Snooth - Articles Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Sat, 22 Jul 2017 09:29:46 -0400 Sat, 22 Jul 2017 09:29:46 -0400 Snooth This wine region is making waves. Snooth Editorial <p>This region may have a section at your local retailer, but perhaps you haven&rsquo;t noticed it yet. Then again, the wines may appear in the catchall &ldquo;Wines of the World&rdquo; section, where they are hidden gems in a sea of choice. They&rsquo;ve been enjoyed by wine drinkers for eons, but remained largely under the radar &ndash; until now. Finally, the wines of Israel are beginning to receive the recognition they deserve.<br /> Wine has been produced in Israel since Biblical times, perhaps longer than anywhere in the world. According to the authors of the Old Testament, Noah planted the first vines once the great flood subsided. From that point, there are several references to wines consumed by Moses, Micah, King David, and most notably Jesus. Ancient equipment has been found in archaeological&nbsp;sites as well as beneath parts of modern day facilities in the Golan Heights and as far as the Negev Desert. Israel made contributions to this growing industry, which spread throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean. A document dating to around 1800 BC was discovered stating Israel was &ldquo;...blessed with figs and vineyards producing wine in greater quantity than water.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This rich history continues to bear fruit in the twenty-first century. You may be familiar with Yarden, a premier Israeli label who cinched the Citadelles d&rsquo;Or at this year&rsquo;s VinExpo. The global gathering for major players in the wine and spirits industry has ratified the future of wines from Israel. The Citadelles du Vin competition is one of the most prestigious, accepting just 1,200 submissions from thirty countries. The Yarden Malbec (SRP: $33) took the title, and consumers are beginning to add Israel to their repertoire of regions they love.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Have you had a wine from Israel? It&rsquo;s time to take a taste.</p> Fri, 14 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6954 Spanish Wines Get Specific John Downes <p>As the world&rsquo;s winemakers look to single vineyard wines to mark them out from the crowd, a trip through southern Spain with the Grandes Pagos de Espana took one-up-manship to a different level. Grab your passport and join me on this whistle stop tour.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Grandes Pagos de Espana are an association of top Spanish single wine estates, &ldquo;equivalent to the Grand Crus of Bordeaux and Burgundy&rdquo;, according to President Carlos Falco. There are 30 member estates spread throughout Spain from Rioja in the north to Jerez in the south. Look out for the black square logo on the back label. That said, I think the logo&rsquo;s too small and should include &ldquo;Single Estates of Spain&rdquo; below &ldquo;Grandes Pagos de Espana&rdquo; to better attract explain the concept to global consumers<br /> We flew into Madrid and then took a smooth 3 hour plus train journey south to Jerez &ndash; the train is a great way of seeing Spain by the way. We were welcomed by the Sherry Bodega of Valdespino and under the 30 degree (Celsius) sun walked the legendary white chalk (Albariza) Macharnudo vineyards before exploring their cathedral-like cellars, tasting wines that ranged from Fino (bone dry and nutty) to sweet, honeyed Moscatel. Crack open a bottle of Valdespino Don Gonzalo Dry Olorosso (about $25) as an aperitif when your guests arrive this weekend. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> A short drive from Jerez found us at Finca Moncloa where winemaker Jose Manuel Pinedo is passionate about blending classic varieties with traditional Tempranillo. Finca Moncloa ($20) is an attractive blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Tempranillo.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> From Jerez we drove east across the mountains to Ronda, the incredible white walled town that straddles its famous deep rock gorge; the wines from the region surprised me bigtime. After a barrel tasting in Los Aguilares&rsquo; cool winery we enjoyed their refreshing crushed strawberry (Tempranillo and Petit Verdot) Rosado 2014 in the vineyards under a 300 year old oak. At lunch we opened Aguilares&rsquo; acclaimed Tadeo 2012 (100% Petit Verdot) and Pago El Espino (Petit Verdot, Tempranillo and Merlot); price tags of $18 and $28 respectively. Aguilares&rsquo; Pinot Noir surprised me - how is it possible to make such a balanced wine from this most flirtatious of grapes in such a hot climate? Crisp and controlled, this red fruit beauty was an eye opener.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Then it was back to Madrid for a night on the town before an early start and the high speed train heading south-east to Albacete; we were there by 11.00 to be whisked off to Finca (Estate) Elez near El Bonillo, a small, deserted village in La Mancha. In the heart of Spain and the middle of nowhere at over 1000 metres above sea level, the daytime summer temperatures climb to 40 degrees plus; evidently no worries to the Tempranillo, Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay vines. &lsquo;MM&rsquo; Escana barrel-aged Syrah 2007 showed well, the Escana Syrah 2013 even better. In case you&rsquo;re wondering, &lsquo;MM&rsquo; is the owner of the estate, the famous Spanish actor Manuel Manzaneque.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> A drive across the dry plains of La Mancha saw us in Bobal (grape) territory. At Finca Sandoval, a Bobal, Syrah and Monistrell (aka Mouvedre) blend grown on limestone soils in the cool 2013 vintage produced a crisp, tannin edged blackberry red of note.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> An hour&rsquo;s drive east saw us at Bodega Mustiguillo near Utiel, just 90 kilometres from Valencia where Bobal is still king. Some of their vines date back to 1919; these knurled vines, each yielding just three bunches produce dense, tannic wines. Tannin plays a big part in Bobal wines, so they&rsquo;re excellent with food &hellip; Mustiguillo&rsquo;s Quincha Corrall 2012 caught the eye &ndash; that&rsquo;s if you can stretch to an $80 price tag. If $25 sounds better, pull the cork on Mustiguillo&rsquo;s Finca Calvestra.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> At Mustiguillo I discovered a new white grape variety called Merseguera. I don&rsquo;t think Chardonnay will be losing too much sleep but it&rsquo;s well worth a try.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> A 300 kilometre car dash back to Madrid, the &lsquo;plane to London Gatwick and home to 13 degrees (Celsius); how to lose 20 degrees in just 2 hours! Happily I didn&rsquo;t lose the memories of an amazing country and some wonderful wines all linked by the Grandes Pagos de Espana label. You can check them out <a href=""><strong>here</strong></a>.</p> Fri, 14 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6953 Snooth's Spirit of the Week is... Gabe Sasso <p><strong>Booker&rsquo;s Bourbon: </strong>In their nearly 30 year history, Booker&rsquo;s Bourbon has become well known for several things in the Whiskey world. They&rsquo;re one of a handful of Bourbon&rsquo;s that&rsquo;s bottled uncut and released at cask strength. Booker&rsquo;s was created by Booker Noe, who in addition to being a 6th generation Master Distiller was also the Grandson of Jim Beam. Moving forward to the present, Booker&rsquo;s son, Fred Noe selects every batch of Booker&rsquo;s to ascertain that it meets the flavor profile and standard that his Dad set forth.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Booker&rsquo;s Bourbon &ldquo;Blue Knight&rsquo;s Batch&rdquo; ($75):</strong> The Blue Knight Batch is the second Batch released as part of the 2017 collection. It honors the relationship that developed over many years between Booker Noe and the Blue Knights Motorcycle Club. This batch was made using Bourbon produced on 4 different dates and located in 4 different warehouses. It was 6 years, 3 months and 6 days old when bottled at its natural proof of 127.4.<br /> There&rsquo;s a duality to this Bourbon that starts from the first whiff and continues to the last bit reverberating at the back of your throat. That dichotomy is the tension that exists between the &ldquo;big&rdquo; nature of everything here, flavors and aromas versus the great proportion it ultimately maintains. Mexican vanilla bean, toasted pecan and wisps of oak are evident on the nose along with a hint of leather. Dried fig and date flavors along with spice and continued references to roasted nuts dominate the deeply layered and intense palate. The impressively long finish shows off dried apricot, white pepper and bits of heat.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Booker&rsquo;s Blue Knight Batch is aimed at sipping neat, over ice, or with a touch of water. It&rsquo;s distinct and delicious served like that, but it&rsquo;s also a tremendously high quality cocktail component. I tried my hand at several classics using <strong>Blue Knight Batch</strong>, but this was my favorite.