Sunday, May 19, 2019

All Hail Riesling, The Ruler of the Rhine and Our Hearts!

May is Riesling Month on TheWineStalker.net!


German wine is a wonder and dangerously close to not being possible. The position it holds on the planet and its altitude makes it cold for most of the year, so the plant growing season is longer and more drawn out than most wine varieties can handle, and they won't ripen in time before winter. But thanks to the long days, the vines see plenty of sun. The best wine growing regions in the country have slate soil and steep slopes along the Rhine River and its tributaries like Ahr, Nahe, and especially Mosel. The slate soil absorbs both direct sunlight and the reflected sunlight off of the rivers to warm the grapes above, and those rivers also help to moderate temperatures. But even still, it takes some special grapes and vines to handle the German climate.

So the entire world is lucky that Germany spawned one of the noblest of grapes: Riesling. Physically the vines's tough wood can handle the climate like a champion, and its fruit has the right amount of sugar and acidity to make world class wine in it as well. This is the varietal that makes me smile more than any other. Let's take a bow for Riesling, the ruler of the Rhine and our hearts!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Wine Quickie: Matchbook Petit Verdot 2016


Matchbook Wine Company is one of the best winery friends of the blog and they're located in Dunnigan Hills, California. The 2016 vintage is the very first of their Petit Verdot varietal and it consists of 88% Petit Verdot, 11% Malbec, and 1% Teroldego. Each variety spent 13 months in oak barrels separately, and then after being blended it spent another 13 months in oak barrels. There's definitely a lot of wood all over this wine, and also violets, prunes, raisins, blackberries, and mocha. It's medium bodied with a bit of a tart acidity, but the ethanol is hot, the tannins are tight, and the finish is bitter, so it's still young and I'd recommend that it be decanted if you want to drink it now. Overall it's a really good wine and I highly enjoyed it, but honestly it's worth spending the $3 more to get their Arsonist Red Blend, which is Petit Verdot based, because that takes things to another level.

Matchbook Wine Company

Friday, May 17, 2019

Saké Quickie: Hakutsuru Superior Junmai Ginjo


I've decided that my next challenge in education is saké, and not only does education include study but also consumption. My favorite part of this saké is the mouthfeel because it's well rounded out and silky and smooth with a touch of oil. It has springtime flowers and melon with a touch of lime peel on the nose and palate, and it's just a laid back and enjoyable saké overall for the price. I paid $10 for a 300 ml bottle and I felt it was totally worth it.

If you would like me to taste your saké in a full review or a quickie, email me at joeycasco80@gmail.com.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Wine Review: Heinz Eifel Kabinett Riesling 2017

May is Riesling Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Heinz Eifel Kabinett Riesling 2017

In 1979 Heinz Eifel founded Römerhof (Roman Yard) in Trittenheim in the heart of the Mosel Valley. When his daughter, Anne Eifel-Spohr, received her oenology degree from Geisenheim University in 2000, Eifel set out to collaborate with her on top-quality wines that reflected tradition while simultaneously respecting the inspiration of the young winemaker. The family was so pleased with the quality and individual character of these wines, they decided to put their own name on the bottle, thus creating Heinz Eifel wines.

This is 100% Riesling of the Kabinett quality designation from Mosel, Germany. That's all I can really tell you about it except that the ABV is 8.5%, and that there's a typo on the back label that spells grapes as grspes, so let's just go right ahead and drink some Riesling!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Little Guy Wine Shop Looking to Help Little Guy Winemakers

MARK PRIOR
BURBANK, CA – May 15, 2019, the California Wine Exchange launched on Kickstarter yesterday (May 14th) an effort to buck distribution standards and offer wines from mostly craft and boutique winemakers from within the Golden State.

Mark Prior, founder of the California Wine Exchange [CWE], believes that too many great California wines go undiscovered...and he's looking to change that. “We guarantee that 80% of our inventory will be from family-run vineyards and mom & pop wineries.” says Prior.

Kickstarter approved the project (not every project gets approved) for his wine shop & tasting room because CWE seeks to offer something fashionable for wine drinkers. California alone has over 5,000 winemakers within the state (www.ttb.gov/foia/frl.shtml), but the average consumer will typically see the same wine labels over and over again. This is due to the simple fact that many Golden State winemakers do not produce wine in enough volume to qualify for a distribution deal with a wholesaler.

“It's not like it used to be though,” says Prior. “Now we have hybrid-distributors like LibDib and Merchant 23 which connect retailers like myself with smaller wine producers. On top of that, regional shipping has improved and become more cost effective enabling us to buy directly from the vineyard.”

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Wine Bloggers Off-Topic #1: What is the perfect movie?

