Sunday, October 15, 2017

Wine Review: Seven Hills Walla Walla Valley Red Wine 2014

Seven Hills Walla Walla Valley Red Wine 2014

This blend out of the Walla Walla Valley in Washington State is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, and 5% Petit Verdot. It spent 23 months in French, American and European oak barrels (35% of which were new), and has an ABV of 14.7%. But you know what? This wine came with a really nice letter from Casey McClellan, the winemaker, so I'm going to post it here for you to learn more about this wine and the winery in his own words.

Dear Joey Casco,

My family first arrived in Eastern Washington in the 1880's, putting down roots while farming wheat in this fertile region. One hundred years later, my father and I worked side-by-side on the Walla Walla valley's first significant planting of Bordeaux varietals in what became the original blocks of Seven Hills Vineyard. My wife, Vicky, and I founded Seven Hills Winery in 1988, and I've been refining my craft as a winemaker over the past three decades.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Conglomerate Acquisition


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pennywise & Apothic


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Wine Review: Left Coast Cellars White Pinot Noir 2016

Left Coast Cellars White Pinot Noir 2016

Left Coast Cellars is back on the blog! It was just this past March that I reviewed their 2014 Cali's Cuvee Pinot Noir and their 2015 The Orchard Pinot Gris. Well, a new vintage of that Pinot Gris is out so a few days ago I reviewed their 2016 The Orchard Pinot Gris, and today I'm reviewing their their 2016 White Pinot Noir!

Left Coast Cellars of Willamette Valley, Oregon was founded in 2003. With 350 acres of land and 130 acres of vineyards, they use sustainable viticulture to produce only estate-grown wine. They're LIVE Certified Sustainable, Salmon Safe Certified, and are one of fourteen wineries to complete the Oregon Environmental Council's Carbon Reduction Challenge. All of the power for the guest cottages, the front gate, and the vineyard irrigation is run by solar power, and use a big chunk of their land for their Oak Savanna Restoration Project. They are very environmentally conscious.

By not allowing skin contact and treating Pinot Noir like a white grape, you can make some very cool white wine. Hell, it's one of the grapes used in Champagne and other sparkling wines. Non-sparkling White Pinot Noir's are also freakin' awesome! Willamette Valley is freakin' awesome! I'm really looking forward to this one.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Wine Review: Left Coast Cellars The Orchard Pinot Gris 2016

Left Coast Cellars The Orchard Pinot Gris 2016

Left Coast Cellars is back on the blog! It was just this past March that I reviewed their 2014 Cali's Cuvee Pinot Noir and their 2015 The Orchard Pinot Gris. Well, a new vintage of that Pinot Gris is out so now I'll be reviewing their 2016 The Orchard Pinot Gris, and also in a few days their 2016 White Pinot Noir!

Left Coast Cellars of Willamette Valley, Oregon was founded in 2003. With 350 acres of land and 130 acres of vineyards, they use sustainable viticulture to produce only estate-grown wine. They're LIVE Certified Sustainable, Salmon Safe Certified, and are one of fourteen wineries to complete the Oregon Environmental Council's Carbon Reduction Challenge. All of the power for the guest cottages, the front gate, and the vineyard irrigation is run by solar power, and use a big chunk of their land for their Oak Savanna Restoration Project. They are very environmentally conscious.

The vineyard block that this Pinot Gris is from is called The Orchards because of the history of its land being planted with apple, pear and cherry orchards. It spans 7.5 acres and since 2005 it's been home to Pinot Gris Clones 146 and 152. The wine that is produced here is fermented 100% in stainless steel. It has an ABV of 13.7%.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

My thoughts on Las Vegas


I refrained from posting on my Wine Stalker social media accounts since the Las Vegas massacre until tonight. I didn’t want to ignore that this happened but I also needed time to let the rage and sadness level out so when I did speak about it, it wouldn’t be a nonsensical rant.

You know I’m very liberal so you can imagine my feelings on this and where I stand on the politics of it. You’re probably aware that I’m not religious so you know that “sending thoughts and prayers” doesn’t cut it for me.

