4/09/2014

Quick Sip: WALT Rita’s Crown 2012 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to join the good folks at CellarPass for their 2014 kick-off episode which featured a live virtual tasting and interview with Steve Leveque, winemaker for Hall Wines in St Helena. Hall Wines is owned by Kathryn Hall and specializes in single-vineyard and limited-production wines with a focus on classic Bordeaux varieties. The tasting featured two Cabernet Sauvignons from Hall and a Pinot Noir from their WALT label. In this segment, we will focus on the Pinot Noir. The WALT label honors Kathryn's parents, Bob and Dolores Walt – both dedicated winegrowers themselves. The WALT tasting room is located in Sonoma and specializes in crafting small-batches of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from top sites along the Pacific Coast. The wine I tasted was the WALT Rita’s Crown 2012 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir. The Sta. Rita Hills is a sub-appellation located on the western end of the Santa Ynez Valley that’s making a name for itself with personality-driven Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. I have a feeling that old Miles, the pinotphile from Sideways, would really enjoy this wine. For further information and where you can find this selection, please see my tasting notes below.

WALT Rita’s Crown 2012 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir


Review: WALT Rita’s Crown 2012 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir (SRP $65): This wine is medium garnet in color with inviting aromas and flavors suggestive of sweet black cherries, raspberry and spiced tea with underlying earth tones. The palate is full, generous, and flavorful with a velvety texture that’s balanced by elegant acidity leading to a nice vanilla bean accented finish. Overall, this is a delicious, riper style Pinot Noir that maintains very good balance throughout. It is both a fine solitary sipper and a good match for dishes like seared duck breast and herb-crusted rack of lamb. Region: Sta. Rita Hills, California. (Other info: ABV 14.6%, barrel matured in French oak, approximately 40% new, cork enclosure.) 92 Points. Click here to find this wine 

Enjoying a splash off the Chesapeake Bay [Maryland]


About CellarPass TV: #CellarPassTV is an informative weekly wine broadcast in which some of California’s top winemakers, winery owners, and people in the food and wine industry are interviewed by host Sarah Elliman. Their website, CellarPass.com, is a leading destination for online winery reservations that’s well worth checking out if you’re thinking about visiting California wine country. To view this episode of CellarPass TV, click here

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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4/01/2014

Lodi Wines for Backyard BBQ: Klinker Brick, St. Amant Winery, Mettler Family, Harney Lane


Hello Friends,

Just about every day, as wine o'clock approaches, you can find me uncorking or unscrewing a new wine adventure. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine blogger, and someone who appreciates and enjoys the liquid expression of a place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence -- I find wine to be one of the most intriguing beverages in the world. It’s a hobby where there is always something new to taste and learn as well as a sea of friendly "wine peeps" to meet in real life and via those wonderful and time-consuming social media portals called Facebook and Twitter.

Learn more about Lodi wine at lodiwine.com


I had an opportunity to taste the four wines below during an event put on by the good folks at Charles Communications and Lodi Wine (aka LoCA). For many of you, the seasonal warmth of spring and summer are ideal for backyard barbecues. For your drinking and food-pairing pleasure, check out the tasty Lodi selections I’ve reviewed below. All four wines are grill-friendly in nature and great matches for just about any red meat. The meat’s fat (and protein), smokiness, texture, and full flavors will marry nicely with these ripe and juicy wines. For further information and where you can find them, please see my tasting notes.

Klinker Brick Winery 2011 Brick and Mortar


Review: Klinker Brick Winery 2011 Bricks & Mortar (SRP $30): This deeply colored red blended wine is composed of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Petite Sirah, and 10% Old Vine Zinfandel. Rich aromas of plum, boysenberry, and blackberry preserve fill the nose with hints of allspice and cocoa nibs. The palate is full-bodied and round with layers of generous fruit, a velvety texture, and a spice-accented, delightful finish. Overall, this wine is large-framed and ripe, but it carries the weight and alcohol well. I enjoyed it both on its own and with spare ribs. Region: Lodi (Mokelumne River AVA), California. (Other info: ABV 15%, matured in American oak, cork enclosure.) 90 Points. Click here to find this wine.

