Saturday, August 31, 2019

Wine Quickie: MANCAN Canned Wine


Huh. Canned wine marketed for men. IIIII'm not so sure about this one, guys, but it's actually better than some of the other canned wines out there. I'd take it over Darkhorse or Cupcake any day of the week, but that doesn't mean it's Underwood or Santa Julia.

The White Fizz, which is a semi-sparkling unoaked Chardonnay and Viognier blend, is the best of the batch and I actually really enjoyed it. Crisp and quaffable with lots of apples and pears. I was honestly surprised at how serviceable it is as a canned sparkling wine. The White Wine is a blend of unoaked Chardonnay and Viognier, with a single note of dull melon and no liveliness. It's flat and uninteresting. The Rosé is a blend of  unoaked Chardonnay and Zinfandel, and it has your basic rosé profile of watermelon and strawberries. It's okay but it'll make a good summer crusher, ice cold right out of the can. The Red is a blend of Merlot and Zinfandel. It has nice black cherries, chocolate, and caramel, but it's lackluster in all other aspects such as mouthfeel, acidity, and tannin.

All things said, I like the story of the founders and the winery (check out their website to read about it). Their goal is to create "carefree wine that you can take anywhere without the persnickety" and it looks like they're having a good time doing it. Buy that White Fizz if you see it, guys!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Wine Review: Domaine Bessa Valley Enira 2010


It's the Fifth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.comYou can read all of the content and reviews from Bulgarian Wine Month under the Bulgaria label.

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

Bessa Valley
BESSA VALLEY
The Bessi were a tribe of Thracians and the Bessa Valley within the Thracian Valley of the Thracian Lowlands is their namesake. Bessa Valley Winery was founded in 2001 when 800 properties were purchased for its creation. German Count Stephan von Neipperg, owner of Bordeaux's Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere and La Mondotte, assists with the winery's production. The Count wanted to be a part of bringing quality wine back to Bulgaria. He's quoted as saying "I’ve chosen Bulgaria because of the magnificent terroir. With Enira we revive the image of the Bulgarian wines worldwide."

I've got three wines by Domain Bessa Valley lined up to finish off Bulgarian Wine Month! I started with their Petit Enira 2011, then I had their Enira 2009, and now I'm sweeping up with their Enira 2010.

The Enira 2010 is 50% Syrah, 40% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot. So it's just a little less complicated of a blend than the 2009 vintage. and gone from a Merlot based blend to a Syrah based blend in just one year. First selection is handpicked on the vineyard, then carefully selected again on sorting tables. Rather than crushing the grapes, juice is drained by gravity / the weight of the grapes. Cold maceration of whole berries is performed from 5 to 8 days at 14 – 16 C. Alcohol fermentation with addition of selected yeast strains is controlled at 26-28 C during 8-10 days, in order to reach 3-4 g/l residual sugar, followed by maceration from 5 to 8 days in concrete tanks. Malolactic fermentation continues in the tanks, then aging for about 12 months in oak barrels.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Wine Quickie: Burgaska Special Muskatova Grape Brandy Rakia

August is The Fifth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com

Burgaska Special Muskatova Grape Brandy

This is my favorite of the three rakias that I've done spirit quickies for this month. Like the Pomorie it's made from Muscat grapes and I believe it's also a grappa, which is a brandy distilled from the must/waste left over from making wine. This one has a fiery pepperiness to it with baked apple, dried banana, vanilla, and other baking spices. It's that fiery pepperiness that I love so much, and why I'll pick a rye over a Bourbon any day of the week. $22 for a 750 ml bottle of this stuff is a good buy! It may not be available on retail shelves where you live but you can buy it on BulgarianWine.com.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Wine Review: Domaine Bessa Valley Enira 2009


It's the Fifth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.comYou can read all of the content and reviews from Bulgarian Wine Month under the Bulgaria label.

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

The Bessi were a tribe of Thracians and the Bessa Valley within the Thracian Valley of the Thracian Lowlands is their namesake. Bessa Valley Winery was founded in 2001 when 800 properties were purchased for its creation. German Count Stephan von Neipperg, owner of Bordeaux's Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere and La Mondotte, assists with the winery's production. The Count wanted to be a part of bringing quality wine back to Bulgaria. He's quoted as saying "I’ve chosen Bulgaria because of the magnificent terroir. With Enira we revive the image of the Bulgarian wines worldwide."