But we really do need these people in our thoughts. We need to honor the victims and give attention to who they were, feel the heartbreak that their families are going through, and fully understand the horror that the survivors experienced as if we were there. We need to put ourselves in their place with people dying all around us on a fun night out at a music festival.

And then we need to do something about it. Demand that some kind of action is taken. Because “sending thoughts and prayers” does nothing to prevent the next one.

Much love to you all, my fellow homo sapiens.

Joey

Sunday, October 1, 2017

October Wine Pick: Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

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


Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014


Legend has it that on one fateful day in 1965, two brothers fought their disagreements out at a family gathering. Yelling, punching, and even breaking furniture. The two brothers were Peter Mondavi and Robert Mondavi. This would be Robert’s exit from Charles Krug, the winery their father bought in 1943.

Both brothers would become icons in the California wine industry, but Robert was an expert marketer and optimistic visionary. Without his abilities, exuberance, belief in the land, and willingness to help and mentor other winemakers, Napa would not be what it is today. Robert died in 2008, but his legacy will live on for centuries.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Wine Review: Hacienda López de Haro Rioja Blanco 2016

Hacienda López de Haro Rioja Blanco 2016

How about a quickie for this lovely Thirsty Thursday? From Bodega Classica is Hacienda Lopez de Haro, producing seven different classic style Rioja wines. Rioja isn't a type of wine; it's a region in Spain. So they don't just make red Riojas, which many consumers are most familiar with, but they also do rosé (rosato) and white (blanco). 

Just like the reds are usually mostly Tempranillo but could also be other Spanish grapes allowed by the region (such as Garnacha), the same goes for the whites with Viura. This varietal makes 90% of the white wine in Rioja. And Viura is actually the local name for the varietal mostly known as Macabeo. Macabeo is planted all over northern Spain and is even one of the grapes used in Cava, Spain's famous sparkling wine, along with its pals Parellada and Xarel-lo.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Wine Review: Maetierra Atlantis Albariño 2016

Maetierra Atlantis Albariño 2016

Maetierra only produces white wines and they have a quick but interesting story. It actually began as an experiment by the School of Oenology of La Rioja in 2001, in 2002 got its own winery in Logroño, and in 2005 got a bodega in Castillo de Maetierra.

Their Atlantis label represents the Spanish regions along the coast of the Atlantic. For example, Rías Baixas (Reeyas Bishus), where this wine is from. North of Portugal and known for its Albariño, Rías Baixas was once a Celtic outpost and, from what I hear, has more of a Celtic culture and architecture than Spanish. Their cuisine is seafood heavy so naturally their famous Albariño pairs well with seafood. As a wine guy on (the also seafood heavy) Cape Cod, Rías Baixas Albariño is a top suggestion from me for somebody looking to pair wine with Cape Cod cuisine.

Yeah, so it's called Atlantis. You didn't think that I'd review a wine called Atlantis and not talk about Aquaman, did you? 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Wine Reviews: Best of Summer 2017

Today is the last day of summer and tomorrow brings the autumn! So here are the top five wines that I reviewed between June 20th and September 21st!

August being the third annual Bulgarian Wine Month (thanks to BulgarianWine.com), Bulgarian wine dominates the list.

#5. Lieb Cellars Reserve Pinot Blanc 2015

Lieb Cellars Reserve Pinot Blanc 2015Region: North Fork, Long Island, New York, USA
Review Release: June 25th, 2017

I'm not getting as much pear on the nose as I did with the 2014, although it's still one of the major aromas. With it there's also tangerine, lemon peel, rose pedals and beach sand. This vintage has a lot more going on with its nose. In the mouth it's medium to full bodied with a slightly oily mouthfeel and a tart acidity. On the palate there's flavors of green apple, pear juice and steel. It has a lengthy finish of green apple and chalk.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $22
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)


Ferrari-Carano Napa Valley Carneros Reserve Chardonnay 2012
Region: Carneros, Napa Valley, California, USA
Review Release: September 3rd, 2017

It's a gorgeous golden yellow in color with a tilt towards green. Graham cracker and burnt caramel are all over this mother on the nose. Yeeeeeeessssss. There's also aromas of bruised apple, pineapple, cinnamon and butter. Dude, so far this is exactly what I desire out of a Chard at this price. Exactly.