Goodfellas

Every month I'll be asking a group of wine bloggers and social media influencers an off-topic question that they can answer in as short or as long of a format as they want. We write so much about one topic that it's nice to write about something else once in awhile, like other opinions or passions, and I really like learning more about others in our community beyond that one topic.

So here we go! This is the very first post in the series, and the question is "what is the perfect movie?" Entries are listed in the order that they were submitted. If you'd like to participate in future installments, email me at joeycasco80@gmail.com!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Wine Quickie: Tamarack Cellars Cabernet Franc 2016

Tamarack Cellars Cabernet Franc 2016

Oooooh yeeeeeaaah! I love Cabernet Franc and I love Washington State and I love this wine! It's medium bodied with excellent structure, moderate tannin, a  rich and silky mouthfeel, and a hot and peppery finish. There's notes of plums, blackberries, green peppers, and sweet tobacco. All together this is some outfreakingstanding New Word Cab Franc!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Wine Review: Heinz Eifel Shine Dry Riesling 2017

May is Riesling Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Heinz Eifel Shine Dry Riesling 2017

In 1979 Heinz Eifel founded Römerhof (Roman Yard) in Trittenheim in the heart of the Mosel Valley. When his daughter, Anne Eifel-Spohr, received her oenology degree from Geisenheim University in 2000, Eifel set out to collaborate with her on top-quality wines that reflected tradition while simultaneously respecting the inspiration of the young winemaker. The family was so pleased with the quality and individual character of these wines, they decided to put their own name on the bottle, thus creating Heinz Eifel wines.

Shine is the first of two wines by Heinz Eifel that I'm reviewing for Riesling Month. It's 100% Riesling from Pfalz, Germany, and it's of the Kabinett classification. The 12% ABV means that this is going to be a drier one, so don't skip out if you're against sweetness.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Wine Quickie: Tinto Rey Rosé 2018

Tinto Rey Rosé 2018

Tinto Rey is a label line by Matchbook Wine Company, who is one of the best winery friends of the blog. The winery and vineyards are located in Dunnigan Hills, California, and the Tinto Rey line's purpose is to produce Spanish style and Spanish varietal wines there. So I'm surprised that this is labeled as a Rosé instead of a Rosado, but not surprised when thinking about it from a marketing perspective.

This is 54% Tempranillo, 30% Tannat, and 16% Verdejo (a white varietal). Like the 2017 vintage, the 2018 Rosé is Crayola peach in color. And everything else is pretty similar to the previous vintage, as well. It has a bit of an oiliness to the mouthfeel of its fuller body with restrained acidity and a slight touch of astringency. There's loud floral notes on the nose, with overall characteristics of watermelon, cantaloupe, lime, and concrete. A solid rosé for the price for people who like their rosé fuller bodied.

Matchbook Wine Company

Friday, May 10, 2019

Loire Valley Wines: Food & Wine Pairings for Fresh, Fruity and Friendly Moments

Loire Valley is probably my favorite wine region on the planet, and this is a great infographic on pairing Loire wines with food. If the text is difficult to read then just click on the image! Follow @LoireValleyWine #LoireLovers or visit Loire Valley Wines website for more information.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Wine Review: Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett 2018

May is Riesling Month on TheWineStalker.net!

Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett 2018

The wine-growing tradition of the Dr. Hugo Thanisch family can be traced back more than 350 years. In 1636, the name was mentioned for the first time in the registers of Bernkastel-Kues. The quality of the family's wines soon extended their excellent reputation far beyond the Mosel valley. At the end of the 18th century, the Thanisch's acquired the Berncasteler Doctor vineyard, a very steep site with deep devon slate structure, situated behind and overlooking the rooftops of the quaint old town of Bernkastel. The Doctor name originates in a legend about Prince Boemond II of Trier who fell sick and then was cured by a wine from this vineyard. Medicinal powers of fine wines are today being re-discovered! Without a doubt, the Doctor Vineyard is the most valuable and most famous German site.

The Bernkasteler Badstube Kabinett is the second of two wines by Thanisch that I'm reviewing for Riesling Month. It's 100% Riesling and the Bernkasteler hillside slopes down to the Mosel river on black and blue slate, which absorbs heat from the sunlight and reflections of sunlight from the river and warms the grapes. The final ABV of 9% means that technically this is on the sweeter side, but I bet you the acidity will balance that right out so it's not a sugar bomb.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Wine Quickie: Mossback Russian River Chardonnay 2017


Mossback is the Sonoma label line by Matchbook Wine Company, who is one of the best winery friends of the blog. The line was created when they decided that they needed to make a good Pinot Noir, but that's rather difficult in Dunnigan Hills. So their winemaker used his connections in Sonoma to get his hands on some fruit, and Mossback was created! This Russian River Chard is from the  Aquarius Vineyard and it does contain a splash of the Matchbook Old Head Chardonnay from Dunnigan Hills. There's aromas of pineapple, pears and big fluffy flowers. Then there's flavors of yellow pear, apricot, honeydew melon, and butterscotch. It's got a medium body, impressive roundness, and is wonderfully balanced for a $17 bottle.

