Monday, December 29, 2014

Wine Review: L.A. Cetto Private Reserve 2009 Nebbiolo

December is L.A. Cetto Month thanks to International Spirits and Wine!

L.A. Cetto Private Reserve 2009 Nebbiolo

This is the 2009 Private Reserve Nebbiolo from L.A. Cetto. Estate bottled in Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley) in the state of Baja California, Mexico. The ABV is 13.8%. Paul Hobbs claimed it to be one of the top 25 Nebbiolo's in the world, with the other 24 coming from Piedmont.

For some background on the L.A. Cetto winery and links to the other reviews in this series, please check out L.A. Cetto - A Brief History of the Mexican Winery. To learn more about Mexican wine in general, I've written a complete history on the subject: Mexico makes wine too, muchacho.

Here's what you've seen from this series of L.A. Cetto reviews:
Petite Sirah and unoaked Chardonnay are Satisfying (3/5)
Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc are Recommended (4/5)
Zinfandel and Private Reserve Chardonnay are Highly Recommended (5/5)

So none of them were bad and most of them were oustanding. I'll gladly drink any of them any night of the week. And now as a finale I'm going to review the Big Papi of the #1 Mexican winery. The one that made them what they are today.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wine Review: L.A. Cetto Private Reserve 2011 Chardonnay

December is L.A. Cetto Month thanks to International Spirits and Wine!

L.A. Cetto Private Reserve 2011 Chardonnay

This is the 2011 Private Reserve Chardonnay from L.A. Cetto. Estate bottled in Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley) in the state of Baja California, Mexico. The ABV is 13.5%. It won the Silver Medal at the 4th Annual New York International Wine Competition.

For some background on the L.A. Cetto winery and links to the other reviews in this series, please check out L.A. Cetto - A Brief History of the Mexican Winery. To learn more about Mexican wine in general, I've written a complete history on the subject: Mexico makes wine too, muchacho.

So in my review of L.A. Cetto's OTHER Chardonnay you found out that Chardonnay is a beautiful and destructive force in my life. That other Chardonnay is also unoaked, and I wrote down my thoughts on the majority of unoaked Chardonnay. Then I slammed affordable Chardonnay quality. I guess you could say that I've already blown my load on the Chardonnay rants in that one review.

But that's okay. There's no need to rant when you've got Buttery Heaven in a glass. I love oaky Chardonnay and I won't apologize for it. This one from L.A. Cetto was barrel fermented, then aged sur lie in French oak barrels for seven months. It'll run you about $17.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays - Pepe Le Pew

Pepe Le Pew is property of Warner Bros, Inc. Just felt I had to say that.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Wine Review: L.A. Cetto 2011 Zinfandel

December is L.A. Cetto Month thanks to International Spirits and Wine!

L.A. Cetto 2011 Zinfandel

This is the 2011 Zinfandel from L.A. Cetto. Estate bottled in Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley) in the state of Baja California, Mexico. The ABV is 14%.

For some background on the L.A. Cetto winery and links to the other reviews in this series, please check out L.A. Cetto - A Brief History of the Mexican Winery. To learn more about Mexican wine in general, I've written a complete history on the subject: Mexico makes wine too, muchacho.

If you're a regular reader of my blog then you already know that I have a tough time with Zinfandel. I loathe most of them but would die for the safety of the few that I adore. One day I'll go into greater detail as to why but that day is not today.

Today I will be drinking a Mexican Zinfandel! A MexiZin!

Aaaand it's in the same sloping-shoulder bottle as the Petite Sirah! WHAT? It does seem kind of weird to be honest. Zinfandel is supposed to be in a masculine Bordeaux bottle right? Or am I being a snobby traditionalist here? I don't like it. They should change that. Get me on the phone with Mr. Cetto immediately.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wine Review: L.A. Cetto 2013 Chardonnay

December is L.A. Cetto Month thanks to International Spirits and Wine!

