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"Imperfection is beauty. Madness is genius and it is better to be
absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring." - Marilyn Monroe
Good morning everyone, I trust most of you're readyfor the up and coming holiday known to manyas Christmas; I wanted to take this opportunity to wish each of you and yours, avery Merriest of Christmas and a prosperous New Year ahead.
Funny I went all the way to Oregon to discover this little gem from Burgundy, but as I've come to find out, there are many wonderful things to be found in unexpected places.
If you're thinking about putting a toe in pool of Burgundian wines, may I suggest this bottle [pictured above] would be agood place to start. The price of admission is $40 to $50 depending on where you shop, but well worth it. I scored the wine 90 points and highly recommend you giving it a swirl.
At Joseph Drouhin you will find unique balance, one where tradition and modern techniques blend together and comes together to create wines which truly characterizesmodern winemaking.Whether it's theirvineyard management via their on site nursery, the100% hand harvesting, open fermenters, and the judicious use of 100% French Oak, one thing you easily take away from their wines is that sense of place, something so often missing in domestically produced juice.
For those of you looking to get your hands on wineswhich are Organically Certified, you'll be happy to know that starting with the 2009 vintage and moving forwardhas recentlybeen awarded "organic certification" [an expensive and laborious process]for all grapes grown within its vineyards.
As it would happen, the wine is this review spot-light is a 2009 and a fantastic representation of interestly different style of quality in regards to Pinot Noir than you may be use to, but stick with me and you will see this wine makes a great starting point for dipping your toe in the proverbial Burgundian pool [well at least I think so].
There's nothing fancy here, justhonest-to-goodness Pinot Pleasure. Is this wine going to set your hair on fire? Uh, most likely not, but what it will do is allure you with its suave sophistication and beckon you to more fully explore this region [if you have not done so already]. The perfect wine to open and enjoy with your holiday feast; whether it be duck or even a Christmas Goose [oh-my], this wine is a foodies friend.
By the way; this just may be a bit of bragging on their part, but does appear to be quite accurate, that the village of Morey is located between Gevrey-Chambertin and Chambolle-Musigny. Here comes the bragging part, "there are five Grand Crus and twelve Premier Crus in this relatively small appellation".
I'd recommend a bit of decanting before diving-in, but what you'll find on the nose is dried-cherries, raspberriesand sweet-leather. The palate shows great structure and weight, but like many of the 2009's it is very approachable, with easilyplucked low-hanging fruit, balance nicely with rich earth. The finish is long, lasting. This wine is in my estimation the"complete-package" onethat will have you wanting more, so be smart order more than just one. Until next time folks remember to sip long and prosper, cheers!
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“Never use jargon words like reconceptualize,
demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They’re hallmarks of a
pretentious ass.” – David Ogilvy
That's good advice and part of the reason why you'll never see me using words like that to describe the great wines I find, wines that give the consumer [vino-sapiens like me]a real bang for the buck like the one above.
Now about this fantastic wine from Mendoza, a wine which I really enjoyed so much more than the 2009 vintage. But that said, this 2010 which you will find in good abundance [but dilly-dally]at places like Costco here in San Diego, selling for just under $17 is a terrific value. I scored this wine 90 points, this is that Tuesday wine you've been looking for, so get after it.
It's a delightful blend of Malbec and and 40% Bonarda. Right now you may be thinking uh, what the bleep is Bonarda, one thing for sure it's not a grape found in the common every day vernacular of the garden-variety vino-sapien. It's an Italian grape, that found a home in Argentina. If you like to read more about it, just click here.
This wine has a lot to offer, but is best
uncorked the day before and left in the pantry overnight with the cork out [trust-me]. You
find that this wine has some chalk [picture a couple old-school erasers being
beaten together], it has some pretty hardy tannins and it does an earthy and
black licoricething, while at the same time slapping you along side the head with crates
of ripe blueberry and blackberry pie character, full bodied and a lively finish.
So you want to do some pairing huh, okay I can make a recommendation in that department as well. You could go for things like barbecue ribs, elk-burger and fries or if you've come home late from work like I did the other day, still toting half a sandwich you didn't finish at lunch, then folks youare in luck, because that [turkey/bacon half sandwich] pairing rocked [full disclosure the sandwich picturedabove is just a prop].I also grabbed some of my famous left over chili, just enough for a small bowl and healthy handful of salt and pepper chips. So as you can see from this description, this wine is an easy wine pairing champ, the sky is the limit nearly. Until next folks remember to sip long and prosper cheers!
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We must walk consciously only part way toward our
goal and then leap in the dark to our success. - Henry David Thoreau
Wayne and Nicolette took a leap of faithwhen they purchasedYoungberg Hill in 2003, overhauling the entire estate including vineyard management, winemaking, tasting room, and hospitality area.What they havediscovered iswonderful success with theirfantastic Wine Country Inn [Bed and Breakfast] and goregous wedding venue which is attached to areal working winery,which isproducing some mighty fine Pinot Noir, just a short drive outside of the town of McMinnville in Oregon.
As many of you know I spent the better part of a long weekend visiting with the great folks at Youngberg Hill and other wonderful producers who call the Oregon Wine Country home. Mrs. Cuvee and I were guests of Youngberg Hill and stayed in one the Inn's fantastic eight rooms. The views from the 2nd floor roomsare quite stunning [see picture below]. Each morning you awake with nearly a full panoramic view of the vineyards, the road leading up to the house and on a clear day you see for miles and miles. Be sure to say hi to their very friendly [out-door] cat Truffle.
