Sunday, December 30, 2018

Wine Review: Corvezzo Terre di Marca Extra Dry Organic Prosecco Bio Millesimato

Corvezzo Terre di Marca Extra Dry Organic Prosecco Bio Millesimato

Terre di Marca is a label of Azienda Corvezzo, which is located in the Veneto region of Italy. The Terre di Marca label specializes in Prosecco and Pinot Grigio, but all wines by Corvezzo are 100% organic. They started the organic conversion in 2010 and completed it in 2017. I'm not going to waste time by going further writing a blurb about them because you have GOT to see their awesome website called The Organic Prosecco (http://www.theorganicprosecco.com). It's got a fun and educational layout to show you how they go about making their wines organically.

This is wine #5 of 5 that I'm reviewing by them leading up to the new year. I've reviewed their  2017 Pinot Grigio Ramato, 2017 Pinot GrigioRosé "Sur lie" Frizzante, Prosecco "Sur lie" Frizzante, and today it comes to a close with their Prosecco.

The Extra Dry Organic Prosecco Bio Millesimato is 100% Glera from the Cessalto Area, harvested exclusively by hand, soft cold crushed and pressed, and saw carbonation through the Charmat method by spending 60 days in inox tanks.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Wine Review: Corvezzo Terre di Marca Prosecco "Sur lie" Frizzante


Terre di Marca is a label of Azienda Corvezzo, which is located in the Veneto region of Italy. The Terre di Marca label specializes in Prosecco and Pinot Grigio, but all wines by Corvezzo are 100% organic. They started the organic conversion in 2010 and completed it in 2017. I'm not going to waste time by going further writing a blurb about them because you have GOT to see their awesome website called The Organic Prosecco (http://www.theorganicprosecco.com). It's got a fun and educational layout to show you how they go about making their wines organically.

This is wine #4 of 5 that I'm reviewing by them leading up to the new year. I've already reviewed their  2017 Pinot Grigio Ramato2017 Pinot Grigio, and Rosé "Sur lie" Frizzante, and now I'm reviewing their Prosecco "Sur lie" Frizzante, and then we'll conclude with their Prosecco.

The "Sur lie" wines are produced the way the Italian ancestors made Prosecco (or sparkling wine, really), including the bottle enclosure tied with string. They're both unfiltered and undergoes a natural second fermentation (carbonation) in each individual bottle. Prosecco today is filtered and sees second fermentation in large pressurized stainless steel tanks. The Prosecco "Sur lie" Frizzante is made from 100% Glera on limestone soil, has a 10.5% ABV, and 0 grams of residual sugar.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Wine Review: Corvezzo Terre di Marca Rosé "Sur lie" Frizzante


Terre di Marca is a label of Azienda Corvezzo, which is located in the Veneto region of Italy. The Terre di Marca label specializes in Prosecco and Pinot Grigio, but all wines by Corvezzo are 100% organic. They started the organic conversion in 2010 and completed it in 2017. I'm not going to waste time by going further writing a blurb about them because you have GOT to see their awesome website called The Organic Prosecco (http://www.theorganicprosecco.com). It's got a fun and educational layout to show you how they go about making their wines organically.

This is wine #3 of 5 that I'm reviewing by them leading up to the new year. I've already reviewed their  2017 Pinot Grigio Ramato and 2017 Pinot Grigio, and now I'm on their by Rosé "Sur lie" Frizzante followed by their Prosecco "Sur lie" Frizzante, and finally their Prosecco.

The "Sur lie" wines are produced the way the Italian ancestors made Prosecco (or sparkling wine, really). They're both unfiltered and undergoes a natural second fermentation (carbonation) in each individual bottle. Prosecco today is filtered and sees second fermentation in large pressurized stainless steel tanks. The Rosé "Sur lie" Frizzante is made from 100% Raboso on limestone soil, has a 10.5% ABV, and 0 grams of residual sugar.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Wine Reviews: Best of Fall 2018!

Yesterday was the first day of Winter, so here's the best wines that I reviewed for this Fall season!

***SPOILER ALERT*** For the second season in a row, Proemio nabs the top spot!

#5. Suhru Shiraz 2013

Region: North Fork, Long Island, New York, USA
Review Release: November 25th, 2018


The wine is a dark garnet in color. There's aromas of raspberry, blackberry, chocolate, spearmint, and white pepper. On the palate it's medium bodied with a lush mouthfeel, finely grained tannin, and a perky acidity. There's flavors of raspberry, blackberry, chocolate, vanilla, and spices. Then it finishes dry and crispy with tart raspberry and chocolate.

This is very much done in the Shiraz style of Australia with some pep and brightness rather than a burly and hearty Syrah, and I'm really enjoying it. It's my favorite by Suhru so far!

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $23
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended(what does that mean?)

#4. High Valley Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Region: High Valley, Lake County, California, USA
Review Release: October 10th, 2018


The color of the wine is a veeeeeery pale yellow. The nose is just an explosion of clementines, followed by pears, honeydew melon, cilantro, and hay. I am in love with this nose. On the palate it's a fuller bodied Sauvignon Blanc with a slick mouthfeel with a bit of a chemical feel to it, moderate acidity, and a dollop of sweetness. There's flavors of pears, melon, orange zest, lemon zest, and spearmint. Then it finishes dry on the tongue but with a coating of fruity goodness over your teeth and the sides of your mouth.

So, it's fantastic. I love it. Perfectly rounded to perform well all on its own and also with a ridiculous amount of dishes from salad, seafood, pasta, grilled veggies, pork, dessert, etc. Is it a surprise that, from a predominantly red wine producer, it's a white wine that I have loved the most?

