Thursday, November 21, 2019

Wine Review: Bogle Phantom Chardonnay 2017


Bogle Vineyards gave me two bottles from their Phantom line to share with friends, family, or followers on social media. So I said "forget the friends and family, I'm reviewing them!" First it's the 2017 Chardonnay and then on Sunday it's the 2015 Red Blend!

Though the Bogle family has been farming in the Clarksburg region for six generations, their involvement in the wine business spans back 50 years. In addition to passing down a strong work ethic and dedication to quality, the success of Bogle over the years is rooted in the day-to-day involvement of the Bogle family. - Read more about the history of Bogle

2016 was the first vintage for the Phantom Chardonnay, but the red blend was created in 1999 around Patty Bogle’s dining room table as the family blended some of their finest vineyard offerings. The name "Phantom" seemed fitting as "Bogle" is the Scottish word for "ghost".

The 2017 Phantom Chardonnay is 100% Chardonnay from Clarksburg, California. It was aged sur lee for 10 months in 100% French Oak with lees stirring twice a month, and it has a 14.5% ABV.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Wine Quickie: The Federalist North Coast "Honest" Red Blend 2017


This is the second of five wines by The Federalist that I'm writing quickies about this month. The "Honest" Red Blend is from the North Coast appellation of California and it's 46.4% Merlot, 24% Zinfandel, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7.6% Malbec. It saw 15% in 35% new oak. Hey, and I'm liking it! It's dark purple in color with black cherries, blueberries, licorice, and hot cinnamon. Medium bodied with soft dusty tannin and an acidity that brightens the fruit on the finish into strawberries and raspberries. I'm being honest here (see what I did there?), this is a great deal for a $20 red blend!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Wine Review: Terlato Pinot Grigio 2018


From a retail store in Chicago in 1938, the Terlato family has built a storied place in the wine world through a unique vision of quality. They bring the same passion to Terlato Vineyards, where the winemaking philosophy is based upon a commitment to world-class viticulture and brilliant winemakers, and a belief in the beauty and power of great wine. When Tony and his sons, Bill and John, became winery owners and vintners in 1996, they started with one goal in mind: excellence. The concept was to produce quality wines that were as important as those the Terlato family imported and marketed during the last half century.

These guys have produced one of my favorite Pinot Grigios for years now, so there's no surprise on how this review ends. It's always good.

Along with the samples for this review I received two tall-ass tulip shaped Riedel glasses branded on the base with the Terlato logo. I can't express how much I appreciate this. Years ago I bought a nice little set of standard red wine Riedel glasses and, well, crap happens. You clank the rim on the sink faucet or the dog jumps down from the couch and whacks his tail on your glass knocking it over. Long story short, I was down to my last Riedel glass. These ones are obviously their design for Pinot Grigio but whatever; they're gorgeous. So thank you, Terlato. It won't give you extra points in this review because you won't need it, but I still have to praise the product because it deserves it.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Wine Quickie: The Federalist Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon 2016


I've got five bottles of Federalist for quickies this second half of the month! FIVE! One Cabernet, one Red Blend, and three Zinfandels. The Lodi Cabernet is 93% Cabernet, 5% Zinfandel (oh no), and the remaining 2% is Petite Sirah, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. It's garnet in color with a medium body, sweet tannins, and a bright acidity. There's aromas and flavors of black cherries, plums, cedar, cinnamon, and it has this syrupy molasses thing going on that I'm really not a fan of. This is not the Cabernet I'm looking for.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Winding Things Down

After almost six years of relentless blogging, it's time to wind things down. I've spent a lot of time writing articles and reviews, redesigning, scheduling and planning, and have toiled away who knows how many entire nights focused solely on this website.

And, simply, I want to take my nights back. Movies and tv shows with my lady, playing video games in the dark, reading comics and science books, and most importantly: taking care of actual responsibilities. You can't fold laundry or clean the house while you're reviewing wine or writing an article or programming almost every single night.

After December or January I will not be rushing to meet a deadline that I set myself, there will be no more meticulous planning of each month for consistent published content, no more YouTube videos (I hate shooting those and I'm stopping those now), no more long-reads (unless I randomly get inspired), no more spending like 20 minutes a post scheduling on Hootsuite, no more doing all sorts of ridiculous things to keep it all rolling.

