Sunday, March 17, 2019

Heroes of Wine: Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE)

Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE)
Pliny the Elder has been mentioned more times on this blog than anybody else. I even made a meme about him. So when it was time for me to finally get back to writing monthly articles on the blog, it was a no-brainer that a biography on this guy would be the perfect return into the swing of things.

Pliny's entrance into this world is not well documented. Historians have pieced it together through fragments of secondary sources. He could have born Gaius Plinius Secundus, the son of equestrian Gaius Plinius Celer and his wife Marcella (Equestrians were the middle-ranking nobility in ancient Rome). He could have been born in Verona, Italy. The evidence is much more solid that he was born 140 miles away in Como, however. We can assume his birth year was 23 CE because his nephew, Pliny the Younger, mentioned his age when he died tragically in 79 CE. Do we all know our uncle's exact age? Hell no!
"The only certainty is that nothing is certain." - Pliny the Elder
Although nearly all of his works have been lost, Pliny still made sure that future generations would know about him. Sadly, no contemporary description, sculpture, or image of him survives, so we don't actually know anything about his appearance. He wasn't one of the most prolific of the great Roman authors, but he is a key part of our understanding for life as a Roman of his time. Also, the man loved wine and beer and wrote about the making and consumption of both.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Wine Quickie: Crux Russian River GSM 2014


Crux is a small winery that focuses on small lots of Rhone varietals within Russian River Valley. Their GSM is 58% Grenache, 22% Mourvedre, 18% Syrah, and 2% Petite Sirah. It's garnet in color with aromas of raspberries, prunes, anise, and black table pepper. On the palate it's medium bodied with a sweet-ish fruit forward profile of raspberry sauce, cherry cola, vanilla, and tobacco. It's a bigger and juicier GSM than I expected, but you can hand it to me with some BBQ any day of the week. Yum! Thank you to Lin (@boozychef) for the hook up!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Millennial Vintners to Watch in 2019

For some reason Millennials get a lot of crap. But guess what? The most misunderstood and statistically hardest working generation is now making your favorite wines. Benziger, Cline, Wente, Trefethen, Terlato, Jackson, and more. Take a few minutes to meet these young game changers.

Guest Post by The Wine Institute

SAN FRANCISCO — In 2019, millennials, ages 23-38, will number 73 million people, surpassing Baby Boomers to become America’s largest generation. These consumers, distinguished by their openness to trying new and unusual wines, are naturally of great interest to California wineries. Because millennials are known to value the advice of their peers, what better place to look for opinions and wine recommendations than their own generation of vintners?

With millennials playing a role in U.S. wine sales, Wine Institute has identified several inventive young vintners who are taking the reins of their families’ multi-generational wineries. The following “Millennial Vintners to Watch for 2019” are just a handful of the many leaders bringing new ideas and innovations to their family businesses to help them thrive long into the future.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Product Review: ZOS "Halo" Wine Preserver

ZOS (Zero Oxygen Solutions)  "Halo" Wine Preserver

(This review is a quick one by request of ZOS on behalf of my Instagram followers)

The ZOS (Zero Oxygen Solutions) Halo preserves wine by absorbing oxygen. All you've got to do is install batteries and plop it in to your bottle neck. The top lights up to let you know it's working and turns back off after a few seconds, and it even senses movement so all you have to do is move or tap the bottle and it'll light back up so you can make sure that it's still working.

The day that I got this in the mail just so happened to be the day that I wrote my post for Wine Pick of the Month, so I took that bottle and used it for this review. That was February 19th and I'm writing this on March 12th, so it's been plugged up for exactly three weeks today.

And it worked! The wine is still drinking great! This was only three weeks and they claim it will go for months, and I believe them. The most difficult thing about this product is opening the box. Seriously, it wasn't easy. I almost gave up reviewing it at all. ;)

PURCHASE THE ZOS HALO HERE!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Wine Quickie: The Black Dog Cabernet Sauvignon 2015


The fruit for this Cabernet comes from Alexander Valley in California, but they're shipped across country to Boston where Boston Winery does the winemaking. It's a gorgeous cherry red and features a lot of cherry on the nose and palate, along with chocolate and caramel and pepper. It's a lighter bodied Cabernet with soft but sweet tannin and nicely balanced acidity. This is an easily approachable wine that will please everybody for the $13 price point, and it surprises me how much I enjoy its simplicity and easy-going character every time I have it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Liquor stores should have "combo meals"

There's always popular combinations of items that you see while working in a liquor store, and I propose something that will change the industry FOREVER! Why not have combos like fast food chains? For example: a #1 at Wendy's is a Dave's Single cheeseburger with fries and a soda, and a #6 is a spicy chicken sandwich with fries and a soda. Why can't this be used for booze and it's partners in purchase?

