Sunday, March 31, 2019

Champagne Celebrates Sustainability on Earth Day and Every Day

Press Release by Champagne Bureau, USA


At a time when the global fight against climate change is more urgent than ever, the Champagne region of France remains committed to sustainable development in winemaking. The houses and growers of Champagne are actively engaged in innovative techniques and initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint and mitigate environmental harms related to climate change. With Earth Day around the corner, I wanted to provide you with additional information about sustainability efforts in Champagne.

Global warming is a local reality for Champagne. As you may know, the 2018 harvest season was the fifth vintage beginning in August in the last 15 years. While great for grape yields, bumper harvests also signal a changing climate that winemakers must adapt to.

In 2003, Champagne was the first wine-growing region in the world to conduct a carbon footprint assessment. The resulting carbon plan has enabled the region to reduce the emissions generated by each bottle of Champagne by 20 percent over the last 15 years. Currently, Champagne wineries also treat and reuse 100 percent of their wastewater and treat and recycle 90 percent of their industrial waste.

Champagne’s sustainability goals include lowering its total carbon footprint 75 percent by 2050 and using zero herbicide products by 2025. With 100 percent of Champagne vineyards committed to continuous improvement, these goals are both possible and attainable.

More than 20 percent of the Champagne vineyard has already been environmentally certified, and 15 percent is certified in sustainable viticulture. This number will continue to grow as the region works toward reaching its goal of 100 percent environmental certification by 2030.


Saturday, March 30, 2019

Wine Quickie: Terlato Coli Orientali del Friuli Pinot Grigio 2017

Terlato Pinot Grigio 2017

I'm not all that big on Italian Pinot Grigio but let's say that I'm in a shop looking for one: Friuli is where I would start. Terlato's Coli Orientali is a pale straw yellow in color. There's a nice floral cloud over aromas of pears, honey, and almonds. In the mouth it's rather rich compared to its colleagues, with a little bit of an oily mouthfeel and restrained acidity. There's flavors of pears, lemon, and almonds, with a salivating finish of lemon peel and almonds. A bottle will cost you around $26 and deservedly so. It really is a kick ass, serious Italian PG.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Wine Review: Altaneve "Z" Prosecco Superiore


This is the third of three reviews that I'm doing for Altaneve. I started off with with their Rosé, then their Prosecco Superiore, and now I'm finishing up with the Altaneve Z.

Altaneve prides themselves in being one of the very first top quality Prosecco producers to break on in to the United States. The shelves here are loaded with Prosecco, so much so that nobody even knows how the region keeps up because it statistically shouldn't. But how often do you see one that is a top shelf item? A Prosecco that competes with Champagne or higher-tiered American sparklers? Unless you're shopping in the right spots, it's not often until recently.

Altaneve also prides themselves in the history of Prosecco, which goes back thousands of years. I just wrote an article on Pliny the Elder and he loved the wine from the region, even though it didn't become what we know it to be today until the 20th century. As a huge history nerd, I like it when something embraces its roots. Especially when it's wine.

The Altaneve Z is very limited production wine from 100% Glera that was hand-harvest on a 2000 year-old vineyard in Valdobbiadene, on a small plot below the hamlet of San Pietro di Barbozza on a hill named Localitá Rive Longa. This micro-plot is so small that it can only produce 1,500 bottles per year. The wine sees a seven month second fermentation (carbonation) which is longer than any other Prosecco. It has a 12.2% ABV.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Wine Quickie: CVNE Viña Real Rioja Rosado 2018


When I had the 2015 vintage of this wine back in 2016 I compared it to a strawberry margarita, and that theme continues. Strawberries and lime are the driving force with notes of snapped celery and citrus gum. On the palate it's light bodied with moderate acidity and a rather lackluster finish. It's okay and enjoyable enough, especially if you chill the snot out of it and chug it, but you can do better for the price.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Are consumer wine reviews more accurate than expert reviews?

Vivino
What is a wine expert to the vast majority of wine consumers? I’m talking about your Woodbridge, Barefoot, and Cavit drinkers. The people who would buy the “basic case” from my ‘Liquor stores should have “combo meals”’ blog post a few weeks ago. These people are incredibly important to the wine industry, but what does the opinion of a wine expert mean to them? Not much. 

They’re enjoying themselves drinking the wine that they like and they’re more likely to listen to a friend or another average wine consumer for suggestions than they are to even read a word of what Eric Asimov has to say.

Just a few nights ago I tasted a popular wine that I thought was so terrible that I dumped it down the sink, so I looked up what people said about it on Vivino. It has an average of 4 out of 5, and there are a hell of a lot of everyday people commenting on how much they like it. It actually shocked me. But really, that just speaks to the wine’s popularity. It appeals to the masses. Yet anybody in the business or who has developed their palate would dump it out like I did.

So does that make consumer reviews more accurate for average consumers than expert reviews? I actually think so. I used to not even pay attention to the average ratings on Vivino and Delectable but I’ve come to think of it as a valuable tool. Not for myself, but for gauging how the wine is perceived by the general public. 