In tasting a good many of
their Pinot Noir offerings, I encountered two very different styles, from two very distinctive terroirs. This comes from an estate vineyard, farmed organically [Salmon Safe Certified] and biodynamically, and legally in conversion tobiodynamic certification. On the wines hailing from the Natasha’s Block which consists of 6.6 estate acres with a southeast
facing; I found the nose brimming with notes of rich earth, oak,
cut-black tea and not fully ripe cherry. Finely integrated acidity makes way for tastes of dark cherry and plums, which are easily
enveloped in oak and savory herbs, pushing fruit to the background. The earthy
tannins are followed by a smooth, yet relaxing finish.
Regarding the wines form
block, it’s a completely different experience. I would dare to say that if you
have a California Pinot Noir palate, one which tends to favor wines with a broader,
more approachable mouth-feel, than the Jordan Block wines are for you. The Jordan
Block sits on 4 fog-kissed estate acres facing South East at a steeper slope than the
Natasha and is described as a more Burgundian in style.
I was all about the Jordan block, when I first sampled the 2008 Jordan, which
sells for $40, my first thoughts was, alright here we go, this is what I’m
talking about. Then the next wine really got my attention, it was the 2008
Jordan Block Barrel Select, which oddly is not on their website, but it sells
for $65.I scored this wine 93 points.
And let there be no doubt, this
wine is worth every penny, you could cellar for many years, but why would you
when it’s drinking ever so nicely right now. I scored two of these wines for
myself to take home. For those who are curious about the clones here you go; 60% Pommard and 40% Wadenswil on American Root
The 2008 Barrel
Select has the rich and charming fruit and a plethora of bright cherry and
cranberry [not tart] concentration; it was truly what I was expecting from this
site, but not from this vintage. You’ll find more red fruited character over
the darker fruits; the wine has a succulent texture and lovely finish. Honestly
what's not to like?
purchasing the wine the morning before my departure, from the assistant
wine-maker [Jess] and chef, he remarked about my apparent love of oak. Ha, I guess that fits, I love the
judicious use of oak; and firmly believe the abuse of oak by some, should not
lead to an automatic knee-jerk reaction of extremely limited oak interaction or
even toast levels. Honestly folks, deep down we all know it's about balance, too much of anything, tends not to be a good thing; whether it's in the the vineyard or the crush-pad, balance is everything.
experiences at the Inn,
wow is the operative word. This fantastic place is quiet and cozy, perfect for
those seeking to get away from it all. Once you arrive, you may find yourselfgreeted my
mouth-watering glasses of Pinot Noir, you arrive to a comfy, well appointed
room, with no TV. The shower warms up real fast, the Wi-Fi works amazingly well
and you just 15 minutes from McMinnville, which has many tasty spots to eat.
Whether you want a pub-like experience [McMenamins]or you want to dial it up a notch or two [Thistle]
there’s something for everyone.
When it comes
time for breakfast [9:00am], it’s just the right amount to get your day started
and their custom roast coffee will you happily and fully caffeinated. The Inn
you will find in located right in the thick of it all, makes a great jumping
off point or as I like to call it base of operations for scouring the
country-side for Pinot Noir to take back home.
By the way; if
you end up like I did [and it’s not hard to do] with two full cases of wine,
you can either have them shipped home $45 for basic ground or if you play it smart
and chose to fly Southwest, where you can check those cases for little extra out of
pocket. I purchased two case boxes in town [$24], but in truth they only hold nine
bottles. If you want it to fit 12, it has to be the standard Bordeaux bottle to
fit correctly and you will not find any Pinot Noir in that style of bottle.
If you’d like
to stay with them, the off-season is a great time to do so, in fact it's snowing there at the moment.In the off-season the winemakers have
much more time to speak with you, as well as the tasting room staff, as there
are few other folks up during the very rainy time of year. Okay folks, I know
it has been quite a while since my last post, but I hope you enjoyed today’s
article and will give the wines from Youngberg Hill a swirl for yourself, until
next time sip long and prosper cheers!
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All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on! ~ Henry Ellis
This the first review written entirely via my iPhone, using the Blogger app I just down-loaded. So we shall see how it goes. In the spotlight for my wine of interest this time is the Franciscan 2008 Magnificat.
This wine was a sample sent for the review process. It has a SRP of $50, itsells at most places for just under $30, but the rumor of this wine selling under $20 is misleading at best. I scored this wine 90 points and can recommend it to you highly. Suave and sophisticated are the keywords here.
A Bordeaux [aka Meritage] style blend consisting of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and finally a few drops of Petit Verdot and Malbec. A wine aged for 20 months in 2nd use French oak barrels. This wine has boatloads of finesse and flavor, a hour in the decanter is recommended for maximum enjoyment.
The nose is crazy inviting, it just lures you in like a big-mouth bass on a spinner. Notes of dried herbs, vanilla, ripe plum and licorice are just a preview of the coming attractions. On the palate this wine is not shy about toasted oak and espresso but there is plenty of vibrant acidity to keep it all on balance. Sweet plum and fig join the chorus, with a few wise cracks from other dark fruits. The tannins are well integrated and nearly seamless and the finish while a bit dry sails on and on.
This wine is drinking very nicely now and will continue to do so over the next few years. I found it to bea very polished wine, with layers to it, only to be uncovered by decanting. Until next time folks remember sip long and prosper cheers!
