Thursday, November 15, 2018

Wine Review: Suhru Ember 2013

Suhru Ember 2013

Suhru was founded in 2008 by Russell and Susan Hearn. Russell is also the winemaker of Lieb Cellars, whose wines I've have had the pleasure of reviewing many many times and thoroughly enjoy. During his wine career, Russell worked his way around the globe: New Zealand, Burgundy, California, Massachusetts and, in 1990, Virginia. Hearing about the wonderful Chardonnay being made on Long Island, he took the trip there with other winemakers to see what's doin'. And he's been there ever since.

This is the winery that Susan and Russell always dreamed they would have. Suhru's goal is to source excellent fruit from the regions in New York where each variety grows best, creating vibrant, balanced, and approachable wines for all to enjoy.

This is wine #2 of 6 that I'll be reviewing by Suhru. I already reviewed the 2017 Pinot Grigio and now I'm on to the 2013 Ember, which will be followed by the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc2016 Dry Riesling2013 Shiraz, and NV Brut. To see all of them, or the ones that have been published already, just check out the month on the blog.

The 2013 Ember is out of the North Fork of Long Island and is a classic Bordeaux blend. The Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot are grown at a single vineyard in Mattituck while the Malbec is grown at a vineyard in Peconic. The wine was fermented in open tanks and spent twelve months in Hungarian oak.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Wine Review: Suhru Pinot Grigio 2017


Suhru was founded in 2008 by Russell and Susan Hearn. Russell is also the winemaker of Lieb Cellars, whose wines I've have had the pleasure of reviewing many many times and thoroughly enjoy. During his wine career, Russell worked his way around the globe: New Zealand, Burgundy, California, Massachusetts and, in 1990, Virginia. Hearing about the wonderful Chardonnay being made on Long Island, he took the trip there with other winemakers to see what's doin'. And he's been there ever since.

This is the winery that Susan and Russell always dreamed they would have. Suhru's goal is to source excellent fruit from the regions in New York where each variety grows best, creating vibrant, balanced, and approachable wines for all to enjoy.

This is wine #1 of 6 that I'll be reviewing by Suhru. Today is the 2017 Pinot Grigio, and then I'll also be reviewing their 2013 Ember red blend, 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, 2016 Dry Riesling, 2013 Shiraz, and NV Brut. To see all of them, or the ones that have been published already, just check out the month on the blog.

The 2017 Pinot Grigio is grown in Riverhead on the North Fork of Long Island, and they consider their PG to be their signature wine. It was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks with no malolactic fermentation or barrel aging.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Wine Review: Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection Tannat 2017

Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection Tannat 2017

Wine by Virginia's Bogaty Family Wine Group is back on the blog! I've reviewed a bunch of wines by them and I like to think of them as good friends. James Charles Bogaty'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.

They've got four labels: Bogati Bodega, Veramar Vineyards, James Charles, and the winery exclusive Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection. To read the other reviews I've written on all three of their labels, check out the Virginia label for the blog. Today I'm reviewing their winery exclusive 2017 Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection Merlot and on Thursday it's their 2017 Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection Tannat. So yeah, these are only available at the winery.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Wine Review: Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection Merlot 2017

Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection Merlot 2017

Wine by Virginia's Bogaty Family Wine Group is back on the blog! I've reviewed a bunch of wines by them and I like to think of them as good friends. James Charles Bogaty'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.

They've got four labels: Bogati Bodega, Veramar Vineyards, James Charles, and the winery exclusive Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection. To read the other reviews I've written on all three of their labels, check out the Virginia label for the blog. Today I'm reviewing their winery exclusive 2017 Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection Merlot and on Thursday it's their 2017 Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection Tannat. So yeah, these are only available at the winery.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

November Wine Pick: Wairau River Pinot Noir 2016


Established in 1978, the Rose family estate vineyards are situated on the banks of the Waiau River. "We maintain 100% control from beginning to end," says Oener Phil Rose. "We grow all of our own grapes, reserving the best for our wines." The Southern Alps mountain range runs the length of most of the island and creates a ran shadow in the region, reducing rainfall and clous cover. Marlborough's maritime climate makes for pelntiful, but not intense, sunshine which affords the grapes a long, slow ripening period.

Wairau River's 2016 Pinot Noir is made of 100% of the varietal. It was harvested during cool mornings, cool soaked for four days in open fermenters, then transferred to French barriques for ten months. It has an ABV of 13.5% and will cost you $25.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Wine Review: Left Coast Vineyards White Pinot Noir 2017


Although the month of October was dedicated to the wines of Shannon Ridge, we're ending it with a wine that is not one of theirs. Left Coast Cellars is back yet again!

Yep! I've done plenty of reviews of Left Coast Cellars' wines over the years, and you can read them all by clicking hereThis winery is out of Willamette Valley, Oregon and 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.

This is the 2017 White Pinot Noir! I know what you're thinking. "Did he just say WHITE Pinot Noir?" Yes, I did! As I explained in my review of their 2016 White Pinot Noir a few weeks over a year ago: 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. And I'm looking forward to it again this year because I loved last year's vintage.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Wine Review: High Valley Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

October is Shannon Ridge Month on TheWineStalker.net!


