Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Moscow Mule with SwigSafe


SwigSafe is a tumbler designed to show you your pour so you can safely enjoy your adult beverages and monitor your intake to prevent binge drinking. You can use it for mixing protein shakes and monitoring your daily water intake as well.

It's hard to get a photo of the embossed features on the side, but up along the side are measurements. It counts ounces up to 16. And it also shows you how much one shot of liquor is (1 1/2 ounces) with a picture of a shot, then two, then three. Same with wine; one glass (five ounces) and then two. And of course the same with beer at one glass (12 ounces). I mean, I think that's pretty cool. The shape is nice too, because a crisp and refreshing pilsner in that thing would not look out of place. 

I used mine to make a Moscow Mule. At first I used the measurements on the side to make this exact recipe and then I ended up just dumping the rest of the ginger beer and vodka in there because rules are meant to be broken.

MOSCOW MULE
4 ounces of Ginger Beer
1 1/2 ounces of Vodka
1/6 of an ounce of  Lime Juice

I think it's a neat product to have available, especially for cocktails or just to measure your booze. I personally wouldn't drink wine out of it but hey,  I know plenty of people who would. 



Sunday, December 29, 2019

Vilarnau Brut Reserva Cava


Vilarnau is near the city of Barcelona. They've been making Cava since 1982 but their current vineyards were acquired in 1990 when they moved locations. This is the second of two wines by Vilarnau that I'm reviewing this week: First was their Brut Rosé and now it's their Brut Reserva!

On the nose it's got a pleasant yeasty breadiness with green apples, lemon, vanilla and flowers. It's zippy on the palate with a sharp acidity and flavors of apples, lemon, and yellow pears. It finishes with an increase in floralness and a slight touch of sugar. This isn't a bubbly to sit there and analyze to death. It's fun and delicious, and its affordability makes it perfect for any kind of celebration. New Year's Eve, maybe? HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYBODY!

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $14
Rating: 3/5 = Satisfying (what does that mean?)

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

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Vilarnau Rosé Reserva Cava


Vilarnau is near the city of Barcelona. They've been making Cava since 1982 but their current vineyards were acquired in 1990 when they moved locations. This is the second of two wines by Vilarnau that I'm reviewing this week: First I'm reviewing their Brut Rosé and on Sunday it's their Brut Reserva!

This rosé is 90% Trepat and 10% Pinot Noir. It's salmon in color and on the nose there's aromas of strawberries, lemon, whipped cream, and little bit of peach and toast. It's light and foamy on the palate with a bright acidity and soft tannin. All of the aromas on the nose return on the palate to create quite a delicious sparkling rosé for the price.

I absolutely recommend this to anybody looking to drop $14 on a pink bubbly!

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $14
Rating: 4/5 = 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.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry


Cream Sherry is an Oloroso style Sherry made to be a bit sweater, and I gotta be honest, I've never even thought about ever trying Harveys Bristol Cream. I always just assumed it wasn't all that good. So man was I surprised to find that I actually really like the stuff! For the price it's quite an enjoyable Sherry and now I feel like I've deprived myself of having an affordable and serviceable Sherry all of these years! It's smooth and not too syrupy with a nice acidity that compliments the rest of the profile. There's aromas and flavors of caramel apples, raisins, prunes, and nuts, and it's got a long lasting sweet caramel-ly finish. Someone described this as "the holidays in a bottle" and I have to agree. If you've ignored Harveys like I have, maybe you should give it a shot. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, everybody!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Noe Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Pedro Ximenez Aged 30 Years by González Byass


This Sherry made from sun dried Pedro Ximenez grapes uses the Solera system, so you're talking about many vintages blended into one, and the average age here is 30 years. Let's put that into perspective: In 1989 the Russians pulled out of Afghanistan. Sega Genesis cost $190. Batman changed superhero movies forever by making the film more about the secret identity than the superhero. The Alaskan Exxon Valdez oil spill happened. That famous picture of a protester standing in front of a tank in Beijing's Tiananmen Square was taken. "Look Away" by Chicago was the #1 song. Alright, enough of that. Let's drink some 30 year old Sherry.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Best of Fall 2019!

