Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wine Review: Cecchi La Mora Vermentino 2014

Cecchi La Mora Vermentino 2014

Vermentino is big on the island of Sardinia but also has plantings here and there on the Italian mainland and southern France. This one is from the Maremma subregion of Tuscany, and it's by the famous Cecchi winery.

The Cecchi family got into the winemaking business in 1893 with Luigi Cecchi, and the first bottles of Cecchi labeled wines were produced in the early 1900's. However, the land that their winery and estate vineyards are on has been making wine for over a thousand years. Today it's run by Andrea and Cesare Cecchi, and they pride themselves on their practice of sustainability.

NOTE: In advance of moving to a new house and the arrival of a new baby, the reviews for March, April and May were written in February (this one in March, actually) and may be much quicker and to the point than you expect from this blog. Foolishness will return this summer.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Wine Review: THP Montepulciano 2014 by Llano Estacado

THP Montepulciano 2014 by Liano Estracado

This is the final wine of five that I've reviewed for Llano Estacado out of TEXAS! Yes, TEXAS! I started with the 2016 Pinot Grigio, then 2015 Viognier2015 Signature Red, now 2015 Cellar Reserve Chardonnay and finally 2014 THP Montepulciano.

Spanish monks made Texas and New Mexico the first of the would-be-states in today's USA to grow vineyards and make their own wine in the 1620's. Llano Estacado was established in Western Texas in 1976, and has become the best selling premium winery in the state. Their current winemaker Greg Bruni took over that position in 993.

The 2014 THP Montepulciano is 76% Montepulciano, 12% Aglianico, 5% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Syrah. So this Texas wine takes two varietals whose vines normally don't venture far from their homes in southern Italy, and blends them with three French international varietals. THP stands for Texas High Plains, and that's where the vineyards are located. The wine spends 18 months in 59 gallon French and American oak barrels.

NOTE: In advance of moving to a new house and the arrival of a new baby, the reviews for March, April and May were all written in February and may be much quicker and to the point than you expect from this blog. Foolishness will return this summer.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wine Review: Llano Estacado Cellar Reserve Chardonnay 2015

Llano Estacado Cellar Reserve Chardonnay 2015

This is the fourth of five wines that I'll be reviewing for Llano Estacado out of TEXAS! Yes, TEXAS! I started with the 2016 Pinot Grigio, then 2015 Viognier2015 Signature Red, now 2015 Cellar Reserve Chardonnay and finally 2014 THP Montepulciano.

Spanish monks made Texas and New Mexico the first of the would-be-states in today's USA to grow vineyards and make their own wine in the 1620's. Llano Estacado was established in Western Texas in 1976, and has become the best selling premium winery in the state. Their current winemaker Greg Bruni took over that position in 1993.

The 2015 Cellar Reserve Chardonnay is 100% Chardonnay, mostly from the Mont Sec Vineyard. It was cold fermented in stainless steel before spending 318 days on the lees in neutral French oak. It saw complete malolactic fermentation and has a 13.2% ABV.

NOTE: In advance of moving to a new house and the arrival of a new baby, the reviews for March, April and May were all written in February and may be much quicker and to the point than you expect from this blog. Foolishness will return this summer.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Heroes of Wine: Louis Pasteur

There have been so many great minds throughout history that changed the course of mankind with their discoveries and innovations, but none may be as important to the lives of the people in the modern world today than Louis Pasteur, one of the founding fathers of microbiology.

Louis Pasteur
LOUIS PASTEUR
IMAGE CREDIT: clccharter.org
Because of Louis Pasteur, your ancestors were able to receive a rabies vaccination instead of dying horribly from rabies after 1885. His rabies vaccine would lead to other vaccines that save lives, like the 1955 polio vaccine by Jonas Stalk. And most importantly of all, because of Louis Pasteur, you are able to enjoy your favorite wines and beers today.

So let's learn about a legend. And to help me with this article on the life of Louis Pasteur, I've asked Lori Budd of Dracaena Wines to contribute. Lori is a winemaker with a history in biology, and there is nobody else that I would rather see do the honors.

