Snooth - Articles Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Fri, 01 Jul 2016 11:20:41 -0400 Fri, 01 Jul 2016 11:20:41 -0400 Snooth When You Run Out of Wine: Rum for a Change Gabe Sasso <p>Have you discovered the joys of sipping your rum neat, or are you only mixing it into cocktails? Both are certainly delicious ways to enjoy rum. However if you&rsquo;re not yet familiar with expressions that can be sipped much like one would scotch you&rsquo;re missing out. I recently returned from spending some time in Venezuela visiting Diplom&aacute;tico, one of the world&rsquo;s leading rum producers. Over a few days I toured their production facility and farm where they grow sugar cane. In addition to making delicious, world class expressions of rum, Diplom&aacute;tico is also doing things the right way. Some producers doctor their rum and what ends up in the bottle isn&rsquo;t a pure expression, this isn&rsquo;t the case with Diplom&aacute;tico. On top of that their farm and distillery are run sustainably. All of the waste from turning sugar cane into rum is treated and turned back into the field as a fertilizer. They even share the treated waste with neighbor farms. Diplom&aacute;tico also supplies the power to run their facilities. Other spirits are produced on the property as well, but the lineup of rums is the core of their operation.<br /> During my time in Venezuela I drank cocktails of all sorts and tasted each of their rums neat as well. I did this both with and without food; their rums work well in each setting. The highlight, for me, of a wonderful time in Venezuela was a side by side of their four sipping rums. Tasting these along with their Master Blender Tito Cordero was eye-opening, educational and a great pleasure.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Diplom&aacute;tico Reserva ($24.99)</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This is the entry level offering in Diplom&aacute;tico&rsquo;s quartet of sipping rums. Black fig and subtle bits of banana appear on the nose. Toasted hazelnut, dates, and a pure blast of molasses fill out the lovely palate. Vanilla bean, roasted coffee and dried plum flavors are evident on the above average finish. &nbsp;There are very few rums on the market that can compete on price and quality here. It&rsquo;s inexpensive enough that you won&rsquo;t mind blending it into cocktails and refined enough to sip neat</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Diplom&aacute;tico Reserva Exclusiva ($39.99)</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Vanilla, hints of cr&egrave;me fraiche and orange peel are all evident on the nose. Mission fig, dates, maple syrup and more are all part of the palate which is deep, layered and loaded with wave after wave of refined flavors. Hints of chocolate sauce, salinity, and fruitcake spices are all present on the lengthy finish. This rum represents the heart and soul of Diplom&aacute;tico. It&rsquo;s their largest production, most widely available rum and most stunning value. There are many sipping rums on the market in the same price range as Reserva Exclusiva, but none match the value it delivers. &nbsp;If you want to blow away your spirits loving friends pour them this rum from Diplom&aacute;tico. The aromas and flavors will knock them out; when they hear the price they&rsquo;ll run out and buy a bottle or two. This has the taste of luxury without the associated price tag. Put another way this is the best combination of quality, flavor and value in sipping rum available on liquor store shelves. Pour this and everyone will assume you&rsquo;re a liquor slinging genius.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Diplom&aacute;tico 2002 Single Vintage Rum ($114.99)</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This unique expression is made entirely from sugar cane harvested in a single year. Apricot aromas dominate the nose with bits of smoke in evidence as well. The generous palate is dotted with toffee, dark chocolate, black tea and dried white fig flavors. Salted caramel, marzipan, spice notes, and bits of taffy are evident on the impressively long finish. There&rsquo;s a nice bite and fantastic structure here that provides a bit of heft and additional depth and complexity. Once again there are many examples of rum available in the same general price point; some of them are quite nice. However the Diplom&aacute;tico Single Vintage outclasses them. In addition to the 2002 I also sampled the 1997 and the 2001. It&rsquo;s clear that it&rsquo;s not only fantastic rum, but it&rsquo;s also improved each time out. The leap from the 1997 to the 2001 is remarkable. The shift upward from 2001 to 2002 is far more subtle but palpable nonetheless.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Diplom&aacute;tico Ambassador ($294.99)</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The top expression in the Diplom&aacute;tico range is produced exclusively from copper pot still distillate. Aromas of fresh cut wheat and mulled fruit fill the intricate and welcoming nose. Toasty oak, golden raisins, chocolate and wisps of black tea are in in play on the profound and impossibly dense palate. References to Tawny Port, toasted hazelnuts and a copious array of spices line the prodigious finish. Simply put this is the best Rum that has ever touched my lips. From the first whiff to the last sip everything about Ambassador is remarkably impressive. This is a rum you&rsquo;ll want to share with your closest friends, sipping it over a long purposeful night as you contemplate its many intricacies and flavors. It would be impossible for me to overstate how complex, delicious and worth analysis Ambassador is. Strive to get your hands on a bottle; you&rsquo;ll be happy you did.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Reserva is multi-purpose rum; perfectly suitable sipped need (particularly with a twist of orange zest and an ice cube, but it&rsquo;s priced to work in cocktails too. &nbsp;At right around $30, if you shop around, the Reserva Exclusiva is the steal of the lineup. It not only knocks a lot of other similarly priced rums out of the water on quality and value, it also compares favorably from a value perspective to whiskey. You simply aren&rsquo;t getting nearly that level of quality in whiskies anywhere near these prices. The Single Vintage and Ambassador are bench mark rums whose quality and level of sophistication and expression other producers should be clamoring to achieve. Kudos to Diplom&aacute;tico for making such terrific expressions of Venezuelan rum that set the bar for other to emulate. Raise the stakes of your home bar by adding one or more of their offerings to your collection.</div><br /> </p> Fri, 17 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6815 New World Wine Secrets: Murrieta’s Well Snooth Editorial <p>California&rsquo;s Livermore Valley is entwined with the legacy of winemaking genius Carl H. Wente. He was among the first to harness Livermore&rsquo;s unique geographical orientation and terroir for quality grape growing and winemaking. The region and its gravely soils run from east to west; an exceptional position that draws bay breezes and fog in a direct path to the shore. What would otherwise be overwhelming warmth in the valley is tempered and cooled by these conditions. It&rsquo;s a phenomenon that nearby north to south-oriented regions cannot experience. Today, over one hundred and thirty years since Carl Wente&rsquo;s arrival in Livermore, his legacy lives on through the talents of his kith and kin. But generations of winemaking genius don&rsquo;t stop at the Wente label.&nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Murrieta&rsquo;s Well is one of California&rsquo;s best kept wine secrets. The estate winery&rsquo;s name honors Joaquin Murrieta, a miner in the California gold rush who discovered the property in the late 1800s. The vineyard area was first planted in 1884 with cuttings from Chateau d&rsquo;Yquem and Chateau Margaux, bridging the gap between the Old and New Worlds. It was purchased by the Wente family in 1930, and revitalized by fourth generation winegrower Phillip Wente in 1990 with a view toward crafting fine blends from small parcels of vineyard land. Decorated winemaker Robbie Meyer came to Murrieta&rsquo;s Well in 2015. With nineteen vintages under his belt and over one hundred 90+ point wines to his name, small block harvesting and superior blending are some of Robbie&rsquo;s specialties. His small-production blends clearly showcase a subtly powerful and elegant winemaking prowess. Grapes are carefully selected from each block on Murrieta&rsquo;s five hundred acre parcel. Every parcel is thoughtfully considered for inclusion in each blend. And like any feat of complex construction, Robbie builds his blends block by block.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Wines from Murrieta&rsquo;s Well are fashioned from tried and true vineyards by a modern craftsman in the spirit of Livermore Valley&rsquo;s California heritage. What&rsquo;s more: it&rsquo;s a time of great celebration at the estate! Stay tuned for more details on Snooth in the coming weeks. Until then, try some of the wine. These two signature blends are available nationwide at an incredible value.</div><br /> <br /> <a href=""><strong>Murrieta&rsquo;s Well The Whip White Wine Blend Livermore Valley 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> Beautiful floral nose of orange blossom, hints of tea leaf and honeysuckle with good fruit character of green apple. Tangerine and grapefruit flavors coming through on the palate with ripe peach and zesty minerality towards the finish. Fun and approachable.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Murrieta&rsquo;s Well The Spur Red Wine Blend Livermore Valley 2013</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Touched on the nose with spiced blackberry and black cherry, a bit of earth and red licorice. Ripe cherry and mixed berry flavors in the mouth with a spice box character, beautifully earthy and approachable and refreshing, with full acidity and well integrated tannins, and a touch of blueberry and a clay note on the finish.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>A sneak peek at two of Robbie&rsquo;s small lot selections, only available at the estate in limited quantities:&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Murrieta&rsquo;s Well Chardonnay Small Lot Livermore Valley 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Rich green apple and honeyed notes of pear, peach and dried apricot with a touch of sweet spice on the nose. This has plenty of character in the mouth but is nicely medium bodied with soft baked apple and pear notes, creamy vanilla frosting towards the finish which turns slightly zesty with hints of lemon meringue.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Murrieta&rsquo;s Well Cabernet Sauvignon Small Lot Livermore Valley 2013</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Molasses and dark plum aromas with hints of dried dates, cinnamon and blackberry. Gripping tannins in the mouth with zesty baking spice, full blown acidity brightening the palate, a touch herbal coming through the middle and bringing some cocoa and cassis in towards the finish that mixes in some ripe blackberry and black cherry.</div><br /> </p> Fri, 10 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6812 There is Nothing Bourgeois about Cru Bourgeois Jeff Kralik <p>I did not really know much about wine when I started my junior year abroad studying in Strasbourg, France. At the time I was far more worried about the inebriating effect of wine than I was about aromas of pear skin or tayberry jam. In fact, I was more of a beer guy then, and I can recall several instances when a group of us would stop by the gas station in town to pick up a few liters of Kronenbourg, which was brewed right there in Alsace (to this day, you can buy alcohol in most gas stations in France, which must not help recent efforts to curb drunk driving).<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I lived with a French family that year and my French mother did her best to rid me of my rather pedestrian penchant for pilsners and replace it with a much more virtuous veneration for the vine (particularly those from France). She was clearly successful for the most part with one notable exception: Bordeaux.<br /><br /> <br /> From the beginning, I was not much of a Bordeaux fan, preferring instead the wines of Burgundy, which my French mother attributed to youthful ignorance. She claimed that most young people prefer Burgundy, but as their tastes &ldquo;matured&rdquo; and become refined, they invariably changed their preference to Bordeaux.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> My French mother said a lot of crazy things, but at the time I thought this may have been near the top (in retrospect, she was a xenophobe and a racist so this was rather tame in comparison). Part of the reason that I was no fan of Bordeaux was that even though there were myriad classifications, it remained difficult to find decent wine without having to take out additional student loans.