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Boulevardier</strong><br /><br /> 2 Parts Booker&rsquo;s Bourbon Blue Knight Batch<br /><br /> 1.5 Parts Campari<br /><br /> 1 part Sweet Red Vermouth<br /><br /> Orange Twist<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Pour the Bourbon, Campari, and Vermouth into a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and pour into a Rocks Glass filled with ice. Garnish with and Orange Twist.</p> Tue, 11 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6951 What it means to be a wine icon. Mark Angelillo <p>There are lots of wine brands out there, but only some can be called iconic. These brands shape winemaking in a forward-positive direction. They lead the charge on new initiatives and dare to be different. They are established purveyors of consistent quality.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Just a few weeks ago I had the opportunity dig deeper into an icon of this type. Villa Maria has paved the way for New Zealand wines since Sir George Fistonich bottled his first vintage in 1961. The winery &ndash; still family owned &ndash; has helped put New Zealand wines on the map. Villa Maria is New Zealand&rsquo;s most awarded winery for good reason. In the words of Sir George Fistonich himself,&nbsp; &quot;...the desire to leave something for the next generation is an ever-present and overriding business objective&rdquo;.&nbsp; Villa Maria has shown a commitment to organic and sustainable farming practices. They&rsquo;ve created a line of wines suitable for every palate and occasion. The wine, and the consumer, always comes first.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Fan favorite winemaker Helen Morrison <a href=""><strong>joined me live, in the company of forty wine writers, to discuss Villa Maria&rsquo;s past, present, and future</strong></a>. We tasted through a selection of six wines from the Villa Maria portfolio, <a href=""><strong>still available today on Snooth at a great price</strong></a>. Read more about them below and pick up a set of your own.<br /> New Zealand offers a unique &ndash; and delicious &ndash; perspective on well-known varieties like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. This collection of Villa Maria wines demonstrates why New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are canon, but also shows the wide range and depth that is possible from others varietals.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Villa Maria Bubbly Sauvignon Blanc 2015</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Recently made available in the United States, Bubbly Sauvignon Blanc is turning heads this summer. Sauvignon Blanc lovers jump at the chance to enjoy a favorite varietal in the frizzante style. A little sparkle injects an extra bit of celebration into any occasion. <a href=""><strong>Wine writer Martin Redmond</strong></a> finds &quot;passion fruit, lime, grapefruit and a bit of green apple flavors&quot; on the palate. He notes, &quot;&hellip;this a fun, vibrant wine whose affinity for food is amplified by its effervescence&hellip;pair with fish tacos, deep-fried seafood, pasta with light cream sauce (pasta with clams comes to mind).&rdquo;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2016</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Villa Maria has helped bring New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to great renown. Here, that signature dash of capsicum you&rsquo;ve come to love from New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc rides on a wave of delightfully tropical citrus. <a href=""><strong>Wine writer Cindy Rynning</strong></a> notes &ldquo;powerful aromas of gooseberry, white flowers, flint, fresh citrus, subtle herbs, and ocean breeze.&rdquo; This Sauvignon Blanc is created to be consistent, as <a href=""><strong>wine writer Nancy Brazil</strong></a> says, &ldquo;Find a [Villa Maria] wine you like in this range and you can be sure it will taste the same to you each vintage, a quality many consumers appreciate.&rdquo;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Villa Maria Private Bin Bay Ros&eacute; 2016</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong><a href="">Wine writer Wanda Mann</a></strong> notes, &ldquo;With the unwavering popularity of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, it is easy to forget that this island nation in the south-west Pacific Ocean produces an array of beautiful wines.&rdquo; Ros&eacute;, a favorite among wine drinkers from casual to serious, is a New Zealand wine to remember. Villa Maria&rsquo;s Merlot-based ros&eacute; is part of their Private Bin collection. Private Bin wines represent Villa Maria&rsquo;s commitment to approachable, consistent quality wines at fantastic values. <a href=""><strong>Wine writer Jim van Bergen</strong></a> notes &ldquo;fresh-cut wildflowers and berry compote&rdquo; on the nose, with &ldquo;fresh strawberries&hellip;ginger, lemon pepper, and allspice&rdquo; on the palate. It calls for an Amaretto chicken pairing, says <a href=""><strong>wine writer David Nerishi</strong></a>.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Villa Maria Taylor&rsquo;s Pass Chardonnay 2015</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> This wine is part of Villa Maria&rsquo;s Single Vineyard tier. These wines put terroir front and center. Minimal intervention is a key to their success, and distinct vineyard characteristics shine in every glass. <a href=""><strong>Wine writer Michael Chelus</strong></a> points to Helen Morrison&rsquo;s &ldquo;deft touch&rdquo; which has created an &ldquo;excellent balance between oak and fruit&rdquo; in this wine. The Chardonnay is grown in Marlborough&rsquo;s Atawere Valley. Generally the Awatere Valley is quite windy, but Taylor&rsquo;s Pass vineyard enjoys an advantage. It is tucked away in a corner of the valley, which shields the grapes from extreme wind and enhances ripening. <a href=""><strong>Wine writer Michelle Williams</strong></a> finds &ldquo;pronounced aromas of ripe stone fruit, apples, lemon zest, buttered brioche and nutmeg&rdquo; in the glass.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2014</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> These grapes hail from both the Awatere and Wairau Valleys in Marlborough. Cooling ocean influences ensure that the Pinot Noir&rsquo;s delicate nuances are preserved. <a href=""><strong>Wine writer Anatoli Levine</strong></a> points to &ldquo;Oregonian notes of dark power, espresso, mocha, with a sweet core of cherries and plums.&rdquo;&nbsp; <a href=""><strong>Wine writer Pamela Heiligenthal</strong></a> suggests pairing it with &ldquo;vodka and dill cured gravlax served with capers and red onion accompanied with a biale pastry.&rdquo;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Villa Maria Cellar Selection Merlot-Cabernet 2013</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> These grapes hail from the Hawkes Bay region. The area is defined by its patchwork of soils coupled with additional warmth and less rain &ndash; ideal for both Merlot and Cabernet. Here, the winemaker has expertly blended sixty percent Merlot, thirty-two percent Cabernet Sauvignon, and eight percent Cabernet Franc to achieve perfect pitch. This was <a href=""><strong>wine writer Jeff Burrows</strong></a>&rsquo; top pick of the evening. New Zealand&rsquo;s cool climate allows for a &ldquo;sexy and elegant interpretation of Merlot and Cabernet&rdquo;, he says.&nbsp; <a href=""><strong>Wine writer Will Pollard</strong></a> notes &ldquo;black fruit, spice, rich with blueberry, chocolate, tar and blackberry on the long lingering finish.&rdquo; He suggests pairing the wine with &ldquo;beef, mushrooms or anything off of the grill&rdquo;, but also says it can be enjoyed alone &ndash; a high compliment for any wine. &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> To bring it all together, <a href=""><strong>wine writer Rick Fillmore</strong></a> delivers with an excellent quote: &ldquo;Most wine stores only seem to stock Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir in their New Zealand section but there are so many more good varietals out there&hellip;&rdquo; He suggests speaking to our local retailers and requesting more Villa Maria wines from the entire portfolio, and I couldn&rsquo;t agree more. Villa Maria represents the success of the New Zealand wine industry in the 20th and 21st centuries. Fifty years later, the winery continues to lead the charge.</p> Tue, 11 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6952 Snooth's Spirit of the Week is... Gabe Sasso <p>Tequila continues to be one of the hottest spirits in the world. People love to mix it into cocktails, drink it neat and even infuse it with other flavors. So it&rsquo;s not surprising that the Sebastiani family would get into the Tequila business through 3 Badge Mixology, their Spirits Company. They work with a third generation master tequilero, Felipe Camarena to create their portfolio of Tequilas. The name Pasote is derived from the spirit of Aztec Warriors. Everything about the packaging of the Pasote Tequila&rsquo;s aligns with that. The bottles are comprised of handmade glass. Each is unique as they contain slight irregularities in shape as well as patterns. The labels are screen printed on; each expression features a different Aztec image. Beautiful packaging is nice, but it wouldn&rsquo;t matter much if the contents of the bottles weren&rsquo;t also well made and delicious; thankfully they are.