St. Amant Winery 2012 Old Vine Zinfandel


Review: St. Amant Winery Marian’s Vineyard 2012 Old Vine Zinfandel (SRP $24): While the term “Old Vine” has no legal definition, the fruit for this wine comes from an 8.3-acre block that was planted on the Mohr-Fry Ranch in 1901. Difficult not to think of these century-old berries as anything but old vine, eh? Deep garnet in color, this wine exhibits aromas and flavors of smoked cherry, wild berry, ripe plum, and a toasty sage-like component. It is slightly briary in character with understated acidity, well-concealed alcohol, and ends with a pleasant, medium-length, spice-accented finish. Winemaker Stuart Spencer recommends having a glass with grilled burgers, tri-tip steak, ribs, or his personal favorite, “chocolate salad.” I enjoyed a glass with a burger and the pairing worked out nicely – especially with all the maple-and-pepper bacon I placed on top of the patty. Though, the chocolate salad creation sounds pretty interesting! Approximately 403 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Lodi, California. (Other info: ABV 15.1%, Aged in barrel 10 months, 30% new, cork enclosure). 88 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Mettler Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon


Review: Mettler Family Vineyards 2010 Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP: $24): The Mettler family has grown grapes in Lodi, across six generations, since 1899 -- which is impressive to say the least. Their estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with 13% Petite Sirah and 1% Petite Verdot. In the glass, the wine displays a deep garnet-purple color with aromas of black cherries, blackberry, and mulberry intertwined with spice box, cedar shavings, and underlying floral tones. The aromas carry over to the palate with a fairly rich, round mouth-feel, ripe tannins, and balanced acidity, finishing with a savory mix of [baking] spices and dried herbs. Overall, this is a nice wine that won’t break the piggy bank that’s sure to complement spring and summertime backyard barbecues – think grilled burgers, sausage, chops, chicken, etc. Region: Lodi, California. (Other info: ABV 14.9%, 22 months in French oak, cork enclosure.) 89 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Harney Lane Winery Lizzy James 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel


Review: Harney Lane Winery 2011 Lizzy James Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel (SRP $35): This wine is full-bodied and ripe with an expressive mix of wild berries, black cherry fruit jam, sweet plum, and baking spice aromas. The palate matches the nose in this dense, yet juicy, fleshier textured wine which carries its rich fruit flavors and high alcohol relatively well. It completes with a spicy, vanilla-oak accented medium-length (slightly drying) finish. Zinfandel loves ribs, and this assertive wine would pair best with a rack that benefits from a bit of smoke and a bold and flavorful mopping sauce.  Approximately 443 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Lodi, California. (Other info: ABV 15.9%, 22 months French oak maturation, cork enclosure). 88 Points.  Click here to find this wine.

Fire up the grill with Lodi wine! 


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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3/24/2014

Uncorked Ventures: Chronicle Wines 2009 Anderson Valley Cerise Vineyard Pinot Noir

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is Chronicle Wines' 2009 Anderson Valley Cerise Vineyard Pinot Noir. I received this wine from a small, family-owned and operated California-based business called Uncorked Ventures. The business is run by two brothers-in-law, Matt Krause and Mark Aselstine, and specializes in offering small-production, hard-to-find wines from California, Oregon, and Washington. And judging by the two wines I received, these two young men, who are wine enthusiasts themselves, have a knack for seeking out wines with some bottle age on them too -- which is something you typically don’t find with most wine clubs. For example, the second bottle I received is a 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, which I hear is drinking nicely right now. If you enjoy discovering good quality wines from small producers, then check out the Uncorked Ventures homepage for further information. Mark is also pretty active on Twitter so you can send him a tweet at @wineclubguy if you have any comment or questions. As for the Pinot Noir, please check out my tasting note below. Mike Hengehold and James MacPhail of Chronicle Wines did a nice job with this bottling.

Chronicle Wines 2009 Cerise Vineyard Pinot Noir


Review: Chronicle Wines' 2009 Cerise Vineyard Pinot Noir (SRP $54): Grown at elevations between 800 and 1200 feet, the Cerise Vineyard benefits from cool coastal breezes and fog that help moderate day time temperatures during summer months. In the glass, inviting dark stone fruit and black cherry aromas lead the way, followed by notes of warm wood spice, fennel seed, and deep earth tones. The aromas come through on the palate with a round, textured mouth-feel and soft, yet balanced acidity, ending with a lasting, full finish. Overall, this is a well-structured, forward, and bolder expression of Pinot Noir that shows good range and harmony all the way through. Approximately 132 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Anderson Valley, California. (ABV 14.1%, aged 16 months in French Oak of which 35% was new, cork enclosure.) 91 Points. Click here to find this wine. 

Corks Out, Ready to Sip! 