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Life is too short not to make the best and the most of everything that
comes your way everyday. -Sasha Azevedo
Life is also
too short too drink bad wine, a point to which even the garden-variety
vino-sapien would agree with. It's on this point, one of the reasons why I implore
everyone I know and every reader who stops by this blog to catch up with the
wines that make their way to my glass; to please stop going to the same well
over and over [explore] and just say 'no' to mass produced chemistry set wines,
commonly known as plonk.
Now that I've
got my opening rant out of the way, it's time to put a wine in the spotlight
that is a fantastic value, pound for pound, this Pinot Noir from the RRV is one
I'm highly recommending that you run out grab a few. This was not a sample but
a wine I procured recently from my local neighborhood Costco for just under
$14. If you'd like you can read more of the details about this tasty example of
what the RRV can offer in Pinot here.
It will need to be decanted, [one hour] it's a bit shy and reticent about showing its ample goods, but once it's has time to relax and get to know you, then look out. Folks, this wine is just sitting in these stores, barely moving, but in my opinion it's quite a bargain for the thirsty vino-sapien. So please put down that bottle ofLa CremaPN [$19]this time and step up to a real-wine which really says, "you cantaste where I am from" besides if you do you'll save a few bucks to boot.
Peeking back at the few notesI scribbled out afterpopping the
cork just a few nights ago, I found the texture and mouth-feel of this
wine quite impressive. It was rich and velvety and infused with typical Pinot
Noir fruit flavors coming through each and every long slurp, but restrained
finish told me this is no cocktail wine.
Once you pop the cork, nice
bright clear crimson-red core; a
fragrant bouquet slaps your nose with gently spicy berries and wet earth, these
aromas easily make their way over to your palate. I scored this wine88 solidpoints,
it pairs ever so nicely with manypoultry dishes, the sky is the limit. A wonderful Tuesday-night wine, you won't mind popping the cork and enjoying all evening. It will contiune to evolve and come alive, so until next time folks remember to sip long and prosper cheers!
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"The art of art, the
glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is
simplicity." - Walt Whitman
Uh-huh right, so now you've done it, you've becomea wine swirling, sniffing and slurping vino-sapien and you probably didn't even see it coming.I know for most folks who arenew to wine,youmay be surprised to find that you'll actually need some tools to get into those bottles. And because of their relative size and the time of the year, these items make a great stocking stuffer.
If you've only been a beer drinker in the past, gone are days of the simple key-chain adornment aka the bottle opener to get into your new favorite adult-beverage.Even most of your favorite top shelf spirits merely require a firm grip and a snap of the wrist to gain access, not so with wine.
Now you're faced withthereal dilemma of howto get that damn cork out of the bottle, without looking like the newbie.I mean after allyou'd just like toenjoy great bottle of wine, that may have spent some considerable time picking out, so now what do you do? Read on dear vino-sapien, read-on. BecauseI've put together an easy list of must-have items for wanna-be wino, that will have youpopping corkslike a sommelier on speed.
To get into your favorite bottle of wine you're going to need some not so serious hard-ware.Ofcourse you could just live on screw-cap closures and boxed-wines to get by.But let's be honest,if you really want to get serious about wine, then you'll have to invest in the right tools of the trade.
They don't have to be expensive,you could spend near a kings-ransom to acquire some of the basic tools. you'll see floating around the Internet on places like Amazon, Beverage Factoryand Wine-Enthusiast websites. But don't sweat it, with today's review on openers, I will try to shed some light onthe basic tools that will get the job done right, with little fuss or muss and of course at prices that fall into what I call the reasonable-range.
1. The Heavy Wing
Cork-Screw: This one is perhaps
my very favorite, as I've had the same one for years. These cork-screws are heavy-duty lean mean
bottle opening machines. All you have to do is place it on top of the bottle, give
the head a few twists, the arms come up, you push down and the bottle is open.
You can even use top of it for opening that occasional bottle of beer, chilling
in the fridge. This one is my personal favorite; it's nearly fool-proof.
Also great for busting through wine-bottles covered in waxy plastic-like substance instead of the traditional foil capsule. Those bottles do have a certain curb-appeal to them from a marketing stand-point, but in reality are just a pain.
Another wonderful feature is that it allows you bust right through the foil, if you don't want to use or don't have a foil-cutter. They do have one draw-back though, if the cork you're trying to extract happens to crack and break-off, you will be in a world of hurt [unless you have the next piece of equipment, the waiters-friend].
This is the one I use most often Farberware Bar And Wine Series Winged Corkscrewand it sells for $12, you can pay more, but won't get more. A word of caution though stay away from the plastic ones and keep your thumbs well away from the area where it sits on the bottle-top.
2. The Waiters-Friend: This is perhaps one the very best pieces of equipment you will find on the wine market today, it's so small and compact and some have a built-in expandable foil-cutter. Making it very easy to carry one with you at all times, something you will see on a regular basis if you dine-out enough. Or maybe you were given one by your favorite winery as a gift.
Like I mentioned above, these cork-screws are perfect for getting that broken cork out of the bottle, it works every-time I use it. The prices on these can range anywhere fromridiculous [$200] to reasonable [$8].Oh-boy doI have plenty of these hanging around the house myself, but my favorite one is called the"Boomerang"[$18] and has a unique feature that many others don't have which is the expandable four wheel "foilkut" which easily removes the top of capsule exposing the cork and removes the possibility of cutting your finger on the knife-like foil cutters onsimilar cork screws.