(LORI) As a child, Louis Pasteur asked his father “What makes a wolf or a dog mad, and why do people die when mad dogs bite them?” Obviously, this question was asked because Louis Pasteur had unfortunately seen this occur in his childhood. Now, I am not going to say that these deaths totally traumatized him, but if we take a look at his life’s achievements, these deaths did make a lasting effect on him, whether he consciously recognized it or not. 

As a scientist, I admire the predecessors and applaud how well they achieved their goals in the time that they did. Louis Pasteur ranks as one of my all time favorites. In all honesty, if you are familiar with his life, he was a pompous son of a bitch, but sometimes that’s what you need to be in order to be successful. He started his scientific career looking at crystals under a microscope. He was a chemist not an immunologist- that didn’t come until later. At the age of 26, he discovered there were four distinct kinds of tartaric acid. This discovery gave him a taste of fame, and he not only liked it, he craved it! (/LORI)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Wine Review: Llano Estacado Signature Red Meritage 2015

Llano Estacado Signature Red 2015

This is the third of five wines that I'll be reviewing for Llano Estacado out of TEXAS! Yes, TEXAS! I started with the 2016 Pinot Grigio, then 2015 Viognier, now we're on 2015 Signature Red, followed by 2015 Cellar Reserve Chardonnay and finally 2014 THP Montepulciano.

Spanish monks made Texas and New Mexico the first of the would-be-states in today's USA to grow vineyards and make their own wine in the 1620's. Llano Estacado was established in Western Texas in 1976, and has become the best selling premium winery in the state. Their current winemaker Greg Bruni took over that position in 1993.

The fruit used in this blend are from the Mont Sec and Carpenter Vineyards of Far West Texas and the Reddy and Newsom Vineyards of the Texas High Plains. It is vegan friendly and has a 13.3% ABV.

NOTE: In advance of moving to a new house and the arrival of a new baby, the reviews for March, April and May were all written in February and may be much quicker and to the point than you expect from this blog. Foolishness will return this summer.
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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Wine Review: Llano Estacado Viognier 2015

Llano Estacado Viognier 2015

This is the second of five wines that I'll be reviewing for Llano Estacado out of TEXAS! Yes, TEXAS! I started with the 2016 Pinot Grigio and now we're on the 2015 Viognier, followed by the 2015 Signature Red, 2015 Cellar Reserve Chardonnay, and finally the 2014 THP Montepulciano.

Spanish monks made Texas and New Mexico the first of the would-be-states in today's USA to grow vineyards and make their own wine in the 1620's. Llano Estacado was established in Western Texas in 1976, and has become the best selling premium winery in the state. Their current winemaker Greg Bruni took over that position in 1993.

The Llano Estacado Viognier 2015 is 99% Viognier from the Mont Sec Vineyard and 1% Roussanne from Reddy Vineyards on the Texas High Plains. There was no oak aging and it has an ABV of 12.5%.

NOTE: In advance of moving to a new house and the arrival of a new baby, the reviews for March, April and May were all written in February and may be much quicker and to the point than you expect from this blog. Foolishness will return this summer.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Wine Review: Llano Estacado Pinot Grigio 2016

Llano Estacado Pinot Grigio 2016

This is the first of five wines that I'll be reviewing for Llano Estacado out of TEXAS! Yes, TEXAS! It's the 2016 Pinot Grigio followed by the 2015 Viognier, 2015 Signature Red, 2015 Cellar Reserve Chardonnay, and finally the 2014 THP Montepulciano.

Spanish monks made Texas and New Mexico the first of the would-be-states in today's USA to grow vineyards and make their own wine in the 1620's. Llano Estacado was established in Western Texas in 1976, and has become the best selling premium winery in the state. Their current winemaker Greg Bruni took over that position in 1993.

The 2016 Pinot Grigio is 77% Pinot Grigio from Reddy Vineyards on the Texas High Plain and 23% Sauvignon Blanc, fermented in stainless steel, and saw no oak aging. It's vegan friendly and has an ABV of 13.5%.