I've got three wines by Domain Bessa Valley lined up to finish off Bulgarian Wine Month! I started with their Petit Enira 2011, now I'm reviewing their Enira 2009, and then I'm sweeping up with their Enira 2010.

This vintage is 66% Merlot, 12% Syrah, 12% Petit Verdot, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are hand picked, then carefully selected on sorting tables. Cold maceration of whole berries is performed from five to eight days at 60ºF. Alcohol fermentation with addition of selected yeast strains is controlled at 79-82ºF during eight to ten days, followed by maceration from five to eight days in concrete tanks. Malolactic fermentation continues in tanks, then it sees aging for about twelve months in oak barrels.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Wine Quickie: VINI Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

August is The Fifth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com


Last year I gave the 20016 vintage of this wine a 5/5 in a full review, and normally I don' t do scores in quickie reviews but I would double down on that 5/5 score for the 2018 vintage. Out of Thracian Valley, Bulgaria, it's medium bodied with chalky tannin and a bit of a perk to its acidity. There's aromas and flavors of black cherries, blueberries, pencil shavings, vanilla, and a slatey minerality. Man, for $10 this is quite a buy for Cabernet. VINI has proven once again this year that they know how to do inexpensive Pinot Grigio and Cabernet very well!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Wine Review: Domaine Bessa Valley Petit Enira 2011


It's the Fifth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.comYou can read all of the content and reviews from Bulgarian Wine Month under the Bulgaria label.

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

Thracian Warrior by Rocio Espin Pinar
THRACIAN WARRIOR
by Rocio Espin Pinar
The Bessi were a tribe of Thacians and the Bessa Valley within the Thracian Valley of the Thracian Lowlands is their namesake. Bessa Valley Winery was founded in 2001 when 800 properties were purchased for its creation. German Count Stephan von Neipperg, owner of Bordeaux's Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere and La Mondotte, assists with the winery's production. The Count wanted to be a part of bringing quality wine back to Bulgaria. He's quoted as saying "I’ve chosen Bulgaria because of the magnificent terroir. With Enira we revive the image of the Bulgarian wines worldwide."

I've got three wines by Domain Bessa Valley lined up to finish off Bulgarian Wine Month! First it's their Petit Enira 2011 (which I'm reviewing right now), then it's their Enira 2009, and sweeping it all up will be their Enira 2010.

So the Peitit Enira is obviously a lower tier of Enira, and what we've got here for the 2011 vintage is 70% Merlot, 15% Syrah, 5% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are hand-picked, then carefully selected on sorting tables. Cold maceration of whole berries is performed from three to five days at 57-60ºF in order to reach desired color and fruits flavors. Alcohol fermentation with addition of selected yeast strains is controlled at 79-82ºC during eight to ten days, followed by maceration from five to eight days in concrete tanks. Malolactic fermentation continues in tanks, then it's aged for about ten to twelve months in French oak barrels (30% two years-old, 70% three-years old).

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Product Video Review: Nicholas Collection Pop Cap


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Wine Bloggers Off-Topic #3: Most inspirational historical figures

Galileo Galilei

And we're back with another installment of Wine Bloggers Off-Topic! It became apparent that this would be better served as a bi-monthly thing rather than monthly because, ya know, life is busy and even monthly comes up real quick on us all. ALTHOUGH! Recently I was inspired by seeing my favorite quote of all time pop up when a friend shared it on Facebook, so maybe we could do one next month with just our favorite quote? No need for a write-up or explanation or anything, just the quote. What do you guys think?

The point of this series is for all of us to learn more about those in our online wine community beyond their taste in wine, and today it's all about the historical figure that inspires us the most. As always, they are in order of submission.


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Wine Review: VINI Pinot Grigio 2017


It's the Fifth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.comYou can read all of the content and reviews from Bulgarian Wine Month under the Bulgaria label.

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

The 2016 vintage of the VINI Pinot Grigio was one of my favorite wines of last year's Bulgarian Wine Month, and I do believe that this vintage is even better!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Sauvignon Blanc Lemonade with Bloomers Frosé and VINI Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Sauvignon Blanc Lemonade with Bloomers Frosé and VINI Sauvignon Blanc 2018

How about a bourbon and wine cocktail recipe? It's super easy to make, absolutely delicious, and really refreshing for these later days of summer while things are still hot. You gotta get your hands on some Bloomers Frosé to make it, though. Hell, you gotta get your hands on it anyways because there's A LOT of cocktails recipes out there for this mixer.