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $30
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

Region: Virginia, USA
Review Release: November 8th, 2018

The color of the wine is purple. On the nose there's a cloud of flora with rose pedals and violets above aromas of chocolate, raspberries, anise, and cardamom. On the palate it's medium to full bodied with sweet tannins and an acidity that does a great job at brightening the fruit. There's flavors of juicy plum, blue raspberry, cardamom, a chunk of earth, and a piece of 2x4. The finish is incredibly long with plum, PEZ candy, and dirt.

I'm loving the crap out of this. Here I was expecting to have a big-ass astringent Tannat that I would need to let sit forever to open up because it's only a year old, and instead I'm greeted with a delightful juice-bomb that still has a gritty earthiness, is ready to drink now, and just has the personality of being a happy wine. Get what I'm saying?

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $35
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)


Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon USA
Review Release: October 28th, 2018


The color of the wine is yet again a light copper. On the nose there's aromas of apple, apricot, orange blossom, lemon zest, and little bit of a peppery kick. It's full bodied with a lush and silky mouthfeel, and there's a nice tart acidity but not as powerful as it was in the 2016 vintage. There's aromas of peaches, lemon, oranges, and chives. Then it finishes with lemon, orange pith, and white pepper.

Again, Left Coast KILLS it with their White Pinot Noir. I'm going to even up the score over last year's because they SLASHED that little bit of sweetness and SAWED IN HALF the tart acidity. This is perfectly rounded with everything playing wonderfully together and nothing standing up SCREECHING for attenting. I enjoyed this wine so much that, dare I say, it could make me commit... MURDER??? MWAHAHAHAHA!!!! Have a Happy Halloween! Don't do anything stupid, ya knucklehead.

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

#1. Proemio Reserve Syrah Garnacha 2015

Region: Mendoza, Argentina
Review Release: September 27th, 2018


The color of the wine is an incredibly vibrant violet purple. On the nose there's aromas of licorice, intense violets, plums, and baked apple crisp with vanilla and cinnamon. On the palate it's light to medium bodied with a juicy mouthfeel, high acidity, and finely grained moderate tannin. There's flavors of plums, strawberries, cooked apple, dark chocolate, and vanilla. Then it finishes with plums, strawberries, cinnamon, and ethanol.

This is a wonderful expression of these two varietals who were meant to be together, and it is a $20 slayer. Through the hoop, nothing but net. Not only is it perfectly balanced to stand on it's own but the versatility for food pairings is through the roof. Pork chops, pizza, tacos, beef stew, grilled vegetables, chocolate cake... and I can't even imagine how great this would be with a good old garlic rubbed ribeye steak. Honestly, this is what you should want when you drop a Jackson on one bottle of wine.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

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

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Wine Review: Corvezzo Terre di Marca Pinot Grigio 2017



Terre di Marca is a label of Azienda Corvezzo, which is located in the Veneto region of Italy. The Terre di Marca label specializes in Prosecco and Pinot Grigio, but all wines by Corvezzo are 100% organic. They started the organic conversion in 2010 and completed it in 2017. I'm not going to waste time by going further writing a blurb about them because you have GOT to see their awesome website called The Organic Prosecco (http://www.theorganicprosecco.com). It's got a fun and educational layout to show you how they go about making their wines organically.

This is wine #2 of 5 that I'm reviewing by them leading up to the new year. I started with their  2017 Pinot Grigio Ramato and now I'm reviewing the 2017 Pinot Grigio, followed by Rosé "Sur lie" FrizzanteProsecco "Sur lie" Frizzante, and finally their Prosecco.

The 2017 Pinot Grigio is from the Motta di Livenza area of the Delle Venezie DOC. It's 100% Pinot Grigio harvested exclusively by hand and saw soft cold crushing and pressing. Then a portion of the wine spent some time in oak barrels while the rest spent time in stainless steel. It has a final ABV of 12.5% and will cost you $17.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Book Review: "Brut Force" by Peter Stafford-Bow

The wines are quite open; they have clearly been aerated.
If you've read this book then you understand that quote. If you haven't read this book then you should. Felix Hart is back! It's been two years since I reviewed Corkscrew: The highly improbable, but occasionally true, tale of a professional wine buyer, and I am really excited that there's a sequel! This one is called Brut Force: The further, staggering adventures of a professional wine buyer.

I absolutely loved Corkscrew. It's one of the funniest (and funnest) novels that I have ever read, with no exaggeration. But Corkscrew covered Felix's rise into the business and becoming a Minstrel of Wine, and it was mostly a collection of fun adventures that came together in the end.

Brut Force is more structured, and it's focused on a main plot from the very beginning with adventure in its subplots, although with less wilderness and wildlife. And things get very serious for Felix, as his life is on the line from one major threat for the vast majority of the story. So even though Brut Force doesn't have as many outrageously ridiculous moments as Corkscrew, it's the better book. Peter is clearly growing as a writer.

It's been two years since Felix became a Minstrel of Wine, and now it's time for him to decide which House he'll join. Would he choose House Archevist, House Terroirist, House Mercantilist, or House Hedonist? If you know anything about Felix than you know that House Hedonist is the House for him. But his plans have to be changed against his will, just like many things are about to happen against his will. Like, spoiler alert, almost being drowned in a wine barrel.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Wine Review: Corvezzo Terre di Marca Pinot Grigio Ramato 2017


Terre di Marca is a label of Azienda Corvezzo, which is located in the Veneto region of Italy. The Terre di Marca label specializes in Prosecco and Pinot Grigio, but all wines by Corvezzo are 100% organic. They started the organic conversion in 2010 and completed it in 2017. I'm not going to waste time by going further writing a blurb about them because you have GOT to see their awesome website called The Organic Prosecco (http://www.theorganicprosecco.com). It's got a fun and educational layout to show you how they go about making their wines organically.