The new Matchbook Wine Company sign

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Cooking with wine while keeping it simple and inexpensive

Julia Child and wine

Working in the retail sector of the wine industry, I know that when a customer says “I need a wine for cooking” what they’re really saying is “I want the cheap stuff". But here’s the thing: you can get quality wine for cheap that will result in a better dish. Seriously, you really can, but you just need to know where to look.

And, like Julia Child always said, “never cook with something you wouldn’t drink”. Why’d she say that? Well, what are you gonna do with the rest of the bottle? Drink it while you're cooking like Julia did or drink it with your meal, of course!

So I’m going to give you the recommendations that I give to my customers looking for wine to cook with, and I’m going to keep it quick and simple.

Santa Rita 120 Sauvignon BlancWHITE WINE

Unless a recipe specifically states otherwise, Sauvignon Blanc generally is the best white wine to cook with because of its acidity and citrus flavors, although I would stay away from New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs because those can get really pungent and overpowering. Sauvignon Blanc is especially excellent with seafood and mussels, but also the best choice for any recipe that you need generic “white wine” for.

My go-to Sauvignon Blanc for cooking is Santa Rita 120 Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. You’ll find it for around $6 to $7 and sometimes on 2-for deals. It’s perfect for cooking in price and attributes, and a joy to drink. The entire 120 line of varietals is outstanding and affordable, but that Sauv Blanc and their Merlot take it to another level.

I would only cook with a Chardonnay unless I have no other wine on hand or unless the recipe calls for it, but I definitely wouldn’t use heavily oaked Chardonnay with dishes that include garlic. That oak and garlic mix is going to make the dish taste burnt, and that’s the last thing you want.

Experimenting with different wines for your favorite dishes can be useful and have surprising results. I cook haddock in a pan on the grill with crumbled Ritz crackers soaked in Sherry for breading on top, and I’ve found the best wine to cook it in the pan with is a Riesling. Since my wife likes Barefoot Riesling, we regularly have it in the house. The sweetness that it adds plays very well with the characteristics of the Sherry breading.

Excelsior SyrahRED WINE

Things get more complicated when it comes to reds so I’m going to list my top suggestion for the most common dishes that people ask about.

My wife makes killer beef stew and pot roast, and when she’s planning on making one of them I pick up a bottle of Excelsior Syrah. This South African Syrah will only cost you $7 and it has good body, structure, fruit, and a pepperiness that really contributes to the dish. Also, it’s a great deal in quality for the price if you’re just going to drink it and not cook with it.

Tomato sauce! You can't make tomato sauce without wine, right? My grandmother on my father’s side was from Avellino, northeast of Naples, so I had a lot of Naples red sauce growing up. That’s when the meat is cooked in the sauce whole. Whole pork chops, sausage, veal, and sometimes chicken. The chicken, when used, would break apart and become part of the sauce. You’d eat the pasta with sauce as a different serving separately or as a side, like steak and potatoes, instead of having the meat cut up and mixed in together with the pasta.

Villa Pozzi Nero d’AvolaBecause my grandfather’s family, her husband, was from Sicily, I pay homage to both of them by making her sauce as close to hers as I can but I pour Sicilian wine in there. Villa Pozzi Nero d’Avola is perfect for adding to and drinking with red sauce. It’ll cost you $7 to $9 and it’s a great deal for quality in the glass.

We need to talk about beef bourguignon (beef burgundy) for a second. This is a stew made famous by Julia Child, and it normally calls for Burgundy wine. Most people will use Gallo Hearty Burgundy or Carlo Rossi Burgundy, but that's not real Burgundy. Those are just American blends of a bunch of stuff, while real red Burgundy is Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France. And Julia was a French chef! So I would go with a Pinot Noir, and for those looking to not spend a lot of money I go right back to the same brand I suggested for white wine with the Santa Rita 120 Pinot Noir out of Chile. $6 to $7 and sometimes on 2-for deals. You can't beat it.

