Sbragia Family Vineyards- Wines that Sing in the Glass

22 Aug

Sbragia Family Vineyards is a Sonoma winemaking family I did not know before..

And now it is one I will never forget.

Sbragia Family Vineyards 2012 Gino’s Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, CA.  15.1%ABV. MSRP $44/bottle. Sample provided by Bacchus Capital Management.

Color is garnet with violet edging. The nose shows red and black fruit, eucalyptus, anise and green pepper. In the mouth, plenty of black and red berries meet spice, black pepper, chewy tannin and nice acidity. Big in flavor, hot on the back palate when the alcohol crosses the threshold. Tasty by itself and with food, this matched up beautifully with pizza, chili, and by itself in the afternoon sunshine on the back porch. Refrigerated after opening the bottle, it lasted nicely for over a week while maintaining freshness and proper balance. Some great value found in the street prices of this wine. #HeyNow!

Sbrag ZIN

 

 

Sbragia Family Vineyards 2014 Home Ranch Chardonnay, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, CA.  14.5%ABV. MSRP $30/bottle. Sample provided by Bacchus Capital Management.

Color is deep straw verging on golden sunlight. On the nose, baked apple pie, pineapple, a hint of baked bread  while toasted cashews tantalize the senses with a strong sense of alcohol. On the palate, white stone fruit, kiwi, lemon zest, marzipan, and vanilla, with granite on the long finish that leaves a zesty heat across the top palate. #SoNice!

Sbrag Chard

 

 

 

Sbragia Family Vineyards 2012 Monte Rosso Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Moon Valley District. Sonoma County, CA.  14.8%ABV. MSRP $65/bottle. Sample provided by Bacchus Capital Management.

What a gorgeous & classic California cab: deep ruby in color. Eucalyptus, menthol, earth, wet leaves and green pepper with cedar on the nose.  Massive cassis and blackberry fruit up front. Some mid-palate spice, some heat, forest floor, saddle leather, and a soil-rich minerality on the finish with lasting heat, lovely oak and a lingering body. Lovely to drink now but what perfection might this be in 5-10 years with the alcohol muted and the fruit sliding back? This wine drank beautifully for a week of evenings when stored in the fridge… rationing a half-glass of heaven each night. This drinks so well right now but I can’t wait to see what it is like in 2022. #BOOM!

 

Cab 2

 

Ed Sbragia of Sbragia Family Vineyards provides a classic California edge with a long-term family history and pedigree you can taste in the glass. Get a few bottles, pop them with friends, and listen got everyone tell you how good they are. They are just that crowd pleasing.

 

à votre santé!

 

#WBC16 Lodi Live Wine Blogging: Red, Red Wines!

20 Aug

Q: NOW, What do you know about Lodi wine?
A1: Holy smokes, EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!
A2: It’s NOT all about Zinfandel! (But there is some amazing Zin here!)

Day 2 of #WBC16. Day 1 was so much fun! When we finished Live (White & Rose) Wine Blogging on Thursday, our table concurred: “Let’s sit together again tomorrow!”
Well, when I arrived, not a single soul from Table 11 was back at Table 11. But over a little ways I saw friends waving wildly, holding a seat for me at Table 17! All the gingers in the entire conference sat at ONE table together. (I can say ginger, because I am one. You can’t, unless you are too. Really. Don’t believe me? Ask Tim Minchin- video at the bottom of this post.) Not that everyone else at the table wasn’t absolutely fabulous- they WERE! They ARE! I adore you all! Especially Loie, Anatoli, Jennifer, Jeff, Kirsten, and Bri-  But gingers have a special power… sometimes used for good, sometimes for… evil. Because… well… GINGERS!

So… here’s my side of the table: IMG_0037

That’s me (left), with Michelle (Rockin’ Red Blog), Cathrine (DameWine) and Lori (Dracaena Wines).

With this much red & ginger power, what chance do those ten red wines have?