In 1995, Clay Shannon discovered a magnificent piece of property in the hills overlooking Clear Lake in Lake County, thirty-five miles north of Napa’s famed vineyards. He quickly set out to develop vineyards, Clay’s vision was simple: "We wanted to grow the best fruit in the world,” says Clay, “but we wanted to do it in a way that made us happy living there... The landscape is rugged and wild, and so are our neighbors – we’re surrounded by wildlife. We’ve got ducks, geese, deer, raccoons, quail, golden eagles, bald eagles, wild turkey, chipmunks and bobcats that visit us regularly. We are also visited commonly by bears, mountain lions and elk." 

Shannon Ridge is passionate about preserving their land, not only for great vineyard sites, but for the wild creatures which share the property. Their sustainability practices integrate a flock of sheep that clean the vineyards, remove the excess canopy, and reduce the need for chemicals, while providing natural fertilizer. “Sustainability wasn’t some philosophical concept;" says Clay, "it is the way we live our lives.”

All of October is dedicated to Shannon Ridge! This is review #8 of 8, so it concludes here, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

High Valley Vineyards is Shannon Ridge's label from the High Valley AVA in Lake County, which is between 1,600 and 3,000 feet in elevation. The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is from Betsy's Vineyard, names after Clay's mother, on a northwest facing slope.It has an ABV of 13.6% and will cost you $30 retail.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Wine Quickie: Nino Franco Maple Cinnamon Cocktail Recipe


Fall is in full swing! Man, it got cold fast. So check out this quick little recipe of fall yumminess: take 5 ounces of Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco and half an ounce of ROOT 23 Maple Cinnamon Simple Syrup to make a Maple Cinnamon Cocktail! I'm enjoying the crap out of it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Book Review: Wine Folly, The Master Guide (Magnum Edition) by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack

Wine Folly, The Master Guide (Magnum Edition)I've been wine blogging for awhile now. I've seen other wine blogs come and go. Many of my favorite ones, with writers who thought so differently and/or offered so much more than the rest of us, faded off within the first six months of their existence. I've even seen my own blog right here go from having original memes and monthly long-read articles about the history and science of wine be reduced to just reviews for almost the entirety of 2018 (hey, it's temporary) because of that pesky thing called "real life".

But right from the beginning there was something special about WineFolly.com. You could see it clear as day. This was something that was going to shake the foundation of wine education. There was the original art, the phrasing, the ability to connect to the reader. And... the decision-making that readers don't have to think about but bloggers do; release dates, the length of the read, keeping blinders on the topic, and when to hold back certain things for another post in the future. This was the real deal. And it was awesome right from the start.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Wine Review: High Valley Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016

October is Shannon Ridge Month on TheWineStalker.net!

High Valley Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016




In 1995, Clay Shannon discovered a magnificent piece of property in the hills overlooking Clear Lake in Lake County, thirty-five miles north of Napa’s famed vineyards. He quickly set out to develop vineyards, Clay’s vision was simple: "We wanted to grow the best fruit in the world,” says Clay, “but we wanted to do it in a way that made us happy living there... The landscape is rugged and wild, and so are our neighbors – we’re surrounded by wildlife. We’ve got ducks, geese, deer, raccoons, quail, golden eagles, bald eagles, wild turkey, chipmunks and bobcats that visit us regularly. We are also visited commonly by bears, mountain lions and elk." 

Shannon Ridge is passionate about preserving their land, not only for great vineyard sites, but for the wild creatures which share the property. Their sustainability practices integrate a flock of sheep that clean the vineyards, remove the excess canopy, and reduce the need for chemicals, while providing natural fertilizer. “Sustainability wasn’t some philosophical concept;" says Clay, "it is the way we live our lives.”

All of October is dedicated to Shannon Ridge! This is review #6 of 8, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

High Valley Vineyards is Shannon Ridge's label from the High Valley AVA in Lake County, which is between 1,600 and 3,000 feet in elevation. Luckily, High Valley had harvested 95% of their fruit before the wild fires hit the North Coast in 2017. The 2017 Sauvignon Blanc is from the north facing slop of Betsy's Vineyard, fermented for over a month at 13°C in stainless steel, and has a 13.6% ABV.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Wine Review: High Valley Vineyard Zinfandel 2016

October is Shannon Ridge Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Buck Shack Red Wine 2016

In 1995, Clay Shannon discovered a magnificent piece of property in the hills overlooking Clear Lake in Lake County, thirty-five miles north of Napa’s famed vineyards. He quickly set out to develop vineyards, Clay’s vision was simple: "We wanted to grow the best fruit in the world,” says Clay, “but we wanted to do it in a way that made us happy living there... The landscape is rugged and wild, and so are our neighbors – we’re surrounded by wildlife. We’ve got ducks, geese, deer, raccoons, quail, golden eagles, bald eagles, wild turkey, chipmunks and bobcats that visit us regularly. We are also visited commonly by bears, mountain lions and elk." 

Shannon Ridge is passionate about preserving their land, not only for great vineyard sites, but for the wild creatures which share the property. Their sustainability practices integrate a flock of sheep that clean the vineyards, remove the excess canopy, and reduce the need for chemicals, while providing natural fertilizer. “Sustainability wasn’t some philosophical concept;" says Clay, "it is the way we live our lives.”

