Archive | August, 2016

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!

 

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#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!

 

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

 

 

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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!  

 

 

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

 

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

 

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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!  

 

 

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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

 

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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!  

 

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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:

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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.

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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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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! 

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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!

 

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