I will still be accepting samples for wines to review, but not nearly as many as I have, and they'll be more like the “quickies” I've been writing lately (which people really seem to enjoy more than my full reviews). And Wine Pick of the Month? Sure! Let's keep that up!

I will still be very much active on the social media accounts posting memes, talking about wine and news, and (as I said) still doing quick wine reviews, so TheWineStalker will still be around. But I will not be making the actual website a priority in my life anymore. I cannot continue to treat it like another job.

I thank you for following me through these six years that have allowed me to learn so much and taste so many great wines, and I hope you continue to pop in and see what's going on even if it won't be as often.

Cheers, guys!


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Wine Review: Castello di Albola Chianti Classico Riserva 2014


The Castello di Albola Estate is situated in Radda at the heart of the Chianti Classico DOCG appellation, where the legacy of grape cultivation dates back to the time of the Etruscans. The Acciaiuoli family commissioned the estate to plant its lofty vineyard in Chianti Classico in the 15th century as a symbol of their high status. Over the centuries, many noble Tuscan families have owned the property, and the estate has earned various accolades for its wines. In 1979, the Zonin family acquired Castello di Albola promising to uphold the estate’s excellence for future generations. The wines produced in Castello di Albola have earned the iconic “Gallo Nero” symbol from the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium, which guarantees the highest standards in winemaking.

The 2014 Chianti Classico Riserva is 95% Sangiovese and 5% Canaiolo. The grapes are hand harvested, and the must is placed in horizontal vinification tanks for three weeks until malolactic fermentation is complete. It spends 15 months in oak. 10% is aged in Allier oak barriques, and 90% is aged in traditional Slavonian oak barrels. Then it spends another year in stainless steel tanks before seeing three months of bottle aging. It has a 13.5% ABV.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Wine Quickie: Alois Lageder Terra Alpina Pinot Bianco 2018


Last week I really liked the Terra Alpina Pinot Grigio and it turns out that their Pinot Bianco is another winner! It's yellow in color with pears, cantaloupe, lemon, graham cracker, and white flowers. On the midpalate it's weighty with a little tiny bit of oiliness to its mouthfeel and a tart acidity. Yum! This right here is a damn good Pinot Bianco for $16.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Wine Review: Two Hands Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon 2018


The idea for Two Hands was born in September 1999 when founders Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz sat at a friend’s engagement party and decided it was time to make their own wine and market it on the world stage. The original aim was, and still is, to make the best possible Shiraz-based wines from prized growing regions throughout Australia.  With so much Australian wine being sold around the globe under multi-region labels in a formulaic style, the intention was to break the mould and showcase the diversity of Australian Shiraz by highlighting regional and vineyard characteristics by allowing the fruit to be the primary feature of the wines.

I've got three reviews for Two Hands this week and it all started with Angels' Share Shiraz 2018, then I reviewed Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2018, and now I'm finishing with Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon 2018.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Saké Quickie: Tozai Living Jewel Junmai


This was the last bottle of this saké on the shelf of a liquor store I was shopping in a few months ago, and I had to get it because it was bottled in November of 2017. Normally you want your saké to be younger than that because they're better fresh, but I had to know how it was holding up. $10 out of my bank account later and I was bringing it home. So now it's November of 2019. This saké has been sitting around for two years and who knows how long it was on that shelf. But you know what? It's not bad. The fruits of melon and pears are present but pulled back for more of a rice flavor to take over but I'm not complaining. And the savory finish is still going strong. Also, it's pairing pretty damn good with these crackers and spreadable cranberry rolled cheese. I'm happy with the purchase, and that's all that you can ask for.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Wine Review: Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2018


The idea for Two Hands was born in September 1999 when founders Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz sat at a friend’s engagement party and decided it was time to make their own wine and market it on the world stage. The original aim was, and still is, to make the best possible Shiraz-based wines from prized growing regions throughout Australia.  With so much Australian wine being sold around the globe under multi-region labels in a formulaic style, the intention was to break the mould and showcase the diversity of Australian Shiraz by highlighting regional and vineyard characteristics by allowing the fruit to be the primary feature of the wines.

I've got three reviews for Two Hands this week and it all started with Angels' Share Shiraz 2018, now I'm reviewing Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2018, and then I'll be finishing with Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon 2018.

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