of-a-kind, specially designed tractor moved by cables is required for farming.

A glimpse of the picturesque Domaine Lois Louise Estate

A state-of-the-art gravity-flow winery is built into the steep hillside of the Domaine Lois Louise property, so there is no need for pumps. The wines are foot-crushed, whole-cluster pressed, fermented with wild yeasts, unfiltered, matured 18 months in French oak barrels, of which 75% is new, and aged another two and a half years in bottle prior to release. Clos de La Tech’s disciplined attention to detail and focus from ground to bottle is reflected in the glass. I recommend that my many Pinot-loving readers put this producer on their wine radar. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

Clos de La Tech Domaine Lois Louise Estate 2009 Pinot Noir

Clos de La Tech Domaine Lois Louise Estate 2009 Pinot Noir (SRP $42): This Pinot Noir pours a deep ruby-purple color. It is immensely aromatic, with cascades of well-ripened black cherries, blueberries, and plum flavors framed by spice cake, mineral traces, and dried rose petals. The palate is vibrant, textured, and concentrated, with a generous mid-palate, balanced by ripe tannins, particularly on the back-end, and a firm acid structure. The finish is fruit-driven and medium-long with a pleasant freshness. A pleasure to sip on its own and even better with a satisfying meal; I enjoyed a glass with grilled lamb chops. I recommend decanting this Pinot Noir for around 30 minutes before serving; over time it opens beautifully. Approximately 488 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Santa Cruz Mountains, California. Other info: ABV 14.1%, matured 18 months in François Frères French oak barrels, cork enclosure. 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!

1/27/2016

A Trio of Ice Wines from the Finger Lakes: Thirsty Owl, Standing Stone and Lakewood Vineyards

Hello Friends,

Today’s blog post features a trio of scrumptious dessert wines from the Finger Lakes wine region in upstate New York. I can tell you from experience that well-made dessert wines are an excellent addition to the dinner table. They can be featured on their own, as the dessert itself, or paired with an agreeable dessert of your choice.

Ice wines are usually made from grapes that are naturally high in acidity (e.g., Riesling). This is in order to balance the higher residual sugar levels found in these delightful liquid treats. Without good balancing acidity, a dessert wine can come across as sickly sweet and too cloying; being a more suitable topping for pancakes or waffles than poured into cordial glasses and enjoyed post dinner with family and friends.

A scrumptious dessert wine can be the perfect cap to an evening's end.

Of the three wines featured, the selection from Thirsty Owl Wine Company can be regarded as a true ice wine while the remaining two are known as ice-styled wines. Ice-styled wines are basically late harvest grapes that are picked and frozen post-harvest and then pressed. True ice wines are late harvest grapes that are usually picked in the dead of night while frozen on the vine and pressed before they have thawed out.

Ice wines, whether true or ice-styled, are typically housed in slender, attractive 375 ml bottles. Entry-level examples typically can be found for around $25. The price, whether you consider it expensive or not for a half-bottle, has a great deal to do with the fact that producers only get minute droplets of intense, concentrated juice out of each grape because much of the water in the berry is frozen. There are also risks involved with leaving ripening grapes on the vines longer such as hungry birds and deer, threat of disease, and weather events like heavy rains or hail. From personal experience, I generally find true ice wines to have greater depth, richness, and complexity than their counterpart. Having said that, what both styles of ice wine share is their ability to be an extremely satisfying and luscious end to a filling meal.  For further information and where you can find these liquid gems, please see my tasting notes below.

Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Ice Wine

Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Ice Wine (SRP $39.95 / 375ml): This appealing liquid gem is produced from 100% estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon; a grape variety you generally don’t associate with ice wine. The result is a richly sweet, yet balanced, concentrated wine with strawberry preserve, cranberry, and dried cherry flavors; topped with a light drizzle of honey for good measure. A few ounces served in cordial glasses makes for a most excellent after dinner sipper in place of dessert. This very enjoyable sweet treat represents a true ice wine; made from picked berries that were naturally frozen on the vine and pressed before they thawed. Approximately 356 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Finger Lakes, New York. Other info: ABV 14%, RS 16.5%, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.