NOTE: In advance of moving to a new house and the arrival of a new baby, the reviews for March, April and May were all written in February and may be much quicker and to the point than you expect from this blog. Foolishness will return this summer.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April "Wine" Pick: Dogfish Head Red & White (Beer)

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

Dogfish Head Red & White

It's the second annual "switch-your-picks April" at the Dennisport Luke's and this year the fine wine guy's got beer! Of course, you know that I've just got to tie it to wine somehow. I'm a wine guy, I can't help it. I'm also an enormous fan of wheat beer so the stars aligned for this one.

Dogfish Head is one of my favorite breweries. That's not just because they love to reanimate ancient beers that warm the heart of the history geek inside me, but also because they love to do cool stuff like this. Their Red & White is an Imperial Wit that was brewed with coriander and orange peel, then fermented with the must of Pinot Noir and aged in oak.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Wine is an experience.


"Wine is an experience, not a quick judgment." - Joey Casco CSW/CSS

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Wine Review: James Charles 2015 Petit Verdot

James Charles 2015 Petit Verdot

Last year I reviewed three wines by the Bogady family, and now they're back with two more! I just reviewed Bogadi Bodega & Vineyard 2015 Viognier the other day and now I'm on to James Charles 2015 Petit Verdot. In February of 2016 I reviewed Bogadi Bodega & Vineyard 2014 Seyval BlancJames Charles 2014 Viognier and Veramar Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Franc.

James Charles Bogady's parents came over to America from the Italian Alps, and his family in the old country still runs a small vineyard. So James thought he'd carry out his family tradition in Virginia. He bought his first vineyard in 1995, and in 2000 he and his wife Della founded Veramar Vineyards. Their son Justin became the winemaker in 2001.

NOTE: In advance of moving to a new house and the arrival of a new baby, the reviews for March, April and May were all written in February and may be much quicker and to the point than you expect from this blog. Foolishness will return this summer.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wine Review: Bogadi Bodega & Vineyard 2015 Viognier

Bogadi Bodega & Vineyard 2015 Viognier

Last year I reviewed three wines by the Bogady family, and now they're back with two more! Today I'm reviewing Bogadi Bodega & Vineyard 2015 Viognier and in a few days I'll publish a review of their James Charles 2015 Petit Verdot. In February of 2016 I reviewed Bogadi Bodega & Vineyard 2014 Seyval BlancJames Charles 2014 Viognier and Veramar Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Franc.

Viognier originated in France's Rhone Valley. Even though it's seeing great success in California, it's become the pride and joy of Virginia viticulture and winemaking. Virginia has the longest history of winemaking in the United States of America (Texas and California made wine much earlier but weren't a part of the USA until much later). Wine from the native species' of grapevines had been made there since the early days of English colonization. Many attempted to grow vitis vinifera (the European species for making wine) but the vines just kept dying. Thomas Jefferson (drinker, collector and "America's first wine expert") planted vinifera at Monticello in Charlottesville. He failed. Since it was discovered that the culprit was the phylloxera aphid, Virginia has blossomed into a gorgeous vinifera wine country.

NOTE: In advance of moving to a new house and the arrival of a new baby, the reviews for March, April and May were all written in February and may be much quicker and to the point than you expect from this blog. Foolishness will return this summer.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Wine Reviews: Best of Winter 2016/17

It's the first day of Spring so it's time to share the top wines that I reviewed during the Winter! So here it is... the best of December 21st 2016 to March 19th 2017!

#5. Alpasión Malbec 2013

Alpasión Malbec 2013Region: Mendoza, Argentina
Review Release: January 5th, 2017

In the mouth it's a little lighter than medium bodied but with a rich and round mouthfeel and silky tannin. The flavors are fruit forward with plum, cranberry and spoiled cabbage. Just kidding! There's no spoiled cabbage. I just wanted to make sure you were actually paying attention. The flavors are fruit forward with plum, cranberry and blackberries. A great mix of red and black fruit. The swallow is fantastic as it sees a brief visit into mocha-land. It finishes with those fruits on the palate, the addition of cola, and a silky coating that keeps those flavors going for quite awhile.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $25
Rating: 4/5 = Recommended (what does that mean?)


