Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Happy 100th birthday, Nino Franco Prosecco!


Tonight we're celebrating Nino Franco's 100th birthday and tomorrow we'll also be celebrating not just Halloween but my wife's 100th birthday! Alright... she's not quite 100 yet but that's what I tell my kids because it's HILARIOUS.

Nino Franco has been one of my favorite Proseccos for, oh jeez, about a decade or so and I've been so happy to have a great relationship with them on the blog for awhile now. But being asked to celebrate their birthday by sharing a birthday cake with other fans all across the globe? That is super awesome.

This cake was made by We Take the Cake and the ginger frosting goes amazingly well with the Prosecco. Like, perfectly well.

Nino Franco Rustico is 100% Glera from Valdibbiadenne with an 11% ABV. It's a bright straw yellow with notes of pears, apple crisp, and lemon peel. It's perfectly balanced in its acidity and sugar, and just one of the best deals in Prosecco that you can get for $20. These guys consistently produce a go-to of mine, and I'm very happy to say...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NINO FRANCO!!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Wine Review: Le Maciarine Montecucco Rosso 2015


So just a few days ago I admitted that I had to use a backup bottle from my own collection for my review because the bottle that I had scheduled to review was corked. Well, that corked bottle was Maciarine Montecucco Sangiovese 2015. And that says nothing about that wine because corked bottles just happen. It comes with the territory.

But what does say something is the haste that they showed, after I informed them of the faulty bottle, to replace it. In no time at all I saw their Le Maciarine Montecucco Rosso 2015 at my doorstep and I was quite surprised to see it arrive so quickly. These guys are invested in their brand and their online reputation. That's a pretty valuable asset to guys like myself... if the product is good.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Wine Review: Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico 2015


Well, it's time to use one of my backup bottles because the wine that was penciled in to be reviewed today was corked. Nothing but liquid moldy basement. So this bottle of Castello di Bossi CC 2015 was a gift from a sales rep and I've just been keeping it in my wine fridge for a day like this one! Thanks, Gary!

With a history dating back to the 9th century AD, the Castello di Bossi estate has evolved with the times. A dynamic team leads the estate and never shies from technological innovation, while remaining true to the terroir of Chianti. It is this balance that has been a key part of Marco Bacci’s vision as he has brought Castello di Bossi to the highest ranks of international wine. As the mastermind of Castello di Bossi, he oversees all operations, from beginning to end, with careful attention to detail. In the last 10 years, Marco has added two properties to his holdings: Renieri in Montalcino and Terre di Talamo in the Morellino di Scansano appellation.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Wine Review: Parmoleto Montecucco Sangiovese 2015

Parmoleto Montecucco Sangiovese 2015

Parmoleto was founded in Montecucco, Italy, in 1990. Their Montecucco Sangiovese is 100% Sangiovese from vineyards 200 meters above sea level with southwest exposure and a prevalence of clay in the soil. It spent 12 months in barriques and has an ABV of 14%.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Wine Quickie: Rutherford Hill Merlot 2015


Holy crap, now THIS is a Merlot for #MerlotMe October! It's one of those wines that I could just smell all night and be completely satisfied. There's black cherries, blackberries, mocha, anise, and cinnamon. On the palate it's full bodied with a wonderfully lush mouthfeel, soft tannin, and perfectly balanced acidity. It gets a bit boozy on the finish but the juicy black cherries and strong mocha are just as big and vocal. What an excellent Napa Merlot this is, and I think I'm in love tonight!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Wine Review: Bodegas LAN Viña Lanciano Rioja Reserva 2012

Bodegas LAN Viña Lanciano Rioja Reserva 2012

Even though October is #MerlotMe month, and I have plenty of Merlot being featured as quickies, Spain dominates the full reviews on the website this month. I started with Cune Rioja Crianza 2016, then René Barbier's Com Tu 2016 and now I'm on Vińa Real Crianza 2016, and now I'm finishing up with Vińa Lanciano Rioja Reserva 2102.

Viña Lanciano is the architect of the original philosophy of our winery. Its name reflects the essence of a unique enclave and the river that embraces it in this magical place, with vestiges of ancient history, such as the remains of the Mantible bridge of Roman origin that stars in its label. Viña Lanciano condenses the philosophy and know-how of LAN since its inception.