This is wine #1 of 5 that I'm reviewing by them leading up to the new year. I'm starting off here with the 2017 Pinot Grigio Ramato, then I'll be reviewing their 2017 Pinot GrigioRosé "Sur lie" FrizzanteProsecco "Sur lie" Frizzante, and finally their Prosecco.

The 2017 Pinot Grigio Ramato is from the Motta di Livenza area of the Delle Venezie DOC. It's 100% Pinot Grigio that spends a brief time with its skins, like a rosé, to give it a copper (romato) color. Grigio means grey in Italian (Gris means grey in French) and the Pinot Grigio / Gris grape is a greyish purple, thus the name, so you can make a rosé-ish wine out of it like this one. It was cold macerated at 0º C for six hours and saw cold crushing and pressing. Then a portion of the wine spent some time in oak barrels while the rest spent time in stainless steel. It has an ABV of 12.5% and will cost you $17.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Wine Quickie: Vilarnau Brut Reserva Rosé Cava


Just like the Brut Reserva Cava, this will run you $14 and the bottle is wrapped with the work of Antoni Gaudí, who was a Spanish architect in the late 1800's into the early 1900's. The Brut Reserva Rosé is strawberry candy in color. There's aromas and flavors of strawberries, peaches, and cream soda, with a creamy mouthfeel and a lively personality. And just like the Brut again, it's not for sipping and savoring but it's perfect for some fun downing of refreshing and affordable bubbly.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Wine Review: Feravino Miraz Frankovka 2015

Feravino Miraz Frankovka 2015

Excerpt from TheWineAndMore: Feravino Winery, from Feričanci, is a continental wine producer focused on red wine production. Pride of their wine cellar, Frankovka (blaufränkisch)– is the grape variety that they call "the queen of their vineyards". Feravino tradition goes back to the 18th century when the still existing wine cellar was built. The vineyards are planted on the gentle slopes of Krndija mountain, perfectly exposed to daily sunlight. Today Feravino owns more than 150 hectares of vineyards and they are the leading winery in the Feričanci area.

Frankovka (blaufränkisch) gives wines with moderate tannins, lively acidity and fruits like sour cherry with peppery notes. This is the wine that accompanies food perfectly and cuts through the traditional Slavoanian cuisine – fat and meaty.

First off: forgive me for being lazy and just copying from the provider's website. You know I love to geek out about stuff like this but this review had to be done in a hurry. Second: Oh hell yeah! Croatian wine! I'm excited! This is Frankovka from the Slavoanian region of Croatia. It saw maceration for 12 to 24 hours, fermented in stainless steel, then was aged in 500 liter barrels for two years.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Cheese Grotto, The Cellars of Jasper Hill Farm, Craggy Range Te Muna Sauvignon Blanc 2018, & Feudo Maccari Saia Nero D'avola 2015

The Cheese Grotto, The Cellars of Jasper Hill Farm

I am a cheese addict. So when I was asked if I wanted to try something called "The Cheese Grotto", there was no way that I could say no. "Hey, crackhead! Would you like to try out this crack pipe?" Yes. Yes I would.

So check this out: The Cheese Grotto (https://cheesegrotto.com) is a wooden box for cheese storage that you can put on your counter top, a cool place in your house, or in your fridge, and is meant to mimic the moisture, coolness, and air flow of a cheese aging cave. There are different designs and prices, but they all have a glass door so you can monitor your cheeses, a ventilated back for air flow, shelving where the cheeses go, and a brick that you quickly submerge in water every once in awhile to release moisture. You don't have to put one thing of cheese in there; it works for how much it can fit. In fact, it suggests that you stock it up when you go away on vacation to help keep the proper moisture.

I can't be on here talking about a Cheese Grotto without cheese! That would be stupid! So I've got three aged cheeses by The Cellars of Jasper Hill Farm (https://www.jasperhillfarm.com) in Vermont:

● Landaff: This is a Welsh style cheddar made from raw cow milk and aged 4 to 6 months. Natural rind and semi-firm. Excellent melting cheese. It can last on the counter top in the Grotto for 10 days.
● Cabot Clothbound Cheddar: This cheese is an ACS Best in Show winner. It's bandaged cheddar made from pasteurized cow milk and was aged 9 to 14 months. Rustic, crystalline texture that melts creamy on palate. Can be stored on the counter top in the Grotto for 2 weeks.
● Little Hosmer: This is a bloomy rind soft cheese (my favorite kind of cheese) made from pasteurized cow milk and aged 6 to 12 weeks. It can be ripened in the Grotto for 4 weeks if the Grotto is in an area where the temperature is between 50 to 60 degrees F.

I kept the Grotto in my dining room and I didn't put the Little Hosmer in the Grotto; just the Landaff and Cabot. I only had them in there for a few days but the grotto is working great so far! The cheese shows no signs of drying out and becoming crappy like it would if I just stuck it in the fridge without wrapping it, and they're showing no signs of going bad from not being refrigerated.