Picture a board right above the counter just like McDonald's. #1 is four Fireball or Smirnoff 100 Proof Root Beer nips, a pack of Parliaments, and a $2 scratch ticket. #2 is two 40oz bottles of Malt Liquor from a selection of a few brands, a bag of chips or a chocolate bar, and of course a $2 scratch ticket.

You can even have names for specials. The "On a Boat" summer special is a case of Heineken or Amstel or Michelob Ultra, a sleeve of Fireball, and four bags of ice. The "Menthol March Madness" St. Patrick's Day special is six chilled Dr. McGillicuddy nips, a pack of Newport 100's, and Tic-Tac's. 

Wine would work too! "Good evening, I would like to purchase a 'Basic Case', please!"

What is this 'Basic Case'? That would be 3 bottles of Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay, 3 bottles of Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, 3 bottles of Josh Cabernet, and 3 bottles of Mark West Pinot Noir. "Could I substitute the Oyster Bay with Kim Crawford?" Of course you can, lady. But just like when you want the meat sauce instead of the marinara, it's gonna cost you extra.

I'm tellin' ya. This is the future. And I'm giving it out for free like Nikola Tesla. You're welcome.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Wine Expert Gabriel Geller shares his top wine picks for Passover

Guest Post by Vicki Garfinkel, VICKIGJ PR.

Bayonne, NJ, MARCH 11, 2019 – Wine is essential to Passover, when Jewish people around the world gather with family and friends to recount the story of the Exodus from Egypt and share a festive meal. It is customary for all (adults) to drink four cups of wine at the Seder. That’s a lot of wine for one meal!

This year Passover begins on the night of April 19, which is somewhat later than usual.  But it’s great news for wine lovers, according to Royal Wine’s PR Director, Gabriel Geller. In the runup to Passover 2019, Geller recommends new bottlings to explore for the “Feast of Freedom” – the commemoration of the redemption of the Jewish people, some 3,500 years ago, from centuries of slavery in Egypt. His suggestions pair exceptionally well at the Seder table or any other special occasion, and run the gamut of varieties and price points.


Wine Quickie: Monte Velho Tinto 2015

Monte Velho Tinto 2015

It's been awhile since I've had this inexpensive gem from Alentejo, Portugal. It's 40% Aragonez (Tempranillo), 35% Trincadeira (Tinta Amarela), 20% Touriga Nacional, and 5% Syrah. The color of the wine is ruby red. On the palate it's medium bodied with soft tannin and a nicely balanced acidity. It features blueberries, black cherries, cranberries, earth, and caramel. It finishes with cranberries, black pepper, and far more silky smooth than it should for $8. It's still one hell of a deal.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Book Review: Root Cause by Steven Laine

Author Steven Laine is a native of Ontario, Canada, and he built his career in the luxury hotel business. But it wasn't until he was working in London that his love of wine was discovered. From there he's been to vineyards and wineries all over the world. This is his third novel, but his first rooted on his love of wine.
"Like music, wine is infinite in its variety and manifestations. It plays a central role in history, is global, ubiquitous, and appeals to a myriad of tastes."
The main character is Corvina Guerra, a flying winemaker who works for a large conglomerate. She's the daughter of a Spanish mother and an Italian father, who is a winemaker and vineyard owner in Piedmont, Italy. It should be pointed out that Corvina is an Italian grape variety (although mostly planted in Veneto, which is eastern Italy, instead of Piedmont, which is western Italy). Her cheating husband has left her. She's obsessed with scarves. At first I was like “what is up with this chick and her scarves?” but it honesty didn't take long for me to find it endearing and legitimately wanted to know what pattern and colors her scarf had that day. She's a lovable and sympathetic character that plays both the "straight-man" and emotional role very well when needed.