Left Coast Cellars The Orchards Pinot Gris 2015
Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Review Release: March 5th, 2017

The color of the wine is a a very pale yellow. The nose is expressive with apples, orange blossom, honeydew melon and just a blade of lemon grass. It's medium to full bodied with a silky mouthfeel, but it's still zingy and lively as all hell. An explosion of tart apples and lemon lollipop command the palate, with mineral and fresh garden herb subtleties. It finishes tart but with a heavy coating that lets the flavors linger.


QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $18
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)



Matchbook Dunnigan Hills 2015 Old Head ChardonnayRegion: Dunnigan Hills, California
Review Release: December 29th, 2016

The color of the wine is a light straw color. The nose has a little smokiness to it that I don't recall on the 2012. There's also aromas of pineapple, butterscotch and vanilla wafers. It's such a lovely nose. Goddamn, I love Chardonnay so much. It's hard to imagine that I didn't like it when I began my career as a wine professional. I was a fool.


QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $15
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)



Psagot M-series Cabernet Sauvignon 2013Region: Jerusalem Hills, Israel
Review Release: February 12th, 2017

The color of the wine is a dark red heading in the direction of turning brick, with a blackish dense center. I got lots of wood on the nose at first, but after some airing out that receded and made way for the other characteristics. There's aromas of blackberries, black licorice, mocha, mint and vanilla. It really does have a dark, seductive nose.

In the mouth it's medium to full bodied, lush and smooth in mouthfeel, with soft tannin and low acidity. On the palate it brightens up away from the darkness with some red currant, cranberry and red licorice. Then there's that mocha, mint and vanilla again. It finishes so smoothly and elegantly, with cranberry and cedar.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $63
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)



Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
Review Release: January 29th, 2017

The color of the wine is a light straw yellow with silvery edges. There's almost a toasty feel to the nose and aromas of lime, gooseberry, guava, chives and cilantra. It's medium bodied with a slick mouthfeel. Flavors of lemon-lime soda, lemon grass, melon, guava and celery are on the midpalate. It finishes with lemon-lime soda, guava, and a tingly dry mouthfeel.

I'm actually going to give this wine a perfect score for the price and I'll tell you why. The highly potent grapefruit-and-acid to the face that is most New Zealand Savignon Blancs (available in the USA for this price) is an all-well-and-fine profile. But it's everywhere. And at no point did I get any of that. This is more mellow in its fruit, more versatile with food, and the quality is absolutely there.


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

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Wine & Wine Product Review: El Nil Napa Valley Red Wine 2012 & The Wine Mermaid


This is the second of two reviews for Napa juice by Ankh Wines. The first was Ankh Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 so to learn more about them check that review out. This review is for their El Nil Napa Valley Red Wine 2012, keeping with the Egyptian theme (El Nil = The Nile).

The 2012 El Nil is 69% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc. The fruit comes from the Napa regions of Rutherford, Coombsville and Atlas Peak. It spent 24 months in French Oak and 12 months bottle aging. Only 75 cases were produced and it has an ABV of 14.7%. I love the label.

With this wine I'll also be trying out Taste of Purple's new wine glass called "The Wine Mermaid". I bust out their Vino 2 glass whenever I come across a wine that needs some major breathing that I don't have time for. The thing works like a charm so I'm looking forward to trying out this new one.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Wine Review: Ankh Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Ankh Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

In Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet was a fierce and violent warrior goddess. The sun god Ra had become angry because mankind was not following his laws, so he sent Sekhmet to destroy the people. The fields ran with blood, but the sight of the carnage caused Ra to repent. He ordered Sekhmet to stop, but she was in a blood lust and would not listen. So Ra tricked her by pouring jugs of wine in her path. She gorged on what she thought was blood and became so drunk that she slept for days. When she awoke, Sekhmet had transformed into the benevolent goddess Hathor; her blood lust had disappeared, and humanity was saved. 