<br /> <strong>Pasote Blanco Tequila ($49):</strong> Pasote Blanco is produced from agave grown in the Highlands of Jalisco. Pasote utilizes rainwater and natural spring water in their distillation process. The agave is grown by their master tequilero. The moment you stick your nose in the glass the aromas of fresh Agave leap out. Tangerine rind and a gentle hint of thyme are present as well. Taking the first sip a sense of purity envelops your senses. Agave nectar, continued citrus and hints of vanilla are all in evidence. The finish is long, lingering and pure with all of the prior characteristics joined by bits of spice.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Pasote Reposado Tequila ($59): </strong>This Reposado which is distilled using the same materials and process as the Blanco is then aged in American oak for six months. Toast, vanilla and tropical fruit aromas rule the day here. There&rsquo;s a soft nature to the palate that&rsquo;s apparent the moment you take a sip. The flavors are gentle, but layered. Citrus, a bit of papaya and additional wisps of vanilla are all in play. The above average finish reverberates long after the Pasote Reposado is swallowed repeating all of the prior sensations and begging you back to the glass for sip after sip. This is a refined Reposado with above average complexity for the price point.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Blanco is complex and sips nicely straight up, particularly as a partner to lighter foods. It also makes a really great cocktail ingredient. I infused it with fresh strawberries. It&rsquo;s easy, pretty quick and the results are delicious.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Strawberry Infused Tequila</strong><br /><br /> 1 lb. Fresh, Ripe Organic Strawberries<br /><br /> 1 Bottle Pasote Blanco<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Wash the strawberries and remove the stems. Slice the strawberries and place them in a large sealable jar. A 64 oz. Mason jar works perfectly. Pour the bottle of Tequila over the strawberries and seal the jar. Leave it in a cool, dry place for 3 days. After 3 days pass, strain the tequila through a fine filter. Discard the strawberries and pour the Tequila back in the bottle and store it in the freezer. This Strawberry infused Tequila will work really well for mixed drinks. It&rsquo;s also delicious sipped on its own, from a Tequila or Port glass.</p> Tue, 04 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6950 Snooth's Spirit of the Week is... Gabe Sasso <p><strong>Laphroaig &ldquo;Lore&rdquo; Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky ($125):</strong> Laphroaig is one of the preeminent Single Malt Scotch producers in Islay. Among other things they&rsquo;re well known for producing distinct, peaty Scotches. Their history dates back to 1815 and since that time their goal has been to produce the richest single malts in the world. Distillery Manager John Campbell created Lore with a couple of things in mind. One is to honor the passing of Scotch making skills and knowledge down from one generation to the next&rsquo; the other is producing the aforementioned richest Single Malt possible. From that agenda Lore was born.<br /> Lore was produced from a combination of casks. This included double matured first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels, Virgin European oak, first fill Oloroso Sherry butts, first and refill quarter casks and refill ex-Laphroaig stock. Lore was produced in limited quantities and it&rsquo;s currently available at select retailers nationwide. As with any selection from the Laphroaig portfolio when you stick your nose in the glass you&rsquo;re hit back with a bit of smoky goodness. In this case bits of salinity, roasted pecans and wisps of tangerine rind are present as well. Taking the first sip it&rsquo;s immediately apparent there&rsquo;s depth to spare here. Dried dates, hints of dusty cocoa, roasted mixed nuts and a bit of jalapeno are all present in droves. The finish here is prodigiously long with spice, fruit and gentle bits of salinity reverberating on and on long after the last sip is swallowed.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Distinct expressions such as Lore, produced in limited quantities are one of the things that set Laphroaig apart. Their normal portfolio is dependable and loaded with go-to Scotches for those who love peaty whisky, but these special releases are worth anticipating and clamoring for.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> </p> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6949 Superior Summer Reds: Dolcetto Alan Tardi <p>On the last night of <a href=""><strong>Nebbiolo Prima</strong></a>, something quite unusual happened: we left the area of Barolo and drove thirty minutes south, to the township of Dogliani, where nebbiolo is not grown. While this did seem a bit odd at first, there were a few good explanations for it:<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> This year, the annual event sponsored by <a href=""><strong>Albeisa</strong></a> that focuses on the new releases of nebbiolo-based Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero, was combined with another event called Grandi Langhe that features other wines of the area, including dolcetto.&nbsp; Another reason is that after Roero DOCG left the Barolo, Barbaresco, Alba, Langhe consortium a few years ago to form its own administrative body, Dogliani (which became a DOCG in 2005) stepped up to take its place. And this is where it starts to get really interesting.<br /> The truth is that while nebbiolo is clearly the most important grape variety of Piedmont and Barolo is the region&rsquo;s most prestigious wine, up until not too long ago dolcetto was the most popular and most ubiquitous: this is what people drank every day and if you ordered red wine in an unpretentious <em>osteria</em> (when it was still easy to find such a thing) inevitably the bottle that got plopped down on the table was dolcetto. And it&rsquo;s easy to understand why.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Typically the dolcetto grape produces simple, fresh and pleasantly fruit-forward wines, with a bright ruby-red color and soft tannins, which means it doesn&rsquo;t need&mdash;and usually doesn&rsquo;t benefit from&mdash;long ageing. This also means it &lsquo;s less expensive&nbsp; (so you can drink more of it) and the alcohol is usually a degree or two lower (so you can drink even more), plus it goes with just about everything&mdash;antipasti, pasta, main courses and cheese&mdash;so you don&rsquo;t have to worry about what to pair it with or wait for a special occasion.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> But not all dolcetto are created equal. The dolcetto from Dogliani has always been recognized as being distinctly different than the others: bigger-bodied, earthier, more structured and more complex, with a broader spectrum of aromas, a bit more alcohol and more pronounced tannins. Because of this, it usually gets a bit of ageing (often in wood, though not necessarily) prior to release. A wine labeled <em>Superiore </em>must be aged for at least one year. The distinctions of Dogliani, however, stem chiefly from its growing area.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Though it&rsquo;s less than thirty minutes from the town of Barolo, the climate of Dogliani is a degree or two cooler, the median altitude of the vineyards is higher (about 350-500 meters above sea level compared to 250-350) and the slopes are a bit steeper, with many areas so steep they must be worked entirely by hand. And while the soil is basically the same &mdash; a combination of calcareous limestone, marls and clay &mdash; pronounced mineral notes are common here, and get locked into the grapes through a more dramatic excursion between daytime and nighttime temperatures. And there&rsquo;s one more significant factor: whereas in the Barolo area dolcetto is relegated to the less desirable locations, in Dogliani dolcetto gets planted in the very best vineyard sites.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> In an effort to underscore these geographic distinctions and distinguish the dolcetto of Dogliani from all the others, in 2005 the name of the grape variety was dropped, the name of the wine was changed to Dogliani, and the appellation was elevated from a DOC to the higher DOCG status. The Doglianesi were obviously starting to take their wine seriously. But the consequences of this were not always felicitous.