SHERRY & MARSALA

Florio Fine Dry MarsalaThis is important so read this carefully and please retain: Put down the cooking Sherry. Put down the cooking Marsala. If you knew how much sodium are in those things you would be completely disgusted. You will do yourself a huuuuge favor by dropping a few bucks more for better quality Sherry and Marsala, and you absolutely will notice the difference in the dish.

And don't forget: these wines keep for a long time so you can put them away until the next time you make the dish.

My top suggestion for cooking with Sherry is Savory & James Amontillado. Amontillado has a more powerful flavor than Fino and contains more alcohol, and I’ve found it’s better to cook with than Fino. Savory & James will run you about $13 for a .750 bottle. For Marsala I would go with either Florio Fine Dry Marsala because it’s easily accessible in the smaller .375 format for $9 or Colombo Dry Marsala in a .750 for about $10. All three of these are affordable and worlds better than Taylor or Fairbanks “cooking” wines.

I hope this helps you guys out the next time you need a wine to cook with! Remember: just because you’re putting it in food doesn’t mean you should dump swill in there, but that also doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot. 

- Joey Casco CSW/CSS
  TheWineStalker.net

Monday, May 6, 2019

Wine Quickie: Chateau Batailley Pauillac Grand Cru Classé 2014


Oh my goooooodneeeeesss! Poured some wine at an event one night and ended up coming home with half a bottle of this gorgeous $90 Bordeaux. It's medium bodied with excellent structure, tight and dusty tannin, and uplifting acidity. It's super spicy with pepper and clove and exotic spices, earthy with wet wood and black tea, and the fruit of currant and stewed plum and strawberries, and just a little touch of spearmint. Nommy nommy, I have been spoiled!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Wine Review: Dr. H. Thanisch Feinherb Riesling 2017

May is Riesling Month on TheWineStalker.net!


The wine-growing tradition of the Dr. Hugo Thanisch family can be traced back more than 350 years. In 1636, the name was mentioned for the first time in the registers of Bernkastel-Kues. The quality of the family's wines soon extended their excellent reputation far beyond the Mosel valley. At the end of the 18th century, the Thanisch's acquired the Berncasteler Doctor vineyard, a very steep site with deep devon slate structure, situated behind and overlooking the rooftops of the quaint old town of Bernkastel. The Doctor name originates in a legend about Prince Boemond II of Trier who fell sick and then was cured by a wine from this vineyard. Medicinal powers of fine wines are today being re-discovered! Without a doubt, the Doctor Vineyard is the most valuable and most famous German site.

So the Feinherb Riesling is the first of two wines by Thanisch that I'm reviewing for Riesling Month. This is 100% Riesling of the Qualitätswein quality level but harvested at the Kabinett level ripeness, and grown on steep hillsides with black and blue slate soil in Mosel. It's a dry-style Riesling and has an ABV of 11%.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Wine Quickie: Mossback Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2016


Mossback is the Sonoma label line by Matchbook Wine Company, who is one of the best winery friends of the blog. The line was created when they decided that they needed to make a good Pinot Noir, but that's rather difficult in Dunnigan Hills. So their winemaker used his connections in Sonoma to get his hands on some fruit, and Mossback was created!

The 2016 Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon is medium bodied with a lush mouthfeel, soft grainy tannin, and a finish that bursts with dark fruit. There's black cherries, blackberries, leather, cedar, and spice. This is a nice example of a cool climate Cabernet at the right price of $25!

The new Matchbook Wine Company sign

Friday, May 3, 2019

How To Store Wine Correctly At Home


Knowing how to store wine correctly isn’t only for fine wine enthusiasts—it’s good knowledge to have in general. If you buy a bottle of wine, or have been gifted a good vintage, you need to know how to store it so it doesn’t lose its flavor.

If you want to get into wine collecting, quite simply, you need to buy the right kinds of wine. Fine wines are those rare finds that can increase in value over time, but the final worth is very much dependent on how well it has been looked after. To develop the wine’s flavor and increase its value, you need to treat your bottles with care and store them correctly which, as we’re about to explain, is easier than you may think.

It’s important to note, however, that these tips are purely for the casual wine collectors. If you’re looking to invest in wines as a profession, you should probably look at installing professional-grade storage.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Sign up for "Wine Bloggers Off-Topic"!

Hello, wine bloggers and social media influencers!

We all do a lot of cool stuff related to wine, but sometimes it's nice to write about something different for a change. And it's always nice to learn more about the people in our online wine community beyond their love of wine.

So I'm looking to start a monthly series on the blog called "Wine Bloggers Off-Topic" where I'll ask one question a month such as "What is the greatest album ever made?" and "Who is your favorite Superhero?" and "What is your favorite building on the planet?"

