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beverages have been preferred over water throughout the ages: they're safer,
provide psychotropic effects, and are more nutritious.” ~ Dr. Patrick McGovern, et al
It would seem the Nebbiolo grape has the correct name as it literally means little fog. Why do I say? That's simple; because from my experience most vino-sapiens find themselves in a fog when it comes to understanding the "grape of kings and the [and what some believe] king of grapes". If you'd like to find out more about the amazing history of this grape, there's a quick tutorial to be foundhere.
One of a few funny [not funny ha-ha] things about Nebbiolo is that like Merlot, Chardonnay and other grapes most folks are accustomed to, it's relatively easy to say or ask for in a restaurant. One of the other things I find interesting to note is that not all Nebbiolo is Barolo, but all Barolo is Nebbiolo.
While it may seem like I'm attempting to be too clever by-half, but hold on. There's akernelof truth to what I'm saying. So don't run-off. See, to be called Barolo and get that fancy neck-label [its papers] it has to be more than just Nebbiolo.
It has to meet some aging requirements first, sorry but there's no squishy feel good way to get out of thoserequirementseither. What are those aging requirements? "To earn
the name Barolo, the wines must undergo at least 38 months' aging prior to
commercial release, of which 18 must be spent in barrel" If you'd like to read moreI'm going link to the answerhere.
What many have come to know as “Classic” Barolo with the traditional requirement of at least ten years in the cellar to tame those powerful tannins, has seen a shift toward what some call the international style. With some producers moving away from tradition and are moving towards more wines which are more approachable sooner.
This new direction is of course not without a bitter controversy. There are those who think of themselves as the traditionalist, who believe any attempt to change the face [brand] of Barolo is nothing short of heresy. While the other group, known as the "modernist" [producing a more approachable wine in the short-term] who want to simply cash in on big-score, drink now and drink often crowd. Folks [vino-sapiens] who don't have the patience to wait 10 years for those wines to age. If you'd like to read more about this true wine battle I'd encourage to check out this greatarticle.
But at the moment we are going to skip that whole scene by me introducing you a wine you may not be familiar with, that comes from the same great region. You see the wine pictured above is a fantastic representation of what nearlyevery producer of Barolo does and, that's they make other wines simply labeled as either Nebbiolo d’Alba or Langhe Nebbiolo.
The wine you see above above is produced by Ettore Germano, a wine we will examine much closer in the coming weeks of #WineStudio. These wines are produced fromsame grapes that could ultimately be called Barolo, only they're not aged quite as long. The distinction between aNebbiolo d’Alba and thenebbiolowhich is labeledLanghe is that it's from an even wider geographic area. If you'd like to learn more about what goes on be-hind the label, here yougo.
The wine you see pictured above was a superb representative of what a wine with soul should be. From the first drop to the last splash, it over delivered in finesse and flavor. The color you can see in the glass is amazing, the nose a virtual potpourri of dried red/dark fruits, herbs and leather.After the first slurp, you’ll
find this wine to be very generous, slapping your palate with vibrant red-currants,
strawberry, licorice, and dried-violets. It has a SRP of $23 and in my estimation well worth the price of admission.
I hope you all can join us tonight in the #WineStudio as we uncork some great wines fromBeni di Batasiolowhich I will be reviewing here next later this week. Tonight in the Studio please help me welcomeStefano Poggi,[Twitter handle]@Batasiolo_USItalian
Brand Manager forGioWine to the #winestudio who has graciously agreed to join us once more for a trip through theirbrilliantwines. While their website is currently under-construction, I was able to come up with a basic info sheet about the winery if you'd like to give it aswirl.Until next folks remember life is short, so sip long and prosper cheers!
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I came across this article
just the other day, whose title intrigued me quite a bit, it's entitled the "Gentle Soul in
a World of Bold Fruit" via the Pour Blog [NYT] [Read More]
After I popped it open on
my browser, I got half way down the article and came across this paragraph, one
which made me want to stand andapplaud. Describing what a Gran Reserva is
and is not, could not be stated any better than this.
These graceful, elegant wines captivate both sensually — their polished textures feel so good in the mouth that you are drawn irresistibly to the next sip — and intellectually, by almost demanding your attention as you seek out each elusive nuance." Eric Asimov
Not only does Mr. Asimov make some great points about the so-called demise of the Gran Reserva style of wine, he also gives many compelling examples of why this great style of wine isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Having recently returned from Rioja just last summer where I had to the opportunity over and over again to sample many different Gran Reservas and having visited one of the wineries he mentioned in his article I would have to heartily concur, the Gran Reserva style of wine is here to stay.