All of October is dedicated to Shannon Ridge! This is review #6 of 8, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

High Valley Vineyards is Shannon Ridge's label from the High Valley AVA in Lake County, which is between 1,600 and 3,000 feet in elevation. The 2016 Zinfandel is from the north facing Round Mountain and Terre Vermielle Vineyards. It saw aging in 80% French oak and 20% American oak, but I do not have the information for how long, nor if this is 100% Zinfandel or if it has other varieties blended in (although, I will take a wild guess and say there is some Cabernet in there). The ABV is 15.1%.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Wine Review: Buck Shack Small Batch Red Wine 2016

October is Shannon Ridge Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Buck Shack Red Wine 2016

In 1995, Clay Shannon discovered a magnificent piece of property in the hills overlooking Clear Lake in Lake County, thirty-five miles north of Napa’s famed vineyards. He quickly set out to develop vineyards, Clay’s vision was simple: "We wanted to grow the best fruit in the world,” says Clay, “but we wanted to do it in a way that made us happy living there... The landscape is rugged and wild, and so are our neighbors – we’re surrounded by wildlife. We’ve got ducks, geese, deer, raccoons, quail, golden eagles, bald eagles, wild turkey, chipmunks and bobcats that visit us regularly. We are also visited commonly by bears, mountain lions and elk." 

Shannon Ridge is passionate about preserving their land, not only for great vineyard sites, but for the wild creatures which share the property. Their sustainability practices integrate a flock of sheep that clean the vineyards, remove the excess canopy, and reduce the need for chemicals, while providing natural fertilizer. “Sustainability wasn’t some philosophical concept;" says Clay, "it is the way we live our lives.”

All of October is dedicated to Shannon Ridge! This is review #5 of 8, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

On the Shannon Ridge property was a skinning shed called the "Ye Old Buck Shack" that had stood there for a hundred years. So they restored it and converted it into a whiskey bar, and named a line of their wines after it. Buck Shack has a Cabernet Sauvignon, Bourbon Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Red Wine blend. Today I'm reviewing the 2016 Red Wine, which is a blend of mainly Syrah and Petite Sirah, and then small amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Barbera. All I can tell you further is that they "laid these wines down in some expensive new barrels and let it age". So I don't know what kind or for how long. It has a 14.7% ABV, though.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Wine Review: Vigilance Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

October is Shannon Ridge Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Vigilance Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

In 1995, Clay Shannon discovered a magnificent piece of property in the hills overlooking Clear Lake in Lake County, thirty-five miles north of Napa’s famed vineyards. He quickly set out to develop vineyards, Clay’s vision was simple: "We wanted to grow the best fruit in the world,” says Clay, “but we wanted to do it in a way that made us happy living there... The landscape is rugged and wild, and so are our neighbors – we’re surrounded by wildlife. We’ve got ducks, geese, deer, raccoons, quail, golden eagles, bald eagles, wild turkey, chipmunks and bobcats that visit us regularly. We are also visited commonly by bears, mountain lions and elk." 

Shannon Ridge is passionate about preserving their land, not only for great vineyard sites, but for the wild creatures which share the property. Their sustainability practices integrate a flock of sheep that clean the vineyards, remove the excess canopy, and reduce the need for chemicals, while providing natural fertilizer. “Sustainability wasn’t some philosophical concept;" says Clay, "it is the way we live our lives.”

All of October is dedicated to Shannon Ridge! This is review #4 of 8, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

Vigilance wines are crafted from fruit harvested on their 250 acre Rolling Knolls Vineyard in the volcanic soils of Red Hills AVA. I have almost no information on the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, other than it spent twelve months in oak and has an ABV of 13%.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Wine Review: Vigilance Cimarron 2015

October is Shannon Ridge Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Vigilance Cimarron 2015

In 1995, Clay Shannon discovered a magnificent piece of property in the hills overlooking Clear Lake in Lake County, thirty-five miles north of Napa’s famed vineyards. He quickly set out to develop vineyards, Clay’s vision was simple: "We wanted to grow the best fruit in the world,” says Clay, “but we wanted to do it in a way that made us happy living there... The landscape is rugged and wild, and so are our neighbors – we’re surrounded by wildlife. We’ve got ducks, geese, deer, raccoons, quail, golden eagles, bald eagles, wild turkey, chipmunks and bobcats that visit us regularly. We are also visited commonly by bears, mountain lions and elk." 

Shannon Ridge is passionate about preserving their land, not only for great vineyard sites, but for the wild creatures which share the property. Their sustainability practices integrate a flock of sheep that clean the vineyards, remove the excess canopy, and reduce the need for chemicals, while providing natural fertilizer. “Sustainability wasn’t some philosophical concept;" says Clay, "it is the way we live our lives.”