Today is the first day of Winter so here are the Top 5 wines that I reviewed and rated this Fall!
Deciding on 5 through 3 was not an easy task because I had to choose between six wines that I rated 4.5 in price vs quality!

#5. Masottina Prosecco Treviso Brut

Masottina Prosecco Treviso Brut
Region: Prosecco, Veneto, Italy
Review Release: September 26th, 2019


man, this is some awesome Prosecco for $14. It's got a rather floral nose with white flowers, fruit aromas of  lemon and apples, and a little bit of honey. There's flavors of pears, apple, lemon, and herbs. On the midpalate it's light and crisp and fluttery, but then it goes ahead and finishes creamy as the carbonation froths up in your mouth.

This is probably the best deal for a Prosecco in this price range that I've had in a long time. Elegant yet still fun, bright and happy, and just good quality for the price.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $14
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)


#4. Yalumba "The Y Series" Viognier 2018

Yalumba "The Y Series" Viognier 2018Region: South Australia, Australia
Review Release: November 1st, 2019


The color of the wine is a pale yellow with a greenish hue. There's a lot of honeysuckle and vanilla on the nose, but there's also aromas of apricots, lychee, lemon zest, and menthol. On the palate it's light bodied with a sharp acidity and a bit of an oily mouthfeel. There's flavors of apricot, tart lime, and banana. Then it finishes with a mixed bowl of tropical fruits and a drop of sweetness.

This is fantastic, just a happy wine, and an outstanding deal for $12. And it's even better with food; lobster, baked scallops, chicken piccata, ham, or even hot dogs! You know what? I really think this wine would make an outstanding pair with hot dogs! Let's try it!

READ THE FULL REVIEW WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $12
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)


Bogle Phantom Red 2015Region: California
Review Release: November 24th, 2019

So the color of the wine is freakin' purple. And man, I loooove the nose! There's black cherries, blueberries, chocolate, black licorice, toasty oak, and like a drop of black olive juice. I need to go change my underwear. It's medium bodied with a semi-rich mouthfeel with dusty tannins and moderate acidity. On the midpalate there's flavors of blackberries, black cherries, vanilla, mocha, maple, and a little bit of dirt. There's a savoriness and heat to the long lasting finish, with flavors of blackberries, mocha, and zippy raspberries.

The Phantom Red is one of those popular $20 wines that sells extremely well, especially among casual wine consumers who really don't know know all that much about wine. So it's easy to think that it's just overrated, overpriced, and overproduced. To that thought I say this: There's a lot of Zinfandel characteristics in this wine. I hate Zinfandel. And I think this is killer. 

READ THE FULL REVIEW

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $20
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)



Panthera Russian River Chardonnay 2017Region: Russian River, Sonoma, California
Review Release: December 1st, 2019


It's light gold in color. The nose is dominated by vanilla, followed by pineapple, apple, butter, honey, and ginger. Damn I love the smell of oaky Chardonnay. On the palate it's full bodied with a rich mouthfeel and a bright acidity that lifts up the weight of the wine. There's flavors of vanilla, pineapple, apple, banana, and butter. Then it finishes with a thick coating in your mouth of apples and banana.

I'm still in love with this wine. It's oaky and buttery and hedonistic and gorgeous. And it's my wine pick of the month, so go get it!

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $45
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)


#1. Two Hands Angels' Share Shiraz 2018

Two Hands Angels' Share Shiraz 2018
Region: McLaren Vale, Australia
Review Release: November 3rd, 2019


This is 100% Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia, and oh that color is straight up purple and it's beautiful! And what a wonderful jamminess this wine has! There's aromas of big juicy plums, grape jelly, lavender, vanilla bean, and black table pepper. And there's nothing subtle about any of those. On the palate it's medium bodied with a silky mouthfeel yet a grainy tannin and low acidity. The flavors imitate the nose and are just as big and juicy and expressive, and then it finishes lengthy and boozy and lustly.