Here we go, my RED wine speed tasting notes!

 

IMG_0038

The Federalist Lodi Zin 2014 Lovely blend, (a hint of Syrah) nice cinnamon spice, tannins and body. Very well priced at $17.76 street!

 

 

IMG_0039

Windburn’s 2013 Pinot Noir Sta Rita Hills Ken Brown, winemaker. Red and Blackberry with nice mineralogy, smooth memories of Burgundy! 

IMG_0040Corner 103’s 2013 Zinfandel: A beautifully feminine Zin, great fruit, manageable acid, tannin & spice. Nice!  

 

 

IMG_0041

Brie Vineyards’ 2012 Old Vine Zin Terrific spice and fruit with chewy mid-palate & great, smooth, sensuous finish. 

 

IMG_0042

2012 Henry’s Blend, a Bordeaux-styled blend, aged in neutral oak. A serious wine that gives France something to worry about!

 

IMG_0043

Peirano Winery’s 2013 Old Vine Zin “The Immortal Zin” Red currants & cherry. Supple without the huge spice some Zins offer. Delicate and pretty, long lasting. Tertiary notes of clay, sand, a smidge of oak,  and… eerily vampiric. Yeah, I went there. Will you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses? You know you want to!  

 

 

IMG_0044

2013  Farrah Syrah- Floral nose. Deep purple w/supple fruit. Spicy anise, some forest floor & lovely mouthfeel. Oh, nice minerality on the long finish-$20

 

IMG_0045

Abundance Wine’s 2013 Lodi Carignane. A great example of dichotomy:  Strawberry fruit that presents in a soft and feminine but rich, savory mouthfeel. Damn. Tasting both the cut and the rose, like the goddess Athena just kicked your ass but you loved it!  

 

IMG_0046

2014 OVZ Zin Big, perfumed, jammy fruit. This wine is #1 in CA Zin sales  at the low price of $11/bottle. Rich, bright, just right! Get some- 

and last, but not least:

IMG_0047

Harney Lane’s 2013 Lizzy James Old Vine Zin Dark cherries, lush flavor w/ rich, supple beauty. Magnificent!

Check out the historic, gnarled trunks and vines that demand hand harvesting, the killer fruit, the loamy sand terroir.

IMG_2531

IMG_2530

IMG_2538

IMG_2526

Ok. I’m not done talking about Harney Lane’s Lizzy James Vineyard Zinfandel. I know Twitter capped my tweet, but that won’t stop me here. This wine is so good, it’s frightening. But I’m not really a fan of Zin. Here’s the deal: I won’t drink a decent zinfandel -there are so many great other choices than any ‘meh’ wine- But I love to drink a terrific zinfandel, and this one is mesmerizing. I’ve had amazing wines from Lodi before- Michael David’s Earthquake comes to mind first, but this wine rocked my world again and again, and I kept going back to it at the end of each day to ask “Was (Lizzie James) really among the best wines I tasted all day?” And the answer was always Yes. This wine is beyond special. Lizzy James is EPIC. Don’t know the flavor of Bramble? Wanted a wine that reminds you of fruit cobbler on the finish? Want something to have your entire dinner table ask you WHAT IS THIS DELICIOUS WINE? Seriously: pick this up, savor it for three days, and you can email me a thank you later. <Mic Drop>

Now, about these tasting notes…you might think I moved these wines around in order, but the order I shared them is actually the order they were presented to our table. While the Lizzy James Zinfandel was the last in our red wine speed tasting, I actually tasted this wine on four separate days at WBC16. It was one of several shining stars of the trip, but not the only great wine from this winery, nor the only great zinfandel from Lodi. But most importantly, over the course of the trip, this wine came to represent all of Lodi for me. Because until you spend some time in Lodi with their wines and winemakers, you might write them off as “zin producers”, just like if you don’t really know wine, you might think that Santa Barbara is “just a pinot producer”, or Napa is “just a cabernet” producer. No, no, no! They are SO much more!