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Back in 1855, Napol&eacute;on III called for a classification of the top Bordeaux producers and, for the most part, it has remained unchanged (despite clear changes in quality--both up and down--over that time). Since then, there have been other classifications in St. &Eacute;milion and Graves, the former of which being fraught with contentious reclassifications and legal challenges.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> No classification, however, has had a more colorful history than Cru Bourgeois. When I first learned of the classification, I thought of it as rather odd--I had most often heard the word &ldquo;bourgeois&rdquo; used as almost an insult, meaning to demean someone as having a &quot;middle-class&rdquo; small-mindedness approach to life (in fact, I always thought of the classic play by Moli&egrave;re, Le bourgeois gentihomme, which certainly did not maintain that being &quot;bourgeois&quot; was a good thing).</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> In fact, &ldquo;bourgeois&rdquo; simply means &quot;of the bourg&quot; or &ldquo;of the town&quot; and in the case of Cru Bourgeois it indicates that the wines are accessible for the masses (i.e., not ridiculously expensive).</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The classification was initially drawn up in 1932 and included 444 Ch&acirc;teaux. It remained unchanged until 2000 when there was an attempt to reclassify the wines. And close to 500 Ch&acirc;teaux applied for the classification. After three years of work, just about half of the applicants were accepted and they were classified into three tiers: Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel, Cru Bourgeois Superieur, and Crus Bourgeois.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> In true French fashion, however, those that felt slighted by the new classification sued, and in 2007, the entire system was scrapped. Those pesky Bordelais did not relent, though, and in 2010 introduced Cru Bourgeois not as a classification, but a mark of quality (and thus somehow skirting, at least for now, legal challenges). All wines from the M&eacute;doc could apply to have their wines judged by an independent body based on production and quality standards. 290 wines from the 2008 vintage were submitted in 2010 and 243 were accepted.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> It remains to be seen if this new approach to Cru Bourgeois will stand, but for now, it does seem to provide the consumer with some guidance when trying to find a quality Bordeaux wine at a reasonable price. I recently tried the following Cru Bourgeois wines, all of which would be welcomed on my table any time.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2009 Ch&acirc;teau Haut Grignon Grande R&eacute;serve M&eacute;doc</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Retail $25. 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot. This wine is not labeled as a &ldquo;Cru Bourgeois&rdquo; on the label, but it has been a Cru Bourgeois since the 2013 vintage. Black cherry and blackberry exude from the deep violet wine along with earth and a touch of forrest floor. Fairly rich on the palate, with great red fruit and richness and it finishes with considerable backbone and tannic structure. This easily has another 4-6 years ahead of it (perhaps more) but it is lovely right now. Outstanding. <strong>89-91 Points.</strong></em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2009 Ch&acirc;teau Haut-Logat Haut-M&eacute;doc Cru Bourgeois</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Retail $22. 45% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc. Deep purple color with a bit of blackberry wafting out of the glass along with a touch of balsamic, but really, even after open a few hours, the wine was rather muted. A different story on the palate with more expressive fruit and depth all the way through to the finish. More proof that the pundits just might have been right about the 2009 vintage. <strong>Outstanding. 90-92 Points.</strong></em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Ch&acirc;teau Larose Perganson Haut-M&eacute;doc Cru Bourgeois&nbsp;</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Retail $20. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot. 2012 is not regarded as an incredible vintage, but rather a &quot;classic&quot; one, meaning that this vintage is more typical than most. Inky dark in the glass with plenty of cassis, blackberry, and anise on the nose. An interesting wine as there is plenty of fruit, but it is also reserved and even a bit austere. When I have a bottle of wine like this, I kick myself for not drinking more Bordeaux. <strong>Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.</strong></em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Ch&acirc;teau Saransot-Dupr&eacute; Listrac-M&eacute;doc Cru Bourgeois</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Retail $22. Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carm&eacute;n&egrave;re, Merlot, Petit Verdot. A blend of all the classic Bordeaux varieties, with perhaps the most vegetal nose of the quartet, from the least remarkable vintage of the lot. It seems as though U.S. wineries strive to rid their wines of that green pepper on the nose, but I am not entirely sure why, as I feel it aids in the pairing of food. There is also a host of other sensations: black pepper, red berries, and some anise. On the palate, there is fruit, but it is in the second row behind the acidity and the earthiness. You might want to gulp down this wine, but with a shade more introspection, you will be rewarded. <strong>Very Good. 87-89 Points.</strong></em></div><br /> </p> Fri, 10 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6802 The Great Wine Grapes of Austria Snooth Editorial <p>It&rsquo;s not shocking to imagine that one of the most overlooked wine regions would also be home to some of the most unnoticed wine grapes. While there is much to say about the wines of Austria, this examination will focus on a handful of the lesser-known Austrian white grape varieties sure to excite white wine lovers everywhere. There&rsquo;s a chance you&rsquo;ve never heard of or tasted some of these grapes, yet each one has a presence in the US market. Austria has built its positive reputation on Gr&uuml;ner Veltliner, the country&rsquo;s most widely planted grape. Austrian Riesling is another fan favorite. These two outstanding varietal interpretations have distracted us from Austria&rsquo;s extensive portfolio of white wines made from underrated &ndash; and underpriced &ndash; white wine grapes. They&rsquo;re not household names just yet, but surely will kindle your curiosity. Read, consider, and secure yourself an outstanding value from your local retailer. Availability and demand suggest it&rsquo;s only a matter of time before these Austrian grapes saturate the wine scene. &nbsp;<br /> </p> Wed, 01 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6799 The Ultimate Cookie & Wine Pairing Guide Snooth Editorial <p>You&rsquo;ve been down this crumb-lined road before. Pairing cookies and wine is not a unique endeavor, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean it&rsquo;s an easy one. Sweet wines are an obvious choice, but you&rsquo;ll need to make sure that the sweetness is equal to or greater than that of your chosen treat. The truly intrepid will choose a dry wine, perhaps even a red one. Fruit notes in the wine should be preserved, if not amplified, while acidity must be muted. Pairing wine with savory dishes is a piece of cake, so to speak, compared to pairing wine with sweets. Furthermore, palates and preferences swing like a pendulum. It&rsquo;s a fact of humanity which renders the objectively perfect wine pairing nearly impossible. The goal is to find something that works for the majority of people, most of time. This month, the web&rsquo;s top wine writers are pulling out their best wine pairing skills. Not only will they reveal their favorite cookie, but also share its perfect pairing wine.&nbsp;<br /> </p> Thu, 26 May 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6796 The Barolo Wine Wars Have Begun John Downes <p>Barolo may be Italy&rsquo;s most famous red but surprisingly it hails from a very small vineyard region. Tucked into the top northwest corner, just south of the medieval town of Alba in the heart the Langhe region of Piemonte, it&rsquo;s barely 8 kilometres wide. The vineyards are breathtaking. The snowcapped Alps form a distant backdrop to a series of hillsides and valleys above the Tanaro river that produce complicated microclimates; by the end of the day dramatic shadow patterns pass over the vineyards blessing the top sites with those all important extra hours of sunshine. The climate is continental, with extended summers and autumns enabling the fickle Nebbiolo grape to achieve sunny ripeness. Tip; avoid Piemonte&rsquo;s brass monkey winter! Barolo is produced from 100% Nebbiolo in eleven communes where generally two soil types rule, namely sandy marls found in the communes of Barolo, La Morra, Cherasco, Verduno, Novello, Roddi and parts of Castiglione Falletto and older sandstone clays that give the remaining four communes of Monforte d&#39;Alba, Serralunga d&#39;Alba, Diano d&#39;Alba and Grinzane Cavour a muscular, tannic style. That said, all top traditionally made Barolos hold onto their classic notes of tar, violets and black cherry backed by mouth- puckering tannins, crisp mouth-watering acidity and mouth-filling alcohol. Italians proudly make their wines to match their amazing food so with this traditionally powerful fruit-tannin-acid balance you can see why they call Barolo the &lsquo;king of wines&rsquo;.&nbsp;<br /> For my anorak readers around the world, an informal &lsquo;cru&rsquo; vineyard status exists amongst the winemakers (pioneered by La Morra winemaker Renate Ratti), so look out for Cannubi, Sarmazza, Brunate, Cerequi, Rocche, Monprivato, Villero, Lazzarito, Vigna Rionda, Bussia, Ginestra and Santo Stefano di Perno on the label. A great way to see the region is to follow the &lsquo;vineyard road&rsquo; as it winds its way through these top Johnny vineyards taking in imposing ancient hill-top castles at every turn. You soon realise that almost every wine village is perched on its own hill!&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Italian wine laws (D.O.C.G regulations) say that Barolo must be 3 years old before bottling, two of them in chestnut or oak; for the &lsquo;Riserva&rsquo; and &lsquo;Riserva Speciale&rsquo; titles, it&rsquo;s four and five years ageing respectively. During a visit to Alba back in the early noughties I tasted the latest Barolo releases&hellip;..shock-horror! These weren&rsquo;t the Barolos I&rsquo;d grown to love. New French oak suddenly appeared on the scene to give untypical in-ya-face toasty vanilla flavours to these classic wines. I didn&rsquo;t realise at the time but the &lsquo;Barolo Wars&rsquo; had begun. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Things are changing but the war still rages, a Titanic battle between the Traditionalists and the Modernists. The former always have, and always will, age their wines for lengthy periods (some incredibly for 40-50 days) in large wooden vats (botti). The Modernists, on the other hand, go for shiny, temperature controlled stainless steel vats with shorter fermentation periods giving less tannin extraction; 12 months or so ageing in French oak barriques, adds &lsquo;untraditional&rsquo; toasty vanilla flavours to tasting notes.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The latest from the &lsquo;war front&rsquo; is that the two sides are moving towards each other even though they remain far apart; the &lsquo;old boys&rsquo; are ageing for shorter (although still lengthy) periods to retain more fruit whilst the &lsquo;new kids&rsquo; are using fewer new oak barrels thus reducing the toasty vanilla fruit explosions.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> You pays your money and takes your choice but be careful, no matter what style you prefer Barolo doesn&rsquo;t come cheap. You&rsquo;ll need to spend at least &pound;25 ($50) and even then you can be disappointed. The moral of the story? Know the winemakers and which side they&rsquo;re fighting on. Some producers to look out for are Burlotto (Traditionalist), Cavallotto (T), Paolo Conterno (T), Fantino Conterno (Modernist), Mascarello (T), Renato Ratti (T), Rinaldi (T), Rivetti, Reverdito (T), San Biagio (T), Sandrone (M), Scavino (M), Vietti (T) and Veorzio (M).&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I can&rsquo;t sit on the fence I&rsquo;m afraid&hellip;&hellip;I&rsquo;m a traditionalist, although that said, I&rsquo;m not a fan of Barolo that&rsquo;s lost its fruit languishing in a large vat for weeks on end. So, traditionalists that have taken a touch of modernism onboard get my vote. Why not crack open one bottle of &lsquo;T&rsquo; and a bottle of &lsquo;M&rsquo; with friends this weekend; you&rsquo;ll have a wonderful time comparing these classics and who knows, you could end up as a war correspondent.