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Damiani Wine Cellars Meritage 2008

Date: Sat, Aug 21, 2010 Wine Business

Last year I reviewed the Damiani Wine Cellars '07 Meritage and later picked that wine in a poll to win top honors at the New York Wine and Food Classics's annual competition. The Governors Cup was won by an outstanding Riesling, but the Damiani Meritage won double gold medals for the best vinifera red blend. So, when I found the 2008 Meritage at the recent Finger Lakes Riesling Festival I couldn't wait to get a bottle home and at least compare against my notes from last year. What I found was somewhat nicer, at little more fruit, but not much difference. Aromas were still black cherry, some tobacco with some added dark plum and hints of new leather. In the mouth were lots of cherry and plum with a spicy and peppery feel on the sides. The finish was very long, dry, with some pepper and anise.
This wine went very well with grilled turkey burgers covered with salsa and a tomato, cucumber and mozzarella salad with oil and vinegar. Although I enjoyed a glass after dinner, I believe the wine is meant to be enjoyed more with food. Tonight with some left over BBQ chicken the wine was delightful. I did save 1/2 glass for a night cap though.
If you order from the winery, their website is still showing the 2007, so you may want to call your order in at 607-546-5557. The price should be the same at $20. Ask for Amy and tell her Why Wine Blog sent you.

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SH*T: Back to Work

Date: Thu, Aug 19, 2010 Wine Business

Yesterday I received the news I have been dreading for the past month. My Cardiologist says I can return to work before Labor Day (Sept 6). I was just getting use to my time off and was even accomplishing, to Shirley's surprise, getting some task done around the house. I have also convinced myself that my problems were entirely do to work related stress. If you know my boss you would all agree jelly donuts, chips, pizza and ice cream had nothing to do with it.
I did begin to dwell on everything that I have accomplished since the surgery. Not really much, so this post won't be too long, but I thought it was worth posting.
First, was finishing some never read wine books that I have been collecting. Some were a little informative and some became down right interesting. The best of the lot were The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil and Essential WineTasting by Michael Schuster.
The Wine Bible was the first wine publication I ever bought. I have used it as a reference guide, but never read the book cover to cover. The first half of the book is loaded with information about what wine is and how wine is made. The second half was all about wines from around the world and how to understand the viniculture and the labeling. I'm still confused on the French labels though, but I am still working on understanding or more like remembering their meaning. I would do a review or "book report" on this one, but I still owe all eight required reports from High School and don't want to piss off any of my HS English teachers that may still be alive. I would though recommend The Wine Bible to anyone interested in learning everything about wine.
Another book of interest was Essential WineTasting. Nice, but sometimes disappointing to find out all I have been doing wrong when tasting wine. This book is the complete practical winetasting course. A detailed course that is clear enough for beginners, yet comprehensive enough for more experienced tasters. After reading, I placed myself in with the beginners as I explored every major grape variety and how its wines differ around the world. It also gives a series of nine practical tastings which illustrate the key differences in wine styles, flavors and quality. Now I just have to train the nose in the many aromas presented by all these wines.
I also spent many hours fooling around with the blog. Different schemes, layouts, backgounds and colors over a two week period until I found something Shirley and I both agreed on. I have come to the conclusion that the look of the blog will always be a work in progress. I also enjoy doing this on my own and not paying a site developer to give me something I would want to change in the near future. Maybe, someday I will take an adult education course on understanding computers and produce an awarding winning blog all on my own.
Finally, after Doc's OK, I started to open many of the wines I have been hoarding, understood what the label said and swirled, sniffed and savored like a pro. Alright, at least I felt like a pro, but an amateur I'll always be.
Now, if any of you actually made it through this article, please comment and let me know about the new look of the blog. Shirley and I still feud about the color and I'm not sure of the new pages. Next week, back to the day job and hopefully a new review.
Cheers

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Rain, Rain, Go Away

Date: Tue, Aug 17, 2010 Wine Business

This past weekend Shirley and I took a trip to Canandaigua to attend the second annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival. I don't know why, but it seems every time we travel to the Rochester area, except for wine tours, we run into torrential down pours. Sunday was no exception.
In less than five minutes of walking from our car to the first tent, our clothes were soaked right through. It did give us some time for Shirley to picked up some jams and canned pickles from the various vendors. The wine tent was a welcome sight as we approached. It was a large tent and crowded with what I thought were wet souls trying to keep dry. However, that was really not the case.
Entering the tent, I spotted Amy Cheatle pouring at the Damiani Wine Cellars table and decided to start there.
It felt nice not to be rained on, but that side of the wine tent was one massive puddle of water. Now, not only were my clothes soaked, so were my feet. Ankle deep water from one end to the other kept the sneakers full of water for the rest of day. Needless to say it was cold, I was tasting a lot of wine, so I did have to pee alot and the restrooms were not close by and that meant I just kept getting wetter.
Now some observations about the day and the festival.
Other than the weather, the day proved to be worth the trip. It would have been nice to walk around the downtown area and visit some of the shops. Shirley and I both discussed maybe coming back on a sunny weekend to visit the area and do a wine tour. Although the crowd was small, the location on the lake was fantastic and the festival seemed well organized. Although Mother Nature kept the party wet, spirits were not dampened by the festival staff, the vendors, the wineries or the visitors and the wine was great, after all, it was Finger Lakes Rieslings.
I did find that the recently released 09's were not quite on the same level as the 08's. Nice but lacking some of the fruit and not quite as well balanced. They weren't bad, but you have to remember how good the 08's were. There were still plenty of good ones to bring home. Among the best were the Swedish Hill dry Riesling and the '07 Heron Hill Ingle Vineyard Riesling. I also brought home two very interesting wines.
The first was an oaked Riesling from Casa Larga Vineyards and a Riesling-Traminette from the Fulkerson Winery. Along with the Rieslings I did bring home a very good '08 Meritage from Damiani. I think Amy knew I was coming. She knows how much I enjoyed the '07 Meritage and this one may beat that.
Next year, the Lord willing, we'll be back. We did pass many nice looking B & B's, so maybe we'll do the entire weekend and we'll make it into a wine tour, then maybe, just maybe, the rain will stay away.