3. Foil Cutters: Okay these are pretty useless unless you happen to be one of those cork-dorks like me, who likes to keep the top of capsule like they are small pieces of art. I mean honestly I have foil cutter myself but if you have either of the corks screws I mentioned above you won't need this piece of equipment. Now if you happen to buy one of the"rabbit" lever style openers, then you'll will still needa good foil cutter.
Becausethe one that comes with the rabbit opener "sucks" at cutting foils. So if you really want one, that works great, I would recommend the one that I have which is called the "Screwpull"and sells for $10. It makes short simple work of any and all foils no matter how big a mouth that bottle-top may have and leaves the capsule top in pristine collector condition.
4. Lever-Style: Ah yes the lever style wine-opener, this one has become a huge favorite for many of the wine-swirling and slurping masses, which of course comein types of shapes, sizes, colorsand prices. I do of course own two of themmyselfand for awhile used it all the time, but after a while the worm or the auger as they are called became dull, making it difficult to pierce the cork all the way.
It's a great idea and works much better than the other two I mentioned above, however its weak-link is the the worm itself, is so thin and not very sharpit needs to be replacedtoo often. Making its negatives out-weigh the positives. They can be purchased in a variety of price ranges, from $23 to more than $123, folks if you really want one the find something in the middle range, as they are all about the same.
5. Cordless Wine-Opener: Last but not least, is the newest [relatively speaking] wiz-bang tool on the market today, the
. I know many folks enjoy these immensely and have
great success with them. But I'm not one of those folks; I don't have one and
frankly don't see the need to add it to my wine tool chest, it just seems
superfluous. I've used them before and seen other folks using them, they're
pretty easy and not something I'd recommend.
The price ranges on these can be a
reasonable $32 or a
silly $140, depending
upon how important you may want to look while removing a cork, but on the
reasonable side of the equation for $19
you can get one that works like a champ
. This product is especially recommended for anyone
that may lacks hand or wrist strength or folks suffering from PTSD [not to make light of this
real illness] in regards to accidents with other cork-screws mentioned above.
Possible Draw-Backs: Honestly folks, I'm not sure how often you have to
replace the worm or how long the rechargeable battery will last. But those are
both considerations for not getting this product in my opinion, unless hand strength
is an issue for you.
Those top two cork-screws are my everyday
favorites both are relatively inexpensive. Yet both are dependable, versatile
and ever so easy to use, that even a
cave-man like me can to do it. So like the commercial from
the now defunct Mervyns, where folks had their faces pressed against the glass,
chanting open, open, open you too can get those wine bottles opened with the
greatest of ease. So until next time folks remember, sip long and prosper
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“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it.
For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a
heart somewhere to receive it.” ~Ivan Panin
Pinot Noir is known to many, as a grape of great depth
and balance. For many producers especially in the new world, it’s known as the
heart-break grape. In Burgundy its ancestral home, it has the well renowned
[and may I say well-deserved] reputation for producing some of the very best
wines in world and has been doing so for longer than any of us have been alive.
For me, these wines do have great beauty, they speak truth in every sip, slurp
and even the eventual gulp and with each bottle I confirm my love for this
Just before harvest, weighing heavy upon the vine,
you’ll find clusters of Pinot Noir grapes, blue to violet and still some
sporting indigo colors and for me that builds the anticipation of the good
things to come down the road.
Furthering that excitement, seeing Bien Nacido
Vineyards on the label nine times out of ten, I’m getting the style of Pinot,
which I know will make me and Mrs. Cuvee very happy, which is the reason why I
purchased this wine, without a moment’s hesitation. I’ve never purchased a
bottle of wine from this producer before, but knowing this vineyards
reputation, I was confident that I was coming home with a winner.
Many vino-sapiens know this grape has a reputation for
breaking hearts and not just those producers, but also for the consumer who
hopes they can beat the odds and save a few coins by purchasing Pinot Noir’s
under the sacred $10 threshold, only to find out later the good ones under that
price point are the extreme exception and nowhere near the rule.
Now to that point the wine in today’s spotlight set me
back $24, not a king’s ransom by any stretch. But I know for many this price
point not going to be a Tuesday evening wine. I get that, but that said this
wine would normally sell for upwards of $40 to grab it from their tasting room
or website. In a restaurant forget about a wine like this, will sell for
upwards of $70 or more. So getting a wine of this caliber for the price point I
did, to me be is quite the bargain, one you should consider grabbing, if you
have the opportunity. It’s well worth the price of admission, a wine I scored
91 points, a bit less generous than my pals over at WE who have ad-space to
Wondering about how it taste? Right after popping the
cork, whoa an explosion of aromas pops me in the nose; juicy, young
cherry-pie-like fruit its main motif. After I get this wine in the glass wow a
deep cranberry colored red core. Once in the glass finely tuned smoky red and
dark berries give my nose another slap.
After I go in for the first slurp, a bit sappy and
gently sweet, offering broad raspberry and cherry-pie crust flavors, notes of
smoked meat, wet earth play quietly in the background, with just the right pop
of acidity to carry the abundant low hanging fruit.