The Cheese Grotto, The Cellars of Jasper Hill Farm, Craggy Range Te Muna Sauvignon Blanc 2018, & Feudo Maccari Saia Nero D'avola 2015
ERROR NOTE: CRAP! The cards for the Cabot and Landoff should be switched! Sorry!
But wait! There's more! It's time to see how these cheeses pair with wine! I've got one excellent white and one outstanding red, provided by Kobrand Wine & Spirits!  (http://www.kobrandwineandspirits.com)

● Craggy Range Te Muna Sauvignon Blanc 2018: This is 100% Sauvignon Blanc from Craggy Range's Te Muna ("secret place") in Martinborough on the North Island of New Zealand. In case you don't already know; another region called Marlborough, now the most famous wine region in New Zealand because of their Sauvignon Blancs, is on the South Island. This wine saw an early harvest and was fermented in closed top stainless steel tanks, then matured for four months. It has a 13% ABV and will cost you about $25.
● Feudo Maccari Saia Nero d'Avola 2015: And this wine is from another island. It's where I get my surname. Sicily. Nero d'Avola is a native grape of Sicily, and it name means "black of Avola" (Avola being the village where the grape is thought to originate) and its nickname is, or was when I broke into the business, "the Shiraz of Italy". This one is 100% Nero d'Avola, and it's from a low yield due to the difficulties of the vintage. It spent 12 to 14 months aging in French barriques, with a second blending at first racking. Then it was aged another 6 months in the bottle. It has a 14% ABV and will cost you about $40.

Let's do this! The Landaff gets crumbly when you cut it, and it melts in your mouth beautifully to go from hard bodied to a creamy buttermilk softness with grace and deliciousness. The Cabot Clothbound Cheddar has that sharpness nice sharpness up front but it's not out of control like some sharp cheddars can be, and it's got a nuttiness and tanginess to it as well. Then the Little Hosmer is a wonderful dream to me. Soft and creamy with a cauliflower-esque flavor and that classic bloomy rind mushroominess. So friggin good!

The Craggy Range Te Muna Sauvignon Blanc has a flinty minerality over aromas of limes, grapefruit, and herbs. It was a bright acidity and flavors of limes, white peach, and nectarine. It pairs best with the Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, as the flavors play off of each other and the acidity interacts with the transforming structure of the cheese.

The Feudo Maccari Saia Nero D'avola has a stellar nose with aromas of black cherries, blueberries, spearmint, and rose petals. On the palate it's ridiculously lush with soft and sweet tannins, and flavors of black cherries, plums, vanilla, and oak. Just gorgeous. It pairs best with the Landaff, as the two create an earthy character together and the sharpness of the cheese meets a softener that brings them both meeting in the middle.

All of the cheeses and wines are just deliciously amazing. But it turns out that my favorite cheese of the three, the Little Hosmer, was out-paired on both wines! But that's okay because I will eat this or a Brie or a Camembert with any wine, any beer, any brandy, or any whiskey, at any time. Bring it!

Hey, all of this tasting of cheese and wine is fun and all but don't let that distract you from the Cheese Grotto. That's what made this post happen, and you should check it out for yourself because Christmas is coming and everybody knows a cheese addict!

The Cheese Grotto: https://cheesegrotto.com
Jasper Hill Farm: https://www.jasperhillfarm.com
Kobrand Wine & Spirits: http://www.kobrandwineandspirits.com

The Cheese Grotto

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Wine Review: Oremus Mandolás Furmint 2016

Oremus Furmint 2016

Owned by the world famous Vega Sicilia out of Ribera del Duero, Spain, Oremus is located in the village of Tolscva, in the Tokaj-Hegyalja appellation of Hungary. The vineyards lay on the hillsides of above the village, and its cellars that date back to the 12th century are underneath. All of the Oremus wines are classified as "First Growth" by the Szirmay classification of 1803.

Mandolás is named after one of Oremus's vineyards that is only planted with Furmint, but it appears that this wine is not fully sourced from that vineyard. Furmint is the grape used in the world's very first noble rot (botrytis cinerea) dessert wine; Tokaji Aszu. This is just a wine, not a dessert wine, made from Furmint. It was gently pressed, fermented in new oak barrel for 8 to 12 days, then aged in small 136-litre barrels for an unspecified amount of time. The final ABV is 13.5%.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Wine Quickie: Vilarnau Brut Reserva Cava

Vilarnau Brut Reserva Cava

This Spanish Cava from Barcelona will run you $14. The bottle is wrapped with the work of Antoni Gaudí, who was a Spanish architect in the late 1800's into the early 1900's. It's got a nice toastiness to it, something that I demand from Cava, with green apples, lemon, and flowers. It's zippy on the palate and finishes kinda soapy (which I guess would be floral). You're not going to sit and savor this, but it's perfect for some fun downing of refreshing and affordable bubbly.

I've also got a bottle of the Vilarnau Brut Reserva Rosé, which I'll probably pop open sometime in the next week, if not next Friday.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Wine Review: Hess Select North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Hess Select North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Hess needs no introduction but just in case, here's a blurb on their history from their website: The Hess Collection was founded by Swiss entrepreneur Donald Hess, who first purchased vineyards on Mount Veeder in 1978. Located in the historic stone winery originally constructed in 1903 by Colonel Theodore Gier, the winery first opened to the public in 1989. The winery has earned international recognition for its wine, culinary and visitor programs while providing free public access to Donald Hess’ extensive private contemporary Art Museum. Known as a leader in sustainable practices, The Hess Collection adheres to founder Donald Hess’ philosophy: “Nurture the land; return what you take.” The winery is best known for its flagship Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines and single vineyard designates from our estate vineyards in Napa Valley.