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 340 Masters of &nbsp;Wine in the world is a corporate entertainer, speaker, television and radio broadcaster and writer on wine. Check out John&rsquo;s website at <a href=""></a>. Follow him on Twitter <a href="">@JOHNDOWNESMW</a></em></div><br /> </p> Wed, 18 May 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6806 The Best Ribera and Rueda Wine Pairings in the World Snooth Editorial <p>Don&rsquo;t let anyone fool you: Perfect wine pairings do exist, but you must be mindful of the wine&rsquo;s geography, terroir, and character. Strong indigenous grapes, ideal climate and potent soils make for amazing palate possibilities. The yin and yang of wine regions, Ribera del Duero and Rueda, create the perfect opportunity for stellar food pairings at every kind of meal &ndash; from happy hour tapas to a steakhouse dinner. Meet your ideal mealtime companions: Rueda whites from the Verdejo grape, and Ribera reds made from the Tempranillo grape. Rueda whites put a swing in your step with unmatched acidity and mineral tones. Ribera reds embolden courses with their luscious tannins, smoky richness, and damson fruit flavors. These wines will enhance the perception of your plate&rsquo;s sugars, salts, and acids to create an otherworldly dining and drinking experience. Read on for some of our favorite bottles from both regions and pairing suggestions, recipes included. See you at the table!<br /> </p> Tue, 17 May 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6805 Thinking Pink: The Intricacies of Making Rosé Nova McCune Cadamatre <p>It&rsquo;s summer. The weather is warm and if you are like me, your thoughts are turning to more white wines rather than the hearty reds of winter. There is one style which is making a statement this season however and that is Ros&eacute;. It&rsquo;s a beautiful mix of the lightness of a white wine with a bit of classy structure hinting of its origins as red wine grapes. In Provence, one of the world&rsquo;s foremost Ros&eacute; producing regions, exports to the US have risen for 12 straight years with rapid growth in 2015 according to the Wines of Provence organization. The sales data from Nielsen also confirms that rose sales have risen not only in volume by over 50% but value as well over 60% for imported Roses. However, the love of Rose is not just a US phenomenon. Approximately 9% of all wine sold in the UK are ros&eacute; wines as well, surprisingly over half of which originate from the US! According to the Drinks Business, over the past 12 years global ros&eacute; consumption has increased 20%!<br /><br /> <br /> Much of this increase arises from ros&eacute;&rsquo;s easy to drink style and ability to so seamlessly pair with foods which require more structure than whites but a lighter body than a red would provide. It also stems from the &ldquo;pink is for women&rdquo; stigma finally being shed as dry ros&eacute;s are being seen as serious wines beyond the sweeter blush styles popular in the 1980s and 90s. So how does Ros&eacute; manage to bridge the worlds between white and red so successfully? The answer lies in several different winemaking techniques, each with their own result which can be used independently or together to achieve a desired style of Ros&eacute;. There are three main ways to make ros&eacute;; Skin Contact and Pressing, Saign&eacute;e, and Blending. &nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Skin Contact and Pressing</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This method is unique because the sole purpose of this method is to make ros&eacute;. Unlike Saign&eacute;e which has some side benefits, this method is employed when a winemaker wants to completely control the amount of structure and color in the ros&eacute; to the fullest. It starts by selecting the desired grape variety. In the south of France, such as Tavel this would be Cinsaut or Grenache. In Spain, it would be Garnacha perhaps with some Tempranillo. In the Loire, Cabernet Franc or Pinot Noir may be employed while in the New World, the entire world of reds are open for experimentation. The next step would be to decide how much color and structure to extract from the skins once the fruit is crushed. Often, this is done right in the press with the skins remaining in contact with the juice from 4 hours to as much as 48. Winemakers then sample the juice to determine the color extraction and texture of the tannins before making a pressing decision. After pressing, the juice is treated like a white wine, meaning that it is settled and racked clean of solids at which point it is put into fermentation. Usually the fermentation temperature is on the cooler side to keep the bright fruity aromas from escaping out of the tank during the process. After that, the wine is stabilized, clarified and put to bottle usually quite early in the year. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Saign&eacute;e</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Saign&eacute;e (pronounced Sin-yay) is French meaning &ldquo;Bleeding&rdquo;. In this method, ros&eacute; is usually a side benefit of making a red wine. Many winemakers use the process of Saign&eacute;e to concentrate color, flavor, and tannins in a red wine by bleeding off juice. This reduces the skin to juice ratio in the fermentor and allows for a more intense and robust red. The resulting ros&eacute; can be quite light in color and it usually has minimal tannin extract from the skins since it is completed so early in the process, within a few hours of crushing the fruit. &nbsp;Because of this, blending different saignee wines is very important to create a final and holistic ros&eacute; which will stand on its own. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Blending</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Blending to make a ros&eacute; is when a white and a red wine are blended together to make a ros&eacute; wine. The resulting wine can be made in many different styles to suit many tastes and can be combined with the techniques above to layer in complexity and balance in the finished wine. It should be noted, however that blending to make ros&eacute; is not allowed in Europe outside of Ros&eacute; Champagne so this method is primarily employed in New World regions. Blending in additional red wine with skin contact or saignee rose would add additional structure, body, and color while blending in a white wine will reduce color and structure while adding aromatic fruit lift and palate freshness. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> By using one or more of these techniques, winemakers can change the style of their ros&eacute; to create their own unique statement. From pale salmon to deep rose and light and fresh to serious and structured, there is a ros&eacute; style for every occasion and particular palate. Luckily for all of us, we are just now entering the ros&eacute; season and there are plenty to choose from.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Originally from Greer, South Carolina, Nova McCune Cadamatre moved to New York to pursue Horticulture after what began as a research paper on grapevine diseases at SUNY Morrisville turned into a love of wines and vines. Her career started in Pennsylvania where she gained experience with cool climate varietals and traditional method sparkling wine. After moving to the Finger Lakes region of New York she refined her winemaking skills, both as Winemaker&rsquo;s Assistant at the Thirsty Owl Wine Company and as a Viticulture student at Cornell University. After becoming one of the first graduates of Cornell&rsquo;s Viticulture and Enology program in 2006, she moved to California to assume several winemaking roles, gaining diverse experiences in both table and sparkling wines from all areas of California most recently as the red winemaker for Robert Mondavi Winery in the renowned Napa Valley. She has furthered her knowledge through London&rsquo;s Wine and Spirit Education Trust with an Advanced Certificate in 2007, the Diploma gained in 2010, and is currently pursuing the Master of Wine Certification.Currently, Cadamatre lives in the Finger Lakes, NY with her family where she works as a Winemaker and continues her weekly blog at&nbsp;<a href=""><strong></strong></a>.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> </p> Tue, 10 May 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6801 Australian Riesling: No One Formula for a Great Wine Cathrine Todd <p>Those who know Riesling intimately, and drink it often, can argue that the top Rieslings are some of the greatest white wines in the world. It is interesting to think about its greatness in comparison to another top white variety &ndash; Chardonnay. Chardonnay is a chameleon, having a great affinity for expressing winemaking techniques and terroir while never having a distinct varietal dominance on the nose. Alternatively, no matter where it is grown, how it is vinified, be it sweet, dry or sparkling, Riesling will always let you know, to some degree, that it is there. Germany is Riesling&rsquo;s traditional home, and over the past decade German Rieslings have made a name for themselves in top wine drinking cities, such as New York City and London, among wine drinkers who do not mind tackling the complicated German wine classification system. The wines can be delicate with little extract, sweet palate, low alcohol and have a mineral driven nose such as found in the Mosel; or they can be big, textured with moderate alcohol and honey and ripe peach flavors as found in the Pfalz. There are the great Riesling sweet wines of Germany that make viscous wines at high sugar levels, such as their Eiswein (Ice Wine), displaying pristine tropical fruit, and their TBA (Trockenbeerenauslese), showing dried fruit flavors and spice that hints to the noble rot.<br /> At one time it was common for German Rieslings to be fermented in large oval casks (called Fuder) which helped to soften the harsh acidity and restrain the pronounced aromatics. As pure fruit flavors became more popular, German winemakers decided to use more protective practices with stainless steel. But what is interesting is that it seems winemakers are starting to go back to using Fuder, or have decided to use smaller barrels (such as barriques) while adding lees stirring (battonage) to their practices. These practices, with barrels, help to restrain the fruit flavors and soften the incredibly high acidity, which gives German Riesling an intense energy and ageability that makes these wines very exciting. Many consider German Riesling as the benchmark to judge all other styles around the world.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>A New Hope for Riesling in the New World</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Even though German Riesling has already established a niche following in major cities in the US, Riesling in general has just started to gain a wider acceptance due to US production of the variety.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> California has had mediocre success with off-dry Riesling. Oregon has a more suitable climate, but they have placed more focus on other varieties. In Washington State, Chateau Ste. Michelle has been championing Riesling for 40 years, and they formed a partnership with Dr. Loosen, from the Mosel, Germany, to make their Eroica Riesling series. But there is no other place in the US that is placing the majority of their focus on Riesling like New York&rsquo;s Finger Lakes.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Most winemakers in the Finger Lakes agree that the main variety they can count on is Riesling. Riesling is known as a hearty variety that can survive the toughest winters, and it can even thrive in extremely cold environments.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Finger Lakes&rsquo; winemakers will ferment their wines at low temperatures in stainless steel creating wines that give pretty, fruit flavors. The Finger Lakes produce Rieslings with crisp acidity and a very light body. They will range from dry to sweet and everything in between. These wines represent the greatness of Riesling with a US spin on it &ndash; mouthwatering, fruit focused wines.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Australia Redefining Great Riesling&nbsp;</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Australia gained commercial success in the US mainly by establishing brand Australia with ripe, fruit forward affordable red wines. It was a great way to quickly establish Australia wines in the US, but it has also had a downside - many wine drinkers do not realize that Australia is a big, vast country with the ability to produce high quality wines of various styles.