If you've not had [popped the cork] a beautifully aged Gran Reserva for yourself from the likes ofLópez de Heredia,La Rioja AltaorMugayou are in my opinion missing the boat. Until next time folks remember life is short, so sip long and prosper cheers!
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“When a man is in love very little is enough to throw him into despair and as little to enhance his joy to the utmost.”―Giacomo Casanova
Ugh, can you believe that the wonderful month of May is nearly over? We are about to stretch out our arms while the warmth of June slowly creeps in over the weekend. If you don't live in San Diego, you have my apologies in advance, because it's going to be a picture perfect weekend here.
I know, I know you may be thinking, "uh, didn't you already have a wine of the week?". Ha, why yes I did and thanks so much for paying attention. That means, as hard as it's for me to believe that you are reading my blog. You folks really are funny, but I truly appreciate each and everyone of you for being here.
Now about the wine pictured above, which I will point out again is NOT a sample, instead it's wine I purchased via the sweat of my brow. This wine is from a producer which some dismiss as making an international style, but none-the-less this so-called declassified Brunello which sells for a SRP of $18 is one of the best values going in Italian wine.
It's 100% Sangiovese Grosso, and it's 100% approachable now, even into the future if you could wait that long. Which unfortunately, many folks where I work couldn't wait after I recommended this beauty and purchased all the 2009 to be had at the shop and or that Ken could get his hands on.
But the good news is that, the 2010 is in plentiful supply and ready to rock, just not to the same extent as the 2009, because the ten was a cooler vintage. That said, if you want a truly authentic Tuscan wine experience look no further than this beauty from Casanova, a wine that comes dressed to impress, from the time the cork is popped to the last drop to fall from the bottle.
What you’ll find as you get the first slurp of this [09/10] wine in
your glass is layers of sweet, complex dark and red fruit, balanced by vibrant
acidity. Nicely polished tannin's, invite slurp after slurp. You’ll find both
wines offer a plush, full, smooth flow across your palate. A wine which finishes,
clean and becomes the center of attention [but won't get in the way of food] as the finish seems to last and last.
And oh if you're wondering what to pair? I know I often recommend consulting your Italiancuisine recipes cards, but to be perfectly honest either of these wines will easily pair with just about anything you throw at, of course there are exceptions, but really they're few. Until next folks, remember life is short, so sip long and prosper cheers!
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“Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day life more civilized.” — André Simon
Whether it's after a long hot-day at the office or you just finished that last bit of spring cleaning, it's nice uncork a bit ofcivilizationisn't? And with that idea in mind, how about a delightful wine from Bordeaux?
I’m a firm believer in that quote, hardly a day goes by without me popping the cork on something new and/or interesting. But for many it’s so easy to get stuck in the same wine-rut; going back to same familiar label again and again.
But I would encourage you to take a chance on something that possibly may be new to you. I’m talking to folks who may have been enjoying domestic US wines for the longest time and have never branched out, based solely on the fear of the unknown.
You'vemost likely seen bottles of wine which say, “Bordeaux” on the label, but you may have been reticent to give them a swirl. That fear of the unknown can keep folks off the path to discovery and frankly it’s quite understandable.
But the honest answer is; "thewines of Bordeaux have something to offer everyone in every price point and in every style imaginable".I know many you may be thinking, “but I only like white wines” okay great Bordeaux has that covered for you as well.
And you can even grab some great rosé wines, the unofficial iconic wine of summer. So really no matter what you may be looking for in great tasting easy drinking wines, Bordeaux has something to offer even the garden variety vino-sapien.
But the wine into today's Wine of the Week spotlight is going to be the Dourthe Le GrandRosé Cuvée. As you may know by now, I'm partial to wines labeled as a "cuvée" and this is one you shoulddefinitelycheck into obtaining for your up-coming pool-side adventures.
Wow, thisrosé wine just sayssummer in a glass. Say hello to Bordeaux with this blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot provide the swagger of fruity/floral aromas with a slap of blackcurrants, pinned against a solidstructure, made in a dry-style.
If that was not enough summertime ripe strawberries enchant you, while finely toned elegance plays its part on the palate, providing a vivid canvas for summer-time sipping. Bold, fresh and just waiting to please, the price is easy on the eyes as well at a SPR of $11-$13. Until next folks, remember to sip long and prosper cheers!
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Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. ~H. L. Mencken
Have you ever "loved" a place so much that you went out of your way to help have it legally defined? A group of winemakers from Howell Mountaindid and this video is their story. I hope you'll stick around long enough to see how it all unfolded and why Howell Mountain wines are so distinctively different from those just a few miles away on the valley floor.