This week I am doing two quick reviews of Hess Select wines. I started with their 2016 Pinot Noir and now I'm reviewing their 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon. It's 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petite Sirah, 4% Malbec, 2% Syrah, 2% Merlot, and 2% Zinfandel. Aged in 35% new French and American oak for 18 months. Suggested retail is $20 but it's usually marked at $16 from what I've seen.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Wine Review: Hess Select Central Coast Pinot Noir 2016

Hess Select Central Coast Pinot Noir 2016

Hess needs no introduction but just in case, here's a blurb on their history from their website: The Hess Collection was founded by Swiss entrepreneur Donald Hess, who first purchased vineyards on Mount Veeder in 1978. Located in the historic stone winery originally constructed in 1903 by Colonel Theodore Gier, the winery first opened to the public in 1989. The winery has earned international recognition for its wine, culinary and visitor programs while providing free public access to Donald Hess’ extensive private contemporary Art Museum. Known as a leader in sustainable practices, The Hess Collection adheres to founder Donald Hess’ philosophy: “Nurture the land; return what you take.” The winery is best known for its flagship Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines and single vineyard designates from our estate vineyards in Napa Valley.

This week I am doing two quick reviews of Hess Select wines, starting with the 2016 Pinot Noir (and then the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon). This is 100% Pinot Noir from the Central Coast of California that saw up to 12 months in neutral oak. Suggested retail is $20 but it's usually marked at $16 from what I've seen.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

December Wine Pick: Antica Fratta Fanciacorta Brut


Excerpt from A Bubbly Biography - The Story of Sparkling Wine - Part 2: Franco Ziliani was a man in love with no other wine but champagne and he became a winemaker for Berlucci with dreams of recreating it in Franciacorta, Italy. The soil was right and the climate was right, with Lake Iseo moderating the Continental influences. Berlucci finally granted him permission in 1961 to produce 3,000 bottles, probably because they were sick of him asking at every meeting. He originally made it the exact same way the Champenoise do it, down to the grape varieties, and it would evolve in a vacuum from there.

He named it Pinot di Franciacorta and it was an immediate hit. Berlucci raised the production to 20,000 the next year and soon after to 100,000. It was that good. Other wineries inside and outside of the area started making their own. Because of the wines popularity, its tremendous quality, and the fact that production was spreading outside of the area, the DOC hammer came down in 1967 to protect this new wine revelation. The borders were drawn, the rules were made, and the "Pinot di" was dropped. It was now just Franciacorta. The pride and joy of the region. Franciacorta was the first Italian wine to require metodo classico. It was also the first Italian wine to require labeling metodo classico. The grapes allowed are Chardonnay, Pinot Nero (Noir), Pinot Blanc and Pinot Grigio.

CANTINA ANTICA FRATTA
IMAGE CREDIT: vinusta.com
In the late 1970's, Franco Ziliani took a look at an an old villa once known for its cellars and fell in love with it, regardless of its rough shape. It dated back to the 16th century as a farmhouse and then was transformed into a beautiful villa in the mid-nineteenth century by Sir Luigi Rossetti. Its four tunnels of the cellar were made in the form of a Greek cross and it could hold six thousand hectolitres of wine, which earned it the nickname "el cantinù" ("the great cellar"). After Rosetti passed away, the place slowly went downhill and was abandoned until Ziliani bought it and fixed it up. It was ready to produce the first batch of Antica Fratta in 1979, and right now its non-vintage Brut is a beautiful 100% Chardonnay (not long ago it included Pinot Nero) that spent 24 months on the lees.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Wine Review: Suhru Brut NV

Wine Review: Suhru Brut NV

Suhru was founded in 2008 by Russell and Susan Hearn. Russell is also the winemaker of Lieb Cellars, whose wines I've have had the pleasure of reviewing many many times and thoroughly enjoy. During his wine career, Russell worked his way around the globe: New Zealand, Burgundy, California, Massachusetts and, in 1990, Virginia. Hearing about the wonderful Chardonnay being made on Long Island, he took the trip there with other winemakers to see what's doin'. And he's been there ever since.

This is the winery that Susan and Russell always dreamed they would have. Suhru's goal is to source excellent fruit from the regions in New York where each variety grows best, creating vibrant, balanced, and approachable wines for all to enjoy.

This is wine #6 of 6 that I'm reviewing by Suhru. I already reviewed the 2017 Pinot Grigio2013 Ember2017 Sauvignon Blanc2016 Dry Riesling2013 Shiraz, and now I'm concluding the series with their NV Brut. To see all of them, or the ones that have been published already, just check out the month on the blog.

The NV Brut is made using the traditional méthode champenoise method using 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir, both from Riverhead on the North Fork of Long Island. It has an ABV of 12% and will cost you $29.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Wine Review: Suhru Shiraz 2013


Suhru was founded in 2008 by Russell and Susan Hearn. Russell is also the winemaker of Lieb Cellars, whose wines I've have had the pleasure of reviewing many many times and thoroughly enjoy. During his wine career, Russell worked his way around the globe: New Zealand, Burgundy, California, Massachusetts and, in 1990, Virginia. Hearing about the wonderful Chardonnay being made on Long Island, he took the trip there with other winemakers to see what's doin'. And he's been there ever since.

This is the winery that Susan and Russell always dreamed they would have. Suhru's goal is to source excellent fruit from the regions in New York where each variety grows best, creating vibrant, balanced, and approachable wines for all to enjoy.

This is wine #5 of 6 that I'm reviewing by Suhru. I already reviewed the 2017 Pinot Grigio2013 Ember2017 Sauvignon Blanc2016 Dry Riesling and now I'm on to the 2013 Shiraz before I conclude the series with their NV Brut. To see all of them, or the ones that have been published already, just check out the month on the blog.

