Sunday, July 15, 2018

Wine Review: Matsu El Viejo 2015

Matsu El Viejo 2015

Out of the Toro region of Spain comes Matsu, which means wait in Japanese, paying homage to three generations of viticulturists and winemakers. And that shows on the unique labels, as different faces of each generation are shown by the age of the vineyards and the wine's oak aging, quality, and also personality.

El Pícaro 2016 (pícaro means rogue) represents youthEl Recio 2015 (recio means strong) represents  maturity, and El Viejo 2015 (viejo means old) represents wisdom. I'm reviewing all three, and this is the conclusion with El Viejo 2015.

This is 100% Tinta de Toro (AKA Tempranillo) manually harvested from vineyards more than one-hundred years old. Fermentation and maceration takes three weeks in small concrete deposits with natural yeast, and them softly pressed with a pnuematic press. It spends sixteen months in new French oak barrels before being bottled without filtration or use of any "aggressive" clarifier. The final ABV is 15%.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Wine Quickie: The Drop Cans - Red, White & Rosé


The red is Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, Syrah, and better than I thought it would be. Light bodied, bright and fruity, definitely meant to be chilled, and not sugary at all. Hey, it’s not fine wine but it’s better than a lot of mass produced brand names. I’d take it every day over Ravage or Apothic. The white is mostly Sauvignon Blanc. It’s crisp with aromas and flavors of stone fruit and petrol. Very simple and refreshing, and much more satisfying directly out of the can than in a glass. Being a New Englander and a Cape Codder, it’s only natural that I love the lobster on the rosé can. This is just a mouthful of Jolly Rancher watermelon candy and lime lollipop. You can chug a can of that in mere seconds. The rosé is clearly the crowd-pleaser of the bunch.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Wine Review: Matsu El Recio 2015

Matsu El Recio 2015

Out of the Toro region of Spain comes Matsu, which means wait in Japanese, paying homage to three generations of viticulturists and winemakers. And that shows on the unique labels, as different faces of each generation are shown by the age of the vineyards and the wine's oak aging, quality, and also personality.

El Pícaro 2016 (pícaro means rogue) represents youthEl Recio 2015 (recio means strong) represents maturity, and El Viejo 2015 (viejo means old) represents wisdom. I'm reviewing all three, and this is the middle of the pack with El Recio 2015.

This is 100% Tinta de Toro (AKA Tempranillo) manually harvested from ninety to one-hundred year old vineyards using biodynamic techniques. It spends three weeks fermenting and macerating in small concrete deposits with natural yeasts and is softly pressed with a pnuematic press. Then it's aged in French oak for 14 months before being bottled without filtration or use of any "aggressive" clarifier. The final ABV is 14.5%.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Wine Review: Matsu El Pícaro 2016

Matsu El Pícaro 2016

Out of the Toro region of Spain comes Matsu, which means wait in Japanese, paying homage to three generations of viticulturists and winemakers. And that shows on the unique labels, as different faces of each generation are shown by the age of the vineyards and the wine's oak aging, quality, and also personality.

El Pícaro 2016 (pícaro means rogue) represents youth, El Recio 2015 (recio means strong) represents maturity, and El Viejo 2015 (viejo means old) represents wisdom. I'll be reviewing all three, starting right now with the El Picaro 2016.

This is 100% Tinta de Toro (AKA Tempranillo), as are all three of these wines, from fifty to seventy year old vineyards using biodynamic techniques. It's fermented and macerated in small concrete deposits with natural yeasts, softly pressed, bottled without filtration or use of any "aggressive" clarifier, and has a 14.5% ABV. And here's why this Rogue represents youth: It was not aged in oak but spent three months aging on its lees in concrete tanks. I'm expecting it to be fruit forward and less nuanced then the other two.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Wine Review: Hacienda López de Haro Rioja Reserva 2013

Hacienda López de Haro Rioja Reserva 2013

Has it really been half a year since I reviewed a Rioja? That's kinda crazy. Luckily that streak ends today! And with a hell of a lot of things going on in life, let's end the streak quickly. I really can't wait to go back to my old format of reviewing but it'll have to do just that: wait.

Bodega Classica's Hacienda Lopez de Haro Reserva 2013 is 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano from old, low-yielding vineyards. The grapes were manually harvested in October, macerated for two weeks, fermented under the controlled temperature of 28°C, and then saw twenty months of oak aging in French and American barrels. The final ABV is 13.5%.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

July Wine Pick: Domaine La Tour Boisee 2014 Plantation 1905


During the summer the sales for red wines go down as the sales for white wines go up. As things get hotter, people want something refreshing and understandably so. I have met many consumers that only drink white wine in the spring and summer, and then only drink red wine in the fall and winter. Of course, there are many that only ever drink red wine or white wine year round. Myself? I don’t see how somebody could give themselves limits. I’m all for a crisp Sauvignon Blanc during a snowstorm, or a big robust Syrah during an August heatwave.