It's full bodied and just gosh-dang beautiful in the mouth. Perfectly balanced in oak and acidity. There's flavors of bruised apple, cinnamon, yellow pear, pineapple, and bay leaf. It's like a fall cider and it's so good! It finishes with bruised apple, cinnamon and a need to have more. This is some awesome Chardonnay, and for your money it'll wet your noodle. Inside joke. Don't ask.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $24
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)



Gorchivka Merlot 2014Region: Danube River Plains, Bulgaria
Review Release: August 10th, 2017

The color of the wine is cherry red. The nose has this earthiness and funk that reminds me of Right Bank Bordeaux, but beyond that it's definitely not Bordeaux in style. There's a cooked dark fruit profile for the fruit in the aromas, like stewed plum and blueberry sauce. There's also vanilla extract and cinnamon powder. It essentially smells like fruit pastry. It takes a step back with the sauciness on the palate as it's not as thick as I was expecting. There's a medium body, soft tannin and balanced acidity. There's flavors of juicy black cherries, blueberries and plums, as well as vanilla and cola. On the finish you can taste the alcohol, almost like you just took a sip of vodka, even though it's only 13.5% in ABV.


QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $13
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)



Region: Danubian Plain, Bulgaria
Review Release: August 24th, 2017

This bottle just looks BADASS with a legionnaire in the background of the label. And it's also a blend of my two favorite red varietals! Its 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc out of the Danubian Plain, with an ABV of 13.5%. This guy is a blackish ruby red, if that's even a thing. And oooooooooh lordy lordy LORDY what a nose it has! It's one of those noses that makes your eyeballs roll into the back of your head in an olfactory orgasm. Black pepper, spearmint, black cherries, plums, vanilla, black tea, and toasted oak ride strong ethanol vapors up into your nostrils. It's full bodied and lush with a bit of a perky acidity. There's flavors of cranberries, plums, seasoned tomatoes, wet autumn earth and cocoa powder. It finishes silky smooth with flavors of cranberries, plums and earth. Nomnomnomnomnom! This is SPECTACULAR! I'm in love with this wine, and I think you should get on BulgarianWine.com and buy it!

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $16
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)



Version Plaisir divin Mavrud 2013Region: Thracian Valley, Bulgaria
Review Release: August 30th, 2017

This wine received a gold medal at the 2016 Concours Mondial Bruxelles. It has a 14.5% ABV and is from Mavrud's favorite place on the planet: the tiny area of Assenovgrad, north of the Rhodope Mountains in Thracian Valley. The color of the wine is ruby red with vibrant highlights. The head aroma in charge is toasty oak, followed by black cherries, blackberries, black olives and mint. The tasting notes on BulgarianWine.com say there's juniper berries but I'm not getting that. Maybe you will. The midpalate is just lovely. Medium bodied, lush and silky smooth with soft tannin and flavors of black cherries, cranberries, vanilla, and chocolate covered raisins. It finishes super long with all of those flavors and a silky, sensual mouthfeel.

Wow! WOW! This. Is. Outstanding. Here's the link to buy it now because you need to try it for yourself: http://store.bulgarianwine.com/pldima.html


QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $17
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Wine Review: Ventisquero Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Ventisquero Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

I'm reviewing two wine by Ventisquero this week. The first was the 2016 Reserva Sauvignon Blanc and the second is this 2015 Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon.In the past I've reviewed their 2013 "Grey" Glacier Carménère and their 2013 "Grey" Glacier Cabernet Sauvignon.

The 2015 Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Syrah out of Maipo Valley, from granatic and stony soil. It saw a low-temperature maceration before fermentation, and then fermented in stainless steel tanks. After that, 70% was aged for ten months in French oak and then bottle aged for four months. It has a final ABV of 13% and can be shelved for up to seven years.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Wine Review: Ventisquero Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Wine Review: Ventisquero Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2016
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I'll be reviewing two wine by Ventisquero this week. The first is this 2016 Reserva Sauvignon Blanc and the second is the 2015 Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon. In the past I've reviewed their 2013 "Grey" Glacier Carménère and their 2013 "Grey" Glacier Cabernet Sauvignon.