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Living in the village of Castiglione Falletto in the heart of the Barolo region, each autumn I would make a pilgrimage to Dogliani on All Saint&rsquo;s Day for the Fiera dei Santi when a steaming soup of tripe and chickpeas called Cisr&agrave; is served in the piazza accompanied by a vast assortment of the town&rsquo;s namesake wine by the glass. Some years ago, however, I started to feel that many producers were trying too hard to make an &lsquo;<em>important</em>&rsquo; wine. Many of the examples I encountered were over-extracted, over-aged, and overly woody, nearly as dark as balsamic vinegar and almost as thick and syrupy. It seemed as if Dogliani was losing its dolcettoness.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> So when I pulled into the long driveway and up to the beautifully restored farmhouse that is the country hotel of Einaudi, one of Dogliani&rsquo;s most historic and prestigious producers, it was not without some trepidation. I temporarily forgot it, however, when Matteo Sardagna, the sun-tanned athletic-looking Einaudi who is now running the family winery, greeted me warmly and escorted me out to a grassy terrace where the sun was setting over the Dogliani hills and a mixed group of people from Nebbiolo Prima and Grandi Langhe was standing around talking quietly, eating hand-sliced shards of <em>prosciutto crudo</em> and sipping glasses of chilled sparkling rosato, which turned out to be the perfect antidote to my tannin-fatigued palate.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> After the sun sank behind the hills, it immediately got chilly and we drifted inside to a room turned into a makeshift movie theater for the world preview of a film about Dogliani produced by the Bottega del Vino Dogliani, the consortium of producers that manages the appellation which turned out to be a quite lovely portrait of the area through evocative images, ambient sounds, brief yet poignant interviews with local producers, and piano music composed and performed by Ludovico Einaudi, a well-known pianist-composer.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> When the lights came back on and the clapping petered out, we moved into the adjacent dining room and took a seat at one of four long tables. Platters of salami and baskets of bread were brought out, corks began popping (popped by the very same producers who made them), bottles were passed around, and glasses filled. Then came the moment of truth.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> I was having an enjoyable evening and, as I lifted the first glass, was steeling myself for disappointment. But that&rsquo;s not what happened.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Overall, the wines were excellent&mdash;intense but not unwieldy, with enticing aromas, forward fruit balanced by firm acidity, earthiness with a stony mineral edge, and no sign of any invasive wood. And they only got better as successive courses&mdash;meat-filled tortelli with ricotta cream, roasted goat&mdash;arrived. Dolcetto of Dogliani was back and better than ever.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> As the evening started to wind down, I went over to the next table to convey my appreciation to one of my favorite producers, Anna Maria Abbona, who also happens to be the current president of the Bottega del Vino di Dogliani, the consortium of producers that manages the appellation.&nbsp; &ldquo;Yes,&rdquo; she said, &ldquo;we&rsquo;ve been working very hard to improve our winemaking to better express our territory. Perhaps we exaggerated a bit in the past, after the DOCG was created, trying to show how exceptional Dogliani is. But now I think we&rsquo;ve found our path and found an equilibrium that shows in the wines.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I couldn&rsquo;t agree more.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Here are a few of the standouts of the evening:<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dogliani DOCG &ldquo;Briccolero&rdquo; 2015 &mdash; Chionetti</strong></a><br /><br /> <em>Dark ruby with a shine; aroma of violets, wild rose and asphalt, with bright cherry fruit tempered by orange peel acidity.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dogliani DOCG &ldquo;Sor&igrave; dij But&rdquo; 2015 &mdash; Anna Maria Abbona</strong></a><br /><br /> <em>Warm &amp; welcoming of ripe black plums, sour cherries</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dogliani Superiore DOCG &ldquo;Vigna Tecc&rdquo; 201_ &mdash; Poderi Luigi Einaudi</strong></a><br /><br /> <em>Structured, tannic, elegant. Tightly knit and extremely well-balanced</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dogliani Superiore DOCG &ldquo;Sir&igrave; d&rsquo;Jermu&rdquo; 2015&mdash; Pecchenino</strong></a><br /><br /> <em>Velvety maroon black. Concentrated frutti di bosco flavors with a touch of fresh oregano, black pepper and anise.</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dogliani Superiore DOCG &ldquo;San Bernardo&rdquo; 201 &mdash; Anna Maria Abbona</strong></a><br /><br /> <em>70 year old vines; dark purple, almost opaque. Macerated prunes, dried black currants. Soft, dense &amp; full-bodied but not heavy. Chalky mineral edge from the white soil. Extended ageing in large acacia casks. Big, powerful fruit core framed by supple tannins.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> </p> Fri, 23 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6948 Wine in the Movies & on TV Snooth Editorial <p>We&#39;ve had a relationship with wine for several millennia and counting. This relationship has been documented in a number of ways, but so much has been lost to the ravages of time. Gaps in history leave wine culture open to interpretation, but with the dawn of modern media things have changed. Whether we like it or not, modern media will help us to understand more about how wine has been consumed during any given era &ndash; including the present. Although we have more ways to document culture these days, it&rsquo;s still our job to draw conclusions. And like wine drinking, it&#39;s a lot of fun. The wine lover&rsquo;s ears are sure to perk up at a wine reference no matter where it appears. The web&rsquo;s top wine writers are sharing their favorite pieces of wine-related media in the hope they will demonstrate to you the ways our collective palate has evolved over this and last century.&nbsp; Do you have a favorite television or movie wine reference? Let us know in the comments.<br /> <strong>Big Bang Theory</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> When it comes to wine on TV, I think of Penny (Kaley Cuoco) on Big Bang Theory. As the &quot;normal&quot; character in a group of nerds, Penny is often seen relaxing with a glass of wine, or three. Unfortunately, the show displays wine in the time worn clich&eacute; of a boozy way to relax and lighten up. The brainy characters are rarely seen with a glass in hand. While Penny is lovable, her wine enjoyment seems stuck back in the 1960&#39;s era of Dean Martin.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Jeff Burrows</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Foodwineclick</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Bottle Shock</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Napa Valley is one of the world&rsquo;s top wine destinations and with 4 million visitors each year, the most popular region in the United States.&nbsp; If there was a single event that can be credited Napa Valley&rsquo;s ascendancy in the world of wine, it was the 1976 &ldquo;Judgment of Paris&rdquo; Tasting. The 2008 movie, Bottle Shock is a charming and entertaining dramatization of events that lead to the blind tasting that matched Chardonnay and Cabernet from California against the best the French had to offer from Burgundy and Bordeaux.&nbsp; When the tasting was done, it was a stunning sweep for the Napa Valley wines,&nbsp; as the French judges gave top honors to the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay and Stag&rsquo;s Leap Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon.&nbsp; The primary protagonists in the movie are Jim Barret of the struggling and heavily in debt Chateau Montelena (played by Bill Pullman), and a Steve Spurrier, the British owner of a small wine shop named &ldquo;The Academy of Wine&rdquo; in Paris (played by the recently deceased Alan Rickman)&nbsp; It was Spurrier&rsquo;s idea to sponsor the competition. While the outcome is known to even the most casual wine lover, the director did of fine job of extracting entertainment out of the events that lead to the competition and the competition itself.&nbsp; I especially enjoyed Rickman&rsquo;s subtle comedic performance.&nbsp; At one point in the movie, Barret asks Spurrier, &ldquo;Why do I hate you?&rdquo;, and Spurrier calmly replies &ldquo;Because you think I&rsquo;m an asshole&hellip;actually, I&rsquo;m not an asshole. It&rsquo;s just that I&rsquo;m British, and, well ... you&rsquo;re not.&rdquo;&nbsp; For a compelling account of the event&nbsp; that sent shock waves around the world, check out Judgment of Paris authored by George M. Taber, who&nbsp; was the only reporter present at the mythical 1976 tasting.