Bryan Lawless is a wine blogger that was kicked out of Master of Wine contention for sleeping with one of the judges, and he spends his days exposing the uglier side of the industry. When we first meet him, he's purposefully breaking a bottle at a wine auction to prove that it's counterfeit. And we really get to see the cunning and observance of his character when he sits in a restaurant and points out to the manager how his staff is taking advantage of him and the business. Corvina is going to need his problem solving skills and his redemption desperation.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Wine Quickie: Crux Winery Russian River SBV 2015


Crux is a small winery that focuses on small lots of Rhone varietals within Russian River Valley, but they also produce Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc. The 2015 SBV is 85% Sauvignon Blanc and 15% Viognier. It's unfiltered but you would never guess by looking at it. There's aromas and flavors of pear juice, passion fruit, concrete, and a little funky earthiness. It's full bodied with a slightly oily mouthfeel and a beautiful acidity that lightens up the finish. This is an AWESOME white for $26. Thank you to Lin (@boozychef) for the hook up!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Wine Review: Rocca di Montemassi Le Focaie 2016

Rocca di Montemassi Le Focaie 2016

In 1999, continuing their company’s expansion in Tuscany, the Zonin family acquired this 430-hectare property in the Maremma, of which 180 hectares are planted with vines. The lordly mansion has been restored to its ancient splendour, the little lake - inhabited by splendid swans – is a mirror for Venus, the Museum of Rural Civilization, unique of its kind in the Maremma, has found its “home” in a wing of the property whose original architecture has been restored and made extraordinarily efficient. - RoccaDiMontemassi.it

Le Focaie is an introductory level wine by Rocca di Montemassi out of Meremma, Tuscany. It's 90% Sangiovese and 10% of other varieties on the estate that aren't specified. But it could Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and/or Merlot, as those are the other red varieties planted there. The wine spent twelve months aging in oak, and that's all I really know about it. Other than it has an ABV of 13%.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Wine Quickie: Domaine Harlaftis Nemea 2012


I'm in the mood for something completely different so I picked up this red from Nemea, Greece. It's 100% Agiorgitiko, an indigenous Greek varietal. On the palate it's medium bodied with an uplifting acidity, and tannin that feels like it was stronger when it was younger but now softening with age. There's a lot of earth, dried herbs, and chocolate with fruits of raisin and plum. It's pairing so good with this triple cream brie, and would be even better with wild mushroom brie. This is a solid bottle of wine for $13, and I'm happy with the purchase and my "something different" experience.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Car Salesman *slaps Robert Parker*

Hail to the king, baby!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Wine Quickie: Aerena Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Aerena Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Blackbird is one of my favorite wineries that I can't afford to buy and they tend to focus on Bordeaux blends out of Napa Valley. Aerena is their new more affordable label, and with it they're making varietals for the very first time. This is a Cabernet that goes the black fruit route with black cherries, blackberries, sweet tobacco, lavender, and black pepper. It's medium bodied with soft tannin and a salivating acidity that doesn't take over too much, and it finishes long with flavors of black cherries, tobacco, and caramel. For $28 it may be a bit overpriced but it is pretty darn delicious.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Wine Review: Masseria Altemura Sasseo Primitivo Salento 2015


In the 4th century B.C., the history of Masseria Altemura began with the construction of the Santa Susana Tower. Masseria Altemura, similar to other masserias, was a fortified farmhouse in Puglia that served the purpose of protecting the land and its resources from foreign invaders. In 2000, the Zonin family acquired the property and restored it to its original splendor. The family has gone to great lengths to preserve the estate's underground river, century old olive groves and the region's winemaking traditions for future generations. - ZoninUSA.com

Puglia is the heel of the boot, and Masserea Altemura is smack-dab right in the middle of the high heel. On reddish soil with chunks of limestone and at 230 feet above sea level, their 370 acres of vineyards enjoy a Maritime climate with warm days, cool nights, and northerly winds.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Wine Quickie: Mark Herold Flux 2015


SPLAT! This is a GSM from California with 77% Grenache, 13% Mourvédre, and 10% Syrah. The Grenache is dominant with a purple color and the main profile of strawberries, black cherries, orange rind, and graphite. But the Mourvédre is not to be denied for providing an earthiness and backbone, while the Syrah fleshes things out. I fucking love it, and for $23 it's an excellent deal.

