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Dave Matthews Dreaming Tree Wines

Date: Thu, Jul 11, 2013 Wine Business

"You might know Dave Mathews from his day-job as a professional musician, but his passion for wine making stretches back nearly as far as his love for music. With a winery in Virginia under his belt, Dave’s no amateur, but when he chose to lay down roots for roots in the California wine country, he knew he couldn’t go it alone.
Veteran winemaker Steve Reeder has called Sonoma home for over two decades and among those in the know, he’s a bit of a legend in his own right. He’s got an artist’s soul and he lives, eats and breathes the vineyards where he made his reputation. (having made wine for Kendall-Jackson, Chateau St. Jean and Simi Vineyards.) Steve Reeder on wine: "I make wines for people to drink. I don't make wines for people to put in their cellar."
When you get two people together who share the same passion, interesting things are bound to happen. Whether it’s finding the right notes and rhythms in a piece of music, or the right tones and flavors in a great bottle of wine. Steve and Dave know how to create something special that not only entertains, but really hits the spot. Like the saying goes - “Great minds drink alike”.
At Dreaming Tree, they believe the best vintage is pretty much right now and the best pairing is your favorite people. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with collecting wine, but isn’t it more fun to drink instead?"
The above is taken from the Dreaming Tree web site. I have often mentioned on this blog that I do not cellar wine and that I buy wines that are ready to drink now and loved this site when I first logged on and read the above. So, on my next trek to our local wine shops, I did not hesitate to pick up two Dreaming Tree wines available at one of my local stores.
The first one opened was the Dreaming Tree Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast 2010 ($14). Whoa, a celebrity owned and endorsed wine for only $14. Been fooled before, but let's give this a go. Dreaming Tree Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot 5% Cabernet Franc and a few other gems aged 18 months in oak. With a focus on minimal environmental impact, the grapes are sourced from sustainably farmed vineyards using no pesticides. The label is made from recycled paper, the bottles are lightweight (1/4 pound less than standard) and the corks come from sustainably grown trees. Starting to like this winery already.
Aromas were exceedingly delightful. Black cherry, blackberry with a little smoke, burnt oak and hints of licorice. On the palate, something was amiss. Some fruit, easy soft mouthfeel, but seemed very light for a CA Cab Sauv. I was, at first, a bit disappointed after having all these nice aromas, but did enjoy the wine with a plate of mixed hard cheeses. This wine will also do well with white meats like chicken and pork and maybe a cheese pizza or summer salad. For the average wine consumer, this wine will not disappoint and at $14, I would Recommend.

Second wine opened was the Dreaming Tree Crush Red Wine North Coast 2010 ($14).
Big night on the patio, so I needed a versatile wine to please the ladies and this one did the job. On the grill, we did some salmon with cajun seasoning, BBQ chicken and some Gianelli mild turkey sausage served with a tomato and cucumber salad, fresh peas and salt potatoes. Normally, a white wine dinner, but this night it was a red blend wine and Dave Mathews music on the Bose.
Crush is a blend of Merlot 78%, Syrah 13%, Zinfandel 6% with a little Petite Sirah, Marsanne and Cabernet Sauvignon thrown in. Color was a nice ruby red with aromas of cherry, raspberry, with hints of leather, smoke and vanilla. In the mouth this wine excelled. Very smooth with light tannins, some acidity, dark fruit and some sweet ripe plum. Finish was medium length, but awesome with lots of fruit and just the right touch of spice and pepper. This may be the perfect summer red for those who shy away from the summer white and rosé wines. The light to medium body paired well with both the grilled salmon and the BBQ chicken. Excellent QPR and Highly Recommended.

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Eniseli Wines Baraka Kakheti 2007

Date: Tue, Jul 9, 2013 Wine Business

Finally emptied my fridge of all my white wines in anticipation of the Finger Lakes Wine Festival this weekend. There I will stock up on many of my favorite white wines and Rosé wines for the remaining summer months.
Tonight I grilled up some ka-bobs and opened a Republic of Georgia red wine that had been sitting in the fridge for close to seven months. The wine was 100% Saperavi, a grape that a few Finger Lakes wineries are doing a magnificent job with, but Georgia is the homeland of this dark grape. I purchased this bottle at the PLCB store in the Berkshire mall in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. I like visiting that store because of the quality of selections and the knowledge of the staff, especially in the wine section. Different wines are always suggested based on my wine preferences and I have not been let down yet. Whether these stores remain public or private is now in their State Assembly, but I would hate to see changes in the personnel at this store.
The wine: Eniseli Wines Baraka Kakheti 2007 ($12)
Eniseli Wines is relatively new on the market. Established in 2007, they own 8 hectares of old vine Saperavi along with 6 hectares of new vines near the village of Enseli in the Kakheti region of Georgia. The company also owns 22 hectares of Saperavi on the slopes in Segaani in the Gurjaani district of Kakheti.
Baraka means abundance in Georgian. The wine is made from the Saperavi grapes hand-picked in the village of Eniseli, Kakehti region of Georgia.
Aromas were a little funky at first. I got lots of prune with small hints of chocolate. After a short time there appeared some blackberry and elderberry with hints of currant and some black cherry. In the mouth, the wine was very dry. Some fruit, nice acidity, but a bit bitter or tart with robust tannins. Finish was short to medium and very dry with some dark fruit. Should have kept this one for a few years, but I have a difficult time doing that. The wine paired OK with the chicken and was excellent with dark chocolate wafers later that night. The price is amazingly low at $12 and the wine should age nicely and that is why I will Highly Recommend.