The 2016 Reserva Sauvignon Blanc is 100% Sauvignon Blanc out of Casablanca Valley, from sandy-clay soil. It saw twelve to fourteen hours of cold maceration and a slow fermentation. Then it was aged for four months on the lees and gently moved with battonage. The final ABV is 12% and it can be shelved for up to four years.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Wine Review: Valdivieso Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Valdivieso Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2015

This is the second of two wines that I'm reviewing by Valdivieso of Chile. The other day it was their Brut Rosé and today it's their be their 2015 Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc.

Valle de Leyda is a subregion of the San Antonio Valley region of Chile. With the coast visable from the vineyards, the cooling breeze from the ocean and poor soil (offering minerality), its terroir makes it mostly a white wine producing region and is particularly regarded for Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Valdivieso's Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc is from Valle de Leyda and is 100% SB. It was hand harvested, steel tank fermented with temperature control, saw no malolactic fermentation, and sat on some of its lees for three months. It has an ABV of 12%.

Our baby dragon Miss Daisy has had quite the day and is having quite the night of breathing fire with her colic and teething and overall difficultiness, so this is going to be a quick one. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Wine Review: Valdivieso Brut Rosé

Wine Review: Valdivieso Brut Rosé

This is the first of two wines that I'll be reviewing by Valdivieso of Chile. Today it's their Brut Rosé and in a few days it'll be their 2015 Sauvignon Blanc.

Valdivieso was the first winery to make sparkling wine in Chile right when it was founded in 1879. It was even originally called Champagne Valdivieso. Their Brut Rosé is made from 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay from the foothills of the Los Andes mountain range in Curicó, where the cool climate provides the grapes with the acidity needed to make great sparkling wine. The carbonation is produced using the Charmat method, and there isn't much time spent on the lees before it's dosed, filtered, and bottled. It has an ABV of 12% with 10 grs/lt of residual sugar.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Wine Review: Ferrari-Carano Napa Valley Carneros Reserve Chardonnay 2012


I know that Lori from Dracaena Wines is in love with Ferrari-Carano, and Lori is one of my favorite wine bloggers. So whenever I get to taste or review some FC I think of her. Hi, Lori!

Ferrari-Carano has been around since 1985 and is based out of Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma. This Chardonnay, however, is from the Carneros portion of Napa Valley. It's from four different clones of Chardonnay, sees eight months of oak aging in French oak on the lees (stirred weekly), then sees another five months of aging in neutral French oak.  

I've been reeeeeeeally looking forward to this since the day I got this bottle. Are those butterflies in my stomach? I think I'm nervous! I mean, it's only a $24 bottle of Chardonnay! Stay cool! You see, it's definitely not gonna be the greatest Chardonnay ever but it has every indication that it's my type. As a metaphor, it's like seeing your dream girl from across the room and then she comes over and talks to you. But then you get to crack open their neck and drink their blood. Damn, that's romantic. I should write poetry.

Friday, September 1, 2017

September Wine Pick: Ferrari-Carano Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2014

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

September Wine Pick: Ferrari Carano Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2014

Ferrari-Carano is one of those wineries that is always producing excellent wine, and I have yet to find a wine produced by them that I didn’t enjoy. Most of them I even admire. The Ferrari Carano winery is located in Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma but their 2014 Pinot Noir is from up north a bit in Anderson Valley, within Mendocino. It was fermented in small-macro bins and cold soaked for three days, with malolactic fermentation completed in 100% French oak and further aged for 10 months.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wine Review: Version Plaisir divin Mavrud 2013 & Elenovo Mavrud 2011

August is The Third Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com

Wine Review: Version Plaisir divin Mavrud 2013 & Elenovo Mavrud 2011

For the third year in a row, it's Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! Check out the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016), and this year (2017).

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

This is it! The finale of this year's Bulgarian wine month! Next year I'm hoping we can do it all again; this time with a new article and maybe some rakia! Thank you, Vance, for the support and the opportunity to drink some Bulgarian wine and tell the world about them!