Have you ever wondered how does an AVAcome into being and what does that mean anyhow? And what difference does it make to the wines you drink? Can anyone simply apply for a new one, just because they want to?
These are all good questions; many of which are addressed indirectly in this great video about the birth of an AVA. One, which just happens to beamongthe top AVA's in the Napa Valley. The video is just a little over 10 minutes long and I'm pretty sure this blog is one of the few places where you can still view it.
One thing I'm sure of; after having watched it, the next time you find yourself in the Napa Valley you'll be wondering what is going on above the fog. Until next folk, remember life is short so sip long and prosper cheers!
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Here's an article I wrote at the request of theStan the Wine Manwho has done some great work defining words, that we in wine-geek-dom use on a regular basis. You can finish reading the article on via Stan's Blog and be sure to follow his many wineadventuresviatwitter.
"The characteristic of Brunello is its
Santi told Wine
Spectator last year."Nature is capable of creating
beautiful things—you just have to wait."
And in order for you to wait
for that wine to mature, then said wine needs to have the stuffing to go the
long-haul [aka longevity]. That’s something we wine-geeks call structure.
Let’s face it, not all
wine is created equal and I know, I know that’s not whatyou'veheard from your
friends around the wine-cooler. But stick with me, all will be explained below.
And for the average
garden-variety vino-sapien out there, you probably don’t care too much about a
wines structure. But let me frame it this way; a wine without good structure is
like having that second cup of coffee brewed from the grounds of the first cup.
Now you feel me don’t you?
Like the quote above from
the Godfather of Brunello, if a wine is meant to go the long-haul which much of
Brunello is, it’s going to need structure. And like any building, structure in
wine is the foundation, for which every other component in the wine hangs upon.
It was just the other day;
I tasted through some very elegant and interesting Italian vino which got me to
thinking about a wines structure and what does that really mean anyway. Some
were what I call everyday drinkers, not much too them but in the short term
they were very tasty and got the job done.
Now this is where the
nerd-meets-the-herd [eye-roll] it’s time to define what all this talk about
structure means to you and to the wines you may or may not be consuming. [Read More]
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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —I took the oneless traveledby, And that has made all the difference.~ Robert Frost
Wine tasting as a"vacation
focus"is a growing segment in thetravelindustry. It's something I can personally attest to; seeing most of my own vacations have become wine-vacations. And even though it was nearly ten years ago and as cheesy as that sounds, it could be saidthe continued popularity of the film“Sideways(2004)” continuesinspire folks to plansimilartrips.
The month of May is
typically the time of year when many folks are thinking about aquick road
trip. With the upcoming long Memorial Day weekend loomingmany vineyards
and wineries will open up their tasting rooms to the public and some, for the
first time all year.
For example one of my favorite wineries on the Orgundian
Trail isPatricia Green Cellars, which has a fantastic Open-House Memorial Day weekend. If you happen
to be in the area, you should definitely make a point to stop by to taste some
the best Pinot Noir in Oregon.
When you do go wine-tasting, it’s typical to beallowed
to sample a handful of wines fora fee [I know shocking right?].Some are aupwards of $50 per
tasting for some of the top producers in the Napa Valley like Opus One. But most tend to be in the $10 range per person and you’ll typically sample 3-4
wines.As a bonus some will let you keep
thelogo-ed Riedelglass, if you like having an assorted stem-ware collection.
Many wineries offer educational tours of the facilities which
are terrific for first timers who’d like to get"beyond the bottle".And please be aware that many of these
opportunities need to be booked ahead of time, so please plan accordingly.
1. WINE CLUBS:So thereyou are in the wine tasting room where you will
see and hear offers to become a wine club member. It's a great opportunity to
stock up on wine you won't see at your local grocery store or in your favorite
wine shop. But you will often pay a bit more than retail.
Another great thing about
a “wine-club"is that if you live close by, you can really benefit
from going to pick-up parties, concerts and various other "cool"
activities many wineries having going on during the summer months.
So don’t wince the next time you hear the words,"would you like to join our wine club?"embrace the wine
club and you’ll save on average20-30 %off a wine you
would most likely purchase anyways.
2. Hot Days: Since were on the topic ofpurchases it's good to remember to
bring a large cooler with you to keep your wine cool while it sits in the car,
keep the windows cracked open a little, it can get real warm in wine country.
