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%.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Wine Review: Domaine Ledogar La Compagnon Corbières 2015

March is Languedoc-Roussillon Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Domaine Ledogar La Compagnon Corbières 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.

Next stop is Corbières! Corbières is the largest region in not only the Languedoc but the entire Languedoc-Roussillon, and it accounts for 45% of its AOC production. It borders the north of Roussillon and, because of its size, has many different soils and microclimates. At least two varieties must be in a Corbières red wine, and your choices are a minimum of 50% Grenache, Lledoner Pelut, Mourvèdre and/or Syrah, then maximum of 20% Carignan, Picquepoul noir, and/or Terret noir, and then you can add no more than 20% Cinsaut or 10% Grenache gris if you like.

The La Compagnon Corbières 2015 is 60% Grenache and 10% Syrah that were fermented alone, and a 30% combo of Carignan and Mourvèdre fermented together. The vines are on clay limestone, sandstone and red clay at the edge of a pine forest. The final wine is organic and biodynamic, and has an ABV of 14%.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Wine Reviews: Best of Winter 2017/18!

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

#5. Jenny Dawn Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Chardonay 2016

Region: Sta. Rite Hills, California / Wichita, Kansas
Review Release: January 4th, 2018


The color of the wine is a pale yellow with silvery edges. The nose has a chalky minerality over aromas of white flowers, green apples, lime, canned pear juice, and juniper berry. It's medium bodied, surprisingly creamy on the midpalate mouthfeel, and has a mouth-watering acidity. There's flavors of green apple, lime, lemon, and pink grapefruit. It finishes crisp and tart and tastes like you just finished a tonic squeezed with lime and grapefruit.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $40
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)


#4. Cesari Mara Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2015

Region: Veneto, Italy
Review Release: February 1st, 2018 (February Wine Pick)


The color of the wine is a dark ruby red. On the nose there's aromas of juicy black cherries, cranberries, vanilla, hot cinnamon, and black licorice. On the palate it's medium bodied and ridiculously soft and lush in mouthfeel, with dusty tannin and just a little pep to its acidity. There's flavors of black cherries, cranberries, raisins, sweet tobacco, hot cinnamon, and black licorice. It finishes with that dusty tannin and flavors of cranberries and hot cinnamon.

READ THE FULL REVIEW

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


#3. Merotto Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG "Colbelo" Extra Dry

Region: Veneto, Italy
Review Release: January 1st, 2018 (January Wine Pick)

Moretto's "Colbelo" Extra Dry is a Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG made from 100% Glera, and I was taken aback by how delicious it was when I had it at a tasting. The inviting breadiness and nuttiness on the nose reeled me in, as I was not expecting that kind of profile at all. There's also aromas of yellow pears, green apples, and white flowers. On the palate it's full bodied with an acidity that's very well behaved and balanced. For flavors it's a bowlful of mellow fruit like yellow pears, honeydew melon, and canteloupe, getting an uplifting brightness from tart green apples.

READ THE FULL REVIEW

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


#2. Bodega Ontañón Rioja Reserva 2005

Region: Rioja, Spain
Review Release: December 21st, 2018


The color of the wine is a purplish red. There's aromas of cherries, vanilla, cocoa powder, and various spices. It's medium bodied and ridiculously smooth in mouthfeel, although the tannin does still have a little grip, and a very well balanced acidity. There's flavors of black cherries, plums, chocolate, tobacco, and leather. The wine closes out with a long lasting, very satisfying finish of black cherries and leather.

It has elegance and charm. It has a laid back, relaxing personality. It's twelve years old and it could go another ten. It's only $24. It's freaking amazing for $24. It's without a doubt Highly Recommended.

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


#1. Domaine de l'Étoile Banyuls Grand Cru 2000

Region: Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Review Release: March 15th, 2018


The color of the wine is garnet, and like the Crianza it's pretty transparent. The nose is so toasty! I love it! I mean, I don't even think I want to drink this. I just wanna smell it. Can we make this a fragrance? Or a candle? The toasty oak is just so captivating, and that's joined by violets, wild berries, licorice, sticky fresh herbs, and vanilla. I'm already in love with this wine before I even taste it.

On the palate it's medium bodied with perfectly balanced tannin and acidity, but carrying an ethanol burn. There's flavors of cherries, blackberries, licorice, vanilla, and leather. It finishes boozy and with flavors of blackberries and leather.

Oh, fuck yes. This is awesome. Snatch it up!

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

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

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Wine Review: Saint-Peyre Picpoul de Pinet 2016

March is Languedoc-Roussillon Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Saint-Peyre Picpoul de Pinet 2016

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.

And so we finally leave Roussillon and head over to Languedoc for the remainder of the month. Picpoul de Pinet is an AOC that surrounds the small village of Pinet near the Étang de Thau (a series of lagoons along the Mediterranean) and produces crisp white wines from the Piquepoul (aka Picpoul) grape variety, thus the name "Picpoul of Pinet". Generally you do not want a Picpoul de Pinet more than two vintages old, or three vintages at most, because they're meant to be consumed young and fresh. It's the spring of 2018 so I have here the latest vintage of Saint-Peyre's Picpoul de Pinet.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Wine Review: Domaine de l'Étoile Banyuls Grand Cru 2000

March is Languedoc-Roussillon Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Domaine de l'Étoile Banyuls Grand Cru 2000

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 and final Banyuls that I'm reviewing this month, the first being Gérard Bertrand Banyuls 2013. Banyuls is an AOC on the slopes of the Catalan Pyrenees by the Mediterranean sea. The wine bearing its name is what the French call Vin Doux Naturel ("naturally sweet wine"), and Banyuls in particular is a Port-like red dessert wine from the Grenache grape variety. The wine is partially fermented and then cut off by the addition of grape brandy. This makes a sweet, raisiny, high-alcohol wine that I find to be just gorgeous.

I'm assuming l'Étoile is pronounced La Toil, like toil and trouble. You may have noticed that the vintage for this wine is 2000. It's almost Spring of 2018 so here we go with a 17-going-on-18-year-old Banyuls! I'm excited! Although sort of depressed because I was 20 when these grapes were harvested. Damn...

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

50 Shades of.... ew!

50 Shades of Grey meets Sideways
Is SBSM (spitbucket sadomasochism) a thing?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Wine Review: Gérard Bertrand Côtes du Roussillon Villages Grand Terroir Tautavel 2013

March is Languedoc-Roussillon Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Gérard Bertrand Côtes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel 2013

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.

Gerard Bertrand founded his company in 1992 with the purchase of Domaine Cigalus and Château LavilleBertrou. He now owns a heck of a lot of land throughout the different regions of the Languedoc, producing a ton of different wines specifically designed to represent the traditional wines of those places. I've already reviewed his 2013 Banyuls this month, and this one is from Tautavel.

Tautavel is a commune that is one of the villages for Côtes du Roussillon Villages, and allowed to distinguish itself as Côtes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel. It's within the Catalanes IGP from the last review (Domaine Roc Des Anges Côtes Catalanes IGP "L'effet Papillon" Grenache Blanc 2015). Tautavel is also where one of the oldest humanid remains were found, a subspecies of Homo erectus, known as Tautavel Man.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Wine Review: Domaine Roc Des Anges Côtes Catalanes IGP "L'effet Papillon" Grenache Blanc 2015

March is Languedoc-Roussillon Month on TheWineStalker.net!


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

Woof! That's a long name, huh? Let's break it down. Domaine Roc Des Anges is the winery, Côtes Catalanes IGP is the region, L'effet Papillon is the label, and Grenache Blanc is the grape. Côtes Catalanes borders Spain with its vineyards on the eastern slopes of the Pyrenees mountains, facing the Mediterranean. The breeze from the sea cools the grapes during the hot summer days, and the breeze from the mountains also cool the grapes at night. Within this IGP are the AOC regions of Cotes du Roussillon, Banyuls, and Collioure, which we've already explored this month with M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Côtes du Roussillon-Villages 2016Gérard Bertrand Banyuls 2013, and Domaine La Tour Vieille Collioure La Pinède 2015.

Now, without further ado, let's review the first white wine of the month!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Wine Review: M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Côtes du Roussillon-Villages 2016

March is Languedoc-Roussillon Month on TheWineStalker.net!

M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut 2016

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.

Today's wine is from the Côtes du Roussillon-Villages AOC. So... there's the sans-Villages "Côtes du Roussillon AOC" that covers the whole region of Roussillon. This means it's AOC level wine, with stricter rules and generally better quality than Vin de Pays / IGT, and it can be from anywhere in the Roussillon. It can be blended from several subregions, or it can be from one specific subregion but follow the rules of the Côtes du Roussillon AOC and not the more specific region it comes from. The "Côtes du Roussillon-Villages AOC" is a subregion of the Côtes du Roussillon AOC, and it's in the northern half of the Roussillon. These villages are in the valley of the Agly River, with the Côtes du Roussillon-Villages AOC vineyards planted on the best slopes.

You have to use three varieties of grapes at the very least to make a red Côtes du Roussillon-Villages AOC, and you only have five to chose from. You can use a maximum of 60% with Carignon, a minimum of 30% with Mourvèdre and/or Syrah combined, and then the rest can be either Grenache or Lladoner. M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut 2016 is 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Carignon. It has a 14.5% ABV.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Wine Review: Domaine La Tour Vieille Collioure La Pinède 2015

March is Languedoc-Roussillon Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Domaine La Tour Vieille Collioure La Pinede 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. As the month progresses I hope to find a format that allows me to write entertaining reviews that's unique from other writers while also not taking up entire nights. So bear with me.

Tonight my taste buds are taking a trip to the Collioure AOC of Roussillon, right on the Mediterranean coast. This is as far southeast as you can get in Roussillon, and is actually within the Banyuls AOC (Gérard Bertrand Banyuls 2013 is my pick of the month). The days are hot and dry in Coullioure, and the wind from the mountains cool the grapes at night. The red wines are allowed to use Grenache noir, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Carignan and Cinsaut, while the whites can use Grenache blanc and Grenache gris.

Domaine La Tour Vieille Collioure La Pinède 2015 is 75% Grenache noir and 25% Carignan. I cannot find any information on the viticulture or winemaking involved, but it does have a 14.5% ABV.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

March Wine Pick: Gérard Bertrand Banyuls 2013

March is Languedoc-Roussillon Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Gérard Bertrand Banyuls 2013

Gerard Bertrand founded his company in 1992 with the purchase of Domaine Cigalus and Château LavilleBertrou. He now owns a heck of a lot of land throughout the different regions of the Languedoc, producing a ton of different wines specifically designed to represent the traditional wines of those places. The Languedoc is in southern France, along the Mediterranean.

This offering from Bertrand is a Banyuls; a Port-like dessert wine mainly made from the Grenache grape variety. The wine is partially fermented, and then cut off by the addition of grape brandy. This makes a sweet, raisiny, high-alcohol wine that I find to be just gorgeous.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Flashback February Returns!

Every day for the entire month I'll be taking a look back at the (almost) 4 years of this blog's existence. I'll feature one flashback meme and one flashback article a day, so it really will be like a trip through the timeline with the speedforce.

On the blog all day you'll see that day's featured article at the top of the page. It will also be put out there on social media at night around 8pm. I'll also be posting an old original meme every day in the morning (or in the afternoon, it depends on how the day is going) on social media.

I hope all you old readers give these oldies a re-read. And all of you newer readers give them a first read. Think of them as back issues. They're quite fun, geeky, and informative.

Man, looking back at all of this old material makes me realize just how much I love doing this and how much work I've put into it. My current situation makes it very hard for me to give this blog attention that I used to, and it could very well force me to stop all together after April. But I'm going to do my damndest to not let that happen, I tell ya what.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

February Wine Pick: Cesari Mara Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2015


Amarone della Valpolicella, more known as just Amarone, is a pretty well-known wine. It’s usually being sought out by the older customers who remember it from years ago at the height of its modern day popularity. Of course once I show them some Amarone their jaw drops at the sight of the price. Amarone is not cheap and for a good reason: It takes a lot of work to produce. The grapes are dried on mats in the sun or, using the more modern method, stacked in open crates being blown with hot air until they’re basically raisins. Then they’re squeezed for the juice, which isn’t a lot as you can imagine. So prepare to spend some dough on an Amarone.

But never fear, Amarone lover! There are other options. Namely a Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore. A quality fine wine is made using the same grape varietals as Amarone (Corvina, Molinara, and Rondinella) in the same region of Veneto, Italy. “Ripasso” means “re-passed”, and this is because it then gets to sit and macerate with the pumice from recently made Amarone. This gives it a darker color, fuller body, more structure, that beautiful raisinated Amarone flavor, and it starts a second fermentation to give it more alcohol. Also, it’s much friendlier on the wallet.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Wine Review: Left Coast Latitude 45° Estate Pinot Noir 2015


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

This is also the fifth wine that I've reviewed by them. You can check them all out by clicking here.

You'll see that the 45th parallel is often brought up on wine labels from both Oregon and France. That's because many of the great vineyards in France are along or near this latitude, given just the right coolness and daylight for great wines of specific varieties, and the vineyards in Oregon around this latitude are turning out to be great as well.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Wine Review: Falesco Vitiano Rosso 2015


Over the course of this week I've reviewed three wine's by Falesco's Vitiano label. I started off with their 2016 Bianco, then their 2016 Rosato, and now finally I'm tasting their 2015 Rosso. Falesco is located in Italy's Umbria and was founded in 1979 by two legendary winemakers, Riccardo and Renzo Cotarella. In 1995 they introduced the Vitiano label, seeking to find a balance between tradition of native grapes and the versatility of international varieties. Basically, Vitiano is their affordable, easily-approachable label for the average consumer.

The 2015 Rosso is 34% Sangiovese, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 33% Merlot. The vineyard was planted in 1992 and is 1,000 about sea level, and the vines are trained as spur-pruned cordon. The wine sees twelve days of fermentation in stainless steel tanks and fifteen days of maceration. Then it goes into French oak barrels for three months before it's bottled, and then three months of bottle aging before release. The final ABV is 13.5%.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Wine Review: Falesco Vitiano Rosato 2016

Wine Review: Falesco Vitiano Rosé 2016

Over the course of this week I'm be reviewing three wine's by Falesco's Vitiano label. I started off with their 2016 Bianco, now I'm on their 2016 Rosato, and then finally I'll taste their 2015 Rosso. Falesco is located in Italy's Umbria and was founded in 1979 by two legendary winemakers, Riccardo and Renzo Cotarella. In 1995 they introduced the Vitiano label, seeking to find a balance between tradition of native grapes and the versatility of international varieties. Basically, Vitiano is their affordable, easily-approachable label for the average consumer.

The 2016 Rosato is 30% Sangiovese, 30% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Aleatico. The vineyard was planted in 1985 at 990 feet above sea level on sedimentary clay with calcareous deposits. It has a brief maceration of two days to extract color and flavor, and then it's fermented in stainless steel tanks for ten days. 40,000 bottles were produced and it has an ABV of 12%.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Wine Review: Falesco Vitiano Bianco 2016

Vitiano Bianco 2016

Over the next week I'll be reviewing three wine's by Falesco's Vitiano label. I'm starting off here with their 2016 Bianco, then their 2016 Rosato, and finally their 2015 Rosso. Falesco is located in Italy's Umbria and was founded in 1979 by two legendary winemakers, Riccardo and Renzo Cotarella. In 1995 they introduced the Vitiano label, seeking to find a balance between tradition of native grapes and the versatility of international varieties. Basically, Vitiano is their affordable, easily-approachable label for the average consumer.

The 2016 Bianco is 50% Vermentino and 50% Verdicchio, all from experimental vineyards planted by Falesco and the University of Viterbo. The sedimentary clay around the estate is just what those vine varieties want to make their best representation of their wine. The wine sees cold soaked maceration, fermentation in stainless steel tanks, and then three months of aging in stainless steel tanks before it sees another month of bottle aging.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Wine bloggers share their favorite posts

Below, in their own words, wine bloggers tell me what post of their own is their favorite and why. It was a fun project, as round up posts usually are. But understanding why a writer likes a certain piece they have written above all their others gives you some extra information, and telling information, of who they are. And really, who we are is what makes the blogging world so great. You need to bring a piece of you, preferably all of you, if you want to make it worth the time for yourself and your readers.

That is an important part of Lori Sullivan's pick. Lori inspired this article when I met her a few months back. She was "in the area". The distance from Plymouth, Massachusetts, to South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, is not "in the area" to a Cape Codder like myself. That's *gasp* OVER THE BRIDGE! But she lives in Texas and Texas is huge. The entirety of New England probably feels like a neighborhood to her. Lori is awesome, by the way. There's skulls on her glasses. She goes to metal concerts. She's funny. She took a good portion of her day to go see me where I work.

During our conversation, she was explaining to me why she doesn't blog much anymore. That led to her telling me what her favorite post of her own was. It's a deeply personal story and something only she could write. Over the next few days I started wondering... I have favorite posts but which one is THE favorite? And then... wait... everybody has to have their favorite posts, but what is THE favorite for them? I've been tweeting with and reading the work of most of the following people for years, and this was something I suddenly really wanted to know about them! So I asked.

Get ready for some excellent reads, because these are all great. I'll get to my own favorite at the very end because this isn't about me. It's about my amazing wine blogging friends.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Wine Review: Artezin Mendocino County Old Vine Zinfandel 2016

Artezin Mendocino County Old Vine Zinfandel 2016

Holy crap, it feels like I've had this bottle forever. To be honest I've been kind of dreading it, because Artezin looks like a great thing with a great crew behind it but... it's *yuck* Zinfandel. I'm not going to get into my issues with Zin for the hundredth time, but let's just say that myself and Zin have issues.

Artezin, a part of the Hess Family Wine Estates, was founded in 2002 and has had Randle Johnson as its winemaker since the beginning. Artezin is focused on expressing classic Old Vine Zinfandel from Mendocino and parts of Sonoma by working with family-owned farms that have been growing Zin for generations.

The 2016 Mendocino Zinfandel is 84% Zinfandel, 14% Petite Sirah, and 2% Carignan. It was aged for fifteen months in French and American oak, and has an ABV of 14.9%.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Wine Review: Jenny Dawn Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2016

Jenny Dawn Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2016

To learn more about this winery, that will be based out of Kansas by November of 2018, check out my review of their 2016 Chardonnay. I suggest you do that anyways because that Chard is pretty awesome. Doooo iiiiit. Go ahead, reeeeeeeead it. Here's the link again.

Like their Chardonnay, I know very little about the winemaking process. I do know that it was fermented in stainless steel and aged in French oak barrels for eleven months. And that the ABV is 13.8%. So with that said, it seems like a perfect time to talk about the music I'm listening to while reviewing this wine.

Demon Knight soundtrackToday's music selection is one of the most iconic sountracks of the 1990's: Demon Knight. As a kid I loved Tales from the Crypt. I watched the show, I read the comic books. Hell, I still have the comic books and will still open one up every once in awhile. The show made a movie in 1995 called "Demon Knight" and it was amazing for a fifteen year old like myself, buuuuuut... it really doesn't hold up at all. The soundtrack, however, will hold up for eternity. 

It starts off with Pantera's Cemetery Gates, which is just incredible. Ministry's Tonight We Murder pops into my head all the time. Then there's Machine Head, Megadeth, Melvins, Rollins Band, Biohazard, and Sepultra. It's a metal eargasm. The song that launched Filter's popularity, Hey Man Nice Shot, made its big debut on this album and opened the movie. And how can you forget Gravediggaz, basically a Wu-Tang Clan spinoff, and their song 1-800-Suicide. So yeah, this wine is seeing some headbanging action tonight. Now let's drink some wine!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Wine Review: Jenny Dawn Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Chardonay 2016


Jenny Dawn Sta. Rita Hills Chardonay 2016

As soon as I saw that I had been followed on Twitter by Jenny Dawn Cellars I knew I had to try their wines. Why? Because even though they're not settled in yet, Jenny Dawn will be a Kansas winery by the end of 2018. KANSAS! Cool, right?

How could you not throw your support in for people wanting to make fine wine in Kansas? Seriously, I don't see how any wine lover wouldn't be excited about people making wine in non-traditional (or what we consider non-traditional) places. I've seen snobs scoff at the idea and I want to stick my middle finger an inch away from their stupid faces. Russian River started off as lumber yards, now get your head out of your ass. Ahem... anyways... in all honesty, I just wanted to try some wine from Clark Kent's home state.

Jennifer McDonald of Jenny Dawn Cellars
JENNIFER MCDONALD
IMAGE CREDIT: bizjournals.com
But because they were just founded in 2016, their first vintage was both sourced from and made in California. They will continue to buy their fruit exclusively from California, but they'll have a winemaking facility up and running in Wichita by November of 2018. It'll be the base of their operations and will also include a tasting room, store, and event venue. They're also planting an apple orchard in Wichita to make apple wine, which is basically apple cider but with higher alcohol. All of this will make Jenny Dawn Cellars the first urban winery in Wichita.

Speaking of firsts, Jennifer McDonald is also the first African American CEO of the winemaking industry in the entire state of Kansas. She founded Jenny Dawn Cellars, named after a Kansas wildflower, with fellow entrepreneur Lesley Selvidge. Both of these lovely ladies have a ridiculous amount of degrees and education. Meanwhile, some dumbass that graduated from a tech school for offset printing is about to review their wine. Let's drink! I've got their 2016 Chardonnay and their 2016 Pinot Noir!

Monday, January 1, 2018

January Wine Pick: Merotto Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG "Colbelo" Extra Dry

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

Merotto Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG "Colbelo" Extra Dry

Prosecco is a region in northeast Italy's Veneto, given the classification of a DOC. This means that wine must meet specific requirements in the vineyard and winemaking to officially call itself and be labelled a Prosecco DOC. Without going into too much detail, Prosecco is a sparkling wine fermented and secondary fermented (where it gets the carbonation) in big stainless steel tanks called autoclaves, and it's made mostly from the Glera grape variety.

The quality tier above DOC in the Italian classification system is DOCG, and within the Prosecco DOC is the Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG. Valdobbiadene is a village among the hills of Trentino in Veneto. Because they're known to produce impressive Prosecco well above the average quality, they've earned themselves the DOCG classification.

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