More and more I see people walking around the shop using these wine review apps to check out their scores so they can make a purchase decision. I think that’s great. This technology is letting people explore and not be afraid of wine anymore, and what they’re seeing is an honest result of how people feel about that wine. It will only lead to more interest in wine, and in better wine. And us wine experts will be there to show them the good stuff.

What do you think?

Monday, March 25, 2019

Wine Quickie: Beronia Rioja Rosé 2018


I love Spanish rosé and I don't think it's really appreciated as much by consumers as it should be. This one is a blend of Garnacha, which is also known as Grenache and makes the best rosés of France, and Tempranillo. Side note: Tempranillo is probably my favorite grape for rosé. Everything about this wine screams Spring. Flower petals, strawberries, red berries, and cream. Simple and delicious. It's light bodied with a bright, uplifitng acidity, and a tart citrusy finish. This is a rosé that's meant for swinging in a hammock and enjoying the warmer weather. You'll love it.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Wine Review: Altaneve Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore

Altaneve Prosecco Superiore

This is the second of three reviews that I'm doing for Altaneve. I started off with with their Rosé, now I'm on to their Prosecco Superiore, and then I'm finishing up with the Altaneve Z.

Altaneve prides themselves in being one of the very first top quality Prosecco producers to break on in to the United States. The shelves here are loaded with Prosecco, so much so that nobody even knows how the region keeps up because it statistically shouldn't. But how often do you see one that is a top shelf item? A Prosecco that competes with Champagne or higher-tiered American sparklers? Unless you're shopping in the right spots, it's not often until recently.

Altaneve also prides themselves in the history of Prosecco, which goes back thousands of years. I just wrote an article on Pliny the Elder and he loved the wine from the region, even though it didn't become what we know it to be today until the 20th century. As a huge history nerd, I like it when something embraces its roots. Especially when it's wine.

The Prosecco Superiore is 100% Glera from the foothills of Valdobbiadene. It has to be hand selected for harvest because of the steep incline of the vineyards, and the wine sees an extended secondary fermentation (carbonation). It has an 11.5% ABV.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Wine Re-Review: Beronia Rioja Crianza 2015


Back in January I reviewed this wine (click here for the original review) and it was completely out of character and just not good, so it was concluded by myself and Beronia that I had received a faulty bottle. So here is the re-review!

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.

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.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Wine Quickie: Masciarelli Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2016


I've have never actually had this wine and a colleague of mine recently went on and on expressing his love of it so much that I decided to pick up a bottle. I mean, it's a $10 Trebbiano, so at the very least it's going to be a muted easy-downing quaffer. But it turns out this guy was right. There's so much expressive character here. It has explosive apples, lychee, and almonds, with a long lemon finish on a medium body and rich mouthfeel. Delicious. This just became one of my favorite $10 white wines, and I never would have guessed that it could be.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Oh shit! Constellation’s Mondavi Improperly Obtained, Deceptively Use Famed “To Kalon” Designation



Press Release: OAKVILLE, NAPA VALLEY, CALIFORNIA (March 20, 2019) – Perhaps the most prized vineyard designation in American winemaking is Napa Valley’s “To Kalon” (Greek for “the highest beauty’), created by pioneering winemaker H.W. Crabb in the late 19th century.

But the owner of part of the original To Kalon estate says Constellation Brands and its Robert Mondavi Corporation fraudulently obtained a trademark of To Kalon and have for years deceptively marketed it.

In a lawsuit filed today in U.S. District Court in Northern California, The Vineyard House said it must be entitled to fair use of the To Kalon designation.

Constellation owns 188 acres, a fraction of the original 527-acre To Kalon Estate, yet improperly refers to all of its area holdings as “To Kalon,” according to the suit.

The suit also asks that Constellation discontinue the practice of selling wines improperly labeled “To Kalon” that are actually produced from other Constellation properties, to correct misleading information it filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, to conduct an advertising campaign to counteract and correct its false statements to the public, and for unspecified monetary damages.

To Kalon’s Fame and Value

By the end of the 1870s, Crabb transformed what ultimately became a 527-acre estate into one of the most productive wineries in California.  Along with venerated winemakers like Charles Krug and Jacob Schram, Crabb helped transform the Napa Valley into a premier wine region and To Kalon into a national brand.  Crabb established an extensive distribution network that allowed him to ship products to the East Coast and Midwest, helping stimulate demand for Napa Valley wines as early as the 1880s.

In the years since Crabb’s death in 1899, property comprising his estate underwent a series of ownership changes and divisions.  Today, 17 acres of the original To Kalon Estate – land Crabb owned at the time of his death – is owned by The Vineyard House, part of TVH’s total 43-acre parcel in Oakville. TVH’s property clearly dates back to Crabb.

Mondavi and Constellation’s Improper Exclusive Use of To Kalon

To Kalon’s value and mystique continued to grow in the 20th century.  Robert Mondavi acquired much of the historic To Kalon estate in the 1960s and aggressively marketed its connection to the famed property to sell super-premium wines.