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Martin Redmond</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>ENOFLYZ Wine Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Casablanca</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> When I think of wine and the movies Champagne and <em>Casablanca </em>immediately come to mind. Since before I was interested in wine, <em>Casablanca </em>has been my favorite classic movie. I watch it once a year. It&rsquo;s a ritual. I first fell in love with the classic fashions of the 1940s. (Who doesn&#39;t love the white jumper over a striped blouse Ilsa wears to the <em>Casablanca </em>police station and later in the market scene or either classy, floor-length outfit Yvonne wears to Rick&#39;s Caf&eacute; Am&eacute;ricain in the evening?) But, as I fell into wine, I began notice the presence of Champagne throughout the movie. A coupe of the bubbly seems to be present at every turn - in Paris when Rick and Ilsa first fall in love &ldquo;Here&rsquo;s looking at you kid,&rdquo; and when Rick and Ilsa plan to leave Paris together &ldquo;Kiss me. Kiss me as if were the last time,&rdquo; the pair have the task of drinking four bottles rather than leave them for the advancing Germans. Champagne is consumed on several occasions at Rick&rsquo;s in Casablanca as well. Major Strasser orders not just Champagne but a 15-year-old, vintage Champagne - a bottle of 1926 Veuve Clicquot on the recommendation of Captain Renault. When Ilsa and her husband, Victor Laszlo, arrive the good Captain orders a bottle of Rick&rsquo;s best champagne for the pair. Later in the movie, Yvonne orders a French 75 and Victor orders Champagne cocktails. There was certainly no shortage of Champagne in French Morocco at the time, in the movie at least. What this says about wine, in the context of this movie, is that if Champagne is available and you could afford to buy it you should do so. And you should drink Champagne at every opportunity, for who could know what tomorrow would bring? Champagne is celebratory and above all so very French. And, of course, so not German. Only in the movies! Here is a link to <em>Casablanca</em>. <strong><a href=""></a></strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Nancy Brazil</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Pull That Cork</strong></a><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>@mspullthatcork</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Disclosure</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> It was 1994 and I had just returned from my first ever trip to Napa Valley. Not yet a lawyer, I nevertheless enjoyed films about legal disputes. A Chardonnay as evidence? Now that was a new one. The 1994 movie &ldquo;Disclosure,&rdquo; a flick starring Demi Moore and Michael Douglas, focuses on sexual harassment with a twist: a woman accused of harassing a man.The Seattle-based film is fraught with steamy sex and double entendre. In a scene that later comes back to haunt her, Moore&#39;s character Meredith Johnson says in response to Douglas&#39; Tom Sanders&#39;&nbsp; &quot;the 1991 Pahlmeyer, how did you know about that?&nbsp; I&#39;ve been looking all over for it?&quot; with &quot;Well you know I like all the boys under me to be happy.&quot; The wine, a sought-after Napa Valley Chardonnay, figures prominently as a symbol of power when Johnson counter-sues Sanders for sexual harassment. The case against her turns on how Johnson came to acquire such a hard-to-find bottle of wine in Seattle. Former lawyer and proprietor Jayson Pahlmeyer, contacted after producers fell in love with the wine at Spago, says he was not too keen on relinquishing two of the only 400 cases produced, for the film. He eventually relented and he ended up on Entertainment Tonight in the process. The film is now a bit dated, but vintage after vintage, the Pahlmeyer Napa Valley Chardonnay stands up to the test of time.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Amy Corron-Power</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Another Wine Blog</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>French Kiss</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> In the 1995 romantic comedy, <em>French Kiss</em>, the main character, a career thief named Luc Teyssier (Kevin Kline) meets Kate (Meg Ryan) on a plane to Paris. She is flying there to win back her fianc&eacute; who has fallen in love with a French girl, while he is returning with a grapevine which also hides an expensive necklace he has stolen. He uses Kate to smuggle the vine and the necklace into France, then befriends her so that he can get them back. During their escapades, they made a train stop at his childhood home, where she learns that he is a third-generation vintner who lost his share of the family vineyard in a hand of poker with his brother. During the brief visit, she asks to see his room in the family home. There she discovers a box of herbs that he made in school, herbs that are native to the vineyard and the area. She sips a glass of wine and he asks her to describe it. She attempts a description, but confesses that the description is really about her, not the wine. He tells her that she isn&rsquo;t wrong, that &ldquo;wine is like people&rdquo; in that it absorbs characteristics of the environment, which affect aroma and flavor. He then asks her to smell a few of the herbs in the box and try the wine again. In doing so, he demonstrates to her how these herbal influences are found in the wine she is drinking. During this ah-ha moment, they finally make a real human connection and she kisses him on the cheek as she leaves the room. He takes her to an abandoned vineyard property and shares with her his plan to purchase it someday to make wine. As they make their way back to the train, he promises to help her win back her fianc&eacute; and she reveals to him that she has discovered the necklace which, when sold, will give him enough money to purchase the vineyard he so desperately wants.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Elizabeth Smith</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Traveling Wine Chick</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Game of Thrones</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Game of Thrones guides us through a world where noble houses are fighting a civil war to determine who will be king and a supernatural presence is determined to destroy an entire region. We find ourselves in a world where a teenage female is one of the most fierce leaders and the Queen of Dragons. A world where, if you can&rsquo;t be productive in society, you are sent to the Wall to be a member of the Night&rsquo;s Watch and no matter who you are, someone is devising a plan to kill you in order to move up the social ladder. Although this world may seem a bit implausible, there is the reality of wine and how it is an integral part of society.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &ldquo;Those miserable old sh*&amp;s didn&rsquo;t want you to be human.&rdquo; Ten little words that possess so much meaning. Wine is such a large part of our lives and as Tyrion Lannister suggests, we may not be human without it. Wine has been part of our culture and society for ages. It has been discovered that the Egyptians began making a wine-like substance from red grapes back in 3100 B.C. and since then, it has been a staple in our society. For some, it is an outlet, for others it is a dream. The vision of owning your own vineyard and producing your own wine to share with your friends and family is a passion for a multitude of people.&nbsp; There is something romantically inherent about harvesting grapes from the vine and turning them into wine. The capability to be one with nature and to idly stand by as fermentation naturally turns the juice into wine is idyllic. Knowing that something you produced allows people to be more comfortable with themselves is empowering. Wine allows people to be more comfortable sharing a bit more about themselves. Wine permits you to let your guard down, even if it&rsquo;s just telling a joke. Wine enables you to see the positive side of life and helps you see that life is worth living. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Lori Budd</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Owner/CMO Dracaena Wines</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Gunsmoke/Sanford &amp; Son</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Since I know absolutely zilch about modern television, I&rsquo;m going to take you good folks back several decades. Without a doubt, my two favorite series are <em>Gunsmoke and Sanford &amp; Son</em>. I still find entertainment value in both today. In <em>Gunsmoke</em>, beer and whiskey were routine, though there was the occasional reference to champagne in Miss Kitty&rsquo;s bustling Long Branch Saloon. On the other hand, funnyman Fred Sanford had an enduring love affair with Ripple &ndash; a fortified wine (or shall we say sugar-laced effervescent concoction) produced by E&amp;J Gallo Winery. Ripple was basically a cheap, sweet high. Fred, being the sophisticated junkman that he was, enjoyed making his Ripple fancy by adding champagne. The bubbly could have even been Korbel [California Champagne] for all we know.