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Galen Glen Stone Cellar Riesling 2012

Date: Fri, Jul 5, 2013 Wine Business

Patio at Galen Glen
A little background. I was born and raised in the coal regions of Pennsylvania. More specific I am a Skook (from Schuylkill County) raised in a town called Tamaqua. In 1970, at 22 yrs of age, I moved to the Washington DC area, where I met my wife. After three years of government service we moved to Central New York on the fringe of the Finger Lakes. Wine, at that time, was just a beverage we both enjoyed with dinner, nothing more-nothing less. We were the average wine consumer. Finger Lakes wines did not appeal to me and I really am unsure if any wines were being produced in Pennsylvania. It has been only in the past five years that I began to discover wines outside of Italy, which was pretty much all we drank. Starting a blog had a lot to do with that renaissance. Even from that beginning, I wanted to find some wines from Pennsylvania that I could enjoy as much as I do my Italian wines and now my Finger Lakes wines and many others from all over the world. To be truthful, the search for even a drinkable PA wine was exhausting. A few years before the search began, we did find a few nice wines when we visited the Chaddsford Winery, near Philadelphia, but even they could not compete with what I was accustomed to drinking. I guess we should visit them again in the near future. Taste does change.
In late 2009, my daughter, brought me home a white blend from Adams County (Gettysburg) PA that was enjoyable enough to post a review. You can read that review here.., but the search continued without success. Until Now!!!
On a recent visit to my hometown to spend time with family, I visited a winery only 25 minutes from Tamaqua. It didn't just show up, the winery has been here since 1993 and finding an article that said, this PA Riesling was a double gold medal winner in California, drew my attention. After all, I love a good Riesling. The winery: Galen Glen Winery, Andreas Pa.
The drive to the winery was fantastic. Although, pretty far off the main route, the drive was through some of the most scenic farm land in this region. The building at Galen Glen was small, but the grape vines surrounding the area were quite picturesque. The tasting room was nicely laid out with a relatively small tasting bar. OK, this winery is in the middle of nowhere and the overall size is adequate.
Highlight of the visit: Harry.

There were only a few at that tasting bar, although I did see a group of about 15 taking a tour of the vineyards and Harry was the only server pouring wine at the time and when you get Harry talking wine, please, shut up and listen. Want to talk about PA wines, talk to Harry. Want to talk about wines outside PA and how they compare, talk to Harry. Thank you Harry, you made the trip to Galen Glen enjoyable and informative.
Second Highlight: The White Wines (and a pretty nice Rosé)
For July 4th, I uncorked the Double Gold Medal winning Galen Glen Riesling 2012 ($14).
The Double Gold was not won at the local Lehighton block party, but at the Riverside CA International Wine Competition and Silver Medal at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. I am more impressed with the Silver Medal. Duh!
Aromas of honeysuckle, orange and wet stone and a bit of grapefruit were tantalizing. In the mouth a little added peach and citrus. Finish was long, dry and lemony refreshing. Move over Finger Lakes, this dry Riesling is fantastic, delightful and the best Pennsylvania wine I have tasted.
A return trip to Galen Glen will be made in later this month. Maybe, looking to taste some more Pennsylvania white wines, but as of now, the Galen Glen Stone Cellar Riesling is Very Highly Recommended.

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Happy Birthday USA

Date: Thu, Jul 4, 2013 Wine Business

Today is the 237th Birthday of the USA: Happy Birthday

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Mazzoni Tuscan White Wines

Date: Mon, Jul 1, 2013 Wine Business

I think summer may have arrived. A little late, but nonetheless, it has arrived. That means I can start pouring my summer white wines. I can think of no better way to begin than two white wines from Italy, Mazzoni Bianco di Toscana and Mazzoni Pinot Grigio.

Disclaimer: Samples submitted for review

Two of the world's greatest wine-making families are behind the wines from MAZZONI - wines that offer true Italian style for great value. MAZZONI represents a historic collaboration between the Franceschi family from Tuscany and Terlato family from Napa. Blending Italy's old world hand-crafted approach with California's innovative wine-making technology results in some truly elegant and still affordable wines. Passion for quality and respect for tradition along with a bit of Italian flair are the guiding principles to create superior wines for you to enjoy today and tomorrow.

