Snooth - Articles Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Sat, 10 Dec 2016 12:15:35 -0500 Sat, 10 Dec 2016 12:15:35 -0500 Snooth ProWein 2017 – The Entire World of Wine <p>ProWein is the world&rsquo;s leading trade fair for wine and spirits, the largest industry meeting for professionals from viticulture, production, trade and gastronomy. No other trade fair offers such concentrated competence and compact wine knowledge like ProWein in D&uuml;sseldorf, Germany. Nowhere else can attendees experience such a high level of internationality, diversity of products and professional atmosphere. Being a trade only event has given ProWein its reputation as a unique business platform for the specialized wine and spirits sector &ndash; for the food wholesale and retail trade, the gastronomy and hotel industry as well as for importers, exporters, mail order business and specialized associations/institutions.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> From March 19 - 21, 2017, more than 6,000 exhibitors from over 60 countries will showcase their products on about 735,000 square feet of exhibit space to 55,000 trade visitors. The trade only event will again be the No. 1 international industry get-together where the latest and most important trends are on display.<br /> While the host nation Germany is very well represented at ProWein, 84% of the over 6,000 exhibitors come from 58 other countries. Filling nine exhibition halls at the fairgrounds in D&uuml;sseldorf, Germany, ProWein will showcase an unparalleled diversity of wines and spirits from all continents.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Events</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> In addition to the exhibitors&rsquo; presentations, the versatile ancillary program will focus on trends and innovations, providing inspiration for the visitors: more than 300 tasting sessions and seminars, the tasting zone of the winning wines of MUNDUS VINI, the Champagne lounge and the FIZZZ Lounge with the motto &ldquo;Spirits &amp; More: Exclusive Cocktails with Coffee, Wine and Craft Beer&ldquo;. The special show &ldquo;same but different&rdquo; will present extraordinary wine production marketing concepts while wine packaging will be the focus of another special show on &ldquo;Packaging &amp; Design&rdquo;.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Route USA</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> A highlight will again be &ldquo;Route USA&rdquo;. For U.S. buyers, importers and wholesalers coming to the show, ProWein and Wine Enthusiast have built &ldquo;Route USA&rdquo;. The Route will guide U.S. visitors to those producers who seek to meet them. Producers will have special signage (the Route USA logo) on their booth indicating their interest in finding importing and distribution partners in the United States.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> To save time and money, order tickets online at <a href=""><strong></strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Questions? ProWein&rsquo;s U.S. office is here to help: Messe D&uuml;sseldorf North America, <strong>Tel. (312) 781-5180</strong>, <a href=""><strong></strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> For accommodations, contact TTI Travel Inc., at <strong>(866) 674-3476</strong>; <a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong>;</strong> <a href=""><strong></strong></a></p> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6863 2016 Holiday Gift Guide Gabe Sasso <p>With the holidays fast approaching shopping season is in full effect. All of us likely have one or more wine lovers on our gift list. Like the rest of the world, some of them are easier to shop for and some a bit more difficult. I&rsquo;ve recently tasted through and considered a ton of different wines to come up with fifteen fantastic wine gift ideas. Regardless of whether your budget is less than $20 or several thousand dollars I have some great wines for you to gift that special wine lover. Whether they lean towards the New World or are staunch Old World wine disciples there are multiple options. Every single one of these wines has passed my lips and gets my seal of approval for deliciousness and gift giving. Most of these offerings are easy to find, a few others will take an elevated effort, in every case they&rsquo;re worth it and will be appreciated by the recipient.<br /> </p> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6867 Smoke Pairings: It’s a Thing Claudia Angelillo <p>Tobacco is a slippery and oftentimes polarizing slope. Some of us love to indulge in a celebratory smoke on occasion, while others detest the very notion. The havoc wrought by overuse of industrial tobacco products is undeniable. Meanwhile, many of us hold on to the romantic promise of an after dinner smoke, the armchair pipe, or the gloved hand of a beautiful woman balancing a cigarette holder between her pointer and middle fingers. I&rsquo;d place myself firmly in the romantic category. Just like drinking and eating, smoking can be done in moderation if you so choose. Moderation in this case might be once a year, but that&rsquo;s what makes it so special. Think about it: How many Thanksgiving Days could you possibly take?<br /> Not only how much, but what you smoke really matters. Industrial tobacco products contain a variety of questionable ingredients. Always choose quality products. And always be sure to pair your smoke with a delicious beverage. It&rsquo;s an age-old practice rife with opportunities to elicit arcane tasting notes and create an otherworldly sensorial experience.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> It&rsquo;s time to break out your smoking jacket and indulge. Remember, a special holiday smoke pairing is a chance to escape a tension-filled holiday table. Smoking is ideal for the outdoors. And if you are indoors, ventilation is so important when you&rsquo;re trying to activate your palate and olfactory faculties at the same time. Open windows and doors.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Without further ado, here are my top three special occasion holiday smoke pairings.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Mullein &amp; <a href=""><strong>Masala Chai</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Mullein is one of my favorite smoke-friendly medicinal herbs. It&rsquo;s widely available in tea bags, but has been rolled and smoked as a lung tonic for centuries. It may seem counter-intuitive, but yes, smoking mullein soothes raw and vulnerable membranes in the throat and lungs. Pair it with a piping hot Masala Chai to break an intractable cough, or just enjoy it with a calm moment of repose. <a href=""><strong>Get the Masala Chai recipe here</strong></a>.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="!cigarette/0/"><strong>Nat Sherman Fantasia</strong></a> and Steely Chardonnay&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> This is celebration in a box. Fantasias are long, slender, and elegantly rolled tufts of natural tobacco in delightfully colored papers -- red, yellow, pink, green and blue. Aren&#39;t you saying &quot;hooray!&quot; at the thought? Pair yours with an ocean floor-drenched, mineral-rich Chardonnay. It will highlight the Fantasia&#39;s lightly toasted vanilla and plant-heavy tobacco flavors.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>Davidoff &nbsp;Grand Cru Robusto</strong></a> with <a href=""><strong>Brenne French Single Malt Whiskey</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> I experienced this pairing in the luxuriously delightful lounge at <a href=";long=-74.0059413&amp;q=New"><strong>Davidoff of Geneva in New York City&rsquo;s Brookfield Place</strong>.</a> And although we were in the city, this pairing took me deep into the Hundred Acre Wood on a foggy fall morning. The pairing was like scratching a birch tree trunk while crushing dried maple leaves under my feet with a great big inhale of mossy dew. PS: Any old whiskey won&rsquo;t do. <a href=""><strong>Learn more about Brenne&rsquo;s unique story here.</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6869 The Truth About Petit Chablis John Downes <p>Just back from Chablis with a few thoughts. The first is that the Chablisienne should try and find another name for Petit Chablis. I often hear wine enthusiasts say it&rsquo;s &ldquo;Chablis that didn&rsquo;t make the grade&rdquo;, &ldquo;from young vines or poor vineyards&rdquo;. Sadly, this is not surprising as the name does suggest an inferior wine but after two days of tasting, Petit Chablis from a good producer deserves a far &lsquo;bigger&rsquo; name. William Fevre, Samuel Billaud, Jean-Marc Brocard, Seguinot- Bordet and Francois Raveneau&rsquo;s crisp, citrus Petit Chablis&rsquo; all belie their title. Ideas for a new name on a postcard please.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Chablis vineyards surround the quiet stone walled town of Chablis in central France and are part of Burgundy, even though they&rsquo;re over an hour&rsquo;s drive north of Beaune, the region&rsquo;s spiritual capital. But, in true Burgundian style, the vineyards are the key to Chablis quality. The French have a name for all the stuff that makes a vineyard good, bad or amazing be it soil, aspect, drainage, climate, microclimate, protection, slope etc, etc. That word&rsquo;s &lsquo;terroir&rsquo;. It&rsquo;s a strange &lsquo;mot&rsquo; but it comes in handy sometimes.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br /> The Petit Chablis vineyards are generally located on the plateau above the hillside vineyards and whilst the vines don&rsquo;t grow on the superior Kimmeridgian limestone slopes, like their wines, their Portland limestone soils are underrated. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Nonetheless, Petit Chablis is the entry category of the four Chablis appellations, the others being Chablis, Chablis Premier Cru and Chablis Grand Cru. Because of their superior &lsquo;terroir&rsquo;, Premier Cru and Grand Cru vineyards produce better grapes which in turn, produce better wines, &ldquo;you get a bit more of everything with a Grand Cru&rdquo;, smiles Elaine Defaix of Domaine Bernard Defaix. There is a downside of course. Petit Chablis and Chablis rock in at about $15 (&pound;12) and $20 (&pound;16) respectively, Premier Cru will set you back about $30 (&pound;25) and, deep breaths, Grand Cru can carry a $60 (&pound;50) tag. The upside is that there&rsquo;s a Chablis for all pockets.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Mother Nature has a lot to say in this mean northerly climate. Many producers&rsquo; harvests were 50-70% down in 2016 because of frost, hail and mildew and that was on top of a low yielding 2015 vintage which was for some 50% down due to hail just 2 days before picking &hellip; ouch! So, expect higher price tags coming to a wine shop near you.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Chablis vineyards cover about 5500 hectares (ha.) in total, made up of a 100 ha. of Grand Cru, 800 ha. of Premier Cru, 3600 ha. of Chablis and 1000 ha. of Petit Chablis. Organic and biodynamic viticulture is popular across the Chablis vineyards although even the most dedicated devotees were sorely tested during the 2016 vintage. One organically certified winemaker told me that the vintage was so damaging they decided to spray, a decision not taken lightly as it cost them their organic certification, a status that will take three years to recover. That had me thinking, was that why some domaines are totally organic but did not want to be officially certified?<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Talking of vintages, the 2014 vintage with its pure line of acidity balancing crisp, arrowed citrus fruit was my star. The fruiter 2015 has less &lsquo;tension&rsquo; (good Chablis tasting note!) but, looking on the cellar-side, the vintage does give us all something to enjoy whilst we wait for the 2014&rsquo;s to hit their peak. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Seeing &lsquo;vielles vignes&rsquo; (old vines) on several Chablis labels reminded me to ignore this impressive announcement. The expression has no legal description and so can be used by any winemaker to denote their oldest vines&hellip; even though they may only be say 15 years old &hellip;. that&rsquo;s hardly old vines folks! Annoyingly, this use of &lsquo;vielles vignes&rsquo; detracts from domaines that take real pride in making complex wines from their old knurled vines; Seguinot- Bordet&rsquo;s Chablis &lsquo;Vielles Vignes&rsquo; is made from 78 year old vines whilst Bernard Defaix&rsquo;s Cote de Lechet 2014 Reserve is produced from 60 year old vines. The importance of knowing if the wine really is &lsquo;Veilles Vignes&rsquo; is highlighted by Julien Brocard, &ldquo;our vielles vignes wines age as well, if not better than our Grand Crus over a 30 year period&rdquo;.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Being Burgundy, the Chardonnay grape is king and the very best vineyard plots, the seven Grand Cru&rsquo;s of Blanchots, Bougros, Les Clos, Grenouilles, Preuses, Valmur and Vaudesir, lie on the steep, protected, south-west facing Kimmeridgian slopes that overlook the River Serein and the town. There are 40 Premier Cru vineyard plots and two, Montee de Tonnerre and Fourchaume, flank the Grand Crus on these treasured &lsquo;Right Bank&rsquo; slopes.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> More Premier Cru vineyards, including Cote de Lechet, Vaillons and Montmains, lie behind the town on south-east facing &lsquo;Left Bank&rsquo; slopes but that said, it&rsquo;s difficult to define exact slope directions within Chablis&rsquo; complex contours, as the ever rolling indulations create critical protection and sun exposure in ever changing measure.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The A.C. (Appellation Controllee) Chablis vineyards lie on the respected Kimmeridgian soils but their sites are less beneficial than the Premier and Grand Cru sites, again showing the vital importance of &lsquo;terroir&rsquo;, especially aspect, slope and microclimate elements, in a chilly northerly region where praying for sunshine and fighting for ripeness is an annual event. &ldquo;The location of the slope is more important than the angle of the slope&rdquo; explains Chablis expert Eric Szablowski.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> As a general rule, Petit Chablis and A.C. Chablis are fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel vats with little use of oak ageing whilst Premier and Grand Cru wines are often part fermented in old French oak barrels, &ldquo;we barrel ferment 50% of our Premier and Grand Cru&rsquo;s in old oak barrels; we only use 2% new oak&rdquo;, confirms Christian Moreau. Francois Raveneau on the other hand ferment their wines in stainless steel before ageing in old French oak barriques, &ldquo;we age for about 10 months depending on the vintage; because of its fruitiness our 2015 had less barrel ageing&rdquo;, explained Isabelle Raveneau.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I was in a restaurant recently when the next table ordered a 2014 Grand Cru Chablis. I checked the wine list. &pound;120! ($150!) Ouch!! My tastings in Chablis brought back memories of that candle-lit night. IMHO., Grand Cru&rsquo;s needs 5&ndash;10 years to reach their full potential so they&rsquo;d have been better off ordering a bottle of Premier Cru. And, it would have saved them a fortune t&rsquo;boot! &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The best producers from my recent trip? Jean-Marc Brocard, Christian Moreau, Samuel Billaud, Seguinot- Bordet, William Fevre, Bernard Defaix, Philippe Charlopin and Francois&nbsp; Raveneau. Pull the cork on any of their wines, be it Petit Chablis, Chablis, Premier or Grand Cru &hellip; you&rsquo;ll taste the dedication.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 350 Masters of Wine in the world, is a speaker, television and radio broadcaster, and writer on wine. Check out his new website at <a href=""><strong></strong></a></em></p> Mon, 28 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6865 The Ultimate Thanksgiving Wine List Snooth Editorial <p>This is not your first Thanksgiving rodeo. It&#39;s not ours, either. We&#39;ve brought you a panoply of Thanksgiving table wine suggestions over the past ten years. There was the time we assured you that <a href=""><strong>Thanksgiving wines wouldn&#39;t break your bank</strong></a>. In fact, we&#39;ve discussed <a href=""><strong>Thanksgiving value wines</strong></a> time and time again. We&#39;ve been here for you during <a href=""><strong>Thanksgiving wine emergencies</strong></a>, too -- and even told you what to do with the <a href="!slide=1"><strong>leftover corks</strong></a>. Suffice it to say, we have been down this road together before.&nbsp; But each new year presents the chance to improve upon the last. As such, the web&#39;s top wine writers have chosen their top Thanksgiving 2016 wines at the $30 and under price point. Print this article and get to your local wine shop, stat. The clear winner this year was <strong><a href="">Onesta Cinsault from Lodi, California</a></strong>. The same bottle was recommended by two of our writers!<br /> <strong>The&nbsp;Rh&ocirc;ne</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> When I think of Thanksgiving wines, I think of Rh&ocirc;ne varieties. And when I think of domestic Rh&ocirc;ne varieties, I have to look locally. Texas is producing some lovely wines with Rh&ocirc;ne grapes. Northern or Southern, white or red, I can always find one (or several) I&#39;m excited to share with friends and family. Since Thanksgiving in Austin can mean warmer temperatures, I lean toward a white blend. The 2014 <a href=""><strong>Wedding Oak Winery</strong></a> Terre Blanc begins with a classic blend of Marsanne, Viognier, and Roussanne. The addition of Trebbiano gives the wine a lilting acidity. The combination of grapes makes this wine versatile. With primary notes of pear and apricot, the wine moves into lemon zest, tea, and exotic spice, finishing with toasted macadamia nuts. It has the structure and weight to hold its own with enough bright notes to carry it through the richer dishes. The grapes in this wine are estate grown, planted with the dream, years ago. Their winemaker, Penny Adams has been a pioneer in the Texas wine industry for decades. Their namesake, the Wedding Oak in San Saba has provided shelter for centuries. There is a sentiment in that story that makes this wine a fitting choice for Thanksgiving. It reminds me to give thanks for risk-takers and quietly planning for the future. For the visionaries, venturing into the uncharted. And for the steady ones, the constants, selflessly providing support as we grow. Whichever wine you choose, I hope you have the opportunity to thank those people in your life, and to toast them with something delicious. Cheers!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Alissa Leenher</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>SAHMmelier</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Trentodoc</strong>&nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> It&#39;s hard to go wrong with fine, sparkling wine as a pairing for festive holiday meals. When made with a good backbone of minerality and acidity, sparklers pair with a wide variety of foods. One excellent source for such wines is Trentodoc, a DOC appellation located in Italy&#39;s Trentino region. Trentodoc wines are made using the traditional methods and grapes of the Champagne region, but with the added benefit of the high elevation of the Dolomites to add a special edge. That elevation causes night time temperatures to drop significantly from the day, creating that diurnal variation that is so important to creating complexity in wines. If you love quality sparking Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, you need to investigate the producers of Trentodoc. A great place to start is with the Endrizzi familiy, one of the region top producers.&nbsp;<strong>2011 Endrizzi Brut Riserva Pian Castello Trento DOC 13.5% $24:&nbsp;</strong>There is a lovely freshness at first on the nose with green apples and pear aromas, and a pure mineral undertone. In addition, there are deeper notes of subtle peach and bread dough, and a pretty layer of white flowers. The palate is energetic and mouthwatering with more green apple, some nectarine, honeysuckle, plenty of mineral support and fresh acidity. Complex and solid with plenty of character to accompany a meal. Produced from the single vineyard of Pian Castello. 