Lodi is a unique AVA in the USA, with mediterranean weather and wind patterns, about 60 miles from the Pacific ocean and with sand-rich, desert soil. The winemakers are as unique as the AVAs, and their passion to grow brilliant and tasty fruit results in stunning wines: Spanish grape clones, Rhône grape clones, French grape clones,  German grape clones, Austrian grape clones! You name it, they are growing it in Lodi.

With as many grapes as they are growing, (over 100 varietals) I tasted many, so very many wines that showed intense flavor, terrific winemaking and amazing quality. Because it all starts with tremendous fruit, and intense passion to make the best wine you can make from the finest fruit you can grow.

And they are doing it here, every day, all over Lodi. So get on it, or miss out and feel like a fool.

à votre santé!

Oh, you thought I forgot about calling me ginger, didn’t you? Well I didn’t.

Check out Tim Minchin’s ode to the word ginger in his opus, “Prejudice”. Enjoy!

 

#WBC16 Lodi Live Wine Blogging: White & Rosé Wines

16 Aug

Q: What do you know about Lodi wine?

A: I knew that I should expect the unexpected.

I was floored at the quality of grapes being grown and the wines being made. Albariño, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Roussane, Picpoul Blanc, Verdelho… need I go on? Ok! Grenache Blanc, Kerner, Dornfelder, Viognier…there is some amazing wine being made here, and it’s time we got to see it on the East coast!

I like many things about the Wine Blogger’s Conference, but my favorite “event” is without a doubt,  Live Wine Blogging. It requires preparation, dedication, focus, and is SUCH an intense event! I couldn’t wait to share my posts, sent during the live tasting via Twitter (please follow me @jvbunbcorked) but here they are, assembled into a fun, convenient package together! Ready for the white and rosé wines from Table 11? GO! 

IMG_0021Corner103’s 2015 Sauvignon Blanc. Sonoma funky nose, grapefruit, kiwi, bright acidity. Fun summer in a bottle!

IMG_0022

Old vine Zin OZV Rosé- orange peel nose, red berry fruit on the palate – a tasty steal under $12

IMG_0023

Peirano Estate Chardonnay ’14. A bold chard: Apple, vanilla, rich buttery oak Retail $14- mom’s fave!

IMG_0024

2001 Lucas Chardonnay Beautifully aged chard, structured and balanced so nicely, w/hint of oak!

IMG_0026

Harney Lane 2015 Albariño: Lodi’s softer side: complex with great acidity, drink me w/ fish or poolside!

IMG_0028

Bookisch Vineyard’s 2015 Albariño Terra Alta Vineyard Gorgeous aromatics, key lime and grapefruit favors OrganicCert

IMG_0029

Lange Twins 2015 Rosé of Sangiovese: Strawberry-orange, drink all day by the beach and pair with shellfish!

IMG_0031

Superbly fun 2015 white barbera from d’Art Wines. White orchid, savory nose, stone fruit+ acidity in the mouth. @$20?Get some!

IMG_0032

Michael David Winery’s 2015 Sauv Blanc that doesn’t taste like grapefruit? This rocks!! Clean guava, pear, kiwi. Superb!

IMG_0034

Trione 2015 NZ style, oaked Sauvignon Blanc w/ stone fruit & rosy, wet slate nose. 13.8ABV, $23

Lodi Winemakers continue to break boundaries and prove that they can grow almost any varietal and make simply stunning wines in this unusual AVA. If reading my live tweets doesn’t get you interested in tasting these wines, then you must be waiting for the RED WINE live tweeting! I promise, you won’t wait long. Cheers from Table 11! 

IMG_0019

à votre santé!

To Lodi, with Love

10 Aug

It’s time to start #WBC16, the annual Wine Bloggers Conference. This may mean little to you, but to me, it’s a fabulous combination of old and new. I get to see many friends and like-minded wine-writers and oenophiles, taste a bunch of wines, meet the winemakers, and share them with you! I am doubly excited this year, because I was on tour last year during WBC15 and couldn’t make the conference, even though it was in my home state. A very frustrating situation, indeed.