I'm putting this month to a close with a pair of Mavruds. This is a native Bulgarian varietal. Mavrud's fruit is small, low yielding and late ripening but it makes the #1 top selling local wine within the country of Bulgaria. It's inky in color, tannic, spicy and normally sees a lot of oak aging. Stewed fruit and herbs are its common flavor characteristics.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Wine Review: Seven Generations Merlot 2012 & Telish Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

August is The Third Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com


For the third year in a row, it's Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! Check out the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016), and this year (2017).

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

As the month nears its close, this is the second to last review of Bulgarian Wine Month. That really sucks! And something else really sucks even more than that....

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Wine Review: Castra Ruba Dominant 2011 & Legio I Merlot / Cabernet Franc 2014

August is The Third Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com

Castra Ruba Dominant 2011 & Legio I Merlot / Cabernet Franc 2014

For the third year in a row, it's Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! Check out the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016), and this year (2017).

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

Today I've got two red blends made from international grape varietals! One is from Thracian Valley and the other is from Danubian Plain. Let's get started!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

My precious...

Gollum and his precious Inniskillin

We must not let filthy hobbitses take you away, precious.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Wine Review: Quantum Chardonnay 2015 & Quantum Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

August is The Third Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com

Quantum Chardonnay 2015 & Quantum Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

For the third year in a row, it's Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! Check out the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016), and this year (2017).

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

Out of all the Bulgarian wines I'm reviewing this month, six of them are from the Quantum label by Domaine Boyar. I started a week ago with their Traminer 2015 and their Pinot Noir & Merlot 2014, then a few days ago I had their Sauvignon Blanc 2015 with their Mavrud & Merlot 2015, and I'm finishing them off today with their Chardonnay 2015 and their Cabernet Sauvignon 2015.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Wine Review: Quantum Sauvignon Blanc 2015 & Quantum Mavrud / Merlot 2015

August is The Third Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com

Quantum Sauvignon Blanc 2015 & Quantum Mavrud / Merlot 2015

For the third year in a row, it's Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! Check out the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016), and this year (2017).

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

Out of all the Bulgarian wines I'm reviewing this month, six of them are from the Quantum label by Domaine Boyar. I started a few days ago on their Traminer 2015 with their Pinot Noir & Merlot 2014, now I'm on to their Sauvignon Blanc 2015 with their Mavrud & Merlot 2015, and finally in a few more days I'll have their Chardonnay 2015 with their Cabernet Sauvignon 2015.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Wine Review: Quantum Traminer 2015 & Quantum Pinot Noir / Merlot 2014

August is The Third Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com

Quantum Traminer 2015 & Quantum Pinot Noir / Merlot 2014

For the third year in a row, it's Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! Check out the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016), and this year (2017).

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

Out of all the Bulgarian wines I'm reviewing this month, six of them are from the Quantum label by Domaine Boyar. Today I'm tasting their Traminer 2015 with their Pinot Noir & Merlot 2014, then their Sauvignon Blanc 2015 with their Mavrud & Merlot 2015, and finally their Chardonnay 2015 with their Cabernet Sauvignon 2015.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Wine Review: Gorchivka Merlot 2014 & Mezzek Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

August is The Third Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com

Gorchivka Merlot 2014 & Mezzek Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

For the third year in a row, it's Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! Check out the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016), and this year (2017).

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

Merlot and Cab, baby! The two Bulgarian big guns! Although, in my experience, their Merlot is the one who should be in the spotlight. Let's drink some wine, suckas!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Darth Vader just won't quit.

Darth Vader just won't quit.

Just driving the point home. What a jerk.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Wine Review: Domaine Boyar Selection Muscat 2015 & Tcherga Thracian Valley Red 2013

August is The Third Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com

Domaine Boyar Selection Muscat 2015 & Tcherga Thracian Valley Red 2013

For the third year in a row, it's Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! Check out the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016), and this year (2017).

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

A few days ago I revisted two new vintages of Domain Boyar varietals that I reviewed a few years ago. One did a little better and one did a lot worse, but in my experience the only thing that Domaine Boyar does really well is Merlot. Today I'll be trying their Muscat, and then moving onto a different brand: Tcherga by Domain Menada.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Wine Review: Domaine Boyar Selection Traminer 2015 & Domaine Boyar Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

August is The Third Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com

Domaine Boyar Selection Traminer 2015 & Domaine Boyar Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

For the third year in a row, it's Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! Check out the reviews from the first year (2015), the second year (2016), and this year (2017).