3. Planning:I’ve readDorothy J. Gaiter and John
Brecher formerOpen that bottle Columnistsat
the WSJ, who I think have oddly recommended it's best to "not have a
plan". Insteadthey'veencouraged folks to randomly drive through wine
country and just show up to any tasting room you may find open. Uh, okay while
thismay sound great in theory, in my experience it will most likely end
From my many trips to wine country; even a little
planning will go a long way to maximizing your experience. Not only for you and
those with you, but everyone else you may encounter. Managing expectations is a prime key to the
4. Maps: Order your wine country map ahead of time [or print
it out]and bring it with you on thetrip. This will allow you
preview the wineries you plan to visit before yourtrip, so you are
somewhat familiar withthe area and ithelps you visualize your
itinerary for each day, even if you haveGPS.
It's is helpful to locate and/or group wineries with
relatively close proximity. Lastly, make some dinner reservations ahead of
time; this will save you a lot of frustration and make you look like a genius.The OpenTable
app,is a great resource for
5. APPOINTMENTS:Don’t be discouraged if they are
byappointment only,it's not an obstacle. It’s simply a
tool to manage their time more effectively and these arrangements can be done
easily via email [winery staff and
winemakers are some of the busiest and hardworkingfolks I know].
But on the flip side
this can be some of the best times you will have tasting wine, because often
times the winemaker or proprietor is the one hosting your appointment and they
are very eager to give you their wrapped attention and can interact with you on
a much more personal level.
Make sure you keep
your appointment, call ahead to remind your host of your arrival andshow up on timeand if you
have to cancel please call them at least day ahead, that is just good form.
6. The Barrel
thing to keep in mind, is that some appointmentsare located in their barrel-room. A place which
is often a very cool57degrees and while great for maturing
wine, it can be a little uncomfortable. So I'd take a jacket with just in case,
even if it's80degrees outside.
This happened to Mrs. Cuvee and I once while atPatricia Green Cellarsin when we were still wine-tasting newbie’s.
The other couple who were at the appointment were quite cold; they especially
since they had only sunny-day garments, my wife and I fared a little better
with our sweaters, but it was still cold.
7. ARRIVE EARLY:Another goodrule of thumb
regarding tasting room visits is to get there early [the popular places will fill
up fast and this will minimize your experience]. I can not stress this point
enough, because as you may knowsome wineries
are"super-popular" and you may not make it to the
[tasting-area] bar at all.
Most tasting rooms will be open by10or11in the morning and they start closing
up by5in the evening, this why I recommend
only going to3to4TR’s a day, it’s no fun rushing
through a tasting.
OR SPIT: Stay
hydrated,and make sure to have a
designated driver. They should most likely not be sampling any wine at all.
But, if you do I recommend spitting everything, and having a large breakfast.
And for everyone else remember you really only there to sample [taste] the
wines and not drink them.
6. Pours: Don't feel bad if you don't like the wine, just pour it out and move
onto the nextwine in their line-up. By the way, if you’re in-between
pours please don’t pour the water sitting on the bar to rinse your glass or
allow the tasting roomstaff to do that either. In my experience this will
only dilute your next pour; ideally you only want to rinse your glass with wine
or just ask for a new glass.
MENUS:In my experience ifI have a choice between the
reserve tasting and the everyday tasting, I go all-in on the reserve. If you’re
on the tasting trail with someone else, try sharing the tasting.
*Another point to remember is many times the
tasting fee will be comp’d if you make a purchase.
8. SHIP ORHOLD: This will mainly be determined bywhat
methodyou may have arrived at yourdestination. For exampleif
you drove to wine-country, you can save yourself some money on shipping.
If you've flown to your destination, you will most
likely opt to have your wine shipped home, unlessyou'veflown via Southwest or
Alaska Airlines who offer a 2nd bag which can be checked for free.
If shipping home I would recommend sending it to a
work address, because the shipper will need to have someone sign for your wine.
If you only plan to buy a few bottles you can
easily put it in your "checked" luggage, [just watch the weight]
which I have done successfully many times without anything other than my
clothing protecting them from breakage. I brought nearly a case home in my
luggage from Italy
and not even one casualty, knock on wood.
9. WINES NOT SOLD
RETAIL:One other thing to
consider is to ask about the winesyou may havetasted, which are not sold outside of
the tasting room. I would recommend purchasing those bottles, over a
winewhich is available via your retail wine store shelf.
10. HAVE A
BUDGET: This is a very good idea; because it is far too
easy to go overboard. This will cause you to really be morefocused and fastidiousabout the wines you just can’t live
without and save you some headaches down the road.
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Rules, rules, rules they're everywhere and, just about anywhere one may look these days. But, if you're ever in doubt about what the rule is, then there's the always the good old "rule of thumb" or that old fashion notion of common sense. But as we all know, some folks just don't take the time to think about rules when it comes time to visit their favorite winery and/or wine tasting room.