First one opened was the Mazzoni Bianco di Toscana 2011 (SRP $16), a blend of 75% Vermentino and 25% Chardonnay served with pan fried scallops and shrimp.
Aromas were all pear with some hints of citrus and a bit of green apple. Did not get much on the palate. There was some pear, very light grapefruit, but otherwise very dull. Finish was OK at best, short to medium with some mineral notes. I did enjoy sipping with some roasted veggies and a few left over shrimp. I also think this wine will pair nicely with white cream sauces and pasta. I would love to try this wine again with a dish I had a few weeks ago of Chesapeake Crab meat in an Alfredo sauce over angel hair pasta. Recommended (barely)

Well, Sunday I had big plans for grilling up a Salmon steak with some shrimp ka-bob and fresh from the garden asparagus and serving it with Mazzoni Pinot Grigio 2011 (SRP $16). The girls went out shopping for dinner and brought home "hot dogs." Not just any hot dogs, but just any hot dogs. Added to this delicacy was served Shirley's homemade potato salad and her pickled red beet eggs and my Pinot Grigio.
Pinot Grigio was my go to white wine for a long time and it is still among my favorites, and my favorites happen to be from Italy. With the exception of one or two that I found outside of the region of Trentino-Alto Adige I believe the best Pinot Grigio in the world is produced in Northern Italy. So, after having a so-so Tuscan Bianco, I was a little apprehensive opening a Pinot from Tuscany. That ended with the aromas.
Right out of the bottle I got lots of tropical aromas like guava and kiwi with honeysuckle and orange zest. In the mouth there was more tropical fruit with some honey and citrus, nice acidity and some slate. The finish was long, zesty and refreshing and saved the day. OK, Corona, Budweiser or Coors is better with hot dogs, but load that dog up with lots of spicey mustard and onions and a nice white wine works. The Mazzoni Pinot Grigio is a nice white wine. Very Highly Recommended.

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Marchesi de' Frescobaldi Tenuta Frescobaldi Di Castiglioni Toscana 2010

Date: Fri, Jun 28, 2013 Wine Business

Summer finally arrives with 90°F temperatures and Shirley decides to order some pizza and wings for dinner. That kind of worked out alright, because I was very low on my summer white wines and it gave me a chance to open a Super Tuscan red that I recently purchased from one of our favorite local wine shops.The wine is a Marchesi de' Frescobaldi Tenuta Frescobaldi Di Castiglioni 2010 ($20).

Frescobaldi is a Florentine family with thirty generations dedicated to the production of great Tuscan wines in five estates in Tuscany, and a quality distribution network worldwide.
The family’s start in wine production is documented at the beginning of the year 1300 at the historic estate of Tenuta di Castiglioni in Val di Pesa, southwest of Florence. From the beginning, the family has demanded that their wines be of quality and that they reflect the uniqueness of their terroirs, and by the beginning of the 1400s great Renaissance artists such as Donatello and Michelozzo Michelozzi had become faithful clients. A century later the Frescobaldi wines were served at the tables of the Papal Court and the English Court of Henry the Eighth.

The Tenuta Frescobaldi is blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Sangiovese. The color is a deep ruby red and very bright. On the nose I got very pleasant aromas of plum, cherry, blackberry with a little cinnamon and coffee. A nice smooth palate with all the fruit, hints of nuts, spices and black pepper filled the mouth. The dark fruits maintained their presence all the way through the long, dry finish with a little bit of added pepper. A beautiful wine, that was a little too intense with the pizza, but will pair well with grilled steak or roast pork. The wine was also excellent in the later evening with bites of extra sharp Cheddar and Dubliner cheeses. An excellent Super Tuscan. Very Highly Recommended

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Finger Lakes Wine Festival 2013

Date: Thu, Jun 20, 2013 Wine Business

Yes, it's that time of the year again. Time to travel down to Watkins Glen and take another ride around the race track, enjoy some good food, learn more about the Finger Lakes, taste some awful good Finger Lakes wine while the wife shops at the vendor's booths and bring home a fridge full of wine. It's The Annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival at Watkins Glen, July 12 - 14.
The Finger Lakes Wine Festival, presented by Yancey’s Fancy New York Artisan Cheese, is the largest showcase of New York State wines and is held in July at world-renowned Watkins Glen International. Enjoy one-stop sipping and shopping from more than 90 wineries, pouring over 600 wines, andeven a beer garden!The Festival also features a variety of arts and crafts vendors, jewelers, gourmet foods, live music and pace car rides around the historic racetrack. Here are a few highlights of Wine Festival events:

The wine fest has partnered with regional chefs, The New York Wine & Culinary Center, Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty and Cargill, Inc. to bring you a hands-on, deliciousandfree cooking classes and demonstrations.Information and sign ups forthe indoor classesat the reception desk inside the festival Culinary Center.
The outdoor demonstrations are designed to enhance tourism and support the economic well being of area farms, food producers, wineries, businesses and communities, Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty is known for pairing fresh, seasonal and locally grown ingredients with excellent wines to offer an extraordinary culinary experience.