Standing Stone Vineyards 2014 Riesling Ice (SRP $24.99 / 375ml): This dessert wine offers enticing aromas and flavors of dried apricots, baked pear, notes of marmalade, and hints of candied citrus fruit with an admirable balance of acidity; a honey-like sweetness; and texture on the palate. I enjoyed this wine on its own and with a tasty fruit tart. The producer recommends some interesting food pairings, which I’m eager to try, such as bacon, smoked meats, and dark chocolate. Bottom line: a delightful post-dinner treat that is lip-smacking good and affordable. Approximately 206 cases of this wine were produced, so get it before it’s gone. Region: Finger Lakes, New York. Other info: ABV 13.5%, RS 20%, grapes frozen post-harvest, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine. 


Lakewood Vineyards 2013 Glaciovinum (SRP $14 / 375ml) Finding a solid dessert wine for under $15 can be a difficult task. This liquid treat, made from 100% Delaware, an American hybrid grape variety, is pocket-friendly yet not shy on aroma and flavor. It is quite sweet and scrumptious; showing some richness in the mouth, with tropical fruit, honeysuckle, and candied orchard flavors. I can tell you from personal experience that it pairs well with a tin of butter cookies as well as vanilla pound cake. Overall, this is a very satisfying dessert wine for the money. It also presents an opportunity to experience Delaware; a lesser known grape variety. Approximately 550 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Finger Lakes, New York. Other info: ABV 11.9%, grapes frozen post-harvest, RS 19.2%, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

I would like to thank the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance and producers for their time, tweets, and invitation to this enjoyable holiday tasting event. 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: These wines were provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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

1/12/2016

Quick Sip: Coquerel Wines Le Petit 2013 Verdelho

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the 2013 Verdelho from Coquerel Family Wine Estates. Located just beyond Calistoga, Coquerel Family Wine Estates specializes in crafting small lots of estate-grown wines from their seven acre Walnut Wash vineyard; with an emphasis on growing high-quality Sauvignon Blanc. The estate site is also planted to small quantities of Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, and Verdelho. A Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are produced from leading sites located in Napa Valley. This Verdelho is on the producer’s “Le Petit” label, which is designed to emphasize pure varietal character, balance and accessibility. Their second label, titled “Terroir,” emphasizes site, complexity and age-worthiness.

Verdelho is a little-known white wine grape; that despite enjoying a rich history, lacks name recognition among many wine consumers. Nevertheless, the variety is capable of producing interesting, well-balanced wines. Verdelho is generally associated with one of the four varieties traditionally used in making the fortified wines from the Portuguese island of Madeira. The grape thrives in the warmer growing regions of Australia, producing medium-bodied dry table wines. Verdelho generally takes a shine to warm and drier climates, so I’m not surprised to find it doing well in California vineyards. Coquerel Family Wine Estates’ winemaker, Christine Barbe, who was born and raised in Bordeaux, France, did full justice in expressing the beauty of the 2013 vintage in this attractive bottle of Verdelho. I enjoyed it on its own and with pan seared sea scallops with a light pesto cream and vegetables. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.


Review: Coquerel Wines Le Petit 2013 Verdelho (SRP $22): This delightful medium-bodied wine exudes freshness and a youthful purity, with inviting aromas suggestive of crisp yellow-fleshed fruit, juicy pear, and plenty of ripe citrus fruit. The palate mirrors the aromatics; with a clean, bright acid backbone balancing the flavors and driving through the brisk, lingering finish. This wine’s overall vibrancy, lovely texture, good depth of flavor, and food friendly nature, gives it an appealing personality that will keep you coming back for more! Approximately 417 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Calistoga, California. Other info: ABV 13.5%, fermented in stainless steel barrels, 7 months sur lie, screw cap enclosure. 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!

