Sunday, June 16, 2019

Wine Review: Julia Samara 2016

This is the first of three wines that I'll be reviewing from western Galilee, Israel, in this quick review run for Terra Sancta. We're starting off with the 2016 Julia Samara blend, then moving on to the 2016 Julia Cabernet Sauvignon, and finishing with the 2014 Askar Shafaya

The Julia winery was founded in 2012 by the Arraf family in a western Galilee village called Mii’lya, which is on the edge of Wadi El Qurain national park and the Montfort Castle. The vineyards are on Terra Rossa soil and are hand harvested by family and friends only. Their goal is to develop and increase the awareness of wine making as a traditional industry in the Galilee region.

Named after the area where the vines for this single-vineyard selection are grown, "Samara" is 55% Syrah, 45% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. It's from a hilly stone and rock covered slope, surrounded by olive and oak groves, on land that has been growing grape vines for wine since the early days of vinification. The wine was aged in French and American oak barrels for 12 months.

There's something about Israeli wine that gets me excited. Maybe it's the thousands of years of winemaking history? So let's stop wasting time and jump right in!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Cocktail Quickie: Round Barn Crantini and Red Sangria cans

Round Barn is a winery, distillery, and brewery in Southern Michigan. After looking at their products, that whiskey and Kolsch of theirs look pretty damn delicious! But right here I have their two most popular items: their canned Crantini and Red Sangria. And guess what? They're awesome! The Red Sangria is tart and extra cripsy and refreshing. It's a Sangria made with red wine but there's a lot of peach and lemon on there with a little bit of cranberry, so for flavor it's only really "Red" from its base wine and its color. This would be great for grilling burgers! The Crantini is my favorite of the two. It's white wine with cranberry and lemon concentrates. It has a little bit of a breadiness with juicy cranberries and lemon candy. YUM YUM! It definitely calls for a big slice of pizza! Good stuff!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Wine Review: Chateau Lamothe Castéra Cuvée "Margaux" Bordeaux 2016

Chateau Lamothe Castera, located in the village of Roquebrune in the Entre-Deux-Mers area region of Bestides, 50 miles from Bordeaux, has been producing wine since the 15th century. Nowadays, Claire and Renaud Jean run this 190 acres winery in the Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superieur AOP. The Vineyards, composed of 30 year old vines of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are sustainably farmed.

This is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot, the vines are planted 300 feet above sea level, and  the wine spent 12 months aging in stainless steel tanks. Notice the quotes with "Margaux" because this is technically a Bordeaux AOP and not designated as a Margaux, although the juice is presumably from Margaux but for some reason it doesn't meet the requirements to carry the Margaux designation. Thus... it's only $17.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Wine Bloggers Off-Topic #2: Favorite Superheroes

It's the second Wine Bloggers Off-Topic, and this time it's about everybody's favorite superhero!

Not as many people were able to participate this month as last month, but I did recruit a comic blogger just for this one entry. Jim Werner runs the Weird Science DC Comics podcast and website, which I also write reviews for here and there.

Let's get nerdy!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Wine Review: Domaine de Châteaumar Cuvée Vincent Sélection Côtes-du-Rhone 2017

Châteaumar had been around since the 11th century and has been passed down for generations within the family, now with Jen-Feix and Frederic Souret managing he vineyards today. Their estate is located in the heart of Côtes-du-Rhone, just outside or Orange, where they have 25 acres on stony clay-limestone soil. They also own 12 acres in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

While this Côtes-du-Rhone is from southern Rhone, which is normally mostly Grenache with Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault blended in there, while it's northern Rhone that's all about the Syrah, this guy breaks the mold and is made from 100% Syrah. The vines are 50 years old or older on parcels that border Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the vineyards are sustainably farmed, and the wine spends 8 to 10 months aging in concrete tanks.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Saké Quickie: Momokawa Murai Family Nigori Genshu

Dude! Duuuuuude! This stuff is PHENOMENAL! Nigori means "cloudy" so it's less aggressively filtered as most Saké, leaving residual rice particles to give it a milky white color. Genshu means "undiluted" so it's not watered down to decrease alcohol percentage, thus it has an ABV of 19.8%. Masshigura rice was milled to 75% to make this Saké and man oh man, is this stuff killer. It's got a full body and creamy mouthfeel with descriptors of melon, pineapple, and coconut. The high volume ethanol produces a strong and powerful Saké that elevates its aromas up to your olfactory that much more effectively and makes it full of character and oomph. This is not about subtlety at all. For $23 a .750 ml bottle, this is a new favorite of mine.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Recipe: Sweet Tea and Lemon Pepper Pork Chops

This has been a favorite of Casa Casco for a few years now, and it's super easy to make!