Some people drink from the
fountain of knowledge, others just gargle. ~Robert Anthony
So what about the "rules" for going wine-tasting? What are they? Should there be any? I think there should be and so do many other seasoned vino-sapiens. So whether you're going wine-tasting for the weekend in Napa or Sonoma or you're planning to visit a wine-festival, a portfolio tasting, or just the average garden-variety wine tasting, it's important to understand a few rules before hitting the wine-trail.
Seeing I've been to my share of tasting-rooms and wine-festivals, I thought this video would be a good idea to help the average vino-sapien understand the rules-of-engagement sort-a-speak and, more importantly the view-point from the other side of the tasting table/bar. Please remember while you're on the path to wine discovery, you're going to be wine-tasting not wine drinking.As we all know, life is short, so remember until next time sip long and prosper cheers!
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"A man will be eloquent if you give him good wine." --- Ralph
After a period of great
mourning; an invitation can shine like a light in a dark place. That invitation, an opportunity to
sample a wine from one of very best vintages of the eighties; in fact one of the best
come along since the 1970. TheChateau Ducru Beaucaillou 1982, which would be uncorked
later that evening. I had no idea what a treat laid ahead, but I knew it was going to be wine-tastic evening full of firsts.
But first-up would be the outstanding2009 La Croix de Beaucaillou, St-Julien, a wonderfully approachable Bordeaux, that has enough structure [don't miss this point] to go the long haul in your cellar, but the way this wine is drinking at the very moment, why wait. And that is the point of this wine, made in a style that will appeal to the California "palate" fleshy, fun and flush with flavor. Personally I'd buy a half dozen and, drink one each over the next six years to see how they mature.
Reportedly; a blend of 75%CabernetSauvignon and 25% Merlot [pH 3.69] and rested in 60% new oak for what
I’m guessing was some 12 months. This wine is a seamless beauty, very generous black and red fruit, subtle licorice, cedar, rich earth, which comes nicely wrapped in supple, well honed tannins. Now take a gander at the color in that glass, via the image below, gorgeous right?
Just nosing the wine alone is amazing, a plume of rich Cabernet perfume runs to greet you right away, welcoming the first sip.A boat-load of head-turning aromas; cherry fruit
intertwined with hints of wood smoke, sweet-vanilla and fresh earth. I scored this wine 93 points and highly recommend it to you.
In light of the fact, that
it does not have a first-growth chateau, it’s sometimesan unfairly overlooked
region. But that lack of claim to first-growth fame can make for some tasty
Reportedly, the owner
Bruno Borie in speaking with Stephen Tanzer of International Wine Cellar fame said that "starting with our 2005 vintage, that the La Croix de Beaucaillou would become
a wine of terroir." Now he [Mr. Tanzer] scored this wine 87-90 points, but he also said "this looks to be the best
Croix ever" which seems to contradict the low score.
"So rather than only including
grapes from Ducru's youngest or less favorably situated vines [fruit that now
goes into private labels], "the Croix is made only with the grapes of certain
specific parcels.” ~ Stephen Tanzer
As you can see my low-light image of the bottle did not turn-out as well as I hoped it would, but this amazing wine was none-the-less a shining star of flavor and finesse, after some near 30 years in the bottle.
You’ll find Saint-Julien,
sandwiched in-between the more famous appellations ofPauillacandMargaux, but also nicely balanced.Many vino-sapiens know Saint-Julienas one of the smaller but still importantappellationof theHaut-Medoc an area found in south-westBordeaux. Sad to say, but the importers of this great wine Woltner and Co.appear to have gone out of business.
Hovering over the glass a
moment; beautifully aged aromas escape slowly from the glass, filling the air
just above with a sweet cedar box and forest floor aromas. Bumping up against
the wall of the glass plum colors give away to garnet and brick colors and, sediment
lies lazily in the glass.
Meanwhile after the first slurp; spice box, more
cedar, and dark licorice, dried dark plum and other red fruits entice you. What
at time of bottling must have been a full-bodied, solidly structured wine has beautifully matured over the decades. Becoming a wine which easily shares it pure with sweet tannins. An amazing and unforgettable experience
to say the least about a wine I’m scoring 94 points.
I will leave you with the words of Mr. Leonard Cohen who said; "Poetry is just the
evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash." Until next time folks remember life is so short, sip long and prosper cheers!
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“Talents are best nurtured in solitude. Character is
best formed in the stormy billows of the world.” - Von Goethe
It's not often you can
jump into a time machine of sorts and go back to the year you were born, but I
had the good fortune to do just that last Sunday.
One of the funny things
about vino-sapiens and just people in general is the fact that most folk’s historical
context starts the day they were born.But with a quick look-back into the
history books, you'll see that here in states 1963 was atumultuous year
to say the least.