12/17/2015

Celebrating the Rediscovery of Carménère: Viña Koyle, Viña Maquis and Viña Tamaya

Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to join the good folks at Wines of Chile and many more online tasters & tweeters to celebrate the 21st year of the re-discovery of Chile’s “Happy Accident;” also known as the red grape variety, Carménère.  An ancient Bordeaux variety, Carménère was one of the six original red Bordeaux grapes. The variety thrived in Bordeaux until the late 19th century when the phylloxera epidemic wiped out many European vineyards. When the vineyards were replanted, other noble Bordeaux grapes were favored over Carménère and the variety was near extinction.

Happy Sipping!

However, as luck would have it, Jean-Michel Boursiquot, a French grape ampelographer, determined through DNA analysis that vines long thought to be Merlot in Chilean vineyards were actually Carménère. The grape had likely made its way to Chile in the mid to late 19th century by French immigrants who brought their love of wine and vine cuttings with them. Today, Chile has more plantings of Carménère than any other wine-growing region in the world. The grape is largely recognized as a distinct variety to Chile. Carménère generally produces deeply colored, easy-drinking wines of medium body with juicy dark fruit flavors, spice, soft tannins, and an oftentimes signature herbal/green element that can add complexity when amounts are [very] subtle and balanced by other components. The three examples reviewed, all differing in style, are enjoyable wines that you will want to seek out and share with friends and family over a delicious meal. For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.

Koyle Royale 2011 Carménère 

Review: Koyle Royale 2011 Carménère (SRP $26): Deep purple in color, this wine is wonderfully balanced and fresh with lifted [and ripe] dark and red berry fruit flavors accented by anise, mint, coffee beans, and spicy oak tones. Tannins are evident but not overpowering. Vibrant acidity props the texture and keeps this full[er]-bodied wine light on its feet; finishing medium-long with slight grip. Tight initially, a series of vigorous swirls releases the wine's charming personality. Overall, this is a beautifully robust wine that flirts with elegance that’s a great addition to the dinner table and a pleasure to sip. Region: Colchagua Valley, Chile. Other info: ABV 14.5%, aged 18 months in French oak barrels, additions of 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec, 4% Syrah, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Maquis 2009 Carmenère

Review: Maquis 2009 Viola (SRP $55): Viola represents the best rows of grapes within the top sites of the Maquis estate. Deeply colored, this wine is composed of 85% Carménère and 15% Cabernet Franc. It is one of the most robust and masculine examples of Carmenère that I’ve tasted. A dense core of concentrated [baked & stewed] dark fruit flavors carry through on the palate, joined by toasty oak tones, dates, and a light touch of earth and spice. The flavors are framed by rich, chewy tannins, and gain momentum as the slightly gripping finish lingers. Before serving, give this wine some time to open up by pouring it into your favorite decanter; I recommend an hour. Pair with well-marbled grilled red meats and other hearty fare. Region: Colchagua Valley, Chile. Other info: ABV 14%, aged in French Oak barrels for 14 months, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Tamaya Gran Reserva 2011 Carménère

Review: Tamaya Gran Reserva 2011 Carménère (SRP $21): The Limarí Valley’s relatively cool climate delivers a medium-bodied rendition of Carménère that exhibits freshness as well as savory, herb-tinged qualities. In the mouth, purple stone fruit and juicy black berry flavors combine with tomato leaf, peppery spice, black cherry hints, and a trace of green herbs. Good natural acidity and relaxed tannins give way to a fluid, vibrant texture; ending in a satisfactory medium-long, spicy finish. This bottle is great on a fall or winter night with mushroom-herb meatloaf and veggies. Region: Limarí Valley, Chile. Other info: ABV 13.5%, aged in French Oak barrels for 12 months, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

I would like to thank Wines of Chile for their time and invitation to this insightful and quite enjoyable virtual tasting event. 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.

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12/14/2015

Thank You

Hello Friends,

My little old wine blog was recently ranked #27 in Exel Wines' “Top 100 Most Influential Wine Blogs of 2015.” Without a doubt, I’m delighted and grateful to be in the company of so many other great sites, wine writers, influencers, and social media personalities. I know many of the people on the list and they are well deserving of the shout-out, position, and coverage.