No festival is complete without live, quality entertainment and at the Finger Lakes Wine Festival there is no shortage of talented individuals and groups. With over 25 bands booked in the four major courtyards, roaming a-capellasingersand much more...you can't help but enjoy the atmosphere we've created.Live music is available all day in the Cabernet Courtyard, Sparkling Couryard and The Park. Styles, like the festival, are eclectic so you'll find upbeat blues and jazz to singer song writer acoustic shows...you'll hear covers, you'll hear originals...you may even find that music comes to you!

Turn out on Friday in your best toga as Bacchus blesses the festival and you may be crowned King & Queen!
With Yancey's Fancy on hand with samples.
- Wine available from several festival wineries
- Live music
- Fireworks
It's a great way to start the weekend.
Sponsored by Yancey's Fancy, New York's Artisan Cheese.

Get an early start on the day with a hearty breakfast inside theGlen Clubat thealways popular Great Western Breakfast.
- Served at 9:00am with a very special menu prepared by our Chefs
- Live music
- Coffee, tea and juice
(Mimosas on Saturday and champagne voucher Sunday)
- Omelet station
- Breakfast buffet
- Tax and gratuity included
*Available Saturdayor Sunday
Seating is limitedand partiesare seatedtogether -- $30 reservations required.

Seethe world-famous road course from the same vantage point as professional NASCAR drivers! Take a ride in an official Watkins Glen International vehicle and hold on tight!!
$10 passes are available onsite at Pit Road entrance in the Cabernet Courtyard. First come, first served.

One Day Taster pass: Advance $30/Pre-Event $35/Gate $40
Saturday OR Sunday admission.
Two Day Tasters pass: Advance $40/Pre-Event $45/Gate $50
Saturday AND Sunday admission
Designated Driver pass: Advance $15/Pre-Event $15/Gate $15
Good for Saturday OR Sunday
Minors: Advance $15/Pre-Event $15/Gate $15
Under 21. One Day pass
Children: Ages 5 and Under FREE
*No strollers are allowed in tasting areas.*
All guests should be prepared with Photo ID showing proof of age.

Buy Tickets

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Allegrini Estates Wines

Date: Tue, Jun 18, 2013 Wine Business

I recently realized that for someone who grew up on Italian wines, I have seemed to cast them aside over the past five years. Until I started blogging, I think I believed that wines were only made in Italy. Now I know better. That may be the single most important thing I learned because of my blog. This week, I decided to get back in touch with the fantastic wines I have always loved. So, for the rest of June I'll be drinking only the wines of Italy.

I am starting with a region of Italy that I have little knowledge of. I have tasted only a few of the wines from the Veneto wine region. Veneto is a wine region in north-eastern Italy, one of a group of three highly productive Italian regions known collectively as the Venezie (after the ancient Venetian Republic) and the biggest DOC producer of the three. Although the Venezie collectively produce more red wine than white, the Veneto region produces more whites under DOC and is home to the famous Soave wines. For now though, I am tasting their fabulous red wines.

The first wines of Veneto that I opened were produced by the Allegrini Estate. Based in northeastern Italy, the Allegrini Estate is steeped in the culture and heritage of Fumane di Valpolicella, a small village just north of Verona. Since the 16th century, the Allegrini family has handed down grape growing and wine producing traditions from one generation to the next. Records reveal that the family played a prominent role in the local community as one of the most important land-owners, involved in agricultural work and upholding local traditions. In modern times, the well-earned Allegrini reputation is considered to be a direct result of the intelligence and hard work of Giovanni Allegrini, an instinctive man who dedicated his resources to the land and innovative wine-producing techniques. Giovanni was among the first to question local viticultural procedures, and as a result, he revolutionized accepted practices, while combining the science of enology with strict grape selection to create several of Valpolicella’s most famous wines. Today, Giovanni’s children continue his legacy.

Photo by Shirley

Disclaimer: Samples submitted for review.