60% Chardonnay / 40% Pinot Noir 92 Pts<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Bob Fyke</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Brunello Bob&#39;s World of Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Lemberger</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Since this is America&rsquo;s Thanksgiving, I would like to recommend a wine from the US - and since I live in New York City, I need to share the NY State love by recommending the Fox Run Vineyards 2014 Lemberger red wine. You can buy these wines directly from their website and they are able to ship directly to 29 states. Among wine nerds, Lemberger is actually more widely known as Blaufr&auml;nkisch, a grape variety from Austria, but since the Finger Lakes wine producers in NY thought Blaufr&auml;nkisch was too hard to pronounce, they decided that the German name for the same variety, Lemberger, was a better choice. Funny enough, they had initial problems with people in the US confusing the name with the stinky cheese, Limburger, but Fox Run Vineyards now says that it is no longer an issue with the younger generations of wine drinkers. In my opinion, Fox Run Vineyards makes one of the better Lemberger wines in the area as it can be a simplistic wine if not made in the right hands. Their 2014 has a nice peppery nose with moderate weight, lots of black cherry and bright cranberry flavors that will go nicely with Turkey, mashed potatoes and classic Turkey stuffing. It is a good &quot;compromise wine&quot; that pleases those who like a light bodied wine as well as those that like something a little heartier. The more senior members at the table will get a giggle at the &ldquo;Lemberger&rdquo; name while the younger, cool kids will be impressed with the Austrian Blaufr&auml;nkisch connection - and you will be directly supporting a small American wine producer... all for $21 bucks. Happy Thanksgiving!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cathrine Todd</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dame Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Syrah</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> I recently hosted a small impromptu blind tasting of some Syrah. The 2013 estate-grown selection from Fields Family Wines was the prettiest girl in the lineup. Everyone concluded it would be a great addition to any dinner table. But with Thanksgiving on the horizon, I thought it would be an ideal pick for Thanksgiving fare &ndash; particularly dark meat turkey, casseroles, and root vegetables. This Syrah is quite a charmer, offering aromas and flavors redolent of dark cherries and macerated raspberries with an underpinning of cracked pepper, gunflint, and perfumed notes of violets. In the mouth, the wine is just lovely: it&rsquo;s medium-bodied and fresh with a bright personality and a certain feminine flare. There&rsquo;s a nice pop of energy from the first sip through the finish. Fields Family Wine is a small-production, family-run operation in Lodi, California. For this reason, you probably won&rsquo;t find this wine at your local grocer or shop. The best way to get this wine is through the website. You can also give the tasting room a call Thursday thru Monday from 11am to 5pm PST at 209-327-6306. It&rsquo;s priced at $24 and approximately 8 barrels were produced. Have a great Thanksgiving Day feast and holiday season!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Dezel Quillen</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>My Vine Spot</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Pinot Noir</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Boeger Winery is not your typical winery. A former homestead winery, farm, and distillery dating back to the late 1800s, the 82-acre, Placerville, California, estate was purchased in 1972 by Greg and Sue Boeger, and became El Dorado County&rsquo;s first post-Prohibition winery. Nearly 45 years later, Boeger is truly a family affair, with Greg, Sue, son Justin, and daughter Lexi managing all aspects of the business. The winery is primarily known for its award-winning Italian and Bordeaux-style varietal wines. When one thinks of pinot noir, El Dorado County does not typically come to mind. However, being the experimental pioneer that he is, Greg Boeger decided to give it a try, and thank goodness for us, he did. The five clones of pinot noir in the 2014 Pinot Grande Pinot Noir Reserve, El Dorado ($25), are sourced from Boeger&rsquo;s personal vineyard located at 2,900 feet in elevation, and aptly named after the nearby Pino Grande wood mill. A five-day cold soak renders this clear garnet, medium-bodied wine powerfully aromatic. On the palate, intense fruit flavors of cherry and cranberry are cradled by oak influences such as baking spices, cinnamon, and smoke. I originally tasted this wine with salmon, but I imagine pairing this wine with a hearty, traditional holiday meal, such as roasted turkey, sausage stuffing, creamy potatoes, and homemade cranberry sauce.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Elizabeth Smith</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Traveling Wine Chick</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Petit Manseng</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Pinot Noir. Riesling. Gamay. Cabernet Franc. Champagne and sparkling wine. Each have been staples at our annual Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family for years. &nbsp;Wines made Petit Manseng, a small, thick-skinned grape most commonly associated with the Juran&ccedil;on region of southwestern France, are a new and permanent addition to our holiday dinner wine list. Largely unknown to much of the wine world, Petit Manseng is thriving in Virginia vineyards. The small berries, loose-clusters, and high acid levels are appealing to an increasing number of Virginia winegrowers. Consumers love the range of styles, from bone dry to off dry to unctuous sweet, and the versatility with food. <strong>Horton Vineyards 2015 Petit Manseng, $25:&nbsp;</strong>A delicious and versatile wine perfect for a range of holiday dishes made from some of the oldest Petit Manseng wines in the state. Bright golden color in the glass, this wine offers aromas of pineapple, toasted hazelnuts, lemon, and hints of honey. Rich and dry, flavors of honey, grilled pineapple, and mango with racy acidity, a hallmark of Virginia&rsquo;s expression of Petit Manseng. Petit Manseng ages beautifully, so look for older vintages from Horton. A number of other notable Virginia producers like Jeff White and Glen Manor Vineyards, Michael Shaps of Shaps Wineworks, Jim Dolphin of Delaplane Cellars, and Matthew Meyer of Williamsburg Winery, are producing excellent varietal Petit Manseng wines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Frank Morgan</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Drink What YOU Like</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Zinfandel</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Thanksgiving is the most American of Holidays. Zinfandel, the most American of grape varieties is my choice to serve alongside the bounty that adorns the traditional Thanksgiving table. It&rsquo;s supremely important however to choose your Zinfandel wisely. In this instance you want a classic Zinfandel that&rsquo;s made in a proportionate style. It&rsquo;ll be loaded with plenty of eager fruit flavors that will play well alongside Turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and all the rest. Avoid big, overly jam-laden Zinfandels that are more like cocktails than wine. Dry Creek Valley is the region with the largest concentration of great Zinfandel in the world; pick your Thanksgiving Zinfandel from their abundance of Family producers.&nbsp;<strong>Puccioni 2013 Old Vine Zinfandel ($30):&nbsp;</strong>The heart of their Estate Vineyard is vines with more than 100 years of age on them. Puccioni is a genuinely boutique winery that is family owned and run. They produce just a few hundred cases each of two wines, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, both outstanding. Each vintage these wines (which were always delicious) have been getting better and better, the 2013 offerings continues that upward trend. Ripe black cherry and an abundance of spices dot the welcoming nose. The juicy palate shows off oodles of deep, dark flavors such as blackberry and black raspberry. Black pepper and wisps of black olive are present as well. All of those flavors continue on the lingering finish along with a dusting of dark chocolate. Well integrated tannins and firm acid provide terrific structure. This succulent, hard to resist Zinfandel is delicious now but don&rsquo;t hesitate to lay it down for a decade. If you want to know what real Zinfandel tastes like, look no further than this beauty from Puccioni winemaker Glenn Proctor.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Gabe Sasso</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Gabe&rsquo;s View</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Sauvignon Blanc</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Choosing wines to serve with a Thanksgiving feast is frequently over-thought. To do it right, all you need: a lot of different foods, a lot of different wines, and a lot of different people. I have a massive extended family, and we rent out a firehouse for our Thanksgiving gathering, so I frequently open up a case of white wines (Rieslings, white Rhone blends, etc.). A refreshing, bright Sauvignon Blanc is always among them &mdash; tangy, zesty, citrus and herb-infused Sauv Blanc goes well with all sorts of salads, appetizers, even turkey and stuffing. One of the most reliable producers of delicious Virginia Sauvignon Blanc is Stinson Vineyards. Their 2015 Sauv Blanc ($25) is delicious, vibrant, full of apples and peaches and topped in sea salt and mountain stream mineral goodness. Pour a glass, fill up your plate with a little of everything, and enjoy!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Isaac James Baker</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Reading, Writing &amp; Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Gamay Noir</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Maison B. Perraud Fleurie is a fantastic bottle of Gamay Noir to grace your Thanksgiving meal--bold, elegant and lyrical and binds together a great diversity of foods that you may serve at your table: Roasted turkey, pork, mushroom room gravy and stuffing. It is hard to find a bottle that pairs so many foods together and on my table I end up serving tamales (mild not hot--I can&#39;t eat hot food) and Gamay goes quite nicely with a tamale as well.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>James Melendez</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>James the Wine Guy</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Pinot Grigio</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> I honestly thought I would be writing about a sparkling wine here since I feel that they are the most versatile wines&mdash;they pair wonderfully with just about any type of cuisine. Instead, I have chosen a wine that I never thought I would ever write about in glowing terms: Pinot Grigio. Yes, Pinot Grigio. I have railed against the variety for years now as I find many wines made from the variety to be rather boring at best (and insipid on the other end of the scale). I have gone so far as to turn to beer when I see that the only white option at a party or wedding is Pinot Grigio. Recently, however, I have found a few that are actually quite good sharing a common thread&mdash;they come from Northern Italy, either Alto Adige or Trentino. At the top of my list is the 2015 Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio Trentino DOC. Normally, I would eschew wines of this ilk: high production, wide distribution, usually found on the bottom shelf in a supermarket, but I am smitten with this wine. Great fruit, tartness, and considerable depth, I would not hesitate to recommend this wine to anyone. The best and worst part about this wine? The price: $8. Why is that a bad thing? Frankly, people might lump it in with all the other wines in that price range, but they shouldn&rsquo;t, this is a serious wine that you can buy by the case (and I do).<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jeffrey M. Kralik</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>The Drunken Cyclist</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Pinot Noir</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Last year, the most popular favorites of my five Thanksgiving Wine selections included a vinho verde, a ros&eacute;, and a cabernet franc! When asked for a single bottle to recommend for Thanksgiving, I prefer to suggest more than one bottle, and much depends on both who is attending the meal and what dishes are being served. But this question is posed to me continually from both the educated wine lovers and non-wine drinkers alike at an alarming rate at this time of year. So to complement Thanksgiving and our uniquely North American turkey, I suggest a gentle American wine that the entire table will adore: Cloudline Cellar&rsquo;s 2014 Pinot Noir from Oregon&rsquo;s Willamette Valley, made by winemaker Veronique Drouhin with expertise and a distinctly classic style. Comprised of 100% pinot noir that is bright ruby red in color, it offers a floral nose with notes of black currants, dried fruit, vegetation and limestone. Dark red raspberry, plum and black cherries dominate the fruit profile. The wine shows wonderful balance, medium complexity and enough body to stand up to savory dark meat and stuffing while boasting enough acidity and tannins to cleanse the palate of tart cranberry sauce and juicy meats to leave the mouth refreshed. Easy to drink by itself, it can pair all day long with food and even with dessert! The wine is feminine and elegant with %13 ABV. This crowd-pleasing beauty is an ideal Thanksgiving selection that lists around $25, and can be found online for as low as $19/bottle. Shows best when slightly chilled before serving, I suggest you pop this in the fridge for ten minutes before opening and sharing at 60˚F/16˚C.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jim van Bergen</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>JVB UNCORKED</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Blanc de Noirs</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> When we were prompted to propose a single bottle that would pair with the greatest possible number of traditional Thanksgiving dishes, and be under $30, I immediately thought of Pinot Noir, kind of a classic. But&hellip;.it&rsquo;s been done a million times before, right? Right, but it doesn&rsquo;t mean it&rsquo;s wrong. So my suggestion is to go with the classic, but with a twist - make it bubbly! And why not serve one that it&rsquo;s unlikely your guests have had. I&rsquo;d suggest hunting down the Mawby Blanc de Noirs from Michigan. This multi-vintage blend is produced from pinot noir grapes from the Leelanau Peninsula, which are hand-harvested and whole-cluster pressed. After fermentation in stainless steel tanks the young wines are blended with older, reserve wines before being bottle fermented and then aged en tirage for a minimum of 24 months before disgorging. With aromas and flavors of almonds, orchard fruit, and yeast,&nbsp; this is sure to be a crowd pleaser. At 0.8% RS, this wine will take you from hors d&rsquo;oeuvres to dessert without skipping a beat. And, at $23, it won&rsquo;t break the bank.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Kovas Palubinskas</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>50 States Of Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <b>Grenache Blanc</b><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Acquiesce Winery 2015 Grenache Blanc from Lodi, CA: A steal at $24, this lovely wine has textures and flavors that will harmonize with a broad selection of Thanksgiving dishes. It&rsquo;s magic with avocado if you start with salad, handles spice well and has a hint of green apple, which is my stuffing&rsquo;s secret ingredient. Sue Tipton, the owner and winemaker at Acquiesce Winery has an amazing gift for pairing food with wine and brings a gourmet sensibility to her wines. Inspired by Rhone varieties, she sourced vines from the famed Ch&acirc;teau de Beaucastel of Ch&acirc;teauneuf du Pape and cultivates them in the rich Lodi soil. Over the summer I had two opportunities to taste through her delicious wines with perfectly matched food and was thrilled to discover wines that paired spectacularly. My favorite is the Grenache Blanc, with its lovely minerality, interesting flavors and texture that holds its own with richer food. It comes in a specially designed and elegant bottle, which will grace your Thanksgiving table. Bring two bottles, one chilled and one for the hostess as a gift. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Liza Swift</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>BrixChicks</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cr&eacute;mant d&#39;Alsace Ros&eacute;</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> In our home I do the lion&rsquo;s share of the cooking for Thanksgiving. I wish I could tell you I&rsquo;ve it under control. You know, a bunch of &ldquo;go-to&rdquo; family favorites that have been tried, tested and found true over the years. I don&rsquo;t. We&rsquo;ve enjoyed a deboned turkey (the family is still talking about it &ndash; not a good thing) that looked like a duck. We&rsquo;ve had deep fried turkey, smoked turkey, and any number of variations of oven-roasted turkey over the years. Candidly, I&rsquo;m not looking forward to the hand-wringing associated with setting the menu. Then, they&rsquo;re the wine. To a lesser degree it&rsquo;s the same &ndash; decisions, decisions &ndash; with one exception. I do have a &ldquo;go-to&rdquo; wine. A sparkling ros&eacute;wine makes it to our Thanksgiving table every year. They&rsquo;re festive. They&rsquo;re fun. They elevate a meal. And they are among the most versatile wines at the table. My current favorite under $20 sparkling ros&eacute; is <strong>Domaine Allimant-Laugner Cr&eacute;mant d&#39;Alsace Ros&eacute;</strong>. Cr&eacute;mant d&#39;Alsace is the French term for traditional-method sparkling wines made outside Champagne. It is France&rsquo;s second-most popular sparkling wine in France (after Champagne). In the case of Cr&eacute;mant d&rsquo;Alsace Ros&eacute;, the law requires it to be 100% Pinot Noir. The Domaine Allimant-Laugner is a pretty copper, salmon color with smallish bubbles and expressive melon, strawberry, citrus cream, and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate, it&rsquo;s light-bodied and fresh with a delicate frothy mousse and ample strawberry and citrus flavors accented with kisses of white peach and mineral flavors. It&rsquo;s a well-made sparkling ros&eacute; that offers surprising finesse and character for the price.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Martin Redmond</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>ENOFYLZ Wine Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Ros&eacute;</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to celebrate our blessings with family and friends. It is also a day that centers around a complex meal with a wide variety of flavors and textures. Due to the uniqueness of this joyful day and the mosaic nature of the meal it is important to plan wine pairings in advance. More than one wine is required for a successful Thanksgiving food and wine pairing; however, there are a couple of wines diverse enough to weave a common thread through the meal. One such wine is Proven&ccedil;ale ros&eacute;. It is widely known Provence sets the gold standard for ros&eacute;. However, on a recent trip to Provence I made a new and delicious discovery: oak aged ros&eacute;. One such oak aged ros&eacute; that is perfect for brining cohesion to the tapestry of Thanksgiving is 2015 Chateau Bas Le Temple Ros&eacute; Coteaux D&rsquo;Aix en Provence ($20). Crafted of 80% Mouv&egrave;dre and 20% Rolle, this wine offers notes of fresh red berries with soft notes of spice, it is crisp and round on the palate with a depth of richness and texture developed through the time it spent in French oak barrels. A perfectly structured wine with bright acidity and an added complexity that further expands the possibilities of an already food friendly wine. This wine has an aging potential of ten years or more; evolving into a mandarin, caramel, holiday spice, dried fig wine over time. Recommendation: buy a case and enjoy each Thanksgiving with this beautiful ros&eacute; as it evolves over time.