Friday, March 1, 2019

March Wine Pick: Casa Agricola Santos Jorge Herdade dos Machados Reserva 2012

Casa Agricola Santos Jorge Herdade dos Machados Reserva 2012

My wine pick this month is the current vintage of one of my favorite wines of all time. I've been loving this stuff since the 2007 vintage and now we're up to the 2012 (for what’s at least available in Massachusetts). I'm tellin' ya, I could just smell this stuff all night and be content. It really has one of those noses. And I'm not crazy, because every regular customer that I've sold it to agrees. This is awesome juice.

With its vineyards planted in the late 1800's, Herdade dos Machados is one of the oldest privately owned wineries in the southern Portugal region of Alentejo, where half of the countries cork trees are located. Their 2012 Reserva is a red blend from the native grapes of Aragonez (AKA Tempranillo), Trincadeira, Alfrocheiro and Castelao.

The wine is a dark and inky ruby red in color. The nose is stellar with aromas of black cherries, rose pedals, cloves, vanilla and cracked pepper. True to previous vintages, it’s bold and hedonistic in the mouth with big dark fruit, rosemary and cedar. The tannin is soft but the ethanol shows its strength on the minty, cleansing finish.

Outstanding. Just outstanding. Pair with beef stew, pot roast, or barbecue.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $16
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Clearance Wine Quickie: Toasted Head Merlot 2015

Toasted Head Merlot 2015

Flashback February on the blog still has one more day left to go but this was marked down to a ridiculous price so I figured why not?  Cherry in color with aromas of plums, blackberries, vanilla, and cocoa powder. On the palate it's sweet and flabby with flavors of plums, cherry syrup, and pencil. Blah. Toasted Head is very clearly not owned by the Giguiere's anymore (who sold it and created Matchbook, which I love). If I wanted some sugar berry wine of jug quality I'd take CR Fortissimo over this Merlot every day of the week.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Clearance Wine Quickie: Wither Hills Rosé of Pinot Noir 2016

Wither Hills Rosé of Pinot Noir 2016

Flashback February is still in full swing on the blog but with the Rosé 2018 vintage presells really heating up as spring inches closer, I nabbed this little gem from two vintages ago off the clearance rack. It's a beautiful watermelon color with aromas of cantaloupe, strawberry, and white pepper. On the palate it's like sucking on strawberry and watermelon Jolly Ranchers with a dash of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon. Yum yum! It's still drinking AWESOME and I suggest picking it up yourself if you come across it.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Valentine's Wine Review: Castello del Poggio Sweet Rosé

Castello del Poggio Sweet Rosé

Here's a wine that's nice and sweet just like your Valentine... me. Smooches! And I'm putting it out there with plenty of time for you to go out and pick one up for yourself before the actual day.

This is a rosé with a little frizzante sparkle made from Muscat and Pinot Noir out of Acqui in Piedmont, Italy. It has a 7% ABV and that's all I really know about it. But that's okay because this is clearly a wine that is meant for some fun and shouldn't really be taken seriously. Put your snobbery aside, lover.

With this review I do have some "romantic" cocktail recipes that you can make with this wine, too.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Joey Casco is #12 on The Sommeliers Choice Awards "Top Wine Influencers In 2019 You Need to Pay Attention To"

I had been planning on, starting in March, upping my game and rededicating my efforts to bring you the content that you expect from me on the blog and social media, after a rough 2018 where I could only really afford the time to just get by with consistent but rushed content and limited social media interaction.

So this feels good. This feels really good. :)
Onward with 2019! I'm really looking forward to it!

Friday, February 1, 2019

It's Flashback February!


For the third year in a row it's time to take a step back and give some attention to the past. A different article from yesteryear will be featured every day on the blog and on social media. And a different meme will be featured sometime in the morning or afternoon just on social media. It's actually quite a busy month for one that is intended to be a break from writing. Huh. I should rethink this annual event.

February Wine Pick: Emilio Hidalgo Fino Sherry


It's February again and that means I've got a fortified wine to warm you up in between the shovelings! And this year I'm going with a Fino Sherry!

