Thursday, July 18, 2019

Wine Review: Left Coast Cellars Rosé 2018


I've done plenty of reviews of Left Coast Cellars' wines over the years, and you can read them all by clicking hereThis winery is out of Willamette Valley, Oregon and was founded in 2003. With 350 acres of land and 130 acres of vineyards, they use sustainable viticulture to produce only estate-grown wine. They're LIVE Certified Sustainable, Salmon Safe Certified, and are one of fourteen wineries to complete the Oregon Environmental Council's Carbon Reduction Challenge. All of the power for the guest cottages, the front gate, and the vineyard irrigation is run by solar power, and use a big chunk of their land for their Oak Savanna Restoration Project. They are very environmentally conscious.

This time around I've got some of the brand new vintages just released in 2019! There's a quickie of the 2018 White Pinot Noir, a full review of the 2018 Rosé, a quickie of the 2017 Pinot Gris, and a full review of the 2018 Queen Bee Bubbly. (Hopefully I remember to update those links as they're published)

The 2018 Rosé is 76% Pinot Noir and 24% Pinot Meunier from sustainably farmed vineyards in Willamette Valley. What really makes this interesting rosé and different is that it was barrel fermented and aged for oak for six months in 100% French oak. Not something you see everyday, right? The final ABV is 13.7%, so it's a hell of a dry one.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Video Unboxing: Forbidden Geek Horror Comics Mystery Box #1


I grew up a HUGE fan of EC Comics (Tales from the Crypt, Haunt of Fear, Vault of Horror). The 1990's reprints are an important part of my chidhood. I'm also an enormous fan of DC Comics (Superman, Batman, The Flash) and after purchasing and unboxing two DC Comics Mystery Boxes from Forbidden Geek, I found out that they were coming out with Horror Boxes. HORROR COMIC MYSTERY BOXES? Shut up and take my money!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Just Brew It, Part Two: Making Sake


If you haven't read Part One: A brief history of Sake then go ahead and check it out. Or not. It's not required reading for this article, but Sake's history is a fascinating one.

In the next two parts of this trilogy I'm going to give you a run-down on the things that you NEED to know if you want to start getting into Sake while I consciously leave out the things you don't (unless you want to become an expert), and here's why:

Sake is actually not a hard thing to understand, and learning about it has felt the least like work than anything else in my alcohol related education. What makes it hard is the words and terminology. Myself as an English-only speaking person, at least with wine I'm mostly dealing with languages that are also based on Latin like French and Italian, so learning things like Methode Champenoise is not a big deal. However, Japanese is a whole other thing and the terminology can be pretty hard to grasp. For example: Seimaibuai. See what I mean?

I have thoroughly enjoyed this Sake adventure that I've been on and I want you to get as interested in this category as I am, so I'm going to do my best to provide some Sake education without scaring you away with an overload of information. But that also doesn't mean we're not gonna get nerdy. So let's begin! Welcome to the world of Sake!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Wine Quickie: Left Coast Cellars White Pinot Noir 2018


I look forward to getting the new vintages of Left Coast's wine every year, and it's another awesome vintage for their White Pinot Noir! This is sustainably farmed and made from 93% Pinot Noir and 7% Pinot Blanc. It was fermented and aged for five months in 100% stainless steel. There's aromas of peaches, orange, elderflower, and grass. On the palate it's got a lovely silky mouthfeel on a medium to full body with very bright acidity and a flinty minerality. There's flavors of peaches, pears, melon, and spearmint. It has a citrusy and salivatingly tart finish. So good. So, so good.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Wine Review: Dane Cellars DesNudos Vineyard Cabernet Sauvigon 2015


Bart Hansen is the founder and winemaker of Dane Cellars and just from the brief conversation I had with him over the phone two years ago I could tell he's just one hell of a guy. Funny, open, honest, and kind, with a big heart full of passion and love. Bart started off in the industry during harvest; trucking grapes from the vineyard down a hill, five tons at a time. In 1986 he started winemaking for Kenwood, and then hopped over to Benziger in 1998. But he left Benziger to become a stay at home dad to his son Dane. And when he felt like he needed to get back in the game, he founded Dane Cellars in 2007.