But there are reds that work better with the hotter months than others. The performance of Beaujolais-Villages and Grenache/Garnacha is enhanced with a slight chill (I said SLIGHT!) and they make for perfect summer reds. Pinot Noir is a lighter varietal and also a good option for the summer. But this guy that I have here is really different, and it’s a go-to wine for me this time of the year.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Wine Review: Lieb Cellars Estate Cabernet Franc 2016

June is Bridge Lane & Lieb Cellars Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Lieb Cellars Estate Cabernet Franc 2016

I've had a great relationship with Lieb Cellars for four years now and their wines have been on this blog many times. To learn more about both Lieb Cellars and Bridge Lane, check out my article A Brief History of Lieb Cellars - On the North Fork of Long Island, New York from 2016. With everything you need to know about them there I'm gonna jump right into the reviews. Click here to see read all of the reviews from this month.

The 2016 Estate Cabernet Franc closes out  Bridge Lane & Lieb Cellars Month! I hate it when these themed months are over. If you'd like to see what I thought about the 2013 Reserve Cabernet Franc, check out my review from 2015.

This is 80% Cabernet Franc, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, and 2% Merlot, from Lieb's estate grounds on the North Fork of Long Island. Open-top, punch down-fermentation was used with yeast strain BRL-97 for its fast start, moderate speed, and good malolactic fermentation. It macerated for twenty-two days (including three days of pre-ferment), saw 100% malolactic fermentation with Hansen Viniflora bacteria, and spent ten months in Hungarian oak. Harvest was in November 2016, bottling was in January 2018, and it has a final ABV of 12.8%.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Wine Review: Lieb Cellars Reserve Merlot 2015

June is Bridge Lane & Lieb Cellars Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Lieb Cellars Reserve Merlot 2015

I've had a great relationship with Lieb Cellars for four years now and their wines have been on this blog many times. To learn more about both Lieb Cellars and Bridge Lane, check out my article A Brief History of Lieb Cellars - On the North Fork of Long Island, New York from 2016. With everything you need to know about them there I'm gonna jump right into the reviews. Click here to see all of the reviews done so far this month.

A few years ago I reviewed the 2014 vintage of this wine but today I've got the 2015 Reserve Merlot. It's 81% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot. Yeast strain T23 (from a Spanish Rioja fermentation) was used for open top, punch down fermentation. It macerated for twenty-two days, saw 100% malolactic fermentation with Hansen Viniflora bacteria, then spent ten months in Hungarian oak. Harvest was in October 2015, bottling was in January 2017, and it has a final ABV of 12.9%.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Wine Reviews: Best of Spring 2018!

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

#5. Bogati Malbec 2016

Bogati Malbec 2016Region: Virginia, USA
Review Release: April 26th, 2018


The color of the wine is a deep, dark garnet. And holy moly the nose is gorgeous! There's a calming minerality that lurks above the bold aromas of cherries, prunes, and a bowlful of lollipops. I could smell this all night! It's medium bodied with a slick mouthfeel, bitter tannin, and a tart acidity. In fact, it all gets a bit tart and bitter. There's flavors of tart cherries, raspberries, plum skin, and orange mandarin tea. The finish seems to go on forever with tart cherries and bitter orange. This is just so very different and so very good.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $28
Rating: 4/5 = Recommended (what does that mean?)


#4. Domaine de Magnaut l'Esprit Passion Tannat 2014

Region: Gascony, France
Review Release: May 25th, 2018


The color of the wine is a deep burgundy with a twist of purple. Licorice and pre-lit, but stomped out, tobacco are the first aromas to hit your nostrils. Then there's blackberries, black olives, and vanilla. On the palate it's full bodied with a high acidity that's balanced off with strong, fine-grained tannin. There's flavors of cherries, plums, black olives, and mocha. The finish of plums and mocha go on for awhile but it's that finely grained tannin that shines. It's there, and it wants your attention, but it doesn't suck the saliva right out of your mouth.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO


QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $21
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)


#3. Morgan Monterey Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Region: Monterey, California, USA
Review Release: April 8th, 2018

The color of the wine is a very pale yellow. On the nose there's aromas of lemon, passion fruit, and a combination of buttery and floral aromas that brings images of buttercup flowers to my head. I mean, I think I remember as a kid knowing they were called buttercups because they were buttery. Right? Am I right or am I just an old fart making things up? I dunno. Anyways, I immediately thought of buttercups and then pieced together why afterwords. Fight me.

On the palate it's medium bodied with a slight creaminess in mouthfeel from the little time in oak that it saw. There's loud and jumpy flavors of lemons, limes, and yellow pears. A very simple but lively and absolutely delicious midpalate. Then it finishes with lemons, a blade of grass, tart acidity, and a slight dusting of fine minerality.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

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


#2. Domaine de Magnaut Equilibre de Manseng 2014

Region: Gascony, France
Review Release: May 13th, 2018


The color of the wine is a vibrant pale yellow with a slight hint of green. There's aromas of peaches, melon, and honey. It's full bodied with some sweetness and balanced acidity. There's flavors of apricots, peaches, pear, and honey. And it all continues on to an insanely long finish.

Holy shit this is amazing. I freakin' love it. It's so rounded in body and mouthfeel and succulent with its fruit. This is not a crisp quaffer, this is a sip-and-savor. It's recommended as an aperitif to be paired with fois gras, but I'd prefer it for dessert with whatever pie you've got available.

And it'll only cost you TWELVE DOLLARS! Crap, man. This is a steal. I have no choice but to give it a perfect score. Highly recommended!