You will find this supple; a nicely knit-together pinot
sporting supple well integrated tannin, which finishes with good clarity and
lift on the back-end. It would make an excellent wine for the upcoming holiday
activities, including Thanksgiving, as it has many generous properties which
lend its self to easy pairing options. Over the next few days, I will be reviewing
3 more outstanding Pinot Noir’s I’ve recently sampled, so stay tuned. Until
next folks sip long and prosper cheers!
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are for relationships, not wine." --- Sir Robert Scott Caywood
Well here we are, it's
almost time for the weekend, it's now just hours away. You can feel it, see it
and sense the fact that the boss-man has lost control and the possibilities are
endless for what you will do this weekend. If you're lucky enough [from a
weather related point-of-view] to live here in So-Cal then you know this
weekend is going to be superb [epic] for whatever out-door activity you decide
to embark upon.
With that in mind the
chances are very good, that if you're reading these words that you'll be
slurping down some juice this weekend, some looking for the serious and some
just looking for the fairly quaffable wine of the moment. But whatever it's you are looking for in
the wine world, I hope you enjoy it fully, but please don't do the same old
song and dance, explore something new and just say'NO' tomass produced juice.
The 2010 Emilana Novas
Pinot Noir is another wine [sample]I encountered during the Wines of Chile Blogger
tasting, which did not come dressed to impress initially. I confess I chilled
it a bit as requested, unsealed the screw cap and poured a 3 ounce pour about
an hour before the 'live' tasting commenced. I'm not sure if this wine just
didn't travel well or what the problem with it was, but it did NOT show well
that evening, although several other bloggers were going gah-gah over it. It
was dirty, murky and had some funky stewedaromas, which did not blow off that evening
and madeits dirty-shoed way to the wines overall flavor profile.
Now that said, I didn't
pour the wine down the drain; instead I re-capped it and tucked it back into my
cellar for a few days. Having just made an amazing whole roasted barbeque
chicken [great pairing partner] and then seeing the poor little bottle of
Emilana looking back at me, I decided to give this wine another go. I mean why
not, it's already open, what the heck and I believe in second chances.
So again I poured another
3 ounce pour in the glass you see in the picture above and wow, bang-bang this
wine came out of its corner like Rocky against Apollo Creed. I was hit with
boat-loads of baking spices, cranberry, ripe strawberry, rich wet-earth,
wrapped around polished well integrated tannins, making forsome niceQPR on a
Pinot Noir with a SRP of $19.
But the fact that this
wine took three days to get its act together, boy that is really disappointing.
Honestly folks, this wine did NOT show well that evening and I'm not
exaggerating one bit, even Mrs. Cuvee gave it a thumbs-down and she is no where near as snobby-grader as I can be at times.
Perhaps, I didn't have the best bottle, perhaps I'm the only one whose wine was
sick with bottle shock or is there another explanation, I confess to not
knowing the answer.
Even though this wine did
make a remarkable turn-around, I still can't give it a good recommendation, my
score on this wine is 84 points; there is far easier game to hunt than this
elusive Pinot Noir, which may ultimately disappoint the thirsty vino-sapien.
The reviews of the wines I liked from this tasting are coming up next, so please stay tuned and remember folks until next time sip long and prosper cheers!
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Good afternoon everyone, welcome to
November. Can you believe there’s less than sixty days until the end of the
year and just six more days until the election? I'm sure like you, that you're
looking forward to it being over.
Now I've read and also heard it said;
"the best way to be noticed and collect Internet hits is to express
outrage. The outrage business, it must be said, is a growth business, thriving
in the age of new media."
While there may be a place for “outrage”
in some areas of the blogosphere [mainly political blogs and other websites]
and on other social media platforms, namely Facebook and Twitter. As for me, I
like this blog to stay focused on things that matter; like exploring new wine
regions, uncorking countless bottles of wine and boldly seeking out new wines
that have a soul. But as many of you
have discovered that sometimes on the road to discovery you may run into a few
bumps in the road.
Having said that, let me throw another
quote at you, something to ponder and think about in the context of today's
review. "Flattery, by contrast, gets us all nowhere; it’s meaningless for the
flattered, and demeans the flatterers. If you have a mind, you should speak
it." - Andrew Jefford
So speaking my mind is something I plan to
do today, regarding the sample
I received for the Chilean Wine Blogger 'live' tasting from Chile. When I encounter new wines
where I simply don't get the style, I typically don't go too far out of my way
to throw it under-the-bus just for the sake of "outrage". Something
which some of my fellow bloggers may think I'm doing here today, regarding the
San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. But even the folks over here
tasting these wines with me, including Mrs. Cuvee without any coaching from me,
agreed this wine was just a bit over-the-top.
Most folks know, I'm kind of a fussy-pants
when it comes to this varietal, simply said for the most part I really don't
like it. Please don't tell anyone, but I like to keep a bottle inexpensive SB
around just to rinse out my stems and or my decanter before pouring in another
wine. It really is a great for grabbing any remnant lint from the freshly
cleaned glass. What I especially don't like is some producer’s tendency to
elevate this varietals aggressive-side and this often happens with New World producers.