Every year in what is now the month of August, Egyptians held a great festival to celebrate the Drunkenness of Hathor. This massive event was the largest of its day, and coincided with the start of Akhet season - when the Nile River would begin to rise. Tens of thousands of people from all across Egypt traveled to this great event. Today, we honor the saving of mankind by releasing a new vintage of Ankh during the Akhet season, and by placing an icon representing Hathor on every bottle.

That was lifted right off of Ankh Wine's website. How freaking cool is that? I love it when a wine speaks to my inner history geek like that. Ankh was founded in 2007 by Mark El-Tawil and Scott Ptacek. I'll be reviewing two of their wines. Today is the Ankh Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 and in a few days it will be their El Nil Napa Valley Red Wine 2012.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

My Year Off: Trading in Wine Studies for Science and Comics

Batman reading
A little over a year ago I decided that I was going to take a year off from wine and alcohol studies so I can do other things that I enjoy. I had gone hardcore at alcohol education for years, earning the Certified Specialist of Wine and Certified Specialist of Spirits certifications in the process, and writing so much for this blog that I had become detached from everything that other people in my age group were talking about while socializing.

When my peers were excited about the second Captain America movie, I wasn't even aware there was a first one. "Did you watch Breaking Bad?" Pffft, ain't nobody got time for that! Oh wait... they do. I'm just a weirdo.

That year is a few months more than over and it's time to get back into wine education, which means you'll be seeing much more of the monthly articles you expect from this blog that have been coming out less frequently lately. And since I'll be thinking about wine nonstop, more original memes and stuff from elsewhere shared on social media.

At the end of this post I'll give a little glimpse into the future of the blog. But first, this is how I mostly spent my time off: reading SCIENCE BOOKS and COMIC BOOKS.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Wine Review: Left Coast Cellars Cali's Cuvee Pinot Noir 2014

Left Coast Cellars Cali's Cuvee Pinot Noir 2014

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. 

A few days ago I reviewed their 2015 The Orchards Pinot Gris and now I'm doing their 2014 Cali's Cuvee Pinot Noir.

NOTE: In advance of moving to a new house and the arrival of a new baby, the reviews for March, April and May were all written in February and may be much quicker and to the point than you expect from this blog. Foolishness will return this summer.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Wine Review: Left Coast Cellars The Orchards Pinot Gris 2015

Left Coast Cellars The Orchards Pinot Gris 2015

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. 

Today I'm reviewing their 2015 The Orchards Pinot Gris and then I'm reviewing their 2014 Cali's Cuvee Pinot Noir.

NOTE: In advance of moving to a new house and the arrival of a new baby, the reviews for March, April and May were all written in February and may be much quicker and to the point than you expect from this blog. Foolishness will return this summer.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March Wine Pick: Domaine Laroque Cité de Carcassonne 2015

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


Domaine Laroque Cité de Carcassonne 2015

My complete adoration of Cabernet Franc is no secret, and I've got a 100% Cab Franc right here that's both delicious and extremely affordable. It's from Domaine Laroque, located in the Cité de Carcassonne subregion of Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Wine Review: Psagot M-series Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Psagot Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Just a few more days until Valentines Day and Psagot has sent me this Cabernet Sauvignon that's the "ideal lush wine for seducing". Seeing as the wife is pregnant I guess I'll be using it to seduce myself. I am rather handsome. Also, I like a guy that makes me laugh and I crack myself up all the time. It's a date!

This wine is from Israel, and I've done a few reviews of Israeli / Palestinian wines before. Also Turkey, which was a great wine drinking experience. There's something about wine from the Middle East that fascinates me. It's got to be the long history of civilization, the long history of viticulture and winemaking, and the growth of alcohol oppression there in the last few hundred years. It's not a place that should be thought of as a non-traditional wine producer but yet it is. And I love tasting wine from non-traditional places.

Before I get into talking further about this wine, I must say this: Donald Trump can go eff himself with his Middle East travel and immigration ban. He can go eff himself with everything else he's done too. The one great thing to come out of all of this is to see America resist. Especially scientists in straight-up revolt against orders with refusal to be silent. Their resistance has been glorious and it gives us hope that reason and logic will overcome. Moving on...