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Australia has been producing premium Riesling for several decades &ndash; actually, their top regions for Rieslings have had vines there from the 1840s, with Eden Valley (in South Australia) having some of the worlds oldest Riesling vines. There is also the Great Southern region (in Western Australia). In general, Western Australia&rsquo;s wine style is a completely different animal than the South Australian wines found on the US market. And let us not forget Tasmania, which is an island that is part of the Commonwealth of Australia.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> In South Australia, the regions of Clare Valley, Eden Valley and Barossa Valley have a Mediterranean warm climate that is moderated by cooling breezes and/or higher altitudes. The Great Southern and Tasmania both have a significantly cooler climate than the previously mentioned regions. Even though there will be more intensity of acidity from the regions of the Great Southern and Tasmania, most Australian wines shared a lifted lime note that can range from lime blossom to lime zest.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Australian Rieslings are typically produced using protective methods, such as fermenting in temperature controlled stainless steel and will spend no time in oak. Commonly, Australian Riesling will be dry (there are some medium dry exceptions) with a moderate alcohol level and light body.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The top Australian, German and Finger Lakes&rsquo; Rieslings all have some degree of minerality. But even though the top areas of Australia will have fresh acidity, the acidity will have a softer quality. There is also a bright high note of citrus that is more prevalent in Australian wines. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Rieslings in Clare Valley are known to be some of the finest in Australia. This is odd considering it is not a cool climate region. But the high altitude plantings with cool nights and low rainfall help to make this a great Riesling wine growing area. Of course like any area, there are some better vineyard sites than others. Watervale and Polish Hill both have great reputations, and I have a personal fondness for the lovely finesse, linear body and underlying flinty minerality often found in wines from Polish Hill. Because of the lime zest, sometimes kaffir lime, deliciousness of these wines, it makes one want to drink them immediately on purchase, but the top wines age beautifully becoming brioch and honeycomb flavored liquid gold.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A unique winery in Clare Valley, called Mount Horrocks, makes a &ldquo;cordon cut&rdquo; Riesling that is produced by hanging vines partially cut so that the grapes are encouraged to shrivel - concentrating their juice. This creates lush sweet wines with candied citrus flavors.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> When I think of Eden Valley, I think of lime blossom. Eden Valley Rieslings are intoxicating on the nose.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The overall warmer weather of Barossa Valley produces Rieslings that reach their peak sooner. They have good generosity of rich fruit and round acidity that have had successful mass appeal by producers such as Jacob&rsquo;s Creek.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Great Southern, in Western Australia, has a significantly cooler climate and produces Rieslings with an interesting dried herb note and intensely mouth watering palate &ndash; I love these wines, and know they are not to everyone&rsquo;s liking, but they are unique and truly show the diversity of sense of place in Australia. Unfortunately, Western Australian wines are difficult to find in the US market.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Tasmania is starting to make a global name for itself as a sparking wine producer. The cool climate helps them to make very delicate Riesling wines. There have been some interesting producers of Riesling emerging from this region and it is a region to keep your eye on.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I am fascinated by Australian Riesling. Don&rsquo;t get me wrong, I worship German Riesling, and I love drinking my fair share from Alsace, Austria and the Finger Lakes as well, but I love that Australian Riesling defies the odds. Riesling is a distinctive variety that came from a distinctive place. On paper, Clare Valley is not the ideal place to make Riesling. But Clare Valley not only shows us they can make drinkable Riesling, they make Riesling that can compete on the international stage. It reminds me that some things that don&rsquo;t look so great on paper may end up being the next big thing (or at least well respected among a small group of knowledgeable consumers) &ndash; greatness is not so easily defined and that&rsquo;s why there is no one formula for a great wine.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Bottle Recommendations:</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="">2013 Petaluma Hanlin Hill Riesling, Clare Valley, South Australia&nbsp;</a></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="">2012 Grosset Polish Hill Riesling, Clare Valley, South Australia</a></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="">2004 Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling, Clare Valley, South Australia&nbsp;</a></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="">2014 Pewsey Vale Vineyard Riesling, Eden Valley, South Australia&nbsp;</a></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="">2014 Henschke Julius Riesling, Eden Valley, South Australia&nbsp;</a></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="">2010 Plantagenet Estate Riesling Great Southern, Western Australia&nbsp;</a></div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="">2013 Glaetzer-Dixon &uuml;berblanc Riesling, 80% Tamar Valley, 20% Coal Valley, Tasmania</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Cathrine Todd is a Freelance Wine Writer in New York City. She was shortlisted for the Roederer 2015 Emerging Wine Writer of the Year, and her blog was a Wine Blog Awards&#39; finalist for Best New Wine Blog.&nbsp;</em><em>Visit her at&nbsp;<a href=""><strong></strong></a>&nbsp;and on Twitter @damewine</em></div><br /> </p> Thu, 05 May 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6795 Pressing Issues: Exploring a Small Portion of the Maze of Winemaking Decisions Nova McCune Cadamatre <p>To press or not to press? That is NOT the question. Rarely does anything in winemaking have an absolute however pressing is one of the few. Grapes must be pressed at some point in the process to release the juice or wine. However, even though grapes must eventually be pressed, it is the when, how and how much that are open to interpretation. What seems deceptively simple on the surface, when explored, reveals a maze of different combinations and outcomes.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> White wines are generally pressed prior to fermentation. When pressing prior to fermentation several things must be considered. If the fruit is in excellent condition, hand-picked, and still intact, whole cluster pressing may be the best option. This can be accomplished quite nicely with a basket press or with a more modern bladder press. The latter has the added benefit of being able to control the amount of oxygen that comes in contact with the juice. In the case of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, this is a critical part of the style. By completely blanketing the press itself and the press pan with dry ice (CO2) the juice can be kept in a reductive state (non-oxidative). This, in turn preserves the high toned thiol compounds (think grapefruit and passion fruit aromas) that define this style post fermentation. The recent rise of orange wines with skin contact during fermentation are the obvious exception to this rule. For these wines, as well as other white wines where some skin contact is desired, it may be better to destem and lightly crush the fruit. This breaks open the berries and allows the skin and juice to mingle together, resulting in additional flavor compounds and tannins from the skins to be released into the juice prior to pressing.<br /><br /> <br /> Red wines are usually pressed during or post fermentation. The timing depends highly on the style of wine that one is trying to create. Earlier pressing during fermentation will minimize tannin extraction and lead to a lighter style with gentle structure while waiting until fermentation has finished will generally result in a fuller bodied, more structured wine. This is, of course, subject to the general characteristics of the grape variety and vineyard. When I was making Cabernet Sauvignon from Lake County, I found that earlier pressing helped control the rather aggressive tannins that the volcanic soils of the area seem to generate. If one can control the tannin extraction throughout the fermentation to allow the wine to go dry on skins without over extracting, the resulting wine ends up being both well-structured and generous without being hard or tough. &nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The decision of how long to allow grapes to sit on their skins prior to pressing is another important one in the pressing process. In more neutral varieties such as Chardonnay, a small amount of skin contact can add extra palate texture and dimension. However, more aromatic varieties, especially Viognier and Gewurztraminer, tend to have higher tannins in the skins so in these cases additional skin contact could bring in bitterness which will then have to be fined out later through PVPP, Gelatin, or Isinglass treatments. For Ros&eacute;, the amount of time the juice spends on skins directly correlates to the depth and intensity of color in the wine as well as the resulting texture on the palate. Depending on the color content (anthocyanin content) of the variety, this time on skins can range from a few hours to a day or more. Red wines which have gone dry on the skins can be pressed immediately or they can be left for extended skin maceration with further integrates the tannins and middle palate texture. Each offers benefits to the final style of the wine but extended skin contact can be somewhat risky since the wine is no longer as protected from spoilage organisms, such as vinegar or lactic acid bacteria, as it was during fermentation. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The pressure at which to press can influence the style of the wine as well as the total volume in terms of wine yield per ton of grapes. In Traditional Method Sparkling wine production pressing is one of the first critical steps in defining the character of the final wine. Particularly in the cases where red grapes such as Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier are being used, the time on skins prior to pressing is of the upmost importance. Grapes must be pressed quickly to avoid color or tannins from bleeding into the juice because these aspects can negatively impact the final wine quality. While bladder presses will generally only go to 2 Bars of pressure, some basket presses will climb up to 5 Bars. On red wines these high pressure press wines can be extremely interesting with oily textures and thickly structured palates. In general, high pressures such as this only represent 1% or less of the yield of a ton of fruit but it can add interesting elements to the total wine when used.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Press cuts are another point of differentiation for wine styles. A press cut is a separation of juice or wine during the pressing process. For wineries with old style screw presses, the option of press cuts does not exist, however wineries with basket presses or more modern bladder or screw presses have the option to take as many cuts as they would like. Many Champagne houses only use the first gentle pressing, called free run juice, and perhaps part of the light press but usually they do not use the heavier pressing juice to minimize undesirable roughness in the juice. The defining points between free run, light press, and heavy press depend highly on the variety, the style of press used, and the desires of the winemaker. They can be based on pressure, time in the cycle, yield, pH, which climbs with increasing pressure, taste, or some combination of these. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> While all wines have been pressed at some point, the differentiation in style and quality comes from the creative combination of the decisions made from the options available. With so many different variables, it is understandable how two winemakers with similar fruit from the same region can make radically different wines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Originally from Greer, South Carolina, Nova McCune Cadamatre moved to New York to pursue Horticulture after what began as a research paper on grapevine diseases at SUNY Morrisville turned into a love of wines and vines. Her career started in Pennsylvania where she gained experience with cool climate varietals and traditional method sparkling wine. After moving to the Finger Lakes region of New York she refined her winemaking skills, both as Winemaker&rsquo;s Assistant at the Thirsty Owl Wine Company and as a Viticulture student at Cornell University. After becoming one of the first graduates of Cornell&rsquo;s Viticulture and Enology program in 2006, she moved to California to assume several winemaking roles, gaining diverse experiences in both table and sparkling wines from all areas of California most recently as the red winemaker for Robert Mondavi Winery in the renowned Napa Valley. She has furthered her knowledge through London&rsquo;s Wine and Spirit Education Trust with an Advanced Certificate in 2007, the Diploma gained in 2010, and is currently pursuing the Master of Wine Certification.Currently, Cadamatre lives in the Finger Lakes, NY with her family where she works as a Winemaker and continues her weekly blog at&nbsp;<a href=""><strong></strong></a>.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> </p> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6792 Top Wine Vintages You Need to Know About Snooth Editorial <p>It&rsquo;s not malarkey. Weather conditions have a huge impact on a wine grape&rsquo;s life, and vintage variations underscore the tie between winemaking and Mother Nature&rsquo;s caprice. Just like your home cooked meal hinges on the character of its ingredients, your wine is dictated by the experience of its grapes. While climate, terroir, soil, and je ne sais quoi play large roles, annual weather patterns are a crucial piece of the puzzle &ndash; one that can be unpredictable. Believe the hype, because vintage year makes a phenomenal difference on a number of factors that matter to you as a wine consumer. Beyond taste, vintage year holds sway over price, age-worthiness, and investment potential. Want some insider tips? Here, the web&rsquo;s top wine writers suggest some of the very best vintages from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Make space in your wine fridge and read on to unlock some of the very best vintage years from around the world.<br /> </p> Fri, 22 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6791 Virtual Master Class: Wines of Roussillon Snooth Editorial <p>Think you know everything about wine in France? Think again. Here comes an unheralded region to titillate your palate in brand new ways. Roussillon has been a bastion of Catalan culture since the mid-seventeenth century. The amphitheater-shaped region borders Spain, so it&rsquo;s no wonder the local dialect sounds more like Spanish than French. Cultural fusion in combination with storied winemaking (spanning over two thousand years) have forged Roussillon&rsquo;s exquisite collection of distinct wines in a variety of unique styles. Roussillon wines bring us old, bush-trained vines (the kind that can&rsquo;t be harvested by machinery), diverse terroir (including gneiss, schist, granite and more), an idyllic Mediterranean climate, and incredible value. Due to the region&rsquo;s small size, quality is valued over quantity. Wine Advocate&rsquo;s Jeb Dunnuck named Roussillon&rsquo;s 2013 vintage &ldquo;The King of France&rdquo;, and the region is trending in knowledgeable wine circles worldwide. Earlier this month Snooth hosted a Virtual Master Class with Sommelier and Roussillon expert Caleb Ganzer, during which five top wine writers were invited to taste through a special selection of Roussillon wines while communicating with each other on a virtual platform. Our findings are chronicled in this article. Read on to unpack the potential of Roussillon!<br /> </p> Thu, 21 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6793 The Languedoc's Sparkling Wine Secrets, Revealed John Downes <p>I have a theory. Easy to pronounce and easy to remember names help drive wine sales. Hence, Prosecco, the Italian sparkler has taken our shelves by storm, Picpoul de Pinet, the easy drinking white from the south of France has seen sales sky rocket, and Pinot Grigio has simply rewritten the script. And now, I have an exclusive for Snoothers. The next wine to rock our shelves is Limoux, that&rsquo;s Limoo to you and me. It&rsquo;s easy to say, sounds good and, it tastes good too! Sparkling wine is a popular choice the world over and whilst Blanquette de Limoux has been sitting quietly in our wine shops for years, it&rsquo;s Cremant de Limoux that I&rsquo;m tipping for sparkling stardom. Limoux Chardonnay (non bubbly) is also my hot tip. &ldquo;Where&rsquo;s Limoux?&rdquo;, I hear you say. It&rsquo;s in the Languedoc-Roussillon in the south of France, the region that&rsquo;s set between the steep slopes of the Pyrenees, the foothills of the Cevennes, the Mediterranean coast and the mighty River Rhone.<br /> The vineyards therefore benefit from a diversity of soils, climates and altitudes. Located around the town of Limoux, (surprise, surprise), the vineyards are not a million miles from the must-see town of Carcassonne and sitting in the Pyrenean foothills are higher and cooler than those of any other Languedoc-Roussillon appellation. The result is a wine that&rsquo;s light in colour and weight on the palate with crisp mouthwatering acidity; just right for sparkling wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The difference between Blanquette de Limoux and Cremant de Limoux? Traditional Blanquette de Limoux can be made from three grapes; Mauzac, the local variety which must constitute at least 90% of the wine, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. Blanquette is the local name for Mauzac, meaning &ldquo;little white one&rdquo;, a reference to the underside of the leaves getting a white downy underside and not to the size of the grape itself&hellip;.a question coming to a pub quiz near you!&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Getting slightly technical, the grape varieties are vinified separately before blending and bottling. Then, similar to Champagne, a little sugar and a touch of yeast is added to produce a second fermentation in the bottle, resulting in a little more alcohol and carbon dioxide gas which, not being able to escape the sealed bottle becomes an integral part of the wine. Presto, we have a sparkling wine that, if it&rsquo;s made in the Limoux region from authorized grapes, can carry the name &lsquo;Blanquette de Limoux&rsquo;.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I tasted Antech&rsquo;s Blanquette de Limoux Brut Nature recently and wow&hellip;.the dry, sharp, fresh, edgy apple flavours with their earthy tones were a bit of a shock for the ol&rsquo; taste buds but it made for a wonderful aperitif and then went on to lift the fish course. Having no added sweetness it can be called &lsquo;Brut Nature&rsquo;; &lsquo;Ultra Brut&rsquo; and &lsquo;Brut Zero&rsquo; are other names for no- sugar sparklers.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Cremant de Limoux was introduced in 1990 primarily to allow producers to introduce more Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc into the blend to create more internationally recognized flavors into Limoux bubbly. &lsquo;Cremant&rsquo; must be made from up to 90 percent Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc with Pinot Noir (a red grape but don&rsquo;t forget it has white juice) and/or Mauzac making up the balance. Cremant de Limoux can be white or ros&eacute;.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> At the same tasting, Jean-Claude Mas&rsquo; Cremant de Limoux &lsquo;Prima Perla&rsquo; Brut proved popular. Made from Chardonnay (60%), Chenin Blanc (20%), Pinot Noir (10%) and Mauzac (10%), this crisp, light, apple citrus sparkler will bring a smile to your face. The Prima Perla Rose is also well worth a pour; Chardonnay (70%), Chenin Blanc (20%) and Pinot Noir (10%) get together to produce great color and cracking, fresh summer fruits to get any BBQ hopping.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Talking still (no bubble) wine, Limoux Blanc is traditionally made from Mauzac, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay grapes but it&rsquo;s the latter that&rsquo;s finding fame as a solo artist, thanks to vines that are some of the oldest in the south of France. Non-bubble, Limoux Chardonnay is also now well positioned to become a favourite on our shelves.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I had lunch with Laurent Delaunay of Languedoc winemakers Abbots &amp; Delaunay a while ago when he proudly told me that he comes from a Burgundian winemaking family. I should have guessed; Chardonnay is the link to his Burgundian roots. In the Languedoc he&rsquo;s searched out small, high altitude Limoux plots with the best old knarled vines to produce his Zephyr Chardonnay. The 2012 vintage carries less oak flavors than previous vintages I&rsquo;m pleased to say, and really hits the spot, &ldquo;you can feel the Burgundian in there&rdquo;.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> So, Snooth readers are ahead of the game. Tell your friends that Limoux&rsquo;s the new kid on the block. Sparkling or still, made in the traditional way from classic grape varieties, you can pronounce it, it tastes good and importantly in these challenging times, it doesn&rsquo;t involve a second mortgage. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Looking to buy a Limoux near you? <a href=""><strong>Start here.</strong></a></em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 340 Masters of Wine in the world is a corporate entertainer, speaker, television and radio broadcaster and writer on wine. Check out John&rsquo;s website at &nbsp;<a href=""></a>. Follow him on Twitter <a href="">@JOHNDOWNESMW</a></em></div><br /> </p> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6790 Spring Whites That Deserve the Hype: Rueda Snooth Editorial <p>Call it what you&rsquo;d like: An old routine, a daily pattern, your go-to basics. You&rsquo;re stuck in a rut, and it can happen with your white wine choices, too. It&rsquo;s ok, though, we can get through this together. Shake awake your sleepy palate with value-packed white wines from Rueda in Spain. They&rsquo;re fresh and dazzling &ndash; fruity without going bonkers with remarkable acidity and mineral-spiked goodness. Savvy wine drinkers weary of overpaying for the same old same-old, Rueda Verdejo is your new best friend.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Rueda wine region is part of Spain&rsquo;s beloved Duero Valley. It&rsquo;s a true plateau, measuring eight hundred meters above sea level where searing hot summers force the vines to dig extra deep for a drink of water. No pain no gain is equally true for grapes, and these tough roots go through some serious training in Rueda&rsquo;s terroir. We&rsquo;re talking calcium and magnesium rich soils (which we can thank for all of those mineral flavors), including gravel, stone, and a smattering of hilltop limestone.<br /><br /> <br /> <strong>A Master of Her Trade</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> White wine lovers, take note: Rueda is the white wine that Spaniards most often pour or order, topping all other white wine consumption within the country. Rueda is the only region in Spain to specialize in producing white wines from the Verdejo grape, and since 1994, production has increased ten-fold in order to meet the demands of a thirsty market. Eighty-six percent of grapes grown in the Rueda are Verdejo, along with Viura, Sauvignon Blanc, and Palomino, which are used as faithful blending agents. If you see Rueda D.O. (Denominaci&oacute;n de Origen) on the label, it means that your blend contains at least 85% Verdejo. Oftentimes it will be more. When you see Rueda Verdejo on the label, the blend must contain 100% Verdejo. While most Rueda wines are light and easy-drinking, some producers ferment in barrels and age on lees. That&rsquo;s how fun and versatile the Verdejo grape can be!&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>The Cinderella of Wine Regions</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Though Rueda has been making wine for centuries, it received its matching glass slipper in the early 1970s when accomplished Spanish wine producer Marqu&eacute;s de Riscal sought the perfect place to create crisp, dry white wines. By 1980 the area secured Denominaci&oacute;n de Origen status, and the wines have been growing in popularity ever since. Rueda and Verdejo are inseparable, and the grape&rsquo;s flavor is unlike any other white wine grape in the world. What sets it apart, besides the full-bodied citrus and tropical melon flavors, is what every wine lover (and pairing-seeking foodie) craves: killer acidity that will match a mignonette as well as it will zip right through a rich butter sauce. You&rsquo;ll also find undercurrents of lightly smoked almonds and Brazil nuts wrapped in floral notes. The icing on your glass: These wines consistently overdeliver in the value category, generally falling in the $10-20 range.