Keep tasting & trying new things, wine friends!
I would like to send a double magnum-sized congratulations to everyone on the list. I would also like to sincerely thank my readers, friends, and wine peeps for their continued support. I started this blog back in 2006 and wine has been a most rewarding and interesting hobby. As we close the chapter of 2015, my advice remains the same: keep tasting and trying new things. I consider the ritual of seeing, swirling, sniffing, and sipping [and sometimes spitting] productive, and try to do it daily. Thanks again for the kind words, e-mails, tweets, DMs, messages, invites, IRL meet-ups and tweets-ups. Here's wishing you all a fun and wine-filled Christmas and Happy New Year. Let’s uncork and unscrew some fun in 2016! Click here to see the full Exel Wine listing.

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

11/24/2015

A Tasty Trio of Pinot Noir: Ferrari-Carano, Erste + Neue, and Rodney Strong Vineyards

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, wine blogger, and someone who appreciates the liquid expression of place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence -- I find wine to be one of the most intriguing beverages out there. It is an area of interest that you never run out of new things to taste and learn.

The wines selected for this post are all reasonably priced and made from the finicky Pinot Noir grape. In my opinion, you generally get what you pay for when it comes to Pinot Noir.  It is not the easiest grape to grow or produce and it is very picky about where it will thrive. Twenty [something] dollars is typically the starting point for a nice entry-level selection. Pinot Noir, with its wonderful and alluring aromatics, is a wine I thoroughly enjoy swirling, sniffing, and sipping. Many examples embody (or flirt with) elegance and finesse and are extremely food friendly. The three Pinot Noirs reviewed are enjoyable wines that you will want to seek out and share with friends and family over a delicious meal. For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.

Ferrari-Carano 2013 Pinot Noir

Review: Ferrari-Carano 2013 Pinot Noir (SRP $36): This is a delicious Pinot Noir made from fruit sourced from Ferrari-Carano’s three ranches in Anderson Valley. It’s crafted by the talented Rebecka Deike who oversees red wine production.  Wonderfully aromatic and fruit forward in style, this wine delivers a ripe and effusive mix of sweet cherries and pomegranate with hints of brown spice, rose petals, and soft vanilla impressions on the back-end. On the palate, there’s notable texture and richness, with a fresh kick of acidity holding everything together; closing with a round, generous finish. This is an appealing bottle to match with hearty casseroles, beef bourguignon or homemade meatloaf. Region: Anderson Valley, California. Other info: ABV 14.4%, aged 10 months in 37% new French oak and 63% neutral French oak barrels, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Erste + Neue Mezzan 2013 Blauburgunder

Review: Erste + Neue Mezzan 2013 Blauburgunder (SRP $23): This is a wine I had an opportunity to try for a recent tasting led by Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible. The event highlighted the diversity and quality of Italy’s most northerly wine-growing region, Alto Adige. Blauburgunder is displayed on the front label; Pinot Nero on the rear; both are synonyms for Pinot Noir. This high-elevation Pinot Noir boasts aromas and flavors redolent of black cherries, plum, and spiced fruit cake, with a pronounced earthy character that's intermixed throughout the fruit from start to finish. It is medium-bodied and streamlined in the mouth, with ample acidity and a wonderful food-friendly quality about it. Enjoy with anything from a simple roasted chicken to herb-crusted rack of lamb. Though many of us don’t look to Italy when seeking out Pinot Noir, the grape does well in the higher altitude sites of Alto Adige and is well worth seeking out. Region: Alto Adige, Italy. Other info: ABV 13.5%, matured 12 months in new American and French oak barrels, matured in big wooden cask and little oak case for 12 months, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Rodney Strong Vineyards Russian River Valley 2013 Pinot Noir