That inception of LAN began in 1978 and the name stands for Logroño (part of La Rioja), Alava, and Navarra. The 2012 Viña Lanciano Rioja Reserva is 85% Tempranillo and 15% Mazuela.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Wine Quickie: Rutherford Hill Rosé of Merlot 2018


Oh yes, we have a rosé for #MerlotMe October! Out of Napa Valley, Rutherford Hill was founded in 1972 and was a pioneer in the development of Merlot in California. Their Rosé of Merlot is light and crisp while featuring strong white flowers and being loaded with peaches, citrus, and honey. It may be a bit overpriced but it's a damn good rosé! My wife liked it even more than I did and that earns it extra points.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Wine Review: CVNE Viña Real Rioja Crianza 2016


Even though October is #MerlotMe month, and I have plenty of Merlot being featured as quickies, Spain dominates the full reviews on the website this month. I started with Cune Rioja Crianza 2016, then René Barbier's Com Tu 2016, now I'm on Vińa Real Crianza 2016, and I'll finish up with Vińa Lanciano Rioja Reserva 2102.

The Viña Real brand was established in 1920 by CVNE (pronounced coo-nay) and also calls itself Cune, which was a label typo that stuck. Viña Real is out of the Rioja Alavesa region of Rioja, as opposed to CVNE's main label out of Rioja Alta. The name of the parent winery is actually an acronym that stands for Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España. It was founded in 1879 in Haro, Rioja and has been a leader in progressive winemaking and modernization since its inception.

The 2016 Crianza is 90% Tempranillo with the remaining 10% containing Garnacha and Mazeulo, all from the Rioja Alavesa region of Rioja. After being destemmed, the grapes are placed into stainless steel tanks to ferment as is for ten to twelve days. Once made into wine it's allowed malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels, then aged in American oak barrels for thirteen to fourteen months while being racked every five to six months. The wine has a final ABV of 13.5%.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Wine Quickie: Chelsea Goldschmidt Salmon's Leap Merlot 2017


I'm not gonna lie, I got a bit excited when I opened this package for #MerlotMe October! I've heard quite a bit about Chelsea Goldschmidt's Merlot and their Cabernet but I've never had the opportunity to try them. The 2017 Salmon's Leap Merlot is medium bodied with a lush and velvety mouthfeel and soft tannin. It's more about the red fruits than the black fruits that I was expecting, with big bold cherries, raspberries, mocha, and cinnamon. Then there's the lipsmacking and long lasting finish that has a little bit of a firey pepperiness to it. For $25 this Merlot is solid.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Wine Review: Com Tu 2016 by René Barbier



Even though October is #MerlotMe month, and I have plenty of Merlot being featured as quickies, Spain dominates the full reviews on the website this month. I started with Cune Rioja Crianza 2016, now I'm on to René Barbier's Com Tu 2016, then it'll be Vińa Real Crianza 2016, and Vińa Lanciano Rioja Reserva 2102.

Why Com tú? It is a mixture between the Barbier philosophy and mine. It is a homage to all people, it does not matter the color of their skin, their gender, whatever face or body they have, whether they have a disability or not, whether they are rich or they live hand to mouth, whether they have studies or not. The name of the wine has to remind you that we all are the same within. We all share basic needs, those make us human, those make us equal. In summary, I am like you (Com tú), you are like me.

- Anderson Barbier Meyer

Even though this is a new project for René Barbier, the Com Tu estate in Monstant, Spain, was founded in 1979 and the vines that produce this wine are 35 to 50 years old on red clay and limestone soil. It's 100% Garnatxa (AKA Garnacha and Grenache) and spent 18 months in a foudre, which is a large wooden cask. It's not often around these parts that you see a $55 bottle from this grape unless it's from Rhone Valley, so I'm very interested in seeing what's up!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Wine Quickie: Seven Hills Merlot 2016

Seven Hills Merlot 2016

Straight out of Walla Walla, this Merlot by Seven Hills is a shining example of why you need to get back on board with the varietal right now during #MerlotMe October and beyond. It's juicy and lush with beautifully concentrated fruit and soft tannin, making it both laid back with no worries yet elegantly sophisticated. It's basically Steely Dan in wine form. For descriptors there's a heavy dose of vanilla with blackberries, plums, graphite, and a little bit of licorice. It's friggin' awesome, guys. I truly believe that Washington State is producing the best Merlot in the world right now, and Seven Hills has been among my favorites for years. You have got to try it for yourself.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Wine Review: Cune Rioja Crianza 2016


Even though October is #MerlotMe month, and I have plenty of Merlot being featured as quickies, Spain dominates the full reviews on the website this month. Starting with Cune Rioja Crianza 2016, then René Barbier's Com Tu 2016, Vińa Real Crianza 2016, and Vińa Lanciano Rioja Reserva 2102.