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Michelle Williams</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Rockin Red Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cinsault</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Onesta Bechthold Vineyard Cinsault will pair beautifully with your Thanksgiving feast. So much food, only one wine. How is it possible to choose just one wine that will pair with the variety of food on most Thanksgiving tables? Both white and dark meat from the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, veggies, and maybe even the much-maligned Jello salad will be part of our Thanksgiving feast. I want a red wine with the bright fruit flavors of berries, ripe cherries and spice. It must have depth of flavor, but it can&rsquo;t be too ripe. I want the flavors of the wine to support the flavors of the meal not overwhelm them. I want the wine to have a light to medium body, well-integrated tannins and juicy acidity. Palate-cleansing acidity is a must to cut the richness of the meal. This past August I tasted the wine I describe above. I was standing in the ancient Bechthold Vineyard in Lodi, California with a group of wine bloggers. Winemaker Jillian Johnson, barely as tall as some of the Cinsault vines that were planted in 1886 by Joseph Spenker, spoke eloquently about her interpretation of the vineyard through her wines. She succeeds brilliantly with her Onesta Bechthold Vineyard Cinsault. It is bright, flavorful and well balanced. The 2012 vintage is available directly from Onesta or the Lodi Wine &amp; Visitor Center. For $29 per bottle you can taste Lodi wine history and have the perfect glass of wine to complement your Thanksgiving feast. Enjoy!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Nancy Brazil</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Pull that Cork</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cinsault</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> It&rsquo;s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is few days away; the California Indian Summer has given way to cooler weather and shorter days. The cooler weather makes me reach for richer red wines more often, and when thinking of what to pair with your Thanksgiving menu, think Cinsault. While the classic pairings of Pinot Noir and Chardnonay are always popular with turkey and ham, the earthy, herbal structure of a Cinsault with it&rsquo;s bright cherry and strawberry mid palate is a great alternative. Cinsault, one of the lesser known French varietals, is probably better known as one of the parents of Pinotage, but it also has a long and storied history here in California&rsquo;s Lodi region. The 130 year Bechtolhd Vineyard has been growing what was once known as&ldquo;Black Malvoisie&rdquo; since 1886, and one of my favorite wines from this vineyard is the <strong>2012 Onesta Cinsault</strong>. With extended maceration and 9 months in neutral oak, this beauty is a berry pie with a topper of pomegranate juice. A lighter style of Cinsault, the delicate wine is luscious and fruit forward, yet full of baking spice and acid. This is the perfect wine to please both a Pinot and a Zin lover., and at $29, is wallet friendly as well. Light enough for white meat, but with enough earth and herbal minerality to stand up to oyster stuffing, this Cinsault is sure to please even the pickiest palate.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Thea Dwelle</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Luscious Lushes Wine Blog</strong></a></p> Wed, 23 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6864 #CarmenereDay is Thanksgiving Day! Snooth Editorial <p>The annual shifts in our calendar create all kinds of serendipitous circumstances. Maybe your birthday falls on a Friday this year, which gifts you an extra big weekend to celebrate. And don&rsquo;t you love it when New Year&rsquo;s Day happens to be on a Friday? You get two extra days to recover from your New Year&rsquo;s Eve exploits. This year, serendipity results in #CarmenereDay and Thanksgiving Day sharing the stage on the 24th of November. It&rsquo;s fate, because you could not choose a better grape to grace your holiday table.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Carmenere has a long and storied history. It came to Chile by way of Bordeaux in the mid-1800s. As the story goes, upon arrival, Carmenere was mistakenly labeled as Merlot. The grape lived in Chile under this false name for decades.<br /> By the late 1800s, Phylloxera had destroyed nearly all of Europe&rsquo;s Carmenere. Just like the woolly mammoth and the dodo bird, true Carmenere was thought to be extinct. The grape became the stuff of lore, and nobody believed they could ever taste the classically beautiful pre-phylloxera grape again.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> But in 1994, the insightful French ampelographer Jean Michel Boursiquot saw the false Merlot in a Chilean vineyard and called it for Carmenere. DNA analysis confirmed his assessment, and the grape&rsquo;s true identity was revealed. Thus Carmenere became Chile&rsquo;s superstar grape.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> And so on November 24th of each year, we celebrate the renewed life of this historic grape. Thriving in its adopted home, Chilean Carmenere pairs perfectly with a wide selection of holiday dishes. This is precisely why its shared celebration with Thanksgiving 2016 is so fortuitous. Carmenere creates herbaceous red wines with easy-going tannins perfectly fit for meats like turkey and ham. The grape delivers vegetal notes that will amplify sundry side dishes which are de rigueur at Thanksgiving celebrations, from string bean casseroles to rosemary-dappled warm olives. These are pert, light, happy wines that will perk up your table in no time flat. Ask your local retailer for Carmenere from Chile, and expect to receive an incredible value.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Here&rsquo;s hoping your Thanksgiving and #CarmenereDay are equally joyous occasions. Cheers!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href=""><strong>Wines of Chile</strong></a></p> Wed, 23 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6866 The Next Era in Italian Wine John Downes <p>I know that Snoothers like to cut their teeth on unusual wine stuff now and again so here goes!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I was in Piemonte in north-west Italy a while ago and spent a couple of days in Alba with Indigenous Langa, a new association of winemakers dedicated to promoting the indigenous grapes of the Langhe region, &ldquo;focussing on Nascetta and Pelaverga&rdquo;, the invitation announced. I have to confess, I&rsquo;d hardly heard of either of them! Nascetta&rsquo;s white whilst Pelaverga is a red wine by the way.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Nascetta&rsquo;s claim to fame is that it&rsquo;s the only white grape native to Langhe, the region that also produces Barolo and Barbaresco, two of Italy&rsquo;s most famous reds. For my anorak readers, Arneis, the most prolific white Piemontese grape is indigenous to Roero, the region across the River Tanaro, whilst Cortese, the white grape behind the popular Gavi label, hails from the Alessandria vineyards to the east.<br /> Nascetta was Piemonte&rsquo;s premier white grape in the mid 1800&rsquo;s but was not replanted after the devasting phylloxera (the little bug that loves vine roots for starter, main course and dessert) epidemic that swept through Europe in the late 19th century. A few winemakers kept the faith however and replanted small parcels of Nascetta; the foundations of the Indigenous Langa association whose members now promote this traditional variety so enthusiastically.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I tasted a large flight of Nascetta wines in the cellars of the imposing Grinzane Cavour castle outside Alba; some were good, some not so good. The good bottles carried lively acidity and a touch of minerality with nutty citrus aromas and flavours. The best reminded me of Chardonnay from Burgundy&rsquo;s Maconnais vineyards, the very best had me thinking that they would improve with age. For the record the Nascetta producers that collected my highest scores were Cogno, Cellario, San Silvestro and Rivetto.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Before tasting the Pelaverga wine flight, I popped outside for a touch of warm spring sunshine in the castle&rsquo;s courtyard - the views were breathtaking. Hilltop villages with silhouetted castles and churches, steep green vineyard slopes with the snow capped Alps providing a stunning backdrop to one of the most beautiful vineyard regions in the world. Next time you&rsquo;re thinking of a holiday in Italy, don&rsquo;t forget to put Piemonte on your itinerary.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Back to the wines! Pelaverga grapes were first recorded way back in the 1400&rsquo;s and today thrive in the calcerous and sandy marl slopes around the town of Verduna. Like Nascetta however, the vines only occupy small vineyard plots. The wine was known for its aphrodisiac qualities but after a little research I found that this was &lsquo;because of its excellent drinkability&rsquo; &hellip;. Mmmm, let me pour myself a glass and think about that one.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The first thing to strike you about a flight of Pelaverga wines is the light attractive colour, a feature of the grape variety. The aromas and flavours of strawberry, raspberry and spice with friendly tannins backed by crisp acidity are also a characteristic of this easy drinking wine. If you prefer a light red this is for you. The wines that headlined my tasting notes were from the estates of Reverdito, Cantina I Bre and Ascheri.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In a world dominated by Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and their international mates, it&rsquo;s great to see winemakers promoting their local indigenous varieties. So, bravo to the Lads and Lassies of Langhe. Keep your eyes peeled for Nascetta and Pelaverga on a wine shelf near you, they&rsquo;ll definitely keep the wine conversation going for a while.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 350 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=""><strong></strong></a>. Follow him on Twitter <a href=""><strong>@JOHNDOWNESMW</strong></a></em></p> Fri, 11 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6860 Rotten Wine Grape Review Nova McCune Cadamatre <p>When someone thinks of mold on fruit, it usually has a very negative connotation. However with grapes, there are two sides of the mold story when talking about a very specific fungus called <em>Botrytis cinerea</em>. This is a fungal pathogen affecting grapevines that comes with both challenges and opportunities for the grape grower and winemaker. It can take two forms; the desirable Noble Rot and the problematic Sour Rot (or Grey Rot) depending on specific weather conditions affecting the vineyard.&nbsp; The effects of Botrytis differ depending on the form it takes. First, let&rsquo;s explore why Botrytis is attracted to grapes. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /> Botrytis colonizes grapes to glean nutrients from them. Both forms produce the enzymes Laccase and Pectinase which help the fungus break down the skin of the berries to gain access to the inside of the fruit. Botrytis, like most molds, enjoys a humid environment and is typically transported by wind, water, or animals. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The positive side of Botrytis is called Noble Rot forms when conditions are very specific with humid, cool mornings and warm, sunny, and dry afternoons which keep the infection from growing too rapidly and turning into Sour Rot. This form uses the Pectinase to break through the skin of healthy berries which leads to a natural dehydration of the fruit since the pectins in the skin are what holds in moisture. This natural dehydration concentrates the sugars, acids, and flavors within the skins which are then translated into a more concentrated must during the fermentation. Nobel rot adds its own influences in the form of additional flavors of marmalade, quince, and mushrooms. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Noble Rot also produces Gluconic acid which increases the acid content of the must. It contributes a higher Glycerol content, leading to a fuller mouth feel than the fruit would have had without the infection. These traits are particularly desirable for Sauternes where the tiny, cool Ciron river meets the larger, warmer Garonne making for cool foggy mornings and warm sunny afternoons. The wineries in this area maximize their exposure to the fungus through multiple picking times (called Tries) during which they only choose the most affected berries and leave the less affected ones to increase in concentration. &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> Even when the Botrytis is of the Noble variety it still comes with challenges for fermentation. The extremely concentrated juice can make it difficult for the yeast to ferment due to the high osmotic pressures to which they are exposed in such a concentrated sugar solution. Often, as is sometimes seen in Tokaji, in Hungary, the primary fermentations can take up to 6 weeks and can cause the yeast to stress and produce volatile acidity (VA). For winemakers, choosing the proper yeast strain to withstand the difficult environment. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The negative side of Botrytis is called Sour rot or Grey Rot. Sour rot forms when the humidity is high, temperature is low, and/or the airflow is low through the canopy. It also can show up when the fruit skin is opened from excess water and animal, insect, hail, or machinery damage. This opening allows not only the Botrytis to enter the fruit but also other spoilage organisms like Acetobacter leading to a moldy or sour smell in the fruit. At this point the best solution available to a winemaker is to sort out the affected fruit. This can lead to loss of yields and profits for vine growers as well as lost revenue for wineries that have purchased affected fruit but is usually the best course of action to protect the quality of the wine. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> It is not desirable to produce wines from Sour Rot affected fruit due to the chemicals produced by the fungus and their affect on the fermentation and the final wines.&nbsp; The natural Pectinase found in affected grapes leads to juice that settles and clarifies quickly particularly in white varieties. The low level of suspended solids in the juice can inhibit yeast suspension which in turn will slow the rate of fermentation. Botrytis also uses up nutrients from the fruit which can cause deficiencies for the yeast during the fermentation leading to increased VA and stuck fermentations. From a sensory perspective Sour rot infected fruit can often show a moldy or musty character in the final wine. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The good and bad side of Botrytis depends on the winemaker&rsquo;s final goal for the wine. If it is a style that is defined by Botrytis characters then it is very desirable to use Noble rot affected fruit regardless of the winemaking challenges. When the effects of Botrytis are not desired, it has the potential to be problematic for both winemakers and vineyard managers if not carefully managed.</p> Thu, 10 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500 article6858 It's Not Too Late for Wine and Candy Pairings Snooth Editorial <p>Happy Halloween, wine lover! This hallowed holiday isn&#39;t just for kids. Adults can and should enjoy their favorite Halloween candies with a little bit of wine. Wine and Halloween candy pairings may be contrived, but that doesn&#39;t make them any less fun. In fact, these pairings are quite complex. They are a fine and delicate art not suited to the feint of heart. One wrong move, and you could have a bunch of 98% cacao bars in a puddle of <a href=""><strong>Zweigelt </strong></a>on your floor. (You never really know how people are going to react to a terrible pairing.) Seriously, candy pairings are tough. Candy is a multifaceted treat, with layers of flavors that can range from salty to sweet. This combination, and others like it create wine pairing paradoxes. For example: pairing sweet snacks can increase the perception of bitterness in a wine, but salty ones can decrease that very same perception. What will happen when the twain meets in a single candy? Furthermore, some champion paireres believe that sugary comestibles must be paired with sweet wines. It&#39;s a pity that most American wine drinkers don&#39;t drink a lot of the stuff. Suffice it to say, pairing wine with Halloween candy requires careful and incisive pairing skills. Snooth&#39;s crackerjack cadre of wine writers are pairing pros. They are here with a selection of Halloween candy and wine pairings which are sure to wow all of the (of-age) trick-or-treaters on your block. <br /> <strong>Reese&#39;s and Malvasia</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> There&#39;s only one candy brand I want to see on Halloween: Reeses. Those classic cups, Reese&#39;s Pieces, Fast Break bars, etc. &mdash;&nbsp; if there&#39;s chocolate and peanut butter in there, that&#39;s what I want. I don&#39;t usually drink wine when eating candy, but I would opt for Madeira. Made in a range of styles, Bual and Malvasia (or Malmsey) would work best. These are the richest, sweetest types, but they frequently show vibrant acidity (helping to tame that sweetness), and feature flavors like candied fruits, dried nuts and honey. I like my peanut butter cups right out of the freezer and my Madeira slightly chilled. Add in some classic horror films, and you&#39;ve got yourself one hell of a Happy Halloween. Cheers!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Isaac James Baker</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Reading, Writing &amp; Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>PAYDAY and Cabernet Sauvignon</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Candy and wine &mdash; ugh! If this is your reaction, I can sympathize, but stick with me as I make the case for a pairing that might just surprise you &mdash; and in a good way. I started by thinking about the qualities in a wine that might pair best with candy: a red wine with ample fruit flavors, smooth tannins just a hint of perceived sweetness. And, no need to spend a lot of money on the wine. Next I moved on to the candy. After tasting a few candy pairings I discovered the key to pairing candy with red wine is for the candy to contain something other than just sugar and fruit flavors. Chocolate is a good start and nuts are an even better addition. Something chewy is a plus. My favorite: PAYDAY and Cabernet Sauvignon. The key to this pairing is the generous amount of peanuts in the candy bar and the salty contrast to the chewy caramel center. Nuts, like red wine, contain tannins which to my taste is a large part of the reason this pairing works. There you have it, a candy and wine pairing to enjoy for Halloween. I hope you don&#39;t find the pairing too scary. Happy Halloween!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Nancy Brazil</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Pull that Cork</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Raisinets and Tawny Port</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The <a href=""><strong>Wine Harlots</strong></a> Halloween ritual is booze, candy and a movie. (Which is our basic move every day of the year, too. Boring? No! Call us consistent.) Since the main caveat on dessert pairings is that the wine needs to be at least a sweet as the food, so with candy, this eliminates most table wines from consideration. What really seems to pair well across the board with candy? Tawny. Whether you pick a Tawny port, or a fortified wine from around the world, Tawny rules. It paired really well with a Snickers bar, but ultimately, we chose a classic movie pairing. <a href=""><strong>Tawny </strong></a>and <a href=""><strong>Raisinets </strong></a>is what we&rsquo;ll be enjoying with our double feature of girl-power Hocus Pocus and the always unsettling Halloween.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Nannette Eaton</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Wine Harlots</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>PEEPS and Gewurtztraminer</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> We all love PEEPS. Besides Halloween, the sugary marshmallow PEEPS seem to make appearances for al of the major Holidays. At our house, we have a Traditional, PEEP Party. We pair Gewurtztraminer with the PEEP&#39;S and all feel like we are in Heaven. It&#39;s worth a try...<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Philip Kampe</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>thewinehub</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Heath and Sauternes</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Heath bars may well be Halloween&rsquo;s unsung chocolate heroes. Everyone seems to enjoy them but nobody actually seeks out these sweet treats unless they&rsquo;re already in an assortment with their more popular candy cousins. So, my choice for Halloween wine pairing would be the mighty Heath bar with a slightly aged Sauternes. I think the tertiary dessert wine flavors &ndash; like butterscotch, cr&egrave;me br&ucirc;l&eacute;e&nbsp; and even candied fruit &ndash; will play nicely with the smooth, toffee, chocolate-y goodness of the Heath bar. Happy Halloween, Booordeaux style.