Now you may like the style I'm about to
describe, but I promise I won't think any less of you, but I just may snicker a
bit. That said, what I mean my aggressive is that this style is
"all-up-in-your-business" from the moment you pop the cork, to the
first sniff, slurp and the eventual spew. There is just no delicate way to put
it, in my book the 1865 SB is everything that is wrong with new world Sauvignon
This wine [under screwcap] gave me a
sock-in-the-jaw, ouch! Ugh, I was begging
for mercy in just minutes after being hit by a broadside of pungent grassy
aromas and picked-to-early aromas like an upper-cut from a south-paw. Whoa,
green bell-pepper, grape-fruit, intense vegetal flavors, boat loads of acid and
a intense, yet odd can-of-asparagus thing going on from start to finish. I even
tried this wine with a couple different food pairings, but it was just too
It's not that the wine was not made incorrectly
or that it had any detectable flaws. This wine sell for a SRP of $19, I scored
it 84 points, not a recommended wine in my book. Until next time folks remember
to sip long and prosper cheers!
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interested in something which is built up from within, rather than just
extracted from without. - Ansel Adams
Some of you
may have guessed from my tweets [if you follow me there] that I have a new
place to hang my hat occasionally for work. That place is Bird
Rock Fine Wine in La Jolla; a
hearty stones throw the sun, surf and sand. It was there just yesterday, I had
an opportunity to meet the winemaker and his wifefrom Cascina Chicco, his
name Enrico Faccenda.
in northern Italy, Cascina
Chicco, is located on a idyllic hillside in Piedmont,
where you will find that they are one of the top producers in the region. It's
described as a true "family-run" operation, with many different
family members pitching-in to help.
didn't speak much English, what spoke to me most was the passion in his
wine-making, evident and eloquent in every sip, slurp and even the eventual big
gulp. Of course, I'm just kidding of course as I was spitting that afternoon,
but you get the idea [too bad big-gulps in this setting are not optional].
I had the
opportunity to taste through a nice swath of his portfolio and I have to say
that overall I was very impressed with the wines being poured yesterday. Even
the unusual late harvest wine, [called Arcass] whichI sampled yesterday,
produced from the Arneis grape [had me thinking of orange/apricot
marmalade] was fantastically engaging wine,sporting
obviousviscosity, length of flavors, with a nice pop of acid to carry the
abundant dried-fruit. If you'd like to read more about this wine and take an
indepth look at this style of dessert wine, here's a link to read more.
In Piedmont region, many vino-sapiens are
quite aware that while Barbera may play second fiddle to Nebbiolo, which is the
grape behind Barbaresco and Barolo. But that doesn’t meanlocals and even
the garden varitety cork-dorks in the know, haven’t embraced it as a red-wine
they can drink all-year-round with all sorts of food.
Nebbiolo and Barbera are grapes where
you'll find higher acidity and often sport a definite note of bing-cherry. But
they part ways whenit comes timeto get some grape-skin in the game.
You'll find many [not all] Nebbiolo based wines can have anintense tannin
structure, but little color, from its skins.While on the other hand,
Barbera can be a deep, dark ruby color,withmedium to
Because Barbera is inherently low in
tannins, the use of barriques has beenintroduced toimpart some
much-needed wood tannin into the wine. It’s a fairly new approach [in the context of Italian wine-making history] to enhance
this wine’s structure, complexity andalso a way to softenor take
the burr off the saddle of Barbera’s tart acidity. So of course the operative
phrase, when it comes to producing outstanding Barbera is the "judicious
use of oak" simply stated too much oak, is nothing but a joke.
While it is
generally agreed that the bestproducing area for Barbera wines is that of
the wine in today's review spotlight comes from the D'Alba region where you'll
find many tasty Barolo and Barbaresco wines. But believe this wine is no
slouch, when it comes to flavor, length and complexity.
vintages [2003 was definitely one of them] with age, tend to sport a garnet
core, but this winewasstill leaning toward the ruby side of the
equation.The nose right away gave away the plot-line to the upcoming
show; velvety, harmonious quality of considerable elegance in the dark-fruit to
Soon as I got this wine from the glass
into my mouth, boom, what hit my palate was a very pleasant, easy to drink
wine, which oozed elegance and power. A wine I foundharmonious and tasty
at the same time. The finish sails on and on, while it shouts-out, I'm achef’s dream,
because it displays such exceptional versatility, when it comes to food
pairing. It’s a wine that would make a nice addition to any restaurants
wine-list. I scored this wine 92 points; it sells for about $35 most places,
well worth the price of admission, Barbera at its best! Until next time folks
sip long and prosper cheers!
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“Regardless of where in Italy it comes
from, good Italian red wine speaks directly to the soul, and the gut, of place
and people and food and love. And that’s just the beginning; great wines
embrace the head as well.” ~ Eric Asimov
Many of us already know or have already
experienced to some degree or the other that Italy is home to thousands of
varietals, so many in fact, that it’s
easy to lose count. It’s with that thought in mind that I bring to you
today a tasting, I experienced not long ago that will take you not just outside
the box, but far beyond. To the point you may just need a GPS device to find your way back home.
Yes, further than the reaches of the well known areas
like Tuscany, boasting of its Sangiovese and Piedmont in the north flaunting its Nebbiolo, I’m going
to take you on a mini-tasting adventure where volcanic soils dominate the
palate profile. This tasting adventure, took my taste-buds on ride through two very interesting producers vineyards in southern Italy. Ciro Biondi from Mount Etna in Sicily and the other is Cecilia Naldoni from the Vulture appellation in the region known as Basilicata.
Although so-called scientists say there is no verifiable measure to identify what we vino-sapiens refer to as terroir. But you can definitely [easily] smell and taste the tell-tale signs of volcanic soils influence on the wine in your glass and I think most people can. This is a generalization, but in my experience, most of white-wines from these regions have notes of struck-flint and in the red wines, you often times think you're standing over a campfire roasting marshmallows.