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A love letter to Chardonnay

A love letter to Chardonnay

To my beloved Chardonnay,

The road to our love was a rocky one. I was a fool for turning away from the prospect of "us", but you never once gave up on me. Finally coming to the realization of your beauty, both inside and out, was a life changing moment.

In these past years I have fallen madly in love with you, Chardonnay. All I need to do to feel you again, to taste you again, is to close my eyes. The thought of your supple full body, so lush and creamy, so sexy, creates a thirst within me.

Don't you ever let the haters bring you down, for I will be right by your side. Anything But Chardonnay be damned! We will not let them destroy our love. Not today; not ever.

Forever and always,
Joey

Sunday, February 5, 2017

A love letter to Riesling

A love letter to Riesling

My dearest Riesling,

Out of all of the wines in the world there is none other that makes me smile the way that you do. Every time you touch my lips, your spirit fills me with life and hope and love. I am instantly turned into the optimist I never thought I could be whenever you are near.

How can you do this to me? Why do you make me so happy?

Every day with you in it is interesting and full of wonder, Riesling, whether you're showing your dry sense of humor or seduction by sweet compassion. We will always be together, my love. You will always have a place in my heart and in my glass.

Lustfully yours,
Joey

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Flashback February!

Jay Garrick, The FlashHello, readers! Unfortunately, unplanned events have made me rethink what the blog will be posting this February. The last two weeks of January put me behind writing schedule due to a sickness that just made me lethargic, unable to focus, and coughing up gross stuff later on in the process.

And, if that wasn't enough, we're moving to a new house at the beginning of March and expecting a new baby in May.

So, rather than hustling to catch up and produce stuff for February, I'm going to take the entire month to power out material for you that will get the blog set until the summer. I've got some very cool article ideas and reviews of some awesome wines for you.

So what is going to happen with February?

I have the Wine Pick, which you saw yesterday, and three new posts leading into Valentine's Day; two love letters to my favorite white varietals, and a review of a red from Israel.

Throughout the month on the blog, and on social media, it will be Flashback February as I'll be promoting my old articles for those who haven't read them and for those who have to revisit. It'll be all my best stuff, from The Adventures of Aglianico to The Rest of Us.

This is the first time anything for this blog, in its near three years, has been delayed because I simply was unable to do it. Thanks for understanding, guys.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February Wine Pick: Noval Black Porto

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

Noval Black Porto

Nothing warms you up in the cold of February like a glass of port. The sweet Portuguese red wine fortified with brandy is the perfect thing to sip between evening snow shovelings.

My wine pick of the month is produced by one of the oldest and famous porthouses around, Quinta do Noval. Since their registration in 1715, they've been well respected and have earned a reputation for innovation.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Wine Review: Wither Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Just a few days ago I published a review of Wither Hills 2012 Pinot Noir and today I'm publishing a review of their 2015 Sauvignon Blanc. Out of Marlborough, New Zealand, they're a winery that has embraced sustainable farming. All of their vineyards are Certified Sustainable Winegrowing (SWNZ). Two of their vineyards are Certified Organic (BioGrow NZ) and the others are in the process of earning that certification.

Wither Hills was founded in the best year of the modern era for entertainment: 1994. Don't believe me that it was? Look it up. Check out all the great movies released, albums dropped, and singles played. Let me give you a little sample in your glass...

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Wine Review: Wither Hills Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012

Wither Hills Pinot Noir 2012

Look at that beautiful snow! Of course, by the time this review is published it'll be gone. This is Cape Cod and it's rare that the release of a snow storm lasts more than a few days, if it all doesn't melt away the following day. This storm was weird too. I was working an 11 hour shift, it looked terrible outside, and I was wondering why the store didn't close early. Then on my way home the roads were perfectly fine. "So that's why! It's surprisingly safe!" I thought to myself while checking Instagram and driving. I'm just joking. Never think and drive, kids.