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


#1. Godelia Godello-Doña Blanco Bierzo 2015

Region: Bierzo, Spain
Review Release: April 19th, 2018


On the palate... SUCCULENT LEMON! But I'm getting ahead of myself. It's medium bodied with what I think would be a creamy mouthfeel if it wasn't pushed aside by such an aggressively tart acidity. And... STRAIGHT-UP SUCCULENT LEMON! Goddamn, it's so good! Fun and juicy and alive! And DANGEROUS! I could probably down this whole bottle in five minutes. And here's the thing: it's not some low quality thirst quencher that you can down in five minutes. Those are awesome too. This is a damn good quality thirst quencher that you can down in five minutes.

I love this. I don't want it to end. I want a case of this stuff right now. I want to pour it in a bowl of Fruity Pebbles and eat it until I pass out. PERFECT SCORE! Mark it up!

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

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

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Wine Review: Lieb Cellars Reserve Sparkling Rosé 2015

June is Bridge Lane & Lieb Cellars Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Lieb Cellars Reserve Sparkling Rosé 2015

I've had a great relationship with Lieb Cellars for four years now and their wines have been on this blog many times. To learn more about both Lieb Cellars and Bridge Lane, check out my article A Brief History of Lieb Cellars - On the North Fork of Long Island, New York from 2016. With everything you need to know about them there I'm gonna jump right into the reviews. Click here to see all of the reviews done so far this month.

A few years ago I reviewed the 2013 vintage of this wine but today I've got their 2015 Reserve Sparkling Rosé. It's made from 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay from the North Fork of Long Island. Fermentation took twenty-six days at 64° F using the EC-118: Prise De Mousse yeast strain, it saw no maceration or malolactic fermentation, and spent sixteen months maturing on tirage. Harvest was in September 2015, bottling was in February 2016, and it has an ABV of 13.2%.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Wine Review: Bridge Lane Chardonnay & Rosé Cans

June is Bridge Lane & Lieb Cellars Month on TheWineStalker.net!


Bridge Lane is the entry level label for Lieb Cellars out of the North Fork of Long Island, New York.  One of the cool things about Bridge Lane is that it comes in all sorts of sizes, and you can see each size drawn on the label. From left to right: bottles, boxes, cans, and kegs. Yup. Kegs!

I've had a great relationship with Lieb Cellars for four years now and their wines have been on this blog many times. To learn more about both Lieb Cellars and Bridge Lane, check out my article A Brief History of Lieb Cellars - On the North Fork of Long Island, New York from 2016. With everything you need to know about them there I'm gonna jump right into the reviews. Click here to see all of the reviews done so far this month.

Monkey on a bicycle
AND HERE'S A MONKEY
ON A BICYCLE. LOL

IMAGE CREDIT: crazywebsite.com
People scoffed at canned wine when it first came out, like most things that are innovative and different. Spiked Seltzer was hilarious when it was first put on cooler runs and now it's huuuuuge. The iPad was considered useless because it didn't have a flash drive. When the Segway PT was announced, it got a slamming of epic proportions. Bicycles. Cheeseburgers. UMBRELLAS.

All of these things were initially ridiculed, as was (and is) canned wine. But more people are realizing how effective cans are at keeping both red and white wine fresh, and just how useful it is to have half a bottle of Chardonnay or rosé in an ice cold aluminum container right out of the cooler. The category is growing and it will continue to grow so you might as well start accepting it as a thing. Because it's not just the likes of Flip Flop and Barefoot. There's also the likes of Underwood, 90+ Cellars, and Bridge Lane.

So here I am with two cans of Bridge Lane's wine. I'm not going to give them scores but I will tell you what I think of them. Why aren't I giving them scores like I do bottles? I think the point is different. Yeah, Underwood Pinot Noir is in a can so you can enjoy a quality fresh Pinot anywhere. These guys are in a can so you can crush them at the beach while also not drinking crappy wine.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Wine Quickie: Left Coast Estate Rosé 2017

Left Coast Estate Rosé 2017

54% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, 6% Pinot Blanc. $24 retail price. Aromas of cherries, watermelon, and white pepper. Medium bodied with a rich mouthfeel, tamed acidity and soft tannins. Mid-palate flavors of cherries, watermelon, and lime peel; then a wonderful finish of watermelon and tea. Love it! A very nice “bigger” rosé.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Wine Review: Bridge Lane White Merlot 2017

June is Bridge Lane & Lieb Cellars Month on TheWineStalker.net!


Bridge Lane is the entry level label for Lieb Cellars out of the North Fork of Long Island, New York.  One of the cool things about Bridge Lane is that it comes in all sorts of sizes, and you can see each size drawn on the label. From left to right: bottles, boxes, cans, and kegs. Yup. Kegs!

I've had a great relationship with Lieb Cellars for four years now and their wines have been on this blog many times. To learn more about both Lieb Cellars and Bridge Lane, check out my article A Brief History of Lieb Cellars - On the North Fork of Long Island, New York from 2016. With everything you need to know about them there I'm gonna jump right into the reviews. Click here to see all of the reviews done so far this month.

I know what you're thinking: "White Merlot? Seriously, dude?" Yeah, I'm serious. Because this White Merlot is seriously delicious. This is the third vintage that I've had of Bridge Lane's White Merlot and the second that I've reviewed on the blog. That review was for the 2015 vintage so you can check that out if you're interested. But this is something you're gonna want to drink fresh, and I've got the latest release right here.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Wine Review: Bridge Lane Red Blend 2016

June is Bridge Lane & Lieb Cellars Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Bridge Lane Red Blend 2016

Bridge Lane is the entry level label for Lieb Cellars out of the North Fork of Long Island, New York.  One of the cool things about Bridge Lane is that it comes in all sorts of sizes, and you can see each size drawn on the label. From left to right: bottles, boxes, cans, and kegs. Yup. Kegs!