Hell friggin yeah. Hell. Friggin. Yeah. I was expecting something with a bit more intricate, something a bit more French Syrahish in style, but this does not hold back from all the Australian Shiraz that it is and was really meant to be... and it's so goddamn good. It punches you right in the face and I love it.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $33
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Terras Gauda Rías Baixas O Rosal 2018


The Terras Gauda winery was founded in the O Rosal Valley, within the territory encompassing the Rías Baixas Denomination of Origin, and their 160 hectares of vineyards are on granite, quartz, clay, and metamorphic schist soil.

This lovely lady that I have for review is 70% Albarino, 20% Caino Blanco, 10% Loureira, and it's got an ABV of 12.5%. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

T.W. Hollister & Co. Oso de Oro Vermouth and cocktails for the holidays!


I don't know about you but I feel like the holiday season is more about cocktails than anything else when it comes to adult beverages, so how about making some cocktails with domestic Vermouth from Santa Barbara, California?

Both of these artisan Vermouths by T.W. Hollister & Co. are excellent! The Red Vermouth is made with 19 botanicals including hummingbird sage, grapefruit peel, blood orange, vanilla bean, and ginger root. The Dry Vermouth is made with 12 botanicals including orange peel, wormwood, chamomile, rosehip, and hyssop.

I just made a basic Vodkatini and a basic Manhattan because that's just how I roll and they both turned out AMAZING! But here's some different cocktail recipes that are perfect for the holiday season:

DE LA CRESTA
1.0 oz - Lime Juice
0.5 oz - Giffard Elderflower Syrup
0.5 oz - Casoni Aperitivo 1814
1.0 oz - TWHc Dry Vermouth
1.0 oz - Hendrick's Midsummer Solstice Gin
Shaken; Garnish with Lime

NUTTY OLD FASHION
2.0 oz - Glyph 85H Whiksey
1.0 oz - TWHc Red Vermouth
1.0 oz - L'Orgeat Almond Liqueur
Stirred

ROSE GOLD NEGRONI
1.0 oz - Hendrick's Midsummer Solstice Gin
1.0 oz - Lo-Fi Gentian Amaro
1.0 oz - TWHc Dry Vermouth
Stirred; Garnish with Lime

Check out the T.W. Hollister & Co. website and see if you can get your hands on these awesome Vermouths!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Pazo Pondal Albariño 2017


Pazo Pondal was founded in 2006 and is dedicated to protecting the environment with sustainability. "Our goal is to ensure that there is minimal risk of the wine’s aromatic and organoleptic properties being altered through exposure of the grapes to certain chemical products. We are seeking to obtain organic grapes in a sustainable and balanced manner, preserving the fertility of the soil and respecting the biodiversity of the environment. Everyone working for us and with us strives to achieve this sustainability objective." Read more about Pazo Pondal by clicking here.

Oh man, do I love Albariño! Maybe it's because I'm from Cape Cod and it goes so well with the local cuisine here. I really don't know anything about this one other than it's from 13 hectares of "Franco sandy and slightly acidic soil", and that it has a 13% ABV. So let's make this one quick and start drinkin'!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Fonseca BIN No. 27 Port


Honestly I love port all year round but it really does pair especially well with the holiday season. Fonseca is most known for their Vintage Port but their BIN 27 is their, for a lack of a better word, "introductory" non-vintage Ruby Port and it's consistently one of the best deals for the category that you can find almost anywhere. It's a deep dark crimson red with a full body, a lush mouthfeel, and a nice balance of sweetness and acidity. There's aromas and flavors of raisins, plums, blackberries, and licorice. Then the long lasting and sweet finish adds a bit of chocolate to the mix. Delicious and a great deal for a $21 port.

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

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Secastilla Viñedos Viejos de Altura Garnacha 2014


This is 100% Garnacha from the Guardia Miranda and Botiquero vineyards in Somontano, Spain. Pre-fermentation maceration lasted three days, and it went through a slow fermentation at 68°F. Then it saw ten months of aging in new French oak.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Night Shift Bennington Oatmeal Stout


Ah yes! More Night Shift! I love these guys and they're considered local to me as I live on Cape Cod and they're out of Everett, MA. Remember to support local, guys! The beer that they call Bennington is an oatmeal stout brewed with Dutch-processed cocoa and maple syrup and if that doesn't make you start drooling then I don't know what the fuck is wrong with you. And yeah, it's pretty goddamn awesome. It's black in color with a mocha brown head. I love all of the roasted malt that this beer has. For flavors the cocoa is really in the drivers seat while the coffee flavor from it being an oatmeal stout is its co-pilot, and the maple syrup is more of a side note that kicks up a bit on the finish and adds a nice thick coating of deliciousness that goes on forever. This is killer beer, my friends.