Many may recall it was
JFK, who inspired his country to find its way to the moon and, who also
tragically lost his life just two years after making that announcement. It was
also the year when many folks heard MLK give his "I've a Dream"
speech to hundreds of thousands of American's gathered at the national
Musically speaking; the
Beatles were taking the UK
by storm, while the Stones sang songs many fansprobablywould not
recognize today. And the very first celebrity chef appears on TV,French
Childdebuts via an educational-television program.
The iconic cold-war era
"red-phone" isestablished between DC and Moscow and it's also happens to be the year I
was born.It was during these times, that Cockburn'swas alsopleased
as punch to announce their decision to declare 1963 as a Vintage year.
The Symington family who
recently acquired Cockburn’s has now taken ownership of this once great port
empire. They are well aware of what many had called “The golden age of
Cockburn’s”. It was during this golden-age which produced many legendary wines,
[ports] like 1896, 1908, 1927 and the1963which I recently sampled.
They believe that by
identifying that "style" from their hey-days, one which had brought
them tremendous success in the past, that the family can [hopefully] recapture
that essence for the future. I'd say that is a good bet, if they can pull it
off. Their newest "declared" vintage is 2011, but I don't think I'll
be around in 50 years to taste whether or not they havesucceeded.
The wine held up
beautifully over the years and, the cork came out without a hitch. In the glass
you can clearly see, the ruby color starting to fade and, starts picking up
more garnet and brick edge colors. It was decanted for about an hour or so
before dipping into what can only described as sheer delight. If you would like
to grab a bottle of this for yourself, please stop byBird Rock Fine Winefor your
own amazing birth-year experience.This is my first time sipping of wine
with this much bottle age and wow what a special treat it was, big-time thanks
to Ken for the invite.
Splashing down from the
decanter to my glass, grabbing more air, the fruit gained a bit more plum-like
character, while at the same time dialing up a bit more complex dried fruit
characteristics. Bang-bang right out of the gate this port is nicely
integrated, showing cherry, dark-plum, baking-spice, subtle choc-truffle, great
depth and hints of fig on the nose and palate and perhapssurprisinglyso,
a nice verve of acid to carry the still abundant fruit. It was nothing but
sheer drinking pleasure and paired ever so nicely
withpecorinocheese. Until next folks please remember to sip long
and prosper cheers!
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“Any change, even a change for the better, is always
accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” – Arnold Bennett
Many times in the course of selling wine to the public I find that the average vino-sapien is quite opposed to change. They want the same "Wine-Experience" over and over and when I do offer an alternative like the wine you see in the picture above, they run away shrieking in horror.
All because they just can't not imagine taking wine-risk and they run willy-nilly back to the comfort of the same formulaic brand that they are use to. That to me is one of the saddest things I hear coming from the lips of folks who I know dig wine like I do, but they're just too scared to venture through the door of discovery, hell they won't even dip a toe in the pool. For crying-out-loud people it's just a bottle of wine, not a life-time altering event.
I popped the cork on this rustic beauty just last night a delicious classic style of Chianti Classico; which went [paired] amazingly well with a gorgeous classic Margherita Pizza Mrs. Cuvee and I dined upon last night.
The wine was the perfect
accompaniment, just playing some nice base tones in the background and at the
same time enhancing the experience. The wine sells most places for a SRP of $20
and I gave it a score of 90 points making it a QPR star.
It’s sad, but most folks have almost knee jerk
reaction to Chianti, they think of the wicker basket bottles, but don't let
that false perception stop you because those same wines have evolved far past that point. If anyone will just take the time to investigate, they'll find many very good
producers who I know if given the chance, will help change many minds and hearts about these very tasty, yet truly
authentic Tuscan wines.
The Poggio Basso is a well executed wine with
has "classic" written all over it, 100% Sangiovese goodness from the
first splash in my glass to the very last drop. A stinky nose, whichmade me thinkrich
dry earth, cracked, sun-beaten leather and fruit all came together at some point. After the first
splash, polished tannins, dried fruits reminding me of dark plums dark
red-cherries and, yes you could taste the pit.
A small factoid about Italy’s most planted grape known as Sangiovese. It’s a small [smaller
the better] dark-berried grape and, one that has really become synonymous with
the majority of the red wines from the Tuscanyregion. But of course not everyone
plants the same clone of Sangiovese, so that said never forget clonesmatter.
Weighing in at just 13%
abv and nicely textured, it made for the perfect food pairing wine. While we
chose pizza, I could imagine seeing this wine pair nicely with large variety
Italian recipes. Until next folks remember sip long and prosper cheers!
