Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Wine Quickie: Artezin Old Vine Zinfandel 2017


Artezin is Hess Family's ode to the craft of Zinfandel, and for $16 it's one of my favorite suggestions for Zins in the $15 to $20 price range. This wine is 85% Zinfandel and 15% Petite Sirah out of Mendocino and sustainably farmed. It's garnet in color with violet highlights. There's a lot of tarragon on the nose along with plums, pomegranate, black table pepper, and black iced coffee. On the palate it's full bodied and rich, has soft and sweet tannin, and flavors of plums, raspberries, cinnamon, and tarragon. And I gotta say it is pairing INCREDIBLY well with this Gouda! Good stuff!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Wine Review: Marshall Davis Chardonnay 2017

Marshall Davis Chardonnay 2017

The silhouettes featured on the label are the three brother who founded Marshall Davis six years ago; Sean Davis, Ryan Marshall and Matt Marshall. They have eight acres of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines surrounding their home near Carlton in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA of the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Their vineyard is planted with 101-104 rootstock, with Dijon 777, Pommard, Dijon 114, and Mariafeld clones. It's 450 feet above sea level in elevation and faces south-southwest on volcanic topsoil.

Their 2017 Estate Chardonnay is barrel fermented and aged for 16 months in French oak (15% new). Only 150 cases were produced and it has an ABV of 13.2%. Again, I apologize, but this full review is going to be a quick one as I have little time at the moment.

Monday, July 29, 2019

"Wine" Quickie: Shao Xing Huadew Chinese Rice Wine


We've been getting a lot of customers at work lately looking for "rice wine" to cook with, so there must be some trending recipe out there that calls for it. Naturally you'd think they were talking about Sake, and one of Sake's nicknames is rice wine, but the kind that they're looking for is Chinese and used in A LOT of Chinese dishes. Chinese rice wine is produced entirely different than Sake, thus it's completely different in every way. For example, Sake is considered too sweet to use in the dishes that require rice wine but Fino Sherry is suggested as the best alternative. The contrast between Sake and Fino Sherry couldn't possibly be more enormous! But, upon tasting this rice wine, it's immediately apparent why Fino Sherry is suggested as an alternative because rice wine has the same oxidized profile, high alcohol, acidity, and body weight as Fino Sherry. But, and I can't speak for all rice wine since this is the only one I've ever had, it's got A LOT of bitter dark chocolate, prunes, and soy sauce in it's profile. So yeah! Rice wine is not in any way like Sake! Oh, and my thoughts about drinking this rice wine? YUCK!!!! It got better when I chilled the crap out of it with ice in a Yeti, but I would stick to just cooking with it. Maybe it'll work well in a coffee, though. Hmmm...

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Wine Review: Pagos de Galir Godello 2017


I've got two wines lined up for review by Pagos de Galir. First I reviewed their 2016 Mencia and now I'm on to the 2017 Godello. Unfortunately these are rather quick reviews due to time constraints when they had to be written.

From www.VirgenDelGalir.comThe Virgen del  Galir winery was founded in 2002 in a valley of the Galir river, in Éntoma, a small village in Orense, Galicia, Northern Spain. The “Camino de Santiago” crosses through this village. Virgen del Galir is a member of the Valdeorras DO. This semi-forgotten region has extraordinary vineyards. Virgen del Galir owns 20 hectares of vineyards on practically as many plots, on a valley of the Galir river. Altitude is over 600m. The ground is made up almost entirely of decomposed schist on terraces.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Wine Quickie: Archer Roose's White & Red Spritz


Spritz is a line of low-alcohol, gluten free (a-duh), vegan, organic, canned sparkling wines by Archer Roose. Say that three times fast. The white, which I actually like, is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Malvasia. It's light and crisp and refreshing with flavors of citrus and melon. It's just a non-serious thirst quencher. The red is a Lambrusco with flavors of cherries, blackberries and a chalky minerality. I really didn't like it at all when I first tried it chilled, but throwing some ice in there and stirring it up did make it drinkable. The red isn't for everybody, but I'll pound back one of those whites any day.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Wine Review: Pagos de Galir Mencía 2016


I've got two wines lined up for review by Pagos de Galir. First it's the 2016 Mencía that I'm reviewing right now and then up next is the 2017 Godello. Unfortunately these will be rather quick due to time constraints when they had to be written.

From www.VirgenDelGalir.com: The Virgen del  Galir winery was founded in 2002 in a valley of the Galir river, in Éntoma, a small village in Orense, Galicia, Northern Spain. The “Camino de Santiago” crosses through this village. Virgen del Galir is a member of the Valdeorras DO. This semi-forgotten region has extraordinary vineyards. Virgen del Galir owns 20 hectares of vineyards on practically as many plots, on a valley of the Galir river. Altitude is over 600m. The ground is made up almost entirely of decomposed schist on terraces.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Wine Quickie: Chanmé Frosé 2018 by Frozen Frogs


I was not fully able to enjoy Chanmé Frosé over our little family vacation because my wife instantly laid claim to it and holy crap SHE LOVED IT! I did have a sip and I have to agree: It's pretty darn delicious and PERFECT for pool and beach time. Basically it's a lightly sweetened rosé with added natural flavors specifically meant for you to freeze into basically a slushy. Then you can suck it right out of the pouch with a straw. C'mon, don't get all snooty nosed. This is all about fun and cooling off, and Chanmé Frosé delivers.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Celebrate Wine & Cheese Day with California's Fastest Growing Wine

California Rosé Paired with Recipe from the new "Wine Country Table" Cookbook by Award-Winning Napa Author Janet Fletcher

Guest post by the Wine Institute

SAN FRANCISCO — To help you celebrate National Wine & Cheese Day (THIS THURSDAY, JULY 25th!!!) on trend, California’s Wine Institute shares this recipe—paired with the state’s hottest summer wine, California Rosé-- from their new book “Wine Country Table: With Recipes that Celebrate California’s Sustainable Harvest” by award-winning Napa author Janet Fletcher.