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Fontana Candida Frascati Superiore 2008

Date: Fri, Aug 13, 2010 Wine Business

Getting time to clean out the old wine fridge. After two months of laying around, drinking coffee, tea, water and gatorade and laying off the good stuff I am beginning to feel the need for a long day of wine shopping, but the fridge is full and I will just have to do my part in making room for more.
Shirley keeps doing her part by challenging me to come up with a pairing for some of her weird dinner experiments.
Tonight was a ground turkey recipe with lots of spices overpowered with fresh ginger wrapped in fresh lettuce leafs. I would have pulled out a nice Gewurztraminer if I had one, but settled for a Fontana Candida Frascati Superiore DOC 2008. $10

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks representing the brand.
**Winemakers notes:

In the hills near Rome are areas of volcanic soil over 2000 years old. Here the grapes for Frascati are grown. Frascati has a delicate bouquet of wildflowers and fruit. Its characteristic taste is fresh and distinctive, with just a hint of almond. To enjoy Fontana Candida Frascati to its fullest, serve slightly chilled (55 degrees) to heighten the fruit and the wine’s crispness, Fontana Candida Frascati is a delightful complement to seafood, poultry and other light entrees.
Grapes: 50% Malvasia Bianca di Candia, 40% Trebbiano Toscano, 10% Malvasia del Lazio
**Winemakers notes given on web site were more a history of the 2008 growing season, so I spared you all that by posting the short notes above taken off the bottle itself.


My notes:
Frascati is made from Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes. A nice clear or very pale straw color with lots of aromas of floral, citrus, green apple and pear. In the mouth it was citrusy, crisp and a little acidic leading to a long and pleasant finish. The pairing with the ginger was good, but not excellent. Having broiled ocean perch tonight and kept some for what I believe will be a perfect match. This would also make for a good wine when friends are visiting. An excellent inexpensive ($10) summer white blend that can be enjoyed by all.

Other Reviews:
Travaglini, Gattinara 2001 (Italy)
Carpineto, Dogajolo 2006 (Italy)
Penfolds, Bin 2 Shiraz/Mourvedre 2006 (Australia)
Muga, Rioja Reserva 2003 (Spain)
Buttonwood Grove, Dry Riesling 2006 (NY)
La Corte, Salice Salentino 2006 (Italy)
Damiani, vino rosso NV (NY)
Vina Real, Rioja 2005 (Spain)
Damiani, Pinot Noir 2006 (NY)
Barons de Rothschild, Bordeaux Reserve Speciale 2006 (France)
Clos Du Bois, Calcaire 2006(California)
Heron Hill, Eclipse 2004 (NY)
Bonterra, Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California) *organic
Babich, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (New Zealand)
Quinta, Da Cortezia Reserva 2004 (Portugal)
Heron Hill, Cabernet Franc Rose' 2006 (NY)
Damiani, Meritage 2007 (NY)
Bonterra, Sauvignon Blanc 2006 (California) *organic
Henry Estate, Oregon Pinot Noir 2006 (Oregon)
Lindemans, Bin 40 Merlot 2007 (Australia)
Mutuo Rioja Crianza 2004 (Spain) *organic
White Springs, Gewurztraminer 2007 (NY)
Anthony Road, semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Fox Run Vineyards, Gewurztraminer 2007 (NY)
Cantina Zaccagnini, Montepulciano d' Abruzzo Riserva 2005 (Italy)
King Family Vineyards, Michael Shaps Viognier 2006 (Virginia)
Ravines Wine Cellars, Cabernet Franc 2007 (NY)
Row House Cellars, White Table Wine NV (NY)
Candoni Chianti DOCG 2007 (Italy)
Glenora Wine Cellars, Gewurztraminer 2007 (NY)
Billsboro Winery, Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (NY)
Fox Run Vineyards Reserve Riesling 2008 (NY)
Banfi Chianti Classico Reserva 2005 (Italy)
Lamoreaux Landing, dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Agent for Change (Martellotto Wines) Zinfandel 2006 (California)
Fulkerson Winery Dornfelder 2007 (NY)
Atwater Estate Vineyards Syrah 2007 (NY)
Bonterra Vineyards Zinfandel 2007 (California) *organic
Lakewood Vineyards Riesling 2007 (NY)
Atwater Estate Vineyards Cabernet-Merlot 2007 (NY)
Cline Cellars Cashmere 2008 (California)
Bogle Winery Petite Sirah 2007 (California)
Arboleda Carmenere 2006 (Chile)
Concha y Toro Concha Marques de Concha Casa Carmenere 2007 (Chile)
Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Carmenere 2008 (Chile)
Rancho Zabaco Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Reserve 2004 (California)
Concannon Conservancy Petite Sirah 2007 (California)
Red Tail Ridge Winery semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Brotherhood Winery dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Zugibe Vineyards semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Long Point Winery semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Chateau Lafayette Reneau dry and semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc 2009 3L box (New Zealand)
Boho Vineyards old vine Zinfandel 2008 3L box (California)
Treleaven Meritage 2007 (NY)
Stoney Lonesome Estates White Merlot Reserve 2008 (NY)

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Time For Updating - New Links Page

Date: Tue, Aug 10, 2010 Wine Business

When it became apparent that I would be out of work for at least three months, I thought it would give me time to look into and completely update the blog. However, it seems that I have always been either out walking when I can, watching TV or napping and never feeling up to doing anything on the PC. Maybe today, it starts.
Before changing the layout or the template itself I began to add pages to the present layout. I actually spent all day adding a links page that will eventually replace the list in my right column. While doing so, I have eliminated all links to blogs that have not posted an article in 12 months or more. I do not believe I missed anyone, but if I did please e-mail me and I will correct the miss. I also added descriptions to each link. Most were taken from the linked in blog, but some did not give enough info so I gave the link a description that I believed would be acceptable. If, for any reason, any blogger currently on the links page wishes I change the blog description please contact me a joeshico@gmail.com with what you wish as a description.
I will leave the current list titled "My Favorite Blogs" in the right column for 30 days. Hopefully, I will have all the other changes completed by then and will be able to work on the new look.
Please comment or e-mail with any suggestions. I am always open for suggestions and I do always appreciate constructive criticism. (keyword: constructive).

Joe (joeshico)

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Stoney Lonesome Estates, Reserve White Merlot 2008

Date: Mon, Aug 9, 2010 Wine Business

I love it when Shirley decides to experiment in the kitchen. It either means we end up going out to dinner or I am in for a special treat. I don't always know where she gets her inspiration and last night I did not see any of her cookbooks on the counter, so that means she thought about this recipe while trimming her herb garden.
What I do know is that she cooked skinless chicken breast in apple juice with oyster mushrooms, slices of gala apples and diced mint fresh from the garden.
I at first opened a dry Riesling, but was astonished to find it loaded with acid and lacking any of the fruit or floral I was looking for to pair with the chicken. My second choice was a 375ml bottle of white Merlot that was given to me by winery owner Dave Mansfield when I visited his Three Brothers Winery in May.

A Stoney Lonsesome Estates 2008 Reserve.

Our visit to the winery just happened to be the same day that the white Merlot was being bottled. I also got to barrel taste this semi-sweet rosé and was waiting for something a little different out of Shirley's kitchen to give it a try. Since the dry Riesling turned me off, I figured the time and pairing was right for a sweeter wine.

The aromas were more of red berries like raspberry and strawberry with agave sweetener. The fruity aromas stayed in the mouth and the 5% RS gave it a nice feel. Finish was so-so but enjoyable. It paired well with the chicken and mushroom, but not that well with the mint. So, I just scraped off all the mint leaves and enjoyed the meal and the wine.

The white Merlot has been released and can be purchased at the winery for $17.

Other Reviews:
Travaglini, Gattinara 2001(Italy)
Carpineto, Dogajolo 2006(Italy)
Penfolds, Bin 2 Shiraz/Mourvedre 2006(Australia)
Muga, Rioja Reserva 2003(Spain)
Buttonwood Grove, Dry Riesling 2006(NY)
La Corte, Salice Salentino 2006(Italy)
Damiani, vino rosso NV(NY)
Vina Real, Rioja 2005(Spain)
Damiani, Pinot Noir 2006(NY)
Barons de Rothschild, Bordeaux Reserve Speciale 2006(France)
Clos Du Bois, Calcaire 2006(California)
Heron Hill, Eclipse 2004(NY)
Bonterra, Cabernet Sauvignon 2007(California) *organic
Babich, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008(New Zealand)
Quinta, Da Cortezia Reserva2004 (Portugal)
Heron Hill, Cabernet Franc Rose' 2006(NY)
Damiani, Meritage 2007(NY)
Bonterra, Sauvignon Blanc 2006(California) *organic
Henry Estate, Oregon Pinot Noir 2006(Oregon)
Lindemans, Bin 40 Merlot 2007(Australia)
Mutuo Rioja Crianza2004 (Spain) *organic
White Springs, Gewurztraminer 2007(NY)
Anthony Road, semi-dry Riesling 2008(NY)
Fox Run Vineyards, Gewurztraminer 2007(NY)
Cantina Zaccagnini, Montepulciano d' Abruzzo Riserva 2005(Italy)
King Family Vineyards, Michael Shaps Viognier 2006(Virginia)
Ravines Wine Cellars, Cabernet Franc 2007(NY)
Row House Cellars, White Table Wine NV(NY)
Candoni Chianti DOCG 2007(Italy)
Glenora Wine Cellars, Gewurztraminer 2007(NY)
Billsboro Winery, Sauvignon Blanc 2008(NY)
Fox Run Vineyards Reserve Riesling 2008(NY)
Banfi Chianti Classico Reserva 2005(Italy)
Lamoreaux Landing, dry Riesling 2008(NY)
Agent for Change (Martellotto Wines) Zinfandel 2006(California)
Fulkerson Winery Dornfelder 2007(NY)
Atwater Estate Vineyards Syrah 2007(NY)
Bonterra Vineyards Zinfandel 2007(California) *organic
Lakewood Vineyards Riesling 2007(NY)
Atwater Estate Vineyards Cabernet-Merlot 2007(NY)
Cline Cellars Cashmere 2008(California)
Bogle Winery Petite Sirah 2007(California)
Arboleda Carmenere 2006(Chile)
Concha y Toro Concha Marques de Concha Casa Carmenere 2007(Chile)

Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Carmenere 2008 (Chile)

Rancho Zabaco Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Reserve 2004 (California)
Concannon Conservancy Petite Sirah 2007 (California)
Red Tail Ridge Winery semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Brotherhood Winery dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Zugibe Vineyards semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Long Point Winery semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Chateau Lafayette Reneau dry and semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc 2009 3L box (New Zealand)
Boho Vineyards old vine Zinfandel 2008 3L box (California)
Treleaven Meritage 2007 (NY)

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Treleaven Wines Meritage 2007

Date: Sat, Jul 31, 2010 Wine Business

I don't often go with Shirley and Pam to the Saturday morning Central New York Regional Farmer's Market, but I made an exception today. I was also out of bed early enough to tag along, which is unusual. While there I let the girls buy up all the fruit and veggies along with some free range meat and eggs they wanted while I hunted around for some wine samples. I did stop at one and tasted their 2007 Meritage. Found it nice enough to take a bottle home and throw it in the wine fridge and wait for a day that I would be willing to open and try. I say that because my luck has never been too good when tasting at a market or street fair and buying what I thought was an OK wine at the time. It seems to be that the wine always is a bit different, no, a lot different than what I remembered. But, I am almost out of a box Zin and I wanted to keep a glass or two for another week to check on it's freshness, so I decided to open up the Meritage tonight along with a grilled tenderloin steak being prepared by Pam.
A Treleaven Meritage 2007 produced and bottled by King Ferry Winery in King Ferry NY was exactly what was needed for the steak.
King Ferry Winery was founded in 1984. Peter Saltonstall is the head winemaker, and Tacie Saltonstall is the business manager. The winery now produces approximately 10,000 cases of wine per year. King Ferry owns 27 acres of vines near the winery, and purchases another 10 acres' worth of fruit from the North Fork of Long Island. The winery and tasting room is located on the East side of Cayuga Lake between Waterloo and Ithaca.

Winemakers notes:
A classic Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon. Shades of garnet lead to aromas of newly oiled leather, clove, allspice & peppercorns. Solid characteristics with smoky tannins on the palate. 61% Cabernet Franc, 28% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon.

My notes:
Aroma's were all leather, maybe a little too much leather with some spice and a little cocoa.
Spicy but soft in the mouth with some fruit and berry and a nice dry and long finish.

The real leathery aroma's scared me a little, but the mouth feel and finish were excellent and was a perfect accompaniment for the grilled steak. Priced right at $20, it's not a wine to pass up on. If you're out grilling steaks or chicken give it try. The Treleaven Meritage 2007, very enjoyable.

Other Reviews:
Travaglini, Gattinara 2001(Italy)
Carpineto, Dogajolo 2006(Italy)
Penfolds, Bin 2 Shiraz/Mourvedre 2006(Australia)
Muga, Rioja Reserva 2003(Spain)
Buttonwood Grove, Dry Riesling 2006(NY)
La Corte, Salice Salentino 2006(Italy)
Damiani, vino rosso NV(NY)
Vina Real, Rioja 2005(Spain)
Damiani, Pinot Noir 2006(NY)
Barons de Rothschild, Bordeaux Reserve Speciale 2006(France)
Clos Du Bois, Calcaire 2006(California)
Heron Hill, Eclipse 2004(NY)
Bonterra, Cabernet Sauvignon 2007(California) *organic
Babich, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008(New Zealand)
Quinta, Da Cortezia Reserva2004 (Portugal)
Heron Hill, Cabernet Franc Rose' 2006(NY)
Damiani, Meritage 2007(NY)
Bonterra, Sauvignon Blanc 2006(California) *organic
Henry Estate, Oregon Pinot Noir 2006(Oregon)
Lindemans, Bin 40 Merlot 2007(Australia)
Mutuo Rioja Crianza2004 (Spain) *organic
White Springs, Gewurztraminer 2007(NY)
Anthony Road, semi-dry Riesling 2008(NY)
Fox Run Vineyards, Gewurztraminer 2007(NY)
Cantina Zaccagnini, Montepulciano d' Abruzzo Riserva 2005(Italy)
King Family Vineyards, Michael Shaps Viognier 2006(Virginia)
Ravines Wine Cellars, Cabernet Franc 2007(NY)
Row House Cellars, White Table Wine NV(NY)
Candoni Chianti DOCG 2007(Italy)
Glenora Wine Cellars, Gewurztraminer 2007(NY)
Billsboro Winery, Sauvignon Blanc 2008(NY)
Fox Run Vineyards Reserve Riesling 2008(NY)
Banfi Chianti Classico Reserva 2005(Italy)
Lamoreaux Landing, dry Riesling 2008(NY)
Agent for Change (Martellotto Wines) Zinfandel 2006(California)
Fulkerson Winery Dornfelder 2007(NY)
Atwater Estate Vineyards Syrah 2007(NY)
Bonterra Vineyards Zinfandel 2007(California) *organic
Lakewood Vineyards Riesling 2007(NY)
Atwater Estate Vineyards Cabernet-Merlot 2007(NY)
Cline Cellars Cashmere 2008(California)
Bogle Winery Petite Sirah 2007(California)
Arboleda Carmenere 2006(Chile)
Concha y Toro Concha Marques de Concha Casa Carmenere 2007(Chile)

Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Carmenere 2008 (Chile)