In honor of my Lodi stay, I’m including links to some great Lodi wines I have reviewed previously here on JvBUncorked:

Ripken Vineyards’ 2006 Late Harvest Viognier

Michael David Winery’s 2010 Earthquake Zinfandel 

Michael David Winery’s 2011 Earthquake Zinfandel

Hahn Family Winery’s 2012 Boneshaker Zinfandel  

Iconic Wine 2014 SK Sidekick Cabernet Sauvignon

You mighty notice that so far, I’ve reviewed viognier, cabernet, and zinfandel from the Lodi region. Well, 100 different grape varietals are grown in Lodi, so while you may expect some Zin, I am expecting the UNEXPECTED. Keep your eyes peeled for all of your favorite wine bloggers on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other media to load up your inbox with posts from #WBC16.

I’m going Lodi!

Unlike CCR, I won’t be complaining about “being stuck in Lodi”. Far from it.

à votre santé!

 

Summer Wine Fun: Stella Rosa Low Alcohol Wine Cocktails

21 Jul

Remember on hot summer days, when people used to ask for a wine spritzer at the poolside bar? They would usually receive a glass of cheap white wine with some soda water, a swizzle stick and a slice of lime thrown in. Well, forget that blast from the past. 

Here are two tasty summer wines you can enjoy at home, poolside, or at the beach. Standard 750ml wine bottles or individual 250ml servings in shatterproof aluminum bottles with a screw-top enclosure, and the price is right. What more do you want for summer fun?

Stella Rosa Platinum, 5%ABV. Street Price: $4/250ml, or  $12/750ml bottle.

SR Platinum

Color is pale straw with gentle effervescence. The nose offers candied apple and sweet apricot. In the mouth, sweet apple, kiwi, and honeysuckle provide the initial rush. The acidity follows with hint of tart lime and dried apricot. Secondary notes of marzipan, cashew and almond gently linger. The finish leaves a hint of candied apple/jolly rancher on the top of the palate with a sweet memory on the tongue while the effervescence resolves with your palate prepared for the next sip.

Stella Rosa Black, 5%ABV. Street Price: $4/250ml, $12/bottle.

SR Black

Color is medium garnet with subtle effervescence, a few clusters of bubbles in the middle of the glass but heavy around the rim. The nose has sweet red plum, cherry jam, and strawberry compote. On the palate, black cherry soda and mixed berry jam lead the pack, followed by a sweet cherry-laced acidity crossing the top palate and leaving a clean finish on the back palate.

On the neck of the bottle just below the cap there is a red band with the following label: “Semi-Sweet, Refreshing and Delicious. Product of Italy” I will agree wholeheartedly. In summer’s heat, sometimes you need or want something other than your usual quaff, and this may be just the thing you are looking for. With far more flavor, character, and sugar than those Bartle and Jaymes Wine Coolers of the 1980s, I expect to see these on golf carts and boats, at the beach, and poolside in years to come as a low alcohol cocktail and mixed drink alternative. Add a piece of fruit if you like- you can serve three of these compared to one glass of  of some of the bar’s popular “fruit bomb” red wines with 15% alcohol. What’s not to like?

à votre santé!

 

“Now, I Am Alone.” Puffeney Arbois Vin Jaune ’08

19 Jul

Writers create in a bubble (no, not bubbly. Sorry Jeff!) Sure, those bubbles may differ. Some work in quiet, others with blasting music in their ears, but all require some level of solitude.

So I found it funny, in a sort of ‘funny wistful’, and not ‘funny ha-ha’ fashion, that this month’s #MWWC26 theme is Solitude, as it shifts from many of the common themes The Monthly Wine Writing Challenge has had to point towards a very real truth. We have a great deal of solitude. We are born alone, we die alone. We may drink together, but we taste only what we taste, and then we can discuss that with others around a table. Or we can type those notes into a tablet, phone, or other I-thingy and share them with a greater audience. I think The Traveling Wine Chick Beth’s subconscious realizes exactly how lonely the road can be on her many myriad travels, hence her choice of themes.

