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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