Thursday, September 22, 2016

Wine Reviews: The Best of Summer 2016!

It's the first day of fall and the first time I'll be wrapping up a season with a "Best Of"! A family member presented me with the idea and I love it. Thanks, Ryan!

So here are top five wines that I reviewed this summer, from June 20th to September 21st. Enjoy!

#5. Amity Vineyards Willamette Valley 2015 White Pinot Noir

Amity Vineyards Willamette Valley 2015 White Pinot NoirRegion: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Review Release: July 1st, 2016 (Wine Pick of the Month)


The color of the 2015 White Pinot Noir is a light copper yellow. The nose and palate are bright and lively with fresh lemon juice, cantaloupe, tart red berries, cooked pineapple and white flowers. It's full bodied with an absurdly high level of acidity that leaves your mouth salivating on the finish, begging for food.

The word amity means friendship. This wine is too cool to keep to yourself, so explore it with friends. Pair with fried fish, stuffed quahogs, or nachos.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $25
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)


#4. Lieb Cellars Reserve 2011 Blanc de Blancs

Lieb Cellars Reserve 2011 Blanc de BlancsRegion: North Fork, Long Island, New York
Review Release: July 10th, 2016

When I really love a wine you'll often see me talk about character. That's because I feel like character is a big part of what makes a delicious wine so good. Character separates a wine from its competition. It makes that wine live forever in your memories. It makes you seek a certain wine out; not settle for one from the same grape or region.

This sparkling Pinot Blanc from Long Island has a character all of its own. I would drop $30 on this bottle in a heartbeat and I think you should too. If only to experience its character just once.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $30
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)


#3. Bessa Valley Winery 2006 Enira Reserva

Bessa Valley Winery 2006 EniraRegion: Thracian Valley, Bulgaria
Review Release: August 25, 2016

The most aggressive characteristics of this wine, in aroma and flavor, at this point in its life is raisinated fruits, licorice and menthol. There's also juicy tomato, the inside of an acoustic guitar, and fine black table pepper. It has sweet tannins and a creamy full body, but it's so silky smooth that it can feel light as a feather. I kept taking sips just to feel it. On the finish there's menthol, it gains a tart cherry flavor and the tannins turn up the heat drastically.

Sweet on the nose, elegant on the palate, strong on the finish. Seriously, yo. This is some goddamn impressive vino. Hands down the best I've had from Bulgaria yet.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $40
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)


#2. Garage Winery A.R. Hammond Rheingau Trocken Riesling 2013

Hammond Rheingau Riesling 2013Region: Rheingau, Germany
Review Release: September 18th, 2016

That petrol. That petrol on that nose. Doesn't that make you wanna smack yo momma? That's exactly what it does for me. I freakin' love it. There's also a slatey minerality and fruit aromas of apricots and white peaches.

In the mouth it's light and zesty and super dry. Super dry at 11.5% ABV? Yes. And here's the most important thing... it still tastes like a Riesling. Listen, I love Rieslings from dry to sweet. An enormous pet peeve of mine is when an incredibly dry Riesling is too stoney with barely any fruit so it doesn't taste like a Riesling. That happens a lot when you get up to 13% ABV and it greatly upsets me. But this baby is dry as a bone and it's still obviously a Riesling. The aromas of apricots and white peach carry over to the palate with petrol as an undertone, and it finishes with tart apples.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $15
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)


#1. Lieb Cellars Reserve 2014 Merlot

Region: North Fork, Long Island, New York
Review Release: July 17th, 2016

The flavors are black. Black cherry, blackberry, black olive and black tea. It finishes with tongue and teeth void of saliva from the tannin, the corners of your mouth gushing with saliva from the acidity, and flavors of black cherry and black tea.

Remember "my dad could beat up your dad" from when you were a kid? My $24 Merlot will beat up your $24 Merlot. You have got to be kidding me with that price. This is one of the best deals in Merlot that I have come across yet. Lieb Cellars just curbstomped your dad with this wine.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $24
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Wine Review: Domaine Jocelyne & Yves Lafoy Côte-Rôtie 2013

Domaine Jocelyne & Yves Lafoy Côte-Rôtie 2013

This is the third and final review from a series of wines offered by Bill Adams - Selected. I started off with Hammond Pinot Noir 2014, then went on to Hammond Riesling 2013, and now I'm cleaning it up with Domaine Jocelyne & Yves Lafoy Côte-Rôtie 2013.

Bill is a wine consultant and a really cool dude that's putting together a portfolio of wines. I'm hoping he lands a distributor here in Massachusetts. His website is under construction but once it's up and running I'll add the link in this review.

So Côte-Rôtie is a region within France's Northern Rhone. There in Northern Rhone you're gonna find that Syrah is the thing, as opposed to Southern Rhone which is mostly Grenache with other varieties blended in like Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault.