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Marijke van Niekerk</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>LAWineGal</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Almond Joy and Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Hitting my teens in the 1980s, I will always recognize the advertising jingle, &ldquo;Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don&rsquo;t.&rdquo;&nbsp; I bet if you were also a child of the 80&rsquo;s, you easily sang the next verse. Little did I know that I would fast forward 30 years and I&rsquo;d be pairing that nut less candy bar with an acclaimed 2010 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon. The pairing was a sublime combination. The Joseph Phelps had rich notes of blueberry, plum, nutmeg, vanilla bean, Indian spice, blackberry, cassis and spice. The chocolate and coconut combined with the lush cabernet created a treat that will keep any treat seeker smiling. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Melanie Ofenloch</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>DallasWineChick</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Wagner Vineyards Sparkling Riesling and Sour Candies</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Sour candies are fun and not cloyingly sweet - why not try a Riesling with them? Better yet, make it a sparkling Riesling. A wine like the Wagner Vineyards Sparkling Riesling from New York&#39;s Finger Lakes region is both sweet and tart but not too dry, contrasting and complementing the candies, with a clean finish and bubbles to act as a palate cleanser before the next bite.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Kovas Palubinskas</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>50 States Of Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Almond Joy and Madeira</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> When I was a child my two favorite candies were Candy Corn, and Sugar Daddies. Reminiscing about those two treats now makes my teeth ache! I can&rsquo;t believe how sweet I liked my candy (sounds a bit like my wine journey)!&nbsp; These days, I literally only eat candy once a year, at Halloween. Each year, we buy a bag of candy.&nbsp; And more than a few Almond Joys never find their way into those requisite cute plastic orange pumpkin pails, pillow cases or paper bags as the case may be. For two reasons, my favorite wine to pair with Almond Joys is Madeira. First and foremost is because Almond Joy has finds its soul mate in Madeira. That&rsquo;s because Madeira has enough concentrated sweetness to complement the sweet milk chocolate of an Almond Joy, it has a nutty, caramel/toffee character that elevates likewise elevates the taste of an Almond Joy and its crisp acidity prepares your palate for the next bite! The second reason is that Madeira, once opened will stay fresh for many months if stored in a cool, dark place or refrigerator. That&rsquo;s important to me because I want the bottle to last through the holidays. I also like to pair Madeira with the some of my favorite holiday treats like Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, and Sweet Potato Pie. A great entry-level Madeira is Blandy&rsquo;s 10-Year Old Rich Malmsey Madeira.&nbsp; It was aged for 10 years in seasoned American oak casks in the traditional &lsquo;Canteiro&rsquo; system, whereby the casks of this wine are gradually transferred from the top floors of the lodge, where it is naturally warmer, to the middle floors and eventually to the ground floor where it is cooler. It has a rich, concentrated, viscous, caramel apple, molasses, dried fig character that is accented by nuanced chocolate, spice and orange peel notes. It has a long finish clean finish thanks to its crisp acidity.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Martin Redmond</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>ENOFYLZ Wine Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Dark Chocolate and Merlot</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Whether it&rsquo;s on Halloween itself or really any time of year my favorite candy is Dark Chocolate with pistachios. Personally, I far prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate. Furthermore I prefer my dark chocolate to lean towards the bitter side but I also like it to ride the line a bit with hints of sweetness. The intensity of dark chocolate with some bitterness and the crunch and added flavor of the pistachios makes for an interesting and somewhat surprising match for well-structured Merlot.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Duckhorn 2013 Napa Valley Merlot ($54): Duckhorn has a number of Merlot&rsquo;s in their portfolio; many of them single vineyard offerings. This Napa Valley Cuvee however is their best known and mostly widely available Merlot. The fruit comes from a combination of their estate vineyards and others throughout the valley. Red cherry, leather and bits of toast appear on the nose. The palate is loaded with red fruits, savory herbs and a host of spice notes. Red cherry continues throughout and is of particular note. Black pepper, chicory and hints of bay leaf are evident on the long finish. A dusting of cocoa is present as well and marries nicely with the dark chocolate. The oodles of cherry fruit evident on the Merlot soften the tannins on this beefy Merlot which is just entering its drinking window. While I think that the possibilities for the pairing of dry red wines and chocolate are too often over stated, this particular pairing works remarkably well.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Gabe Sasso</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Gabe&rsquo;s View</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Bar and Ghost Winery Malbec</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Ever since I moved to Napa, I have had a sweet spot for Flora Springs, especially during the month of October when Halloween is celebrated there like no other winery in the Napa Valley. Every year, the Flora Springs winemaking team releases small-lot, varietal wines just for Halloween to honor its founders, Jerry and Flora Komes, who met long ago at Halloween dance. Each wine also features a specially designed, one-of-a-kind label. This Halloween, Flora Springs crafted three wines: the 2013 Harvest Witch Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2014 All Hallow&#39;s Eve Cabernet Franc, and the 2014 Ghost Winery Malbec. I had the opportunity to stop by and taste all three, to unearth the quintessential Halloween and candy pairing. It was tough work, as you can imagine, but I discovered something I didn&#39;t expect. Flora Springs offers in its tasting room Le Belge Chocolatier Premium Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt bars, also made in Napa. I had a genius moment and decided to try one with all three wines. Of course, I tasted and revisited the pairings a few times. All of the wines paired well, but it was my personal favorite, the 2014 Ghost Winery Malbec, that won my heart and my palate yet again. This beautiful wine, whose grapes are sourced from two blocks at the Komes Home Ranch in Rutherford, offers flavors of rich, black cherry and warm mocha that complement the bitter and salty black chocolate, while its Rutherford dust tannins are tamed by the chocolate&#39;s creamy cocoa butter. Lucky for us, both the wines and the chocolate bars are available to ship to your door. I promise, this is not a trick, but a treat to be savored this Halloween and beyond.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Elizabeth Smith</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Traveling Wine Chick</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>KitKat Bars and Talbott R &amp; V&nbsp; Late Harvest Riesling</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> I love Halloween candy. Nothing made me happier as a child than a pillowcase full of sugary loot. Pairing candy with wine? Not my favorite thing. The first two rules of wine and food pairing will explain why pairing wine with candy is hard. Rule #1 is that food sweetness should be less than or equal to wine. Candy is inherently on the very sweet side of the spectrum. Many less sweet candies have a rampantly acidic character as they are flavored by citric acid. This wreaks havoc with Rule #2: Food acidity should be less than or equal to wine. So where do you start your Monster Mash? Pick a wine with more than moderate sweetness and acidity. I chose Talbott R &amp; V Late Harvest Riesling&nbsp; from the Santa Lucia Highlands of Monterey County in California. This golden colored wine has aromas of stone fruit, vanilla, white flowers and subtle tropical notes. Flavors of apricots, honey and vanilla nestle in its silky texture. It&rsquo;s sweet, but enlivened by bright acidity, so doesn&rsquo;t taste cloying. As luck (and my dentist) would have it, I soon found a tasty match in my candy grab bag. Kit Kat candy bars have a vanilla top note to their chocolate coating as well as a touch of salt, so the candy matches the vanilla and pairs well with the caramel-touched apricot tones of the wine. Additionally, the crispy wafers decreased the sweetness and increased the crunch, which proved an interesting textural note against the unctuous wine. Sadly, the old vine Riesling used to conjure up this delicious elixir have been replanted, so this pair is as ephemeral as childhood itself. But I sipped, crunched, reminisced and dreamed of more Late Harvest Rieslings in my future.&nbsp; Bring on the Trick or Treaters--just don;t expect me to share my KitKats!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Liza Swift</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>BrixChicks</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Reese&#39;s Peanut Butter Cups and Garnacha</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> One of the fondest memories that I have of Halloween was the year when a neighbor was purportedly out of town. As people do when they are not home, the lights were out in the house, but they left the porch lights on. A scarecrow was placed on a lawn chair in front of their house with a big bowl of Reese&#39;s Peanut Butter Cups on its lap and a sign that said something to the effect of &ldquo;Please Only Take One&rdquo;. Well, being an immature child with an out of control lust for Reese&#39;s Peanut Butter Cups, I immediately tried to beat my friends in a race to get the highly prized &ldquo;loot&rdquo;. Somehow, even though I was always the most uncoordinated kid, amazingly, I was ahead of everyone. The hunger for those delicious chocolate covered peanut butter sweets was fueling me. And right before I was about to reach the bowl, the scarecrow jumped up and yelled, and I ended up on the ground laughing. Because of that great memory, I always give out Reese&#39;s Peanut Butter Cups for Halloween. It was fun to try several wines with them - it is a hard job but I do suffer so for my profession - and the one I liked best was a Garnacha from Spain. The 2014 Castillo de Monseran Garnacha had the right balance of &ldquo;sweet fruit&rdquo;, even though it is technically a dry wine, with smooth body and interesting notes of sage and spice that brought my enjoyment of these devilishly tasty treats to the next level, and all for only 10 bucks. So this year, I will not only be giving out Reese&#39;s Peanut Butter Cups to the kids, but a wine pairing recommendation to their parents.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cathrine Todd</strong><br /><br /> <strong><a href="">Dame Wine</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Miniature Hershey Bars and Value Bordeaux</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> My favorite Halloween candy is miniature Hershey Bars. This mix of Hershey&rsquo;s Milk Chocolate, Mr. Goodbar, Krackle, and Hershey&rsquo;s Special Dark in a miniature, bite-sized candy bar can be a fun palate cleanser or after-dinner treat. An ideal wine pairing is an inexpensive Bordeaux red blend. While there are many to choose from in the $8- $15 range, one of my favorites is Chateau Larteau. Deep ruby in color, it features a complex bouquet of eucalyptus, forest floor, and rich black fruit. On the opulent palate, red and black cassis are dominant fruit with notes of mocha, pepper, tar, and gravel. This collection of soft tannins and mature, dark flavors is an excellent complement to miniature Hershey bars, M&amp;M candy, and Reese&rsquo;s Peanut Butter cups. Sweet and savory flavors from the chocolate are enriched by the dark, powerful notes from the wine and then cleansed swiftly with acidity for a satisfying experience. I purchased a case of this right bank Bordeaux superior 2006 for $13/bottle just a few years ago; it was drinking well at the time, but at ten years of age the wine has hit a beautiful stride. The &#39;06 is still available at a few bucks more per bottle, but the &rsquo;09 and &rsquo;10 vintages are easy to find for $15 and ideal vintages to enjoy that will remain viable for many more Halloweens to come.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jim van Bergen</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>JvB UnCorked</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>M&amp;Ms &amp; Graham&#39;s 10 Year Tawny Port</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> As Halloween approaches and the super markets pack aisle after aisle of delicious candy my mouth begins to water for my all-time favorite candy treat: M&amp;Ms. Though classic M&amp;Ms are my favorite because I can pour a handful into my mouth, I am also a fan of peanut M&amp;Ms as well as the creamy deliciousness of peanut butter M&amp;Ms! I am not a big candy eater and if it is not chocolate I typically won&rsquo;t bother. However, throw a few M&amp;M&rsquo;s my way and my heart sings. On Halloween night the kids don&rsquo;t have to be the only ones having fun. For a frighteningly fun Halloween pour a glass of Graham&rsquo;s 10 Year Tawny Port and grab a handful of M&amp;M&rsquo;s. Graham&rsquo;s 10 Year Tawny Port is elegant, striking a delicate balance between notes of a rich nuttiness, honey, and fig and deeper notes of spices with a hint of dark chocolate that develops due to its aging in seasoned oak casks until it reaches the peak of maturity. The flavors are a perfect accompaniment to classic, peanut, and peanut butter M&amp;Ms. Give Graham&rsquo;s 10 Year Tawny Port a slight chill to heighten the sensual pleasure of this decadent wine. A word of caution: Graham&rsquo;s 10 Year Tawny Port paired with M&amp;Ms may be addictive so buy an extra bag of M&amp;Ms for the trick-or-treaters.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Michelle Williams</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Rockin Red Blog</strong></a></p> Mon, 31 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6854 Starry Eyed Pairings: Sparkling Rosé and Truffles Claudia Angelillo <p>Check your calendar. Yes, Thanksgiving is almost here. It&#39;s past time to start wondering how you&#39;ll up the ante at this year&#39;s holiday table. Whatever you do, don&rsquo;t panic. Just when you think your bag of tricks is empty the right pairing will appear under your nose. It&#39;s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of quirky originality, but that&#39;s a fast and easy way to miss the mark. Pairing sparkling ros&eacute; and chocolate truffles is by no means revolutionary, but it&#39;s so obvious that you may not think to suggest it. When it comes to chaotic holiday tables, simplicity and grace will always prevail.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> You&#39;re not going to get brownie points (unless you pair them with a fruit-forward Pinot Noir) for trying, and failing, to successfully pair steamed artichokes with...with...exactly. You can&#39;t do it, which is exactly why you&rsquo;ll try. Indefatigable stubbornness is a beautiful quality. Maybe this year you&#39;ll convince a few people that steamed artichokes are improved by a glass of <a href=""><strong>Vermentino</strong></a>, but most of that success is born of effort alone. Take your E for Effort while the majority sticks with tried and true delights.<br /> Sparkling ros&eacute; and chocolate truffles is a dessert fit for the most elegant holiday affair. Your evening probably starts with a celebratory white sparkler. Make sure the party ends on a high note too. (The second sparkler should be served before adult coffees -- the hallmark of any occasion&rsquo;s end.) Your meal may introduce a variety of grapes along the way; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Grenache, and maybe a Petit Verdot. Wind things down with a sparkling wine that will encourage further celebration and kick-start digestion. The sparkling ros&eacute; will not detract from the build you&#39;ve created with the grapes served throughout your meal. Sparkling wine, no matter the course, will always invoke celebration. That&#39;s a personal guarantee.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> One of my favorites for sparkler-thirsty crowds is Mionetto, and their well-made, easy-going <a href=""><strong>Prestige Collection Gran Ros&eacute;</strong></a> is perfect for chocolate truffles. <a href=";hide_state=1&amp;country=US&amp;myzip=10010&amp;sort_article=date_published%20desc&amp;entity=recipe&amp;store_front=0&amp;query=chocolate%20truffles"><strong>Here is a list of chocolate truffle recipes to make yourself</strong></a>.&nbsp; But if you&rsquo;re pressed for time, I recommend placing an order with the friendly folks at <a href=""><strong>Voila Chocolat</strong></a>. You can customize your flavors to suit the occasion or meal. Why not give yourself a break and get someone to pinch-hit on dessert?<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo credit: <a href=""><strong>Mionetto USA</strong></a></p> Fri, 28 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6853 Lodi Is Changing The Way We Think About Wine Claudia Angelillo <p>There&rsquo;s no doubt about it: The wines of Lodi, California, have won the hearts and palates of wine drinkers everywhere. (In case you haven&rsquo;t heard, the region was named Region of Year by Wine Enthusiast in 2015.) Lodi is the region next door you&rsquo;ve always liked, but after a few years it has become evident that she is &ldquo;the one&rdquo;.&nbsp; And you don&rsquo;t just love her for her Zinfandel. There&rsquo;s so much more to Lodi, and you&rsquo;re still discovering new things about her every day. She&rsquo;s got over one hundred grape varieties under vine, and she&rsquo;s doing cool new things all the time. Snooth corraled a group of six wine writers for a three-day Lodi immersion experience. The event culminated in a virtual tasting on Snooth&#39;s custom platform. The tasting was designed to showcase Lodi&#39;s undersung varietals. <strong><a href="">Click here to watch the tape.</a> </strong>Read on for more about how Lodi is changing the way we think about wine in America.&nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Pictured: Lodi&rsquo;s historic Becthold Vineyard. These Cinsault vines were first planted in 1886.&nbsp;Photo credit: Randy Caparoso, <a href=""></a></strong><br /> </p> Thu, 13 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6848 Prosecco Has Become The Default Bubbly John Downes <p>Prosecco has taken the world of wine by storm but my friends know my thoughts on this popular Italian sparkler&hellip;.Pay The Extra Quid (PTEQ!)&hellip;that&rsquo;s &lsquo;PTED&rsquo; (dime) the U.S. of course; there are some very average bottles of Prosecco on our shelves.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Prosecco is from northeast Italy, more precisely from five Veneto provinces (Treviso, Venice, Vicenza, Padua, Belluno) and four provinces of Friuli Venezia Giulia (Gorizia, Pordenone, Trieste and Udine). The vineyards are well worth visiting for their stunning beauty as well as their wines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Across the Venetian plains there&rsquo;s been an explosion of new plantings of Glera, the Prosecco grape, over recent years. The explosion&rsquo;s been so loud that between 2008 and 2011 Glera vines almost doubled to 21 000 hectares; that&rsquo;s over a quarter of Veneto&rsquo;s total vineyard area! To increase the noise, U.K. sales value was up a massive 70% last year whilst the U.K. and the U.S. each knocked back over 30 million bottles. You have to heap marketing praise on the region for within just a few years, Prosecco has become the default bubbly.<br /> Star grape Glera has to account for at least 85% of the wine, the other permitted grape varieties being Verdiso, Bianchetta, Trevigiana, Perera, Glera Lunga, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Nero. Just in case you&rsquo;re wondering, I hadn&rsquo;t heard of some of these varieties either!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The better &lsquo;cost a few quid more&rsquo; bottles are from vineyards located in the superior D.O.C.G. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata Garantita) vineyards in the nearly-unpronounceable Conegliano-Valdobbiadene hills of the Veneto about an hour&rsquo;s drive north of Venice. A quick tip with these long words; do what the Italians do, &lsquo;speak with your hands&rsquo;, it really does help with the pronunciation!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The D.O.C.G. vineyards are on the superior limestone-rich hillside slopes as opposed to the heavier clay valley plain, the latter taking on the D.O.C. label. The moral of the story? Look out for the &lsquo;G&rsquo; and PTEQ. For the statisticians, about 280 million bottles of D.O.C. are produced every year compared to just 80 million bottles of D.O.C.G., &ldquo;we will produce 360 million bottles in 2015&rdquo;, Stefano Zanette, President of the Prosecco DOC Consortium, predicted last year. To their credit, the Proscecco producers realise that these titles are confusing and to lead us towards better quality are helpfully labeling the superior D.O.C.G. wines &ldquo;Superiore&rdquo;. Bravo!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> As well as holding better soils, the hillside slopes are key to producing higher quality grapes (and therefore higher quality wine) as they also command better exposure to the sun. The higher altitudes are also good news as they introduce cooler temperatures and wider day-night temperature differentials to bring crisper acidity into the quality equation.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Prosecco is made by the Charmat Method, (called Martinotti in Italy), where the second fermentation occurs within a temperature controlled closed tank (sealed to keep the bubbles in), as opposed to Champagne which undergoes its second fermentation in a sealed bottle. The result is 11-12% alcohol by volume, light coloured sparkler with fresh, primary pear, apple, aromas and flavours.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> If you&rsquo;re feeling rich you can shell out for a D.O.C.G. Prosecco from the prestigious, tiny (107 hectare) vineyard sub zone of Cartizze where the grapes grow on top soils and the steepest slopes of the region. It&rsquo;s a spanking good sparkler. Think of it as the &lsquo;Grand Cru&rsquo; of Prosecco.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I&rsquo;ve been told that Snoothers across the world often entertain each other matching their best wines with wonderful food and pouring interesting reception sparklers to set the mood. Prosecco will no doubt feature bigtime in these aperitif stakes. After reading this piece, your guests may be thinking PTEQ? You can blame me for that but hopefully you&rsquo;ll be able to say &ldquo;yes&rdquo;.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 350 Masters of Wine in the world is a corporate entertainer, speaker, television and radio broadcaster and writer on wine.<br /><br /> Check out John&rsquo;s website at&nbsp;<a href=""><strong></strong></a>.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Follow him on Twitter <a href=""><strong>@JOHNDOWNESMW</strong></a></em></p> Fri, 07 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6851 Wine Lovers Buzz About #GarnachaDay Snooth Editorial <p>It has become clear that wine drinkers are demanding varietal wines beyond the strongholds we&#39;ve seen on shelves and menus for decades. Let&#39;s face it; there was a palate gap in the United States&#39; most commonly consumed varietals. That gap has been bridged by Garnacha. Not a single other commonly consumed grape brings the same level of crowd-pleasing versatility and broad array of fresh and accessible flavors. It&#39;s the quintessential red wine for white wine drinkers. Garnacha&#39;s resurgence as a varietal wine is attributable to a group of hardworking, innovative growers and winemakers in Eastern Spain (in the DOs of Calatayud, Campo de Borja, Cari&ntilde;ena, Somontano and Terra Alta)&nbsp; -- the grape&#39;s ancestral home. They are dedicated to preserving old vines, keeping yields low, and experimenting with the latest winemaking trends. Last month, in celebration of #GarnachaDay 2016, Master Sommelier Laura Maniec sat down with Master of Wine Christy Canterbury live on Snooth to taste through a selection of Spanish Garnacha from the four key DOs. Members of the wine writing community tuned in live to taste the wines along with them, and their reactions were strong. <a href=""><strong>If you missed the virtual tasting, click here to view it now.</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Read on to learn more about the wine writing community&#39;s thoughts about #GarnachaDay, and why this grape is filling glass after glass around the world.<br /> The four wines tasted during Snooth&#39;s #GarnachaDay virtual tasting are listed below, along with commentary from some of the attending wine writers.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In the words of <a href=""><strong>Michelle Williams (Rockin&#39; Red Blog)</strong></a>, &quot;Garnacha is a like your favorite Labrador, it is friendly, easy to get along with and pleases everyone.&quot; So when you are shopping for a diverse crowd, try one of these wines. They&#39;re all available in local retail stores at incredible values. And as <a href=""><strong>The Wine Hub&#39;s Philip Kampe</strong></a> points out: &quot;Why not take your five wine Spanish Garnacha journey? The total cost for five bottles was $54.&quot;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Clos Dalian Garnatxa Blanca 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Indeed, White Garnacha does exist. It may also be referred to as Garnacha Blanca or Garnatxa Blanca. Varietal White Garnacha isn&rsquo;t terribly common, but it&rsquo;s something in which DO Terra Alta specializes and excels. <a href=""><strong>The Nittany Epicurean</strong></a> describes a &quot;bouquet of apple and lemon&quot; on the nose of this wine, while <a href=""><strong>SAHMmelier</strong></a> speaks of the wine&#39;s little sparkle of lemon and sunshine with a touch of salinity. <a href=""><strong>Talk-A-Vino</strong></a> reminds us that the majority of virtual tasting attendees concur: this is the ideal oyster wine. October ends in an &#39;R&#39;, so now is the time to <em>shuck</em> your friends with this fantastic pairing!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>La Miranda de Secastilla Blanca 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Our second example of Garnacha Blanca hails from DO Somontano. The grapes in DO Somontano grow among the snow-capped Pyrenees, more than seven hundred meters above sea level. <a href=""><strong>Snooth&#39;s own Gabe Sasso</strong></a>&nbsp; found petrol, toasted hazelnut and linseed oil aromas lighting up the nose. This wine has four months in French oak under its belt, and complex aromas are present. <a href=""><strong>Isaac James Baker</strong></a> gave the wine 90 points,&nbsp; relating aromatics of apricots, pears, glazed apple, honeyed tea, white flowers, almond and sea salt. If you are into creamier white wines, this one is for you. Do you have an aversion to any mention of oak? Don&#39;t worry, there&#39;s no need to steer clear. <a href=""><strong>VT Wine Media&#39;s Todd Trzaskos</strong></a> notes the&nbsp; &quot;...use of oak shows only as a gauze in the air that rises from the glass.&quot;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Castillo de Monseran Garnacha Cari&ntilde;ena 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This wine, intended for young drinking, comes to us from Cari&ntilde;ena. <a href=""><strong>Cliff Brown</strong></a> speaks of its &quot;hypnotic nose...blackberries, crushed stones, white pepper, cherries, dry underbrush, violets and warm baking spices.&quot; <a href=""><strong>Wannabe Wino</strong></a> deems this a &quot;dark wine&quot; with notes of &quot;blueberry, pie, leather, and cranberry&quot; on the nose and &quot;blueberry, tea, dark strawberry and blackberry&quot; in the mouth. <a href=""><strong>Cheap Wine Ratings</strong></a> says, &quot;If you like lively, fruity, spicy Garnacha there&rsquo;s a good chance you&rsquo;ll dig this one.&quot; What&#39;s not to dig about any wine from Cari&ntilde;ena? The region has a rich and storied history of winemaking dating back to the Roman era. Suffice it to say, the region knows what it&#39;s doing. Try pairing this with an array of dark chocolate. Cacao percentages should vary. Observe how the rising and falling bitterness levels effect this wine&#39;s fruit flavors.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Evodia Garnacha 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Somm in the City</strong></a> finds that this Calatayud Garnacha takes well to its slate soils. She calls the wine &quot;inky purple...boasting purple flowers, plum, and currants with mineral laced notes.&quot; Remember, in Calatayud your Garnacha is grown among plantations of almond, cherry, olive, apple, pear and peach trees. The spirit of nearby crops is alive in this Garnacha. It&#39;s also a pretty pairing wine.<a href=""><strong> The AdviceSisters&#39; John Dunham</strong></a> suggests that it will &quot;work with stronger foods, like steak, or pork shoulder&quot;.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Garnacha Centenaria 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>JvB UnCorked</strong></a> likens this Campo de Borja gem to a concerto, with &quot;gentle and delightful red cherries&quot; at the start, &quot;...slowly... joined by allspice, black pepper, stone and clay...&quot; and &quot;...a triumphant swirl into the apex of the movement...notes of rose bush, red pepper, leather, and spice box.&quot; <a href=""><strong>Enofylz </strong></a>also champions this selection, bringing the wine&#39;s &quot;red currant, mulberry, black cherry, plum and spice flavors&quot; to the fore. <a href=""><strong>Vino Travels</strong></a> claimed this as her top wine for two consecutive vintages (2013 and 2014), pointing to its complexity and long orange notes. Campo de Borja is a haven of old vines; the oldest ones date back to 1145, The wisdom of the ages is evident in your glass. Check out <a href=""><strong>Tasting Pour&#39;s</strong></a> perfect pairing (plus recipe): Collard, Shrimp, and Chicken Thigh Spanish/Southern Fusion.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The most common finding among #GarnachaDay&#39;s virtual tasters? It&#39;s delicious value with a capital V. When you choose a bottle of Garnacha or Garnacha Blanca from one of the five key PDOs, you know you&#39;re getting an expertly crafted bottle from the grapes&rsquo; native land. The wines are made by people who take care to ensure that the grapes reach their full potential in the comfort of their own home. What&#39;s more, these wines don&rsquo;t break the bank. Pick up one of some of them, and <a href=""><strong>watch the virtual tasting video to learn even more</strong></a>.</p> Mon, 03 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6847 Wine That Says “Count On Me” Mark Angelillo <p>When he started Kendall-Jackson Winery thirty-two years ago, Jess Jackson&#39;s vision was that everyone should have access to a luxury bottle of wine, wherever or whoever they are. The goal was to make premium wines at accessible prices. Judging by the scope and scale of Kendall-Jackson today, we can all agree he made good on his vision. Kendall-Jackson, affectionately known as &ldquo;K-J&rdquo;, may be one of the first wines you ever loved. The operation has grown considerably since its first eighty acre orchard purchased in 1974. And not despite, but perhaps in spite of this growth, Kendall Jackson continues to produce some of the best value priced bottles coming out of California today. These are reliable, dependable, timeless wines. You can always count on them to deliver what you need. The question is: how does a large scale operation like Kendall-Jackson make this profound consistency and quality a reality?<br /> Randy is how. I had a chance to sit down with Randy Ullom, Winemaster at Kendall-Jackson, during the calm before the excitement of their 20th annual Heirloom Tomato Festival. One of my first questions was &quot;What is a Winemaster?&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Randy has a big job. He oversees wine making, blending and wine growing for all of Kendall-Jackson&rsquo;s winemakers and grower teams up and down the coast from Sonoma to Santa Barbara. After twenty-four harvests he&#39;s very much up to the task, and he projects his relaxed confidence with the role and in the teams with whom he works. For Randy, harvest is a favorite part of the job, when he travels up and down the coast, visiting the vines, tasting lots and organizing the huge effort required to get all of the grapes picked and safely to the presses at exactly the right time.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I was lucky enough to share some of what Randy calls &ldquo;breakfast wine&rdquo;. In this case it was a glass of <a href=""><strong>Jackson Estate Camelot Highlands Chardonnay 2014 from the Santa Maria Valley in Santa Barbara</strong></a>. It&rsquo;s a breakfast wine because, quite simply, there&rsquo;s a bowl of fruit in the glass. The fruit is so powerful that it leaps to the nose. Furthermore, it received 91 points from Wine Spectator.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Randy also says the Santa Maria Bench is the Filet Mignon of Santa Barbara County, and is genuinely excited about the wines he can produce from the region. He wants these wines to be full of approachable fruit but also creamy. His team stirs the lees every two weeks to ensure the finished product matches their intention. It&#39;s a lovely wine with cool fruit notes of peach and mango and a soft creamy finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Randy&#39;s winemaking strategy at Kendall-Jackson is to produce wines with full-on ripeness, that are fruit forward and rich, voluptuous, with developed aromas and flavors that leap from the glass and beckon for another sip. The process is a never-ending endeavor, and during harvest the challenge is to get the grapes from the vine to the presses as fast as possible. All of the grapes are pressed locally to where they are grown, but eventually the juice travels to Sonoma where bottling happens every day of the year.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Kendall-Jackson produces five levels of wine: Stature, Jackson Estate, Grand Reserve, Vintner&#39;s Reserve, and K-J Avant. Each level is suited to a particular day of the week, from Tuesday night&rsquo;s K-J Avant California Sauvignon Blanc with Cajun Chicken Stew and Netflix, to Saturday night&rsquo;s Stature Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon with candle-lit Beef Tenderloin on a white-clothed table. Each bottle gives you exactly what you want, when you want it. It&#39;s humbling to consider the scope of operations that would support an effort at this scale with such consistent quality. But like any superior leader, Randy won&rsquo;t let on how integral to this process he truly is.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Heirloom Tomato Festival itself is lively and bustling already by the time we begin talking about it. After 20 years, the event is refined and impeccably delivered. Restaurants from the area share foods prepared from their best tomato recipes. We sampled tomato inspired lobster rolls, chocolate covered cherry tomatoes and vanilla bean ice cream with tomato jam. The center of the event sports a large tent with one hundred and fifty varieties of heirloom tomato, diced and served raw with fleur de sel. Attendees are invited to vote for their favorite tomato to win best in show. It&rsquo;s well worth scheduling your visit to wine country around this particular event.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The festival was started in the Kendall-Jackson tomato gardens and has grown into a food and wine show that brings fans and wine club members from miles to enjoy the day under the tents. The wine is of course flowing freely. Randy&#39;s suggestion is to match the color of the tomato with the color of the wine. For green tomatoes, try Sauvignon Blanc. For the yellow gold varieties, Chardonnay. Merlot goes with the yellow red and medium red tomatoes, and finally the purple/black/deep red tomatoes are good for Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. Tomatoes are still abundant right now, so it&rsquo;s not too late to try something like this at home.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This isn&rsquo;t the end of Kendall-Jackson&rsquo;s story. Under Randy&rsquo;s leadership, their wine program is continuing to evolve. Look for an expansion in K-J&rsquo;s Ros&eacute; program to account for the growing demand of this popular style. Randy and his team are also are working on a Pinot Noir that will carry the new Petaluma Gap appellation on the bottle. Petaluma Gap is not an AVA yet, Randy says, but it will be soon. Keep your eyes on the bottle.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>What are your favorite dependable wines? Which producers can you count on to give you what you want, when you want it? Let us know in the comments.</strong></p> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6846 Put These Sonoma Wines on Your Radar Gabe Sasso <p>Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is an event filled with terrific wine and food from Sonoma County -- for a cause. Over two hundred wineries and sixty local chefs come together to raise funds for local non-profits in the environment, health, and literacy fields. Top chefs and winemakers band together to create a gustatory tour of what Sonoma County has to offer. A variety of events took place over Labor Day weekend at some of California&rsquo;s most beloved wineries. These are names with which you are surely familiar. <a href=""><strong>Francis Ford Coppola</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>MacMurray Estate Vineyards</strong></a> (which sits on the MacMurray Ranch property previously owned by the late actor Fred MacMurray), and one of Sonoma&rsquo;s most picturesque properties, <a href=""><strong>Chateau St. Jean</strong></a>, are all part of the fabric of modern day American wine history. These wineries, vineyards, and the event itself, remind us how much the region has grown and evolved over the last century. Sonoma is without a doubt an integral part of our wine heritage.<br /> At the heart of the weekend was a charitable auction of thirty eight lots ranging from bottle collections to travel experiences and private dining. Over four million dollars were raised, a massive success which should be loudly applauded! In the process of raising money for great causes, many outstanding wines were poured. I was fortunate enough to sample some of them. Here&rsquo;s a look at my favorites.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Chateau St. Jean 2014 Robert Young Chardonnay</strong></a> ($25)<br /><br /> Robert Young Vineyard, where the fruit for this wine was sourced, is one of the most iconic Chardonnay vineyards in Sonoma County. Roasted nut and golden delicious apple aromas light up the nose. Concentrated yellow fruit flavors dominate the palate. Continued apples, bits of cr&egrave;me fraiche and a boatload of spice are apparent on the above average finish. Most striking about this Chardonnay is the rich, luxurious mouthfeel.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Martin Ray 2015 Clone 809 Russian River Valley Chardonnay</strong></a> ($35)<br /><br /> A mere 120 cases of this single clone Chardonnay were produced. From the first whiff to the last sip it&rsquo;s simply stuffed with an avalanche of fresh fruit flavors. Granny Smith Apple and Anjou pear are of particular note. A cornucopia of minerals and a sprinkling of spices dot the memorable finish. This is a very specific, special, and delicious expression of Chardonnay. This Clone 809 Chardonnay is so full of pure fruit and at the same time remarkably proportionate. Think of this offering as a sneak peek into the exciting things going on at Martin Ray theses days.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Pedroncelli 2014 Bench Vineyards Merlot</strong></a> ($17)<br /><br /> Pedroncelli has a portfolio loaded with wines that are easy on the wallet for the quality they offer and delicious to drink. This Merlot is among that number. Violet end fleshy black fruit aromas fill the nose. Red and black fruit flavors dominate the mouth-filling palate along with plenty of spice notes. Crushed red cherry and a wisp of dusty dark chocolate are present on the above average finish. The Pedroncelli Family has been crushing it in Dry Creek Valley for nearly 90 years, if their wines aren&rsquo;t already on your radar, they should be.