Rancho Zabaco Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Reserve 2004 (California)
Concannon Conservancy Petite Sirah 2007 (California)
Red Tail Ridge Winery semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Brotherhood Winery dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Zugibe Vineyards semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Long Point Winery semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Chateau Lafayette Reneau dry and semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc 2009 3L box (New Zealand)
Boho Vineyards old vine Zinfandel 2008 3L box (California)

bo

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Boho Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel 2008 3L

Date: Wed, Jul 28, 2010 Wine Business

I've been holding out on the wine reviews until everything gets back to normal after my surgery. At present, my Cardiologist has OK'd 3-4 oz. of wine per day and, for me, that just don't cut it. I do cheat a bit and I also skip some evenings. That means an open bottle may sit for over a week and the final few glasses may be a bit bitter or that much of what was a decent wine when opened gets thrown down the drain. That is what happened with the first bottles I opened.
I then decided to open a 3 litre box of Boho Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel that was sent to me from the Underdog Wine Merchants. I have already tasted two of the Octavin Home Wine Bar artisan white wines and did review the Sauvignon Blanc from that collection and was looking forward to trying the Zin, but not necessarily writing a review. I am doing so because it is now 14 days since my first taste and the wine, which is sitting out on my wine table (not kept chilled), may even be better now than two weeks ago.

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks representing the brand.
Winemakers Notes:
The grapes from the Oakley Old Zinfandel Vines provide the base for this wine. Long hot days balanced by the cool San Francisco bay fog each night create the optimal environment to grow Zinfandel. Being from Old Vines, the yield from each harvest is naturally limited, which translates into intense fruit flavors. Combining cool fermentation and American oak barrel aging techniques creates a versatile wine that delivers plum jam flavors, with spice and dry herb notes from the American oak, and food-friendly alcohol levels that deliver a firm but not over-powering finish.

My Notes:
Aromas of dark plum, some dark cherry and an almost sweet smell, uncharacteristic of Zin, but pleasant on the nose. Lots of plum and dark fruit, spice and somewhat intense with a very smooth and long finish. A little lighter bodied than what I'm used to in Zin.

I have had this wine with chicken, salmon, talapia, trout, homemade pizza, pork, tenderloin steak and the small piece of chocolate cake I'm allowed throughout the past two weeks and found it enjoyable with every dish. If you're having the boss over for dinner, this may not be the wine you want to serve to make an impression, but for an everyday wine, it can't be beat. Best of all is the price. The suggested price for this 3L box wine is $23, but you can find on-line for as low as $18. That is for 3 liters or four standard 750ml bottles. Even better is that the wine bag does not allow in air and this will keep your opened wine fresh for up to six weeks.

Other Reviews:
Travaglini, Gattinara 2001(Italy)
Carpineto, Dogajolo 2006(Italy)
Penfolds, Bin 2 Shiraz/Mourvedre 2006(Australia)
Muga, Rioja Reserva 2003(Spain)
Buttonwood Grove, Dry Riesling 2006(NY)
La Corte, Salice Salentino 2006(Italy)
Damiani, vino rosso NV(NY)
Vina Real, Rioja 2005(Spain)
Damiani, Pinot Noir 2006(NY)
Barons de Rothschild, Bordeaux Reserve Speciale 2006(France)
Clos Du Bois, Calcaire 2006(California)
Heron Hill, Eclipse 2004(NY)
Bonterra, Cabernet Sauvignon 2007(California) *organic
Babich, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008(New Zealand)
Quinta, Da Cortezia Reserva2004 (Portugal)
Heron Hill, Cabernet Franc Rose' 2006(NY)
Damiani, Meritage 2007(NY)
Bonterra, Sauvignon Blanc 2006(California) *organic
Henry Estate, Oregon Pinot Noir 2006(Oregon)
Lindemans, Bin 40 Merlot 2007(Australia)
Mutuo Rioja Crianza2004 (Spain) *organic
White Springs, Gewurztraminer 2007(NY)
Anthony Road, semi-dry Riesling 2008(NY)
Fox Run Vineyards, Gewurztraminer 2007(NY)
Cantina Zaccagnini, Montepulciano d' Abruzzo Riserva 2005(Italy)
King Family Vineyards, Michael Shaps Viognier 2006(Virginia)
Ravines Wine Cellars, Cabernet Franc 2007(NY)
Row House Cellars, White Table Wine NV(NY)
Candoni Chianti DOCG 2007(Italy)
Glenora Wine Cellars, Gewurztraminer 2007(NY)
Billsboro Winery, Sauvignon Blanc 2008(NY)
Fox Run Vineyards Reserve Riesling 2008(NY)
Banfi Chianti Classico Reserva 2005(Italy)
Lamoreaux Landing, dry Riesling 2008(NY)
Agent for Change (Martellotto Wines) Zinfandel 2006(California)
Fulkerson Winery Dornfelder 2007(NY)
Atwater Estate Vineyards Syrah 2007(NY)
Bonterra Vineyards Zinfandel 2007(California) *organic
Lakewood Vineyards Riesling 2007(NY)
Atwater Estate Vineyards Cabernet-Merlot 2007(NY)
Cline Cellars Cashmere 2008(California)
Bogle Winery Petite Sirah 2007(California)
Arboleda Carmenere 2006(Chile)
Concha y Toro Concha Marques de Concha Casa Carmenere 2007(Chile)

Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Carmenere 2008 (Chile)

Rancho Zabaco Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Reserve 2004 (California)
Concannon Conservancy Petite Sirah 2007 (California)
Red Tail Ridge Winery semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Brotherhood Winery dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Zugibe Vineyards semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Long Point Winery semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Chateau Lafayette Reneau dry and semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc 2009 3L (New Zealand)

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Finger Lakes Riesling Festival 2010

Date: Thu, Jul 15, 2010 Wine Business

The second annual Finger Lakes Riesling Festival will take place on August 14-15along Lakeshore Drive and Kershaw Park in Canandaigua, NY. This year,you will be able tosample wines from more than 14 local producers. In addition to great wines, there will be live entertainment, an arts and craftsmarketplace, and a farmers market with outstanding local foods. Other events include:

• The Wegman's New York State Craft Beer Tent on Saturday, August 14. Festival-goers will have the chance to sample beer from local breweries in the Wine Garden while enjoying live entertainment.