The can used was purchased by myself with my own money for purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine or beer or liquor reviewed follow this link.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Metz Road Riverview Vineyard Chardonnay


I've been really looking forward to opening this bottle since I got it! Metz Road specilizes in small-lot, single-vineyard Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from their estate Riverview Vineyard in the Salinas Valley of Monterey. To preserve the character of the Riverview Vineyard, they use sustainable farming practices and innovative winemaking techniques including on-site fermentations with wild yeast.

The 2017 Chardonnay is from clones Clone 4, Dijon 96, and Dijon 78. The fruit was hand-picked in the early morning, hand lugged, and gently pressed. Then the juice was placed into new French oak barrels within in a refrigeration unit, making for a long and cool barrel fermentation. After fermentation is complete, the wine is kept on its lees and aged in 100% French oak barrels (92% new) for 14 months and stirred regularly. The final blend comes from the best barrels, and the final ABV is 14.5%

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Mighty Squirrel Brewery Co. Velvet Moon Mocha Stout


My #1 weakness for beer is this: if it's got a space theme then I need to buy it because I'm a science nerd. But when it's a stout? BONUS! A coffee stout or a mocha stout? FUUUUUUUCK YEEEEESSSSS. Another great thing about this beer is that Mighty Squirrel is out of Waltham, Massachusetts, so this is a local beer for me and supporting your local businesses is always important. So it's a good thing that this mocha stout is fucking awesome, right? It's pretty much pitch black in color with a fluffy brown teddy bear colored head. It's malty (just how I like 'em) with aromas and flavors of coffee beans, chocolate milk, vanilla bean, and almonds. Full bodied but with an airy mouthfeel and an acidity that doesn't let those flavors feel too dark. For $12 you get four 16oz cans with a 7% ABV and it's everything that you want out of a mocha stout. This is a killer deal for an awesome beer.

The can used was purchased by myself with my own money for purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine or beer or liquor reviewed follow this link.


Thursday, December 5, 2019

Lion Tamer Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017


We all know that Hess has had that lion on their labels forever, and that's because it's been the family emblem forever. Expanding on that theme, they've started a line called The Lions Head, which is made up of the Panthera Chardonnay (my wine pick of the month), this Lion Tamer Cabernet, and a Lion Tamer Red Blend (which I'm not reviewing).

The 2017 Lion Tamer Cabernet Sauvigon is 81% Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petite Sirah, and 8% Malbec. It's actually called "Lion Tamer" because of that 8% Malbec. The grape has earned the nickname of "Lion Tamer" at Hess because of its ability to tame powerful tannin as a blender. Anyways, it was aged in 33% new French and American oak for 20 months, and it has a 14.6% ABV.

As Hess has found, Malbec has proven to work very well with California Cabernet when you add a splash or two... but Petite Sirah? I loooooove Petite Sirah but generally those Cabs with PS aren't all that varietally correct and just crowd pleasing fruit bombs taking advantage of the Cabernet Sauvignon name (same as when it's added to Pinot Noir). This one? Yeah, the PS is clearly there but I'm not even mad. This is outstanding.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Nomad Outland Whisky


This beautiful bottle is a blend of over 30 Scotch whiskies aged between 5 and 8 years old, which were blended and matured in Sherry butts in Scotland for three years. Then the whisky was shipped to Jerez,  Spain, where it spent one year in Pedro Ximénez Sherry casks before being bottled. And oh man, it is FRIGGIN' AWESOME! There's raisins and honey and pears, a wonderful sweetness from the PX casks, and it's so goddamn smooth going down. This has just become one of my favorite whiskies, and for $32 it's an absolute steal! When this bottle is gone I'm going to have to find a way to get another one.