In 1987, Mondavi requested and received a trademark for To Kalon from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  While the company had for years labeled its wines “To Kalon”, it claimed the designation had “no current meaning or significance in the wine industry” as support for its exclusive use, even though it had numerous studies to document To Kalon’s enormous value. Mondavi sought exclusive rights to use the vineyard’s name even though it did not own all of the original property and, strikingly, began using “To Kalon” to describe wines produced from other Mondavi properties. Mondavi further marketed the To Kalon connection in the Opus One venture launched with Baron Philippe de Rothschild in 1984.

The lawsuit claims these actions constitute false advertising and false designation of origin as described in federal law and demands that Constellation stop this deceptive practice immediately.

Further, because To Kalon describes a specific geographic place, federal regulations prohibit its exclusive use. TVH must be entitled to fair use.  Constellation’s trademarks, which were improperly obtained, must be cancelled, according to the suit.

Wine Review: Altaneve (Sparkling) Rosé


This is the first of three reviews that I'm going for Altaneve. We're starting off with their Rosé, then going on to their Prosecco Superioire, and finishing up with the Altaneve Z.

Altaneve prides themselves in being one of the very first top quality Prosecco producers to break on in to the United States. The shelves here are loaded with Prosecco, so much so that nobody even knows how the region keeps up because it statistically shouldn't. But how often do you see one that is a top shelf item? A Prosecco that competes with Champagne or higher-tiered American sparklers? Unless you're shopping in the right spots, it's not often until recently.

Altaneve also prides themselves in the history of Prosecco, which goes back thousands of years. I just wrote an article on Pliny the Elder and he loved the wine from the region, even though it didn't become what we know it to be today until the 20th century. As a huge history nerd, I like it when something embraces its roots. Especially when it's wine.

Their Sparkling Rosé is sustainably farmed and made of 70% Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) from the Oltrepò Pavese region in the hills of northwestern Italy, and 30% Glera (the grape used for Prosecco) from the Valdobbiadene hills in northeastern Italy. It has a 12% ABV.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Wine Reviews: Best of Winter 2018/19!

Today is the first day of Spring, so here's the best wines that I reviewed for this Winter season!

#5. Corvezzo Terre di Marca Rosé "Sur lie" Frizzante

Region: Veneto, Italy
Review Release: December 23rd, 2018


I freaking love this. I love its personality. It's so very interesting on the nose and so fun and thirst quenching on the palate. That tart acidity on the finish is just begging for some food, too. Suddenly I really want fish tacos to pair with this. Unfortunately it doesn't look like this is available in United States right now, but it's sold for roughly $13 in the European Union. So I'm running with that. And I'm giving a damn good score.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

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


#4. Emilio Hidalgo Fino Sherry

Region: Jerez, Spain
Review Release: February 1st, 2019 (Wine Pick of the Month)


This is 100% Palamino. The color of the wine is a golden yellow. Caramel leads the charge of aromas, followed by dried apricots, prunes, brown sugar, and almonds. Fantastic nose. On the palate it's a lighter bodied Sherry, as it should be, with a nice salinity to its mouthfeel and bright acidity. There's flavors of apricots, almonds, Greek olives, and yeast. It feels and tastes so good on the finish that there's no rush to take another sip. Which is a good thing because it has a 15% ABV. Take your time and enjoy.

READ THE FULL REVIEW

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $16
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)


Region: Colchagua Valley, Chile
Review Release: January 17th, 2019

The wine is purple in color. On the nose there's aromas of cherries, strawberry jelly, black olives, cinnamon, and burnt toast. The nose is freakin' awesome. In the mouth it's light to medium bodied with a slippery mouthfeel, a pep to its acidity, and sweet tannins. It's got a smokey and savory profile surrounding fruity flavors of cherries and strawberries, and spice flavors of vanilla and cinnamon. Then it finishes savory with flavors of tangy strawberries and gritty leather.

This is absolutely delicious and I couldn't recommend it more for a $20 Grenache blend. The way the savoriness of the midpalate and finish plays with the flavors really make this wine highly enjoyable, and I can't wait to try it with some cheese. With that said, it gets a perfect score in price vs. quality.

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

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



Region: Alentejo, Portugal
Review Release: March 1st, 2019 (Wine Pick of the Month)


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?)


#1. Matchbook Estate Bottled Petite Sirah 2016

Region:  Dunnigan Hills, California
Review Release: January 3rd, 2019


The color of the wine is a gorgeous ruby red. There's aromas of plums, vanilla, black pepper, and bay leaf. On the palate it's medium to full bodied with a rich mouthfeel that becomes a cloud of lushness when swirled around in the mouth. The tannins are both sweet and grippy, and the acidity is present but takes a seat in the back. There's flavors of blackberries, red apple, black pepper, and vanilla. Then it finishes juicy with the tannins tightening their grip.

For $17 this is a freakin' dream, and a run-away perfect score for a $20 Petite Sirah. The Giguiere's did a hell of a job with this one. It's an absolute joy to drink!

READ THE FULL REVIEW / WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $17
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Retsina


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.

Press Release 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 purchased by myself for the purpose of this review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.


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