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>The Court of Opinion</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Rueda wines have devoted supporters not just in Spain, but around the world. Some key quotes from palates that matter:&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>&ldquo;Rueda Verdejo wines are crisp, dry, mineral driven with hints of citrus, like lemon and grapefruit zest, citrus blossoms as well as white peach and pineapple. These wines pair perfectly with a wide range of food such as salads, shellfish, light fish preparations and fruit dishes. For anyone looking to try something new and who usually likes Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, this would be a wine region and varietal to try!&rdquo; &ndash; Alex LaPratt, RyR Sommelier Ambassador, Master Sommelier and Owner of Atrium DUMBO in Brooklyn, NY</em>.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>&ldquo;Rueda possesses the unique ability to provide more than one style of Verdejo. The region produces both fresh, vibrant, and light whites, as well as beautiful Verdejos fermented in oak to provide depth and complexity. Pairing these Rueda wines is easy! Raw or grilled vegetables are PERFECT! Would also consider lighter fish and shellfish.&quot; - Charles Ford, RyR Sommelier Ambassador and Wine Director at The Bristol in Chicago.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>&ldquo;White wine drinkers that like aromatic and bright wines will easily see the beauty of Verdejo.&rdquo; &ndash; Joey Campanella, General Manager and Sommelier, Fork Restaurant in Philadelphia. (Read more <a href=""><strong>here</strong></a>.)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>&ldquo;A lot of what Verdejo offers is concentration. It has thick skin so I like the texture of the wine with our food. There tends to be an acceptance to absorbing flavor as opposed to cutting through it.&rdquo; &ndash; Yana Volfson, Sommelier, Cosme in New York City. (Read more <a href=""><strong>here</strong></a>.)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>&ldquo;Rueda Verdejo has such an amazingly vibrant smell and flavor that make me happy. It&rsquo;s like a field full of butterflies, you have to be really cynical not to smile when you find it. The aromas of lemon, lime, hints of tropical or stone fruit, and the fresh, bracing palate &ndash; but often with more richness than other similarly crisp wines &ndash; make for a really delightful combination.&rdquo; &ndash; Jake Kosseff, Partner, Miller&rsquo;s Guild in Seattle. (Read more <a href=""><strong>here</strong></a>.)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>&nbsp;Pairing Rueda: Do or Don&rsquo;t</strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Rueda wines are an ideal mealtime companion, but they pair just as nicely with a couch as they do a dinner table. Doing some grazing during happy hour? Have a glass of Rueda with a dish of almonds, some warm black and green olives, and a few chunks of sharp cheese. When it&rsquo;s time for Sunday brunch, you&rsquo;ll want Rueda to bring out the best in your goat cheese omelet. Starter dishes like fresh tomato salad with balsamic reduction also call for Rueda. And while seafood paella and ratatouille are obvious choices, don&rsquo;t be afraid to experiment with grilled swordfish or spiced lamb. Yum!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>For more information on what sommeliers and chefs are saying about or pairing with Rueda, visit <a href=""><strong></strong></a>.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> </p> Fri, 15 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6787 We Know Where To Find The World’s Best Wines Gabe Sasso <p>ProWein, the annual wine and spirits fair in D&uuml;sseldorf, Germany, is the high water mark for wine brands, regions, and drinkers worldwide. Nearly every wine producing area you&rsquo;ve ever heard of (or not heard of) is represented at this event. The event is so huge that it should have its own postal code. This is one of those rare instances in life where bigger is in fact better. No matter your wine agenda, you&#39;ll have it satisfied at ProWein. I rubbed elbows with some of the best palates of my wine tasting generation, from rock star winemakers to Masters of Wine. Lucky for you, I tasted through a large number of selections and brought back my favorite notes to share. Keep your eyes open for these key bottles, vintages, and regions. ProWein is not your average wine and spirits show. It&rsquo;s THE show, rounding up the world&rsquo;s best wine and spirits. Cheers!<br /> <a href=""><strong>Champagne Drappier Carte D&rsquo;Or 1976</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> <em>When I found out France&rsquo;s Champagne Drappier was commemorating the 40th anniversary of their 1976 vintage release by popping open a couple of bottles, I made a point to be there. Boy, am I glad I did. At 40 years of age this stunning Champagne is one of the single most delicious things I&rsquo;ve tasted in awhile. There is a bit of reduction on the nose which really appeals to the palate. Candied orange zest aromas are in play too. Gentle citrus and a bit of dried pear present on the palate along with oodles of biscuit laden, yeast inflected goodness. The finish is impossibly long and impressive in its depth and precision. I spent three days at ProWein, this was the only thing of which I desperately needed a second pour. Thankfully they were nice enough to oblige.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Graham&rsquo;s Single Harvest Tawny Port 1972</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Most tawny port&rsquo;s are made from a cuvee of various vintages. They often have an age statement of 10, 20, 30 or 40 years, representing the average age of the wine. Occasionally though, a vintage speaks so loudly that it demands to be bottled as a singular expression. Such is the case in Portugal, 1972. The apricot hue shimmers in the glass. Stone fruits such as yellow peach and apricot fill the nose along with bits of toasted pecan. All of those elements continue on the palate alongside a hint of cr&egrave;me brulee, minerals, dried fruit, and wisps of brown sugar dominate the soft and silky finish.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Domeniile Franco-Rom&acirc;ne Feteasca Neagra Terre Precieuse 2011</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Now is the time for Romanian wine. Don&rsquo;t miss out on giving one of these value gems a try. This offering is produced entirely from Fetasca Neagra, a grape indigenous to Romania. Bits of toast and a compote of red fruits lead the nose. Strawberry and cranberry flavors are evident on the palate. Graphite, cinnamon, clove, and wallop of dried red cherry flavors emerge on the long finish. Are you looking for something different to bring over to a friend&rsquo;s home? This food friendly Romanian red should do the trick.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ironstone Reserve Rous Zinfandel 2013</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Nobody does Old Vine Zinfandel quite like Lodi, California. All of the fruit for this wine comes from the namesake vineyard which was planted in 1909. Bay leaf and red clay aromas inform the nose along with a bit of reduced cherry. The palate is stuffed with intermingling red and black fruit flavors; cherries are the star. Earth, cocoa and cinnamon flavors are apparent on the long, lush finish. This Zinfandel has excellent but proportionate intensity and a terrific mouthfeel.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Col Solare Red Mountain Blend 2012</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Two great wine entities have come together to produce one great wine, and it&rsquo;s widely available in the United States. This red blend composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah is produced by a partnership of Chateau Ste. Michelle and the Antinori Family. Tobacco leaf and toast aromas are what dominate the nose alongside subtler red and black plum. Leather and bing cherry notes explode on the palate which shows the hallmarks of pure, unadulterated mountain fruit flavors. Red clay and dried cherry notes are present on the finish along with a final dollop of roasted espresso.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Cono Sur 20 Barrels Sauvignon Blanc 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Sauvignon Blanc is one of the varietals that has helped Chile make its mark. With a host of regions and microclimates in which to grow, the faces of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc are many. The citrus driven nose shows off lemon curd and orange zest alongside a bit of white pepper and a touch of thyme. Tropical fruit, yellow melon, and a drove of citrus flavors drive the rich and layered palate. A bit of cr&egrave;me fraiche and tangerine zest are both in evidence on the long, zippy finish.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Vi&ntilde;a Koyle Auma 2010</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Red blends from Chile are always a sure bet. This is a great example. Auma Koyle&rsquo;s Icon wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carm&eacute;n&egrave;re, Syrah, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. In the decade since they launched Cristobal Undurraga and his brothers have made remarkable strides with Vi&ntilde;a Koyle. Auma, the top tier selection in their portfolio, is no exception. Toast, leather and earth notes are all present on the nose. A host of red fruits tinged with black appear on the palate. Chicory, earth, cherry and raspberry flavors are all part of the persistent finish. This is an impressive wine from start to finish, but as with many of the Vi&ntilde;a Koyle offerings what really sets it apart is the remarkable mouthfeel and texture.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Vi&ntilde;a William Cole Vineyards &ldquo;Bill&rdquo; Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>In addition to Sauvignon Blanc and red blends, over the last few years Chile has been establishing itself as an expert in Pinot Noir. Bits of forest floor, leather and red fruits are present on the nose here. Hints of savory herb, black tea and more red fruit are present through the layered and somewhat firm palate. Sour red and black fruits and spices mark the above average finish.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Bodegas Fernandez Escudo De Plata Reserva D.O. Jumilla 2011</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Keep an eye out for wines from the trendy Jumilla region in Spain. Candied cherry and a bit of black pepper fill the nose here. From the first sip through the last, oodles of sweet red fruit flavors win the day. Kirsch liqueur, chicory, earth and bits of Mexican vanilla bean are present on the above average finish. Soft tannins and firm acid provide good structure. This wine has a yum factor that makes you want to keep drinking it.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Bodega Numanthia Termanthia 2009</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>This Spanish wine is composed entirely of Tino Toro, a clone of Tempranillo. All of the fruit came from a single vineyard that is over 140 years old. Red violets and leather fill the nose. The incredibly soft, deep, and giving palate is stuffed with red cherry flavors tinged with bits of raspberry. Kirsch liqueur, earth and spices galore are evident throughout the prodigiously long and simply remarkable finish. In short this is an impressive and ridiculously delicious wine that&rsquo;s also quite elegant.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Domdechant Werner&#39;sches Weingut Domdechaney Riesling VDP 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>There are many reasons why Germany is known for its Riesling. This is one of them. White flower and lychee fruit aromas scream from the nose. The super concentrated palate is loaded with a host of dried and fresh stone fruit flavors as well as complementary spices. Bits of mesquite honey, white pepper, and limestone are evident on the remarkably long finish. This is an absolutely stunning example.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Weingut Rebhann Silvaner Spatlese Trocken Steilage 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Alongside Riesling, Silvaner also thrives in Germany. I sampled quite a few examples at ProWein and this one was a favorite. The 2014 vintage represents the first vintage from a vineyard planted to a new clone. The bright nose shows of yellow fruit and a bit of anise. Bits of tangerine zest and white apple rule the palate. White pepper and cardamom are evident on the finish which is crisp and refreshing. This wine has good weight and terrific acidity; in short a killer food wine.