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>MacMurray Ranch 2014 Russian River Valley Reserve Pinot Noir</strong></a> ($35)<br /><br /> The Pinot Noir for this wine came from three vineyards, including the Estate Ranch. Gentle wisps of violet, toast and red fruit emerge from the nose. Mushroom, tobacco, bay leaf and red cherry flavors fill the substantial palate. The finish is above average and loaded with spices, dried fruit and a dollop of earthiness. This is a tasty and pretty example of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Collier Falls 2012 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel</strong></a> ($36)<br /><br /> From his property in the heart of Dry Creek Valley Barry Collier produces an outstanding portfolio of small lot wines. Year after year that includes one of the best Zinfandels money can buy. Raspberry and blackberry aromas leap with conviction from the nose here. The palate is loaded with strawberry, black pepper and continued raspberry references. The finish is long, spicy and complex with more fruit and a healthy dusting of sweet cocoa. If you want to know what Zinfandel really tastes like, this a perfect place to start.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Camlow Cellars 2013 Magna Porcum Pinot Noir</strong></a> ($45)<br /><br /> This limited production, Estate Grown, Russian River Valley Pinot is poised to be the next Cult Pinot out of California. All of the fruit came from &ldquo;Big Pig,&rdquo; their estate vineyard which is planted to four clones of Pinot. Blackberry and hints of black tea waft from the welcoming nose. Boysenberry, leather and gentle bits of earth dot the deeply layered and elegant palate. The persistent, mouthwatering finish shows off sour red fruits, a bevy of spices and a sprinkling of earth. This Pinot Noir would be a fair deal at twice the price, it&rsquo;s that good. My advice is to buy some and also get on their mailing list while it&rsquo;s still possible.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>ACORN 2013 Medley</strong></a> ($48)<br /><br /> ACORN Winery, located in Russian River Valley and very close to Dry Creek Valley is one of the jewels in the crown of Sonoma County. From their Estate Vineyard they produce gorgeous wines. Each vineyard block is planted as a field blend, so every wine has much more than the named variety in it. Medley is a blend of the best vineyard lots and represents Alegria Vineyards as a whole. It&rsquo;s composed of Syrah, Zinfandel, Cinsault, Sangiovese, Muscats, Viognier, Dolcetto, Alicante Bouschet, Petite Sirah, and more. Taken as a piece the ACORN wines are remarkably balanced, acid rich, food friendly offerings that age well. This vintage of Medley fits that bill to a tee. The nose resembles nothing more than a big bowl of fresh red fruits. The palate is stuffed with cherry and red currant as well as a host of spices. Vanilla bean, earth, mushroom, and sweet cocoa are all part of the finish. This wine is simply awesome. It&rsquo;s fantastic now and will age well for at least a dozen years.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Lambert Bridge 2012 Malbec</strong></a> ($70)<br /><br /> Lambert Bridge is a boutique Dry Creek Valley producer that sells its wine direct to consumers. A small handful of wineries in Sonoma produce a varietal Malbec and this is one of the best. Red flower aromas emerge from the nose along with lots of plum characteristics as well as black cherry. The palate is loaded with plenty of juicy red fruit, spice, and a dollop of earth. Bits of boysenberry and chocolate sauce dot the persistent finish which demands you come back to the glass for sip after sip.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Rodney Strong Vineyards 2009 Alexander&rsquo;s Crown Cabernet Sauvignon</strong></a> ($75)<br /><br /> This fruit came from a vineyard site first planted in 1971. It was in fact the first in Alexander Valley to produce a single vineyard Cabernet. This library offering is still young fresh and vibrant. The nose is big, bold and slightly ostentatious with plum, bits of vanilla bean and black currant. Black and red cherry flavors dominate the palate. Sweet dark chocolate, bits of chicory and pepper are all evident on the above average finish. This powerful but proportionate wine is just entering its prime drinking window, enjoy it over the next 8 years.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Kosta Browne 2014 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir</strong></a> ($110)<br /><br /> This Pinot was produced from five distinct vineyard sites located in the Sonoma Coast, one of the most exciting AVA&rsquo;s for Pinot in California. Mushroom and black currant aromas fill the nose. The palate is studded with black cherry, tobacco, and leather. Cranberry, pomegranate, earth, minerals and wisps of rosemary appear on the long finish. Racy acid adds to the mouthwatering nature of this beautiful Pinot Noir.</p> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6845 Your Guide to Aged Wines Snooth Editorial <p>The majority of wines on the market these days are meant to be consumed within one to five years. This is a natural law. Producing wines that can sit in the cellar for decades is time-consuming and expensive. There is a time and place for wines that age and adventurous palates are required. Most all age-worthy wines will have high acid, tannin, and sugar levels to start. Acid and tannin help slow oxidation, and some extra sugar will assist in the prevention of re-fermentation in bottle. Re-fermentation in barrel is no problem, but when it happens in bottle, you could end up with a cloudy, fizzy, unenviably stinky product. How will you avoid embarrassment over a bum bottle of supposedly age-worthy Chardonnay at Thanksgiving 2036? This article is how. The web&rsquo;s top wine writers are here to help you build an age-worthy wine collection, and their recommendations may surprise you!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> What&rsquo;s the oldest bottle in your collection? Do you have a favorite old bottle story? Be sure to let us know in the comments.<br /> <strong>Bandol</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>My first child was born in 2015, so I plan on burying some 2015s to open with her 20 years from now. Among those 2015s will be a few wines from Bandol, an appellation in France&#39;s Provence region. These wines (based on the gritty Mourvedre grape) are usually densely tannic in their youth, but with years of age they turn into beautiful, floral, meaty, spicy wines. Producers like Domaine Tempier, Chateau de Pibarnon and La Bastide Blanche make exceptional wines that can easily improve for 15+ years. Whenever I plan to bury a wine for the long haul, I like to buy at least three bottles of the same wine. I like to drink one in the first couple of years to get a baseline understanding of the wine and how it may age. (Also, it can be incredibly frustrating to cellar one bottle of special wine for a long time only to pop it and find it suffering from cork taint.) Keep this in mind: if you&#39;re cellaring a wine for more than a few years, make sure you have adequate storage conditions. Stick the bottles in one of those small wine fridges or, if you have the space, a dark, cold, undisturbed corner of the basement can suffice.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Isaac James Baker</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">Reading, Writing &amp; Wine</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Sauternes</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>For me sweet wines are most enjoyable when they have sufficient acidity to balance the sweetness. The finish must be clean rather than cloying. The wines of Sauternes fit this description perfectly. Sauternes is an AOC comprised of five small villages within the Graves AOC south of the city of Bordeaux. It has the distinction of producing only sweet, white wines that are not fortified. The ability to produce such wines relies on the presence of a fungus called botrytis cinerea, or more tactfully noble rot, which develops on grapes with the proper combination of fog and dry conditions. Noble rot causes individual grape berries to become desiccated thereby concentrating sugars, flavor and acidity. Multiple picking passes through the vineyards are required to harvest individual berries at just the proper time. As you might expect the yield is very small from these S&eacute;million, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle vineyards. Once in the cellar gentle pressing is followed by fermentation and aging in a high proportion of new oak. In their youth Sauternes wines deliver generous aromas and flavors of apricot, pineapple, minerals and spice. The wine is round and sweet with significant acidity. The finish seems to last forever. As they age their dense yellow-golden color turns to amber and then chestnut. The flavors develop to dried apricot, caramelized sugar and nuts. I love them when they&rsquo;re bright and young, but they are even more complex and interesting over time. One of my favorite producers is Ch&acirc;teau Guiraud, a Premier Cru located in the village also called Sauternes. The 2011 vintage would be an excellent choice.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Nancy Brazil</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">Pull that Cork</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2014 Ara Riesling</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Widely known by wine connoisseurs around the globe, wines that contain high alcohol and high acidity (which act as preservatives) have the best chance of aging with grace - as long as they are stored properly. When seeking out a wine that I want to cellar for some 15 plus years, I not only look for the fundamental higher acidity and alcohol, but I also examine the wine&#39;s concentration of fruit, solid structure, and its captivating complex characteristics. Most importantly, I turn to producers who have reputations for creating superb wines that have the potential to age, and I believe one of the most age-worthy varietals on the planet is Riesling. More than a handful of Oregon producers are making Rieslings that are out-of-this-world phenomenal, and one of those producers is Brooks Wines - where remarkably extraordinary Riesling has found its home in the Eola-Amity Hills. Characterized by higher altitudes and an ocean breeze that surreptitiously creeps its way through the famed Van Duzer Corridor (the lowest point in Oregon&#39;s Coastal Range), Eola-Amity Hills AVA is a sub region of the Willamette Valley, where a tumultuous geological history created a complex series of soil with varied influence. Brooks Wines has an intensely rich and gripping story, featured in the documentary American Wine Story, and their Rieslings perfectly mimic the Brooks gripping and intense history. Their 2014 Ara Riesling thunders lush and fierce aromas of earth, honeycrisp apples, lemon zest and sweet nectarines highlighted by a blend of ground white pepper and Mediterranean spice - blanketed by the much-desired (in a Riesling) petrol character. With a sense of place exuding from the aromatics, a seamless wave of fruit fills the mouth along with refreshing minerality and vibrant mid-palate acidity - giving it perpetual balance and a long, expressive finish. Without a doubt, the 2014 Ara Riesling could easily age with grace for 15 or more years - if I could just resist pulling that cork. More Brooks Winery wines are featured on Julia&#39;s website, <a href=""></a>.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Julia Crowley</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">The Real Wine Julia</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Champagne</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Of all the Snooth topics we have been asked to write about, I have struggled with this one the most since there really are a multitude of great responses and I went back and forth several times. In the end, I decided to stay true to my roots: Champagne. Despite what many people in Champagne will have you believe, champagne can get better with age. The Champenois (the denizens of the famous region) are known to quip that every bottle of champagne is ready to drink upon release and that there is no reason to wait as it will only get worse in the bottle. To that, I say &quot;poppycock.&quot; While not every champagne will stand the test of time (you want to drink most non-vintage champagnes in a year or two), vintage champagnes (those with a vintage year on the label), since they are theoretically only made in the best years, can often last at least a decade past their vintage year. Many Champagne houses also produce a t&ecirc;te de cuv&eacute;e or top blend, which are only made in the very best years (which, with climate change is occurring at least every other year it seems). Some of the names are quite familiar, perhaps: Dom P&eacute;rignon (Mo&euml;t et Chandon), La Grande Dame (Veuve Clicquot), Belle Epoque (Perrier-Jou&euml;t), Celebris (Gosset), Palmes d&#39;Or (Nicolas Feuillatte), Nec-Plus-Ultra (N.P.U.) (Bruno Paillard), and the over-hyped Cristal (Rogederer), to name just a few. If you can swallow the price tag of these wines, which range from $125 to $250, you really should not pop them until at least a decade has passed since their vintage. In the best years, they can easily last twice that long. If you are really patient, nothing is better, in my mind, than a 25-30 year old prestige champagne. Most of the fruity aspects of the wine will be gone, leaving tons of baked bread, caramel, and sherries notes. It is a bit of an acquired taste for sure, but once you acquire it? Look out. 1996 was one of the best years ever in Champagne, and a few (but only a few) can still be found in the market. Other vintages to consider: 2002, 2004, 2008, and when they finally hit the shelves (they are not out yet) 2012.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jeffrey M. Kralik</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">The Drunken Cyclist</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Trust Your Choice</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Wines that are age worthy is a two part question. One: how long or what is the capacity for a wine to age. Two: what is considering a proper amount of aging? I remember I was buying a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1990 and my soon to be former manager of the company I worked for said something to the affect &quot;how nice... too young to drink. I just have to hang on for another 10 years&rdquo;. All of this of course not to be interpreted as nice.... but after all he was a going to be a former manager. Truth though was this wine and vintage was perfectly drinkable then and much less now. Yes even Bordeaux has a limit. I don&#39;t like to age for more than a generation with few exceptions. For me what I think are nicely aged are a reasonable term. I like Napa Valley valley floor Cabernets to be aged for between 3-10 years. More than 10 is possible but I look to enjoy my wines at their optimum. Too many people let their wines age for too long as and are on the misguided view of older is better. I like all of my Napa Valley mountain fruit Cabernet wines like Howell Mountain and Mount Veeder and I like to wait for at least 5 years from release. I want optimum wines and a little aging goes a long way to soften tannins and let the fruit become wine--of course it is wine but in that more mystical sense. It is the alchemy that takes place with a bit of patience and good cellaring conditions. I like to take receipt directly of wine as I want no chance of transporting wines during the warm season. I live in temperate San Francisco where temperature is rather even daytime to night nearly year round. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I like my non-Burgundies to be my cellar for a minimum of three-four years from release &ndash; that is not a lot ageing especially if it is a Grand Cru. I don&rsquo;t think it is a question of tannins but time in bottle. I also don&rsquo;t want this delicate wine go age too much and lose colour&mdash;there are outstanding Burgundies that can age for longer than 7 years but for optimum experience want the best wine at the right right. You can view a vintage chart but I do think there is a hard science behind it. Simple you would have to keep track when it was created so you didn&rsquo;t age a particular wine in perpetuity. You will not find a 30-year old wine in my cellar unless it is vintage Port or a Madeira and I do have one bottle of Dom Periginon vinatge 1990. I believe I should have opened up a bit of tie ago for it to be optimum&mdash;can it still be enjoyed today&mdash;I think the answer is yes.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Riesling for some can age extraordinarily long&mdash;up to 30 years but this depends on sweetness levels. The sweeter it is the longer and the drier the shorter. I have heard of people drinking old 100-year-old Riesling but I think that is folkloric and not based in reality. I think that these anecdotes keep people thinking all wines are ageable for very long periods of time. Wine does not and should not last forever but it should be designed to do what it was meant to do and that is age for a shorter period of time but not forever. I have been guilty because there was a memory in the experience of tasting a particular wine with great friends or that I loved the bottle or vintage. Remember vintage changes year over year. I had two bottles of a very wonderful bottle of 1998 Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon I thought it was amazing in 2005 but the other less-than-optimized in 2015. I challenge myself to open up wines. Yes, there is more of that or another great wine if you open a special bottle. Trust your choice&mdash;and if there is only one thing you remember&mdash;think of shooting for an optimized experience&mdash;not a perfect one and don&rsquo;t hold on to any wine forever. In the end it is up to you when to open that great bottle of wine.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>James Melendez</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">James the Wine Guy</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <div><br /> <em>A consumer seeking a wine to tuck away in their cellar for an extended period of time should look to [central] Italy&#39;s Umbria region. Within the town of Montefalco grows the deep ruby-red colored prized jewel of the land known as Sagrantino. This low-yielding red grape variety is thick skinned and late ripening, producing well-structured, burly wines that demand a good deal of patience. Sagrantino is grown almost exclusively in Umbria and ranks as one of the most tannic grape varieties out there. But gum-numbing tannins alone won&rsquo;t do the trick. Sagrantino also yields rich fruit with good length, rustic appeal, and most notably, great acid balance &ndash; which gives wine life and longevity. Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG wines require 100% Sagrantino be used and a minimum of 12 months in barrel with at least 36 months of overall aging prior to release. An ideal candidate for cellaring that you can find online for around $50 is C&ograve;lpetrone 2006 Gold Montefalco Sagrantino. I just opened a bottle last week. Gold is the producer&rsquo;s masterwork; produced from estate fruit only in the best vintage years. This is a wine of substance that is meaty and firm, though integrated and balanced. Dry, grainy tannins wrap around a core of [dried] dark berry fruit flavors intermixed with spice, worn leather, tobacco leaf, and hints of black cherry. There&rsquo;s a solid underpinning of acidity that carries through the expansive, slightly gripping finish. This is a wine that begs for well-marbled cuts of beef or hearty winter fare. With more time in the bottle this wine should further develop character and complexities and reward its owner. Please feel free to share a recommendation or two with us. Thank you!</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong>Dezel Quillen</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">My Vine Spot</a></div><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2013 Ridge Monte Bello</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>I&rsquo;m more of a wine drinker than a wine collector &ndash; with one exception &ndash; Ridge Monte Bello. I vividly recall the first vintage I purchased. It was the 2008 Monte Bello. I purchased the wine without giving its ageability much thought. Then I discovered what I&rsquo;ll call the &ldquo;Monte Bello&rdquo; rule of thumb. Buy it, but don&rsquo;t even think about drinking it at least 10 years if you want to maximize your enjoyment of the wine. That&rsquo;s because Ridge Monte Bello has a remarkable ability to age. The 1971 Ridge Monte Bello, which placed fourth at the original 1976 Judgment of Paris, placed first in the 30 year re-enactment of the landmark tasting in 2006. The 35 year-old was in a class by itself, winning by a large margin. I&rsquo;ve tasted the 1985, 1992, 1995, 2001, and 2005 in recent years and I can tell you the wines were simply sublime. They&rsquo;re worth the wait (is it 2018 yet?).<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I recently tasted the most current release - the 2013.