L.A. Cetto 2013 Chardonnay

This is the 2013 Chardonnay from L.A. Cetto. Estate bottled in Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley) in the state of Baja California, Mexico. The ABV is 12.5%.

For some background on the L.A. Cetto winery and links to the other reviews in this series, please check out L.A. Cetto - A Brief History of the Mexican Winery. To learn more about Mexican wine in general, I've written a complete history on the subject: Mexico makes wine too, muchacho.

Hello, Chardonnay. My nemesis.

It's not that I don't like Chardonnay. I adore Chardonnay. It's that Chardonnay is the wine that gets me in trouble the most. It usually starts with me being a bit too truthful about how I feel about things to those around me, and then ends with posting some rambling bull about politics or religion on my personal Facebook account. Every single time I bring home a Chardonnay I know full damn well in some way that I am going to regret it.

I guess, for whatever reason, it's just the wine that makes me act ridiculously drunk ridiculously fast. So I try and resist it as much as I can. But it's just too darn good to stay away from it for too long! LET'S DRINK ONE RIGHT NOW! YEEEEAAAAAH!!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Wine Review: L.A. Cetto 2011 Petite Sirah

December is L.A. Cetto Month thanks to International Spirits and Wine!

L.A. Cetto 2011 Petite Sirah

This is the 2011 Petite Sirah from L.A. Cetto. Estate bottled in Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley) in the state of Baja California, Mexico. The ABV is 13.5%.

For some background on the L.A. Cetto winery and links to the other reviews in this series, please check out L.A. Cetto - A Brief History of the Mexican Winery. To learn more about Mexican wine in general, I've written a complete history on the subject: Mexico makes wine too, muchacho.

Petite Sirah isn't the same grape as Syrah, although they are related. The "petite" part of the name refers to the grape size and because there's more of a skin-to-flesh ratio it actually produces a bigger wine than Syrah. It's blended into many wines now to increase mass appeal so chances are you've had your share of Petite Sirah and you just don't know it. It adds dark fruit, roundness and easy approachability. If you're a fan of Meiomi Pinot Noir then you're probably more of a Petite Sirah fan than a Pinot Noir fan. And there's nothing wrong with that. Petite Sirah is delicious and a great wine for unwinding.

This one was aged six months in oak and six months in the bottle. It's a deeply pigmented ruby, as you should expect from the varietal.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Wine Review: L.A. Cetto 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

December is L.A. Cetto Month thanks to International Spirits and Wine!

L.A. Cetto 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

This is the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc from L.A. Cetto. Estate bottled in Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley) in the state of Baja California, Mexico. The ABV is 12%. It was Commended at the 2014 Decanter World Wine Awards.

For some background on the L.A. Cetto winery and links to the other reviews in this series, please check out L.A. Cetto - A Brief History of the Mexican Winery. To learn more about Mexican wine in general, I've written a complete history on the subject: Mexico makes wine too, muchacho.

The most interesting thing about this wine at first glance is how the bottle attracts attention to how pale the color of the wine is. Its almost non-existant flavonols make it look like a dirt-cheap Italian Pinot Grigio but the package makes it look cool. There's not much room covered by a label, a great portion of the upper bottle is exposed, and what label there is just plays off of its super light hue. The wine does have a slight green tint to it, an indication that it might taste like asparagus. I'm scared. This might not turn out well.

Friday, December 5, 2014

L.A. Cetto - A Brief History of the Mexican winery

December is L.A. Cetto Month thanks to International Spirits and Wine!

Don Angelo Cetto
DON ANGELO CETTO
Don Angelo Cetto (Chet-toe) was born near Trento, the capital city of Trentino, Italy. He survived the first World War and immigrated to Mexico in 1924. Four years later he was using the skills he had learned in the old country to plant vines in Baja California, the Mexican state south of the USA's California. 