Review: Rodney Strong Vineyards Russian River Valley 2013 Pinot Noir (SRP $25): This attractive wine offers an inviting perfumed nose of black cherries, plum, tea rose, vanilla bean, and baking spices. It’s full and rich in the mouth, yet supple, with balanced acidity and ripe flavors that mirror the aromas. There is a faint earthy edge with spicy flavors that linger through the pleasing, medium-long finish. Pinot Noir isn’t cheap to produce and picky about where it grows. This is a solid and approachable expression of Sonoma County Pinot Noir [for the money] that you can find between $17 and $25. Overall, this is a very pleasing bottle of wine to enjoy on its own or at the dinner table with family and friends. Region: Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California. Other info: ABV 14.5%, 13 months in 100% French oak barrels, 35% new, cork enclosure. 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!

11/09/2015

Quick Sip: Baron de Ley 2010 Reserva Rioja

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Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Baron de Ley 2010 Reserva Rioja. The name strikes a “tasty” note with me because I recall enjoying several bottles of the producer’s 2014 Blanco – a refreshing white wine blend of 90% Viura and 10% Malvasia -- just this past summer. Their Tempranillo-based Rioja is what you can call a quintessential summer-to-fall transition wine. For my taste, however, it is a winner year-round because of its solid QPR (quality to price ratio) and food pairing versatility. Being a “Reserva,” by law, the wine has to be aged a minimum of three years, with at least one year in barrel. This wine has been bottle aged for 24 months, which further integrates the wine before it is released for purchase. It is made in an approachable, fruit-forward style and is drinking beautifully right now at five years old. Better yet, you can find it for under $20 at Cork Exclusive and free shipping is included on any three or more bottles of wine or spirits. For further information, please see my tasting notes below.

Baron de Ley 2010 Reserva Rioja

Review: Baron de Ley 2010 Reserva Rioja (SRP $25): This is a beautiful and alluring fruit-forward ‪‎Rioja‬ that is made in a very approachable, modern style. ‪Deep and inviting aromas of sweet black cherries, purple stone fruit, and brown spice fill the nose and extend to the flavor profile with accents of violet, dried rose petals, and toasted vanilla bean. It is soft and round in the mouth with supple texture and balanced by a bright, palate-lifting acidity that drives the refreshing and lengthy finish.  A tad shy initially, a series of vigorous swirls reveals its charm and complexities. For the money, this is a wonderful solitary sipper as well as an attractive addition to the dinner table. Though appealing now, short-term cellaring will likely reward the patient owner. ‬‬Region: Rioja, Spain. Other info: ABV 13.5%, matured 12 months in new American and French oak barrels, matured 24 months in bottle before releases, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.‬‬

Click here to find this wine. It has a suggested retail price of $25 and is available for as low as $18.99 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 Baron de Ley 2010 Reserva Rioja for just $18.99 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!

10/20/2015

A Trio of Delicious Reds from Lodi: Fields Family Wines, St. Amant Winery, and Harney Lane Winery

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, wine blogger, and someone who appreciates the liquid expression of place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence -- I find wine to be one of the most intriguing beverages out there. It is an area of interest that you never run out of new things to taste and learn.

The wines selected for this post come from three small, family-owned and operated wine producers in Lodi, California. The region, which is drawing well-deserved attention right now, has a rich grape growing history dating back centuries and produces wines with a wide range of styles; from light, bright and fruity, to rich, ripe and concentrated. These three reds offer good value, are a pleasure to sip, and are excellent accompaniments with autumnal fare as well as cool nights out by the fire-pit. For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.

Fields Family Wines 2012 Syrah

Review: Fields Family Wines 2012 Syrah (SRP $24): Fields Family Wines is a small family-run operation formed in 2005 between proprietor Russ Fields and winemaker, partner, and social media extraordinaire, Ryan Sherman. The duo’s delicious fuller-bodied 2012 estate-grown Syrah strikes all the right notes. On the palate, cedar, smoke, tar and dark chocolate bark are supported by layers of rich and ripe mixed berry and purple stone fruit flavors. It is well-balanced with savory qualities and a supple texture, ending with soft tannins and a nice, lingering finish. Pair this wine with hearty seasonal fare or enjoy on its own by the warmth of a fire-pit on a chilly fall night. Ten barrels (or approximately 250 cases) of this wine were produced. Region: Lodi, California. Other info: ABV 14.5%, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine. 