All of October is dedicated to Shannon Ridge! This is review #3 of 8, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

Vigilance wines are crafted from fruit harvested on their 250 acre Rolling Knolls Vineyard in the volcanic soils of Red Hills AVA. The 2015 Cimarron is a blend of 52% Syrah, 26% Grenache, 15% Mourvédre, 5% Petit Sirah, and 2% Petit Verdot. Like the Chardonnay, I do not have much info on the winemaking. But I do know that it was aged in French and American oak for twelve months, has a 13.9% ABV, and will run you about $14.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Wine Review: Vigilance Chardonnay 2016

October is Shannon Ridge Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Wine Review: Vigilance Chardonnay 2016

In 1995, Clay Shannon discovered a magnificent piece of property in the hills overlooking Clear Lake in Lake County, thirty-five miles north of Napa’s famed vineyards. He quickly set out to develop vineyards, Clay’s vision was simple: "We wanted to grow the best fruit in the world,” says Clay, “but we wanted to do it in a way that made us happy living there... The landscape is rugged and wild, and so are our neighbors – we’re surrounded by wildlife. We’ve got ducks, geese, deer, raccoons, quail, golden eagles, bald eagles, wild turkey, chipmunks and bobcats that visit us regularly. We are also visited commonly by bears, mountain lions and elk." 

Shannon Ridge is passionate about preserving their land, not only for great vineyard sites, but for the wild creatures which share the property. Their sustainability practices integrate a flock of sheep that clean the vineyards, remove the excess canopy, and reduce the need for chemicals, while providing natural fertilizer. “Sustainability wasn’t some philosophical concept;" says Clay, "it is the way we live our lives.”

All of October is dedicated to Shannon Ridge! This is review #2 of 8, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

Vigilance wines are crafted from fruit harvested on their 250 acre Rolling Knolls Vineyard in the volcanic soils of Red Hills AVA. The 2016 Vigilance Chardonnay is 99% Chardonnay and 1% Viognier from the Red Hills AVA in Lake County, California. 20% was fermented in new oak and 80% was fermented in stainless steel tanks.That's all the info that I can find on the winemaking, so I'm not sure about aging after the fermentation. It has an ABV of 13.9% and will cost about $14.

Monday, October 1, 2018

October Wine Pick: Shannon Home Ranch Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

October is Shannon Ridge Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Shannon Home Ranch Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014


In 1995, Clay Shannon discovered a magnificent piece of property in the hills overlooking Clear Lake in Lake County, thirty-five miles north of Napa’s famed vineyards. He quickly set out to develop vineyards, Clay’s vision was simple: "We wanted to grow the best fruit in the world,” says Clay, “but we wanted to do it in a way that made us happy living there... The landscape is rugged and wild, and so are our neighbors – we’re surrounded by wildlife. We’ve got ducks, geese, deer, raccoons, quail, golden eagles, bald eagles, wild turkey, chipmunks and bobcats that visit us regularly. We are also visited commonly by bears, mountain lions and elk." 

Shannon Ridge is passionate about preserving their land, not only for great vineyard sites, but for the wild creatures which share the property. Their sustainability practices integrate a flock of sheep that clean the vineyards, remove the excess canopy, and reduce the need for chemicals, while providing natural fertilizer. “Sustainability wasn’t some philosophical concept;" says Clay, "it is the way we live our lives.”

All of September is dedicated to Shannon Ridge! This is review #1 of 8, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

The 2014 Home Ranch Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is from both the Red Hills AVA and High Valley AVA in Lake County, California. 100% of the wine saw malolactic fermentation in barrels, and twenty-five months in 40% new oak (3/4 French, 1/4 American). It has a 14.2% ABV.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Wine Review: Proemio Reserve Syrah Garnacha 2015

September is Proemio Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Proemio – "Prologue" in old Medieval Spanish, stands for kick-start or first page. In 2001, Marcelo Bocardo, third generation winemaker and the descendant of a traditional Italian immigrant family founded Proemio with the goal of producing high quality wines that truly represent his ancestors’ passion for viticulture and a legacy for the generations to come. Marcelo Bocardo could be described as a new wave winemaker of Argentinian wines, avoiding over extraction and heavy use of oak, focusing on expression of the terroir (i.e. Uco Valley, Pedriel-Luján de Cuyo and Maipú).

All of September is dedicated to Proemio! This is review #8 of 8 so it's the conclusion of the series, but you can read all of the reviews from this month by clicking here.

The Reserve Syrah Garnacha is 50% Syrah and 50% Garnacha from ten year old sustainable vineyards in Maipú (2,624 feet above sea level). Sustainably grown, manually harvested, fermented and macerated in concrete vats with indigenous yeasts, unfined, and aged twelve months in French oak barrels. It has an ABV of 14.5% and will cost you all of $20.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Wine Review: Proemio Icon Barrel Selection Red Blend 2011

September is Proemio Month on TheWineStalker.net!
Proemio Icon Barrel Selection Red Blend 2011

Proemio – "Prologue" in old Medieval Spanish, stands for kick-start or first page. In 2001, Marcelo Bocardo, third generation winemaker and the descendant of a traditional Italian immigrant family founded Proemio with the goal of producing high quality wines that truly represent his ancestors’ passion for viticulture and a legacy for the generations to come. Marcelo Bocardo could be described as a new wave winemaker of Argentinian wines, avoiding over extraction and heavy use of oak, focusing on expression of the terroir (i.e. Uco Valley, Pedriel-Luján de Cuyo and Maipú).