I've had a great relationship with Lieb Cellars for four years now and their wines have been on this blog many times. To learn more about both Lieb Cellars and Bridge Lane, check out my article A Brief History of Lieb Cellars - On the North Fork of Long Island, New York from 2016. With everything you need to know about them there I'm gonna jump right into the reviews. Click here to see all of the reviews done so far this month.

This red blend is 44% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, 13% Petit Verdot, 12% Malbec, and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, all from New York State. Fermentation took an average of twelve to sixteen days at 62°F with fourteen days maceration. 100% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation and it saw six months of 100% Hungarian oak barrels. Harvest was in October 2016, bottling was in April 2017, and it has a 12.9% ABV.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Wine Quickie: Left Coast The Orchard Pinot Gris 2017

Left Coast The Orchard Pinot Gris 2017

91% Pinot Gris, 9% Pinot Blanc. $18 retail price. Aromas of green apple, yellow pear, orange blossom, and walnuts. Full bodied with a smooth mouthfeel and a lively acidity. Flavors of green apple, yellow pear, honeydew melon, and wet stone. This is the third vintage I’ve had of this and the third that I’ve really enjoyed. Love me some Left Coast!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Wine Review: Bridge Lane Sauvignon Blanc 2017

June is Bridge Lane & Lieb Cellars Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Bridge Lane Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Bridge Lane is the entry level label for Lieb Cellars out of Long Island and I've got a whole month of both their wines lined up.  One of the cool things about Bridge Lane is that it comes in all sorts of sizes, and you can see each size drawn on the label. From left to right: bottles, boxes, cans, and kegs. Yup. Kegs!

I've had a great relationship with Lieb Cellars for four years now and their wines have been on this blog many times. To learn more about both Lieb Cellars and Bridge Lane, check out my article A Brief History of Lieb Cellars - On the North Fork of Long Island, New York from 2016. With everything you need to know about them there I'm gonna jump right into the reviews. Click here to see all of the reviews done so far this month.

This is 100% Sauvignon Blanc from New York State. Yeast strain EC-1118: Prise De Mousse was used for twenty-seven days of fermentation at 60°F before the wine spent three months in stainless steel tanks. It saw no maceration or no malolactic fermentation. Harvest was in September of 2017, bottling was in January of 2018, and it has a 12% ABV.

Friday, June 1, 2018

June Wine Pick: Domaine de Pallus Messanges Rosé Cabernet Franc 2017

Domaine de Pallus Messanges Rose Cabernet Franc 2017

Cabernet Franc holds a special place in my heart. So it’s only natural that Chinon, located in the Loire Valley of France and pretty much the world capital of Cabernet Franc, is like music to my ears... that I drink? And it goes, uh, straight to my heart? Yeah, that perfectly sums it up. Drinkable heart music. And then there’s Chinon rosé, made from Cabernet Franc, which I genuinely get excited about even seeing.

But I bought this wine for my wife because 1) she loves rosé 2) the label. Janice, my mother-in-law, passed away almost four years ago. She loved birds. It was kind of her thing. So since her passing my wife has taken to anything with birds on it because it reminds her of her mother. So she drank the wine and she loved it. I drank the wine and I loved it. Just like that it’s my wine pick of the month!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Wine Review: Little Black Dress Rosé 2017

Little Black Dress Rosé 2017

It feels like it wasn't that long ago when rosé was just suddenly everywhere... but it wasn't a consumer driven push. The wineries and marketers were responsible and the people weren't buying it. Whelp, the strategy worked because since then things have changed. Rosé is HUGE with consumers. And I feel like I've tasted and/or reviewed a thousand of them already this spring (my wine pick for the month of June is even a rosé).

Today I've got Little Black Dress's 2014 Rosé. It's made from Zinfandel and Petite Sirah out of Mendocino County, California, and it has an ABV of 12%.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Wine Review: Domaine de Magnaut l'Esprit Passion Tannat 2014

Domaine de Magnaut l'Esprit Passion Tannat 2014

Thanks to Heavenly Spirits I'm reviewing five wines by Domaine de Magnaut out of Gascony, France. I started with their Equilibre de Manseng 2014 and Euphorie de Rosé 2016, Les Hauts de Boilin 2014Manseng Sec 2014, and now I'm cleaning up with Tannat 2014.

Paul Scott of Heavenly Spirits says: Domaine de Magnaut is a family owned winery in the Armagnac Tenareze region of Gascony. They also produce Armagnac and Floc. Jean Marie Terraube and his wife run the winery and four diverse vineyards. They harvest Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah (for rosé), gros and petite Manseng in all four vineyards. Most of their production is sold from the winery. They are Designated "vigneron Independant".