• A Battle of The Bands Competition for local bands to participate in on Saturday, August 14. A prize package valued at $1,000 will be awarded to the winning band from Mobile Music in Canandaigua.

• Horse-drawn carriage rides up and down Lakeshore Drive (which will be closed to traffic) for the entire family to enjoy.

• A Classic Car Show on Sunday, August 15. Pre-registration is required and the entry fee is only $10. Awards will be given for best in show.

Mark your calendars!!! Come on outto the 2nd AnnualFinger Lakes Riesling Festival on August 14-15 and taste some of the best US Rieslings, along with other entertainment for the entire family.

*Thank you Corked Wine Blog for article

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Finger Lakes Wine In New York City

Date: Fri, Jun 25, 2010 Wine Business

I believe I made my love of Finger Lakes wines known to all that read this blog. Even so, I become disillusioned when traveling to New York City or surrounding states and find it difficult to find much more than the mass produced wines from a very few wineries available.
Now there is a wholesale company located in Ithaca NY that will provide Finger Lakes wines to restaurants in New York City.

Upstate Wine Company provides only the highest quality, award-winning wines from Upstate New York to the New York City area. They are driven by a passion to share outstanding local wines that focus on environmental responsibility.
Upstate Wine Company only carries wine harvested, produced and bottled in upstate New York. Further, because they select only the best of the upstate New York wines, their wine portfolio is not overloaded nor do they push sub-par wines. Upstate Wine Company looks at a bottle of wine as being more then a line in our price book, which is why they build personal relationships with local Winemakers and Vineyard managers throughout the region. Their goal is to provide customers the enjoyment of high quality wines while minimizing their environmental impact.
Upstate Wine Company’s knowledge that New York State is a world-class wine region drives them to provide world-class representation in NYC. Wine procurement from Upstate Wine Company is a hassle free experience through their superior 24/7 customer service, multiple ordering platforms and personalized wine concierge services.
This will be very beneficial for all of the Finger Lakes wineries. Can Finger Lakes wines be soon found in greater abundance in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio and all other Northeast States. Let's hope so

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Good to be Alive

Date: Wed, Jun 23, 2010 Wine Business

Sometimes events happen in your life that dramatically changes your entire perceptive on life, life style, spirituality and life priorities. That just occurred to me.
On June 11th, after months of what I thought was incidental or old age periodic chest pains, my new friend, Cardiologist Dr. Mark Reger M.D., admitted me to St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse, NY for open heart surgery. I call him my friend because of his refusal to allow me to return home until scheduled surgery five days later. Surgery took place three days later because of the scariest moment in my life as I struggled for air while suffering chest pains in the early morning hours of Monday, June 14th. Surgery was moved up to immediately. Approximately 10 hours later by-pass procedure began.
Now, as I rehab, I along with my wife Shirley have begun planning our new future. This is not the platform for most of these changes, but my blogging hobby will be a big part of it.
The fact that I will now retire this year and have more time to learn, write post and travel to some blogging and blogger events and visit more wineries and hopefully get to meet many of my fellow bloggers is one of my priorities. My next few post will follow the learning experience I absorb through books, videos and blogs(of course). Although my surgeon, Dr. Joel Rosenberg M.D., told me he is a wine collector with over 2500 bottles in his collection, I doubt he would like me reviewing wines right away.
I am presently reading "The Only Wine Book You'll Ever Need" by Danny May. Wow, do I have a lot to learn. Gotta get back to my reading lounge chair and my glass of OJ.
Joe

P.S. My wife has set up a really cool recovery area in the family room. Got my lounge chair, a hospital bed, a 46" LED HD TV and all the wine books I own but never read. Unfortunately, my wine fridge is at the foot of the bed. Ya think she's getting even for something? :)

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Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc 2009 3L

Date: Thu, Jun 10, 2010 Wine Business

Last March I posted a press release on a new collection of artisan wines in an innovative attractive new package. An international wine collection with six brands and ten items packaged in a new exciting premium 3L wine cask from the Octavin Home Wine Bar..
I have since tasted a Monthaven Chardonnay (California) and this past week the Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand). The Chardonnay was not impressive. Light and fruity with little oak was not what I expected from a CA Chard. The wine was not all that bad though and I would recommend, at $24 for 3 liters, for that week end party on the patio. Definitely a good party wine.

The Sauvignon Blanc, on the other hand, was outstanding. Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc is from the famous cool climate vineyards of the renowned Marlborough winegrowing region. Marlborough is located at the northern tip of the southern island of New Zealand. Being on the coast of such a narrow island, Marlborough is consistently exposed to cool maritime weather, which creates the extended ripening period and racy acidity of one of the most admired Sauvignon Blanc flavor pro files in the world. Native New Zealander and artisan winemaker, Drew Ellis has extensive relationships with some of the best vineyards throughout Marlborough, “Our goal is to grow the right grapes that allow us to craft the quintessential New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc year after year.