Answers can be as long or as short as you want, and it kicks off on May 14th with the question "What is the perfect movie?" so if you want to participate and plug your blog and/or social media accounts, send me an email at joeycasco80@gmail.com right now!

Wine Quickie: Ferzo Terre di Chieti Pecorino 2017


The grape here is Pecorino and the region is Terre di Chieti in Abruzzi, Italy. It's a full bodied and lush fruit gusher with bright acidity and a lively personality. There's stone fruit, pineapple, white flowers, and lime zest. If you're looking for a white wine with big personality and some good weight to it then this Pecorino is for you. I think it's just awesome.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

May Wine Pick: Washington Hills Late Harvest Riesling 2017


The entire month of May will be Riesling Month on TheWineStalker.net, so all of the full reviews will be Rieslings! I've got six Rieslings from Germany, one from Virginia, and this one from Washington State. But Riesling isn't all that's going on this month! Also penciled in are four wine quickies from my good friends at Matchbook, three wine quickies from Navarra (Spain), maybe canned cocktail reviews, and hopefully Part 2 of my Sake series, Just Brew It. And of course, things will be added as the month goes on.

But what I'm really excited about is the premier post of a monthly series called Wine Bloggers Off-Topic, where every month I'll ask wine bloggers and other people in the social media wine community a question that has nothing to do with wine. We write so much about this one topic that it's a nice escape to write about other passions and opinions once in awhile, and their answer can be as long or short as they want it. The first question is "What is the perfect movie?" and will be published on the 14th. If you'd like to participate in this series, just let me know! I've already got some great people signed up!

My wine pick of the month is the 2017 vintage of one of my favorite Rieslings in the $11 price range (a hot spot for the average consumer); Washington Hills Late Harvest Riesling. It's 100% Riesling sourced from the Pleasant and Cowan vineyards in Washington, and the fruit was late harvested to increase sugar levels for sweetness. It has an ABV of 10.5%.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

It's time to give in to canned wine! (featuring Santa Julia Chardonnay, Malbec Rosé, and Tintillo)

Santa Julia Chardonnay, Malbec Rosé, and Tintillo

Canned wine is becoming a big thing and it completely makes sense. It's undeniably the enclosure that keeps wine that you want to drink fresh the freshest. That's how you want your rosé, right?  That's how you want your Pinot Grigio, right? Fresh? And it keeps it pretty refreshingly cold in a cooler when you want to do some illegal drinking on the beach. I live on Cape Cod so this is a very important benefit to the product.

But what about red wine that you don't want to chill and chug? Well, first of all, remember that you don't have to drink it from the can. You can pour it into a glass like you do from the bottle.

Furthermore, the key word to the phrase "ages like a fine wine" is fine. The vast majority of wine produced in the world is meant to be consumed within the first 3 to 5 years and then it starts to decline. Canned wine is definitely intended to be consumed young and the container keeps the fruit characteristics fresher and more lively than bottles do.

So the can is perfect for New World reds in the average consumer's price range because those are generally all about the fruit. Pinot Noir specifically has shown great results from being contained in a can, but also Merlot blends seem to work well too. I'm about to try a Malbec Bonarda blend that was actually made with the intention to be chilled, so that works out perfectly for the can as well!

It's always the young people who start new innovating trends like this, and in this case the young people are very concerned about the current state and future of the environment. Whelp, aluminum is one of the most, if not the most, recyclable materials on the planet with 100% recyclability. Aluminum is also lighter than glass, and that cuts down on carbon emissions during transport. Yes, the environment is absolutely a factor in the canning trend for both wine and craft beer, both in consumer concern and producer concern.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Wine Quickie: Veramar Vineyard "Pink Chicken" Rosé 2018


Ahhh, the first signs of Spring! Robins and Rosé! Virginia's Veramar Vineyard is part of the Bogati Family Wine Group and I've reviewed many of their wines. Their "Pink Chicken" Rosé is made of 100% Chambourcin and it sure is delicious and lively! It's a fuller bodied Rosé with a rich mouthfeel and high acidity. There's aromas and flavors of juicy watermelon, lime, grapefruit, and a pinch of sea salt. On the finish it transitions into a lot of strawberry candy bringing a touch of sweetness, and lime bringing mouthwatering tartness. This is a fun Rosé for those who want more expressiveness, juiciness, and body out of their pink wine.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Bas Armagnac Artez Reviews: Three little brandies perched by my doorstep


Thanks to Heavenly Spirits I'm reviewing two wines by Domaine de Magnaut out of Gascony, France, and three Armagnacs by Bas Armagnac Artez. I've already reviewed the wines; Rouge 2014 and Rosé 2017, but now I'm sipping on some Armagnac.