This winery goes by both CVNE and Cune, Cune being a label typo that stuck. The name is pronounced coo-nay and it's actually an acronym that stands for Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España. It was founded in 1879 in Haro, Rioja and has been a leader in progressive winemaking and modernization since its inception.

The 2016 Rioja Crianza is 85% Tempranillo and 15% Garnacha. My tech sheet is entirely in Spanish and I failed Spanish every single year in school and I have no idea what the hell is going on right now. But the tipo de bitella is bordelesa! That's cool, right? RIGHT? Somebody please tell me that's all right!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Wine Quickie: Bonterra Merlot 2017


Looking to spend $12-$13 on a Merlot? This is where I would be taking you first, because Bonterra year in and year out makes a Merlot that is everything that you want out of the varietal. It's medium bodied and wonderfully lush in mouthfeel. And it's loaded with blackberries, blueberries, plums, cinnamon, vanilla, and cedar. It truly is a prime example of varietal correctness for Merlot and one of the best in its price range.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Wine Review: Kalfu Kuda Pinot Noir 2017


Kalfu means "blue" in the language of the Mapuche, the indigenous inhabitants of Chile, and for the Mapuche, Kalfu is synonymous with the magnificent Pacific Ocean that borders Chile's western coastline. A coastline blessed with an exceptional cool climate, constant refreshing breezes and early morning fogs that enforce a slow, steady ripening period for grapes, helping to create balanced, elegant wines. Kalfu is produced in Chile by Ventisquero, a winery dedicated to creating outstanding wines in a sustainable fashion.

I'm reviewing two wines by Kalfu this week. I already reviewed the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc on Thursday and now it's time for the 2017 Pinot Noir. For some reason Chilean Pinot Noir isn't really something you see much of around here, unless it's the lesser quality stuff. But this one isn't a $7.99 magnum or a 2 for $12 deal; it'll will run you $19 in a standard bottle.

This is 100% Pinot Noir from the granitic clay soil of the Las Terrazas Vineyard in Leyda Valley, Chile. The grapes were harvested early in the morning of March 20th to 23rd, were further selected and destemmed, underwent cold fermentation for 7-10 days, and saw fermentation in stainless steel tanks at 12°C and 15°C. Then 100% of the wine spent 12 months in French oak (10% new, 20% in second use, and 70% in third or fourth use). It has a 14% ABV.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Wine Quickie: Casillero del Diablo Reserva Merlot 2018


October is #MerlotMe month and today I've got the first of a bunch of Merlot quickies! Casillero del Diablo by Concha y Toro is always just solid and reliable for the price, and that's what you should expect out of this Merlot. It's medium bodied with a lush mouthfeel, moderate acidity, and soft tannin. There's nose and palate descriptors of plums, blackberries, a little bit of cherry, and toasty oak. It beats the hell out of some other $10 Merlots that I know, which shall remain nameless!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Wine Review: Kalfu Kuda Sauvignon Blanc 2018


Kalfu means "blue" in the language of the Mapuche, the indigenous inhabitants of Chile, and for the Mapuche, Kalfu is synonymous with the magnificent Pacific Ocean that borders Chile's western coastline. A coastline blessed with an exceptional cool climate, constant refreshing breezes and early morning fogs that enforce a slow, steady ripening period for grapes, helping to create balanced, elegant wines. Kalfu is produced in Chile by Ventisquero, a winery dedicated to creating outstanding wines in a sustainable fashion.

I'm reviewing two wines by Kalfu this week. Today it's the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc and then on Sunday it's the 2017 Pinot Noir. I feel like it's been awhile since I've reviewed a wine from Chile. Lots of French and Italian stuff lately, and a bunch of Spanish stuff coming up. You know what I don't do a lot of reviews for? South Africa and Australia. I need to see if that can be remedied.