Sherry just isn't for cooking. You should be drinking it more than you cook with it because it really is delicious when you buy a good one and not one of those sodium overdose cooking sherries. Sherry has a very specific oxidized and saline profile. Fino is a specific kind of Sherry that spends time in the barrel under a layer of yeast called the flor, which lends its unique character.  A little bit about the winery: Bodegas Emilio Hidalgo was founded in 1874 and is currently run by its fifth generation of Hidalgo's.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wine Review: Vinas del Vero Secastilla Garnacha 2010


The Guardia Miranda and Botiguero vineyards that the fruit for this wine comes from are in the Secastilla Valley, in the north-eastern part of the north-eastern Spanish wine region of Somontano. They have a Mediterranean microclimate, are planted with old vine Garnacha more than 2,2000 feet above sealevel, and see lots of sunlight. Vinas del Vero, the winery who produced the wine, was founded in 1986 and is considered  one of Somontano's best producers.

Their Secastilla Garnacha 2010 is 100% Garnacha from "very old vines", and the fruit has to go through two selections after harvest to make the cut. The must is macerated for fifteen days below 77°, emptied into vats for fermentation, and then put into French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. It remains in the oak for ten months of aging. The ABV is 14%.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Clearance Wine Quickie: Cecchi La Mora Morellino di Scansano 2013


90% Sangiovese with the remainder all native Tuscan varietals. Lots of cherry on the nose with strawberry licorice and hot cinnamon. On the palate it's light bodied with tart acidity and soft tannin. The flavors are fruit forward with lots of cherry and blueberry, backed up with clay and a little olive. Hey, it's okay. I'm happy with it for the discount.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Wine Review: Beronia Rioja Reserva 2013

Beronia Rioja Reserva 2013

Beronia is named after the ancient Celtic tribe called the Berones that inhabited the land that is now La Rioja in the 3rd century BC. The Beronia winery, however, was established in 1973 CE by a group of Bosque businessmen and founders of a gastronomy society who visited Rioja and decided they wanted to make wine there.

On Thursday I reviewed the 2015 Crianza and today it's the 2013 Reserva.

The 2013 Rioja Reserva is 87% Tempranillo and 3% Graciano, just like the 2012 vintage that I reviewed in December of 2017. The grapes are hand selected from their oldest vineyards and undergo a slow fermentation in temperature controlled vats with periodic pumping over. It sees twenty months of aging in barrels of American oak staves and French oak tops, and eighteen months of bottle aging. The ABV is 14%.


Saturday, January 26, 2019

Clearance Wine Quickie: Into Zinfandel 2014

Into Zin Zinfandel 2014

I'm not a fan of Zinfandel overall but there are some Zins that I do like, so I'm open to at least trying different Zins... with caution. I decided to give this one a shot at a clearance price on the recommendation of a fellow employee. It's a darker cherry color. Chocolate and sweet spices are on the front of the nose, followed by jammy blackberries. It's medium bodied with soft tannin and moderate acidity. There's flavors of blackberries, prunes, chocolate, and leather. Then it's got a sweet finish of prunes and chocolate. You know what? I don't love it but I actually don't mind it. 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Wine Review: Beronia Rioja Crianza 2015


Beronia is named after the ancient Celtic tribe called the Berones that inhabited the land that is now La Rioja in the 3rd century BC. The Beronia winery, however, was established in 1973 CE by a group of Bosque businessmen and founders of a gastronomy society who visited Rioja and decided they wanted to make wine there.

Today I'm reviewing the 2015 Crianza and then on Sunday it's the 2013 Reserva.

The 2015 Rioja Crianza is 88% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, and 2% Mazuelo, so there's some percentage differences than the 2014 vintage that I reviewed in December of 2017. After being harvested the grapes undergo a few days of cold maceration, and then fermented at low temperature with periodic pumping. It sees twelve months of aging in barrels of American oak staves and French oak tops, then three months of bottle aging. it has a 13.5% ABV.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Wine Quickie: J. Lohr Wildflower Valdiguié 2016

J. Lohr Wildflower Valdiguié 2016

Before 1980 they used to think that Valdiguié was the same grape as Gamay from Beaujolais (France), so they used to also call it Napa Gamay or Gamay 15. But it's really the same grape as Gros Auxerrois from Languedoc-Roussillon (France). This Valdiguié from Monterey, California is magenta in color and light bodied. Notes of raspberries, pomegranate, lilac, and baking spices. The confusion of Valdiguié's origin is easy to see here, because it is pretty similar to a Beaujolais. For a $10 wine it's serviceable and fun. Serve slightly chilled.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

The time my dog got drunk on Pinot Gris


Today was supposed to be the day that my monthly long-read articles return to the website. But something terrible happened the week that I planned to sit down and delve deep into history so I could deliver you a steaming bowl of wine geekery. There was no way I could bring myself to do it.