The 2013 Shiraz pays homage to winemaker Russell Hearn's native country of Australia, and it's made from 100% Syrah/Shiraz from Peconic on the North Fork of Long Island. It was fermented in open top tanks, spent 10-12 days in contact with the grape skins before being pressed, and then transferred to barrels for 6 months of aging in American oak. The final ABV is 13%.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Wine Review: Suhru Dry Riesling 2016

Suhru Dry Riesling 2016

Suhru was founded in 2008 by Russell and Susan Hearn. Russell is also the winemaker of Lieb Cellars, whose wines I've have had the pleasure of reviewing many many times and thoroughly enjoy. During his wine career, Russell worked his way around the globe: New Zealand, Burgundy, California, Massachusetts and, in 1990, Virginia. Hearing about the wonderful Chardonnay being made on Long Island, he took the trip there with other winemakers to see what's doin'. And he's been there ever since.

This is the winery that Susan and Russell always dreamed they would have. Suhru's goal is to source excellent fruit from the regions in New York where each variety grows best, creating vibrant, balanced, and approachable wines for all to enjoy.

This is wine #4 of 6 that I'm reviewing by Suhru. I already reviewed the 2017 Pinot Grigio2013 Ember, 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, and now I'm on to the 2016 Dry Riesling before I move on to the 2013 Shiraz and NV Brut. To see all of them, or the ones that have been published already, just check out the month on the blog.

The 2016 Dry Riesling is 98% Riesling from Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes, while the remaining 2% is Gewürztraminer from the North Fork of Long Island. It was fermented and aged in stainless steel, did not see malolactic fermentation or oak aging, and has an ABV of 13%..

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Wine Review: Suhru Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Suhru Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Suhru was founded in 2008 by Russell and Susan Hearn. Russell is also the winemaker of Lieb Cellars, whose wines I've have had the pleasure of reviewing many many times and thoroughly enjoy. During his wine career, Russell worked his way around the globe: New Zealand, Burgundy, California, Massachusetts and, in 1990, Virginia. Hearing about the wonderful Chardonnay being made on Long Island, he took the trip there with other winemakers to see what's doin'. And he's been there ever since.

This is the winery that Susan and Russell always dreamed they would have. Suhru's goal is to source excellent fruit from the regions in New York where each variety grows best, creating vibrant, balanced, and approachable wines for all to enjoy.

This is wine #3 of 6 that I'm reviewing by Suhru. I already reviewed the 2017 Pinot Grigio and and the 2013 Ember, but now it's time for the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc before I move on to the 2016 Dry Riesling2013 Shiraz, and NV Brut. To see all of them, or the ones that have been published already, just check out the month on the blog.

The 2017 Sauvignon Blanc is from grapes grown in Cutchogue on the North Fork of Long Island. It was fermented and aged in stainless steel, and did not see malolactic fermentation or oak aging.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Wine Review: Suhru Ember 2013

Suhru Ember 2013

Suhru was founded in 2008 by Russell and Susan Hearn. Russell is also the winemaker of Lieb Cellars, whose wines I've have had the pleasure of reviewing many many times and thoroughly enjoy. During his wine career, Russell worked his way around the globe: New Zealand, Burgundy, California, Massachusetts and, in 1990, Virginia. Hearing about the wonderful Chardonnay being made on Long Island, he took the trip there with other winemakers to see what's doin'. And he's been there ever since.

This is the winery that Susan and Russell always dreamed they would have. Suhru's goal is to source excellent fruit from the regions in New York where each variety grows best, creating vibrant, balanced, and approachable wines for all to enjoy.

This is wine #2 of 6 that I'll be reviewing by Suhru. I already reviewed the 2017 Pinot Grigio and now I'm on to the 2013 Ember, which will be followed by the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc2016 Dry Riesling2013 Shiraz, and NV Brut. To see all of them, or the ones that have been published already, just check out the month on the blog.

The 2013 Ember is out of the North Fork of Long Island and is a classic Bordeaux blend. The Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot are grown at a single vineyard in Mattituck while the Malbec is grown at a vineyard in Peconic. The wine was fermented in open tanks and spent twelve months in Hungarian oak.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Wine Review: Suhru Pinot Grigio 2017


Suhru was founded in 2008 by Russell and Susan Hearn. Russell is also the winemaker of Lieb Cellars, whose wines I've have had the pleasure of reviewing many many times and thoroughly enjoy. During his wine career, Russell worked his way around the globe: New Zealand, Burgundy, California, Massachusetts and, in 1990, Virginia. Hearing about the wonderful Chardonnay being made on Long Island, he took the trip there with other winemakers to see what's doin'. And he's been there ever since.

This is the winery that Susan and Russell always dreamed they would have. Suhru's goal is to source excellent fruit from the regions in New York where each variety grows best, creating vibrant, balanced, and approachable wines for all to enjoy.

This is wine #1 of 6 that I'll be reviewing by Suhru. Today is the 2017 Pinot Grigio, and then I'll also be reviewing their 2013 Ember red blend, 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, 2016 Dry Riesling, 2013 Shiraz, and NV Brut. To see all of them, or the ones that have been published already, just check out the month on the blog.

The 2017 Pinot Grigio is grown in Riverhead on the North Fork of Long Island, and they consider their PG to be their signature wine. It was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks with no malolactic fermentation or barrel aging.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Wine Review: Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection Tannat 2017

Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection Tannat 2017

Wine by Virginia's Bogaty Family Wine Group is back on the blog! I've reviewed a bunch of wines by them and I like to think of them as good friends. 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.

They've got four labels: Bogati Bodega, Veramar Vineyards, James Charles, and the winery exclusive Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection. To read the other reviews I've written on all three of their labels, check out the Virginia label for the blog. Today I'm reviewing their winery exclusive 2017 Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection Merlot and on Thursday it's their 2017 Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection Tannat. So yeah, these are only available at the winery.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Wine Review: Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection Merlot 2017

Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection Merlot 2017

Wine by Virginia's Bogaty Family Wine Group is back on the blog! I've reviewed a bunch of wines by them and I like to think of them as good friends. 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.