 In 2018, Rosé continued  to show phenomenal growth, with sales volume in the U.S. jumping 46% compared to 2017. Formerly considered just a casual sipper, winemakers have given rosé more serious treatment in recent years, creating an amazing variety of still and sparkling Rosés that suit a variety of tastes and show great diversity—pairing with just about any course throughout the year. Wine lovers can find the perfect fit with options from dry, sweet, pale and dark to light-bodied, intense, sparkling and still versions.

This recipe, featured on page 274 in the book, features a light, savory frittata with sheep cheese—a cheese more special than your everyday cheese but still readily available.

FRITTATA WITH BROCCOLI RABE AND SHEEP CHEESE
WINE SUGGESTION: California Rosé or California Sauvignon Blanc

This warm frittata makes a nourishing lunch or rustic first course; accompany with a tuft of lightly dressed salad greens, if you like. Leftover frittata can be sliced and tucked inside a length of baguette with some soft lettuce and a swipe of mayonnaise.

- SERVES 3 FOR LUNCH OR 4 AS A FIRST COURSE


INGREDIENTS
3⁄4 pound (375 g) broccoli rabe, tough stems trimmed
6 large eggs
1⁄2 cup (35 g) grated aged sheep’s milk cheese, such as
Bellwether Farms Pepato or pecorino romano
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the broccoli rabe and boil until just tender,

about 3 minutes. Drain in a sieve and cool quickly under cold running water. Drain and squeeze well to remove excess moisture. Chop coarsely. Measure out 1 1∕2 cups (250 g) chopped broccoli and reserve the remainder for another use.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until blended, then whisk in the cheese, salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Stir in the broccoli rabe. Heat a 10-inch (25 cm) nonstick frying pan over medium heat, then add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the egg mixture and use a rubber spatula to spread into an even layer. Reduce the heat to medium-low.

Cook without stirring until the frittata is about two-thirds set, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to the oven and bake just until the frittata feels firm on top and has puffed slightly, 9 to 10 minutes. Immediately slide the frittata onto a cutting board or wooden serving board. The frittata should slip out easily, but if not, use a rubber spatula to loosen it. Let cool for 15 minutes, then slice into wedges and serve.

TRIMMING TIP: The thick stems of broccoli rabe are often more tender than the thin stems. If a stem feels tough or woody, remove it. Otherwise, just trim any dry ends.

Image result for wine instituteAbout the Wine Institute

Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group for California wineries, which produce 80 percent of U.S. wine and account for more than 95 percent of U.S. wine exports. As the nation’s number one state for wine and food tourism and 139 American Viticultural Areas, California attracts 24 million visitors to its wine regions each year.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Jeanne Sullivan, PR Agency

Monday, July 22, 2019

Wonton Tacos Recipe!

Wonton Tacos!

It's Monday and that means tomorrow is Taco Tuesday! Instead of using regular taco shells, I'm gonna show you how to make taco cups with wontons! It's one of our favorite meals in Casa Casco and I swear it's about to be a favorite in your home as well.

WHAT YOU NEED

Ground beef
Taco seasoning
Uncooked wontons
Salsa
Shredded Mexican cheese
Your favorite fixin's like lettuce and jalapenos, etc
Nonstick spray
A muffin pan

WHAT YOU DO

1. Set your oven to 375˚F
2. Cook that beef in a pan with the tacos seasoning
3. Spray the muffin pan with nonstick spray
4. Place two wontons in each muffin pocket, but with the corners of the top one aligned with the sides of the bottom one (see pictures)
5. Put some taco meat in each cup
6. Sprinkle some cheese for melting on there too
7. Bake until the wonton corners start to turn brown. Be very careful and watch closely because they can go from perfectly crispy to burnt in moments.
8. Serve it up!

Yeah, man. These little things are just sooooo goooood. Enjoy!

Wonton Tacos!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Wine Review: Left Coast Cellars "Queen Bee Bubbly" Sparking Pinot Noir 2017


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 Queen Bee Bubbly is entirely from the Wädenswil clone of Pinot Noir. It's a sustainably farmed sparkling rosé that was fermented in 100% French oak and saw 10 months of aging. What's super cool about this stuff is that they use honey from their estate honey bees as the source of sugar for the secondary fermentation that creates the carbonation, so there's actual honey in this wine! The final ABV is 12%, and rather than a cork or screwcap it's topped off with a bottle cap.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Wine Quickie: Left Coast Cellars Pinot Gris 2017


So I received the 2017 Pinot Gris instead of the new 2018, and I previously had this vintage last summer. But, hey! I don't mind doing another quickie of the same vintage! This is 91% Pinot Gris and 9% Pinot Blanc, and it'll cost you about $18. There's aromas of green apple, yellow pear, orange blossom, and walnuts. It's full bodied with a smooth mouthfeel and a lively acidity, with flavors of green apple, yellow pear, honeydew melon, and wet stone. Another year older and it's still just as good!

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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