Alois Trebulanum Casavecchia ’04 IGT

20 Nov

Trebulanum by Michele Alle Alois Vineyards, Casavecchia Campania IGT 2004, Pontelatone, Italy. Purchased from Garagiste,  found online from $40-$60/bottle. ABV 13%.

An opaque garnet color with violet edging. The nose offers reluctant fruit, tobacco, menthol, forest floor, and old wood. The palate stays in powerful & dark territory: hints of aged black currant and dried date are met with strong acidity and huge tannins, flavors of pepper, clove, flint, saddle leather, potting soil and barnyard are present; the fruits change on the long finish and brighten as the tannins fade. What a massive wine, showing tremendous depth with only a decade of maturity.

What a delightful dry red, and perfect at this age. Poured using a decanting spout and impressive from the first nose, this bottle I must confess is an accident. It was part of a “garage sale” case I bought from Garagiste Wine Club which is one of my guilty pleasures. I paid 20.83 per bottle for a mixed case of “who knows” with the promise of being shocked and amazed. This is the first bottle opened from this mystery case and so far I’m thrilled. Plus, I recognized an aged white burgundy that made my heart leap and made the price of the case a virtual steal for a guy like me. And a few other treats I’m not willing to disclose yet. YMMV. But you should come over and help me drink some of these treats, it’s good stuff!

I digress. Back to the topic at hand (and in glass), the Alois Vineyards website can be found here, or copy & paste: http://www.vinialois.it/alois/en/

Alois

 

What mystery wine has knocked you back? Do tell!

à votre santé!

From JvB’s Cellar (Bin #1): Thanksgiving Wines (11-23-10)

19 Nov

From JvB’s Cellar, A return on the “Thanksgiving Wines” post! Originally posted to Facebook, before I was hounded into blogging. :) My current thoughts on this year’s wine will hopefully posted by Thursday night, one week before the big meal. (Showbiz schedules aren’t as friendly as bankers hours!)

—————Thanksgiving Wines (originally posted 11-23-10) ——————

This has been requested by a half-dozen different people, so I’m making it a note.

Here’s my $0.02 on Thanksgiving wine, and I’ll try to stay on the inexpensive side of wines, 9-15/bottle, for large groups like this. At Thanksgiving I tend to serve several wines: A main white, a second white (Riesling for the reluctant drinker), a gentle red, and a serious red.

1) I always serve a dry white (either a Bordeaux like Lamothe de Haux ’09, Chateneuf Herzog, or a white Burgundy like the Latour Macon-Lugny Les Genievres, each @ $10/bottle). It helps get people to the table, great to drink while cooking or chatting, and a good dinner wine for people who want can’t drink red, want something to clear their palate but don’t really like to drink wine much but want a glass at the table, or similar reasons.

2) I also always have a bottle of a dry Riesling on hand. Some people can’t digest the tannins of reds and the whites are often too mineral-tasting or too dry without food, and a demi-dry white or a dry Riesling is my secret weapon. At about $9/bottle, I have found my wife and mom both love bottles like Mosel Germany’s Clean Slate ’08 and Relax ’07, which are unpretentious, tasty, and fun to drink without being too sweet, while being a decent food complement for those non-wine drinkers who just want a little something in their glass to enjoy. They are often screw-cap, which makes them easy to serve & save.

3) For reds, in the last three years I have turned from my traditional “too-heavy” cabernets to the balanced and more appropriate Pino Noir for Thanksgiving red. I serve either the Joseph Drouhim Nourgogne Pino “Laforet” ’07, the Chamarre’ Grande Reserve Pinot Noir ’07, or Louis Latour Pinot Noir Bourgogne, all in the $9-$12 bottle range. If I have guests who are Californian wine drinkers, the Ramsay North Coast ’08 Pino, which is big and bold, is a great choice around $14/bottle.

4. Lastly, I always keep a serious red on hand, just in case I have a serious red drinker. It also is great as the meal progresses or if you have a red meat course or a flavor that is looking for a big wine to complement it. On the low end of the price scale, I adore Los Vascos ’06 Cabernet Sauvignon which is a Rothschild (Lafite) grape grown in Chile, and is an outstanding value at 9/bottle. There are also always a lot of great Bordeaux out there in the 10-15 range, Chateau de Costis, Chateau du Pin, Chateau Greysac (Medoc) ’06, Chateau Lascaux ’05, all solid choices. If I want to step that up a notch, there are some excellent choices in the 18-25/bottle range, such as Lafite Reserve Speciale (Medoc) ’06, Chateneuf du-Pape and Margaux which will largely vary on the vintner and year depending on where you buy wine.