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s crafted from a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Merlot. It&rsquo;s an opaque ruby color with a beautiful perfume of blackberries, cassis, violets, licorice and subtle toasted oak spice aromas. On the palate it&rsquo;s impeccably balanced but tight now, exhibiting power and grace with intense blackberry, exotic oak spice flavors with an appealing wet stone minerality with a long focused finish 13.6% abv SRP - $185</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Martin Redmond</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">ENOFYLZ Wine Blog</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Collier Falls 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Sometimes patience is rewarded. Fine wines built with structure that have a balance of tannin and acid are the primary hallmarks you&rsquo;re looking for when considering wines to lay down. While the selections are often tasty to drink upon release, waiting them out for a number of years often provides even more delightful results. By and large when people think of age-worthy wines big dollar signs come to mind. And while there are a higher percentage of wines in the upper echelon of pricing that are suited for aging there are values to be had too. One of the secrets of Sonoma County California is the excellent Cabernet that is grown in Dry Creek Valley. This region is better known for Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc, with good reason, they crush those varieties. However there are a bit more than a handful of producers bottling world-class, age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon from Dry Creek Valley fruit. Most of the wines in that number come from Hillside Vines. Such is the case with the Collier Falls Cabernet Sauvignon with is wonderful one vintage after another. The current release is no exception. This Cabernet was produced entirely from Estate fruit. It was grown on Barry Colliers property in the heart of Dry Creek Valley. The nose is loaded with red fruits as well as bits of toast and vanilla. The substantial palate is studded with spices and continued red fruit flavors. Dried cherry, strawberry and currant are all in evidence. The finish is long and memorable with oodles of earth, more spice and a hint of dark, dusty chocolate. Firm tannins yield with some air. Racy acid keeps things balanced and mouth-watering. This Cabernet is delicious now, particularly if decanted for an hour, but feel free to lay it down. It&rsquo;ll age gracefully for the next 15-20 years. This wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon loaded with character is a steal. ($45)</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Gabe Sasso</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">Gabe&rsquo;s View</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>2004 Delamotte Blanc de Blancs</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>As a wine consumer, I do not typically purchase age worthy wines. I buy wines to drink now or within the next year to five years. In fact, the oldest wine I have in my small collection is vintage 2004. That wine happens to be a bottle of 2004 Delamotte Blanc de Blancs, a vintage Champagne recommended to me by a former work colleague. It appeared as an offer on a flash site in 2014. My colleague and I each purchased three bottles for about half of its suggested retail price ($100) and shipping was included on six bottles. However, we had to wait impatiently for months until it finally arrived in January 2015. The vineyard sources of this 100% chardonnay Champagne include four crus in La C&ocirc;te des Blancs: Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Avize, Cramant, and Oger. It spent eight years in bottle sur lie before being released. For my birthday dinners in 2015 and 2016, I shared this wine with friends. Both times, it was quite stunning. The reactions of my dinner companions said it all, their faces revealing delightful expressions of glee and giddiness. Simultaneously effervescent and creamy, this beautiful Champagne exhibited a veritable fruit bowl of flavors on the palate - apple, pear, peach, and citrus - with a backbone of delicate brioche. Wine Spectator recommends drinking the 2004 Delamotte Blanc de Blancs through 2025, but I don&#39;t think my last bottle will remain beyond my birthday dinner in 2017.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Elizabeth Smith​</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">Travelling Wine Chick</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Mer Soleil Reserve, Chardonnay from the Wagner Family of Wine</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Built to last need not mean break the bank. The current release of Mer Soleil Reserve 2014 Chardonnay, tumbles out of the bottle with a day bright, gold color, aromas of honey, apples, vanilla and spice, and boasts a silky texture with flavors of baking spices and pear. Consider this a warning, it will be hard to lay aside. Over the summer I was able to taste this wine from a 2004 magnum with winemaker, Charlie Wagner. The years turned the color of the 100% Chardonnay wine a dark gold. Muted notes of apples and honey were faintly present, reinforced by the still silky texture. In the aged wine, top notes of aroma and flavors belied a savory, black truffle character. Truffled honey flavors were persistent in the finish. The 2004 vintage wine retained a lot of freshness. I tried this wine in the windswept Mer Soleil vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA in California&rsquo;s Monterey County, where nature fosters tasty Chardonnay grapes. The winemakers at the Wagner Family of Wine respect the fruit and &ldquo;let the wine find itself&rdquo;. I found it delicious. Best of all, you can easily find this for under $30. A great deal for a wine that proved ageable for 10 years and would be interesting in another few. We tasted the older wines in a magnum format, which Charlie said slows down the aging process. So invest in a magnum and set it aside for a future celebration.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Liza Swift</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">BrixChicks</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Riesling</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>If ageability was the only criteria for great wine, then Riesling would be considered the greatest grape variety in the world! And so, even though I know that some of my other fellow wine writers may choose Riesling as well, I have to go with a Riesling wine. But instead of a Riesling from Germany that the cool kids can&rsquo;t get enough of, I&rsquo;m going with Alsace. This small region in the north-east of France has had a long, turbulent history &ndash; it&rsquo;s a territory where the rule was changed a few times from Germany to France, vice versa, and finally back to France. Although they are now technically French, there are still some wonderful Germanic influences that are evident in their culture, such as crafting stunning white wines - especially Riesling.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> But please do not mistake that their wines are similar. Alsace Rieslings have a tendency to have more fruit and body since they receive a large amount of sunlight hours during the growing season, but they still have the marked acidity (some sites less than others) which make German Rieslings so age worthy. Recently, I had the great pleasure of tasting the 2014 Zind-Humbrecht Clos St Urbain &ldquo;Rangen de Thann&rdquo; Grand Cru. It is still just a baby, but my goodness, was it devastatingly delicious. It had incredible precision with pristine white peach fruit and an intoxicatingly smoky note that hinted to the volcanic rocks of this legendary property. 2014 was known as a classic vintage that made wines with bright acidity and pure fruit flavors. The Clos St Urbain vineyard is part of the Grand Cru of Rangen de Thann, and certain aspects of this site allow for a longer growing season resulting in more complexity in the finished wine. I still remember the astonishing, long finish on this Riesling with lots of tension and hidden treasures that will only reveal themselves with long term aging. This wine will have no problems evolving for the next 15 - 20 years, and your patience will be rewarded with the experience of tasting liquid gold.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cathrine Todd</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">Dame Wine</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Ch&acirc;teau L&eacute;oville-Barton from Saint-Julien, Bordeaux</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>I&rsquo;m a Francophile at heart. So it should comes as no surprise that when I want an age-worthy wine, I go right back to Bordeaux. Since cost is always a concern, we&rsquo;ll steer away from First Growths into second growths so we need a consistent, solid player. Enter Ch&acirc;teau L&eacute;oville-Barton from Saint-Julien, Bordeaux.This wine offers blackberry and cassis upfront, secondary notes of mocha, leather and earth. A luxurious, long finish offers final notes of gravel, slate, clay, and wood. Early in life this wine shows massive tannins that require a solid decade to settle into beautiful harmony, entirely worth the wait. Ten years aging, minimum required.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Jim van Bergen</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">JvB UnCorked</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Grand Cru Alsatian Rieslings</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>When asked what wines are &ldquo;built to last&rdquo; my mind goes wild with suggestions. Many wines are built to age fifteen years or more. Imagine a fifteen year old Burgundy, Champagne, Bordeaux, Barolo, Amarone, or Brunello. My heart sings with excitement. However, there is one wine I think above all others that is so special and truly built to last: Alsatian Dry Riesling. I have read that Riesling is one of the most collectible wines among connoisseurs. I had the great pleasure to taste Trimbach Grand Cru Clos Ste Hune from 1976, 1989, and 1990 and Cuv&eacute;e Fr&eacute;d&eacute;ric Emile from 1983, 1989, 1998, and 2003. From the first sip, the outstanding age-ability of these Grand Cru Alsatian Rieslings, it was immediately evident why so many connoisseurs collect Riesling. In its youth classic Alsatian Riesling has bright aromas and flavors of stone fruit, citrus, and even spice notes of ginger and crushed stone minerality. As it ages the fruit notes integrate as aromas and flavors of petrol, lanolin, and more pronounced minerality takes center stage. It is a glorious taste to behold. Therefore, my suggestion of a special wine to buy young and age properly for fifteen years or more is definitely Grand Cru Riesling from Alsace.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Michelle Williams</strong><br /><br /> <a href="">Rockin Red Blog</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>What&rsquo;s the oldest bottle in your collection? Do you have a favorite old bottle story? Be sure to let us know in the comments.</strong></p> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6843 Move Beyond Cab and Chard John Downes <p>I&rsquo;m always being asked to recommend an unusual wine, &ldquo;one that isn&rsquo;t Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay&rdquo;. With media communications improving by the minute it&rsquo;s getting more and more difficult but at a recent corporate event I saw a few puzzled expressions when I suggested Blaufr&auml;nkisch. It&rsquo;s one of my favourite Austrian reds and certainly falls into the &lsquo;little known&rsquo; category. Austria is not a winemaking nation that automatically falls from our lips but that may be about to change as the &lsquo;new kid on the block&rsquo; Leithaberg region has its sights on a shelf near you. Leithaberg&rsquo;s (&lsquo;Leitha Mountains&rsquo;, pronounced Letaberg), south facing vineyards slope gently to the shores of the Neusiedlersee, Austria&rsquo;s famous inland lake about an hour&rsquo;s drive south-east of Vienna in the province of Burgenland. For you geography nuts, the lake is about 45 kilometres long and about 11 kilometres wide but no more than 2 metres deep; intriguingly, its southern shores dip their toes into neighbouring Hungary.<br /> Blaufr&auml;nkisch is the top red grape of the Leithaberg region where its trademark tasting notes include &lsquo;crisp chunky blackberry fruit balanced with attractive tannins&rsquo;. The other &lsquo;Austrian red grapes to look out for are Zweigelt and St. Laurent. Happily, the grape varieties are proudly announced on the front labels of Austrian wines which makes for far easier strolls up the wine aisle. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Leithaberg&rsquo;s limestone and schist rock vineyards rise to about 300 metres above the glistening Neusiedlersee. From these cool elevated sites you can spy on Hungary on a clear day and view the extent of the Leithaberg D.A.C. from Jois to the north of the lake to Morbisch and Zagersdorf in the south. By the way, D.A.C. stands for &lsquo;Districtus Austriae Controllatus&rsquo;, Austria&rsquo;s status for special region-typical Quality Wines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> If you looking for a little musical history whilst sipping these Austrian reds, you can pop into the majestic church nestling in the vineyards overlooking the lake where Franz Joseph Haydn famously composed and tickled the ivories for many years, no doubt inspired by the local reds.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Leithaberg vineyards are also well suited to white wines and for those who&rsquo;d prefer a rich white look out for Gr&uuml;ner Veltliner, the variety that&rsquo;s making a name for itself and lifting Austria&rsquo;s reputation as it goes. The other white varieties that are allowed to carry the Leithaberg D.A.C. label are Pinot Blanc (known as Weissburgunder in Austria), our old mate Chardonnay and the little known variety, Neuburger.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> For the wine tourist there&rsquo;s far more to Leithaberg than its wines as its long been a favourite with visitors who flock to the region each year to enjoy the impressive Schloss Esterhazy castle in Eisenstadt and the wine enriched lakeside music festivals at Morbisch and Sankt Margarethen.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> It&rsquo;s rumoured that Joseph Haydn enjoyed dining out and brought a few cases of Leithaberg wines to enjoy during his time in London in the 1790&rsquo;s. I&rsquo;m not sure which &lsquo;weinguts&rsquo; (Austrian for &lsquo;winery&rsquo;) he supported with his schillings but if he was composing today I think he&rsquo;d be really happy with Weinguts Tinhof, Prieler, Nittnaus, Altenbuger, Birgit Braunstein, Hartl, Nehmer, Kaiser and Bayer Erbhof.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>John Downes, one of only 340 Masters of Wine in the world is a corporate entertainer,cspeaker, television and radio broadcaster and writer on wine. Check out John&rsquo;s website at <a href=""></a>. Follow him on Twitter</em><a href=""><em> @JOHNDOWNESMW</em></a></p> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6844 The Map to Great Garnacha, Part Three Snooth Editorial <p>Happy Garnacha Day! This day celebrates Garnacha and honors its freedom from the blending grape stereotype. We have its birthplace -- Eastern Spain -- to thank for this renaissance. New generations of winemakers in the five key Denominaci&oacute;n de Origen (DO) are maximizing the potential of old vines, carefully controlling yields, and uniting tradition with modern practice. The result is varietal Garnacha wines of unbridled quality. Although Garnacha is notoriously easy to grow, it is a highly sensitive and empathic grape. It&rsquo;s also highly adaptable. The slightest differences in terroir and climate have a big impact on the wines. This is precisely why each one of the five key native Garnacha DOs showcases something different. Each unique Garnacha interpretation carries a through-line of velveteen richness, balanced acidity, and scrumptious fruit flavors. Over the past few weeks we&rsquo;ve examined DO Cari&ntilde;ena, DO Campo de Borja, and DO Calatayud. In this final installment, we will examine DO Terra Alta and DO Somontano. <br /> <strong>DO Terra Alta</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Recognized as DO in 1972, Terra Alta (which means &ldquo;high land&rdquo;) is known for white Garnacha (Garnacha Blanca) although red Garnacha is produced here a well. It is located in Catalonia&rsquo;s southern-most inland area, the only one of the five key Garnacha regions not officially in Arag&oacute;n. Roughly eight thousand hectares are under vine in DO Terra Alta. The region was a favorite of Pablo Picasso. He summered in the mountains of DO Terra Alta, perfecting his cubist painting techniques amid the wines and vines. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Plains, plateaus, slopes and valleys dot the landscape that Picasso grew to intimately understand. In addition to the climactic influence, DO Terra Alta&rsquo;s proximity to the Mediterranean Sea delivers limestone soils, river beds, oak and pine woods. It&rsquo;s not uncommon to see groves of almond and olive trees. Altitude is up to five hundred and fifty feet. Cool and humid winds from the nearby Mediterranean help create wines with a mineral-over-fruit focus. Located close to Barcelona and the Mediterranean, the climate is characterized by cool winds from the north and humid winds off of the sea. While sunshine is plentiful and rain is scarce, the climate is a hybrid of both a Mediterranean and continental climate.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> While you will find other grape varieties in DO Terra Alta, Garnacha Blanca, or Garnatxa blanca, is the region&rsquo;s specialty. You can find Garnacha Blanca as a blending grape in the Rhone, and as a component of sweet wines in Roussillon. Terra Alta is renowned for its varietal interpretation. In fact, &ldquo;Amber Blanc&rdquo;, an oxidized white wine, was Terra Alta&rsquo;s claim to fame in the 19th century. The vines used to make those wines were lost to Phylloxera and replanted in the early to mid-20th century. The average white Garnacha vine is twenty-five years old, and over the last century DO Terra Alta has been dedicated to revivifying the grape and perfecting varietal dry wines made from white Garnacha. Each bottle of DO Terra Alta Garnatxa blanca is numbered on the back label. These bottles are one hundred percent Garnatxa blanca of superior quality &ndash; not only in terms of the grape, but the winemaking as well. They are rich, full bodied, and rare to find in any other part of the world.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Click here to learn more about DO Terra Alta.</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>DO Somontano</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Pyrenees can be considered a naturally-occurring border between Spain and France. DO Somontano&rsquo;s four-thousand hectares fall among the snow-capped Pyrenees at the edge of the Ebro River valley. Somontano is Latin for &ldquo;beneath the mountain&rdquo;. Extreme diurnal temperature shifts at high altitudes (300 to 1000 meters above sea level) combine with rich soils to create age-worthy Garnacha masterpieces. The soils contain a fair amount of gypsum, a deposit which dates back to the Archean Eon (4000&ndash;2500 million years ago.) A large amount of lime is also present.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> A DO since 1984, Somontano has been hailed for its Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. That definition is evolving as the region commits to increase plantings of its native Garnacha over the next few years. This does not mean that all DO Somontano Garnacha is young. The region is known for old-vine Garnacha from its Valle de Secastilla, where the vines are one hundred years old or more. These wines offer layers of complexity unique to old vines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Ruta del Vino Somontano (wine route) is an enotourist&rsquo;s paradise. You will experience the region&rsquo;s rich heritage as punctuated by centuries of winemaking. Along the route you&rsquo;ll also find the Sierra y Ca&ntilde;ones de Guara Natural Reserve located in the Sierra de Guara mountain range. The medieval town of Alqu&eacute;zar is another one of DO Somontano&rsquo;s must-sees. Experience prehistoric drawings inside the limestone caves; it is the same limestone that gives your wine a distinct DO Somontano minerality.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Click here to learn more about DO Somontano.</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Celebrate Garnacha Day the right way! <a href="">Click here for details about our exclusive virtual tasting.