Tariquet alambic
TARIQUET ALAMBIC
IMAGE CREDIT: distilling.com
Armagnac is a brandy from the Armagnac region in Gascony, France, which is just south of Bordeaux. I hate to bring up Cognac every time I talk about Armagnac but it's the easiest way to explain what Armagnac is. Instead of being distilled multiple times like Cognac, Armagnac is distilled just once. Being far less commercial than Cognac, often it's distilled from a still that is brought around from house to house in a wagon called a tariquet alambic. Higher quality Armagnac are distilled in stills called alquitaras. Because of things like this and it's other rules that separate it from its brandy brother, Armagnac is generally more rustic than the elegant Cognac.

Lifted from the tech sheet of these Armagnacs with some edits by myself: Artez is a small Armagnac producer who owns 12 hectares (30 acres) located in the Western part of the Bas Armagnac ("low Armagnac", the western subregion), also known as the First Cru. Even though the eaux de vie (the distilled brandy before it's aged in oak) have been produced at this distillery for many decades, a new owner took over the family business about 20 years ago. The uniqueness of Artez is to produce mostly single varietals Armagnacs, a very rare specialty which requires special skills from the distiller and cellar master.

This little 3 pack of different Armagnacs by Artez will run you about $50, and that's a pretty good deal! So let's crack them open and don't worry about a thing! Because everything little thing's gonna be all right!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Wine Quickie: Acquiesce Ingénue 2018


I had this during a virtual tasting and I missed the specifics of the blend, and it's not like it's easy to look up because this wine hasn't even been released yet. But it appeared as though I was the only one there who wasn't a fan. There's a lot of tropical fruit like pineapple and banana and mango, which I'm not opposed to (that's not 100% true because my first order as world ruler would be to abolish flat head screws, and second to abolish mangoes), but working with other aspects of the wine such as its flat full body, lack of acidity, and lack of character, it just didn't work for me. Everybody else who commented seemed to love it but I just don't want a glass of this.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Wine Review: Domaine de Magnaut Euphorie de Rosé 2017



Thanks to Heavenly Spirits I'm reviewing two wines by Domaine de Magnaut out of Gascony, France,and three Armagnacs by Artez. I've already reviewed the Rouge 2014, today I'm doing the Rosé 2017, and on Sunday I'll be sipping on some Armagnac.

Paul Scott of Heavenly Spirits says: Domaine de Magnaut is a family owned winery in the Armagnac Tenareze region of Gascony. They also produce Armagnac and Floc. Jean Marie Terraube and his wife run the winery and four diverse vineyards. They harvest Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah (for rosé), gros and petite Manseng in all four vineyards. Most of their production is sold from the winery. They are Designated "vigneron Independant".

The 2017 Euphorie de Rosé is a Cotes de Gascogne that's 100% Syrah and has an ABV of 11.5%. I reviewed the 2016 vintage in May of last year.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Wine Quickie: Prie Vineyards Carignane 2016


This Carignane out of Lodi is made from fruit off of vines planted in 1900, and dude... it's awesome. It's rather "Zinny", for the lack of a better word, but lacking the things that I don't like about Zinfandel. Its overall character is spicy with candied/dried fruit but still silky and elegant, with descriptors of cranberries, strawberries, leather, and oak. The tannin is soft and dusty, while the acidity brings a nice uplift to the finish. This is a great food wine, especially with grilling season upon us. Outstanding!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Wine Review: Domaine de Magnaut L'eden Gascon Rouge 2014


Thanks to Heavenly Spirits I'm reviewing two wines by Domaine de Magnaut out of Gascony, France, and three Armagnacs by Artez. This is the Rouge 2014, on Thursday I'll do the Rosé 2017, and on Sunday I'll be sipping on some Armagnac.

Paul Scott of Heavenly Spirits says: Domaine de Magnaut is a family owned winery in the Armagnac Tenareze region of Gascony. They also produce Armagnac and Floc. Jean Marie Terraube and his wife run the winery and four diverse vineyards. They harvest Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah (for rosé), gros and petite Manseng in all four vineyards. Most of their production is sold from the winery. They are Designated "vigneron Independant".

The 2014 L'eden Gascon Rouge has an ABV of 13% and is 100% Merlot, and you should know by now how much I adore Merlot! So let's taste some Gascony Merlot!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Wine Quickie: Ingénue m2 Vermentino 2018


Vermentino is not really something that I traditionally get excited about. But I'll always get excited about trying wine from places you would never expect it would come from. And this is a Vermentino from Lodi, Calfornia, so that is exciting! And it's pretty friggin' awesome! It's ultra light yellow in color but medium bodied with lower acidity than I expected. Yet it's crisp and clean with light notes of orange, lemon thyme, and spearmint. The orange finish seems to go on forever, which is great because I wish oranges would go on forever and I get sad when I finish one. I really liked it, but my wife liked it even more. So the rest of the bottle is hers.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Distill Wars Episode VIII: Tequila Throwdown! Cuervo Gold vs Camarena Reposado vs Patron Reposado


Welcome to probably the most dangerous episode of Distill WarsTEQUILA!