&nbsp; And there you have it, the ever-popular Sanford signature drink: Champipple! Other than Champipple, wine was brought up in a number of episodes on <em>Sanford &amp; Son</em>. However, when quality wine was mentioned, it was generally a French wine. Keep in mind, the show ran from 1972 thru 1977 when quality wine was thought only to be from France. This was prior to the 1976 <em>Judgment of Paris</em> event where wines from California bested renowned French wines with French judges. A few years later &ndash; 1979 to be exact, David Lett, founder of Eyrie Vineyards, shook up the Wine Olympics (and much of the wine world) in Paris when his 1975 South Block Reserve placed 10th among a long list of Pinot Noirs. Prior to that, Willamette Valley, Oregon, wasn&rsquo;t on anyone&rsquo;s Pinot radar. While other regions (in and out the US) were making headway, France was King. And that&rsquo;s the main takeaway about the wine culture back then. We even see this portrayed in comedies such as <em>Sanford &amp; Son</em>. Aired in 1975, I&rsquo;m reminded of an episode titled The Olympics. The eye of Fred&rsquo;s affection, Donna, has a date with Lou Turner &ndash; a distinguished gentleman, and Fred is just a little bit jealous. Donna tries to calm Fred with one of Lou&rsquo;s wines and that is when the fun starts. The episode in its entirety is hilarious and lasts approximately 30 minutes. If you do not have the time, please advance to 2:22 and check out the short wine exchange. Lou, who some may consider a wine snob, drops a little wine knowledge about Bordeaux and Burgundy, including the term, &lsquo;dee-conted.&rsquo; Enjoy!&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Link to episode: <a href=""></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Dezel Quillen</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>My Vine Spot</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>James Bond</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> In the books by Ian Fleming, James Bond was most likely sipping a scotch, but in the movies, most people think of his martini order: &quot;Shaken, not stirred.&quot; Bond did dabble in wine drinking as well, but it was really Champagne that has been the mainstay, generally either to celebrate or seduce. This has been typical of broader culture and remains so today. While various Champagne marques were celebrated, none appeared quite so often as Bollinger. This unpaid product placement is the result of a friendship&nbsp; between the Broccoli-Wilson family (producers of the films) and the Bollinger family, and has endured to this day, even as the actor who portrays Bond has changed.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Kovas Palubinskas</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>50 States Of Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>James Bond</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> The first &quot;grown-up&quot; movies I remember seeing were the Sean Connery James Bond films. My mother was a huge fan of the series, and that affinity was passed on to me very early on. I have since seen each of the Connery 007 incarnations dozens of times (Roger Moore and subsequent Bonds fail to measure up to the original in my view), and some of my favorite scenes are those that involve the ultra cool James ordering, consuming, or otherwise commenting on champagne. In Ian Flemming&#39;s novels, Bond usually opted for Taittinger, but once the MI6 spy hit the screen, his preference shifted to Dom P&eacute;rignon and, more frequently, Bollinger. My favorite quote comes from perhaps my favorite film, Goldfinger (1964). Drinking a few bubbles with Jill Masterson, Jimbo realized that the wine had lost its chill: &quot;My dear girl, there are some things that just aren&#39;t done, such as drinking Dom Perignon &#39;53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That&#39;s as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs!&quot; Apparently at the time (it was a bit before I was born), this was seen as marking the growing generational schism that was about to explode in just a few short years. The older generation saw it as a rebuke to the unsophisticated, uncouth youth of the time. While the younger generation derided their elders as being out of touch. Either way, it was my first exposure to champagne and no doubt plays a role in my love for the wine today.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Jeff Kralik</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>The Drunken Cyclist</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Red Obsession</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Passion vs. power.&nbsp; Red Obsession is a movie that delves into how wine goes from art into collector obsession.&nbsp; The story follows how a great Bordeaux wine becomes a status symbol and phenomenon &ndash; and how wealthy consumers in the Chinese market will do anything or pay any price to own them.&nbsp; The Bordeaux wine transforms from the trials and tribulations of a farmer to a measure of wealth, power and acquisition for the end buyer. Russell Crowe serves as narrator and the story delves into perspectives from the winemakers, wine critics, wine lovers and those who will pay almost anything for a prestige wine and why.&nbsp; It takes the romanticism out of what happens in the vineyards to those who believe &ldquo;whoever dies with the most toys wins.&quot;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Melanie Ofenloch</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dallas Wine Chick</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>The Muppet Movie</strong><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> I need to go old school with The Muppet Movie released in 1979. It contains the first bitter sweet song I experienced &quot;Rainbow Connection&quot; and it was probably the first time I was exposed to wine. The scene is when Kermit and Miss Piggy are having a romantic dinner together and no other then Steve Martin, their their waiter, brings a bottle to the table with Miss Piggy mistaking it for Champagne. But the waiter says it is sparkling muscatel from Idaho with a sneer while he flips off the bottle cap and asks Kermit, &quot;Don&#39;t you want to smell the bottle cap?&quot; It is a hilarious scene based on the poor choice Kermit made for their special dinner. The term muscatel became popular in the United States at the end of prohibition to meet the large demand for wine. It was made by poor clones of Muscat grapes (used normally for table grapes) mixed with sugar and cheap brandy and it was referred to as wino wine. But we have come a long way. Any wine geek would love to have a sparkling muscatel from Idaho with a bottle cap (crown cap). First, Idaho has some fun sparkling wines as another Snooth contributor recently pointed out, second, there are many different clones of Muscat and some are capable of spectacular wine, and third, Champagne uses crown caps (bottle caps) in their production during the second fermentation and lees aging in bottle. And so, it is not such a bad idea to use a crown cap for a sparkling wine that will be drunk on release. This scene really shows how far we have come as a wine knowledgeable country and I&rsquo;m sure there is still a lot out there to be discovered.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Cathrine Todd</strong><br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Dame Wine</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> </p> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6947 Snooth's Spirit of the Week is... Gabe Sasso <p><strong>Four Roses Small Batch 50th Anniversary Edition ($150):</strong> Four Roses Bourbon was established in 1888 and has a long and diverse history. They went from being the most popular Whiskey in America to not being available in the US for a period of time. However over the last decade they have made a major comeback in the US. Their portfolio features a trio of regular releases. One of them is their Small Batch Bourbon series. The latest iteration of this has been released to honor Al Young their Senor Brand Ambassador who has been with Four Roses for 50 years. This role is just the latest in his long journey with brand. Previously he has enjoyed time as Distillery manager, and historian among others. In 2010 he even authored a Coffee Table book about the history of Four Roses Bourbon and their return to prominence.<br /> Al Young worked alongside Master Distiller Brent Elliot to choose the blend for his commemorative bottle. Four Roses uses 10 different recipes for their Bourbons. Al &amp; Brent selected 4 of them for this Limited Edition Bottling. 50% was 13 year old OESV, 25% 15 year old OBSK, 20% 12 year old OBSF, and 5% 25 year old OBSV. One of Al&rsquo;s goals in creating the blend was to include an older Bourbon in the mix; after experimenting with different percentages they found that 5% was just right. 10,000 bottles of this offering are being distributed.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The Four Roses Small Batch 50th Anniversary Edition has a powerful nose laced with vanilla, toast and chamomile tea. Fresh and dried stone fruits, fig and dates are all evident on the deeply layered and intense palate. The long finish is stuffed with bits of brown sugar, spice notes and a final kiss of heat. Drink this beauty neat or with just a couple drops of water. This unique and limited edition entry in their portfolio is a must have for Bourbon lovers; grab it before it&rsquo;s gone.