The l'Esprit Passion 2014 Tannat is a a Cotes de Gascogne Rouge that's 100% Tannat; a black grape variety native to France that's notorious for its astringent tannin. The final ABV is 13%.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wine Review: Domaine de Magnaut l'Esprit Passion Manseng Sec 2014

Domaine de Magnaut l'Esprit Passion Manseng Sec 2014

Thanks to Heavenly Spirits I'm reviewing five wines by Domaine de Magnaut out of Gascony, France. I started with their Equilibre de Manseng 2014 and Euphorie de Rosé 2016Les Hauts de Boilin 2014, and now I'm on to Manseng Sec 2014 before I conclude with Tannat 2014.

Paul Scott of Heavenly Spirits says: Domaine de Magnaut is a family owned winery in the Armagnac Tenareze region of Gascony. They also produce Armagnac and Floc. Jean Marie Terraube and his wife run the winery and four diverse vineyards. They harvest Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah (for rosé), gros and petite Manseng in all four vineyards. Most of their production is sold from the winery. They are Designated "vigneron Independant".

The l'Esprit Passion 2014 Manseng Sec is a a Cotes de Gascogne Blanc that's 100% Gros Manseng; a white grape variety from southern France that produces high acidity and juicy fruit flavors. The final ABV is 14%.
 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Wine Review: Domaine de Magnaut Les Hauts de Boulin 2014

Domaine de Magnaut Les Hauts de Boulin 2014

Thanks to Heavenly Spirits I'm reviewing five wines by Domaine de Magnaut out of Gascony, France. I started with their Equilibre de Manseng 2014 and Euphorie de Rosé 2016, and now I'm no to Les Hauts de Boilin 2014, to be followed by Manseng Sec 2014 and Tannat 2014.

Paul Scott of Heavenly Spirits says: Domaine de Magnaut is a family owned winery in the Armagnac Tenareze region of Gascony. They also produce Armagnac and Floc. Jean Marie Terraube and his wife run the winery and four diverse vineyards. They harvest Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah (for rosé), gros and petite Manseng in all four vineyards. Most of their production is sold from the winery. They are Designated "vigneron Independant".

The 2014 Les Hauts de Boilin is Cotes de Gascogne that's 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Tannat, and has a 14% ABV.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Wine Review: Domaine de Magnaut Euphorie de Rosé 2016

Domaine de Magnaut Euphorie de Rosé 2016

Thanks to Heavenly Spirits I'm reviewing five wines by Domaine de Magnaut out of Gascony, France. I started with their Equilibre de Manseng 2014 and now I'm on to Euphorie de Rosé 2016, which will be followed by Les Hauts de Boilin 2014Manseng Sec 2014, and Tannat 2014.

Paul Scott of Heavenly Spirits says: Domaine de Magnaut is a family owned winery in the Armagnac Tenareze region of Gascony. They also produce Armagnac and Floc. Jean Marie Terraube and his wife run the winery and four diverse vineyards. They harvest Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah (for rosé), gros and petite Manseng in all four vineyards. Most of their production is sold from the winery. They are Designated "vigneron Independant".

The 2016 Euphorie de Rosé is a Cotes de Gascogne that's 100% Syrah and has an ABV of 12%.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Wine Review: Domaine de Magnaut Equilibre de Manseng 2014


Thanks to Heavenly Spirits I'm reviewing five wines by Domaine de Magnaut out of Gascony, France. Starting with their Equilibre de Manseng 2014 then Euphorie de Rosé 2016, Les Hauts de Boilin 2014, Manseng Sec 2014, and Tannat 2014.

Paul Scott of Heavenly Spirits says: Domaine de Magnaut is a family owned winery in the Armagnac Tenareze region of Gascony. They also produce Armagnac and Floc. Jean Marie Terraube and his wife run the winery and four diverse vineyards. They harvest Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah (for rosé), gros and petite Manseng in all four vineyards. Most of their production is sold from the winery. They are Designated "vigneron Independant".

It's impossible to tell from the picture because of the tinted glass but the 2014 Equilibre de Manseng is actually a white wine. It's a Cotes de Gascogne that's 100% Gros Manseng; a white grape variety from southern France that produces high acidity and juicy fruit flavors. The final ABV is 12%.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Wine Review: Veramar Vineyard D'ora 2017 Virginia Dessert Wine

Veramar Vineyard D'ora 2017 Virginia Dessert Wine

Veramar Vineyard is part of the Bogati Wine Family and I've reviewed a bunch of wine by these guys. Just at the end of last month I reviewed their 2016 Malbec and 2017 Vidal Blanc. To learn more about Bogati and see my other reviews, check out the Virginia label for the blog.

I've got to make this review quick so let's get to it! The 2017 D'ora is a 14% ABV dessert wine made from Vidal Blanc; a hybrid grape made from the Vitis vinifera variety Ugni Blanc and another hybrid grape called Rayon d'Or. Harvest was pushed back as far as they could, sugar was increased where needed, and it did not see the development of any noble rot.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Wine Review: Matchbook Cabernet Sauvignon 2016


To read all about Matchbook check out my article A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company, and to see my other reviews of their wine then click here. But from today to next Thursday I've got four more reviews of their brand new stuff comin' at ya!

Right now I'm in the middle of a brand new series of Matchbook wine reviews. Their Matchbook Old Head Chardonnay 2016 was my wine pick of the month, then I tried their Tinto Rey Rosé 2017, then their Chasing Venus Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017, and now I'm cleaning up with Matchbook Cabernet Sauvignon 2016.