They've got four labels: Bogati Bodega, Veramar Vineyards, James Charles, and the winery exclusive Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection. To read the other reviews I've written on all three of their labels, check out the Virginia label for the blog. Today I'm reviewing their winery exclusive 2017 Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection Merlot and on Thursday it's their 2017 Justin Bogaty Winemaker Selection Tannat. So yeah, these are only available at the winery.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

November Wine Pick: Wairau River Pinot Noir 2016


Established in 1978, the Rose family estate vineyards are situated on the banks of the Waiau River. "We maintain 100% control from beginning to end," says Oener Phil Rose. "We grow all of our own grapes, reserving the best for our wines." The Southern Alps mountain range runs the length of most of the island and creates a ran shadow in the region, reducing rainfall and clous cover. Marlborough's maritime climate makes for pelntiful, but not intense, sunshine which affords the grapes a long, slow ripening period.

Wairau River's 2016 Pinot Noir is made of 100% of the varietal. It was harvested during cool mornings, cool soaked for four days in open fermenters, then transferred to French barriques for ten months. It has an ABV of 13.5% and will cost you $25.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Wine Review: Left Coast Vineyards White Pinot Noir 2017


Although the month of October was dedicated to the wines of Shannon Ridge, we're ending it with a wine that is not one of theirs. Left Coast Cellars is back yet again!

Yep! I've done plenty of reviews of Left Coast Cellars' wines over the years, and you can read them all by clicking hereThis winery is out of Willamette Valley, Oregon and 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 the 2017 White Pinot Noir! I know what you're thinking. "Did he just say WHITE Pinot Noir?" Yes, I did! As I explained in my review of their 2016 White Pinot Noir a few weeks over a year ago: By not allowing skin contact and treating Pinot Noir like a white grape, you can make some very cool white wine. Hell, it's one of the grapes used in Champagne and other sparkling wines. Non-sparkling White Pinot Noir's are also freakin' awesome! Willamette Valley is freakin' awesome! I'm really looking forward to this one. And I'm looking forward to it again this year because I loved last year's vintage.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Wine Review: High Valley Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

October is Shannon Ridge Month on TheWineStalker.net!


In 1995, Clay Shannon discovered a magnificent piece of property in the hills overlooking Clear Lake in Lake County, thirty-five miles north of Napa’s famed vineyards. He quickly set out to develop vineyards, Clay’s vision was simple: "We wanted to grow the best fruit in the world,” says Clay, “but we wanted to do it in a way that made us happy living there... The landscape is rugged and wild, and so are our neighbors – we’re surrounded by wildlife. We’ve got ducks, geese, deer, raccoons, quail, golden eagles, bald eagles, wild turkey, chipmunks and bobcats that visit us regularly. We are also visited commonly by bears, mountain lions and elk." 

Shannon Ridge is passionate about preserving their land, not only for great vineyard sites, but for the wild creatures which share the property. Their sustainability practices integrate a flock of sheep that clean the vineyards, remove the excess canopy, and reduce the need for chemicals, while providing natural fertilizer. “Sustainability wasn’t some philosophical concept;" says Clay, "it is the way we live our lives.”

All of October is dedicated to Shannon Ridge! This is review #8 of 8, so it concludes here, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

High Valley Vineyards is Shannon Ridge's label from the High Valley AVA in Lake County, which is between 1,600 and 3,000 feet in elevation. The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is from Betsy's Vineyard, names after Clay's mother, on a northwest facing slope.It has an ABV of 13.6% and will cost you $30 retail.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Wine Quickie: Nino Franco Maple Cinnamon Cocktail Recipe


Fall is in full swing! Man, it got cold fast. So check out this quick little recipe of fall yumminess: take 5 ounces of Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco and half an ounce of ROOT 23 Maple Cinnamon Simple Syrup to make a Maple Cinnamon Cocktail! I'm enjoying the crap out of it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Book Review: Wine Folly, The Master Guide (Magnum Edition) by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack

Wine Folly, The Master Guide (Magnum Edition)I've been wine blogging for awhile now. I've seen other wine blogs come and go. Many of my favorite ones, with writers who thought so differently and/or offered so much more than the rest of us, faded off within the first six months of their existence. I've even seen my own blog right here go from having original memes and monthly long-read articles about the history and science of wine be reduced to just reviews for almost the entirety of 2018 (hey, it's temporary) because of that pesky thing called "real life".

But right from the beginning there was something special about WineFolly.com. You could see it clear as day. This was something that was going to shake the foundation of wine education. There was the original art, the phrasing, the ability to connect to the reader. And... the decision-making that readers don't have to think about but bloggers do; release dates, the length of the read, keeping blinders on the topic, and when to hold back certain things for another post in the future. This was the real deal. And it was awesome right from the start.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Wine Review: High Valley Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016

October is Shannon Ridge Month on TheWineStalker.net!

High Valley Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016

In 1995, Clay Shannon discovered a magnificent piece of property in the hills overlooking Clear Lake in Lake County, thirty-five miles north of Napa’s famed vineyards. He quickly set out to develop vineyards, Clay’s vision was simple: "We wanted to grow the best fruit in the world,” says Clay, “but we wanted to do it in a way that made us happy living there... The landscape is rugged and wild, and so are our neighbors – we’re surrounded by wildlife. We’ve got ducks, geese, deer, raccoons, quail, golden eagles, bald eagles, wild turkey, chipmunks and bobcats that visit us regularly. We are also visited commonly by bears, mountain lions and elk." 