So with no further ado, you have my tasting notes below on the wines I experienced from the tasting. Now did I like every wine, well yes and no. Each wine was unique, nuanced and some may have fared far better with the presence of the right pairing-partner.
2009 Lacryma Christi Del Vesuvio: A blend of two white wine grapes, featuring 80% Coda di Volpe and 20% Falanghina. A very light hay color in the glass, much like a light colored Sauvignon Blanc. The vines are grown in a grey volcanic soil which closely resembles, 'grapenuts' cereal. The nose was very flinty, abundant wet-stone and a lemon peel aroma in the background. After the first slurp, still more lemon peel and wet-stone, a distant rich citrus and spice on the finish, it left me thinking this wine would pair nicely with schnitzel. 87 points.
2011 La Sibilla, Falanghina, Campi Flegrei: Again the glass, a light hay colored core. The nose giving off citrus rinds, honey and wet-stone. After the initial splash down, honey dew melon rinds, wet sand and a drop of honey drizzled over citrus rinds. A very light bodied wine, begging for a food pairing of some kind. Perhaps a some wild caught herring in a lemon-butter, cracked-pepper sauce, hanging out with a bit of spinach rotini. This is an "organic" wine. 85 points.
Contrade di Taurasi 2010 Grecomusc' Bianco: Now this was a very interesting wine, only 300 cases of it in all the world, a wine produced from the nearly extinct grape called Roviello. This was my very first time giving this wine a swirl and I didn't really know what to expect. The color was a bit darker, than the two above, like wet-hay. Described as a drink now and drink often wine not suited for aging purposes. The nose was a bit elusive, a bit like smelling envelope that had just arrived in the mail, where it was obvious the carrier had just finished off a gala-apple before hand. A few slurps in, lots of apple peels, lemon flower, more honey-dew rinds, of course wet stone and adequately plumbed with acidity. 87 points.
Villa Dora, Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso: The Gelsonero a delightful blend of 80% Piedirosso and just 20% Aglianico. A wine made in an 'organic' farming style, but not certified. In the glass, a dark and enticing dark ruby color. The nose is crazy inviting, a hot strawberry compote or cherry filling which had drop on a hot stove, interesting florals and match stick. A few slurps later, a rich but not overwhelming flavors flow like a fountain, cherry, plum, raspberry and dark plum-skins. Just hints of pepper and clove drop by for a few moments, soft tannins join the party as well. This wine would definitely make a tasty accompaniment to meat-based pasta dishes, as on it's not too-fab on its own. 89 points.
Contrade di Taurasi Aglianico 2005: This is a 'declassified' Aglianico from Taurasi. It sports most of the distinctive flavors of the area, the blackberry and dark plum fruit balanced with fresh acidity, but missing the campfire aromas I normally associate with these wines. It did a savory character of dark fruits but a bit more distant then I like. Though it had a style I associate with volcanic soils, it was more far lean in overall flavor than most Taurasi wines. 87 points.
Aglianico del Vulture 'Damaschito' 2007: This wine is a brilliant representation of Aglianico and is certified organic. In the glass you can see from the bright nearly dark plum-skinned core, this was had additional skin contact. The nose was rich and inviting, herbal, campfire, ripe blackberries and plum. This is a beautifully "textured" wine that had me at the first sip. Nothing but well integrated tannins, framed over a medium body delivers mouth coating flavors of black cherry and cracked black pepper and the finish seems to go on and on. As you can tell from my excitement, this wine was my favorite of the day. 91 points.
But as I've said before, when asked about this tasting these wines, I found them all to be a bit esoteric, but don't take my word for it, check them out for yourself. These wines were featured as part of a tasting by Oliver McCrum Wines an importer of fine Italian wines. Until next time folks sip long and prosper cheers!
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wines…are known to enjoy mingling with oxygen after having been corked up! But newly
freed vino thus unfurls its charms by being poured from one container to the
next for an invigorating rendezvous with aeration." ~ Andrea Immer Robinson
Many thirsty vino-sapiens
out thereon the purple paved highways and byways ask the age-old question do
you really need to ‘decant’? For many it’s an easy answer and still for others
if they must, then they would prefer a short-cut, after all we live in an “App”
oriented culture today, which is just the fancy way to say it's a shortcut. Face it we live in a culture today that wants fast cars and fast foods, one that wants everything in a microwaved minute. Soit should not be anysurprise that alternatives to traditional 'decanting' have come on the scene.
First let’s examine the
basic well known purpose or reason behind the supposed need to decant wines. The
simple reasoning behind pouring wine from the bottle into a larger vessel is
done for the purpose of allowing the wine to “breathe”.
But what does that mean; it’s
a way to bring out the wines rich aromas and hopefully mellowing tannins, to
hopefully create a smoother finish and a better experience. This is said to be accomplished,
the wine to have more room to interact with oxygen, far more than just by
uncorking the bottle.
Now the claim by Vinturi the
[short-cut] wine aerator, is that it supposedly achieves the ideal mix
of wine and oxygen with each pour, no fuss and no muss. Just pour the red wine ofyour choicethrough the
device from the bottle into your hopefully clean and lint free stem and you're ready to go.