As someone who also travels alone regularly for work,  I can sympathize.

 

wine-stain1-3

 

Writers need an audience, even if it is only themselves again at a later date. Let us be practical for a moment, and consider the following:  For whom did you really think people who journal are journalling for?

Let that one sink in for a moment.

Conversely, those of us who write about wine are NOT doing it for ourselves. Some do it for money, some might do it for the occasional free wine. Personally, I do it for the untold teeming masses- sure I have some friends and family who read my blog, but it is largely for the people I don’t know who subscribe to my blog and for the people who stumble upon it by accident. As I have begun to enjoy the benefits of blogging, I attend tastings more often to educate myself on wines rather than to attempt to write reviews- which is a difficult challenge if one tries to review every wine served in a large tasting. Often a tasting leads me to several wines I want to try again, and make it part of my repertoire and knowledge base to share with others.

We all spend much of our time in solitude.

When alone (In Solitude), we often speak our thoughts aloud. When acted out, these are referred to as monologues or soliloquies.

Some of the most famous words we know are soliloquies, monologues from plays like Hamlet, MacBeth, Romeo and Juliet. Or from films like The Godfather, On the Waterfront, Caddyshack and Taxi Driver.  And recently, Frank Underwood from House of Cards.

When I was young I enjoyed acting. An actor spends a great deal of time learning lines, developing a character, and then joining other actors to create a performance for an audience. As an actor, I learned to take a moment as the stage cleared and to begin a monologue by saying in my mind, only to myself, these words: “Now, I am alone.” At this point, a character can then address themselves, no one, or the entire world. In this way, one actor alone controls the audience, holding them rapt and on edge, or boring them to look away and check their watches or phones.

It is much the same with a wine, or a wine review. I bring home a wine, I study it, contemplate it, and then share it with the world… for better, or for worse. It is like performing a monologue.

By solitude and contemplation, I am able to share wines beyond my immediate table and with the entire world. Here is one that has been haunting me lately:

Jacques Puffeney’s Arbois Vin Jaune 2008, Appelation Arbois, Jura, France. 14%ABV, Street price approx $80/bottle.

From 100% Savagnin grapes, aged in barrels for 6 years, 3 months before bottling. Color is deep gold, while the nose offers heavily oxidized sherry, almond, and a hint of butterscotch. With a neutral palate, bracing acidity will be the initial flavor profile should you taste this incorrectly. Instead, have a piece of Comté cheese, let it gently coat your mouth, and then have a sip. At this point, the palate registers mature lemon, then a hint of almond paste, followed by a mouth-watering tartness and a savory top palate that wafts a delightful sherry aroma back up through your nasal cavity. The last of the Puffeney Vin Jaune. Sold in a 620 ml Clavelin, the shape of the bottle is only one indication that this is not your father’s French white wine.

photo

I have served this wine to friends, asking them to taste it alone to negative, shocked palates, and then again immediately after food. The response is night and day- from an “ugh” to an “Ahhh!” In pairing with food, the power is readily apparent.

With the announcement of his retirement and sale of his vineyards in 2015, Puffeney’s legacy has left behind a throng of dedicated fans. For those who manage to find a bottle, the tough choice is to savor it alone, or share it with close friends. I have and will continue to do both with Vin Jaune, as a rare and unusual wine should be shared and appreciated.

Solitude with this wine allows us to contemplate the dedication of farming, the mystery and brilliance in the winemaking, and the joy of sharing it with others which allows us to celebrate the same.

Even amongst friends, to taste this wine is to know it is the pinnacle of a man’s sole, lifelong goal and crowning achievement; the zenith of his years of solitude as a farmer and winemaker, for the joy of the masses. His soliloquiy, expertly performed, performed for an audience of wine lovers in the gallery.