My dog Sunny, who has been in countless of my YouTube videos, was declining from gastric cancer. At 15 years old, he couldn't hear well, see well, and he was basically a senile old man that slept most of the day. Then he got sick and things got worse. It was decided that we had to put him down.

We waited two days so the kids had enough time to register what was going on and say goodbye to him. It was devastating. He was the staple of our family. Our first child. He's even the reason why my wife and I moved in together because she bought him on a whim and had no place to keep him. So if it wasn't for Sunny, there might not be a Lillian and a Daisy.

This being a wine blog, I do have a wine story to tell about the little rascal. During the summer of 2012, I sat down during the middle of the day to write a thing about Big Fire Pinot Gris for work. I poured myself a big ol' glass and then I suddenly got a phone call from a friend I hadn't heard from in awhile. Chatting away, I stood up and went outside and walked around the yard for awhile. After the phone call was over, I went back in.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Wine Review: Ventisquero "Grey" Glacier Garnacha Cariñena Mataro 2017

Ventisquero "Grey" Glacier Garnacha Cariñena Mataro 2017


This is a blend of 62% Garnacha, 19% Cariñena, and 19% Mataro. You may know Garnacha as Grenache, Cariñena as Carignan, and Mataro as Mourvédre. All three are from the same Block 28 vineyard plot on a hill in La Robleria, Apalta in Colchagua Valley, Chile. They were all harvested at different times, however, because of the ripening stages of each variety. Only 50% of the grapes passed the inspection to make it into the crush, and then went into pre-fermentative maceration for 3 to 5 days in small open 400-kilo containers. After that it's fermented at a low temperature, then sees a post-fermentative maceration for 1 to 2 weeks before 100% of it goes into extra-fine fifth use French oak barrels for for 6 months, and then 1 month in the bottle. The final ABV is 14%.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Wine Review: Ventisquero "Grey" Glacier Carménère 2014


Back in February of 2016 I reviewed the vintage before this one, the 2013 vintage. It's quite an amusing review if I do say so myself, featuring a little history about Carménère and my opinion of it. I've actually reviewed four wine by Ventisquero on this blog before, so click here if you want to see all of them. This coming Thursday I'll also be reviewing the 2017 Garnacha Carinena Mataro blend.

The 2014 Carménère is 100% Carménère from their Trinidad Vineyard in Maipo Valley. Only 50% of the grapes are ground, and a pre-fermentative maceration is made at about 8° for 5 days, when the temperature starts to rise, fermenting between 22 to 25°C. After about 32 days, it's transferred directly into French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation and 18 months of aging. 34% of the oak is new, and 66% is of second or third year. Then it spends 8 months in the bottle before being released. The ABV is 14%.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Clearance Wine Quickie: La Braccesca Sabazio Rosso di Montepulciano 2012

La Braccesca Sabazio Rosso di Montepulciano 2012

Yet another one off the clearance shelf! Can you tell that somebody is trying to move old, slow-moving product? This is 80% Prugnolo Gentile (AKA Sangiovese), 10% Merlot, and 5% Canaiolo Nero. The nose is outstanding with floral notes, blackberries, chocolate, and popcorn. It's light to medium bodied with dusty tannin and some bright acidity that isn't too tart. There's flavors of cherries, Fruit Roll-up, and spices. It's very much fruit forward and candy-ish but also very dry. This is a solid bottle of wine for the regular price and it's still holding up nicely after six years.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Wine Review: Chasing Venus Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018


Matchbook Wine Company is back yet again on the blog, and this is wine #4 of 4 that I'm reviewing for this go-around. The Arsonist Red Blend 2016 was my January Wine Pick, I've already reviewed Matchbook Estate Bottled Petite Sirah 2016 and Tinto Rey Verdejo 2017 and now I'm concluding with Chasing Venus Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018.

To learn more about Matchbook Wine Company, one of my favorite wineries, you can read all about their great story in my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

Chasing Venus is named after the mission given to the astronomers that traveled with Captain Cook in 1769 to study Venus while he explored the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere, where he discovered New Zealand and Australia. By tracking where Venus was in the sky in these areas during different times, they were able to calculate how far away the Sun is from Earth for the very first time.