I've got two reviews of Wither Hills wine for you! Today I'm doing their 2012 Pinot Noir and in a few days I'll release a review of their 2015 Sauvignon Blanc. Out of Marlborough, New Zealand, they're a winery that has embraced sustainable farming. All of their vineyards are Certified Sustainable Winegrowing (SWNZ). Two of their vineyards are Certified Organic (BioGrow NZ) and the others are in the process of earning that certification.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Drink Review: Savîle Premium Rumtini

Drink Review: Savile Premium Rumtini

It's kinda funny. I'm a wine guy first and a beer guy second. Not much of a spirits guy or mixed-drinks-slash-cocktail guy. However, I'm not really all that interested in actually learning about beer. I dabble with educating myself on it. Yet the technical stuff and the history of spirits fascinates me, and I can appreciate the art of mixology even if I'd prefer a Merlot or a Marzen over a Manhattan.

But this really isn't mixology, is it? This is a pre-mixed drink. It's already made for you within the bottle that you buy. Those usually aren't all that good, right? Usually. Because as mixology is still going strong in its comeback, we're starting to see quality pre-mixed drinks being produced. They use the real ingredients instead of crappy knockoff flavors, and they have the alcohol strength of a real, hard drink. One example is Bully Boy Old Fashioned. It's mind blowingly fantastic.

Does this sound familiar? It should because box wine has been blazing the same path of quality elevation for a few years now. Almaden and Chi-Chi's aren't good enough. People aren't settling for crap products anymore, especially the workaholic, attention-to-detail consumer that is the Millennial generation.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Edmond Halley

Edmond Halley

This is Edmond Halley. He is among the greatest scientific minds and most influential people in history. As he died at the age of 85, he enjoyed his last glass of wine.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Beer Review: Trappistes Rochefort 6, 8 & 10

Trappistes Rochefort 6, 8 & 10

The reason why I love writing beer reviews is because this is a wine blog. So it's like a night off from writing, while still writing, because I don't need to turn on the focus mode.

If you've read any of my wine reviews you know that I like to joke around and have fun, but I'm still in deep wine-geek concentration; analyzing and admiring every aspect of that wine. If you've read any of my beer reviews, you know that I have a deep appreciation for beer but I don't take it nearly as seriously. 

So I'm doing a flight of Trappeste Rochefort tonight while I fuck around on the PS4, stopping to write my thoughts here and there. I will not be spitting so this could get messy. But first thing is first: get out the brandy snifter. This is snifter beer.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Wine Review: Alpasión Private Selection 2012

Alpasión Private Selection 2012

One day a group of friends were enjoying some wine together and started talking about how cool it would be if they would start making their own. We've all done this from time to time, jokingly. But the founders of Alpasión actually went ahead and followed through with it.

Located in the Uco Valley region of Mendoza in Argentina, this winery owns 85 hectares of land (60 of them being vineyards) at 1,200 meters above sea-level. Although it doesn't look like they're certified just yet, they live by the code of sustainable organic farming. Right now they only make two wines. I've already reviewed their 2013 Malbec and today I'm reviewing their 2012 Private Selection.

The 2012 Private Selection is a blend of 58% Malbec and 42% Cabernet Franc. It appears that the blend changes from year to year because a previous vintage is said to have 50% Malbec, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Syrah. Anyways, the vines are fifteen to twenty years old, the grapes are hand harvested, the wine is barrel fermented with native yeast and then aged in 100% Bordeaux style oak barrels for eighteen months.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Book Review: "Corkscrew" by Peter Stafford-Bow

"Corkscrew" by Peter Stafford-Bow
Who was idiot enough to make a wine like this? It had to be French.
Peter Stafford-Bow is a pen name, and after reading this book you'll understand why. He could very easily piss some people off. Corksrew is subtitled "The highly improbable, but occasionally true, tale of a professional wine buyer". He pulls no punches on the wine trade industry and retail industry of England, and I'm sure it's not hard for some to figure out who he's really talking about.

Corkscrew is also one of the funniest novels I've ever read. Peter has a genius wit and a subtle humor that made me break out in laughter constantly, getting strange looks from my wife. Who doesn't love it when an expression is compared to "that of a treasure hunter unearthing a foil-wrapped turd"?