Back when I was younger I loved tequila. In my early 20's I'd even do some shots just to fall asleep while I transitioned from being a night owl to having to be at work early in the morning. Then in August of 2006 an entire pallet of Jose Cuervo Gold tipped over coming off of a truck and smashed. A lake of Cuervo on concrete baking in the August sun in 100 degree weather all day. Just imagine that. For a long time I couldn't even smell tequila without wanting to purge my lunch.

But those days are done and I'm over it. And here I am with three tequila nips, about to find out which one is better, and most likely black out in the process.

Wallet weight-in
Camarena Reposado: $2.00
Jose Cuervo Especial Gold: $2.50
Patron Reposado: $6.00

The Jose Cuervo is a Gold Tequila while the others are Reposados. So Jose Cuervo is up against some tough competition because it's just a silver tequila that's had caramel coloring added, while the Reposados have actually spent time in oak to earn that color. Can the underdog Cuervo overcome the odds? Pffffft. Not likely.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Wine Quickie: Justin Bogaty Winemaker Series Rosé 2018


The Bogati Family Wine Group is a very good friend of the blog and I've reviewed many of their wines. But today rather than writing a full review, I'm just enjoying the new vintage of their JB Rosé, which is a winery and tasting room exclusive. And holy Jolly Rancher! There’s sour apple, watermelon, and strawberry candy all over this, with a wonderful cracked stone minerality. It’s a fuller bodied rose that’s super juicy and a little sweet with bright acidity and tartness. I am really loving this rosé from Virginia.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Recipe: Ribeye with chimichurri


This recipe was provided by Amayala to pair with their 2017 Malbec, which I did a little wine quickie on the other day for Malbec World Day.

INGREDIENTS:

36 oz ribeye on the bone

For the chimichurri:
2 large tomatoes
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
6 bail leaves
3 oregano bunches
4 crushed garlic cloves
3 tablespoons white vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon ground chili
Salt and pepper

PREPERATION:

1) Chimichurri

Remove the seeds from the tomatoes and dice. Chop parsley, basil and oregano. Mix diced tomatoes with herbs, garlic, ground chili, salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar.

2) Ribeye

Before marinating, score the fat on the ribeye. Marinate the meat in the chimichurri sauce for two hours.

Light and heat the charcoal grill (gas grill can be used instead). Season the steak with salt and pepper. Directly on the flame (or on high heat), sear ribeye on all sides for approximately 5 minutes. Move steak off direct flame to warm area of the grill (or turn flame down to med-heat). Cook until meat reaches internal temperature of 125°F for about 30 minutes.

During cooking, turn steak periodically, and brush with a bouquet of rosemary and the chimichurri sauce.

Remove from heat and let meat rest for 20 minutes.

3) Serve

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Saké Reviews: 3 Sakes from TippsySake.com


Tippsy is basically a wine club for Saké. You can shop around on their site and buy the Saké that you want or you can subscribe to the Saké Box, which is delivered to your door every month with three different Saké. And you, my fellow Wine Stalkers, can use promocode SAKECLUB to get $10 off your first order. So if you like your Saké then go check it out!

To learn more about the history of Saké, read my latest article called Just Brew It, Part One: A brief history of Sake. Because of time, I couldn't make just one big Saké article so the real detailed stuff on how Saké is made will be in Part 2: Making Saké , which should come out in either May or June.

So here we go! Let's try some Saké! First chilled neat and then on the rocks! Don't forget to check out Tippsy  and use that promocode!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Wine Quickie: Amalaya Malbec 2017


It's Malbec World Day so I'm here with a Malbec! It's purple in color with aromas of grape juice, back olives, vanilla, and cinnamon. On the palate it's medium bodied with a rather watery mouthfeel, grainy tannin, and unbalanced acidity. There's flavors of black cherries, grape juice, chocolate, and vanilla. The finish is the strongest aspect of this wine and my favorite part because it's big in alcohol and the character of the fruit and spice really intensifies. Overall, this is good. It's not something to hate on but also not something to put your devotion on. It's a serviceable Malbec for the price, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Battleship and Submarine Bottle Stoppers???