All of September is dedicated to Proemio! This is review #7 of 8, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

The 2011 Icon Barrel Selection is 55% Malbec, 35% Syrah, 10% Merlot from various vineyards: 10 year old vineyards in Russell – Maipú (at 2,624 ft asl), 30 year old vineyards in Paraje El Cepillo – Valle de Uco (at 4,265 feet asl) and 100 year old vineyards in Perdriel – Luján de Cuyo ( at 3608 ft asl). The ages of the vineyards vary anywhere between 10 to 100 years old. Manually harvested with cluster selection, fermented and macerated in concrete vats with indigenous yeasts, unfined and unfiltered, and aged in French oak for eighteen months. The ABV is 14.5% and it will cost you $30.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Wine Reviews: Best of Summer 2018!

Tomorrow is the first day of Autumn, so here's the best wines that I reviewed for this Summer season!

#5. Minkov Brothers Tradition Cuvee 2013

Minkov Brothers Tradition Cuvee 2013Region: Thracian Valley, Bulgaria
Review Release: August 26th, 2018


The wet end of the cork is pure black and the color of the wine is an inky, deep purplish red. Let this bad boy open up because, even though it's five years old, it's still young and holding on to everything tightly until it's given time to breathe. Peppermint candy comes alive on the nose once the wine has awoken, followed by aromas of jammy blackberries, toffee, leather, fine black table pepper, and ethanol fumes. On the palate it's rich and robust with bright acidity and finely grained tannin. There's flavors of blackberries, black cherries, mocha, and... almost like I just licked a freshly cut board of oak. I'm kinda afraid I'm going to get splinters. It finishes strong and tannic with flavors of blackberries, cola, and oak.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $17
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended(what does that mean?)

#4. VINI Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

VINI Cabernet Sauvignon 2016Region: Thracian Valley, Bulgaria
Review Release: August 12th, 2018


It begins with a cloud of minerality above aromas of pencil shavings, cassis, and black cherries. Lingering in the background there's aromas of vanilla, black pepper, and mint. On the palate it's medium to full bodied with rich mouthfeel and finely grained, astringent tannin. There's flavors of cassis, blueberries, cocoa powder, and cedar. The tannin on the finish leaves your mouth completely dry and really delivers the words of BulgarianWine.com: A crisp, tasty, crunchy cabernet.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $10
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

#3. Matsu el Viejo 2015

Region: Toro, Spain
Review Release: July 15th, 2018

The color of the wine is a dark inky purple that reminds me of my soul. Stewed plums and blackberry sauce lurch over the glass flexing their muscles. Break through the jammy guardians and you'll also find tarragon, salted almonds, and black pepper. It's medium bodied with a velvety yet rich mouthfeel, and a tart acidity that's kept in check by big grippy tannins. Blackberries and prunes combine to make a heavenly dark fruit profile, joined by vanilla and caramel. Then it finishes with a crazy long finish of black raspberries, black pepper, and caramel, with the tannin drying your mouth as the acidity wets it.

This wine is so dark and powerful and... gloomy. It's Batman. This wine is Batman. I can hear it demanding justice. It's just phenomenal, absolutely outstanding, and I can't recommend it enough. I love it when the best is saved for last. Bravo, Matsu!

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $47
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)


Region: Long Island, New York, USA
Review Release: June 24th, 2018


The color of the wine is garnet, leaning more towards purple than red. There was a lot of tobacco and sandalwood on the nose at first, but they take a step back behind the fruit once it opens up. Just like the 2014 vintage, it's all about the black. Black cherries, blackberries, and black olives. It's medium bodied with softer tannin and less acidity than the previous vintage. On the palate the black cherries are big and juicy, and raspberries brighten up the profile while dark chocolate darkens it. The finish of black cherries and black tea goes on fooooooreeeeeevvvvvveeeeeeerrrrr.

This is yet again a perfect example of Merlot that any fan of the varietal will fall in love with, and $20 is an insanely good deal for the quality you're getting. So I'm gonna give this ANOTHER PERFECT SCORE! Lieb knows how to knock it completely out of the park with my favorite varietal. Keep that Merlot coming, guys!

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

#1. Proemio Reserve Winemaker's Selection 2013

http://www.thewinestalker.net/2018/09/wms.htmlRegion: Mendoza, Argentina
Review Release: September 20th, 2018 (Literally yesterday!)


Oh. Oh here we go. See, I don't even want to write a review of this. I'm wasting time here. Instead of sitting on the porch looking at the stars and drinking this wonderful wine I've got to spend the next hour analyzing it, writing about it, and then cutting a video. Goddamn it. Do you see the sacrifices I make for you people? Uuuuugh. Alright, let's get on with it then...

So yeah. The spoiler is out: This wine is PHENOMENAL. It's brick red in color with a slight hue in the purple direction. Black olive is the very first thing that pops up for me on the nose, then there's plums, blueberries, toasty oak, chocolate, mint, and saffron. It seriously the kind of nose that makes you just tilt your head away as soon as you take a whiff and say "Oh. Oh here we go."  On the palate it has a medium body, an acidity that is so perfectly balanced that you don't even know it's there (but it is because you'd notice a lack of acidity), and fine grained tannin that at this point is pretty chill. It finishes ultra long with plums, chocolate, and mint, and leaves a silky coating in your mouth literally forever.

Wine Spectator gave this 90 points. Really, Wine Spectator? Just 90 points? How dare you. This is a goddamn god among its $27 peers! I give it FIVE OUT OF FIVE in price vs quality for Highly Recommended. Spectate THAT! HA!