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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3/17/2014

The Wine Connection: Holman Ranch 2010 Estate Pinot Noir and Baked Salmon

Hello Friends,

When I’m in the mood for grilled salmon or tuna (aka flavorful fatty fish), a rich, fuller-bodied Chardonnay or a Pinot Noir that flirts with elegance and finesse usually tops my list. For me, this is a pairing where the food and wine totally complement one another; bringing out each other’s best traits to create a pleasant dining experience. Around my house, I lightheartedly call this sort of pairing a “Wine Connection,” and I’m the matchmaker. Eat your heart out, Chuck Woolery!

Next Step: Salmon into the Oven, Wine into the Glass


While there are a lot of other wines that will work with this dish, there are also suitors you may want to avoid. For example, a heavy, dominating red wine could possibly overwhelm even a fatty and flavorful fish like salmon or tuna. Conversely, a lean and light white wine may be overcome by the dish. The key to a successful food and wine marriage is harmony and the Holman Ranch 2010 Estate-Grown Pinot Noir pairs beautifully with the Dijon baked salmon. The acidity from the wine and the richness of the salmon balance each other nicely and combine wonderfully in the mouth. If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself!  For further information and where you can find this wine, check out my tasting note below. 

Holman Ranch 2010 Estate Grown Pinot Noir


Review: Holman Ranch 2010 Estate-Grown Pinot Noir (SRP $33): Grown at an elevation of 950 ~ 1,150 feet in sedimentary soils, this wine is lithe and fresh with an inviting combination of black cherries, dark stone fruit, tart cranberry, floral tinged perfume, and muted earth tones. It’s pleasing and supple on the entry with a sleek yet attractively textured mouth-feel, elegant acidity, and nice balance throughout. Overall, a versatile and reasonably priced Pinot Noir that’s pleasing on its own, but is also extremely food-friendly. I enjoyed it with a nice slab of salmon. NOTE: For you alcohol hawks, yes it's from California and yes it's 12.5% ABV. Approximately 500 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Carmel Valley, California. (Other info: ABV 12.5%, 12 months in French oak, cork enclosure). 89 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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3/11/2014

Quick Sip: Estate Crush 2012 Albariño


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Estate Crush 2012 Albariño. I had an opportunity to taste this wine during a recent event put on by the good folks at Charles Communications and Lodi Wine (aka LoCA). Estate Crush was founded in 2009 and is Lodi’s first full-service custom crush facility. Their focus is on small-to-medium lot production wines. Estate Crush also operates a tasting room which features over 86 wines from 36 brands.

As for the grape, Albariño is synonymous with Spain’s Galicia region and is an important variety in Portugal [Vinho Verde DOC], where it’s known as Alvarinho. I’m not surprised to find it growing in Lodi though, since the region is diverse and fully capable of growing a wide range of grape varieties.  For further information and where you can find this wine, check out my tasting note below. With warmer temperatures on the horizon for most of you, this bottle is well worth seeking out!

Estate Crush 2012 Albariño


Review: Estate Crush 2012 Albariño (SRP $18): This wine is ripe and juicy with a bright and inviting core of citrus fruit, peach, and melon aromas and flavors. On the palate, it’s fresh and well-balanced with a slightly fleshy texture and lovely acidity that carries through the clean, medium-length finish. While versatile and meant to be enjoyed any time, this food-friendly Albariño has spring and summertime sipping written all over it (hint, hint). Like its Spanish counterpart, particularly examples from Rías Baixas, this wine’s overall vibrant personality makes it a natural partner to fresh seafood and shellfish. Approximately 95 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Lodi, California. (Other info: 13.5% ABV, 100% stainless, cork enclosure.) 88 Points. Click here to find this wine. 

Backyard Feathered Friend: White-Breasted Nuthatch


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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3/03/2014

Quick Sip: Höpler Pinot Noir 2009 Eiswein


Hello Friends,

Not all sweet wines are created equally, and you would be surprised how many people I meet at tastings who say they don’t care for them at all. Of course, this contradicts the whole ‘Americans generally have sweet palates’ argument, but given the number of simple and sickly sweet wines on the market, it is not too surprising that some wine consumers have a common disregard for them. After all, some of these wines are nothing more than lackluster base wines, only made tolerable by the addition of sugar (and even flavor extracts) to fill holes and/or mask faults. Unfortunately, for the average consumer, this may be their first impression of the blanket expression we call, “dessert wine.” And you know the old adage about first impressions, right?