Vinturi does offer separate
models for red and one for white wine and now even one for spirits oh-my. Claiming it’s for the purposes of optimal
aeration for every sip, slurp and maybe even the eventual gulp. While testing
this product over the last 60 days on many different bottles of red-wine I
really didn’t see a measured result that would make me think ‘wow’ this is the
product I’ve been waiting for, my days of decanting are over, woo-hoo.
But on the other hand I
did see a small, but appreciable difference between the wine that had been through the
Vinturi and wine that had not gonethrough it at all, so there is something to it. Even Mrs. Cuvee gave it her “good” rating. Speaking
of good, it’s well to remember, when holding the Vinturi, try not to put your
fingers over the holes, otherwise it just defeats the purpose. Second, don’t
let it fall into your stem or you’ll be picking up a lot of glass later.
While I won’t be tossing
my decanter aside anytime soon, I will still be using the Vinturi for some of
the simpler reds which I think could still benefit from a bit of “instant
aeration”. But that said, I think big red wines likegrand, aged Barolo for example, may need to be opened the night before and poured into a traditional decanter. The reason being; so that the wine can be decanted several hours before it's even close to being ready or risk a wine that's just too tight to want to come out and meet you.
Other places and or moments
where I think this product [I'm sure there are more] would come-in very handy would be on picnics,
backpacking and even those impromptu entertaining moments which many of us call
What comes in each
package, the Vinturi Aerator I received as a sample comes with a convenient
stand to store in between uses [but don’t forget to clean the well out often].
It also comes with a screen to grab any sediment which may attempt to make its
way to your glass, a good thing unless you like crunchy wines.
This product cleans up
easy and is easily transported. They also offer it in a smaller size for the
savvy vino-sapiens [ladies] who’d like to keep one in their purse. The prices for
this product can be widely different; I’ve seen it for as much as $60 all the
way down to $30. If you can find one in the lower price range, I’d recommend
grabbing one for the arsenal of otherwine gadgets you may already have. Until next time folks remember to
sip long and prosper cheers!
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"The nature of a wine production is first influenced by the ground, then the skies, then by mankind." ~ Louis Bouillot
Ray's wines like the 2009 Maison Ilan Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru, sell for $175.00. It has been said about his efforts there in 'The Pour'; "The wines are elegant, fresh, structured and graceful — astoundingly so, given they were made by a novice".
If you liked the video and want to read more about his story, here's a write-up I found in the NY Times, An American Hears the Call of Burgundy. I hope you enjoyed this video and Ray's story as much as I did, until next folks remember sip long and prosper, cheers!
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"Learn how to cook -- try new recipes, learn
from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun."- Julia Child
Here it’s Thursday the launching point for
whether or not you’ll have a successful weekend or perhaps not so much. I mean
on Thursday’s you can see the weekend from where you’re seated, standing,
gyrating or what ever it’s you do while at work. The point is; it’s nearly here and it’s time
to figure-out and or firm up those plans that you may or may not have.
Seeing it’s nearly the weekend, you don’t want to
have to fuss too much about tonight’s dinner plans; you're most likely hoping for
something quick and easy, but what? Well I have something [an idea really] that
will make you look like a freaking super-star chef, something that could even
make the wild-eyed Chef Ramsey slow down his fist-pumping and wagging tongue
for just moment possibly.
Okay, maybe not. But I would like to think so for
a moment, so don’t go getting all ‘judgey’ on me, by being a buzz-kill. Just
take this ride with me a moment and you’ll see that even the most slack-jawed
vino-sapien in the audience can rock thisrecipe with class and style. Okay, so
here’s the very simple Thursday night recipe, it’s Chicken Piccata. It’s a
dish which will pair marvelously with the 2010 Treana White Central Coast
Rhone Blend, asample I [inadvertently] received from my new friends at Jarvis Communications and Hope Family Wines.
Now if you don’t happen to have access to
this wine and you happen to have some Sauvignon Blanc lying around, you may
want to go in that direction for this pairing, but I wouldn’t go with anything
too grassy, I think a Sancerre would get the job done nicely.
And yes for crying out-loud even Mrs. Cuvee gave
this pairing her highest recommendation, saying it was “good”.Which if you don’t know her, that is indeed
high praise. So now you have just grab afew things to do in order to be ready
to make this wonderfully easy and tasty dish. Either you know you have the
needed items at home and ready to go or you may have topick-up a few things on
the way home, either way this is still easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
So here again isthe recipe; the one which I followed
and since I almost always have these items on hand, there was no need to rush
here and there. I just added abit of prep work the night before and bingo I was ready
to make an easily executed Thursday night meal. Personally, I went a bit lighter
on the capers than the recipe calls for, but that is just my personal
preference. And oh on the sauce, the recipe seems to skip over the point about
heating it until most of wine is evaporated and feel free to plate with the fettuccine pasta of your choice.
Now about the wine, it’s a blend of two Rhone varietals, half Marsanne and the other half
Viognier which was partially barrel, fermented. Now with just half of
the blend being Viognier, no doubt accounting for much of this wines dramatic exotic
tropical fruit aromas and flavors, which bounce like a quarter on freshly made army-cots.
There’s a definite lemon blossom thing going on, front to back, with just a drop of honey.
On the palate you’ll find this wine full bodied and round in the
mouth without being at all flabby, with a crisp, clean, lingering finish. A
wine made to easily pair with food, a wine that is a team player. I scored this
wine an easy 90 points and can highly recommend giving it a swirl. It has a $21
SRP but the savvy shopper can find this wine price below $18. Until next time
folks remember sip long and prosper cheers!
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