Bloomers FroséWHAT YOU NEED:

4 ounces of Bloomers Frosé
8 ounces of Sauvignon Blanc
2 ounces of Bourbon
A blender
Ice

So there's no actual lemonade in this lemonade??? Nope! But to my surprise the name definitely fits the flavor profile. Here's some info on Bloomers and what I used for the other ingredients:

Bloomers Frosé - The key ingredient to this cocktail and many more! This unique mixer is the first-ever retail mixer for both wine and spirits. This original ready-to-use, non-alcoholic mixer enables mixologists to whip up an icy-smooth version of your favorite cocktail or mocktail in minutes. Easy and crowd-pleasing, Bloomers Frosé takes your drink to the next level with frozen concoctions that are sure to please.  It's vegan, Kosher, non-GMO and Gluten-Free. You can find a bunch of other recipes for this product on their website: BloomersFrose.com

VINI Sauvignon Blanc 2018 - Because it's Bulgarian Wine Months thanks to BulgarianWine.com, I'll be using this Bulgarian Sauvignon Blanc from Thracian Valley. This is a mellow Sauvignon Blanc with notes of citrus and tangerine, and perfect for this cocktail because it's not like you're getting punched in the face with pungent grapefruit like a New Zealand SB. For $10 it's hell of a deal.

Evan Williams Bourbon Whiskey - A very affordable bourbon, especially in smaller formats like nips, and my go-to when I'm making cocktails that call for bourbon.

WHAT YOU DO: 

1. Take those ingredients and ice, throw them in the blender, and blend it
2. Put it in a cup or glass
3. Drink up!
4. Let me know what you think!

WHERE TO GET THIS STUFF:

Bloomers Frosé is available online at BloomersFrose.com
VINI Sauvignon Blanc is available online at BulgarianWine.com
Evan Williams is available at your local liquor store

See more Bloomer Frosé recipes at BloomersFrose.com

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Wine Review: Domaine Boyar Traminer 2018

Domaine Boyar Traminer 2018

It's the Fifth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.comYou can read all of the content and reviews from Bulgarian Wine Month under the Bulgaria label.

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

This is the fourth vintage that I've had of this wine and every time I do it gets better. I gave the 2013 vintage a 2/5, the 2015 vintage a 3/5, and the  2016 vintage a 4.5/5. So, needless to say, I'm pretty excited about tasting this one and seeing where it's going now.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Spirits Quickie: Villa Yambol Yambolska Grape Brandy Rakia

August is The Fifth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com


This rakia is one of the most popular products by Villa Yambol, a Bulgarian winery that I've reviewed plenty of wines from, and it's made from the indigenous grapes Red Misket, Rkatsiteli and Dimyat. It's a little rough and simplistic (grapes and toffee) so it's more of a shooter or blender than a sip-and-savor, but honestly it is pretty much what it's supposed to be. For $22 you get a 1 liter bottle of brandy to get you where you want to go on the intoxication scale without getting fancy or expensive. Hell yeah, there's nothing wrong with that! I found that putting it on the rocks in a tumbler cuts down on the roughness and brings out a bit of sweetness, so I've been enjoying it quite a bit that way.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Wine Review: Rupel Winery Gramatik Marselan 2015

Rupel Winery Gramatik Marselan 2015

It's the Fifth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.comYou can read all of the content and reviews from Bulgarian Wine Month under the Bulgaria label.

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

Rupel Winery
Rupel Winery is located in the Rupel Gorge on the slopes of the Durylovitsa, and you can see the Angistro mountains of Northern Greece from their vineyards. Times were tough in this area after the Greek army burned much of it down to the ground during the Second Balkan War in 1913, and phylloxera hit it pretty hard around then too, but they persevered and stuck to their traditional culture of viticulture and winemaking. With respect and love of their ancestral lands, Rupel began restoring old vineyards and planting them with new vines in 2006. Gramatik is one of their labels with a pretty extensive lineup of different wines.

So how about that Marselan? Ever heard of that grape? Marselan is not an indigenous Bulgarian variety, but a French one that is a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. First bred near the French town of Marseillan, it's now mostly planted in the Languedoc and recently has gained popularity in China. I myself have never had a Marselan so this is a first for me.