Anyways, this is 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the granitic clay soil of the Las Terrazas Vineyard in Leyda Valley, Chile. The grapes were harvested early in the morning on March 19th, were further selected and destemmed, underwent cold fermentation for 12-14 hours, and saw fermentation in stainless steel tanks at 12°C and 15°C. Then it saw three months on the lees with plenty of gentle battonage. It has an ABV of 12.5%

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Larkmead Vineyards to plant viticultural research block in Napa Valley

Historic Family-Owned Estate Prepares for Future of Napa Valley Viticulture and Climate Change

Image result for larkmeadPRESS RELEASE - Napa, Calif. -  Larkmead Vineyards, celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2020, announced today the planting of a Research Block in preparation for the next 125 years of Napa Valley viticulture. The Research Block will be located at the Larkmead estate in Calistoga and will host several different grape varieties, clones, and rootstocks for trial purposes as Napa Valley’s climate changes.

Founded in 1895, Larkmead has a long history of research and clonal trials. Dr. Harold Olmo of UC Davis, one of the most influential viticulturists of the 20th century, established a clonal station at the Larkmead estate in the 1940s, where he developed the widely-planted Cabernet Sauvignon clone FPS 02. Commonly known as the “Oakville selection,” this clone was fundamental in establishing Cabernet Sauvignon as California’s signature grape variety. However, with the reality of onset climate change, Larkmead is preparing for the future of viticulture by dedicating three acres of their 110-acre estate to plant grape varieties that could be better suited to increasing average temperatures.

“As stewards of this incredible estate, it is our responsibility to protect the land and preserve its ability to produce quality wines for future generations,” said proprietor Cam Baker. “Today we continue to grow some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley, but we are also preparing for tomorrow by establishing a Research Block on the estate.” The Research Block is being spearheaded by lauded winemaker Dan Petroski and viticulturist Kelly Maher, and will be supervised by vineyard manager Nabor Camarena. The three-acre plot will be planted to multiple heritage varieties including Chenin Blanc, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel, alongside new world, Mediterranean varieties such as Aglianico, Tempranillo, and Touriga Nacional.

Image result for larkmeadWinemaker Dan Petroski commented, “Climate change is very real and already affects vintners around the world. The fact is, Cabernet Sauvignon may no longer be well-suited to Napa Valley’s climate in twenty to thirty years. As one of the world’s top wine regions, we need to research and plan for inevitable warmer temperatures. Napa Valley will continue to lead the way in research and sustainability and we are carrying on the legacy of experimentation and trial here at Larkmead.”

With its long and rich history, Larkmead has played a fundamental role in the transformation of Napa Valley into one of the preeminent wine regions in the world. First established in 1895, Larkmead Vineyards has been in the hands of the same family since 1948. Current proprietors Cam Baker and Kate Solari Baker have worked in recent years to fine-tune Larkmead’s viticultural and cellar techniques to most accurately express the vineyard’s voice. Winemaker Dan Petroski captures the nuance and complexity of the 110-acre site by vinifying small lots according to clonal selection and soil type. Petroski was named the San Francisco Chronicle’s Winemaker of the Year in 2017.

Image result for larkmeadThe Research Block is Larkmead’s next step in the estate’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and biodiversity. “In order to determine the best path forward for the future and for our unique climate and terroir, we need to continue to experiment,” said Viticulturist Kelly Maher. We’re planning on testing different varieties, rootstocks, cover crops, and more. The goal is to have more biodiversity and climate resilient vineyards while continuing to produce better and better wines.”

Beyond the Research Block, Larkmead will continue to lead the conversation surrounding climate change and its effects on the global wine industry through a series of events at the estate. Hosted by winemaker Dan Petroski, these “Salons at Larkmead” are discussion-based forums for fellow winemakers, industry leaders, and journalists shaping the narrative on climate change and wine.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

October Wine Pick: Benziger Merlot 2016


October is #MerlotMe month so expect a lot of Merlot all over the internet for the next 31 days. I'll be dropping Merlot quickies here and there but for full rated reviews I've got a two wines from Chile, three from Spain, and two from Monteccuco, Italy.

Wine Bloggers Off-Topic #4 will be coming out two weeks from today and the topic is your most favorite building in the world, so if you want to participate then contact me. What's my monthly article going to be about? Merlot, of course! If I had to pick one varietal to drink for the rest of my life it would be Merlot, and I can't wait to write all about it.

And because it's #MerlotMe month, my wine pick for October is my go-to suggestion every year for people looking for a Merlot in the most common price range for consumers: Benziger Merlot.

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