Mexico couldn't be any different from his homeland, however. Trentino is cold as ice with infamously fast and chilly winds while Mexico is, well, hot as hell. Although Angelo's mission was to make warmer climate Mediterranean style wines instead of Trentino style wines, there were growing pains.

Poor grape quality was one obstacle he had to overcome, and he found himself releasing his first wines as fortified ones in 1930. He offered quality sherry and port style wines from those low quality grapes, becoming a hit with locals and Prohibition America. The money made from those early fortified wines allowed him to branch out and make the wines he intended to make in Valle de Guadalupe.

Monday, December 1, 2014

December Wine Pick: L.A. Cetto 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon

December is L.A. Cetto Month thanks to International Spirits and Wine!

This WINE PICK of the month was written for the Luke's of Cape Cod website.

I've already reviewed the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon and you can read my initial review by clicking here. My monthly wine picks, like this one, are shorter, more professional reviews for LukesofCapeCod.com.

Mexico just doesn't make beer and Tequila. Believe it or not, they've been making wine longer than anybody else in the western hemisphereCabernet Sauvignon loves the sandy soil of Valle de Guadalupe in the Mexican state of Baja California, and the lack of water forces the vines to dig deep for survival. The effects of the ocean make the climate similar to Napa Valley, including foggy mornings, and so Guadalupe Valley is the future of the Mexican wine industry.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Retail Problems: Compare... EVERYTHING!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Pliny the Elder: The Original Wine Blogger


Monday, November 17, 2014

Wine Review: J Wilkes 2012 Pinot Blanc


Pinot Blanc is kind of a forgotten varietal and those that are unaware of its existence automatically think of Pinot Grigio when they come across it. That's a shame. Let me tell ya: Pinot Blanc and Pinot Grigio really couldn't be any different. Pinot Blanc is full bodied, silky, sometimes oily, and full of character. Pinot Grigio is... well... let's just leave it at that.

The J. Wilkes winery was established in 2001 by Jeff Wilkes, who has since passed away. It's located in Santa Maria Valley, which is within Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, California. The current winemaker is Vidal Perez. He was born in Mexico, graduated from Fresno with a degree in Viticulture and Enology, and worked his way up through the industry starting as a vineyard worker.

The Beverage Tasting Institute gave the 2012 Pinot Gris 92 points.The grapes were grown by Bien Nacido Vineyards, one of the oldest and most respected in the Central Coast. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Speed tasting.


Don't let yourself be rushed when it comes to tasting wine.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Bubbly Biography - The Story of Sparkling Wine - Part 2: Italy and The New World

Welcome back to the history of sparkling wine! Part One: France and Spain was about the emergence of intentional carbonation, the creation of methode champenoise, and the people who made it happen. Part Two: Italy and The New World is about the charmat method, partial fermentation, and the people who spread sparkling wine to new places. Part Three: Sekt and the Future will be about about what lies ahead.

Bacchus by Thomas Dodd
"BACCHUS" BY THOMAS DODD
As stated in Part One, sparkling wine can be naturally occurring. Hell, I'm having an issue with Big Fire Pinot Gris going through a secondary fermentation at work right now. The pressure being created is loosening the caps and it's dripping! Give it a little help and it starts spraying out like I just won the Stanley Cup! WTF! But I digress...

It's been happening since wine has been made with no real explanation of why other than the gods made it happen, or it was the alignment of the moon, or there were jerk-face spirits messing with us. The Greeks ran into bubbles in their wine often. The Etruscans, Romans and other ancient civilizations of Italy, being the land of vines, experienced it often as well. Then in the Limoux and Champagne regions of France. It took some time for the reason behind the carbonation to be realized and created purposely. And when it was, Italy embraced it like no other.

The first sparkling wine on the list is actually red! It calls the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna its home and it was first cultivated by the Etruscans. I'm talking about Lambrusco. The name of the grape family is called Lambrusco as well as the wine and there's various varieties in that family, the most famous being Grasparossa di Castelvetro.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November Wine Pick: Casa Agricola Santos Jorge 2007 Herdade dos Machados Reserva

This WINE PICK of the month was written for the Luke's of Cape Cod website.