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

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Panthera Russian River Chardonnay 2017, December Wine Pick


In case you missed my announcement in "Winding Things Down", the blog will be changing in 2020. I'll still be here and I'll still be posting, but I cannot continue to treat it like a second job. I'd like to spontaneously watch a movie with my wife at night without rushing to catch up to my own schedule here, ya know? I need some freedom and my nights back.

So reviews will all be more like the "quickies" I've been writing (which people seem to like more than my full reviews anyways) and I'm not going to try and keep it to certain days of the week that they're released. I'll post when I can, but I'm not going to worry about keeping a pace. Wine Pick of the Month will definitely still be a thing on the first of the month, though.

But this all doesn't start until next year (and maybe not until February, pending discussions on something special). So what's up with December? There's Scotch aged in Sherry casks, two stouts, a Port, another Californian Chardonnay other than this one, two wines from Riax Biax, cocktails with Oso de Doro, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Cream Sherry, and two Cavas for New Year's. Also, we gotta round up the best of the Fall!

My wine pick for the month is the 2017 vintage of Panthera Chardonnay, which is produced by Hess Family Wine Estates. The first vintage of Panthera was the 2016 vintage and I fell in love with it, and it remains the same with the 2017. It's 100% Chardonnay from R.R. and aged in 35% new French oak barrels for 18 months, and it has an ABV of 14.8% (!!!).

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Wine Quickie: The Federalist Bourbon Barrel-Aged Zinfandel 2016


This is the conclusion of five wine quickies that I've done for The Federalist this month, and in the first four I surprised myself by liking them all except one. The final wine is their Bourbon Barrel-Aged Zin from Mendocino County aaaaand.... well.... let's just say I'm really not into Bouron Barrel-Aged wine. Most of it is just garbage thrown in Bourbon casks for a few days so they can slap the Bourbon name on there. That said, I'm not crazy about this one here but I also don't mind it. The Bourbon flavor is there but not overpowering, and six months in those casks have mellowed out the Zinny characteristics. It's medium bodied with a lush mouthfeel, sweet tannins, and an acidity with a bit of a pop. There's aromas and flavors of raspberries, strawberries, tea, and lots of vanilla and caramel. So yeah, it's okay for a Bourbon wine. But I suggest their other Zins much more, though.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Beacon Meadery Raspberry Mead


Raspberry Mead just sounds like something that would go great with Thanksgiving, right? Well, it turns out that it does! And guys, it's pretty damn good.

This Raspberry Mead is by Beacon Meadery out of Setauket, New York. Chris Parles is the meadmaker and head of operations, Justin Feldstein is the marketer and hi-tech digital guy, and they established Beacon together in 2018. Their philosophy is to use the best quality ingredients with the least amount of intervention as possible to allow the fruit and honey to truly express themselves.

And holy smokes these guys do some AWESOME stuff! The Raspberry Mead is full bodied, tart, sweet, and medicinal (don't let that word turn you off). I'm not sure how else to describe the aroma and flavor other than what it actually is, because it literally smells and tastes like raspberries and honey and it's absolutely wonderful. A great pairing with cheese or dessert, or as dessert itself.

Happy Thanksgiving, America!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Wine Quickie: The Federalist Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2016


This is the fourth wine out of five by the Federalist that I'm writing quickies for this month and we've got another winner! The Dry Creek Zin is earthier and spicier than the Lodi. An anise bomb blows up on the nose with other aromas of blackberry, plum, black pepper, and toasty oak. It's medium bodied with a silky smooth mouthfeel, sweet tannins, and moderate acidity. There's flavors of blackberry, plum, blue raspberry, vanilla, black tea, black pepper, and a little bit of dirt. It finishes hot and spicy and juicy. This is a Zinfandel I could hang with all night and, as you probably already know, there's not many of those. FYI: This Zin pairs extremely well with Brie.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Wine Review: Bogle Phantom Red 2015


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

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

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

The 2015 Phantom Red Blend holds the California appellation and is a blend of 44% Petite Sirah, 44% Zinfandel, 10% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. It saw 24 months in 1 and 2 year old American and French oak, and has a 14.5% ABV.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Wine Quickie: The Federalist Lodi Zinfandel 2016