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

I'm kicking off the month with some wines by Domaine Boyar. Domaine Boyar was established in 1991 and was the first private winery in Bulgaria to be founded after communism. Although the winery is based out of Sofia, all of the wines I'll be reviewing from them are from Thracian Valley.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August Wine Pick: Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages 2015

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


I love Beaujolais-Villages. That’s right. I said it. Sure, those from the Cru villages in Beaujolais get all the glory and praise while those that are designated as Beaujolais-Villages don’t get taken too seriously. But, see, that’s EXACTLY why I love them. You shouldn’t get all serious and wine-snobby about Beaujolais-Villages because of its fun and spirited character.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

In a world gone mad, Harold is keeping it together...

Hide the Pain Harold and vodka

... with vodka.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Wine Review & Wine Product Review: Black's Station Yolo County Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 & ArT Wine Preservation

Black's Station Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

My old friends at Matchbook Wine Company are back on the blog! I've done a lot of work with Matchbook, as you can see by doing a quick search on the blog or by clicking this link. And if you'd like to learn more about Matchbook, just read my article A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company.

This time I'll be checking out their new label, Black's Station. Black's Station is what the town of Zamora, within Dunnigan Hills, used to be named. Needless to say, the vineyards that make these wines are in Zamora. I've already tried Black's Stations 2015 Chardonnay2015 Malbec2014 Red Blend, and now I'm finishing them off with the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Wine Review: Black's Station Yolo County Red Blend 2014

Black's Station Red Blend 2014

My old friends at Matchbook Wine Company are back on the blog! I've done a lot of work with Matchbook, as you can see by doing a quick search on the blog or by clicking this link. And if you'd like to learn more about Matchbook, just read my article A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company.

This time I'll be checking out their new label, Black's Station. Black's Station is what the town of Zamora, within Dunnigan Hills, used to be named. Needless to say, the vineyards that make these wines are in Zamora. I've already tried Black's  Stations 2015 Chardonnay and the 2015 Malbec. Now I'm trying the 2014 Red Blend before I finish with the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon.

After an insane day at work, I'm about to pass out at my desk. Let's do this one quickly so I can curl up with my wife and baby and get yelled at for falling asleep too early.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Wine Review: Black's Station Yolo County Malbec 2015

Black's Station Malbec 2015

My old friends at Matchbook Wine Company are back on the blog! I've done a lot of work with Matchbook, as you can see by doing a quick search on the blog or by clicking this link. And if you'd like to learn more about Matchbook, just read my article A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company.

This time I'll be checking out their new label, Black's Station. Black's Station is what the town of Zamora, within Dunnigan Hills, used to be named. Needless to say, the vineyards that make these wines are in Zamora. I've already tried Black's Stations 2015 Chardonnay, now I'm on the 2015 Malbec, then I'll move on to the 2014 Red Blend, and finally 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon.

That's right, baby! Malbec! It's been growing in California for quite some time and now it's getting done right! Malbec just isn't for the French and Argentinians anymore, friend.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Wine Review: Black's Station Yolo County Chardonnay 2015

Black's Station Chardonnay 2015

My old friends at Matchbook Wine Company are back on the blog! I've done a lot of work with Matchbook, as you can see by doing a quick search on the blog or by clicking this link. And if you'd like to learn more about Matchbook, just read my article A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company.

This time I'll be checking out their new label, Black's Station. Black's Station is what the town of Zamora, within Dunnigan Hills, used to be named when it was founded. Needless to say, the vineyards that make these wines are in Zamora. Today I'm tasting Black's Stations 2015 Chardonnay, then 2015 Malbec, then 2014 Red Blend, and finally 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon.

I know I promised you that this summer I'd return to the kind of reviews and articles you've come to expect from me, and also go back to three posts a week instead of two, but I gotta break that promise for the time being. Yes, my wife and I had our second child. She's pretty awesome. However, she also has colic and is very very needy. Especially at night. We now realize how easy the first one was! So, although I'm glad to say that I will still be posting, it'll only be twice a week and the reviews will be rather short. Also, I'm sorry I haven't been all that responsive and talkative on social media. But don't worry, my friends. We'll get back to the immature hijinks and captivating history soon enough.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

FRENCH Chardonnay? More like BEST Chardonnay!