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Weingut J. Neus Ingelheim Sp&auml;tburgunder Alte Reben VDP Ortswein 2013</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>If you&rsquo;re still of the mind that Germany is only producing great white wines, this Pinot Noir will quickly change your mind. Strawberry, rhubarb and bits of forest floor emerge from the welcoming nose. Dried cranberries, pomegranate and bits of red cherry are evident on the even keeled and restrained palate. Savory herbs, minerals, and a hint of truffle are present on the long, lingering finish. This is a truly lovely expression of Pinot that I simply didn&rsquo;t want to put down.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Weingut Schneeberger Zweigelt Alte Rebe 2010</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Austria is known for its expertise with the Zweigelt grape, a cross between Blaufr&auml;nkisch and St. Laurent. These Zweigelt vines are more than twenty-five years old. Strawberry-rhubarb pie spices light up the nose here. Red fruits, toast, vanilla and ore are evident on the layered palate. Wisps of earth and lots more spice notes are apparent on the lengthy finish. This is a concentrated and charming example of Zweigelt which will pair beautifully with a plate of beef stroganoff.</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Henry&rsquo;s Drive Magnus Shiraz 2012</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Australia knows what to do with the Shiraz grape. This single vineyard wine is produced from fruit sourced from a parcel in Padthaway. Bits of eucalyptus and violets are in evidence on the lovely nose. Blueberry and black raspberry lead the soft and lush palate. Minerals, bits of earth and a dusting of cocoa dot the finish. The mouth-feel on this Shiraz is just stunning. This complex, food friendly Shiraz will age well for a decade plus</em>.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Vita Colte Roero Arneis D.O.C.G. 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Mango and dried white fruit aromas explode from the nose of this Arneis from the Roero region in Piemonte. Papaya and stone fruits dominate the palate which shows off a purity of fruit. Zippy acid, subtle spices and a hint of subtle honey are apparent on the finish. While this will pair fabulously with light foods, it&rsquo;s perfect alone. Serve it as a welcome wine when your guests arrive and look for their smile when they take the first si</em>p.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Bodegas Deumayen Trez Reserva Malbec 2011</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Argentina does Malbec justice. Graphite, earth and vanilla dot the welcoming nose. Raspberry and red plum flavors dominate the refined palate, which is studded with ripe but proportionate fruit flavors. The long finish shows dried red fruits, earth, dusty baker&rsquo;s chocolate and pepper. It has excellent structure and will age well for the next 8-10 years.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> </p> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6788 The Next Great Chapter in Your Wine Story: Furmint Claudia Angelillo <p>Searching for a new wine grape to spice things up this spring? We&rsquo;ve got one for you that&rsquo;s just starting to hit in a big way. Shake off your winter blues and start quaffing a wine that&rsquo;s crisp and light, like a wicker basket filled with cut green apples drizzled with honey. Add a squirt of lemon and a small handful of hazelnuts and you&rsquo;ve got your new favorite white wine grape. Maybe she&rsquo;s new to some, but to others she&rsquo;s a very old friend. In fact, she&rsquo;s been around for centuries. She is first mentioned in an ecclesiastical document dated 1611. Today she is grown over 10,000 acres in her home country. She has a few aliases: Mosler (in Austria), Sipon (in Slovenia and northern Croatia), and Zapfner (in Germany). Have you already met? Her name is Furmint, and she hails from Hungary.&nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> You may remember Furmint from your last glass of Tokaji, Hungary&rsquo;s famed sweet wine. As you would suspect, the grape is late-ripening and prone to botrytis. Thus her dry manifestations are all the more special. The careful attention and care that goes into dry Furmint wines afford them a great deal of esteem. Fortunately for you, they are packed with value. Look for a dry Furmint to replace some of the more overhyped and overpriced white grapes and regions. It&rsquo;s hard to find this level of quality in the under $20 to $30 range. Your wallet, and palate, will thank you.&nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>A few dry to try:&nbsp;</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Beres Estate Furmint 2014 ($19)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> Grassy green lemon notes in the nose with a touch of an oaty note and a whiff of honey. This carries a lot of acidity and zesty citrus peel, is full and fruity, with notes of green melon and a pronounced line note on the finish.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Erzs&eacute;bet Cellar Estate Furmint 2012 ($20)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> Light pineapple and soft melon aromas with lightly floral tangerine notes. Nice green acidity in the mouth and showing some healthy lemon lime notes and a nutty creamy finish.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Holdv&ouml;lgy Hold and Hollo Furmint 2012 ($21)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> Light lemon aromas with a floral hint. Showing soft and mellow acidity in the glass with hints of peach and melon coming through the mid palate and a touch of vanilla coming through on the finish showing a hint of soft oak. There&#39;s a white blossom note as well up front which carries through to the finish.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Degenfeld Zomborka Furmint 2014 ($24)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> Nice steely mineral top note up front with a smooth melon note and some zesty lemon. Peach and melon note with lemon and fresh green grassy quality and refreshing zesty finish of lime.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>And when you&rsquo;re in the mood for something sweet, Furmint is a true champion:&nbsp;</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Basilicus Szamordni Sweet Furmint 2012 ($30)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> Gorgeous clementine and orange blossom aromas feathered with peach and lemon zest. Sweet and light in the mouth, with more orange notes that are further towards marmalade and cream while still having a fair bit of acidity holding up the palate well.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Barta Szamorodni Sweet Furmint 2013 ($47)</em></div><br /> <div><br /> Delicate tangerine and rose petal aromas. Softly sweet and certainly smooth in the mouth, yet lively and full with notes of tangerine, ripe melon and fresh apple, and a long creamy finish dappled with honey.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo courtesy of <a href="">Furmint USA</a>.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> </p> Wed, 06 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6789 Low Alcohol Wines for the Win Snooth Editorial <p>It&rsquo;s happened to us all: You are beguiled by an extremely tasty and easy-drinking wine. Less than ninety minutes later you are three glasses deep, sans supplementary food or drink, and ready to fall fast asleep. When you emerge from your bedroom the next morning feeling a little soft-brained, you check the label on that bottle: 15.8% alcohol! It&rsquo;s no wonder you feel a little loopy this morning. Don&rsquo;t be mistaken -- some of the world&rsquo;s best wines come at a higher proof, but for those networking parties and relaxed Monday nights, consider a lower-alcohol wine; something you can savor for a long period of time, in larger quantities, over the course of an evening, without repercussions. The web&rsquo;s top wine writers are here to help. They&rsquo;ve identified the best very wines under 12.9% ABV. Your extra generous pour is on the way!<br /> </p> Tue, 29 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6783 Wine with Body and Soul from the Heart of Spain ~ Tarantas Tiene Cuerpo y Alma <p>&ldquo;Pure wines capturing the essence of Spain in every glass,&rdquo; Tarantas Wines are made with 100% certified organic grapes. Their commitment to sustainability is backed by third-party certification: Made with 100% USDA Certified Organic Grapes, Non-GMO Project Verified, and Vegan Friendly with no animal byproducts used in production.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The wines are elaborated by winemakers Francisco Galbard&oacute;n&ndash;Professor of Enology at Spain&rsquo;s oldest School of Enology and rising star winemaker Raul Herrero. The Tarantas brand was inspired by the free-flowing, open art form of Flamenco song and dance of the same name, celebrated in Southeast Spain.<br /><br /> <br /> Tarantas Wines are produced by Bodegas Iranzo, based in the old-world village of Requena, only a stone&rsquo;s throw from the historic and metropolitan city of Valencia. Bodegas Iranzo is located in the D.O. Utiel-Requena &ndash; the second largest in Spain. The winery produces some of Spain&rsquo;s Oldest Estate Bottled Wines, with the first recorded written evidence of the vineyard Ca&ntilde;ada Honda Estate owned by the Iranzo Perez&ndash;Duque family dating back to 1335 as granted by King Pedro I of Castilla. Bodegas Iranzo is the only winery in Europe located within a national reserva.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Tarantas Wines include:</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Tarantas Tempranillo Crianza</strong></a>- <em>100% Tempranillo, aged for at least 6 months. Share with friends over a meal - it&rsquo;s a wine that calls for the next bite.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Tarantas Monastrell</strong></a> &ndash;<em>100% Monastrell from Jumilla has a smooth texture, with savory red fruits, soft and round tannins and a pure finish.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Tarantas Sparkling White</strong></a> -<em>Blend of Macabeo &amp; Air&eacute;n grapes creates a wonderfully dry effervescent wine.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Tarantas Sparkling Ros&eacute;</strong></a> &ndash; <em>Soft, dry ros&eacute; with a hint of strawberry. 100% Bobal, one of Spain&rsquo;s most unique grapes.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Tarantas Cava</strong></a> &ndash; <em>Blend of classic Macabeu, Xarel&middot;lo and Parellada. Pair with appetizers, light dinners and dessert.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Tarantas wines, imported to the United States by <a href=""><strong>Natural Merchants, Inc</strong></a>., are available at fine retailers nationwide including <a href=""><strong>Whole Foods Market</strong></a> as national core set wines, and online at <a href=""><strong></strong></a> or <a href=""><strong></strong></a>. For more information visit <a href=""><strong></strong></a>.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Tarantas Wines is searching the nation for recipes that bring out the very best in their organic wines with the <a href=""><strong>Tarantas Taste of Spain Recipe Contest</strong></a>. Wine lovers across America are asked to uncork their creativity and submit an original recipe + wine pairing combination for a chance to Win a Trip for Two to Spain!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Tarantas Taste of Spain Recipe Contest entries are being accepted until April 15 in five categories: 1) Small Plates/Tapas, 2) Main Dish, 3) Side Dish, Soup or Salad, 4) Dessert, 5) Wine-Based Craft Cocktail.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> One Grand Prize winner of the Taste of Spain Recipe Contest receives a five-day, four-night trip for two to Spain, including a private tour of the Tarantas winery with a special lunch, and two nights in the charming village of Requena, as well as a two-night stay in Valencia with food and historical tours of the cosmopolitan city. Four First Prize winners receive a $100 Grocery Store Gift Card.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Click here to enter now.</strong></a></p> Fri, 25 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6781 Is the wine world shutting you out? John Downes <p>Can you imagine going to a restaurant and ordering food you&rsquo;d never heard of, shelling out for a theatre ticket without having some idea of what the show was about, or choosing a dress you didn&rsquo;t even like? Of course not. But that&rsquo;s what happens when it comes to wine. Sadly, most people haven&rsquo;t a clue what they&rsquo;re buying; the price tag, an attractive label or a dodgy promotion usually sways the deal. Us Snoothers, by definition, know about wine &ndash; we even read about it &ndash; but if you ever have doubts about Joe or Josephine Public&rsquo;s lack of wine knowledge, check out the guys drifting along the wine shelves in your local supermarket gazing aimlessly into a wall of wine.