This, my friends, is the essence great wine, and a strong wine community.

 

à votre santé!

 

OK! Bordeaux Superior for $10…GO!!!

14 Jul

Chateau La Reine Audry 2010.

It’s a red Bordeaux Blend. Do you like them? Then get some!

I bought this $10 bottle to help fill up an empty space in a mixed case with a couple of super-rare, no-longer available Jura wines from Jacques Puffeney (tangent, sorry). I tasted it at dinner with my brother-in-law, (a doctor who drinks red wine every night) who thought it was the best wine he’d had in a long while. Me, I thought it was a killer value. 

So the next morning, I sent a half case to my dad as a belated Birthday/Father’s Day present, along with a few other things I really wanted him to try. It was a package of great, affordable reds from Spain, France & Italy. But this was the ONE wine I sent him a HALF CASE of. Because I know he is going to love it, and he doesn’t know it’s dirt cheap. (Dad also doesn’t read my blog, and I trust you will NOT tell him!)   

And now I’m sharing this with you, dear readers, out of guilt. Because I also love you, and so many of you adore great buys under $20, and I rarely find really good wines in that price range. When I do, I am often quick to point it out. This time I was lax, and I apologize. So here you are, Loie, Kim, Angela, Lynn- some of my favorite readers who love the bargain pricing? This one’s for you!

Chateau La Reine Audry. Currently listing for around $15/bottle at Astor wines, today’s Bastille Day sale gets you a 30% discount to $9.96! For my West coast friends, The Wine Club in SF also has it for just over $10/bottle. It’s a STEAL at that price. 

What are you waiting for? This delicious red has cassis, red plum, and a ton of tannins. A beautiful bordeaux superior blend that is hard to beat at this price. It’s a 2010. It’s drinking beautifully right now. 

I dare you to find a better CURRENTLY AVAILABLE Bordeaux for under $10.

If you do, I owe you a bottle from my personal stock (my choice, not yours. It won’t be the Puffeney).

Sorry I didn’t take a bottle shot.

ChAudry Edit

My lousy, “I didn’t think this was going on my blog until after I enjoyed it” picture.

 

La Reine AudryA little more even label shot, photo credit to wine-searcher.com.

 

à votre santé!

and yes… this one’s for you. But you know I can’t say that without remembering my time mixing monitors for Barry Manilow when he was performing on Broadway right?

Iconic Wines go Lodi!

4 Jul

I’m a fan of small, independent winemakers. Over the last couple of years I’ve been fortunate to try wines from Iconic and quickly became a fan of their Heroine Chardonnay (my original review of Heroine Chardonnay is here).

So of course, I jumped at the chance to taste their current lineup and meet winemaker Birk O’Halloran and his partner Karl Antle from Iconic Wines on a crowded Times Square rooftop.

17 floors above Broadway, it’s much quieter without traffic but like fighting through a crowded, subway-car-like-bustle to get close to the wines being poured. Grabbing a plastic cup of pink wine, it would be easier to down it and ask for another like black and white movie scene featuring a gunfighter in a saloon. But this is an entirely new situation. So I sipped…at first… before asking Birk for another. And I understood why the line for the wine was wrapping down the side of the building past the bocce court to the elevators.

 

Birk

Birk O’Halloran, star winemaker, sporting (1) a bottle of Secret Identity rosé, (2) a bottle of Heroine chardonnay, and (3) a Jamie-Lannister-from-Game-of-Thones-styled-beard. Beard not for sale on line (currently) at http://www.IconicWine.com. 

 

Rose Front

Shhh! It’s so darn tasty, it’s a secret! 