I'm going to give you a run down of how it starts, and a little more so you know what the book is about. If you don't want any spoilers, then I suggest you do not read any further.

Felix Hart, the main character of Corkscrew, is a charismatic and highly intelligent young man with a love of drinking and a gift for dropping panties. His hard partying lifestyle leads him to become the first person with his prestigious scholarship to be kicked out of college. Seeking advice, he visits with his favorite professor who gives him an herbal African concoction called Madame Joubert's Lekker Medisyne Trommel. When added to water, it's a performance enhancer that revitalizes your senses and focus. He's also told that if he wants to travel the world and continue to party, then he should become a wine merchant.
"Kumal! Get my shotgun!"
"Very good, sir."
I had a terrible sense that things were slipping out of control. 
After his boss at a wine shop dies while taking a dump, Felix is promoted as the manager for another store of the chain in Little Chalfont. There he finds that the living quarters given to him by the company was inhabited by squatters, which apparently have some pretty damn good rights in England. Felix earns his way into living with these hippy squatters; Wodin, Mercedes and Fistule. All three would have important parts to play later on in the book.

On the mid-palate, with the help of Madame Joubert's Lekker Medisyne Trommel, Felix climbs the ladder of wine management at Gatesave. The key to one of these promotions is to become a Minstrel of Wine. Earning this certification includes classes that weed out unworthy students almost every time. There's no spitting allowed when tasting during these classes, and if you show you're too intoxicated or can't perform and answer questions then you've "sinned against the gods" and are kicked out. One of the two main events of the book is the final test for the certification, and it's fascinating. I could not put it down.

This book has everything. The wine geekiness secretes the pages. He travels to places like Bulgaria and South Africa in search for wine. But there's also sex appeal as he tries to bed almost every woman that he comes in contact with, and then there's an old man's penis in sparkling rosé. There's also several animal attacks (ostriches, leopards, cows), illegal refugees, drug deals, wacky protesters, the mob, and a few rather disturbing deaths.

On the finish, there's a brilliant display of chaos that ties Felix's entire life story together. I honestly didn't want this book to end. I wanted to stay in the apartment with Felix, Wodin, Mercedes and Fistule. I grew very fond of these characters and would like to see them again.

In conclusion, Corkscrew has to be on the must-read list for any wine lover. YOU CAN EVEN BUY IT HERE: http://astore.amazon.com/thewinsta-20/detail/1911079352
"Corks are for cunts," - Van Blerk on screwcaps

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Wine Review: Alpasión Malbec 2013

Wine Review: Alpasión Malbec 2013

I feel the need to start off this review by first apologizing to Alpasión. These wines were originally supposed to be reviewed quite awhile ago but kept being pushed back as entire months were dedicated to certain themes (International Merlot Month), wineries (Market Vineyards) and portfolios (Terlato). So, Alpasión, please accept my apologies. I am sorry.

Speaking of Market Vineyards, Alpasión's origin story is actually quite similar. A group of friends were enjoying some wine together and started talking about how cool it would be if they would start making their own. We've all done this from time to time, jokingly. But the founders of Alpasión actually went ahead and followed through with it.

Located in the Uco Valley region of Mendoza in Argentina, this winery owns 85 hectares of land (60 of them being vineyards) at 1,200 meters above sea-level. Although it doesn't look like they're certified just yet, they live by the code of sustainable organic farming.  Right now they only make two wines. Today I'm reviewing their 2013 Malbec and next week I'll be reviewing their 2012 Private Selection.

After being hand harvested and fermented with native yeasts, this Malbec saw ten months in 100% new French oak and has an ABV of 14.9%.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

January Wine Pick: Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d'Acqui 2014

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



My wine pick of the month is a Brachetto d’Acqui; a sparkling red wine made of the Brachetto varietal from Acqui, a subregion of Italy's Piedmont. Brachetto is an ancient grape and there seems to be some evidence that it may have originated in France, but it found its true home of Acqui a very long time ago. Cleopatra received gifts of Acqui wine from both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, and it’s rumored to have been Brachetto.

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