Shannon Ridge is passionate about preserving their land, not only for great vineyard sites, but for the wild creatures which share the property. Their sustainability practices integrate a flock of sheep that clean the vineyards, remove the excess canopy, and reduce the need for chemicals, while providing natural fertilizer. “Sustainability wasn’t some philosophical concept;" says Clay, "it is the way we live our lives.”

All of October is dedicated to Shannon Ridge! This is review #6 of 8, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

High Valley Vineyards is Shannon Ridge's label from the High Valley AVA in Lake County, which is between 1,600 and 3,000 feet in elevation. Luckily, High Valley had harvested 95% of their fruit before the wild fires hit the North Coast in 2017. The 2017 Sauvignon Blanc is from the north facing slop of Betsy's Vineyard, fermented for over a month at 13°C in stainless steel, and has a 13.6% ABV.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Wine Review: High Valley Vineyard Zinfandel 2016

October is Shannon Ridge Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Buck Shack Red Wine 2016

In 1995, Clay Shannon discovered a magnificent piece of property in the hills overlooking Clear Lake in Lake County, thirty-five miles north of Napa’s famed vineyards. He quickly set out to develop vineyards, Clay’s vision was simple: "We wanted to grow the best fruit in the world,” says Clay, “but we wanted to do it in a way that made us happy living there... The landscape is rugged and wild, and so are our neighbors – we’re surrounded by wildlife. We’ve got ducks, geese, deer, raccoons, quail, golden eagles, bald eagles, wild turkey, chipmunks and bobcats that visit us regularly. We are also visited commonly by bears, mountain lions and elk." 

Shannon Ridge is passionate about preserving their land, not only for great vineyard sites, but for the wild creatures which share the property. Their sustainability practices integrate a flock of sheep that clean the vineyards, remove the excess canopy, and reduce the need for chemicals, while providing natural fertilizer. “Sustainability wasn’t some philosophical concept;" says Clay, "it is the way we live our lives.”

All of October is dedicated to Shannon Ridge! This is review #6 of 8, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

High Valley Vineyards is Shannon Ridge's label from the High Valley AVA in Lake County, which is between 1,600 and 3,000 feet in elevation. The 2016 Zinfandel is from the north facing Round Mountain and Terre Vermielle Vineyards. It saw aging in 80% French oak and 20% American oak, but I do not have the information for how long, nor if this is 100% Zinfandel or if it has other varieties blended in (although, I will take a wild guess and say there is some Cabernet in there). The ABV is 15.1%.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Wine Review: Buck Shack Small Batch Red Wine 2016

October is Shannon Ridge Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Buck Shack Red Wine 2016

In 1995, Clay Shannon discovered a magnificent piece of property in the hills overlooking Clear Lake in Lake County, thirty-five miles north of Napa’s famed vineyards. He quickly set out to develop vineyards, Clay’s vision was simple: "We wanted to grow the best fruit in the world,” says Clay, “but we wanted to do it in a way that made us happy living there... The landscape is rugged and wild, and so are our neighbors – we’re surrounded by wildlife. We’ve got ducks, geese, deer, raccoons, quail, golden eagles, bald eagles, wild turkey, chipmunks and bobcats that visit us regularly. We are also visited commonly by bears, mountain lions and elk." 

Shannon Ridge is passionate about preserving their land, not only for great vineyard sites, but for the wild creatures which share the property. Their sustainability practices integrate a flock of sheep that clean the vineyards, remove the excess canopy, and reduce the need for chemicals, while providing natural fertilizer. “Sustainability wasn’t some philosophical concept;" says Clay, "it is the way we live our lives.”

All of October is dedicated to Shannon Ridge! This is review #5 of 8, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

On the Shannon Ridge property was a skinning shed called the "Ye Old Buck Shack" that had stood there for a hundred years. So they restored it and converted it into a whiskey bar, and named a line of their wines after it. Buck Shack has a Cabernet Sauvignon, Bourbon Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Red Wine blend. Today I'm reviewing the 2016 Red Wine, which is a blend of mainly Syrah and Petite Sirah, and then small amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Barbera. All I can tell you further is that they "laid these wines down in some expensive new barrels and let it age". So I don't know what kind or for how long. It has a 14.7% ABV, though.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Wine Review: Vigilance Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

October is Shannon Ridge Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Vigilance Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

In 1995, Clay Shannon discovered a magnificent piece of property in the hills overlooking Clear Lake in Lake County, thirty-five miles north of Napa’s famed vineyards. He quickly set out to develop vineyards, Clay’s vision was simple: "We wanted to grow the best fruit in the world,” says Clay, “but we wanted to do it in a way that made us happy living there... The landscape is rugged and wild, and so are our neighbors – we’re surrounded by wildlife. We’ve got ducks, geese, deer, raccoons, quail, golden eagles, bald eagles, wild turkey, chipmunks and bobcats that visit us regularly. We are also visited commonly by bears, mountain lions and elk." 

Shannon Ridge is passionate about preserving their land, not only for great vineyard sites, but for the wild creatures which share the property. Their sustainability practices integrate a flock of sheep that clean the vineyards, remove the excess canopy, and reduce the need for chemicals, while providing natural fertilizer. “Sustainability wasn’t some philosophical concept;" says Clay, "it is the way we live our lives.”

All of October is dedicated to Shannon Ridge! This is review #4 of 8, and you can read all of the reviews I've done so far by clicking here.

Vigilance wines are crafted from fruit harvested on their 250 acre Rolling Knolls Vineyard in the volcanic soils of Red Hills AVA. I have almost no information on the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, other than it spent twelve months in oak and has an ABV of 13%.

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