The wines of Portugal, outside of Port, don't get their due and it's time that they should. On the label of my wine pick you'll see that two places in the country are named: Alantejo and Moura. Alantejo is a rather large portion of southern Portugal and is famous for their cork oak forests. Moura is within southeastern Alantejo, bordering Spain.

The 2007 Herdade dos Machados is a red blend from the native grapes of Aragonez (AKA Tempranillo), Trincadeira, Alfrocheiro and Castelao. It's been awarded wine competition silver medals in France and Germany, and received 91 points from Wine Enthusiast.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!


Image from Disney's The Princess And The Frog

Monday, October 27, 2014

Malbec Mouth - The Reboot


Beware of the ghastly monster called... MALBEC MOUTH!

(mælbec mouth) a condition created by deeply pigmented red wine that stains your teeth and lips black. Symptoms may not be noticed until the next morning. A guaranteed side-effect of Malbec. Also known to occur with Syrah, Zinfandel and both forms of Cabernet. - The Wine Stalker

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wine Review: Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block 2012 Red Blend

Franschhoek, where this wine is from, is Dutch for "French Corner" and it's located in the southwest of South Africa. It was settled by French Huguenot immigrants in 1688 and since then viticulture and winemaking has been an important part of their culture. Now it's known as "the food and wine capital" of the country.

Boekenhoutskloof Winery was founded in 1776, the same year the United States claimed independence. It was bought and renovated by the current ownership in 1993, the same year Jurassic Park and Mrs. Doubtfire were released. Coincidence? That's for you to decide.

The name Boekenhoutskloof means "ravine of Book-n-howed", Boekenhout being a native tree popular for making furniture. They produce the very popular Wolftrap wines and the highly acclaimed Chocolate Block.

The last time I had Chocolate Block must have been five years ago and I believe it was the 2006 vintage. I thought it was just the bomb-diggity. Well, my wine knowledge has kinda improved just a tad since then and I recently acquired a bottle of the 2012 through the kindness of a good friend's heart. Time to check this bitch out.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Winemaker Charles Smith on wine labeling


"Many people don't speak wine... You're going to help me pay my bills and survive, and I'm going to talk over you? No, I'm going to communicate in your language." - Charles Smith in Wine Spectator, 10/15/14

Thursday, October 16, 2014

HYDRATE! Drink water with your wine!


Stay hydrated this Thirsty Thursday. Drink the same amount of water as you do wine to prevent brain inflammation and avoid the headache!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wine Review: Saved 2011 Red


By now I'm sure you've heard of Prisoner. The recent popularity of that wine has been insane and for good reason: it's phenomenal. It's also $40 to $45. But never fear, Prisoner loving citizen! Saved is here to save the day!

Saved Wine brings together Scott Campbell, a famous New York tattoo artist, and Clay Brock, winemaker for Wild Horse. Let me just say that Clay Brock is a badass name. He could have been an international super-criminal instead of a winemaker. I guess the banktellers and winoes of the world got lucky.

The Saved 2011 Red takes a ton of varietals from, supposedly, the best regions in California. It's 31% Zinfandel, 23% Carignane, 12% Petite Sirah, 11% Malbec, 10% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot, 2% Mixed Blacks, 1% Ruby Cabernet, and 1% Syrah. It has an ABV of 15%.