I am a grown-ass child.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Wine Quickie: Mettler Estate Grown Pinotage 2016


Pinotage was created in a lab in South Africa and it really has remained a South African thing. However, this is a Pinotage out of Lodi, California of all places! And man is it good! For color it's a dark ruby red with vibrant purple edges. It's medium bodied with soft tannin and balanced acidity with notes of black cherry sauce, black coffee, earth, vanilla, and other baking spices. Then it finishes with black cherries and little bitter but it totally belongs with the character of this wine. This is very much a surprise and a sleeper star of Lodi wine. 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Just Brew It, Part One: A brief history of Sake

A brief history of Sake

Sake brings me right back to 2004 when I was 24 years old and played my most memorable EA Sports NHL franchise season ever. I took the Columbus Blue Jackets, made them even worse, played on the hardest setting, sucked hard for a big chunk of the season, barely made it into the playoffs, and won the Cup in seven games in each playoff series... all while drinking Gekkeikan Sake in a mug on the rocks.

That's not how you think a history of Sake article would start, right? Hey. That's how I learned to appreciate Sake, and now I love it. Recently I had one that goes for $450 retail and it was INCREDIBLE. I just got a package from Tippsy, which is basically like a wine club dedicated to premium Sake, containing three Sakes that I'll be reviewing this coming Thursday.

Even though Sake has the "rice wine" nickname due to its final product similarities with wine such as profile and alcohol percentages, technically it's a beer because it's brewed and made from grain, and in this case the grain is rice. Bud Light, which uses a significant amount of rice in its production, actually does have a slight Sake flavor.

Sake runs deep in the culture of Japan and Japan runs deep in the culture of Sake. But it actually didn't originate there and it's certainly not staying there. Sake began in China, the indigenous land of rice. And, in today's world, you might be surprised to buy a bottle of Sake that you assumed was Japanese until you flip the bottle over to find that it was actually made in Oregon.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Wine Quickie: Amalaya Blanco 2018


This refreshing white is 85% Torrontés and 15% Riesling out of Salta, Argentina. It's medium bodied with a silky mouthfeel, vibrant acidity, and features white flowers, peaches, pears, lemon zest, grass, and seasalt. The Torrontés is the clearly the dominant grape in overall profile but the Riesling really rounds it out to make it a very satisfying crowd-pleaser. Thumbs up!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Wine Quickie: Michael David Inkblot Cabernet Franc 2016


I do love me some big sticky Lodi fruit by Michael David. They make "stress relief" wine. Come home from a long, tough day and pop open a bottle of Michael David wine and suddenly everything is just fine. The Inkblot Cab Franc is purple in color. On the nose there's a cloud of very fine black table pepper over aromas of blackberries, tomato leaf, mint, and violets. On the palate it's medium bodied with a rich mouthfeel and dusty tannin. There's flavors of big concentrated blackberries, caramel, chocolate, green peppers, and spices. Good stuff, man. I love it. Plus the label reminds me of Watchmen.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Wine Review: Colomé Auténtico Malbec 2017


Malbec World Day is on the 17th of April and I've got five wines from Argentina to review leading up to the big day. I'll doing full reviews on Colomé wines with their 2018 Estate Torrontés, their 2016 Estate Malbec (which I'm reviewing right now), and their 2017 Auténtico Malbec. And I'll also be doing some quickie reviews of Amalaya wines, starting their 2018 Blanco and ending with their 2017 Malbec on Malbec World Day itself. Both Colomé and Amalaya are owned by Hess Family Wine Estates.

Bodega Colomé is one of the oldest working wineries in Argentina, and home to the highest vineyards in the word (expect for recent plantings in Tibet). Based in the Calchaqui Valley, high in the Salta region of northwestern Argentina, Colomé was established in 1831, with vineyards planted at high elevations on original rootstock imported from Bordeaux. Vines from these historic plantings are still bearing fruit today.

The vineyards for the 2017 Auténtico Malbec are over 100 years old and 7,500 feet above sea level. It's produced using old winemaking techniques and doesn't see any oak at any point. Instead, it's aged for 10 months in stainless steel tanks and then 10 months in the bottle. The ABV is 14.5%

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Wine Quickie: LangeTwins Aglianico Rosé 2018


You all know that I have sexual feelings for Aglianico. Aglianico was shipped over by the Greeks from Turkey to Italy where it found its true home 2,500 years ago. And here is a Rosé made by that same variety out of Lodi, California. And guys, it's beautiful. Strawberry all day with rhubarb, pink grapefruit, cream, and a bright acidity that all comes together to become a wonderful experience. This falls within the lines of a perfect rosé for me, and I'd love to drink it all summer!

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