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $27
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Wine Review: Proemio Grand Reserve Winemaker's Selection 2013

September is Proemio Month on TheWineStalker.net!
Proemio Grand Reserve Winemaker's Selection 2013

Proemio – "Prologue" in old Medieval Spanish, stands for kick-start or first page. In 2001, Marcelo Bocardo, third generation winemaker and the descendant of a traditional Italian immigrant family founded Proemio with the goal of producing high quality wines that truly represent his ancestors’ passion for viticulture and a legacy for the generations to come. Marcelo Bocardo could be described as a new wave winemaker of Argentinian wines, avoiding over extraction and heavy use of oak, focusing on expression of the terroir (i.e. Uco Valley, Pedriel-Luján de Cuyo and Maipú).

All of September is dedicated to Proemio! This is review #6 of 8, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

The 2013 Grand Reserve Winemakers Selection is 50% Malbec, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Syrah, and 5% Grenache from various vineyards: 10 year old vineyards in Russell – Maipú (at 2,624 ft asl), 30 year old vineyards in Paraje El Cepillo – Valle de Uco (at 4,265 feet asl) and 80-100 year old vineyards in Perdriel – Luján de Cuyo (at 3608 ft asl). 80 years old is what's listed on the label as the vine's age. Sustainably grown, manually harvested with cluster selection, fermented and macerated in concrete vats with indigenous yeasts, unfined, and aged in French oak for eighteen months. The ABV is 14.5% and it will cost you $27.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Wine Quickie: Luna Vineyards Estate Pinot Grigio 2016


Luna was the first to plant Pinot Grigio in Napa Valley's Silverado Trail, and the 2016 vintage is 100% Pinot Grigio that saw fermentation in neutral barrels and lees aging for five months. It'll run you around $32 and, man, is it worth it. It's an orange and lemon bomb that has an alluring minerality and fresh herbs on the nose, and almonds and green peppers on the palate. And it's not a watery quaffer either. It's full bodied with a silky mouthfeel and a bright acidity that come together to make a stunningly beautiful finish. I am absolutely impressed by this wine, and that rarely happens for me with Pinot Grigio.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Wine Review: Proemio Reserve Malbec 2014

September is Proemio Month on TheWineStalker.net!
Proemio Reserve Malbec 2014

Proemio – "Prologue" in old Medieval Spanish, stands for kick-start or first page. In 2001, Marcelo Bocardo, third generation winemaker and the descendant of a traditional Italian immigrant family founded Proemio with the goal of producing high quality wines that truly represent his ancestors’ passion for viticulture and a legacy for the generations to come. Marcelo Bocardo could be described as a new wave winemaker of Argentinian wines, avoiding over extraction and heavy use of oak, focusing on expression of the terroir (i.e. Uco Valley, Pedriel-Luján de Cuyo and Maipú).

All of September is dedicated to Proemio! This is review #5 of 8, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

So their 2017 entry-level Malbec was my Wine Pick of the Month, and here we are with their 2014 Reserve Malbec. It's 100% Malbec from ten year old sustainable vineyards in Russel, Maipú (2,624 feet above sea level). Sustainably grown, manually harvested with cluster selection, fermented and macerated in concrete vats with indigenous yeasts, unfined, and aged twelve months in French oak barrels. It has an ABV of 13.7% and will cost you of $18.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Wine Review: Proemio Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

September is Proemio Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Proemio Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Proemio – "Prologue" in old Medieval Spanish, stands for kick-start or first page. In 2001, Marcelo Bocardo, third generation winemaker and the descendant of a traditional Italian immigrant family founded Proemio with the goal of producing high quality wines that truly represent his ancestors’ passion for viticulture and a legacy for the generations to come. Marcelo Bocardo could be described as a new wave winemaker of Argentinian wines, avoiding over extraction and heavy use of oak, focusing on expression of the terroir (i.e. Uco Valley, Pedriel-Luján de Cuyo and Maipú).

All of September is dedicated to Proemio! This is review #4 of 8, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

I recently reviewed their 2016 entry-level Cabernet Sauvignon and this is their 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. It's 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from ten year old vineyards in Russell, Maipú. Hand harvested with cluster selection, fermented and macerated in small concrete vats with indigenous yeasts, unfined and unfiltered, and aged for twelve months in French oak barrels. It has a 14% ABV and will cost you $18.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Wine Review: Proemio Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

September is Proemio Month on TheWineStalker.net!




Proemio – "Prologue" in old Medieval Spanish, stands for kick-start or first page. In 2001, Marcelo Bocardo, third generation winemaker and the descendant of a traditional Italian immigrant family founded Proemio with the goal of producing high quality wines that truly represent his ancestors’ passion for viticulture and a legacy for the generations to come. Marcelo Bocardo could be described as a new wave winemaker of Argentinian wines, avoiding over extraction and heavy use of oak, focusing on expression of the terroir (i.e. Uco Valley, Pedriel-Luján de Cuyo and Maipú).