The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec, and 1% Tannat. While fermenting in small temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, they pumped the tanks over twice a day before being pressed. After that the wine saw fourteen months of aging in French, Hungarian, and American oak. The final ABV is 13.9%.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Wine Review: Chasing Venus Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017


Chasing Venus is Matchbook Wine Company's Sauvignon Blanc project. To read all about Matchbook check out my article A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company, and to see my other reviews of their wine then click here. Right now I'm at the very end of a brand new series of Matchbook wine reviews. Right now I'm in the middle of a brand new series of Matchbook wine reviews. Their Matchbook Old Head Chardonnay 2016 was my wine pick of the month, then I tried their Tinto Rey Rosé 2017, now I'm on their Chasing Venus Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017, and next I'm cleaning up with Matchbook Cabernet Sauvignon 2016.

Chasing Venus is named after the mission given to the astronomers that traveled with Captain Cook in 1769 to study Venus while he explored the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere, where he discovered New Zealand and Australia. By tracking where Venus was in the sky in these areas during different times, they were able to calculate how far away the Sun is from Earth for the very first time. SCIENCE! Aaaand also death, because Captain Cook wasn't a very nice guy to natives. But back then nobody would have funded such a science project if there weren't some conquering and gains of wealth involved.

The label used to produce a Sauvignon Blanc from both New Zealand's Marlborough and California's Russian River Valley, but now it appears to just be producing the Marlborough one. I reviewed the 2015 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc back in July of 2016, and now I'm about to review the 2017.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Wine Review: Tinto Rey Rosé 2017

Matchbook Tinto Rey Rosé 2017

Tinto Rey is the label by Matchbook Wine Company (out of Dunnigan Hills, California) that focuses of Spanish varietals and Spanish style wines. I've done so many reviews of Matchbook's wines that it's ridiculous. To read all about Matchbook check out my article A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company, and to see my other reviews of their wine then click here.

But right now I'm in the middle of a brand new series of Matchbook wine reviews. Their Matchbook Old Head Chardonnay 2016 was my wine pick of the month, today I'm reviewing their Tinto Rey Rosé 2017, then next I'm on to Chasing Venus Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017, and cleaning up with Matchbook Cabernet Sauvignon 2016.

The really cool thing about this rosé is that they took 51% Tempranillo, 39% Tannat, and 10% Verdejo (a white grape) and crushed them all together and cold fermented them together like a field blend, instead of doing each one separately and blending at the end. So that means that it even spent some time in contact with the white skins and not just the red. So does that make it a pink and orange mutant wine? Hmmm. The final ABV is 13.5%.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May Wine Pick: Matchbook Old Head Chardonnay 2016

Matchbook Old Head Chardonnay 2016

MATCHBOOK IS BACK! I've done so many reviews of Matchbook's wines that it's ridiculous. To read all about Matchbook check out my article A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company, and to see my other reviews of their wine then click here. But from today to next Thursday I've got four more reviews of their brand new stuff comin' at ya!

Matchbook is one of my bestest winery buddies so it's a good thing that they're also one of my most favorite wineries when it comes to great wine within the average consumer's budget. And this Chardonnay? For this site I've only reviewed the 2012 vintage and the 2015 vintage, but year in and year out it's one of my go-to recommendations for my customers. That's why the new 2016 vintage is my wine pick for the month of May.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Wine Review: Bogati "Justin Bogaty Winemaker Series" Vidal Blanc 2017


I've been very lucky to have a great relationship with the Bogati Family Wine Group from Virginia for over two years now. They have three labels with Veramar Vineyard, James Charles Winery & Vineyard, and Bogati Bodega & Vineyard. I've reviewed a bunch of their wines and you can read them here by looking under my Virginia labels. Whelp, they're back for more with two more wines starting with their 2017 JB Vidal Blanc and then their 2016 Bogati Malbec. And from what I hear there will be a bunch more on the way soon! I'm really looking forward to it.

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 and this wine is from his small batch Justin Bogaty Winemaker Series, which is only available to wine club members.

Vidal Blanc is a hybrid grape made from the Vitis vinifera variety Ugni Blanc and another hybrid grape called Rayon d'Or. It was bred to withstand cold temperatures and still produce high sugar levels and acidity. The very first wine that I reviewed by Bogati was their 2014 Seyval Blanc and that is a hybrid as well, and if you want to learn more about hybrids then I suggest you head on over and read that review because it's a really good one!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Wine Review: Bogati Malbec 2016

Bogati Malbec 2016

I've been very lucky to have a great relationship with the Bogati Family Wine Group from Virginia for over two years now. They have three labels with Veramar Vineyard, James Charles Winery & Vineyard, and Bogati Bodega & Vineyard. I've reviewed a bunch of their wines and you can read them here by looking under my Virginia labels. Whelp, they're back for more with two more wines starting with their 2017 JB Vidal Blanc and then their 2016 Bogati Malbec. And from what I hear there will be a bunch more on the way soon! I'm really looking forward to it.

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.

Well well well! A Malbec from Virginia! Look at you! As soon as I heard that Bogati was releasing this guy I just had to try it. So here it goes! No time to waste!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Wine Review: Godelia Mencia Bierzo 2012

Godelia Mencia 2012

In the southwestern portion of Spain, north of the Portuguese border, is the Spanish wine region of Bierzo. Outside the village of Cacebelos is Bodegas Godelia and their eighty-six acres of estate vineyard on decomposed quartzite and slate soil. They also have thirty-seven acres farmed under contract. I'm reviewing two of their wines this weeks: the 2015 Godello-Doña Blanco and the 2012 Mencia.