First evening, with cheese pizza, we opened the Allegrini Valpolicella 2011 (SRP $15). Valpolicella is arguably the most famous red wine to come out of the Veneto wine region in north-eastern Italy. The red wine known as Valpolicella is typically made from three grape varietals: Corvina Veronese, Rondinella and Molinara. Allegrini is made of 65% Corvina, 30% Rondinella and 5% Molinara.
Aromas were all cherry with a little blackberry and ripe black plum. On the palate I got all light red cherry with some acidity and hints of spice. The finish was moderate with ripe fruit and spice. A very nice light and versatile red wine that paired well with the cheese pizza. This wine will also be a very nice summer BBQ wine paired with chicken, veal or a mixed grilled veggie dish. Add some pepperoni or burger meat to your pizza, or try with pasta and your favorite red sauce. Very Highly Recommended

The Valpolicella, I thought, would be hard to follow, but the Allegrini La Grola 2009 (SRP $28) was so much more impressive. A very rich ruby red color lead to aromas of cherry, blackberry, black currant with hints of freshly roasted coffee beans and herbs in this blend of 80% Corvina Veronese and 20% Syrah. A very smooth mouthfeel with lots of ripe berries and some tobacco and some licorice notes. The finish was very lengthy with tons of ripe cherry and a little toasted oak. We served this wine with Chicken Parmesan and pasta. Much more full bodied than the Valpolicella and much more eloquent. My favorite Italian dish has always been Chicken or Veal Parmesan and I instinctively always lean towards Chianti or Brunello and have not given a chance to the wines from Veneto. That will have to change after tasting the Allegrini La Grola. For heftier dishes like grilled steak and burgers, this is a must go to wine. Very Highly Recommended

After the first two nights, I could not wait to see what Shirley will cook up for my last Allegrini wine. When I heard the words "left overs," I cringed. But, that's what it's like in our house. When the cook says left overs, don't argue. There was no pizza left and there was very little chicken left, so Shirley did make a batch of turkey meat balls. Hey, you cover it all up with lots of homemade red sauce and you have fresh garlic bread, that's all you need. Just have to add an Allegrini Palazzo della Torre 2009 (SRP $16) a blend of 70% Corvina Veronese, 25% Rondinella and 5% Sangiovese. Palazzo della Torre is made with a partial ripasso technique in which 30% of the fruit is dried Amarone-style, while the other 70% is picked and vinified conventionally. Color was a very dark red with aromas of black cherry, blackberry and hints of fig and cappuccino. The mouth filled with dark berries and spice with hints of licorice and raisin. A medium to long dry finish with some spice. At $16 this had the best QPR of the three wines. Pair this with any Italian red sauce, juicy burgers, cheddar cheese bites or a meat lovers pizza. Very Highly Recommended.

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Casillero del Diablo Winemaker's Red Blend, Reserva, 2011

Date: Fri, Jun 14, 2013 Wine Business

Photo by Shirley
This has not been very typical for mid-June weather here in Central New York. On the upside, I am opening some very nice red wines in lieu of my favorite summer whites. Tonight I opened up a Chilean Casillero del Diablo Winemaker's Red Blend, Reserva, 2011 ($12). Those that follow my blog already are aware that I have not been impressed with wines from Chile, but tonight I found a blend that maybe be the best $12 wine from Chile available in today's market. This was a late night wine, opened with a few chocolate wafers and some sharp cheddar cheese.

Disclaimer: Sample submitted for review.

The Winemaker's Red Blend consist of 60% Syrah, 25% Carmenere and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Color is a very dark, almost inky purple. I found nice aromas of black cherry, blackberry, blueberry and some plum and currant. The mouth filled with lots of black fruit, a little hint of espresso and was very, very smooth. The finish was lengthy with a touch of spice. Enjoy this wine with steak with barbecue sauce, rosemary lamb chops, and spicy ribs. I found it very nice with the chocolate wafers and the cheese. SRP is $12, but can easily find on-line and in stores for under $10. Highly Recommended.

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The Albariños of Terras Gauda

Date: Sat, Jun 8, 2013 Wine Business

Rias Baixas is the only exclusively white wine appellation in Spain and is located in the northwest region of Galicia. Because of its cool, oceanic climate, the Albariño grape from which most of the region's whites are made, thrives to produce light and fresh wines. Bodegas Terras Gauda, founded in 1990 andsituatedin the O Rosal valley near the River Mino, is the leading wine producer in the region and is notableforowning 85% of its own vineyards, the remainder of thegrapesare provided under strict qualitycontrolagreements with other local growers.

I recently received two wines produced by Bodegas Terras Gauda; Albariño and O Rosal. We opened both on what now feels like the last days of summer, just prior to the recent drop in temps to the low 60's.

Disclaimer: Samples submitted for review.

First evening, with grilled turkey dogs and potato salad for a side, I opened an Abadía de San Campio Albariño 2012 (SRP $20). The wine is 100% Albariño. Color was a light golden yellow, very clear and bright. While pouring, I was picking up aromas of pear, but first sniff in the glass the aromas were green apple with pear, lemon zest, some tangerine and a touch of pineapple. A very zesty mouthfeel with taste of lemon, a little ripe apple and a bit of grapefruit. Finish was quite nice, long and citrusy. Very delicious wine, very nice summer sipping wine, but not meant to be served with hot dogs and salad. Food pairing recommendations are shellfish; oysters, clam and crab. Also will pair well with Asian cuisine. A beautiful wine and Highly Recommended.