The Federalist Lodi Zinfandel 2016

This is the third of five wines that I'm doing quickies for by The Federalist this month, and as an admitted Zinfandel hater I'm really liking this one. It's purple in color with aromas of plums, strawberry jam, lobster shell, and cinnamon. On the palate it's medium bodied with a fluffy mouthfeel and sweet tannins. There's flavors of plums, raspberries, dark chocolate, and black table pepper. Then it finishes hot with plums and black table pepper. American mythos tells us that George Washington could not tell a lie, and I'm not lying when I say that this is a Zinfandel that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Wine Review: Bogle Phantom Chardonnay 2017


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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

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


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

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Wine Review: Terlato Pinot Grigio 2018


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

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

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

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Wine Quickie: The Federalist Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon 2016


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

Friday, November 15, 2019

Winding Things Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers, guys!


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Wine Review: Castello di Albola Chianti Classico Riserva 2014


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

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

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Wine Quickie: Alois Lageder Terra Alpina Pinot Bianco 2018


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

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Wine Review: Two Hands Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon 2018


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

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

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Saké Quickie: Tozai Living Jewel Junmai


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

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Wine Review: Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2018


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

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

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Wine Quickie: Alois Lageder Terra Alpina Pinot Grigio 2018

Terra Alpina Pinot Grigio 2018

Well, this was a pleasant surprise! I was expecting a bottle of lemon water but I ended up really enjoying this Pinot Grigio, and the bride liked it even more than I did. It's straw yellow in color with white flowers, green apples, pears, and ginger. Medium bodied with a silky mouthfeel for a Pinot Grigio and a nicely balanced acidity. I'm adding this one to my favorite Pinot Grigios under $20 (it'll cost you $16) and that list is not very long!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Wine Review: Two Hands Angels' Share Shiraz 2018

Two Hands Angels' Share Shiraz 2018

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

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

Friday, November 1, 2019

November Wine Pick: Yalumba "The Y Series" Viognier 2018


November is looking like another busy month! For full reviews I've got three wines by Two Hands out of Australia, a Chianti Classico, and two wines by Bogle's Phantom line. Scheduled for quickies are two white wines by Italy's Terra Alpina and five reds by California's Federalist. Oh, and I've got a raspberry mead for Thanksgiving! RASPBERRY MEAD! Pretty cool!

With a lot going on last month, including the passing of a friend and a stretch where I was not feeling well at all, I was unable to write an article or pull off Wine Bloggers Off-Topic for October but I'm going to try my damndest to get that out this month.

Yalumba is a winery in South Australia that is constantly winning awards for a wide variety of its wines, and my Wine Pick of the Month is the next vintage of their Viognier coming off of an impressive Wine Spectator Top 100 performance. What is Viognier? Well, it's a white varietal believed to have originated in Greece (although it's not there anymore) and barely hung on to survival in Rhone Valley, France, for most of its existence. Recently it's found a surge of success in Australia and California, and I swear it's absolutely the best wine with lobster.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Happy 100th birthday, Nino Franco Prosecco!


Tonight we're celebrating Nino Franco's 100th birthday and tomorrow we'll also be celebrating not just Halloween but my wife's 100th birthday! Alright... she's not quite 100 yet but that's what I tell my kids because it's HILARIOUS.

Nino Franco has been one of my favorite Proseccos for, oh jeez, about a decade or so and I've been so happy to have a great relationship with them on the blog for awhile now. But being asked to celebrate their birthday by sharing a birthday cake with other fans all across the globe? That is super awesome.

This cake was made by We Take the Cake and the ginger frosting goes amazingly well with the Prosecco. Like, perfectly well.

Nino Franco Rustico is 100% Glera from Valdibbiadenne with an 11% ABV. It's a bright straw yellow with notes of pears, apple crisp, and lemon peel. It's perfectly balanced in its acidity and sugar, and just one of the best deals in Prosecco that you can get for $20. These guys consistently produce a go-to of mine, and I'm very happy to say...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NINO FRANCO!!!

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