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?)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Book Review: Wine & War by Don and Petie Kladstrup

"To be a Frenchman means to fight for your country and its wine." - André Terrail
Wine & WarThe problem with an addictive quick read is that you're done with it that much faster because you couldn't put the damn thing down. Then you're sad when you've finished in just a few days. That's exactly what Wine & War will do to you. And because I really want you to read this quick read (248 pages), I'm making this review a quick read as well. I'll tell you some cool things to perk your interest and then dip out! Get the damn book!

Authors Don and Petie Kladstrup talked to survivors of the World War II Nazi occupation of France and put their stories together in this book. They all went through different experiences and hardships, but the one thing all of these people have in common was wine.

The Hugel's of Alsace, the Drouin's of Burgundy, the Taittinger's of Champagne, and many many more.

Despite the Germans believing that the French had the strongest army in the world, the leaders of France and its military were so scarred from the loss of young men that they experienced in the First World War that they decided on a deal to be occupied rather than go through that horror again. When the Germans rolled in, however, the wine people went to work.

They hid their most prized wines immediately, knowing that the Germans would take them and, more importantly, not appreciate them. They built walls in their cellars, closing in the wines behind them, and had their children collect spiders so they'd spin webs to make the wall look older. Dust from old carpets were collected to put on cheap bottles to make them appear rare.
"Generals rarely have the power to build, they more often have the power to destroy." - Pierre Taittinger to General Dietrich von Choltitz
The first thing that Nazi leader Hermann Goering did in Paris, right at the very beginning of occupation, was drive to a famous restaurant to drink a famous vintage, only to be told they were sold out. After checking their cellar, he found that they were telling the truth. Only they weren't telling the truth, and the vintage was hiding behind a wall only feet away.

Once the occupation was better organized, a system was put into place for winemakers to sell their wine to the Germans. The chapter on the Weinfuhrers, who negotiated with the winemakers, is probably my favorite.

And that's not all. Not by a long shot. Vineyards and houses were taken over by the Germans for their own uses. The famous Haut-Brion in Bordeaux was turned into a rifle range. One vineyard owner spread rat droppings all over her house so the Germans wouldn't take it; and it worked. Other families hid their Jewish friends. With copper being taken by the Nazi's, a young man turned his barn into a chemistry lab to try and create copper sulfate to apply to vineyards.

Their lives were rough, although easier in some places. Goering said that the French could live off of 1,200 calories a day. That's half the calories that you need to survive. For the elderly it was only 850 calories. France was literally starving. And those calories included the wine that had always been so important to the French.
"What helped a lot was the wine. As the food grew scarcer, we drank more and more of it. Occasionally on Saturday evenings, we would buy ten or twelve bottles of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Hermitage, Mercurey, Moulin-à-Vent, Julienas, Chambertin, Bonnes Mares or Musigny and have an evening of drinking and singing." - Verian Fry
One of the greatest stories here is about a Prisoner of War concentration camp for French officers that blackmailed their Nazi captors into allowing them to have a wine dinner. The wine dinner turned into a two week celebration of the wines of France, leading up to everybody getting just a few ounces of wine at the main event dinner. That story in itself is worth picking this book up.

I could go on and on about all the great moments in the book but I'm going to stop right there before I even get to the liberation.

The Kladstrup's did an amazing job in telling these people's stories, and organizing them in a way to form one overall successive one. It's simply an amazing read. If you're any fan of wine, or if you're any fan of history, you absolutely must read Wine & War.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wine Review: Bridge Lane Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Bridge Lane Sauvignon Blanc 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. With the 2016 vintage they've dropped their White Blend in favor of producing this here Sauvignon Blanc. Long Island seems to find its most success with Bordeaux varietals so it absolutely makes sense that this would happen. Their new Sauvignon Blanc sees no oak, is fermented until there is zero residual sugar, and it has an ABV of 12%.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Wine Review: Dane Cellars Justi Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012


This is the final of three wines I'll be reviewing for Dane Cellars. I started with their 2014 Justi Creek Vineyard Grenache, then moved on to their 2013 Los Chamizal Vineyard Zinfandel, and am now concluding with their 2012 Justi Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

I had the pleasure of having a phone conversation with Bart Hansen, the owner, founder and winemaker of Dane Cellars the same day that the Grenache review was published. It took awhile for us to make that call happen (a month or two) since a friggin' child decided to be born out of my wife and has completely taken over the house. If that's not enough, we have a kindergartner too. So, needless to say, the only thing that has been successfully scheduled the past few months are feedings and nap-times.

Bart Hansen, Dane Cellars
BART HANSEN
But Bart understood. He's been there before. And he's a really down-to-Earth guy that gets excited to talk about wine, even if it's not his own. I really like the guy and wanted to keep talking but there was an incident in the house and I had to run off and be daddy again.

Bart started as a vineyard worker and became a winemaker at Kenwood in 1986. He jumped over to Benziger in 1998, just when the winery had completed its conversion over to being fully biodynamic. There he was the lead winemaker for the Zins, and he learned a great deal about biodynamic and sustainable viticulture.