Unfortunately I have no winemaking notes on this particular Bulgarian Marselan other than that it comes out of the Valley of Struma in the Thracian Lowlands, and it has an ABV of 14.5%.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Wine Quickie: Domain Boyar Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

August is The Fifth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com


(Region: Thracian Valley, Bulgaria) The last vintage I reviewed of this wine I gave a 1 out 5, which is why I made my write-up on this vintage a quickie instead of a full review, and unfortunately the trend of not liking it at all continues. Again, it's like someone left a chalk ball in the barrels. It's also just flat with an uninteresting fruit profile and a higher acidity than it can handle. Unbalanced and flabby.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Wine Review: Orbelus Melnik 2013


It's the Fifth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.comYou can read all of the content and reviews from Bulgarian Wine Month under the Bulgaria label.

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

Near the border of Greece in the Struma Valley of the Bulgarian Thracian Lowlands is a town called Melnik, and that town has an indigenous black grape variety named after it that Struma is known for. Even after five years of tasting all of these Bulgarian wines this is the first time that I will actually try a Melnik. As I said a few reviews ago, August is my favorite month on the blog because of stuff like this. Where would I ever come across a Bulgarian Melnik on Cape Cod? Let's waste no further type and start drinkin'!

Orbelus, the producer of this Melnik, was founded in 2000 with the mission to "produce high quality red and white wines in a nature conscious manner, guaranteeing its products’ ecological purity." So, naturally, they are Certified Organic under the laws of Bulgaria.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Spirits Quickie: Pomorie Muskatova Grape Brandy Rakia

August is The Fifth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com



Aaaah yes! Now we're talking! I've got some Rakia, AKA Bulgarian brandy, right here in front of me... so I've got to be careful because I looooooooove brandy. I don't know if you know this about me but I'm a total lightweight. Spirits will knock me right on my ass. That's probably why I'm a wine guy with an occasional beer hobby. I do believe that this rakia is not just brandy but it's also a grappa, which is a brandy distilled from the must/waste left over from making wine.

So this one is made from the Muscat grape. There's notes of baked apple, dried apricot, vanilla, and other baking spices. It's medium bodied, has a long lasting finish that coats your entire mouth with a thick layer of baked apples and a fiery peppery kick, that then delivers a comforting warmth to your belly. It performs better sipping neat than on the rocks, and for $23 it's a great deal for the quality that you get. If you're interested in trying it yourself than head on over to BulgarianWine.com!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Wine Review: Minkov Brothers Cuvee 2016


It's the Fifth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.comYou can read all of the content and reviews from Bulgarian Wine Month under the Bulgaria label.

That's right! Half a decade! August is my favorite month of the year because of this annual event and it really is the most special thing about this wine blog. I'm so proud to bring Bulgarian Wine Month to you for this long and to have a great working relationship with Vance, even if it just once a year. Thank you, buddy! Cheers to many more!

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

Minkov Brothers was founded in 1875 by Ivan, Vasil and Nikifor Minkov. Soon after getting off the ground (or in it?) they started winning awards at wine fairs. In the mid-1890's alone they won Brussels Wine Fair, the London Wine Competition, and the Plovdiv International Fair. They're still raking in those medals today. The winery property itself also features two museums: one about the family history and their wine, and the other about the winemaking history of the Thracian Valley.

The 2013 vintage of this wine ranked in my top five wines for the summer of 2018 and even though we're only skipping one year ahead on the blog, we're skipping a whole three vintages ahead for the wine. Will the 2016 vintage perform just as well?

Thursday, August 1, 2019

August Wine Pick: Cusmano Oceano Moscato

Cusmano Oceano Moscato

Even though my Wine Pick of the Month is from Italy, August is the FIFTH ANNUAL Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! That's AMAZING! August may be my most favorite month to taste and write on this blog because I get to explore all the goodies that Vance has sent me from Bulgaria. It's always a fun and interesting time and I am so happy that we've kept this very special thing going for half a decade now!

Things have been moving fast on the blog lately but it will slow down a bit this month as I focus all content on Bulgarian wine with a few exceptions. It's looking like Wine Bloggers Off-Topic would be better served as a bi-monthly project instead of monthly, which makes the next installment due in August, so I'll try to get issue #3 of that series out too if it works for everybody (it didn't work out in July). The topic is "your most inspirational historic figure", so email me at joeycasco80@gmail.com if you want to get in on it. And there will be some quickies thrown in there randomly that are Bulgarian unrelated, just to fit them in to summertime.

Now on to that Wine Pick of the Month! It's a sweet and succulent Moscato from Italy that will keep you going through the oppressive heat of August! Satisfaction guaranteed!

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