</p> Tue, 20 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6946 Chenin Blanc Strikes Back Mark Angelillo <p>In case you haven&rsquo;t heard, June 17th is Chenin Blanc Day. And like so many wine lovers, one of the first places I go for great Chenin Blanc is South Africa. While South Africa is considered part of the New World, at this point, the country&rsquo;s vines are quite venerable. The first vintage of South African wine was recorded in 1659. Meanwhile, the first-ever mentions of Chenin Blanc were recorded just under two hundred years earlier in France, 1496 (back when the grape was known as Plant d&rsquo;Anjou). South Africa is a crucial part of Chenin Blanc&rsquo;s heritage. Once known as Steen in South Africa, Chenin Blanc remains the country&rsquo;s most widely planted variety. In fact, there is more Chenin Blanc grown in South Africa than in France. These wines run the gamut from value to premium, so they are well suited to all nights of the week and a wide range of cuisines. In fact, South African Chenin Blanc boasts some of the most terrific values on the market today.<br /> South Africa&rsquo;s stash of old Chenin Blanc vines is a true treasure, and there&rsquo;s a strong movement to ensure they are preserved. You&rsquo;ll want to enjoy these wines for decades to come. The South African interpretation of Chenin Blanc is rife with orchard fruits, a characteristic honeysuckle note, and just a dash of pith that only can be South Africa. Oaked or unoaked, I&rsquo;m relieved to know that South African winemakers are continuing to write this grape&rsquo;s story.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Here are a few of my favorites from a recent blind tasting.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Bloem White Blend Western Cape 2016</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> A blend of Chenin Blanc and Viognier, a combination on the order of PB &amp; J. This has a floral, fleshy and peach driven nose with lemon citrus notes. On the palate this starts out zesty and citrusy with lemon and grapefruit giving way to a burst of green apple and pear fruit before becoming briny with notes of sea spray and a creamy finish. Nice complexity here. <em>90 pts. Avg. Price: $9.99</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2016</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Ken Forrester is a renowned name and I&rsquo;ve never been disappointed by any wine in their portfolio. Warm melon and lemon aromas. Citrus notes of grapefruit and lemon in the mouth, this is simple and fruit forward but melts into an earthy, oaky and almost tannic finish. <em>Avg. Price: $10</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Eikeboom Chenin Blanc Western Cape 2016</strong></a><br /><br /> <em>89 pts. Wine Enthusiast</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Twenty-five year old vines, zero oak. Lightly buttered aromas of melon and pear on the nose. A hint of fruit sugar greets the palate with peach and apricot notes, even a touch of pineapple adding some additional fresh fruit flavor before this finishes clean and light with confectioners sugar and green melon. <em>90 pts. $12.99</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Essay Wines White Blend Coastal Region 2016</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Yet another blend, 24% Viognier and 4% Rousanne were added to impart richness, violets, and spice. Floral and oaty aromas of white peach, melon and grapefruit. Clean, light and refreshing on the palate with a burst of acidity, fresh spice, fruit flavors of lemon and lime and a crispy, dry finish of minerality and lime zest. Very pleasant. <em>$12.99</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Xavier Flouret Fynbos Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2016</strong></a><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> These come from 44 year-old bush vines grown 285 meters above sea level. Clean and clear aromas of light peach, melon and steely lime. This has a pleasant creaminess to it with a honeyed note of pear, apple and peach with cool, lime zest and butter notes towards the long finish of aged cheese rind and oak. <em>90 pts. $15.96</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>AA Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc Swartland 2016</strong></a><br /><br /> <em>90 pts Wine Spectator</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> This is Chenin Blanc with a dash of Palomino (another grape with a long history in the region) plus an unnamed grape to add some mystery. These vines were planted in the late 1960s to mid-1970s. Pleasant golden apple and honey aromas with floral, spiced oak notes and an orange marmalade glaze. Fresh acidity, minerality and lemon zest flavors, muted fruit but present with peach and melon flavors welling up after the mineral notes and finishing clean, fresh and juicy. <em>90 pts. $15.99</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>DeMorgenzon Chenin Blanc Reserve Stellenbosch 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <em>92 points Wine Spectator, 92 Point Wine Enthusiast</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> These grapes come from 43 year-old bush vines planted 820 to 985 feet above sea level just adjacent to False Bay in Stellenbosch. Fresh apricot, apple and soft melon aromas. Buttery and creamy textured on entry, this has a pleasant lemon palate and medium-full body, finishing a bit herbal. <em>$34.99</em><br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> </p> Fri, 16 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6945 Snooth's Spirit of the Week is... Gabe Sasso <p><strong>Tequilla Ocho 2016 Puerta del Aire Plata ($50):</strong> Tequilla Ocho Plata is produced exclusively from Agave grown at Puerta del Aire. They&rsquo;re the only Tequila distiller producing Single Estate Tequila&rsquo;s from specific vintages. The village of Arandas where their Estate is located sits more than 6,500 feet above sea level. Puerta del Aire is but one of more than 100 estates the family owns, maintains, and harvests Agave from. They allow their Agave to age 7 years before harvesting. At that age the pi&ntilde;as weigh between 42 and 100 kg. Their distiller Carlos Camarena is a 3rd generation Tequilero. He works alongside Tomas Estes who is the Ambassador of Tequila to the European Union.<br /> <div><br /> Along with a couple of other producers Ocho is participating in a bat friendly pilot estate program. They allow a minimum of 5% of their agave to flower. It takes until the 8th year for Blue Agave to produce these large single blooms. Bats not only need these blooms but they also pollinate roughly 180 types of Agave as well as other plants in Mexico. Once the Agave plant has bloomed it can no longer be used to produce Tequila. So this is a commitment to the environment on their part that supersedes potential dollars lost.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Quite frankly most Blanco or Plata Tequila is relatively uninteresting sipped neat. The vast majority of them are intended for blending into cocktails. Ocho Plata will disabuse you of that notion. This is a delicious, distinct and complex Plata. It&rsquo;s a singular expression with depth to spare. Tangerine zest, savory green herbs, limestone and a hint of banana are all part of the impressive aromatics. The palate is loaded with brown sugar, peppercorn, dates, cinnamon, a dusting of cocoa, and hints of sage. The finish here is long, lush and memorable with the above characteristics reverberating.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> You could certainly use Tequilla Ocho 2016 Puerta del Aire Plata to make cocktails. It&rsquo;s a super high quality ingredient that will improve your Tequila based beverage exponentially. However it&rsquo;s such a specific and distinct expression that I believe it demands to be savored on its own. At most I&rsquo;d put a hint of a chill on it. Either way, enjoy this exceptional expression of a Tequila Plata.</div><br /> </p> Tue, 13 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6944 Beaujolais Wine is in Bloom John Downes <p>Some Burgundy winemakers pull their noses up at Beaujolais but, like it or not, these hilly picturesque vineyards just up the road from Macon are an integral part of the illustrious Burgundy region of central France.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Why do some pooh-pooh their neighbour? It has a lot to do with grape varieties; Burgundy&rsquo;s red is the classic Pinot Noir whilst Beaujolais&rsquo; red grape is Gamay. Many see Gamay as the poor relation but as investment pours into Beaujolais, this lesser known variety is producing some super wines. For the record there is a tiny amount of white Beaujolais produced (from Chardonnay under the A.C. Beaujolais and A.C. Beaujolais Villages labels) but it&rsquo;s Beaujolais Rouge that&rsquo;s turning the global head.