The following evening the girls brought home a bag full of fresh shrimp and a small salmon steak. The salmon steak was for me. They did not think I would dig into the shrimp that much. (I'll take salmon over shrimp any day) But, "Shrimp on the Barbie," I can do that pretty well. One skewer was done specifically for me. Just skewer 20 shrimp and grill. Three skewers were done Cajun marinated for them along with their iced tea. The wine was all mine. Terras Gauda O Rosal 2012 (SRP $24) is a blend of 70% Albariño, 20% Loureira, and 10% Caino Blanco, all indigenous varietals to Rias Baixas. The O Rosal is the
flagship wine of the winery. Color is more of a greenish yellow with aromas of peach, clementine and honeysuckle. A sweet mouthfeel with floral notes, sweet orange and small hints of evergreen was followed by a long thick honey like finish. WoW! This wine rocks. Not only a perfect match for the shrimp and my little bit of fish, but felt so nice afterwards.
Pair this wine with any seafood, spicy Asian or Cajun and creamy sauces.
The price keeps this from not being my everyday go to wine, but for that special evening with a special someone. Terras Gauda O Rosal is Very Highly Recommended

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Ponzi Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2010

Date: Thu, Jun 6, 2013 Wine Business

This week I opened and finished a sample bottle of Pinot Noir, one night prior to joining winemaker Luisa Ponzi of Ponzi Vinyards on a Wednesday night #winechat on Twitter. Unfortunately, I had family business, (shopping and dinner out) that kept me from being home in time for the #winechat. This was also the launch of #TastePonzi Twitter Giveaway. All details of their giveaway can be found here at PonziWines.com.

Founded in 1970 in Oregon's lush Willamette Valley, Ponzi Vineyards is internationally acclaimed for producing some of the world's finest Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Riesling.
Luisa Ponzi
For nearly four decades, wine pioneers Dick and Nancy Ponzi have set the standard for Oregon's viticultural innovation while maintaining an unwavering commitment to a tradition of winemaking excellence. Today, this philosophy is carried on by the Ponzi Family's second generation: Winemaker Luisa Ponzi, Sales/Marketing Director Maria Ponzi Fogelstrom and Operations Manager Michel Ponzi.
The Ponzi Family's 100 acres of family-owned vineyards in the Northern Willamette Valley are LIVE Certified, the world's highest standard for sustainable viticulture. Ponzi Vineyards continues to hold long-term contracts with many of the best growers in the region.
For 17 vintages, Luisa’s passion and winemaking talent have continued Ponzi Vineyards’ 40-year acclaimed tradition of producing some of the world’s finest wines.

The Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2010 (SRP $35) is one of nine Pinot's produced by Ponzi. Including one Pinot Noir Rosé and a 40th Anniversary Reserve.

Disclaimer: Sample submitted for review.

Aroma's were a little spicy, reminiscent of Shirley's cinnamon apple cake, with some black cherry, blackberry and a smokey aroma of burnt steak. (never had that before) In the mouth I got a lot of cherry with some blueberry and hints of black licorice and a little cinnamon. The finish was pretty long with some dark berry and a very small hint of burnt wood. This is a very nice Pinot Noir, but with so many good Pinot Noir on the market from the West Coast, France and some NY wines being sold much lower than the SRP of $35, I feel the price is a little high for the average wine consumer. If this is priced right for you or you are looking for that one bottle to splurge on, then the Ponzi Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is Highly Recommended.

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A Little Black Dress Fit For Any Occasion

Date: Thu, May 30, 2013 Wine Business

I had mentioned in a prior post that I have always paired salmon with a white wine, but recently found that I enjoy a nice Pinot Noir with this seafood. The first Pinot I tried with charbroiled salmon was a 2011 Little Black Dress which was just added to the wine list at my favorite seafood restaurant, The Clam Bar, in North Syracuse. A very inexpensive Pinot Noir that I thought was fantastic. Just a few weeks later, I received for review, two bottles of the Little Black Dress latest releases, Divalicious White and Divalicious Red.
Little Black Dress introduced Divalicious Red and Divalicious White wine blends targeted at millennial women. Divalicious Red features Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Petite Sirah varietals with small amounts of Zinfandel, Tannat, Mourvedre, Garnacha and Malbec, while Divalicious White features Pinot Grigio and Moscato varietals with small amounts of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Showcasing a glittery label, 750-ml bottles of each variety have a suggested retail price of $11.
“Little Black Dress Wines are the Perfect Fit for Every Palate.Like their namesake, the iconic little black dress, Little Black Dress Wines are versatile, trustworthy, reliable and perfect for any occasion. Classic and timeless, these wines are designed in a fruit-forward style with the female palate in mind.”
I have no idea why these wines are targeted at millennial women. They must be assuming that men prefer full bodied rich wines while women prefer the light and soft medium body wines. I believe both men and women who enjoy wine just love good wine and will accept and appreciate the characteristics of all wines. We're not talking White Zin or Lambrusco here. I (male) have found that the Pinot Noir, Divalicious White and Red are excellent wines and should be targeted toward all wine lovers, male or female. Here's why!!!