Höpler Pinot Noir 2009 Eiswein 


And then there’s the wonderful world of rich and complex dessert wines that strike a harmonious balance in the mouth and leave a smile on your face. Common styles include late-harvest, botrytized (noble rot), fortified, straw, and the delicious wine I reviewed below – a traditional Eiswein (Ice Wine). True Eiswein is made by picking the berries late in the season (sometimes into the next year), while they’re shriveled and frozen on the vine and pressing them before they thaw. When pressed, the vintner only gets a droplet of concentrated juice per grape. So, when you combine the fact that only certain regions can produce Eiswein and the number of grapes that go into one bottle, then it’s easy to see why these wines demand the prices they do (and for half-bottles). I had an opportunity to review the Pinot Noir Eiswein from Höpler via @AustrianWineUSA during a recent #winechat event. This wine makes for an excellent addition to the dinner table and can very much be featured on its own as the dessert itself. For further information and where you can find this wine, check out my tasting note below.

Beautiful Color


Review: Höpler Pinot Noir 2009 Eiswein (SRP $69 / 375ml): In the glass, this wine exhibits a beautiful light-to-medium amber color [that speaks fullness] with aromas and flavors of dried apricot, fig, tangerine peel, candied brown sugar, and honeycomb. The palate is unctuously textured with good depth of fruit, flavor intensity, and length. Fine supporting acidity provides plenty of balance to the richness and lifts the finish. Save the cake or pie for another day – this delicious, mouth-filling sweet-treat is a dessert within and of itself. Region: Burgenland, Austria. (Other info: ABV 11.5%, vinified in stainless steel tanks, cork enclosure.) 92 Points. Click here to find this wine.


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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2/24/2014

Quick Sip: Fields Family Wines 2011 Estate Syrah


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Fields Family Wines’ 2011 Estate Syrah. I had an opportunity to taste this wine during a recent event put on by the good folks at Charles Communications and Lodi Wine (aka LoCA). Fields Family Wines is a small family-run operation specializing in the production of small batches of premium wines from Lodi and Napa Valley regions. The Lodi appellation (Central Valley of California) is largely known for red wines with Zinfandel leading the way. But outside of Zinfandel, the area’s diversity, both in soil and climate, accommodates the planting of over 75 grape varieties. The region benefits from significant diurnal temperature swings. The cooler nights provide balance to the warm, sunny days, allowing the berries to retain good natural acidity while achieving optimal flavor development. Syrah is one of the few grape varieties that performs well in both cool and warm climates. This Syrah displays characteristics you would expect to find in warm climate examples and shades of what the variety exhibits in cooler climates. For further information and where you can find this wine, check out my tasting note below.

Fields Family Wines 2011 Estate Syrah


Review: Fields Family Wines 2011 Estate Syrah (SRP $22): Warm climate fruit character mingles with cool-climate structure in this enjoyable bottle of Lodi Syrah. An inviting mix of dark skinned and high-toned berry fruit fill the nose followed by brown spice, white pepper, and a faint smoky quality. The palate is pleasing and ripe, but not overly so, with good depth of fruit and understated acidity adding a refreshing lift through the lingering finish. This wine is nice on its own, but its food-partnering acidity makes it an excellent choice for grilled meats – think baby backs, flank steak, etc. I paired a glass with Old Amsterdam cheese from Holland, which was thoughtfully selected by Cindy Della Monica, owner of Lodi’s Cheese Central. The combination presented a whole new mélange of flavors and texture in the mouth. I highly recommend the duo if you have a chance. Approximately 150 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Lodi [Mokelumne River AVA], California. (Other info: ABV 14.2%, native fermentation and ML, 16 months in French oak – less than 25% new, cork enclosure.) 90 Points. Click here to find this wine. 

Having a splash of  Fields Family Syrah!


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: These wines were received as a media sample for an event. Thoughts are my own.

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2/12/2014

A Trio of Wines from the Finger Lakes: Goose Watch Winery, Glenora Cellars, and Thirsty Owl


Hello Friends,

Today’s Recent Sips features two sparklers and an Ice Wine from the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. I had an opportunity to taste these wines during a recent event put on by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance. In addition to making some really nice Rieslings, which the region is well-known for, the Finger Lakes cool-climate produces a number of bright, well-balanced white and red wines that are well suited to a wide variety of occasions and foods. Sparkling wines are one style of wine that can match just about any situation and any dish you throw at them. Their high acidity and palate-cleaning bubbles make then one of the most versatile and food-friendly wines you’ll find.

Two flutes of Brut Rosé coming right up!