Yeah, Bart's been the daddy before. He even left Benziger Winery just to be a stay-at-home dad to his son Dane, whom Dane Cellars is named after. When he decided that he wanted to get back in the wine game, he also decided that he didn't want to do any of that vineyard work anymore. He just wanted to make the wine. So he called up his Sonoma vineyard connections and began buying grapes from his buddies, founding Dane Cellars in 2007.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Wine Review: Dane Cellars Los Chamizal Vineyard Zinfandel 2013

Dane Cellars Los Chamizal Vineyard Zinfandel 2013

This is the second of three wines I'll be reviewing for Dane Cellars. I started with their 2014 Justi Creek Vineyard Grenache, now I'm on their 2013 Los Chamizal Vineyard Zinfandel, and I'll be concluding with their 2012 Justi Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

Founder and winemaker Bart Hansen contacted me himself to try his wines and write about them. Bart started off in the industry during harvest; trucking grapes from the vineyard down a hill, five tons at a time. In 1986 he started winemaking for Kenwood, and then hopped over to Benzinger in 1998. He founded Dane Cellars in 2007, named after his son.

Zin is a passion for Bart, and he was the lead winemaker for Benziger's Zinfandel during his time there. Before that, back in his Kenwood days when even White Zinfandel was being made from Old Vine Zinfandel, the red Zin's that were being made weren't those over-extracted, over-alcoholic candied-fruit bombs that we're seeing now. With this Zin, Bart wants to get back to the Zinfandel roots he remembers from '88-'89.  Los Chamizal Vineyard, where this particular wine is from, was planted 40 years ago and is grown by Peter Haywood.

Okay, Zinfandel. Here we are. Meeting again. Will we ever get along? I'm guessing the answer is no. There are Zins that I love but probably about 98% of the ones I've tasted I ask myself "eeew, why would I want a whole glass of that?"

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Wine Review: Dane Cellars Justi Creek Vineyard Grenache 2014

Dane Cellars Sonoma Valley Grenache 2014

This is the first of three wines I'll be reviewing for Dane Cellars. I'm starting with their 2014 Justi Creek Vineyard Grenache, then their 2013 Los Chamizal Vineyard Zinfandel, and concluding with their 2012 Justi Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

Founder and winemaker Bart Hansen contacted me himself to try his wines and write about them. It's cool. No pressure. Just the guy who actually makes this wine took the time to ask me if I would review it. Bart started off in the industry during harvest; trucking grapes from the vineyard down a hill, five tons at a time. In 1986 he started winemaking for Kenwood, and then hopped over to Benzinger in 1998. He founded Dane Cellars in 2007, named after his son.

One of the cashiers at the Dennisport Luke's of Cape Cod (my place of employment, where I am the Wine Manager) is completely obsessed with reptiles and amphibians. He has countless lizards, a few salamanders, and a snake. We call him the Lizard King. Anyways, I texted him a picture of this label with the caption "lizard wine". He responded by asking "Is it made from real lizards?", to which I replied "Of course." But sadly it is not made from real lizards. It's made from real Grenache, fermented in small open tanks, and has an ABV of 15%.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June Wine Pick: High Hook WIllamette Valley Pinot Blanc 2015

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


High Hook WIllamette Valley Pinot Blanc 2015


High Hook is a term used for the person who catches the biggest fish or the most fish. Oregon’s High Hook Wines was founded in 2008 by wine lovers wanting to make some money to support their fishing habit and raise money for various environmental and charitable donations. Their winemaking philosophy is focused around capturing the true character of the fruit with the subtle minerality and earth qualities of the soil.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Wine Review: 90+ Cellars Lot 126 Sancerre 2014

May is 90+ Cellars Month on TheWineStalker.net!

90+ Cellars Lot 126 Sancerre 2014

To learn about how 90+ Cellars finds their wine and everything else you want to know about the Boston based company, read A Brief History of 90+ Cellars!

After receiving samples from 90+ for these reviews, I randomly decided to add their Lot 126 to the mix (because I love it) and purchased it myself. However, this is their 2014 vintage and they're currently on the 2015. It is 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the Sancerre region of France's Loire Valley. If you bought it under the source label it would cost you $28, but as 90+ it'll normally cost you $21. At Luke's of Cape Cod we actually sell it for $17.

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, May 25, 2017

Wine Review: 90+ Cellars Lot 137 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015

May is 90+ Cellars Month on TheWineStalker.net!

90+ Cellars Lot 137 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015

To learn about how 90+ Cellars finds their wine and everything else you want to know about the Boston based company, read A Brief History of 90+ Cellars!

Oregon Pinot Noir! Isn't it lovely? Willamette, too. I mean, jeez, I don't think I've ever had a Willamette Pinot that I didn't like. And I've had plenty of Pinot from everywhere else that I didn't like. I gotta say that I'm digging the new label for this vintage; artsy and purple. The Lot 137 is 100% Pinot Noir and has an ABV of 14.1%.

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, May 21, 2017

Wine Review: 90+ Cellars Lot 130 Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2015

May is 90+ Cellars Month on TheWineStalker.net!