Why do they have so many French Chardonnays?

BECAUSE THEY'RE AMAZING, THAT'S WHY! #RetailProblems

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sauvignon Blanc! It's the Ultimate Wine Club Theme

Sauvignon Blanc: The Ultimate Wine Club Theme

As a wine guy in the retail business, I get a lot of regular customers from various wine clubs that come around looking for suggestions. These people get together usually once a month and they each bring a bottle of wine and, sometimes, food to pair it with. Generally the cap limit is $15 a bottle.

They’re not only looking for suggestions and pairings to fit a theme, but whoever is hosting that month might be looking for a theme itself. It could be a region or part of the world. Northwestern United States is always a big hit, because Oregon and Washington produce great affordable wine and cover a bunch of different grapes and styles. One person is designated an Oregon Pinot Gris, another a Washington Merlot, etc etc. Or it could be different California red blends. Or it could be just one varietal from around the world, which is exactly where I’m going with this.

One theme that is always a smash hit, where everybody has the most fun and learns the most about wine, is Sauvignon Blanc from around the world. Every time I suggest it to those who haven’t done it yet, they come back raving about the results.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Wine Reviews: Concha y Toro Fronterra Chardonnay 2016 & Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2016

Concha y Toro Fronterra Chardonnay 2016 & Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2016

Hello! How's everybody's week going? Did my fellow Americans have a nice Independence Day? Myself being in the wine retail business in a tourist destination, I can tell you that I did not. It's the busiest week of the year and I'm just beat, man. My feet are killing me. My arms are sore. But I love my job and I love this time of year. Talking to people from all over the world about wine and getting them the perfect bottle for their visit here makes me happy.

And, besides, a bit of wine at the end of the day will always make it all better. Because I'm just so run down I'm going to make this one quick. I've got two bottles here that you can buy in magnum format and are much better than your average Yellow Tail or Barefoot or Cavit. Let's drink 'em!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

July Wine Pick: Pavão Vinho Verde Branco

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

Pavão Vinho Verde

If Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, collaborated with the Horae, the Greek goddesses of the seasons, to create a wine specifically for summer they'd inevitably end up with the Branco (white) version of Vinho Verde from Portugal. Light, uncomplicated, quaffable, and refreshing with a touch of effervescence. It is the epitome of what we call a "porch pounder".

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Wine Review: Lieb Cellars Reserve Petit Verdot 2014


Lieb Cellars is back yet again on the blog for Round 3! To read all the reviews I've done on this Long Island winery, as well as their great story, check out A Brief History of Lieb Cellars - On the North Fork of Long Island, New York!

This go around I'll be tackling two Bridge Lane label items, 2015 Sauvignon Blanc and 2016 Rosé, and two Lieb Cellar label items, 2015 Reserve Pinot Blanc and 2014 Reserve Petit Verdot.

Do you even Petit Verdot, bro? I can't believe I just said that but I just had to. Petit Verdot is the new Petite Sirah: everybody loves it and they just don't know that they do. So when Lieb and I decided that it was time to rekindle passions of lust, I had to give their PV a try. It's not just the magical blender anymore. It's rising as a varietal to be reckoned with. This one was hand harvested, aged in Hungarian oak for 10 months, and has an ABV of 13.2%.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Wine Review: Lieb Cellars Reserve Pinot Blanc 2015


Lieb Cellars is back yet again on the blog for Round 3! To read all the reviews I've done on this Long Island winery, as well as their great story, check out A Brief History of Lieb Cellars - On the North Fork of Long Island, New York!

This go around I'll be tackling two Bridge Lane label items, 2015 Sauvignon Blanc and 2016 Rosé, and two Lieb Cellar label items, 2015 Reserve Pinot Blanc and 2014 Reserve Petit Verdot.