Happy Holidays!

Garnacha With Love

17 Nov

The wine grape Grenache in France, or Garnacha, as it’s called in Spain, is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world. Sadly in the USA, we tend to think of it primarily as a blending grape, when there are many vineyards producing great single varietals. I recently had an opportunity to taste six of the Spanish beauties, and the first four wines have tasting notes are below. Thanks to Sofia Gonzalez, Wines of Garnacha, and Stefanie Schwalb for the tasting!

 

La Miranda de Secastilla 2012, Granacha Blanca, Spain. 13.5% ABV, Street price $13-14/bottle.

Color is a neutral medium straw. With a delightfully floral nose, honeysuckle and sweet white peaches, the mouth gets a crisp fruit attack with creaminess in the body before the acidity. Some gentle minerality of sandy loam and aged cedar plank on the finish. The overall experience is rich and opulent, and understand the depth of this compliment: I really enjoyed this bottle, would accept this wine in place of a white Bordeaux blend in the same price range of $13-20.
LaMirandadeSacastilla

 

 

Castillo de Monséran Cariñena Garnacha 2012 by San Valero. 12.5% ABV. Street price $8.

Color is medium violet with garnet edging, the nose is gentle blue fruit, menthol and old wood. Black plum, blueberry, and black cherry are evident on the soft palate with hints of forest floor, potting soil, and an essence of stone on the finish that reminds you of Pyrenees mountain range. Really surprising value to be had here; with the soft fruit and complex body this bottle compares well with wines over $35.

CastillodeMonseran

 

Vinas Del Vero’s Secastilla Somontano Garnacha 2009. 14.5% ABV. $24 street.

Deep garnet in color, a nose of blackberry jam. Dark, spicy black fruit on the palate. Robust and viscous, this wine begs for tapas and Spanish entrees but paired equally well with chili, Mexican, and a spicy chicken stir-fry.

SecastillaB&G

 

PDM Pagos del Mancayo, Garnacha 2012, Campo de Borja, Spain. 14% ABV, Online from $12-14/bottle.

Deep violet color, nose of blue and black young fruit with green vegetation, and a hint of dank compost. On the palate, the fruit is muted yet mature, while strong tannin and acidity remain. An ideal wine for protein-heavy tapas: not overpowering, but palate cleansing. Very dark palate and secondary flavors, forest floor, tar, cedar, graphite, and coffee grounds. My food pairing choice was mediocre but the strong flavors in the bottle made me certain that a proper pairing shows this as a stunning wine. Hearty meals centered on meat would pair best, such as a stew, roast, or meat sauce. http://pagosdelmoncayo.com/en/11-garnacha.html

PdM Garnacha

 

Overall I was impressed by the quality of the wines I tasted, and was glad to be educated to the quality of this grape by the sampling. This tasting certainly opened my eyes and my taste buds, and I enjoyed both the wide range of flavors, the quality of production and the end value to the consumer that was demonstrated by these producers, and I know that you will appreciate them as well!

What’s your favorite garnacha/grenache wine? Click the comments tab and let me know!

à votre santé!

Belleruche Rosé from Côtes-du-Rhône

3 Nov

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Belleruche Côtes-du-Rhône 2013, M. Chapoutier, Rhône, France. 13% ABV. $13 at Wine & Spirit Company;  Online pricing from $10-14/bottle.

Color is a light blush, with a nose of young red raspberry and strawberry. In the mouth, red plum and a hint of strawberry, without the sweetness. Good blend of acidity, delightfully dry finish with notes of saline and sandy clay. A good wine to have on hand for the fall season, at this price is an easy contender for your late afternoon aperitif, early evening meal pairing, maybe even your Thanksgiving meal. My preferred Thanksgiving rosé is much more expensive, but this is flexible and leaves the mouth fresh and ready for the next bite. Try it: like great literature, it will grow on you, a wonderful value in Côtes-du-Rhône.

à votre santé!

Flor De Campo Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County

26 Oct

Flor De Campo Chardonnay 2010, Sanford Winery, Lompoc, Santa Barbara County, CA. Purchased at Wine & Spirit Company Austin Street NYC $28. Found online for $12-20/bottle. ABV 13.8%.