The bottle is etched rather than having a label and appears to be trying to tell me to sacrifice goats for the Illuminati or something. Around the edged ring of Sauron it says "Reverence of beauty, eradication of doubt through systems of superstition, adversities exiled by incantations of compassion and tenacity of heart". I dunno what the hell that's about, man. Long words. And stuff. LET'S DRINK!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Bubbly Biography - The Story of Sparkling Wine - Part 1: France and Spain

Gather around, kiddies, for I have a story to tell. 'Tis a twisted tale of lies and deceit and betrayal! And by that I mean bubbles. Just bubbles. This is the history of sparkling wine. Part One: France and Spain is about the emergence of intentional carbonation, the creation of methode champenoise, and the people who made it happen. Part Two: Italy and The New World is about the charmat method, partial fermentation, and the people who spread sparkling wine to new places. Part Three: Sekt and the Future is about what lies ahead.

In the beginning some light bubbles just popped up, pun intended, here and there. It wasn't meant to occur and the winemakers of the ancient world didn't know why it happened. The Greeks and Romans just blamed it on the gods or spirits or the phases of the moon.

Mauzac grapes
MAUZAC GRAPES
But the real journey begins in the cellars of a little commune called Limoux in the southwest of France. This place is further west, further inland and at a higher altitude than the rest of its Languedoc peers, giving it less of a Mediterranean influence and more of a Continental one. Cooler nights and colder winters would be very important to the direction their wine would go, and it would continue to as sparkling wine spread all over the globe.

The Roman historian Titus Livius Patavinus recorded that Limoux was trading wine even way back when the Romans occupied the region. And why not? They had the perfect means of receiving and transferring goods in the ancient world: The River Aude runs right through the center of town.

Limoux was big on white wine, their grape of choice being the Mauzac varietal. As demand increased for their wine it was time to up their game. And they did.

Monday, October 6, 2014

One glass of wine per day...


Take a stand. Let this joke die. Please.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Am I the only one around here that appreciates Merlot???

Am I the only one around here that appreciates Merlot???

Are you down with the little blackbird?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October Wine Pick: Washington Hills 2012 Late Harvest Riesling

This WINE PICK of the month was written for the Luke's of Cape Cod website.


Washington Hills is out of Washington State and has been around since 1988. They pride themselves in bringing out the fruit characteristics of the grapes in their wines and their Late Harvest Riesling is no exception. Harvesting later gives you more sugary grapes, and makes for an even more delicious sweet wine.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wine Review: L.A. Cetto 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon


A few months ago I wrote the lengthy article "Mexico makes wine too, muchacho" on the history of Mexican wine and its current regions and wineries. Since then I've been dead set on getting my hands on some Mexican wine. So one day I scoured the entire Massachusetts Beverage Journal and found only one... L.A. Cetto, the #1 vineyard owner in Mexico. There were several options available from the winery: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Syrah and Nebbiolo. But what I really wanted, at the very least, was the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet Sauvignon loves the sandy soil of Valle de Guadalupe in the Mexican state of Baja California, and the lack of water forces the vines to dig deep for survival. The effects of the ocean make the climate similar to Napa Valley, including foggy mornings, and so Guadalupe Valley is the future of the Mexican wine industry.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The cursing thing.


It's totally appropriate to curse on a wine or beer blog. Besides, I don't swear all that much! It's only used for affect! I mean, shit, come on!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Wine Review: Schloss Saarstein 2011 Mosel Kabinett Riesling


In case you don't know me by now: I probably drink more Merlot than anything and I like to believe that Cabernet Franc is my favorite varietal... but Riesling is my weakness. It's my kryptonite. It makes me shut up for a goddamn minute. It also seems to be the wine that most often makes me jump up and down screaming "GODDAMNIT HOLY CRAP THAT'S GOOD!" And German Riesling? Fuggedabowdit.

Schloss Saarstein is located on the Saar River, Germany, and the winery is a friggin castle on top of a big ol' hill. The 24 acres of vineyards start right outside and are steep as hell, clinging to the slope of the hillside. Owner and winemaker Christian Ebert has been doing his work on this land his whole life. His family bought Schloss Saarstein in the middle of the 20th century.