There's a few places in Northern Rhone where it has to be 100% Syrah but in most you can add Viognier. Viognier is white and when fermented together with Syrah it brings out the aromatics and actually makes the wine darker. In Côte-Rôtie you can go with 100% Syrah or you can use up to 20% Viognier. This Côte-Rôtie is 98% Syrah, 2% Viognier and has a 12.5% ABV.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Wine Review: Garage Winery A.R. Hammond Rheingau Trocken Riesling 2013

Hammond Rheingau Riesling 2013

This is the second review from a series of three wines offered by Bill Adams - Selected. The first was Hammond Pinot Noir 2014, this one is Hammond Riesling 2013, and the final one will be Domaine Jocelyne & Yves Lafoy Côte-Rôtie 2013.

Bill is a wine consultant and a really cool dude that's putting together a portfolio of wines. I'm hoping he lands a distributor here in Massachusetts. His website is under construction but once it's up and running I'll add the link in this review.

Garage Winery was founded in 2000 by Anthony Hammond, born of a father from Chicago and a German mother, and raised in Upper Bavaria. After spending some time in Mississippi and San Francisco, he returned to Europe where he worked in wine shops and caught the winelover fever. Without any family history in the wine industry or winemaking, he settled in Rheingau and started purchasing vineyard land.

Today his headquarters is a warehouse on the banks of the Rhine, surrounded by farm animals, crops and frolicking children. The winery practices biodynamic farming and hopes to be certified soon.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Wine Review: Garage Winery A.R. Hammond Rheingau Trocken Pinot Noir 2014

Hammond Rheingau Pinot Noir 2014

This is the first review from a series of wines offered by Bill Adams - Selected. We're starting off with Hammond Pinot Noir 2014, then we'll go to Hammond Riesling 2013, and finish with Domaine Jocelyne & Yves Lafoy Côte-Rôtie 2013.

Bill is a wine consultant and a really cool dude that's putting together a portfolio of wines. I'm hoping he lands a distributor here in Massachusetts. His website is under construction but once it's up and running I'll add the link in this review.

Garage Winery was founded in 2000 by Anthony Hammond, born of a father from Chicago and a German mother, and raised in Upper Bavaria. After spending some time in Mississippi and San Francisco, he returned to Europe where he worked in wine shops and caught the winelover fever. Without any family history in the wine industry or winemaking, he settled in Rheingau and started purchasing vineyard land.

Today his headquarters is a warehouse on the banks of the Rhine, surrounded by farm animals, crops and frolicking children. The winery practices biodynamic farming and hopes to be certified soon.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Beer Reviews: Two Roads Ok2berfest & Ballast Point Pumpkin Down


Summer isn't officially over but the fall seasonal products have been out for like a month now. Having not done a beer post in awhile I figured I'd pick some up and write about them.

So the other day I posted a well received meme on social media that said "HOW TO ENJOY PUMPKIN BEER. STEP 1: THROW IT IN THE TRASH." so you can guess that I'm not a big fan of pumpkin beer. Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie, even pumpkin cider is absolutely delicious. Pumpkin coffee? No. Pumpkin beer? No. But if it's by a brewery that I know makes great beer and great fruit and veggie beer? I just might be curious because they might have the exception. Because Ballast Point makes great beer and outstanding fruit and veggie beer, I'm giving it a shot.

On the opposite end of the likability scale, I'm a big fan of your traditional Oktoberfest and look forward to their release every year. And, to be honest, I do very much enjoy the Sam Adams "Octoberfest" even though it's not the traditional märzen style, but it's a very delicious beer that's great for the season. Two Roads is one of my new favorite breweries so I got all giggly when I saw their märzen Oktoberfest. Let's drink some beer!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Wine Review: Colomé Estate Malbec 2013

Colomé Malbec 2013

This is the second of two reviews I'm doing for Colomé, the first one being their 2015 Torrontés. That review explains why I'm kinda beaten down and reviews this month will probably be short and blunt. That's probably a good thing for you because you'll probably be spared my usual shenanigans.

What if I told you Colomé's vineyards are among the highest in the world? Calchaqui Valley is in the Salta region of Argentina and one of Colomé's vineyards is at 10,207 feet above sea level. This is why Malbec has embraced Argentina more than any other place in the world: it loves the altitude.

Colomé was founded in 1831, making it one of the oldest working wineries in the country. Those original vines were imported from Bordeaux. Its founder was possibly Salta's Governor Nicolás Severo de Isasmendi y Echalar, but regardless if that's true or not it wound up in his hands anyways. In 1854, Nicolás' daughter Ascensión brought in the first Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec vines in Argentinian history over from France and some of those vines are still producing fruit today. Ascensión was married to José Benjamín Dávalos and the winery would remain in their bloodline for 170 years, when it was bought by Hess Family Wine Estates in 2001. All of the wines Colomé makes are fully sustainable.

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