58% of the 2018 vintage is from their McLean vineyard while 42% is from their Comely Bank vineyard, and it has a 13% ABV. Back in July of 2015 I reviewed the 2016 vintage and in May of 2018 I reviewed the 2017 vintage.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Clearance Wine Quickie: Domaine La Bouvaude Côtes du Rhône Villages Rousset les Vignes Classique 2012


Another pluck off the clearance shelf, and this time it's out of Rhone. 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Mourvédre. It has a nice nose of stewed plums, vanilla, mint chocolate, and fine black table pepper. I love the nose. On the palate it's lighter bodied with moderate acidity and some remaining chalky tannin. There's flavors of strawberries, raisins, and spice. It's clearly already started down the road of decline as you can tell that it's flattening out on the palate, but for the discount I'm not complaining.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Clearance Wine Quickie: Chateau de Fontenille Grand Bordeaux 2014


This was the last remaining bottle of this wine from a wine shop clearance shelf. It's a 2014 Bordeaux made from 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose there's aromas of cherries, blackberries, licorice, and vanilla. On the palate it's light bodied with surprisingly high acidity and a softened tannin from age. It has a dark-fruit fruit-forward flavor profile with plums and blackberries at the forefront, and earth and tobacco in the background. Not a bad clearance pick up. I'm happy with it.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Wine Review: Tinto Rey Verdejo 2017

Tinto Rey Verdejo 2017

Matchbook Wine Company is back yet again on the blog, and this is wine #3 of 4 that I'm reviewing for this go-around. The Arsonist Red Blend 2016 was my January Wine Pick, I've already reviewed Matchbook Estate Bottled Petite Sirah 2016, now I'm on Tinto Rey Verdejo 2017 before I conclude with Chasing Venus Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018.

Tinto Rey is Matchbook Wine Company's brand that focuses on Spanish varietals and Spanish style wines. To learn more about Matchbook, one of my favorite wineries, you can read all about their great story in my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

The Tinto Rey Verdejo 2017 is 89% Verdejo (from a half-acre vineyard at the entrance of Matchbook's winery that was planted in 2012) and 11% Chardonnay. It was hand harvested, stainless steel and barrel fermented, saw five months of aging on the lees in neutral French oak, and has an ABV of 12.%. I reviewed the Tinto Rey Verdejo 2015 back in 2016, and that one was 100% Verdejo will all of it being barrel fermented.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Wine Review: Matchbook Estate Bottled Petite Sirah 2016

Matchbook Estate Bottled Petite Sirah 2016

Matchbook Wine Company is back yet again on the blog, and this is wine #2 of 4 that I'm reviewing for this go-around. The Arsonist Red Blend 2016 was my January Wine Pick, now I'm reviewing Matchbook Estate Bottled Petite Sirah 2016, then I'll review Tinto Rey Verdejo 2017 and Chasing Venus Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018

To learn more about Matchbook Wine Company, one of my favorite wineries, you can read all about their great story in my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

The Estate Bottled Petite Sirah 2016 is their very first Estate Bottled Petite Sirah. It's 77% Petite Sirah, 17% Syrah, and 6% Tannat. Just twenty minutes after harvest, the grapes were gently crushed and then put in small temperature controlled stainless steel tanks to ferment. They pumped the tanks over twice a day until nearly dry, then pressed and aged the wine in a variety of French, Hungarian and American oak barrels for 16 months. Barrel lots were selected for their robust structure and intense flavor.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

January Wine Pick: The Arsonist Red Blend 2016


The Arsonist is made by Matchbook Wine Company, one of my favorite wineries, and you can read all about their great story in my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company". The Arsonist Red Blend is my January Wine Pick, and I've got a few more Matchbook wines coming up after that to review.

The Arsonist Red Blend 2016 is 52% Petit Verdot, 26% Malbec, and 22% Cabernet Sauvignon out of Dunnigan Hills, California. I reviewed the 2012 vintage for the website back in 2015, I got to taste the 2013 and 2014 vintages but it was off of the site, and I reviewed the 2015 vintage for the site in 2017. Since the 2013 vintage it's been one of those wines that everybody loves once they try it. And today I'm making the 2016 vintage my wine pick of the month for January of 2019.

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