90+ Cellars Lot 130 Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2015

To learn about how 90+ Cellars finds their wine and everything else you want to know about the Boston based company, read A Brief History of 90+ Cellars!

So I have zero information on this wine that you would normally want from a Chardonnay, such as how much oak it saw, what kind of oak it saw, or how much malolactic fermentation it received. But everything I really need to know is summed up in three simple words: Russian River Chardonnay. What does that mean? It means that I'm probably going to fall in love with it.

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, May 18, 2017

Wine Review: 90+ Cellars Lot 23 Mendoza Malbec 2015

May is 90+ Cellars Month on TheWineStalker.net!

90+ Cellars Lot 23 Mendoza Malbec 2015

To learn about how 90+ Cellars finds their wine and everything else you want to know about the Boston based company, read A Brief History of 90+ Cellars!

At Luke's of Cape Cod this Malbec sells like hotcakes, along with the Lot 2 Sauvignon Blanc. The Lot 23 Malbec is out of Argentina's famous Mendoza region and the vineyards are planted on the foothills of the Andes at over 3,000 feet above sea level. The wine sees a minimum of six months aging in French and American oak.

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, May 14, 2017

Wine Review: 90+ Cellars Lot 2 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016

May is 90+ Cellars Month on TheWineStalker.net!

90+ Cellars Lot 2 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

To learn about how 90+ Cellars finds their wine and everything else you want to know about the Boston based company, read A Brief History of 90+ Cellars!

One of 90+ Cellars' top selling items is their Lot 2 Sauvignon Blanc out of Marlborough, New Zealand. There are rumors that it's a certain popular Sauvignon Blanc with a green label whom will remain unspoken, but I can tell you that it's not and I'm not sure why that rumor exists. The Lot 2 is much better than that rumored source label. Also, if you bought this wine under the source label it would cost you $16, while under 90+ Cellars it'll cost you $12.

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, May 11, 2017

Wine Review: 90+ Cellars Lot 49 Sparkling Rosé


90+ Cellars Sparkling Rosé

To learn about how 90+ Cellars finds their wine and everything else you want to know about the Boston based company, read A Brief History of 90+ Cellars!

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.

This is the wine I'm the most excited about trying from 90+ Cellars this entire month. Sparkling rosé is something that I have a complete adoration for. I actually get excited and cheer "YYYEEEEEEEE!!!" while opening them like a kid on Christmas.

This one is from Trentino, Italy. If you bought it under the source label it would cost $18, but under 90+ it'll cost you $11. Let's go! YYYEEEEEEEE!!!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Brief History of 90+ Cellars - Wine Buyers in Boston

What if I told you to your face that you could purchase a $25 bottle of wine for $9 to $12? How about a $75 bottle of wine for $30? You'd probably call the cops because an uninvited strange man has suddenly appeared in your home, but suppose you got past that and listened to what I was saying. You'd either say I was crazy and to get the eff out, or you would ask me where you could sign up.

90+ Cellars sunglasses
Through 90+ Cellars these things are possible. This is what they do. That $25 bottle that you can get for $9 to $12 is their Lot 53 Cabernet Sauvignon from Mendoza, Argentina. This is one of the "lots" that they've been releasing with great success for years. That $75 bottle for $30 was their Lot 95 Super Cuvée 2012 out of Napa, California; a part of their Collection Series that features high end products on crazy deals just like that.

I've been a fan of 90+ since the very first time I tried their wines, which was probably soon after they were established. Hell, their famous orange sunglasses are my preferred facial accessory and optical protection from the solar intensity of the summer. They're so stylish and sturdy.

Because 90+ is so awesome, the entire month of May this year is dedicated to them and I'll be reviewing plenty of their wine. So let's go over how they came to be and how they're able to sell wine at such a great discounted price.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Wine Review: Lila Pinot Grigio

May is 90+ Cellars Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Wine Review: Lila Pinot Grigio

To learn about how 90+ Cellars finds their wine and everything else you want to know about the Boston based company, please read A Brief History of 90+ Cellars!

Lila is the non-vintage canned brand by Latitude Beverage, the parent company of 90+ Cellars. There are several different varietals, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. I do feel like I need to point out that if you had the Lila Sauvignon Blanc and it tasted like gasoline, that was because of a skunking issue from a canning error which has since been completely rectified. So I implore you to at least give it another shot.

That said, this is for the Pinot Grigio. It never saw that problem and it performs remarkably well during the promotional tastings that I've personally witnessed.

Monday, May 1, 2017

May Wine Pick: 90+ Cellars Lot 50 Prosecco Brut

This WINE PICK of the month was written for the Luke's of Cape Cod website.
May of 2017 is 90+ Cellars Month on TheWineStalker.net!

90+ Cellars Lot 50 Prosecco

Who says sparkling wine is just for celebrations? A cold Prosecco is a great wine for spring time! Fermented and secondary fermented (to create the bubbles) in enormous pressurized stainless steel tanks, Prosecco is crisper with brighter fruit than sparkling wine done in the traditional method.

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.
,,

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.

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