Godelia considers themselves an artisan winery. All of their grapes are harvested by hand and chilled for twenty-four to fourty-eight hours at 23°F. The white grapes are pressed while still semi-frozen, while the reds are cold-soaked and destemmed first.

First thing's first: I'm the realest. Second: Mencia is pronounced "Menthia". Third: it's red. Mencia is mostly found in Bierzo, but also Ribeira Sacra, Valdeorras, and Liébana. And it's currently enjoying some good times in popularity over there in Spain, with more and more wineries producing it and more and more consumers enjoying it.

Godelia's 2012 Mencia is 100% Mencia, saw twelve months in oak, and has a 14.5% ABV. Now let's do some drinking! Don't fret, I promise not to make any more Clueless references in this review.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Wine Review: Godelia Godello-Doña Blanco Bierzo 2015

Godelia Godello-Doña Blanco Bierzo 2015

In the southwestern portion of Spain, north of the Portuguese border, is the Spanish wine region of Bierzo. Outside the village of Cacebelos is Bodegas Godelia and their eighty-six acres of estate vineyard on decomposed quartzite and slate soil. They also have thirty-seven acres farmed under contract. I'm reviewing two of their wines this weeks: the 2015 Godello-Doña Blanco and the 2012 Mencia.

Godelia considers themselves an artisan winery. All of their grapes are harvested by hand and chilled for twenty-four to fourty-eight hours at 23°F. The white grapes are pressed while still semi-frozen, while the reds are cold-soaked and destemmed first.

This white is a blend of 80% Godello from twenty to forty year old vines, and 20% Doña Blanco from seventy to ninety year old vines; both local white varietals. Godello was once almost gone forever a few decades ago (read "Revisiting Godello, a Grape That Spain Has Rescued") until a recent resurgence. Doña Blanco is also grown in Portugal as Dona Branca, and its thick skin makes these Maritime climates such a great match for it.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Wine Review: Morgan Monterey "Metallico" Un-Oaked Chardonnay 2015

Morgan Monterey "Metallico" Un-Oaked Chardonnay 2015

Dan and Donna Lee founded Morgan Winery in 1982 in Santa Lucia Highlands (before it was an AVA). They were named Winery of the Year in 1996, and in 2001 they became the first Certified Organic property in Santa Lucia Highlands. I'll be reviewing three wines by Morgan starting with their 2016 Monterey Sauvignon Blanc, then their 2015 Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah, and finishing with 2015 Metallico Un-Oaked Chardonnay.

The 2015 Metallico Un-Oaked Chardonnay is from the sandy and shaly loam soils of the Roger Rose, Leavens, Double L, and Kristy estate vineyards in Monterey; all chosen for their proximity to Monterey Bay for its cooling effect. Entire clusters were pressed as a whole, then fermented in cold tanks, and sees five months in stainless steel. It saw no oak aging and no malolactic fermentation. The final ABV is 13.5%.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Wine Review: Morgan Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah 2015

Morgan Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah 2015

Dan and Donna Lee founded Morgan Winery in 1982 in Santa Lucia Highlands (before it was an AVA). They were named Winery of the Year in 1996, and in 2001 they became the first Certified Organic property in Santa Lucia Highlands. I'll be reviewing three wines by Morgan starting with their 2017 Monterey Sauvignon Blanc, 2015 Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah, and 2015 Metallico Un-Oaked Chardonnay.

The 2015 Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah is 87% Syrah, 9% Grenache, and 4% Tempranillo. It's from enough of Santa Lucia Highlands to be labeled as the AVA, but some is also from the fellow Monterey district and neighbor Arroyo Seco. After being fermented on open top tanks with manual punch-downs, it's transfered to French oak barrels (24% new) to see fifteen months of barrel aging. The final product has a 14.4% ABV.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Wine Review: Morgan Monterey Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Morgan Monterey Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Dan and Donna Lee founded Morgan Winery in 1982 in Santa Lucia Highlands (before it was an AVA). They were named Winery of the Year in 1996, and in 2001 they became the first Certified Organic property in Santa Lucia Highlands. I'll be reviewing three wines by Morgan starting with their 2016 Monterey Sauvignon Blanc, 2015 Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah, and 2015 Metallico Un-Oaked Chardonnay.

The 2016 Monterey Sauvignon Blanc is made of 80% Sauvignon Blanc Musqué clone, 14% classic Savignon Blanc, and 6% Semillon. The fruit is drawn from vineyards in Arroyo Seco (mid-Monterey) for bright acidity, and the warmer San Lucas (southern Monterey) for lush fruit.  It was tank fermented and then, surprisingly, it saw five months of French oak barrel aging, 5% of it new. The final ABV is 13.5%.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Book Review: Adventures with Old Vines, A Beginner's Guide to Being a Wine Connoisseur by Richard L. Chilton Jr.

Adventures with Old Vines, A Beginner's Guide to Being a Wine Connoisseur
Richard L. Chilton Jr. is a co-owner of Hourglass Vineyard and he has a strong opinion on the definition of a connoisseurship. He says that it’s “the art of tasting wine: pulling the cork, savoring the delight, recording the experience, and comparing the differences between wines of different regions, varietals, and countries.” Maybe you love wine but you’re really more of a collector instead, where obtaining great wine is your main objective. Maybe you love wine but you’re the average consumer, buying what you already know you like the same day you’re going to drink it.