Winemakers Notes:
“Stainless steel tanks combined with clean and simple winemaking techniques make for a pristine and crisp Sauvignon Blanc. We employ special yeasts during our cool fermentation process to create the crisp and ripe fruit flavors of kiwi, pear, and green apple with distinctive mineral and gooseberry notes prominent. The stainless steel treatment assures that the wine delivers the crisp finish and fresh structure expected from a true Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.”

My notes:
Lots of pear and peach with some citrus aromas. Nice and crisp with a slight hint of grapefruit in the mouth and finished a little short with a touch of sweetness.

I've been sipping this wine for the past three days and enjoyed one evening with my standard but delicious BBQ chicken. Tonight, my daughter Pam scratched up burritos made with Jasmine rice, pinto beans, shredded cheese, guacamole, jalapenos and salsa. This wine was great with the chicken, excellent sipping and outstanding with the burritos.

Released in May with a suggested retail of $24, but you can shop and find on-line for as low as $17. This is for a 3 liter box or equivalent to 4 standard 750ml bottles. After opening, it will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Don't worry though, this Sauvignon Blanc will be long gone before that.

Other Reviews:
Travaglini, Gattinara 2001(Italy)
Carpineto, Dogajolo 2006(Italy)
Penfolds, Bin 2 Shiraz/Mourvedre 2006(Australia)
Muga, Rioja Reserva 2003(Spain)
Buttonwood Grove, Dry Riesling 2006(NY)
La Corte, Salice Salentino 2006(Italy)
Damiani, vino rosso NV(NY)
Vina Real, Rioja 2005(Spain)
Damiani, Pinot Noir 2006(NY)
Barons de Rothschild, Bordeaux Reserve Speciale 2006(France)
Clos Du Bois, Calcaire 2006(California)
Heron Hill, Eclipse 2004(NY)
Bonterra, Cabernet Sauvignon 2007(California) *organic
Babich, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008(New Zealand)
Quinta, Da Cortezia Reserva2004 (Portugal)
Heron Hill, Cabernet Franc Rose' 2006(NY)
Damiani, Meritage 2007(NY)
Bonterra, Sauvignon Blanc 2006(California) *organic
Henry Estate, Oregon Pinot Noir 2006(Oregon)
Lindemans, Bin 40 Merlot 2007(Australia)
Mutuo Rioja Crianza2004 (Spain) *organic
White Springs, Gewurztraminer 2007(NY)
Anthony Road, semi-dry Riesling 2008(NY)
Fox Run Vineyards, Gewurztraminer 2007(NY)
Cantina Zaccagnini, Montepulciano d' Abruzzo Riserva 2005(Italy)
King Family Vineyards, Michael Shaps Viognier 2006(Virginia)
Ravines Wine Cellars, Cabernet Franc 2007(NY)
Row House Cellars, White Table Wine NV(NY)
Candoni Chianti DOCG 2007(Italy)
Glenora Wine Cellars, Gewurztraminer 2007(NY)
Billsboro Winery, Sauvignon Blanc 2008(NY)
Fox Run Vineyards Reserve Riesling 2008(NY)
Banfi Chianti Classico Reserva 2005(Italy)
Lamoreaux Landing, dry Riesling 2008(NY)
Agent for Change (Martellotto Wines) Zinfandel 2006(California)
Fulkerson Winery Dornfelder 2007(NY)
Atwater Estate Vineyards Syrah 2007(NY)
Bonterra Vineyards Zinfandel 2007(California) *organic
Lakewood Vineyards Riesling 2007(NY)
Atwater Estate Vineyards Cabernet-Merlot 2007(NY)
Cline Cellars Cashmere 2008(California)
Bogle Winery Petite Sirah 2007(California)
Arboleda Carmenere 2006(Chile)
Concha y Toro Concha Marques de Concha Casa Carmenere 2007(Chile)

Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Carmenere 2008 (Chile)

Rancho Zabaco Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Reserve 2004 (California)
Concannon Conservancy Petite Sirah 2007 (California)
Red Tail Ridge Winery semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Brotherhood Winery dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Zugibe Vineyards semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Long Point Winery semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)
Chateau Lafayette Reneau dry and semi-dry Riesling 2008 (NY)




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Vacation's Over

Date: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 Wine Business


Tomorrow I must return to work after a pleasant but hard two week vacation. I really don't know where to rank this time off or how to compare it to others. I like to use my vacation time to wind down, relax, and enjoy doing what I want or like to do. This one was a bit different.
Started out OK. Finished a few odds and ends around the house, enjoyed a great day on a Finger Lakes wine tour, visited family in Pennsylvania and attend my High School class reunion (20th, I believe, or 45th possibly). After one week, everything was going as planned. The second week was supposed to be relaxing, grilling steaks, burgers and chicken and tasting and reviewing a few wines. Maybe even getting a few articles ahead to post on the blog. Shirley had other plans.
Landscaping the front yard, new addition to rear of garage, new front window, total cleansing of the downstairs family room and about 6 million small task that somehow had to be done in seven days. The most difficult wast moving four yards of topsoil with a four square foot garden wheel barrow. That's somewhere around one gazillion fill ups. Can't remember the last time I was so stiff. Tomorrow, back to work for a well deserved rest.
On a more upbeat side to the vacation was the wine. Finished the month of May by enjoying many of the Finger Lakes Riesling brought home from the Seneca Lake wine tour and opened a few from the west coast to compare. A Central Coast California Riesling was, lets say different, but a Washington State Riesling from Chateau Ste. Michelle was worthy enough to be stand beside those of the Finger Lakes. I also opened a couple of white wines from Octavin Home Wine Bar. A Chardonnay was disappointing, but a review on the Sauvignon Blanc is coming up next post. I also enjoyed a few reds and two nights sharing some Corona Light beers with my daughter, Pam. I'm not into beers, but they did go down well on the hot nights with the grilled burgers.
Well, the two weeks are now over and I must return to the day job for five days and then another week off. This time a four day trip to New York City and a few Broadway plays. I also hope to pick up some Long Island wines and visit a few of the many wine bars in Manhattan. Just hope Shirley can't find the 'honey do' list.