I found this bottle today when scouring the racks at a small local store. They have higher prices than larger stores, but the owner prides himself on providing quality wines. Since I’d managed to visit the winery this summer before and during #WBC14, the Wine Blogger’s Conference, I was immediately intrigued, and picked up the bottle.

The color shows pale sunshine with subtle green tinge. The nose offers wildflowers, iris, passion fruit, and apricot. In the mouth, this chardonnay shows a  delightful fruit blend, both tropical and citrus, yet creamy and nicely balanced with zesty acidity. New oak, gravel and schist show on the finish. A delight to drink by itself, it also paired wonderfully with both chicken and fish as a delicate, subtle foil. Utilizing screwcap closure, Flor de Campo was as perfect on day three after opening as on day one of tasting, and I enjoyed it both at cold temperatures which features the fruit and acidity, as well as closer to room temperature which enhanced the aromatics and creaminess of the wine.

FlordeCampo

A value at the internet prices I saw, I was happy to know I could find a local (albeit expensive) provider for immediate supply if needed/desired.

Having tasted the 2013 harvest at the vineyard while they were bottling, I was very happy to try the 2010 and confirm that the vintages have great consistency. Another positive mark for Sanford, where the passion they have for the product really shows.

Below are a few additional pictures from my trip to Sanford  this summer, documented on my post about Sanford Wine here : http://bit.ly/JvBSanford. I truly enjoyed discussing the vineyard and winemaking process with winemaker/GM Steve Fennel and hie entire team, which might be evident by the array of photos I took while there.

 

sign v2

Grapes for this wine are near the entry to the vineyard.  

IMG_0429

Chardonnay grapes on the vine. 

 

Chardonnay Grape Vine

Lovely vines, great fruit!

hoppers

Ready for crush?

Stainless

The next step in the process, then on to…

Barrels

 …storage in OAK!

Cold Filtration

Cold filtration, final step before bottling. 

jvb&auggie copy

Auggie (left) a winemaker on the team at Sanford for over twenty years. The author on the right.

 

IMG_0441

 Part of the automated bottling of the 2013 Flor De Campo at Sanford Winery. 

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 The label goes on, and into the box they go, ready for distribution!

 

 

à votre santé!

Castillo de Molina

15 Oct

San Pedro Reserva Castillo de Molina Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Central Valley, Chile. $11 at Mayfair Wine & Liquor. %14 ABV.

Color in the glass is deep garnet with rose edging. The nose shows cassis, young black plum, forest floor, young oak and a hint of menthol. In the mouth, a mix of fully ripe black cherry, blackberry and black plum, dried flowers, clay and some barnyard funk on the finish. A full-bodied wine with a very South American attitude. Pairs best with strong flavors, retains balance on the second and third day after opening. A solid value at this price point, best demonstrated with gamey meats, spicy fare or savory cheeses.

Castillo De Molina

à votre santé!

Boneshaker Zin: Trick and Treat!

8 Oct

Boneshaker Zinfandel 2012; Hahn Family Winery, Lodi California. Retail $19.99; street price approx $16/bottle. 15% ABV. 

The first days of fall. It’s the time of year when I finally start drinking red wines again after finishing out the ‘indian’ summer stock I have left. Early fall requires you to transition back to cooler weather and look for solutions (activities, clothing, and yes, even wine) that can handle both hot and cold, chilly fall breezes while you break a sweat under the hazy afternoon sun.

Syrah and red zinfandels are ideal choices right now, but the one wine that has topped them for me is my trick and your treat: Boneshaker Zinfandel from Lodi, CA.

Deep purple color with violet edging, the nose is a jammy boysenberry. On the tongue: black plum, blackberry, and cassis bursts through the palate leaving residual heat in its wake (15%ABV). Slowly you revel in cacao and spice box on the finish, as the tannins unexpectedly slide into home plate leaving your mouth aching for another sip. 

This is the perfect fall wine to drink from late afternoon watching the sun turn clouds into pinkish orange cotton candy, and to pair up later in the evening with fall chili or those spicy BBQ ribs you’ve been jonesing for.

What could be better for All Hallow’s Eve? Nothing but Boneshaker.

The label, a retro industrial negative design of wrought iron, early bikes and split chain links, provokes the essence of early leather-clad riders on motorcycles, and the barn where you made out in the hayloft as a precocious teenager. Turn the light off, and watch it emit an eerie green glow in the dark. Just enough trouble, and too much fun.

Lodi, you keep me guessing with surprise after great surprise. Well done, and Happy Halloween!

Boneshaker

à votre santé!

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