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discovery of a wine is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation. ~ Benjamin Franklin
The voyage of discovery is a fun experience in and of itself, but add to fact, the discovery of finding great new wines makes the trip all the merrier. But for many the cost of wine-discovery can add up quite quickly, so many opt to just stay home and drink the same wines they have always enjoyed.
But what if I told, there was a way to get some complimentary wine-tastings in a great location known and loved by many, called Sonoma County. Would you hoot, would you holler or perhaps just load up the wine-wagon with friends and family and make your way out to wine-country for the weekend?
I'm thinking that you in fact would find a-way to free-up sometime on that busy work-free weekend. So here's the good-news; Visa Signature and Sonoma County Vintners offer cardholders the
following year-round benefits at over 60 select Sonoma wineries:*
- Two unique complimentary tastings per cardholder
- Savings on wine purchased same day in Tasting Room and non-wine purchases
- Savings on Reserve tastings and special wine-and-food pairings.
- Complimentary tasting details and benefits vary by winery and you may wish to call ahead to confirm winery benefits.
So if you happen to have a Visa Signature Card* then you are luck; as any cardholder is going to
be able to get a sip of the good life for free. Yep you heard me right
"free", however see their website
for complete details [because restrictions do apply].
To make this great offer, even easier there's a printable map
which directs you to all the participating wineries. With over 60 included on the
list; I'm pretty sure you'll find one that floats your boat. After quickly perusing the list;
I see many of my favorites like Rodney Strong, Roth, Rued, Seghesio and Twomey
Cellars to name a few.
Seems like a pretty good deal for the wandering
wino and great way to kick-off what might otherwise be just a dull weekend. So
your get your empty glass over
to Sonoma and
give those wines a swirl.
The weather is perfect right now and again it's a
great time to hang in Sonoma
County. While you're
there, I would recommend having lunch or dinner at the The
Girl and the Fig a fun
gastronomical experience not to be missed. So until next time sip long and prosper
Wine Enthusiast 4-Pc. Fusion Infinity Pinot Noir Wine Glass Set
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“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is
the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill
I'm fortunate to work at one of San Diego's very best and newestwine shops, located what I like to say is a stones throw away from the beach in the Bird Rock area of La Jolla, the shop is called Bird Rock Fine Wine.If you've not been there and you consider yourself akeen vino-sapien, than you owe it to yourself to stop by for visit.
I say fortunate becasue I've been able to give up writing about or have the need to accept samples for my blog. I get to taste so many different wines week to week, thatI honestly have enough material for hundreds of reviews. To be quite honest it's greatly liberating to say the least; I write about the wines that come into the shop [or the wines I buy] as I see fit, without a need to worry about agendas.
But as quickly as that was said, in the course of #WineStudio and/or #WineChat activities wine samples will be accepted via Protocol Wine Studio for the purpose of exploring the wines provided by guests appearing in either of thosevenues. I hope folks will continue to join us via twitter on either of those nights for our fun, fasinating and to me very informative conversations.
Now about the wine in today's spotlight from a producer I've long admired and one I think everyone in the wine-community should know about and support via wine purchases. They're a relatively new producer known as Bruliam Wines, where indeed as their motto indicates "Wine is Elemential" an idea tasted in each new release. You may also be surprised to find out that 100% of their profits goes to charity, if you'd like to know more than I'd encourage to find out more here.
Having spoken with many winemakers this year and last up and down the west coast, I've come away with one conclusion that 2011 is going to be tough vintage for many producers. If you recall here in San Diego, 2011 was the year we reallydid not have a summer, it was cloudy and gray all for nearly the entire year.As 2011 starts to makeits way to the shelves of your favorite wine store, means paying closer attention to the critics to find the gems is good advice.
Which is why I wanted to highlight this bottle for you, because this folks is one of the gems from 2011 thatshould score for your own cellar. The Gap’s Crown, a Sonoma Coast vineyard which also supplies Pinot Noir to top producers like Kosta Browne and others.
Infact winemaker Michael Browne[of Kosta Browne] stated thatthe fruit from this vineyard [Gap's Crown] siteis "the backbone" of theirSonoma Coast Pinot Noir. A vineyard easily located in the "Petaluma Gap"of Sonoma County; which in fact was reported tohavesold earlier this year foran aveage of100K an acre, an incredible threshold to have reached in so short of time.
So even in tough vintages like 2011, it's still entirely possible to make fantastic wines, but with an entirely different expression than you may be use to in the warmer years. A different expression is you have in this Bruliam 2011 Gap's Crown Pinot Noir, an elegant, but at the same time powerful expression of Pinot Noir.I'm giving this wine 93 points, it's an outstanding representation of the quality this vineyard has to offer.