And at these price points, there is no need  to reserve the bubbly for ‘special occasions.’ The special occasion is when you pop the cork-- and that can be any day of the week. Just whip out the [Champagne] flutes, grab some appetizers, invite friends over, pour, and enjoy! For a sweet-ending to your sparkling evening and dinner, the lip-smacking Ice Wine from Thirsty Owl Wine Company makes for a pleasant sipper in place of dessert. For further information and where you can find these wines see my tasting note below. If you're outside the region, your best chance of finding any one of these wines is via the producer’s website (and I have left links).   

Goose Watch Winery Pinot Noir Brut Rosé


Review: Goose Watch Winery NV Pinot Noir Brut Rosé (SRP $18): Deep blush in color, this sparkling wine offers a delightful core of bright red fruit with strawberry and cranberry aromas and flavors leading the way. The wine’s mouth-watering acidity and palate-cleansing bubbles make it a good match for a wide variety of foods – including everything from ham and turkey to picnic fare. Overall, this enjoyable wine is crisp and refreshing and at a price point that won’t break the piggy bank. Region: Finger Lakes, NY. (Other info: ABV 12%.) Click here to find this wine. 

Glenora Wine Cellars 2003 Brut 


Review: Glenora Wine Cellars 2003 Brut (SRP $24.99): This sparkling wine, made using the traditional method as they do in Champagne, is composed of 68% Pinot Noir, 19% Pinot Blanc and 13% Chardonnay. Deep straw in color with a frothy mousse and a fine persistent bead, the wine shows aromas and flavors of mature tree fruit, white stone fruit, and almond butter with muted (sweet) brioche notes. Medium-bodied with lively acidity and a slightly creamy middle, this is a nice and affordable sparkling wine to have around the house for any day you feel like enjoying a nice glass of bubbly. Approximately 992 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Finger Lakes, NY. (Other info: ABV 12.5%) Click here to find this wine.  

Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2012 Ice Wine 


Review: Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Ice Wine (SRP $39.95 / 375ml): Light brick in color with orange-tawny hues, this wine serves up inviting aromas of fresh strawberry preserve, framboise, rhubarb, and crushed cherries. The aromas extend to the palate with a slightly rich texture while remaining light on its feet with just enough acidity to balance the fruit and sugars. Serve chilled in cordial glasses and enjoy this lip-smacking treat for dessert after a scrumptious and satisfying meal. It’s not every day you see an Ice Wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon and this selection is extremely likable and pleasant. (Other info: ABV 13.6%, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.) Click here to find this wine. Note: The '13 is currently available. 

A splash of Thirsty Owl Ice Wine


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: These wines were provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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2/04/2014

Quick Sip: Marques de Gelida Cava 2007 Brut Reserva


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Marques de Gelida Cava 2007 Brut Reserva. The term ‘Cava’ refers to sparkling wines from select areas in northern Spain. They are made using méthode champenoise – which is the same method by which champagne is produced in the Champagne region of France. Unlike Champagne however, native Spanish grape varieties (Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo) are used for producing Cava; though Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, both Champagne grapes, are allowed. For the money, Cava is a good sparkler to open whenever you want to add a little sparkle to your day and /or dining table. From personal experience, I can tell you that it pairs wonderfully with Spanish tapas. For further information and where you can find this wine, see my tasting note below.

Marques de Gelida Cava


Review: Marques de Gelida Cava 2007 Brut Reserva (SRP $15): This Cava is composed of Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo along with15% Chardonnay. Being labeled a ‘Reserva’ indicates that it was aged at least three years before release (up to one year in barrel and one in bottle). In the glass, it exhibits a fine mousse of tiny, persistent bubbles with leading aromas of green apple, spicy yeast, and vibrant citrus fruit followed by toasted almond and light brioche notes. The palate matches the nose with mouth-watering acidity and a dash of elegance in this versatile and budget-friendly sparkler that’s fun, lively, and ready for any occasion. Region: Penedès, Spain (Other info: ABV 11.5 %.) 87 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Let there be Cava!


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends!

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1/28/2014

A Trio of Chardonnays from Stinson Vineyards, Rodney Strong Vineyards, and Doña Paula


Hello Friends,

Just about every day, as wine o'clock approaches, you can find me uncorking or unscrewing a new wine adventure. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine blogger, and someone who appreciates and enjoys the liquid expression of a place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence -- I find wine to be one of the most intriguing beverages in the world. It’s a hobby where there is always something new to taste and learn as well as a sea of friendly "wine peeps" to meet in real life and via those wonderful and time-consuming social media portals called Facebook and Twitter.

Having a splash of Chardonnay!