Rose Back

Enter Secret Identity Dry Rosé 2015. MSRP is $18, and a mere 11% ABV, the winemaking details were a real surprise- the grape blend includes zinfandel and syrah! To the casual drinker, what you need to know is that this is a superbly dry, crisp, light, delicious rosé. You would be shocked to see an entire rooftop of NYC power-brokers drinking this, but believe me, they loved this wine as much as I did. It will rock with seafood, appetizers and light entrées but I doubt the bottle will last that long. It will delight your palate, disappear almost magically from your glass, and you will find yourself wishing you’d picked up several bottles.

In addition to Heroine and Secret Identity, Iconic has launched a new SK line- the Sidekick wines!

Iconic’s Sidekick or SK category, starting with SK (Sidekick) Chardonnay.

Sidekick Front

Sidekick back

 

2014 SK Sidekick Chardonnay, Napa, CA. MSRP $18, 13%ABV. Beautiful aromatics of honeysuckle, apricot and hay. The palate features stone fruit: crisp green apple and white pear with even acidity and a floral aftertaste. Stainless steel fermentation unlike their flagship Heroine Chardonnay which is matured in oak- because every hero needs a sidekick! A perfect introduction to California chardonnay, and a great primer for Heroine- to which you might become addicted. Yeah, I went there. And that’s how I treat bottles of Heroine Chardonnay in my cellar.

 

Iconic Wine 2014 SK Sidekick Cabernet Sauvignon. Because LODI! 

Iconic Cab front

iconic cab back

Lodi’s cabernet grapes are the star of this new wine for Iconic. Bold plum and blackberry lead on the front palate, followed with cassis and black earth. Silky tannins with notes of cedar, anise, granite and potting soil. Great on its own or with red meat, and at $18/bottle MSRP, it is a tremendous value- a real steal in California Cabernet!

Each time I have tasted Iconic’s wine, I have been impressed by the flavors, attention to detail, structure, and my overall enjoyment of their products. One of my surprises came when I included the 2013 Heroine Chardonnay in a neighborhood tasting where it was unanimously the public’s preferred wine in a tasting of pricey, worldwide options. I hope you take an opportunity to find their wines (currently in more than 37 of NYC’s finest restaurants) and other locations, found here.

I’m especially excited about Iconic’s relationship with Lodi in choosing great fruit for their wines. I have been a fan of Lodi for a while, but I the upcoming #WBC16 Wine Bloggers Conference. I will be participating with over a hundred other wine bloggers, meeting with Lodi winemakers, and tasting their wares.

Heroine Label

The Heroine Wine Label. What’s better than a superhero? A super Heroine!

à votre santé!

Summertime Wine- My Guilty Pleasures!

1 Jul

The change of seasons in NYC is always a celebration for oenophiles and foodies. The city becomes a trove of sidewalk cafes, while at home we clean the barbecue and begin dining al fresco.

summer dinner

And the wine. Oh, the wine!

The change in seasons makes my palate stand up and shout, “Give me more!” It’s a time to satisfy your palate with all the flavors it is hungry for!

Who am I to deny? White Burgundy, Aligoté, Chablis, Chardonnay, Sparkling Riesling, Bordeaux Blanc, Prosecco, Savanin, Classic Bordeaux, Pinot, Rosé. Yummmmm.

The past few months have been painstaking with work, and a glass of wine upon my return home in a desperate, late night chance to catch up, catch my breath, pay some bills, re-connect with my life mentally, and then disconnect with a few hours of sleep. Here are the things I have sometimes been reviewing, but have always been enjoying: my guilty pleasures!

EricForest Saint-Véran

Morey&Hild

case of Les Haut

Kerbiquet Bouchot Fumé

Summer 1

Summer Saviagnin

Summer Morey Blanc

Substance Cab

Les Haut Rosé

Thienpont

 

So my list of guilty pleasures is longer than I expected.

What have YOU Been drinking that’s a guilty pleasure?

C’mon. You know you’re dying to tell me! 

 

à votre santé!