Their 2011 Mosel Kabinett is off-dry with an ABV of 9.5%. Ebert believes it to be his best of the past decade.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Welcome to Central Coast, California - The Reboot


The region always messes with my head. Where's Santa Maria again? Didn't that ship sink?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Four people in four situations you shouldn't listen to about wine

I try not to judge peoples wine preferences because they enjoy it and that's what wine is all about, right? But I do have to warn you about four different kinds of people whose opinions on the subject you should take with a grain of salt or ignore all together...




DRINKING WITH THE SELF-OVER-POURER

You're hanging out with friends and shooting the shit and having a good time. One of them pulls out a bottle of wine and says "Oh my God you've GOT to try this! It is SO!!! GOOD!!!" and then continues to bring on a self-pour from hell that fills their entire wine glass. This is a big red flag that you shouldn't take their wine advice.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Go Franc Yourself.


That is all.

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Wine Pick: Domaine de Fondreche Cotes du Ventoux 2012 Cuvee Fayard

This WINE PICK of the month was written for the Luke's of Cape Cod website.



Cotes du Ventoux is a subregion of southern Cotes du Rhone in France and it uses the same grapes in its blends as the rest of southern Rhone. This particular blend from Fondreche is 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 20% Mourvedre.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

I accept your ice bucket challenge.


I created this image, however I cannot take credit for the idea.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Carmenere isn't going to happen.


I've said it many times over Twitter: Carmenere was looking up for a bit with great quality and great character. I adored it. But now it's regressing into the meh whatever varietal it used to be. I dunno... there's a reason the French weren't all that heart-broken when they thought it was extinct. I'm not sure if it was meant to be "your Malbec", Chile.

But maybe it's just me. I mean, it very well could be just me. What do you think?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Pineapple Chili Wings & Chicken Breasts - A perfect pairing for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc


The idea for this recipe just kinda popped into my head one day and it's now a favorite meal at my house. I prefer it done with wings, my wife prefers it with boneless chicken breasts.

Of course, I'm not going to hook you up with a recipe without a wine pairing. The overall intensity of a nice, cold New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc plays perfectly with the flavors of this chicken. I've tried it with other whites, and Sauvies from other regions of the world, but this chicken was just made to be with an NZSB.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Wine Review: Penner-Ash 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir


Every once in awhile you deserve to grab a special bottle you've been saving, dust it off and drink it. That's exactly what I decided to do right now. Penner-Ash Pinot Noir ain't no golden God grand cru but it's crazy good. And to guys like myself that can't afford to spend the $35 that it costs, even on a semi-regular basis, it's pretty goddamn friggin special.

Penner-Ash is located in Newberg, Oregon and was founded by winemaker Lynn Penner-Ash and her husband Ron in 1998. Their main focus is Pinot Noir but they also do some Syrah, Viognier and Riesling. I'm reviewing a bottle of their 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, which I purchased over a year ago.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Beer Review: Clown Shoes Crunkle Sam American Barleywine Ale


To follow up my latest blog article Barley and Potatoes and Rye, OH MY! - The Starch That Spirits Are Made Of I thought it would be appropriate to review a barleywine, which is not a wine at all but an ale made from barley. This is Crunkle Sam, an American Barleywine Ale by Clown Shoes. I paid $10 for a 1 pint 6 oz bottle.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Barley and Potatoes and Rye, OH MY! - The Starch That Spirits Are Made Of

I'm currently studying to become a Certified Specialist of Spirits and I began it by knowing next to nothing. I didn't even really have a clear understanding of what distillation was. It's just that this whole wine thing has kinda been my priority for, like, two thirds of a decade.

So in the beginning there were two things that completely confused the hell out of me: how the continuous column still works (something I don't think I'll ever understand) and everything involved in making alcohol out of the starchy stuff. On the other hand you've got grapes for brandy, agave for Tequila, sugar cane for rum... all of that is pretty easy to grasp. But Barley? Rye? Sure, I've heard of them but what the hell are they? Aren't they just wheat? No?