You can read all the reviews I've written on Bart's wine under the Dane Cellars label for the blog, but this time I'm reviewing his 2016 Valeria2016 Chenin Blanc2016 Zinfandel, and 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. (PS: I still have a bottle of his 2012 Justi Creek Cabernet Sauvignon that I'm waiting to open on a special occasion and can't wait to see how it evolved)

The DesNudos Vineyard is located on the southern end of the Mayacamas Mountains, and in the 1940's it was a nudist colony known as Sun-o-ma. This 2015 Cabernet from that property is 100% Cabernet that spent 5 days cold soaking, three weeks fermenting with the skins, pressed when dry, and then saw 26 months in French oak barrels. Only 150 cases were produced and it has an ABV of 14.8%.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Fleming's Uncorked Wine Experience with Duckhorn Vineyards

Fleming's Uncorked Wine Experience with Duckhorn Vineyards

This summer Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is promoting Duckhorn Vineyards with tastings of their wines all throughout the month of July, and I'm super bummed that I'm unable to attend. Even though I only live an hour and twenty minutes away from their Boston location, I also live on Cape Cod. This is tourist and traffic season and the busiest time of the year for me, so I'm hunkered down here on the Cape and keeping busy!

But still Fleming's was awesome enough to send me a little box of goodies anyways! I've got a Fleming's corkscrew and wine glass tag, a sweeeeeeeet Duckhorn Corkcicle cup that keeps whatever you put in there warm or cold, some little chocolate ducks from Napa Valley's Woodhouse, a flash drive with the following press release, and a 375 ml bottle of Duckhorn Chardonnay. I'm sipping on that Chard and nibbling on that chocolate right now and they're both just so good! Thank you, Fleming's! That Corkcicle cup is gonna be my new favorite thing! And hopefully I'll be able to participate in your next Uncorked!

INTRODUCING AN “UNCORKED WINE EXPERIENCE” FROM FLEMING’S PRIME STEAKHOUSE & WINE BAR FEATURING SIX DISTINGUISHED WINES FROM THE DUCKHORN PORTFOLIO

Sip through as many of the six luxurious wines to create your own personalized wine experience for $28* per guest with dinner

Tampa, Fla. (July 1, 2019) – Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is offering guests a whole new way to enjoy wine with dinner…personalized. Beginning July 1, guests are invited to sip through as many of the six distinguished wines as they’d like from the Duckhorn Portfolio as part of its new “Uncorked Wine Experience” for $28* per guest with dinner. 

Fleming's Uncorked Wine Experience with Duckhorn Vineyards
“Discovering wine is a promise we make to our guests, and we are delighted to deliver on that promise with our inaugural summer Uncorked wine experience,” said Stephen Blevins, Director of Wine, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. “For four decades, the Duckhorn name has been known for optimal grape selection, innovative winemaking techniques and a premium barrel-aging program.”

The “Uncorked Wine Experience” offers guests the opportunity to create their own personalized wine experience while discovering as many of the six featured wines as they would like during their dinner.  

Decoy Rose California: This lovely Rose displays enticing aromas of pink grapefruit and fresh melon along with hints of strawberry and spring wild flowers. Suggested pairings include Beef Carpaccio or Burrata with Prosciutto. 

Decoy Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County: This bright and aromatic wine offers enticing layers of lemon and lime zest. Suggested pairings include Sweet Chili Calamari or Fleming’s Salad.

Duckhorn Chardonnay Napa Valley: This is an intense and complex expression of Napa Valley Chardonnay, with alluring aromas of nectarine, yellow plum, pineapple upside-down cake and sweet spices. Suggested pairings include Shrimp Cocktail, Lobster Bisque or Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass.

Fleming's Uncorked Wine Experience with Duckhorn Vineyards
Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast: A recent addition to the Duckhorn portfolio, this wine is crafted using grapes from a handful of the finest vineyards on the Central Coast, this alluring Pinot Noir offers lovely aromatics, soft, velvety tannins and vibrant fruit. Suggested pairings include Pork Tomahawk or Main Filet Mignon.

Duckhorn Merlot Napa Valley: This is a beautifully complex expression of Napa Valley Merlot, with inviting aromas of fresh raspberry, vanilla, tea leaves, pie crust and licorice. Suggested pairings include Prime New York Strip or Barbecue Scottish Salmon Fillet.

Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley: A classic expression of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine combines beautiful complexity with rich intensity. Suggested pairings include Prime Bone-in Ribeye or Bone-in Filet Mignon.

Fleming’s guests will also have the opportunity to enter the Uncorked sweepstakes from July 1 through July 31, 2019 for a chance to win a trip for two to Napa Valley. For details of the sweepstakes and additional information on Uncorked, visit http://www.flemingssteakhouse.com/uncorkedsweeps.

*Pricing and participation vary by location. Visit www.flemingssteakhouse.com for more information. 

About Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Nationally acclaimed Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar offers the best in steakhouse dining – here you'll find a passion for steak and wine, reflected in an exceptional menu of hand-cut steaks, an award-winning list of wines by the glass, and seasonal menu selections showcasing locally-inspired chef dishes. Fleming's was launched in Newport Beach, California, in 1998 by successful restaurant industry veterans Paul Fleming and Bill Allen. Today there are 70 restaurants nationwide and one in São Paulo, Brazil. Fleming's is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including Wine Spectator's annual Award of Excellence. For more information about Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, please visit www.FlemingsSteakhouse.com.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Wine Review: Dane Cellars Gopher Run Zinfandel 2016

Dane Cellars Gopher Run Zinfandel 2016

Bart Hansen is the founder and winemaker of Dane Cellars and just from the brief conversation I had with him over the phone two years ago I could tell he's just one hell of a guy. Funny, open, honest, and kind, with a big heart full of passion and love. Bart started off in the industry during harvest; trucking grapes from the vineyard down a hill, five tons at a time. In 1986 he started winemaking for Kenwood, and then hopped over to Benziger in 1998. But he left Benziger to become a stay at home dad to his son Dane. And when he felt like he needed to get back in the game, he founded Dane Cellars in 2007.

You can read all the reviews I've written on Bart's wine under the Dane Cellars label for the blog, but this time I'm reviewing his 2016 Valeria2016 Chenin Blanc2016 Zinfandel, and 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. (PS: I still have a bottle of his 2012 Justi Creek Cabernet Sauvignon that I'm waiting to open on a special occasion and can't wait to see how it evolved)

The Gopher's Run Zinfandel is so new that it's not even available on DaneCellars.com yet! So because of that, I don't have any winemaking information. But that's okay! After you try this Zinfandel out you won't even care as long as it gets in your belly!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Cocktail Recipes: Vodkatini and Manhattan with González Byass Vermouth La Copa


I know what you're thinking! "These two cocktails are ridiculously basic!" and you're absolutely right! So why am I even doing this? Whelp... because both of the Vermouths involved use Sherry as their base wine. That's right! Sherry!

So rather than get convoluted and technical and fancy and add a bunch of things that would take away from your first experience with a Sherry-based Vermouth, it's better to keep it basic, right? Right! Plus, dammit Jim, I'm a wine guy not a mixologist! So let's start drinkin'!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Wine Quickie: Scaia Rosato 2018

Scaia Rosato 2018

This is one hell of a yummy and juicy Rosato! It's made from 100% Rondinella in Veneto, Italy. The color of the wine is pale pink and on the nose there's aromas of rose petals, tangerines, strawberries, and raspberry-lime seltzer. On the palate it's medium bodied with a lush mouthfeel but a tangy acidity. It's like biting into a big juicy watermelon, with tangerines, strawberries, and lime joining in. Oh, I'm really diggin' this one! It's delicious with a cheerful personality! Snatch it up if you see it!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Wine Review: Dane Cellars Buddah's Dharma Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2016

Dane Cellars Buddahs' Dharma Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2016

Bart Hansen is the founder and winemaker of Dane Cellars and just from the brief conversation I had with him over the phone two years ago I could tell he's just one hell of a guy. Funny, open, honest, and kind, with a big heart full of passion and love. Bart started off in the industry during harvest; trucking grapes from the vineyard down a hill, five tons at a time. In 1986 he started winemaking for Kenwood, and then hopped over to Benziger in 1998. But he left Benziger to become a stay at home dad to his son Dane. And when he felt like he needed to get back in the game, he founded Dane Cellars in 2007.

You can read all the reviews I've written on Bart's wine under the Dane Cellars label for the blog, but this time I'm reviewing his 2016 Valeria2016 Chenin Blanc2016 Zinfandel, and 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. (PS: I still have a bottle of his 2012 Justi Creek Cabernet Sauvignon that I'm waiting to open on a special occasion and can't wait to see how it evolved)

This is 100% Chenin Blanc from the Buddah's Dharma Vineyard in Mendocino County that was whole cluster pressed, fermented in stainless steel, and aged in stainless steel, French oak, and concrete barrels, and saw time on the lees for about five months. Only 175 cases were made and it has a final ABV of  13.1%.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Wine Quickie: Scaia Garganega Chardonnay 2018

Scaia Garganega / Chardonnay 2018

This crisp summer refresher from Trevenezie, Italy, is 55% Garganega and 45% Chardonnay. The nose is spectacular with aromas of jasmine, white flowers, lime, melon, and orange. Those are all repeated on the palate, but in a softer manner. It's light bodied with a surprisingly round mouthfeel and a zippy acidity, and the crispy grapefruity/limey finish goes on for days. It is what it is. Light, crisp, refreshing, and DELICIOUS. It wouldn't be hard to down this whole bottle in twenty minutes. Who wants fish tacos?