St. Amant Winery Tools of The Trade 2013 Barbera

Review: St. Amant Winery Tools of The Trade 2013 Barbera (SRP $18): For winemaker Stuart Spencer and company, 2013 marks the 16th vintage they’ve produced this wine. Crafted from 42 year old vines and grown by family friend, Ted Levventini, this delicious wine displays a fragrant and fresh, fruit-forward character driven by ripe red berry fruit, sweet liqueur-like notes and appealing spicy undertones. In the mouth, it is streamlined and harmonious with good length, finishing with soft tannins and a pleasant, lingering aftertaste. Enjoy with pizza, a juicy gourmet burger, barbecue fare and much more. Approximately 514 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Lodi, California. Other info: ABV 14.5%, matured 10 months in 20% new American oak barrels, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Harney Lane Winery Lizzy James Vineyard 2012 Old Vine Zinfandel 

Review: Harney Lane Winery Lizzy James Vineyard 2012 Old Vine Zinfandel (SRP $35): I had an opportunity to visit this beautiful tasting room and property last year. For over a century, the Mettler family farmed vines and sold fruit to other producers. In 2006, the family started to keep a percentage of the fruit and began crafting small lots of estate-grown wines. Made from 111 year old vines, this appealing single-vineyard Zinfandel is substantive yet supple, delivering generous layers of fresh black raspberries, sweet plum, and blackberry preserve flavors with lingering notes of toasty mocha and brown baking spice. It’s ripe, beautifully defined, and well-structured -- a wonderful food wine with good depth and length that’s drinking nicely right now. Approximately 449 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Lodi, California. Other info: ABV 15.5%, matured 20 months in French oak barrels, cork enclosure. 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: These wines were provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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

10/06/2015

Quick Sip: Michel Gassier 2012 Nostre Pais Red

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Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the 2012 Nostre Pais Costieres de Nimes red blend from Rhone wine-grower Michel Gassier. Michel also makes a delicious, value-driven Grenache Blanc-led white blend on the ‘Nostre Pais’ label that continues to be one of my personal favorites. Both the red and white blend hail from Costieres de Nimes; which is the most southerly appellation of the Rhone wine-growing region in southeastern France. While this appellation is often overlooked, expect the same great value and high QPR (quality-price ratio) red blends that you would find in southern Rhone regions such as Côtes du Rhône, Gigondas or Vacqueyras.

If robust and rich red wines with character appeal to you, then I highly recommend this enjoyable blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre, and the rest equal parts Carignan and Cinsault. You can find this wine and other great deals over at Cork Exclusive where free shipping is included on any three or more bottles of wine or spirits. For further information, please see my tasting notes below.

Michel Gassier 2012 Nostre Pais Red

Review: Michel Gassier 2012 Nostre Pais Red (SRP $23): This robust and savory Grenache-based blend displays a beautiful deep color. Inviting aromas of dark berry fruit, dried cherries, tea rose, fennel seeds and spicy oak are mirrored on the palate. In the mouth, this wine offers a medium-to-full bodied texture that builds through the mid-palate, with lifted, well-balanced acids, finishing up medium-long with dusty, slightly drying tannins. It will pair nicely with a variety of hearty autumn dishes and is quite pleasing on its own – especially with a fireplace or fire pit nearby. Though great to drink now, it should benefit from short-term cellaring. Approximately 800 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Costieres de Nimes, Rhone, France. Other info: ABV 15%, matured 6 months in French oak barrels, cork enclosure. Rating: 90 Points.

Click here to find this wine. It has a suggested retail price of $23 and is available for as low as $17.99 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 Michel Gassier 2012 Nostre Pais Red for just $17.99 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!

9/23/2015

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.

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