All of September is dedicated to Proemio! This is review #3 of 8, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

This is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from ten year old sustainable vineyards in Maipú (2,624 feet above sea level). Sustainably grown, manually harvested, fermented and macerated in concrete vats with indigenous yeasts, completely un-oaked and unfined. It has an ABV of 13.7% and will cost you all of $10.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Wine Review: Proemio Chardonnay 2017

September is Proemio Month on TheWineStalker.net!
Proemio Chardonnay 2017

Proemio – "Prologue" in old Medieval Spanish, stands for kick-start or first page. In 2001, Marcelo Bocardo, third generation winemaker and the descendant of a traditional Italian immigrant family founded Proemio with the goal of producing high quality wines that truly represent his ancestors’ passion for viticulture and a legacy for the generations to come. Marcelo Bocardo could be described as a new wave winemaker of Argentinian wines, avoiding over extraction and heavy use of oak, focusing on expression of the terroir (i.e. Uco Valley, Pedriel-Luján de Cuyo and Maipú).

All of September is dedicated to Proemio! This is review #2 of 8, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

This is 100% Chardonnay from 20 year old vineyards in Medrano (2,296 feet above sea level). It was manually harvested, fermented and macerated in concrete vats with indigenous yeasts, and 30% aged for six months in French oak barrels. It has a 12.7% ABV.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

September Wine Pick: Proemio Malbec 2017

September is Proemio Month on TheWineStalker.net!



With my recent switch to a different place of employment, I was happy to be reconnected with a salesperson whom I hadn't seen in quite awhile at the old place. She represents different wines now, and I was very pleased with the Proemio part of her portfolio. I mean everything was pretty damn delicious. Obviously I wasn't able to bring everything in (I took their entry-level Malbec, Cabernet, and Red Blend, and looking to bring in more in the future) but their wines impressed me enough that I really wanted to dedicate an entire month to this winery. So I asked and she was more than happy to hook me up. Thanks, Wendy! I am so happy to be presenting these wines to my readers for all of September!

I'll get more into the actually winery in the upcoming reviews, but I'm making their entry-level Malbec my Wine Pick of the Month because 1) when the average consumer thinks of Argentinian wine they think of Malbec, 2) it's less expensive than those Alamos and Trapiche Malbecs you can find everywhere, 3) it's superior in quality to them as well and not even a contest, 4) because of all of those things it's a Malbec every wine shop should look into picking up.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Distill Wars Episode VII: Rakia Rumble


It's the Fourth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! You can read all of the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016)the third year (2017), and this year (2018) by following those links.

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.

The last Distill Wars was in November of 2017 so we're due for another one, and it just so happens that that I've got some of that rakia (Bulgarian brandy) from BulgarianWine.com to turn myself into an unstoppable and fearless warrior!

All three are produced by Burgas 63, come in 375ml bottles, have a 40% ABV, and will cost you $14. Unfortunately there's not a lot of information available on these three contestants, which I guess is normal for rakia. Why is Pearl called Pearl? I dunno, but I know it's made from Muscat Otonnel and Hamburg Misket and spent three years in barrels. It appears the Barrel Aged is just Pearl that spent five years in barrels instead of three. The Traminer is obviously made from Traminer. But that's all I really know! So ring the bell and let's get it on!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Wine Review: Minkov Brothers Tradition Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Syrah 2014, Cuvee 2013

Wine Review: Minkov Brothers Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Syrah 2014, Cuvee 2013

It's the Fourth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! You can read all of the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016)the third year (2017), and this year (2018) by following those links.

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.

After this I've got some rakia to review on Thursday, so this is the last of the wine reviews this month! Thank you, Vance, for another great Bulgarian wine month. It's always the highlight of my summer getting to dig in to a bunch of Bulgarian wine.

I've got three wines by Minkov Brothers, which was founded in 1875 by Ivan, Vasil and Nikifor Minkov. Soon after getting off the ground (or in it?) they started winning awards at wine fairs. In the mid-1890's alone they won Brussels Wine Fair, the London Wine Competition, and the Plovdiv International Fair. They're still raking in those medals today. The winery property itself also features two museums: one about the family history and their wine, and the other about the winemaking history of the Thracian Valley.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Wine Review: Villa Yambol Mavrud 2016 & Domaine Boyar Royal Reserve Mavrud 2015

Villa Yambol Mavrud 2016 & Domaine Boyar Royal Reserve Mavrud 2015

It's the Fourth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! You can read all of the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016)the third year (2017), and this year (2018) by following those links.

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.

Mavrud is a native Bulgarian varietal named after a (probably mythological) drunk man who killed one of Krum the Fearsome's tigers when it got loose and started slaughtering peasants in town. During Mavrud's trial, his mother begged for her son's freedom/life by swearing that the illegal wine is what gave him the ability to kill a tiger. Not only did Mavrud's mother's claims set him free but it ended the prohibition. Krum liked his citizens as strong and as fearsome as himself. The Mavrud grape 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.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Wine Review: Domaine Boyar Selection Traminer 2016 & Domaine Boyar Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015


It's the Fourth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! You can read all of the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016)the third year (2017), and this year (2018) by following those links.

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 the middle two of four wines by Domaine Boyar that I'm reviewing this month. 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.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Wine Review: VINI Rosé 2017 & Domaine Boyar Reserve Merlot 2015

VINI Rosé 2017 & Domaine Boyar Reserve Merlot 2015

It's the Fourth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! You can read all of the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016), the third year (2017), and this year (2018) by following those links.