Understand that I'm a Cape Codder. We grow cranberries and golf courses here.

To find out what barley is and how it's different from wheat as a plant you've got to research barley and wheat. To find out how a barley vodka is different from a wheat vodka you've got to research vodka. Then to see what barley offers to whisky opposed to wheat you've got to research whisky. Gee, I sure could use all of that in one place... but there really isn't such a place... so I guess I'll just have to make it myself.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Wine Review: Smashberry 2012 Central Coast Red


So historically my favorite red wines are basically a mouthful of dirt. I've noticed, however, that lately I've been really favoring the big, juicy fruit-bombs. So here's a review of a big, juicy fruit-bomb.

Smashberry is based out of Paso Robles, California. Their 2012 Central Coast Red is 32% Merlot, 26% Petite Sirah, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon and 16% Cabernet Franc. This wine has been tearing it up all over the place. If it means anything to you, it got 88 points from Robert Parker, 89 points from the Beverage Testing Institute and was Las Vegas Review-Journal's 2013 Red Wine of the Year.

The package walks the line of cheesy and cool. I can see how some may not even consider purchasing it because of the label but it really does capture the personality of the wine inside: Merlot with its blue and black fruit colliding with the other grape's red fruit to make a juicy hedonistic mouthgasm.

Alright, here we go. Let's get smashed off of Smashberry in the name of a wine review...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I like oaky Chardonnay!


Sorry, not sorry.

Friday, August 1, 2014

August Wine Pick: Colonia Las Liebres 2013 Bonarda Classica

This WINE PICK of the month was written for the Luke's of Cape Cod website.


Bonarda is the primary blending grape in Argentina and there's usually significant amounts in Malbec. Somehow the Argentinians thought they were growing the Bonarda Piemontese grape from northern Italy but it turns out it's actually the Douce Noir grape from eastern France. They kept the name and now are starting to make great Bonarda varietal wines.

Colonia Las Liebres Bonarda is from Mendoza, the hub region of the Argentinian wine industry, right up against the Andes Mountains.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Wine Review: Chateau de la Bigotiere 2012 Muscadet Sevre et Maine


It's the middle of the summer and it's friggin oyster-down-your-gullet season, right? So I'm gonna review a bottle of the ultimate oyster wine: Muscadet Sevre et Maine. Just don't get this wine mixed up with Moscato like many people do. This is not sweet and it's not mentioned in rap songs.

Muscadet is located in Loire Valley, France and is made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape. It's pretty rare that you find one in the USA that's isn't sur lie, which means "on the lees", which means it was aged with the dead yeasts that fermented it. This releases bready flavors through autolysis and adds complexity. If that freaks you out: don't be concerned. You've had this before in Champagne.

Chateau de la Bigotiere is in its third generation now and is run by two brothers, Christophe and Cedric Gobin. Their 2012 Muscadet won a Bronze Metal in the 2013 Concours General Agricole de Paris. Sooooo.... alright! That's enough precursor! I need to drink some wine. It's been a long day.

Friday, July 25, 2014

My Einzellagen In Your Grosslagen - The Reboot


Here's a reboot of the most popular Wine Stalker quote and graphic yet.

"I'm going to form a band called Trockenbeerenauslese.  Our first single will be 'My Einzellagen in your Grosslagen'. That'll be sweet. Chicks will dig it."

Get it? Sweet? I kill myself.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Wine Review: Terredora di Paolo 2011 Campania Aglianico


Somehow I find myself writing about Aglianico for the second time in two months on this blog. If you've never heard of the Aglianico grape or would like to know more (much more) then please help yourself to my blog post on the subject: The Adventures of Aglianico - A Complete History of an Ancient Wine.