Disclaimer: Sample submitted for review
I always try to open new wines, both purchases and samples, with a dinner cooked up by Shirley or a simple meal, usually a salad, put together by moi. With the Divalicious White it was a simple chicken salad (field mix, tomatoes, grilled chicked bites and pepperoncini with lite Italian dressing).
Color was a light golden color with hues of green. Aromas were plentiful. Started off with lots of pear, grapefruit, green apple, honeysuckle and tangerine. Nice and zesty in the mouth with apple, lemon, grass, and hints of peaches. Smooth but short, semi-dry crisp finish. Nice acidity make this a very versatile wine that will pair very well with summer salads and all kinds of seafood and just sipping along while day-dreaming on the patio.

Two nights after enjoying the Divalicious White, I opened the Divalicious Red with holiday left-overs of grilled chicken, the last of the turkey burgers and freshly steamed spinach. The wine was a real nice opulent garnet red color with aromas of raspberry, ripe cherries like chocolate covered cherries or cherry licorice and a little strawberry. In the mouth the wine was very soft with mostly cherry and raspberry and some small notes of vanilla.
I expected a short to medium finish, but the finish was quite long with ripe berries and a hint of spice. A great pairing with tonight's left-overs. Divalicious Red is superb pairing for a variety of meat dishes as well as spicy cuisine, or a great choice for a red wine cocktail and perfect for a relaxing night on your deck or patio. Both the Red and White are Very Highly Recommended (male or female)

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Wrapping Up Finger Lakes Wine Month

Date: Tue, May 28, 2013 Wine Business

The month of May is just about over and I still have a few Finger Lakes wines to start out the summer with. Maybe not enough, but it's a start. You see, I emptied out my rack celebrating Finger Lakes Wine Month in May. Luckily, the month started out with a trip to Keuka Lake for the annual Keuka in Bloom event. I don't believe, or at least, I am totally surprised by the fact that I was impressed so much by the Chardonnays that I tasted and brought home. Two of these were reviewed in my last post, Discovering Finger Lakes Chardonnay. I was also impressed by two Rosé wines. One, a blend of several grapes, from Keuka Spring Vineyards and an outstanding Pinot Noir Rosé from Ravines Wine Cellars. Turned out to be a very nice three weeks with a fantastic wrap up over the Memorial Day weekend.
The holiday weekend began with a virtual tasting of Finger Lakes wines, with comments from many bloggers and wine lovers across the US and Canada. My first of two wines for the four hour tasting was a Keuka Spring Vineyards Seyval Chardonnay 2011($13), a blend of 40% Seyval Blanc, 36% Chardonnay and 24% Vidal Blanc. First sniff was all apple aromas which were soon followed by some tropical fruits and some citrus. Real smooth mouthfeel with apple, mango and some grape with very light hints of vanilla and oak. OK, the grape thing. I got some taste like that of a sweet Niagara grape and describing it as grape is the best I could come up with. Finish was medium with crisp citrus and apple. Could have spent the rest of the evening just sipping on this wine, but had to move on to my second wine of the night.
Picking which of my wines I would open next was a choice between two or three white wines, but Shirley's dinner of Southern style sweet BBQ ribs was ready and I quickly checked out a few of my Finger Lakes red wines. I was still undecided about pairing a medium body Pinot Noir or one with a little heftier body, a Saperavi with the ribs. Finally decided on keeping my Pinot to have with grilled salmon on Monday.
Second wine was a McGregor Vineyard Black Russian Red 2008 ($54). I picked this one up on our last tour, to replace the 2006 I recently finished. Each time we do a wine tour, I get to splurge on one or two wines and earlier this month, I chose this one because the recently finished 2006 was by far the best Finger Lakes red wine I have ever tasted. The Black Russian Red is made from the Saperavi and Sereksiya Charni grapes. Saperavi is native to the Republic of Georgia and theSereksiya Charni is an indigenous Moldovan dark-skinned variety of grape. Color is a very dark purple with tons of dark fruit aromas of blackberry, black plums some currant, smoke and oak with a touch of damp earth, black olive and spice. In the mouth I got all this fruit with some tart cranberry, spice and oak. Finish was extra long with smoke, spice and again the oak or burnt wood like taste. Although ready to drink now, the 2008 will age nicely. Would have liked to keep this one for another year or two. Guess I'll just have to splurge on another bottle.
Finally, I finished up May, grilling up some chicken, turkey burgers and a thick Salmon steak for Memorial Day. And, I finally got to open my Heron Hill Ingle Vineyards Pinot Noir 2009 ($20). This is one I tasted at the tasting room and immediately placed a few in my take home cart. I only just recently started pairing Pinot Noir with salmon. It was always a white wine like dry Riesling or Pinot Grigio before moving on to a light red wine with fish, at least with salmon or trout. So, the only choice I had to make on Memorial Day was between two Keuka Wine Trail Pinot Noirs. Either way I couldn't lose.