</a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo credit: <a href=""><strong>Wines of Garnacha</strong></a></p> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6839 What Savvy Wine Consumers Should Know Nova McCune Cadamatre <p>Wine is not becoming too industrial. However, to explore this concept one must first understand what the word industrial means. Industrial means &ldquo;of an industry&rdquo;. In that sense all wine is inherently industrial because it is part of the wider wine industry. The question of if wine is becoming too industrial is then what should be explored in depth. The point of view of the consumer must be considered because different consumers will have differing opinions relative to others depending on what part of the industry they are examining based on where they stand in relation to it.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> What does a product that has become too industrial look like? Cross comparisons could be drawn from the fashion industry. At the very high end clothing is not too industrial. In fact, one could claim that it is quite artisanal with designers drawing inspiration from the world around them and translating those inspirations onto the fabric and models which serve as their canvas. In comparison, the mass marketed clothing must look quite industrial to those at the bespoke merchants because the same shirts, pants, or dresses are churned out like printed pages in large foreign factories to appeal to the value end of the market&rsquo;s dependence on inexpensive wears. Those consumers who look for value in their clothing may see the high end as elitist and snobby while the people purchasing at the top see themselves as lovers of high fashion. The wine industry can be seen in the exact same manner.<br /><br /> <br /> Can a wine which is made at a value price point truly be too industrial when it is the very industry&rsquo;s consumers which demand that it should be made in such a way in the name of a low price? Can the consumers of exclusive, high end wines really judge for others, who are not able to access the same quality of wines on a frequent basis, if those wines which are made at a value price point are too industrial for their own consumers? &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Henry Ford, upon starting to sell the Model-T famously said &ldquo;You can have any color as long as it&rsquo;s black.&rdquo; When a product becomes too industrial, generally the consumer&rsquo;s choice becomes highly limited. The quality becomes similar and the variation of styles is reduced. Paper towels are a great example of an industry which is too industrial. The limitation of choice to color, length of sheet, or pattern of quilting is the maximum extent which consumers must choose between. This is quite far from the case with wines even at the value end. In fact, there exists so many choices in wine that many consumers feel overwhelmed. If you think about a supermarket shelf where this is normally a problem, it does not even include all the possible options available to consumers across the price points of the wine industry, but is focused wine brands that can be found in a fairly wide distribution. Because of the limited shelf space of retailers and consolidated distribution channels event the number of choices which seem daunting to many wine consumers only represents a very limited number of offerings from the wider wine industry. This vast number of choices allows consumers to grow and evolve within the category over time without leaving the industry as a whole. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> However, when point of view is taken into account it is quite easy to understand when a consumer of fine wine, who is accustomed to small bottle production with hands-on care and love, looks at a $5.00 bottle and thinks, &ldquo;How simple. How commercial.&rdquo; The art has been squeezed out of this bottle and replaced with ISO level detailed specifications analyzing every last detail from the g/L of sugar, the amount of color absorbance at 430 nanometer wavelengths, to the percent change in conductivity when cream of tartar is introduced to cold wine to test cold stability. At this level the question of &ldquo;Does this wine represent the terroir of the land and the vintage?&rdquo; is replaced by &ldquo;Is this quality and style consistent with the last 10 blends even though these are completely different base wines that are being used?&rdquo;&nbsp; From this perspective, to that consumer, wine has become too industrial. These consumers will likely seek out winemakers which are using minimal intervention techniques and wines that speak to their locations clearly and consistently.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> From the point of view of the value consumer, it is likely that the thought of &ldquo;Is this wine too industrial?&rdquo; has never crossed their mind. Wine is a beverage, part of a meal or celebration with friends. It is likely that the excitement of enjoying the moment replaces any thought of how the wine was made. Only if the wine did not live up to their expectation, would it be examined more closely. The value winemaker&rsquo;s job is to allow the wine to blend seamlessly with the experience, whatever that may be. If this causes wines to be seen as too industrial then so be it.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Therefore, the idea that wine is becoming too industrial depends highly on a person&rsquo;s perspective on the industry however, overall today&rsquo;s wine consumers have a wider array of choices spanning price, quality, style, origin, and value than nearly any other industry. This is not hallmark of a product that is too industrial but the sign of a thriving industry which has almost limitless choices and options for consumers to explore. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Do you think wine is too industrial? Sound off in the comments.</p> Thu, 15 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6842 Think Beyond Chilean Cabernet Gabe Sasso <p>Every wine producing country has strengths and weaknesses, some more than others. Chile has many high points that make it a go-to country when looking for outstanding wine. The number of unique regions that feature diverse soil types and microclimates is simply astounding. Chile has three thousand miles of coastline north to south as well as mountain ranges and plenty of inland regions to boot. The nature of their varied terroir allows them to plant a stunning number of grape varieties in appropriate areas that they&rsquo;ll flourish in.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Chile has traditionally been best known for Cabernet Sauvignon with good reason -- they excel with that varietal. However, a host of other grapes thrive in Chile. For starters, Pinot Noir, one of the most fickle grapes in the world, is being produced in a genuine style that speaks to the grape itself and the terroir it comes from. Syrah has seen an uptick in production and there are some terrific examples. Carm&eacute;n&egrave;re has found its most natural home in Chile and it does well as a varietal wine as well as excelling in the myriad of terrific and distinct red blends that seem to be emerging from just about every corner of this nation. Aromatic whites and small lots of old vine grapes, both indigenous (such as Pais) and international are producing lovely wines too.<br /><br /> <br /> The sheer number of great values coming out of Chile is head-spinning. These are not the &ldquo;bargain basement&rdquo; wines of 20 years ago. What we&rsquo;re talking about is world-class wines produced from innumerable grapes in every region of Chile that overdeliver in their price tier time after time. Twenty years ago it was easy to find a $6 Cabernet that was tasty and a good bargain, but not of premium quality. Today if you spend $12-$22 on wine from Chile it&rsquo;s likely going to destroy the quality-price ratio from any other country. The diverse, terroir-driven bounty that is emerging in greater numbers year after year from Chile is a delicious boon for wine lovers. Here&rsquo;s a look at some awesome current releases, ranging from $15 to $150, from Sauvignon Gris to red blends and more, which I highly recommend.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ventisquero 2013 Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon ($13)</strong></a><br /><br /> <em>Yes, this article is a look at Chilean wines other than Cabernet. However, I just had to share this one Cab so you won&#39;t miss out on the amazing value. In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon (85%), some Syrah (15%) was blended in. All of the fruit came from the Maipo region. A m&eacute;lange of berry aromas dominate the nose along with pepper spice. Cherry, blackberry and strawberry flavors are present on the palate along with plenty of spice, bits or earth and a touch of bay leaf. The finish shows off sweet dark chocolate, tobacco and continuing spices. Most of the world can&rsquo;t complete with Chile on solid, everyday Cabernet Sauvignon under $15, this is exhibit A.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Montes 2016 Spring Harvest Sauvignon Blanc</strong></a> ($15)<br /><br /> <em>This is the first Sauvignon Blanc of the harvest to reach our shores each of the last 2 years. It&rsquo;s entirely Sauvignon Blanc from Leyda Valley. A bit of jalapeno leads the nose along with oodles of citrus and yellow melon. The exceedingly fresh palate is studded with tropical and citrus fruits to spare. The crisp, clean finish begs you back to the glass for another sip. If you&rsquo;re looking for a welcome wine for your next party, this is it. The fresh, young drinking style this is crafted in will be hard for anyone to resist.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Santa Rita 2015 Medalla Real Chardonnay </strong></a>($18)<br /><br /> <em>Composed entirely of Chardonnay from the Ledya Valley, this is one of the standard bearers of Chilean Chardonnay. Toasted hazelnut, green apple and a hint of citrus emerge from the nose. The palate is studded with fleshy yellow fruit flavors and a nice dollop of minerals. Stone fruits, bits of toast and more spice are all evident on the above average finish.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Casa Silva 2015 Sauvignon Gris</strong></a> ($20)<br /><br /> <em>This is 100% Sauvignon Gris from Colchagua Valley. The vines are 112 years old. The nose here is intense and layered with both fruit and floral aromas. The palate has a remarkable combination of freshness and concentration. Yellow melon, citrus and spice elements are all present. The finish here is long enough to be note worthy and features hints of mango and lemon curd.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Vi&ntilde;a Koyle 2015 Costa Sauvignon Blanc</strong></a> ($24)<br /><br /> <em>All of the fruit here is from the Paredones section of Colchagua 9 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean. The fruit comes from 3 different exposures and each is fermented separately in Stainless Steel, Burgundy Barrels, and Concrete Eggs. Yellow melon and citrus aromas present on the nose. Lemon zest and fleshy yellow fruit flavors fill the palate. Minerals, sour fruits, and spice are all present on the prodigious finish. The remarkable texture and mouth-feel gives this Sauvignon Blanc a weight, complexity and gravitas that scream elegance. If you love Sauvignon Blanc, you must try Koyle&rsquo;s.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Apaltagua 2015 Ros&eacute;</strong></a> ($13)<br /><br /> <em>In addition to Carmenere (85%), some Syrah (15%) is blended in to this wine. All of the fruit was sourced in Maule. The perfect salmon hue of this Ros&eacute; is striking. Red fruit and violet aromas light up the nose. A bit of orange zest is at play alongside ripe wild strawberry and red cherry on the easy palate. Finely ground spices and a bit of pomegranate emerges on the finish. This is basically summer in a glass.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Falernia 2012 Reserva Syrah</strong></a> ($13)<br /><br /> <em>This offering is composed entirely of Syrah sourced in the Elqui Valley. In the glass it looks like grape juice. Stick your nose in, plum and violet aromas greet you. The palate is stuffed with juicy dark fruit flavors such as blackberry and raspberry along with white pepper and a hint of thyme. Sour cherry and bits of dark chocolate are present on the finish. It goes down easy, it&rsquo;s very clearly Syrah (not always the case) and it pairs with a myriad of foods. In short this is hard to beat for $13 particularly since it&rsquo;s so proportionate.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Santa Rita 2013 Reserva Merlot </strong></a>($13)<br /><br /> <em>In addition to Merlot (90%), some Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) was also blended in. All of the fruit came from the Maipo Valley. Black berry and plum aromas are joined by hints of black olives. Cherry flavors dominate the palate along with black raspberry and an array of spice notes. Roasted espresso, vanilla bean and dried black cherry flavors dominate the solid finish. This is a very representative example of Merlot, for a remarkable price.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Boya 2013 Pinot Noir</strong></a> ($20)<br /><br /> <em>This wine is 100% Pinot Noir from fruit sourced in Leyda. The fruit was harvested early and oak aging took place over 9 months in barrels that had been used 8 to 10 times prior. Strawberry, cherry and other red fruits lead a fresh, expressive nose. The refreshing palate is similarly strewn with all manner of red fruits accompanied by spices and a touch of bay leaf. Wisps of red clay and mushroom are present on the solid finish. Racy acid adds to the mouth-watering appeal here. Boya is delicious and well-priced for everyday drinking in its youth.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ventisquero 2015 Grey GCM</strong></a> ($24)<br /><br /> <em>All of the fruit, Garnacha (50%), Cari&ntilde;ena (25%), and Mataro (25%) was sourced from Block 80 of the La Robler&iacute;a Vineyard in Colchagua Valley. Aging took place over 6 months in neutral French oak. Freshly picked red fruits aromas are accompanied by wisps of black tea on the nose. The substantial and juicy palate is stuffed with raspberries, cherries and more. Spices, chicory and hints of Kalamata olive are in play on the more than substantial finish. This blend will pair well with an astounding array of food types.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Hacienda Araucano 2013 Clos De Lolol</strong></a> ($25)<br /><br /> <em>Syrah (55%), Carm&eacute;n&egrave;re (18%), Cabernet Franc (18%), and Cabernet Sauvignon (9%) from Colchagua Valley were blended together to create this wine. This wine was produced entirely from Estate Fruit. Dark fruit aromas and hints of leather lead the nose. The palate is brimming with fresh, black fruit flavors and a host of spices. Earth, bits of savory herbs, black plum and raspberry flavors are all present on the lip smacking finish. All of the varieties here come together to form a cohesive offering.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Alcance 2013 Vigno Carignan</strong></a> ($35)<br /><br /> <em>This wine from the Maule region is largely Carignan (90%) along with a dollop of Cabernet Sauvignon (10%). The Carignan came from 60 year old vines. Red plum, raspberry and a groundswell of savory herb aromas dominate the nose. Dried red fruits, chicory and plenty of spice elements are present on the deeply layered palate. All of those characteristics along with bits of earth and a dusting of cocoa show up on the long finish. This wonderful, structured, food loving red wine is a great example of the terrific, off the radar things that Chile simply nails.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Matetic Vineyards 2013 EQ Pinot Noir</strong></a> ($40)<br /><br /> <em>All of the fruit for this wine (100% Pinot Noir) was sourced at the winery&rsquo;s Organic Vineyard in the Casablanca Valley. Bits of bay leaf and hints of tobacco leap from the nose along with a blend of red fruit aromas. The palate is loaded with depth and wave after wave of red fruits such as cherry, raspberry and strawberry. Wisps of earth, cranberry and more are present on the above average finish. Matetic&rsquo;s EQ Pinot is a fine example of the heights being reached with Pinot Noir in Chile.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ventisquero 2012 Pangea Syrah</strong></a> ($60)<br /><br /> <em>This is composed entirely of Syrah from the Apalta Vineyard in Colchagua Valley. Aging took place over 22 months in a 50/50 split of new and previously used French oak. Pangea is striking from the word go. It&rsquo;s deep and inky in the glass. Stick your nose in and a bevy of bold black fruit aromas leap out. Blackberry, raspberry and dark plum flavors are ever-present on the stacked palate along with bits of earth and hints of smoked meat and tar. The finish is earthy and rich with continuing black fruits, wisps of dark chocolate and a cornucopia of spices. This is an exceptional example of Syrah.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Apaltagua 2011 Grial Carm&eacute;n&egrave;re</strong></a> ($75)<br /><br /> <em>All of the fruit came from their 60 hectare estate in Colchagua. Grial is 100% Carm&eacute;n&egrave;re. The vines had 60 years of age on them at harvest. Barrel aging took place over 12 months in new oak. A m&eacute;lange of spice aromas are present along with red and black plum on the nose. The dense palate is stuffed with juicy red fruit flavors tinged by hints of black fruit. Savory herbs such as rosemary and thyme are in play as well. The succulent lip-smacking finish shows off bits of toast, vanilla and continued fruit flavors. There is an inherent freshness to the flavors here that really rule the day.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Maquis 2010 Franco Cabernet Franc</strong></a> ($85)<br /><br /> <em>Franco is composed entirely of Cabernet Franc from a riverside vineyard in Colchagua Valley. The fruit was hand-picked and after fermentation it was aged for 14 months in French oak. Big, boisterous red cherry aromas are supported by wisps of leather and spice. Both red and black cherry characteristics are at play throughout the palate along with hints of cinnamon and black pepper spice. Savory herbs, chicory and continuing red fruit flavors dominate the impressively long finish. This top-shelf example of Cabernet Franc will age well for the next dozen or so years.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Vi&ntilde;a Vik 2011 VIK</strong></a> ($140)<br /><br /> <em>This blend which is produced from the winery&rsquo;s Estate in the Millahue Valley is composed of Cabernet Sauvignon: (55%), Carm&eacute;n&egrave;re (29%), Cabernet Franc (7%), Merlot (5%), and Syrah (4%). Vi&ntilde;a Vik is an impressive Estate sitting on nearly 11,000 acres. Their goal is to make the best expression of their Estate possible as well as one of the best wines in the world. Everything about Vik screams proportion. It starts from the nose which is expressive without being ostentatious with red fruit aromas, toast and spice all in harmony. The palate is similar with a tremendous array of flavors all in balance. A collection of fresh and dried red fruit flavors such as strawberry and raspberry are joined by gentle hints of black fruits such as currant. The exceptional finish has remarkable length, depth and even-keeled persistence, with fruit, spice, and minerals all pulling together to form a beautiful union. A handful of vintages into their existence the folks at Vik are making a red wine that elevates the reality and perception of what can be accomplished in Chile.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Santa Carolina 2012 Luis Periera Icon</strong></a> ($150)<br /><br /> <em>The fruit was sourced from a host of areas in Chile. Vines had an average of 70 years of age on that at the time of harvest. In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon (90%), Cabernet Franc (5%), Malbec (2%) and Mixed Blacks (3%) were also blended in. This wine, which is named after their founder, uses methodology that would have been employed 50 years ago. The result here is an impressive and elegant wine. The nose is a bit reticent at first but becomes more boisterous with some air. The palate is sophisticated and loaded with charm and grace. Layer after layer of red and black fruit flavors emerge along with spice, minerals and hints of black tea. The prodigious finish goes on for an unbelievably long time and all of the fruit, spice and other characteristics continue to reverberate at the back of the throat long after the last sip is swallowed. This inaugural offering from Santa Carolina is very impressive and serves notice to other producers of high end Cabernet the world over that Chile can make grow Cabernet Sauvignon as well as anyone.</em></p> Tue, 13 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400 article6841