Towards the end of that post I bring up Terredora di Paolo Taurasi. The wine I'm reviewing is the lower tier of that wine. This is Aglianico that either doesn't qualify to carry the Taurasi DOCG or is from anywhere within Campania, Italy. Terredora di Paolo Aglianico is going to run you about $16 while the Taurasi will hit you with $34.

First of all the label is just balls. I don't know if those two Greeks are doing the Safety Dance or if they're fighters in an ancient Mortal Kombat but I'm all about classy throwback labels. The color of the actual wine is a beautiful dark cherry red... but still there's not much density. You can see right through it without much effort at all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The problem with Sauvignon Blanc.


Am I the only one that feels like I just brushed my teeth when tasting Sauvignon Blanc from, specifically, Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley lately? I don't like this trend. It makes me sad.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mexico makes wine too, muchacho.

Mexican vineyard
A VINEYARD IN MEXICO
"Hecho en Mexico" is something you expect to see on a bottle of Tequila but never on a bottle of wine. Well, guess what? Mexico makes wine too, muchacho. People have been making wine there longer than they've made it anywhere else in the western hemisphere. At first thought that's cray cray, right? I mean, grapes prefer cool climates and Mexico is friggin hotter than Lindsay Lohan in 2004. I thought so too but it turns out, given its history, that it makes perfect sense.

To take it from the top we have to start with the infamous, trailblazing Conquistadors. If you thought you'd get out of this without getting into some heavy history: Welcome to TheWineStalker.net, my name is Joey Casco.

After the discovery of the New World, the Spanish and Portuguese collected their toughest badasses, called them Conquistadors, and put them on boats headed to Central and South America. Their job was to claim land in any way they had to and send back valuable resources and luxuries. They found gold, coffee, chocolate, corn and tomatoes to name a few. But what did they bring with them besides death and disease? Viticulture and vines.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Madeira should be your Independence Day beverage

The signing of the Declaration of Independence

I know most people say you should drink Zinfandel on July 4th because it's uniquely American but that's simply untrue. Zinfandel is the son of the Croatian grape Crljenak Kaštelanski and also has a sister known as Primitivo in Italy. What you should do is get yourself a bottle of Madeira to celebrate this Independence Day.

Madeira is the wine that the forefathers drank more than any other. The price and the tax for the wines of France, Porto from Portugal and Sherry from Spain was sky high. Ever the cost-cutters, it was time to find some different options. There was this little island named Madeira, far out in the Atlantic, west of the Straight of Gibraltar and is today property of Portugal, that was more than willing to send them their fortified wine on the cheap. America gobbled it up.

Monday, June 30, 2014

July Wine Pick: La Vis Dipinti 2013 Pinot Grigio

This WINE PICK of the month was written for the Luke's of Cape Cod website.

Before I found this wine I never thought I could fall in love with an Italian Pinot Grigio. Yet here I am, in love with an Italian Pinot Grigio. La Vis Dipinti is made in the Dolomites, way up north in Trentino Alto Adige. Dipinti translates from Italian to paintings in English.

Its floral and waxy aroma reminds me of one of those Yankee Candles my wife likes so much. Also on the nose are peach and stoney minerality. The palate shows melon and apricot with a finish of lime. The heavier body weight and the smooth mouth feel is more along the lines of an Oregon Pinot Gris than an Italian Pinot Grigio. It's more juicy than crisp.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dean Martin says you're not drunk just yet

You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on. - Dean Martin

You're not drunk if you can lie of the floor without holding on. - Dean Martin

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sulfites in wine: the truth you may not like

This is what your wine guy thinks of your sulfite kick but won't tell you:

He wants no added sulfites! See? Nobody cares.

It's true. I know you've made this life decision but you're wrong and being as foolish as the I-don't-have-celiac-disease-but-I'm-gluten-free trend. Sorry, but somebody had to tell you. There's about 400 parts per million sulfites in a salad. There's about 40 parts per million sulfites in a bottle of wine. Crackers have more sulfites than that. That should be enough to kill any argument but if not, let's keep going...

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