Lovely floral aromas stream easily from the glass, this is a richly textured wine, beaming with bright red-berry fruit, a hint of tea leaves and well rounded tannins. It's a wine I'd lay down for bit, as you wittle away some the 09's you may have socked away already.
Kerith Overstreet [winemaker], did a masterful job in this effort and, it was great seeing her again at Bird Rock Fine Wine the other day. Presently there are two of her other wines on the shelves, one is amazing Rock Pile Zin, and from what I hear, that is the last of the lot to be found anywhere.
If you live in San Diego and you'd like to taste some of wines dicussed in this article, than you my friends are luck. They're having a Spring Release party, so if you're interested there's still time to register for the event.
The price of wine will depend how many cases of it's purchased and/or deals that may have been struck, but remember no matter the price you pay, 100% of the proceeds go to charity. Until next time folks remember sip long and prosper cheers!
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Burgundy makes you think of silly things, Bordeaux makes you talk of them and Champagne makes you do them. ~
When I purchased these wines the other day
[the one you see pictured above and the one just below] Ken, the store owner
asked me if I had an addictive personality. I hastily replied "no not
really, but why do you ask" he said "because once you put two feet inside
the door of Burgundy, it's hard to find your way back" a word to the wise, perhaps.
His question did give me some pause, but I
assured him that, "no-no I'm just an explorer on the vine-covered
trail" and that this excursion would be no different than any of many
others I've taken before. But his admonition got me thinking, are those possibly famous last
words [gulp] in light of having been awe-struck by both bottles in very
different ways. I'm already considering replenishing those two bottles.
The 2009 Les Longeroies seen above is the
third wine from Marsannay, whichI've experienced in just the last few weeks. This bottlewhile
not expensive, a mere $27 was no slouch in the delicious category. A wine
boasting of the rich, ripe fruit [but not flabby] many of wines of this vintage experienced, a
wine, that while very exuberant in style, it had a nice counter balance of
acidity driving the wine home. I scored this wine 90 points, it's highly
The color of the surprised me a bit,
thinking it would look lighter, but in the glass it looked like a ripe summer
plum. Mrs. Cuvee and I paired this beauty with a freshly baked Shepard's Pie,
our ticket to tasty town.
As you can see from the map above both
wines are from nearly both ends of the Burgundian spectrum Marsannay in the
north and Chassagne-Montrachet in the south. In the southern end of Burgundy is where you
[surprisingly to some] find the majority of the white-Burgundy coming from and
in the north is where most of the red-Burgundy is found. It does seem a bit
counter intuitive, but nonetheless that is the case.
As many of already know
Chassagne-Montrachet is in the Côte de Beaune and, is famous for its great
white-wines [Chardonnay]. The most famous of these is of course Montrachet,
known to many as the king of white wines, seeing these wines can fetch some
While 60% of the production is
white-wines, that leaves a good percentage red-wines [Pinot Noir] produced here
that cannot compete with their northern neighbors. But while they may not be
able to compete, these wines are no slouch, especially in great vintages like
2009 and 2010. Of course, that fact will greatly benefit the average vino-sapien looking for reasonably priced Burgundy.
To find a Chassagne-Montrachet rouge is pretty rare
in the first place and the price was pretty uncommon as well [under $25].
Seeing most of the white wines bearing this appellation name typically sell for
prices much more than what I paid for the bottle you see pictured below.
This [2010 Chassagne-Montrachet] wine was very
light in color, more like a light cranberry/strawberry. The nose jumped from
the glass right away, fresh summer strawberries, raspberry puree, rich-earth,
dried-florals and even a whiff of rhubarb. I didn't want to take my nose away
even to grab my first slurp, but I resisted, dove right in and wow everything I
experience in the nose exploded across my palate like a broad-side from a
pirate-ship of old.
This wine danced to the tune of sweet cherry-pie
and threw in some crushed stone just for good measure. I was completely taken
by this wines power and strength, but I was done in by its finesse. Wow, what a
thrill ride where the price of admission, has you saying like a six-year at
Disney-Land "can I do that again, can I huh, please". My score for
this wine is 92 points.
I didn't have to spend to much coin either, both
wines make for quite the amazing tasting adventure, one I would highly
recommend you taking soon yourself. Mrs. Cuvee was out of town, so yes I took
one for the team and finished the bottle. I paired this wine with baked-salmon,
a freshly chopped spinach salad and a mushroom risotto.
Until next time folks remember to slurp long and
Full Disclosure: Neither of the wines above was
given to me as a sample, both were paid for via my own funds.
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