Lieb Cellars' Pinot Blanc comes from vines planted in 1982 (ten years before the winery was founded) and they're also the oldest vines on the North Fork. Not only that, but Lieb has the most plantings of Pinot Blanc in the entire United States. When the vines were planted they were believed to be Chardonnay but, when informed by its future winemaker (Russell Hearn) that it was Pinot Blanc instead, the land went up for sale literally the next day. The buyer was Marc Lieb. He made that Pinot Blanc his flagship and built a success around it. I don't know how he did it, honestly. Every time I try to sell somebody a Pinot Blanc I get a sour look and have to explain that it's not Pinot Grigio.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wine Review: Bridge Lane Rosé 2016

Bridge Lane Rosé 2016

Lieb Cellars is back yet again on the blog for Round 3! To read all the reviews I've done on this Long Island winery, as well as their great story, check out A Brief History of Lieb Cellars - On the North Fork of Long Island, New York!

This go around I'll be tackling two Bridge Lane label items, 2015 Sauvignon Blanc and 2016 Rosé, and two Lieb Cellar label items, 2015 Reserve Pinot Blanc and 2014 Reserve Petit Verdot.

Bridge Lane is Lieb's entry level label, with the place of origin listed as New York State rather then Long Island. Their 2016 Rosé is Cabernet Franc based. You know I love me some Cab Franc so I'm looking forward to this! It has an 11.9% ABV and 0% residual sugar.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Wine Reviews: Best of Spring 2017

Today is the last day of spring and tomorrow brings summer! So here are the top five wines that I reviewed between March 20th and June 20th!

May being 90+ Cellars Month resulted in a 90+ Cellars domination on this list, and the only red on the list is from Texas!

#5. THP Montepulciano 2014 by Llano Estacado

Region: High Plains, Texas
Review Release: April 23rd, 2017

The color of the wine is a dark garnet. There's aromas of dried cherries, jammy plums, sweet tobacco, dried pottery clay and orange peel. It's medium bodied with sweet tannin and perky acidity. The palate shows flavors of blackberries, black cherries, tobacco and dried herbs. The tannin stiffens up a bit on the finish, and there's the leftover taste of blackberries and tobacco.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $20
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)


Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
Review Release: May 14th, 2017

The color of the wine is pale yellow with a silvery shine. On the nose there's Tic-Tac shell, grapefruit, green pepper, lemon peel and celery. It's firmly structured within its medium body, yet still crispy with a sharp acidity. On the palate there's flavors of lime, grapefruit and pear. With the finish you're left with the saliva in your mouth stripped away as if it were a highly tannic red, and there's flavors of lime and pear.


QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $12
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)



Region: Prosecco, Veneto, Italy
Review Release: May 1st, 2017 (Wine Pick of the Month)

A dry stone minerality overlays the juicy peaches and ginger of the wine's nose. In the mouth it's light and crisp, yet soft and fluffy when swished into a foam. There's intense green apple all over the palate, with a tiny squeeze of lemon and lime. It's just so refreshing and delicious that's it's ridiculous. You simply must try it.


QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $12
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)



Region: Sancerre, Loire Valley, France
Review Release: May 28th, 2017

The wine is a light lager yellow. The limestone in its marl soil shows through on the nose with chalky minerality. There's aromas of white flowers, lemon, and the juice collection from a fruit salad. In the mouth it's light bodied with high acidity, and has both a smooth body and a crispy bite. The palate shows flavors of lemon, grapefruit and cracked stone. It finishes super dry with grapefruit and cracked stone.

Goat cheese brie cheese on Saltine crackers would put me in heaven right now. This is an awesome, awesome Sancerre for $21. It beats the crap out of the more popular ones at that price range, and I'm giving it a perfect score.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $21
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)



Region: Russian River Valley, Sonoma Valley, California
Review Release: May 21st, 2017

The wine has a golden color. On the nose there's a touch of smokiness with aromas of apple, pineapple, butter, caramel and walnut. It's full bodied with a buttery mouthfeel but still has a sharp, piercing acidity. There's flavors of pineapple, vanilla, banana and ginger. It finishes with some heat, spicy ginger, and pineapple.

Dude. DUUUUUDE. This is stellar! 90+ Cellars knocked it out of the goddamn park with the purchase of this lot. If you bought it under the source label it would run you $22, which is a great deal in itself, but under the 90+ label it's $18. I indeed fell in love with this Chardonnay.


QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $18
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

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