I guess I wouldn’t be considered a connoisseur because, yeah I love tasting and analyzing wine, but I’m driven by theory, history and being as knowledgeable as I can be for my clients. I’m not all that interested in being able to taste the differences between a 1993 Napa Cab and a 1994 Napa Cab.

With his definition in mind, Chilton began writing this book with the intention of both helping new connoisseurs find their way and helping old connoisseurs remember where they came from. What he ended up writing was 49 pages that every wine lover would truly enjoy reading, and another 219 pages that every wine lover should have on their bookshelf for when they need it.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

April Wine Pick: 90+ Cellars Languedoc AOC Rosé 2017


I bet you thought that Languedoc-Roussillon Month was over! Well, APRIL FOOLS!!! It's been extended one more day for my April Wine Pick of the Month!

90+ Cellars (click here to learn more about them) has had a nice string of excellent Rosé’s the past several years and this follows right through with the pedigree. Their 2017 Lot 33 Languedoc Rosé is a blend of local favorites Syrah, Grenache, Mourvédre, and Cinsault; all from the foothills of the Cevennes mountain range where the breeze from the mountains cools the vineyards and keeps them dry.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Wine Review: Martinolles Le Berceau Blanquette de Limoux

March is Languedoc-Roussillon Month on TheWineStalker.net!


Let  me start off by saying how cool it was to try all these wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon. That said, I know you expect more from me when it comes to the content of my reviews. If I could, I would have gone through great detail about all these subregions to give you a virtual tour of the greater region, given you a brief history of each individual winery, and then said inappropriate things with inappropriate language. That's how I like to blog. But, as you know, it's been rather difficult for me lately to find the time to do that. Someday I'll get back there, hopefully sooner rather than later.

I hope that when that time comes that I can do a Languedoc-Roussillon Month the way I actually want to do it. Did you hear that, guys-who-sent-me-these-wines? Expect a ringy dingy from The Wine Stalker in the future. Together we'll do something really special. Anyways....

FINALLY! A BUBBLY! The only sparkling wine for Languedoc-Roussillon Month, the final wine of said themed month, and deservedly so. Let's use this to toast a fun month of wine from this great region in France!

I've got here a Blanquette de Limoux, and to explain what that is I present a clip from my article A Bubbly Biography - The Story of Sparkling Wine - Part 1: France and Spain:
"Just south of Limoux happened to be a shit-ton of cork. The entire cork forest of Catalonia, in fact. In 1530 the Abbey of St-Hilaire took advantage of this by deciding it would put its completed wine from that year inside individual glass bottles, stopped by the local cork. Then in the spring of 1531... SURPRISE! FULL-ON BUBBLE UP IN YO FACE!

It was the first sparkling wine and the Limouxins loved it. They named it Vin de Blanquette or 'the small white'. A hundred years later things would be much different up north in the French region of Champagne. The same thing was happening to the barrels of white wine that had been stored in caves over the winter. But they didn't like it. They wanted it to stop.

What was happening in both Limoux and Champagne was a second fermentation for two different reasons. In Limoux, their Mauzac grape was so late budding and late ripening that harvest took place in late autumn. Fermentation was slow in the winter conditions so when the wine was bottled, sugar and live yeast still remained. It just wasn't finished yet! Champagne, being much further north, was naturally much chillier anyways. The caves they used to store their barrels were safer and warmer than outside but still friggin cold. Too cold for yeast to work their magic. Fermentation had stopped completely and then started again in the spring. When they started bottling their wine earlier instead of letting it sit in barrels all winter, it would carbonate in the bottle just like in Limoux."

"Limoux's Vin de Blanquette is now known as Blanquette de Limoux. The process of how they make it is called Blanquette methode ancestrale. They bottle it before it's completely fermented, just like the original, and the yeasts aren't disgorged from the bottle, just like the original, so it's hazy with sediment. When made in this manner anywhere else outside of Limoux then it's called methode ancestrale or methode rurale, but those are quite rare and they're allowed to be disgorged. Limoux makes a ton of methode traditional wine as well."
Alright! Let's pop the top!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Make Dark Horse Pinot Noir from home!



This may be more savage than my Apothic memes.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Wine Review: Domaine des Homs Clots de Pals Minervois 2015

March is Languedoc-Roussillon Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Domaine des Homs Clots de Pals Minervois 2015

This month I'm taking a tour of the Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France from the comfort of my own home! I've got ten wines from the region; six from Roussillon and four from Languedoc. As you probably know, it's been rather difficult to keep this blog going lately so these reviews will be short and sweet.

This is the second to last wine for Languedoc-Roussillon Month and the last red! OH NO! It's better be good! This fella is from Minervois, which is just north of Corbieres (the previous review was of Domaine Ledogar La Compagnon Corbières 2015). Even with the Mediterranean influence, winters are harsh due to altitude. The AOC was established in 1985 and its red wine must be made of at the least 60% Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre combined, and then can add Carignan and Cinsault.

The 2015 Domaine des Homs Clots de Pals Minervois is 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah. A rather simple blend for so many classic and traditional options. However, that can be a good thing. The ABV is 13.5%.

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