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> All aspects of the wine world must take the blame for making wine so inaccessible. If you ask a soccer fan about &ldquo;4-4-2&rdquo; he&rsquo;ll explain this &lsquo;team formation&rsquo; with gusto but if that same fan asks about wine, chances are he&rsquo;ll walk away totally confused as the vinous door is slammed in his face amidst a torrent of impenetrable, members-only gobbledegook that has changed little in decades.</div><br /> <br /> Criticism often falls at the door of the journalist but the newspaper, online, magazine, television and radio commissioning editors should also take a hit as they&rsquo;re all too often satisfied with new scripts that are not a million miles from those written twenty years ago. The result is that wine is missing out on new consumers who start contemplating suicide at the mention of &lsquo;terroir&rsquo;, malolactic fermentation or yeast autolysis.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As a consequence, we&rsquo;ve seen wine columns and newspapers reduced, and radio and television slots cut drastically over recent years (especially in my home, the UK). Sadly, this stark reality hasn&rsquo;t made the wine world sit up and take notice.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Whilst the wine world has hardly moved, other businesses have moved swiftly with the times. The fashion industry reinvents itself every year and goes out of its way every season to explain the latest lines, colours and cuts; all sold in great looking, customer-friendly shops. The result is that we all rush down to our nearest shopping centre to grab a piece of the latest style, cash in hand. Wine world, please note!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Even professions once seen as &lsquo;establishment&rsquo; are now at the cutting edge. Lawyers, accountants and bankers realised long ago that they had to change to survive. With my corporate speaking hat on I regularly visit prestigious city offices from London to Sydney and I&rsquo;m always impressed how these so called stuffy professions have wised up on in-house media, PR. and marketing to promote themselves and their image, ensuring that their clients keep rolling in and their fees grow even faster. There&rsquo;s no equivalent of a five quid bottle of wine in their world.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Or maybe I&rsquo;m being na&iuml;ve. Maybe it&rsquo;s all a cunning strategy. Confused customers won&rsquo;t question wine quality; quality that&rsquo;s been squeezed bigtime over the years by an average bottle price that&rsquo;s still stuck around the eight dollar (&pound;5.50) mark. When you consider that in the UK, each bottle carries roughly $2.82 (&pound;2 ) of Government Duty and 20% Value Added Tax (VAT), not to mention ever increasing production costs, transport, labeling, the cork and bullish (often over 30 per cent) supermarket profits, it doesn&rsquo;t take a genius to see that there&rsquo;s not much left for the wine out of a fiver. It&rsquo;s pennies, not pounds folks!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> So, after this rant you can imagine how cock-a-hoop I was when I discovered that the advertising legend that is Sir John Hegarty stood up at the Wine and Spirit Trade Association conference in 2014 and tore strips off the wine world: &ldquo;&hellip;the industry is fragmented, confusing and impenetrable&rdquo;, he announced. Oouucchh and hurray. If you don&rsquo;t know who Sir John is, he&rsquo;s the man behind iconic adverts such as Levi 501&rsquo;s launderette advert and Johnny Walker&rsquo;s &lsquo;keep walking&rsquo; campaign. So, he knows what he&rsquo;s talking about when it comes to marketing. He also knows about wine - he has a vineyard in the Languedoc region in the south of France.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Sir John really climbed in, saying that he&rsquo;d never seen such an industry with no brand leaders to shape a coherent message or one where 90% of its consumers do not fully understand quality. &ldquo;The trouble&hellip;is that to the average consumer it&rsquo;s a complete mystery&rdquo;, he concluded. Hegarty&rsquo;s answer to vitalizing the wine world? &ldquo;Lose the mystery, keep the magic&rdquo;. Bravo!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I&rsquo;m trying Sir John&hellip;.honest. Hosting wine events, I know it&rsquo;s possible to see audiences enter with wine-fear trepidation and leave talking freely, openly and intelligently about wine. Okay, my <strong>Become a Wine Expert in 60 Minutes</strong> title maybe tongue in chee, &nbsp;but it&rsquo;s amazing how much you can learn in such a short time -- if as Sir John suggests, you keep it simple, lose the mystery, and polish the magic.<br /><br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> That said, I&rsquo;ve been plugging away for years without scratching the surface. The wine world has hardly changed. But I&rsquo;m still optimistic that one day somebody will change things. In the meantime I&rsquo;ll just keep on truckin&rsquo;. The next stops on my journey? Sydney, Brisbane, Edinburgh and London, with corkscrew in hand and Hegarty&rsquo;s words ringing in my ear.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 340 Masters of Wine in the world and is a speaker, television and radio broadcaster and writer on wine.&nbsp;Check out John&rsquo;s website at &nbsp;<a href=""></a>. Follow him on Twitter <a href="">@JOHNDOWNESMW</a></em></div><br /> </p> Thu, 24 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6782 To Age or Not to Age? That is the Question. Nova McCune Cadamatre <p>When you think of drinking wine at the appropriate age, what picture comes to mind? Usually it is a red wine. Maybe a decanter is involved? It&rsquo;s a special occasion or with friends and family. However, not all wine is designed to age a long time. I have heard so many stories of people saving a bottle of wine that they were given as a gift only to open it at some far later date to be absolutely horrified by what they smelled and tasted in the bottle. I&rsquo;ll tell you a secret. Most wine is not meant to age beyond 1-2 years. However I will also tell you that you can probably figure out what type you are dealing with if you understand a bit about what makes wine appropriate to age.&nbsp;<br /> <b>How Do Wines Age?</b><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Wines age quite a lot like humans do. They go through a youthful phase, the prime of middle age, and the elegant sunset of old age. A youthful wine will still have bright fruit aromas, called primary aromas, and a core color without any browning leaving pure lemon-green in white wines and purple, sometimes blue, hues in red wines on the rim of the wine. Wines in middle age are known as having developing aromas. This is when the primary aromas start to be complemented (or not) by secondary aromas from the winemaking process such as oak spice or toast from lees as well as the beginning of bottle age aromas. The bottle age aromas are called tertiary aromas and usually show up in Cabernet as dried figs, nutty characters, or cedar characters. Each variety has its own tertiary aroma signature as it ages. Wines in middle age often start to show a browning on the rim which translates as gold in white wines or garnet in red wines. Wines coming to the end of their age cycle will be largely defined by their tertiary aromas with the rare exceptions of truly amazing wines which may still hint at the primary fruit of their youth. White wines of this level will likely be quite gold edging towards amber colored while red wines are fully garnet with tawny colored rims. This cycle&rsquo;s timing depends on the wine and its key components which help the aging process. What are these key components? Tannin, acid, and sugar.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <i><b>Tannin</b></i></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> What is tannin? Tannin is an antioxidant compound found naturally in grapes and these compounds are transferred into the wine during the fermentation process. White wines have very little to no tannin which is why it is usually red wines that come to mind when one thinks of long term aging. Tannin naturally protects the wine from oxygen, which as a wine ages becomes more detrimental to wine quality. Wines with high levels of natural tannin are better prepared to withstand these effects of aging. Just like sunscreen protects us from the UV rays of the sun, the tannins protect the wine from oxygen thus slowing its maturation and allowing it to age more slowly. The higher the level of natural tannin, the more intense the protection which is why Cabernet Sauvignon and Nebbiolo age so well. How does this explain how Pinot Noir, a relatively low tannin variety, ages so well? Keep reading&hellip;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <i><b>Acid</b></i></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Like Tannin, acid is a key component of aging. A low pH coming from high acid levels contributes to the microbial stability of a wine. More importantly it also chemically slows the rate which oxidation reactions can occur which continues to decrease with an increasingly lower pH. Thus wines with low pHs age more slowly and have an increased life span than wines with higher pHs if all other components are equal. Low pHs are one of the main reasons that Rieslings and Hunter Valley Semillons age so well in addition to low tannin reds such as Pinot Noir. They are low in tannin but relatively low in pH which allows them to age more slowly.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <i><b>Sugar</b></i></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> High levels of sugar are very helpful to aging. This comes down to osmotic pressure. What is osmotic pressure? Say you have a yeast cell. That yeast cell has a very low level of sugar inside it. Then you put it in an environment that is very high sugar. Cells naturally want to create an equilibrium between the inside and the solution that surrounds them. All the water rushes out of the cell and poof! No more yeast cell. The high level of sugar (plus pH as mentioned above) protects the wine from refermentation. A lack of microbial activity increases a wine&rsquo;s ability to age further. Now when we say high sugar we are not talking about White Zin which usually runs around 26-35 grams per Liter. We are talking 80+ grams per Liter of sugar. For reference, Sodas can run a little over 100 grams per Liter. However, sugar alone will not help a wine. It needs to be sugar plus a low pH on a top quality wine. Think Botrytis affected wines such as Sauternes, Tokaji, or Trockenbeerenauslese. Icewines also benefit from this protection. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Wines at least two of the above three components will have a better chance of long term aging success than wines with only one or none of the above. That being said, the wine needs to be a style which will improve or get more interesting with age. Varieties such as Muscato really benefit from being youthful when consumed so they should be enjoyed while still fresh and fruity. However, if you happen to like the characters of 10 year old Muscat then that&rsquo;s great! &nbsp;Drink wines when you want to enjoy them, in whatever stage of life they may be. Don&rsquo;t wait for the perfect moment when that moment may be now if that is when you want to drink that special bottle.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>How old is your oldest bottle of wine? Tell us in the comments.</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Originally from Greer, South Carolina, Nova McCune Cadamatre moved to New York to pursue Horticulture after what began as a research paper on grapevine diseases at SUNY Morrisville turned into a love of wines and vines. Her career started in Pennsylvania where she gained experience with cool climate varietals and traditional method sparkling wine. After moving to the Finger Lakes region of New York she refined her winemaking skills, both as Winemaker&rsquo;s Assistant at the Thirsty Owl Wine Company and as a Viticulture student at Cornell University. After becoming one of the first graduates of Cornell&rsquo;s Viticulture and Enology program in 2006, she moved to California to assume several winemaking roles, gaining diverse experiences in both table and sparkling wines from all areas of California most recently as the red winemaker for Robert Mondavi Winery in the renowned Napa Valley. She has furthered her knowledge through London&rsquo;s Wine and Spirit Education Trust with an Advanced Certificate in 2007, the Diploma gained in 2010, and is currently pursuing the Master of Wine Certification.Currently, Cadamatre lives in the Finger Lakes, NY with her family where she works as a Winemaker and continues her weekly blog at&nbsp;<a href=""><strong></strong></a>.&nbsp;</em></div><br /> </p> Tue, 22 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6779