I opened the wine about an hour before throwing the salmon on the grill and stole my first glass once the fish was on the grill. Color was very bright garnet red. On the nose, as they say, were aromas of red cherries, some earth, nice rosewood aroma and a little tart berry like elderberry and a hint of clove. In the mouth I got cherries, elderberry, a spicy floral and some earth. The long finish was a little spicy with some clove and herbs like sage and some slate or stone. This Pinot was easy drinking before, with the meal and afterwards with a few nibs of cheddar cheese. All three of my holiday weekend wines were great. Now I must catch up on a month's worth of submitted wines, but I am sure there will be plenty of room for another month of Finger Lakes wines in between.

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Discovering Finger Lakes Chardonnay

Date: Thu, May 23, 2013 Wine Business

Another wine day has come and gone and I did my bit part by celebrating #ChardonnayDay with two of the Finger Lakes finest. Also cemented my feelings about what is considered the world's most popular white grape varietal. Of course, those that know me, know that it means forget the oak with it's buttery, toasty, vanilla, butterscotch and creamy profile and give me Chardonnay aged in stainless steel or just a touch of acorns. I've now come to realize why Chardonnay was not near the top of my favorite white wines. It actually sat well situated on the very bottom of my list. It's also a bit surprising that I would not favor well oaked Chards when I do have a liking for oaky red wines. Someday, I may write a post about what I think the reason is, but it may be a two or three part series and I'm just not ready for that, yet and I'm no Evan Dawson. Oh, by the way, let me plug his book here. Title is "Summer In A Glass" - The Coming of Age of Wine in the Finger Lakes. This past September the book was named International Wine Book of the Year. Contains great stories about wineries and the winemakers that have made the Finger Lakes a producer of world class wines. Now a little bit about the two Chardonnays I opened for today's celebration.
Early afternoon, after finishing my duties in lawn care, I opened a Ravines Wine Cellars Chardonnay 2011 ($18). I recently tasted this wine at our Keuka in Bloom wine tour. As I very often do, anything I like in the tasting room, comes home. Sometimes, especially with Chardonnay, that does not always come out the way I thought it will, but this time I think it was better.

Ravines has won recognition as a quality-driven winery dedicated to producing crafted and elegant food-friendly wines. The winery has won numerous medals in international wine competitions, received great reviews in major wine publications and can be found in many wine shops and fine restaurants throughout New York state.
This Chardonnay was aged for a short time in oak, but as I stated above, lightly oaked is passing the grade. Aromas were full of apple, citrus, some peach and melon with very small hints of toast. More peach in mouth, a little citrus and some slate like taste led to a smooth finish, leaving long taste of citrus and slate. Aromas and taste did not suggest any real oak influence and that is OK by me. I was forced to pair this with left over mild BBQ chicken, but found the match was excellent.
For a second choice, I had to pair a Heron Hill Ingle Vineyards Chardonnay Unoaked 2011 ($16) with Shirley's 20 minute turkey meatloaf. This wine, I did not taste, on our last tour. I had made up my mind weeks in advance that I would bring this Chardonnay home. Don't ask why, the wine just intrigued me. After all, it does say UNOAKED and I have never been disappointed by wines from Heron Hill.
Heron Hill gets most of its grapes from 12 acres of grapevines onsite and from the owner’s Ingle Vineyard, where there are nearly 20 acres of vinifera grapevines. Located on Seneca Point, on the west side of Canandaigua Lake, Ingle Vineyard is the only vinifera vineyard on that lake. Varieties grown include Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir. The vineyard is located on the home property of the Ingles, who maintain the vines themselves and with their staff. Sustainable methods are utilized and have been for nearly 40 years.
Color was more like a Sauvignon Blanc or Vinho Verde, very light with just a greenish like tint, but the aromas were very powerful. Lots of pineapple with some grapefruit and a little melon and floral aromas on the nose. In the mouth was more of the same with some added peach and clementine. A hint of honey like sweetness and a silky mouthfeel leads to a medium to long crisp finish with a little added lemon and mineral.
Today was an excellent day to discover Finger Lakes Chardonnay. Both wines excelled and are Very Highly Recommended.

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