Pinot and Oregon’s Panther Creek Cellars

20 Jun

For lovers of pinot noir, Ken Wright is the master of Oregon vinification. Wright founded Panther Creek Cellars in 1986, and his collaborator Tony Rynders, (celebrated for his work at Domaine Serene) took the reins as consulting winemaker at Panther in 2013 when Bacchus Capital Management acquired the operation. Together, management and winemaker strive for continued growth and excellence while seeking new heights and producing multi-faceted expressions of pinot noir as Panther Creek Cellars celebrates its 30th year.

With Panther Creek’s vineyards in six of Oregon’s greatest AVAs and nine iconic territories, Rynders has both the knowledge and the tools at hand to develop stunning wines, and a taste of them is all that is required to know that Panther Creek offers serious competition in quality wines.

 

Panther Creek 2014 Pinot Gris, 13%ABV, $20/bottle MSP

I’m normally reluctant about pinot gris made in the USA but Rynder’s Eola-Amity Hills AVA is closer to the Burgundian whites than some  would admit. While the 2013 showed as slightly more lush and creamy, the 2014’s expression is elegant and crisp with notes of golden delicious apple, lemon rind and honeydew melon. The medium-long finish has a savory balance between expressive fruit and zippy acidity with no barrel aging to cover imperfections. Delightful cold but beautiful as it warms and can show complete expression. It is becoming a solid value from Oregon in the $20 and under field.

PC Gris

 

Panther Creek Single Vineyard 2014 Kalita Vineyard Pinot Noir. 14.3%ABV, $50/bottle MSP. 

Dark ruby in color; bright raspberry and cherry nose with green herbs; brisk cherry and red plum on the palate with subtle vanilla, baking spice, mineral and vegetal notes on the medium-long finish.  This beautifully feminine expression of pinot is fruit-forward with vibrant acidity, a gentle oak backbone and a complex mineral base of sedimentary soil. The jovial, friendly and well-spoken Arthur Kalita carries a jar of his Kalita soil to tastings (featured to the left of the bottle in the photo below) which is helpful to remember the layering flavors of the wine when the fruit and floral notes that drive it forward are capable of making you forget the complexity and beauty the Kalita vineyard offers in the bottle. If I were to cellar this, I’d expect it to be even more gorgeous and refined to classic perfection in six to ten years, as the ability is absolutely there for those who have the patience. Personally, I’d drink it now as the wine pairs gorgeously with a wide array of flavor profiles from meslcun-and-chicken sausage pizza, to Sockeye Salmon, but is brilliant on its own.

 

PC Kalita

Panther Creek 2014 Schindler Vineyard Pinot Noir

Offering a strong contrast to Kalita, the Schindler Vineyard provides a big, brawny and masculine expression of pinot noir. Deeper in color with a nose of massive black fruit, the palate proves dark black cherry, allspice and black pepper, and powerful acidity and tannins. To me, this is a pinnacle of age-worthy burgundy that can be enjoyed now while massive in proportion, or aged to a balance of perfection. The wine drinks gorgeously alone but simply sings with food, complementing duck, ribs, and beef tartare easily, bringing out additional floral notes as well as heavy tones of earth, cedar, granite and leather. A monumental wine that offers tremendous value in being affordable for those who love world-class pinot noir.  Thinking about joining an Oregon wine club? You should consider Panther Creek- I know I am!

 

PC Schindler

 

PC SchindlerS

Robert & Janet Schindler, with whom I just loved hanging out with and chatting about wine, sound, and cochlear implants. Seriously! 

 

When it comes to single vineyard pinot noir and pinot gris, it is worth your time to check out Panther Creek Cellars and specifically the Schindler and Kalita vineyard wines. Rynders is crafting great wines, and I only expect them to get better in quality. Currently, they offer excellent expression of both the feminine and masculine sides of pinot noir, are very Burgundian in style for Oregonian wines, and sell at competitive price point.

Need more proof?  Just taste it- the proof is in the glass.

à votre santé!

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 145 other followers

%d bloggers like this: