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.

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