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 the last of seven wines by VINI that I'm reviewing this month and the first of four wines by Domaine Boyar. VINI was created by Vance Petrunoff, president of Bulgarian Master Vintners, as an affordable introduction of Bulgarian wine to the American mainstream market. 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.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Wine Review: VINI Chardonnay 2016 & VINI Cabernet Sauvignon 2016


It's the Fourth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! You can read all of the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016), the third year (2017), and this year (2018) by following those links.

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.

VINI was created by Vance Petrunoff, president of Bulgarian Master Vintners, as an affordable introduction of Bulgarian wine to the American mainstream market. Today I've got the 3rd installment out of 3½ for VINI and it's for their new vintages of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, both are out of Thracian Valley.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Wine Review: VINI Sauvignon Blanc 2016 & VINI Merlot 2016


It's the Fourth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! You can read all of the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016), the third year (2017), and this year (2018) by following those links.

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.

VINI was created by Vance Petrunoff, president of Bulgarian Master Vintners, as an affordable introduction of Bulgarian wine to the American mainstream market. Today I've got the 2nd installment out of 3½ for VINI and it's for their new vintages of Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot, both are out of Thracian Valley.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Basics of Home Wine Storage

(Post sponsored by WineRacks.co.uk)

Anybody with even a basic knowledge of wine will know that the way in which we store our precious bottles can certainly affect aroma and taste, which is why understanding the correct way to do so is essential. I outline the key factors to consider when storing wine at home, including location, ideal conditions and the different wine racking options available.

ATMOSPHERE AND LOCATION

Where you choose to store your wine is an essential factor, particularly for those amongst us who have been building up a valuable collection over many years.

A lot of people just starting out make the easy slip-up of assuming the best location for their wine is in the kitchen, for easy access. However, the overwhelming majority of us will not have a temperature-controlled kitchen, which causes problems as the natural sunlight enters this room of the house, changing wine temperatures and spoiling it.

Instead, ideal wine storage conditions are lying horizontally, with cool, humidity-controlled, dimly- lit space that is not predisposed to to fluctuating temperatures or vibrations. The basement is the preferred choice, as it is below ground and, therefore, typically cooler than other parts of the house.

CELLAR COOLING UNITS

Fondis C25 Wine MasterIf you can afford to splash the cash, investing in a cellar cooling unit is well worth it. These are different to typical home air conditioners, as they are specifically designed with wine storage in mind, and work to cool the air more gradually, while maintaining the humidity in the room. Humidity means the corks on your beloved bottles will not dry out, oxidise and eventually spoil the wine.

Be sure to seek advice from fellow wine enthusiasts, who can steer you in the direction of a good quality cellar conditioner which will be worth the investment.

Experts generally advise against using wine fridges as they can produce heat and the constant opening and closing may cause bottle vibrations.

Ensuring the correct conditions are present is perhaps the single most significant aspect when it comes to wine storage – why build up an impressive collection only to cause taste and aroma spoilage?

WINE RACKS

Wine Bottle Storage CubesInvesting in high-quality wine racks or kitting out a whole wine cellar, is surely the dream of any serious wine collector. However, you must think carefully about this, as the wine racks you pick will surely depend upon the types of wine you prefer to keep in your collection.

Standard wine racks are customarily 3.5 inches wide, fitting in regular Bordeaux bottles (750ml), but if you are someone who has a lot of champagne bottles, magnums, half bottles and split bottles within your range, you might want to consider getting a tailor-made wine rack fitted instead. These can be built to include larger or smaller openings, which are able to comfortably fit your entire, collection.

When seeking out bespoke wine storage, always be sure to hire a specialist provider, as they are the most knowledgeable when it comes to bottle size specifications and are capable of creating storage solutions that can accommodate a diverse range of bottles in various shapes and sizes.

MATERIALS USED

Now that you have decided to invest in your wine racks, you need to decide which material to use, which depends on several factors, including the cost, durability, and whether it matches your interior style.

The most common material used for wine storage racks is wooden, particularly pine or oak. These are good because they can withhold their durability under humid conditions and do not crack or form mildew. However, wooden racks are only worthwhile when the material is thick enough to be able to handle the weight of a large number of bottles. Wooden racks loo fantastic in both contemporary and traditional interiors, however, they may not be practicable in particularly damp-prone spaces, which is where a metal wine rack would instead be beneficial.

Metal racks are great in modern homes and are simple to transport. However, it can sometimes be hard to get an exact fit when using metal, especially where the space you want to place the wine rack is strangely shaped.

Cheaper materials made from wood like cedar, poplar and fir are to be avoided because they are known to taint the wine’s aroma. Likewise, a finishing paint may make a wine rack look more attractive, but for similar reasons, need to be avoided. Instead, use a non-smelly Danish oil or coloured stain to achieve the look you are going for.

OTHER KEY FACTORS

Image result for broken wineThere are several other vital considerations to take into account when storing wine. The areas holding the bottle in place should be smooth, so as to not cause damage to labels when removing wines for inspection, since this can decrease a bottle’s value and will look shabby in front of guests. Always be sure to have your wine racks or cellars fitted by a professional, who will work with stability a the forefront of their mind and understands the dos-and-don’ts of wine storage.

It would be an absolute disaster if the racks were not sturdy enough to handle the weight of your collection and one or several of your expensive bottles smashed!

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