Sweet Tea and Lemon Pepper Pork ChopsSalt
Lemon Pepper
Thyme, preferably lemon thyme
Sweet Tea
Pork Chops
Cholula Hot Sauce (optional)


1) Use a fork to poke holes in the pork to let the sweet tea really get into the meat
2) Season with salt and pepper
3) Marinate in sweet tea for a few hours

Sweet Tea and Lemon Pepper Pork Chops4) After taking the meat out of the marinade, rub the chops with a liberal amount of  lemon pepper
5) Sprinkle on that thyme

6) Cook those suckers on the grill! This time I cooked them on our T-fal electrical grill because I was unable to keep going in and outside, and they were cooked to perfection.


These chops are extra good when you cut yourself off a piece and drop a little Cholula on there, however the hot sauce is not needed.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Wine Review: Domaine des Gerbeaux Mâcon-Villages 2018

Domaine des Gerbeaux Macon-Villages 2018

Owned and run by Béatrice and Jean-Michel Drouin since 1979, Domaine des Gerbeaux is located in the village of Solutré-Pouilly. Their families both come from a long line of winemakers and they own a total of fifteen acres of vineyards over different regions in the Mâconnais; from St. Véran, to Pouilly, to Solutré. All of their wines are biodynamic but aren't biodynamic certified.

This is 100% estate farmed Chardonnay from 30 year old vines 1400 above sea level, was completely unoaked, spent six months aging in stainless steel, and saw full malolactic fermentation.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Wine Quickie: LOVE by Léoube Rosé 2018 and The Bridesmaid's Guide to Rosé

If you like Provence rosé you should enjoy this one because it's everything you want out of the category. Made from 50% Grenache and 50% Cinsault, it's light and crisp and refreshing with strawberries, white peaches, and citrus with a bright and lively acidity that begs for snacks. Excellent for summertime day drinking on the patio.

Well, the wedding season is coming up and Rosé season is already here! And even though I'm a dude, I think it's kind of a cool idea to match the wine being served with the dresses worn by the bridesmaids! Check out this idea I received from a Provence promotion:

Peach – Like the Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Château Barbebelle Héritage and the ethereal and romantic palette chosen by the actress Kirsten Dunst.

Melon – A dynamic nuance like this LOVE by Léoube Rosé, the same chosen by the Social Media phenomenon Emily Ratajkowski.

Mango – A lively color like the Côtes de Provence La Londe Château les Valentines Le Caprice de Clémentine and the personality of the supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio.

Pomelo  - A vivacious hue like my wine pick of the month Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence Rosé, and Katherine Heigl’s dress in the romantic comedy “27 Dresses”.

Pretty cool idea, huh?

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Wine Review: Louis Latour Les Pierres Dorées Pinot Noir 2017

Lois Latour Les Pierres Dorées Pinot Noir 2017

What can you say about Louis Latour other than they make some damn good wine? You really can't go wrong with their juice on any of their tier levels from introductory to high end. And they've been around for over 220 years! Since 1797 they've been based in Burgundy, France, but they recently decided to expand their operations further down south to...

Beaujolais?!? YUP! They bought up 50 acres of vineyard land in Les Pierres Dorées (the southernmost region in Beaujolas), ripped up the Gamay vines, and planted their specialty... Pinot Noir! They felt the specific altitude and clay-limestone soils would be perfect for the varietal. And what I've got right here is the result of that initiative.

This is 100% Pinot Noir from sustainably farmed vineyards in the villages of Morancé and Theizé, between 918 to 1246 feet above sea level on clay and crinoidal limestone soil. It was fermented in open vats, and spent 10 to 12 months aging in stainless steel tanks and medium toasted French oak by the Louis Latour cooperage. 

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