All three Chardonnays I have reviewed for this segment are expressive, refreshing, lightly toasted in character, and reasonably priced. In all three cases, the barrel influence serves to complement the wine’s aroma, flavor, and texture and does not overwhelm. If for some odd reason you find yourself living in the “Anything But Chardonnay” (ABC) club, then any one of these Chardonnays is a good ticket out! For further information and where you can find these wines, see my tasting notes below.

Stinson Vineyards 2012 Chardonnay


Review: Stinson Vineyards 2012 Chardonnay (SRP $21): This wine is straw yellow in color with inviting aromas and flavors of lively stone fruit, citrus blossom, and white flowers with perfumed honey and delicate toasty vanilla tones wrapped around a solid core of bright acidity. On the palate, it shows some richness in the texture with good depth of flavor and medium length. It's nice by itself yet its vibrant personality makes it an agreeable partner to fish, veggie, and poultry dishes. Approximately 200 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Monticello, Central Virginia. (Other info: ABV 13%, 20% new French oak barrels) 89 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Rodney Strong Vineyards 2012 Chardonnay


Review: Rodney Strong Vineyards 2012 Chalk Hill Chardonnay (SRP $22): This is a bright and nicely textured Chardonnay that offers spiced apple, poached pear, and zesty citrus aromas and flavors lightly framed by toasty oak tones. On the palate, the wine is harmonious with a good acid spine, giving it a nice lift and freshness that extends through the medium-length, spice-accented finish. I enjoyed a glass with stuffed flounder but it's also delicious on its own. In the vast sea of Chardonnay, Rodney Strong consistently delivers an agreeable bottle at the $20 price point. Region: Sonoma County, California (Other info: ABV 13.5%, 100% ML, barrel fermented, aged 9 months, cork enclosure, recommended serving temperature 55° F.) 89 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Doña Paula 2012 Estate Chardonnay


Review: Doña Paula 2012 Estate Chardonnay (SRP $14.99): Golden straw in color, this medium-bodied wine exhibits aromas of (tropical) yellow fruit, lemon zest, honeysuckle, and pithy grapefruit notes with trailing (sweet) butter-cream tones. The palate expresses more floral character that the nose suggests, with a supple texture, understated acidity, and a dash of sea-salt on the tangy, medium-length finish. Doña Paula's Head Viticulturist, Martin Kaiser, calls this a “flexible wine” that would pair well with medium-aged cheeses and white meats. It’s also an affordable midweek option to enjoy on its own. Region: Mendoza Argentina. (Other info: 50% fermented stainless, 50% in new French oak barrels, maturation 6-8 months in French oak barrels, ABV 14.1%, screw cap enclosure.) 88 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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Dezel's My Vine Spot © 2006-2013. All rights reserved.

1/20/2014

Quick Sip: Holman Ranch Vineyards 2011 Sauvignon Blanc


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Holman Ranch Vineyards' Estate-Grown 2011 Sauvignon Blanc. The Holman Ranch is a historic property located at the northern end of California’s Carmel Valley appellation (Monterey County). The region (especially to the north) benefits from ample sunshine combined with the cooling effect of a marine layer in the evening. This creates a mesoclimate well-suited to varieties like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Sauvignon Blanc – all of which are grown on the producer’s 19-acre vineyard. This wine is made from the Sauvignon Blanc musquê clone (less greenness), which is popular in California, and grown at an elevation of 1,100 feet. It expresses both good fruit character and acid balance and is a natural partner to a wide array of dishes. Even though Sauvignon Blanc is synonymous with summer – much like Rosé -- these crisp and fresh wines should be appreciated and enjoyed year-round. For further information and where you can find this wine, see my tasting notes below.

Holman Ranch 2011 Sauvignon Blanc


Review: Holman Ranch Vineyards 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (SRP $18): Light straw in color, this bright and wonderfully refreshing small-production, estate-grown Sauvignon Blanc delivers aromas and flavors of vibrant citrus fruit and green apple with just a whisper of floral notes. The palate is racy and lean with mouthwatering acidity and a pleasant medium-length, fruit-driven finish. It is enjoyable on its own, yet a ready partner to a wide variety of foods. I enjoyed a glass with grilled-chicken Caesar salad and the pairing worked out quite well. Approximately 46 cases of this wine were produced. (ABV 12.5%, cork enclosure.) 88 Points. Click here to find this wine (the '12 is currently available).

Happy Sipping, my friends!


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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

My Vine Spot





Dezel's My Vine Spot © 2006-2013. All rights reserved.