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A Day in the Finger Lakes 4 "Wine and Food"

Date: Thu, May 27, 2010 Wine Business

About 5:15 pm yesterday I was thinking about how wine touring in the Finger Lakes really sucks. Not because of all the nice wines and great food (more on the food later), but because there is just not enough time in the day to stop by and visit all the wineries on your list. When you are leaving one winery and approaching Rte 414 and there is only 20 minutes til closing (for most wineries) and you check your list and there are at least four more wineries that you really wanted to visit, a choice must me made. I'll just have to wait til July and the annual FLX Wine Fest or talk Shirley into another trip to Seneca Lake. Maybe both!!

The day started at one winery that was not on the list. Turned out to be one of the highlights of the day. Originally we (Shirley, friend and fellow wino Mark and I) were going to visit Zugibe Vineyards on the north end of Seneca Lake and then head south. We showed up a little before the tasting room opened, so we headed over to Three Brothers Winery located less than a mile away. Hard to describe one of the most, if not most unique stops on the tour. Three unique wineries and a microbrewery all in one estate.
After visiting all four venues, owner Dave Mansfield gave us a tour of the winery and tapped a few of his finest wines from the stainless steel tanks lying beneath the Stoney Lonesome Estate tasting room. One in particular was a "white" Merlot which was being bottled in the adjoining room. Thanks Dave for the still unsealed bottle. It will not be in my rack long.

Riesling, Riesling and more Riesling was why I was visiting on this day and there was no shortage of good Rieslings, starting with a nice dry 2007 at Zugibe Vineyards. After reviewing the semi-dry earlier this month, I was anxious to try the dry and sweeter wines here. I was not disappointed. I also tasted and brought home a 2008 Gewurztraminer.

Our next stops were Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars and Wagner Vineyards. Lamoreaux had just released five 2009's Rieslings. The '09 Yellow Dog Vineyard was my pick over the Red Oak Vineyard and the Round Rock Vineyard, but I thought I should at least bring one of each home along with the '08 Reserve for further tasting. Mark, who loves his Chardonnay, found his best of the day with the '07 Chard and the '07 Reserve Chard. A short ride down to Wagner found more delicious '07 dry Riesling and an even better '07 semi-dry along with another Chardonnay for Mark, an '07 French oak-aged Reserve.

Back on the road and headed to Red Newt Cellars and Bistro for one fantastic lunch and of course more fantastic wines. But here is where today's wines were completely out done by the food. We all shared two appetizers. One a grilled shrimp and pineapple skewers over spicy greens, rice noodles, red bell pepper and a lemon vinaigrette and the other an Artisan cheese platter with Mediterranean olives, house relish of roasted red pepper, a home made baguette with maple verjooz drizzle and three excellent cheeses, an old German Weissa Kase, a Samun Cheddar and a mountain home wood smoked Cheddar. Main course for Shirley was a wonderful veggie wrap and Mark chose the thick free range burger with free range bacon, cheddar and avocado, while I took honors of best pick with a Southwestern Burrito special. The Burrito was filled heavily with pulled chicken, onions, cilantro, celery, fresh jalapenos, tomatoes, Monterey Jack cheese and loads of black beans served with spicy tomato rice. All that and a flight of off-dry Rieslings. WoW!!!

One incident did occur while at the Bistro. Clumsy Mark dumped a full glass of water on Shirley's lap. Thankfully one of the busboys (I think), who was well trained in spills, came from the kitchen and expertly wiped the spill. His name was Dave and he was a very busy employee and had a little pull. He couldn't stay long and chat, but he did make sure we were to be treated well in the tasting room after our dessert. He should get a raise. Thanks Dave for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by.

More great Rieslings in the Red Newt tasting room. Of course, I didn't expect less. As I am writing this post I am sipping on a 2008 RNC dry Riesling, one of a few now in my cooler. I will be taking a case of Finger Lakes Rieslings to PA this week end for my brother John and his wife Carolyn who are avid wine drinkers. Sorry guys, but you are not getting any of my Red Newt, their staying here.


We lost a lot of time at Red Newt and this is where we had to decide on one more winery for the day. Not an easy decision, but it was on to Atwater Estate Vineyards. Very lucky to get there at the same time winemaker Vincent Aliperti and owner Ted Marks were in the tasting room. Very unlucky that both were very busy with a VIP from NYC, but Ted did break away for awhile to come over and chat. He then left us in the good hands of tasting room employee Allison (hope the spelling's right) to run through the gamut of what I believe, at this time, are the best wines on Seneca Lake. The dry Riesling and the Riesling, which is more of a semi-dry at 2.2% RS were beautiful as was the Gewurztraminer. Filled up with a few whites and also picked up one Atwater Estates Syrah. I know today was a Riesling day, but I can never pass by an Atwater Syrah without picking up at least one.

I now have a good supply of my summer wines. I know I should expand the varietals a bit, but when Finger Lakes Rieslings are on hand, WHY!! Clean up the grill, summer is now officially here.

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