Friday, July 5, 2019

Saké Quickie: Ty Ku Junmai "White"


This Japanese saké should be widely available and it's not that hard to identify among all the other sakés at your liquor store. Just look at that bottle! Ty Ku has a "Black" Junmai Ginjo, a "Silver" Junmai, and even Cucumber saké and Coconut saké, but this is their "White" Junmai. It's light and clean and simple and smooth, with pears and melon and a little bit of booziness on the finish. It's just a mellow and relaxing saké that you can rely on in a pinch. Ty Ku produces a solid product on every tier for the price.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Wine Review: Dane Cellars Valeria 2016


Bart Hansen is the founder and winemaker of Dane Cellars and just from the brief conversation I had with him over the phone two years ago I could tell he's just one hell of a guy. Funny, open, honest, and kind, with a big heart full of passion and love. Bart started off in the industry during harvest; trucking grapes from the vineyard down a hill, five tons at a time. In 1986 he started winemaking for Kenwood, and then hopped over to Benziger in 1998. But he left Benziger to become a stay at home dad to his son Dane. And when he felt like he needed to get back in the game, he founded Dane Cellars in 2007.

You can read all the reviews I've written on Bart's wine under the Dane Cellars label for the blog, but this time I'm reviewing his 2016 Valeria, 2016 Chenin Blanc, 2016 Zinfandel, and 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. (PS: I still have a bottle of his 2012 Justi Creek Cabernet Sauvignon that I'm waiting to open on a special occasion and can't wait to see how it evolved)

The 2016 Valeria is a Rhone Ranger blend of 55% Grenache, 38% Syrah, and 7% Mourvédre from Sonoma Valley. It was fermented in open top tanks, punched down by hand, and aged in French oak barrels for 18 months, and it has a 15.5% ABV. I wonder if the name Valeria has anything to do with Game of Thrones???

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Beer Quickie: Devil's Purse Handline Kölsch


There are plenty of damn good breweries here on Cape Cod and the Islands but Devil's Purse in South Dennis is something special. Although I love their Imperial Stout the most, today is definitely a day for Kölsch! Their Handline Kölsch is a slightly hazy dark gold in color. It's light bodied with a bready midpalate mouthfeel. There's a little grassiness to its profile of lemon, pears, sour dough, caramel, and spices, and it finishes with deliciously sweet malt, a touch of bitter hops, and a boat load of refreshingness. This is a solid summer thirst quencher.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Wine Quickie Revisit: Rodney Strong Rosé of Pinot Noir 2018


So back in May I had the pleasure to join the #PinkSociety chat on Twitter and I seemed to be the only one who wasn't digging this wine. Well, it turns out that there were multiple reports of bottle shock in Massachusetts for this particular wine and I must have gotten one... because I have a second bottle here and it's drinking much better! It's zippier than the last bottle, has better fruit expression, and it's less peppery. There's tart raspberry, juicy watermelon, and white peach. And it finishes refreshingly crisp with a bit of watermelon Jolly Rancher, some white pepper, and nice tart acidity. Yup! This is exactly what I was missing out on! It's delicious and I'm very happy that I gave it another shot!

Monday, July 1, 2019

July Wine Pick: Bieler Family "Daisy" Pinot Grigio 2017

Bieler Family "Daisy" Pinot Grigio 2017

It's July and I've got a lot of good stuff lined up! Dane Cellars returns with four full wine reviews, and Left Coast comes back as well with two full reviews and two quickies. For other full reviews I've got a Godello and a Mencia from Spain, and a Chardonnay from Marshal Davis. For quickies I'm revisiting Rodney Strong Rosé to see if I had a faulty bottle, three Italian whites and a rosé, two Vermouths, Artezin Zinfandel makes another appearance, more canned wine, and... frozen rosé??? Of course, as always, things will be added as the month moves along.

I'm hoping to get Part 2 of my Saké articles up. Also, Wine Bloggers Off-Topic #3 is about our most inspirational historical figure, so if you want to join in then just email me at joeycasco80@gmail.com.

So I was at a spring trade tasting this year and the salesperson had marked a bunch of stuff in the book that she wanted me to try. When I literally had five minutes before I had to leave, I quickly looked through the book to find one item she had suggested instead of a whole table... and then I saw one arrow with a heart that she had drawn next to it... and it's name was Daisy. The name of my two-year old. That was it, I had to try it. And it was delicious!

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