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> Beaujolais&rsquo; image took a hammering in the past thanks to Beaujolais Nouveau. This once heavily marketed but all too often disappointing wine that was picked in September, made soon after, released in November and had the winemaker&rsquo;s bank accounts bulging by Christmas, has a lot to answer for. Many readers will remember the &lsquo;third Thursday in November&rsquo; when the &lsquo;Beaujolais Est Arrive&rsquo; signs appeared outside local restaurants. Amazingly, at its peak in 1992, Beaujolais Nouveau accounted for more than half of all Beaujolais wine sold.<br /> The consumer eventually saw through Nouveau&rsquo;s lack of quality and sales dropped dramatically. Happily, out of the embers, the wines of Beaujolais are now fighting back to gain the respect they deserve. The &lsquo;cru&rsquo; Beaujolais wines are leading the charge.<br /><br /> &nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> The top &lsquo;cru&rsquo; wines come from the granite schist vineyards of Brouilly, Cote de Brouilly, Morgon, Chiroubles, Fleurie, Julienas, Moulin-a-Vent, Chenas, St. Armour and Regnie, all ten wines being named after their &lsquo;cru&rsquo; villages. Although the &ldquo;Top Ten&rdquo; are generally drunk young, Morgon and Moulin-a-Vent from a good winemaker generally have a little more oouumpph and will reward a few years in your cellar. Fleurie and Julienas are probably the best known labels and therefore carry a premium, especially in restaurants. So, be adventurous and try one of the other cru&rsquo;s and save a few dollars at the same time!<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> If the Beaujolais&rsquo; crus are the flagship wines of Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages are next in the pecking order, these vineyards covering 39 designated schist-granite &lsquo;village&rsquo; plots in the northerly Haut Beaujolais. They stand between the 10 crus and &lsquo;straight&rsquo; Beaujolais and account for about 6000 hectares of vineyard amongst the total Beaujolais vineyard area of 22,000 hectares. As most of these villages are little known, (Langtigne and Lancie for example), the wines are generally sold under the &lsquo;Beaujolais-Villages&rsquo; label.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> The smart Burgundian winemakers are now realising the potential of Beaujolais, indeed, some are investing. Far sighted Beaune based Maison Louis Jadot bought Ch&acirc;teau des Jacques back in 1996. Situated in Moulin &agrave; Vent, between Fleurie and Chenas, the granitic vineyards of &lsquo;Moulin &agrave; Vent Ch&acirc;teau des Jacques&#39; boast 27 highly rated hectares.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> Moulin a Vent is considered by many to be the most &lsquo;Burgundian&rsquo; Cru of Beaujolais. Reflecting this Jadot make their Chateau des Jacques in the same way as a Pinot Noir from a top vineyard site of the Cote D&rsquo;Or with a 20-30 day fermentation followed by partial ageing in French oak. The result is a full, robust crisp red fruit beauty with positive yet friendly tannins and a wine that will repay 5-7 years in the cellar with interest.<br /><br /> &nbsp;<br /><br /> So, whatever the depth of your pocket there&rsquo;s a Beaujolais to make you smile. Will it be a &lsquo;straight&rsquo; Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages, one the ten crus or a &lsquo;single estate&rsquo; to help you rediscover the wines of this blooming Burgundian gem.</p> Fri, 09 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6943 Snooth's Spirit of the Week is... Gabe Sasso <p><strong>Villa de Varda, The Best Grappa&rsquo;s in the World and More: </strong>A couple of months back as I planned to visit Northern Italy, on an Amarone trip, a lightbulb went off and I decided to get there a few days early. Rewind a couple of years and I&rsquo;d had dinner in NYC with Michele Dolzan from Villa de Varda. The Grappa&rsquo;s and other liqueurs he poured that night were impressive to say the least. I made a mental note to visit when I could. Once I realized I&rsquo;d be about an hour away I reached out and made plans to visit them in the foothills of the Dolomites.<br /> It was March so the weather wasn&rsquo;t harsh one way or the other.&nbsp; After landing in Verona in the mid-morning I hurtled up the highway just north of Trentino where I was greeted by Michelle Dolzan. For the rest of the day Michele, his brother Mauro and their Father Luigi hosted me in what amounted to a non-stop cavalcade of Grappa, Food, Liqueurs and Amaro.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> There are two words that best describe what Villa de Varda does and they are purity and freshness. Taste one or 50 of their offerings and that will be crystal clear. Just like with wine, it all starts in the vineyard. Grappa is produced by distilling the pomace that is left after grapes are crushed to make wine. Nearly every producer of Grappa in the world buys their pomace from a winery. Villa de Varda went a different route. To assure that they have access to the freshest possible pomace they started their own winery. As a result they also produce a line of wines. The one exception to using house pomace is their Grappa di Amarone Riserva. For that they purchase Pomace from Bertani, the most traditional and quite frankly best Amarone producer.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Their obsession with freshness makes all the difference in the end result. When purchasing from others it&rsquo;s impossible to know how long the pomace has been lying around prior to distilling. The longer it sits it dries out and results in a harsher Grappa. If you&rsquo;ve ever put your nose to a glass filled with Grappa that emits burning aromas like gasoline, you&rsquo;ve experienced the worst possible result. Another benefit of controlling pomace is keeping the varieties separate. Villa de Varda produces mostly Grappas from single varieties; a couple of blends are the exceptions in their portfolio. Growing and crushing their own grapes assures they can do this with confidence. They distill each Grappa 6 times using a proprietary method and unique combination of Stills. This lends to the smoothness of their finished Grappas.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> It was incredibly instructive to visit their facility and see where the Grappa is made. Tasting them elsewhere is one thing, but having my hands on the still one moment and sitting down to taste the lineup in an adjacent room the next is an irreplaceable experience. Doing so alongside the family that produces them raises the experience in a way that can&rsquo;t be duplicated otherwise.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I have tasted Grappa from many producers. And certainly there are some other fine examples out in the world. The vast majority of the good ones are small scale passion projects. There is literally no one out there focusing on Grappa that produces them with the variety, consistency and level of quality that Villa de Varda does. In anything in life someone naturally has to be the best. When it comes to producing Grappa, it is unquestionably Villa de Varda. Purchase anything that bears their name with the confidence that you&rsquo;re getting a fresh, pure product made with integrity, passion and soul.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Villa de Varda Grappa Pinot Grigio ($45)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This crystal clear Grappa opens with fruity aromatics. Bits of Bartlett pear are evident as well as a hint of vanilla. The soft, gentle palate features apple, chamomile and wisps of spice. The finish is long and smooth with just a kiss of perceptible heat.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Villa de Varda Grappa Tri&eacute; ($55)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This offering is a blend of Pinot Bianco, M&uuml;ller Thurgau, and Teroldego. From the first whiff Tri&eacute; shows off impressive complexity. Orange zest, dried plum, vanilla and roasted hazelnuts are present. All of these characteristics continue on the palate which is layered and complex. Dark chocolate and copious spice notes are evident on the lengthy finish. Tri&eacute; is impressive and really of remarkable quality and depth for the price. This is their most popular Grappa and it&rsquo;s easy to taste why.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Villa de Varda &ldquo;Roncola&rdquo; Grappa M&uuml;ller-Thurgau Stravecchia ($95)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The aromatics here are an absolute knockout. A host of fruits are joined by vanilla, cr&egrave;me fraiche, and hints of flaky biscuit. The palate is stuffed with a procession of fruit flavors wrapped in gentle spice notes, hints of oak and bits of warmth. The impossibly long finish is deep and gentle in nature with bits of fruit and spice lingering on and on. What&rsquo;s really interesting about this Grappa is that the gentleness of the palate stands in contrast with the extroverted aromatics that get things started. Together they make for a unique and delicious offering.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Villa de Varda Grappa Stravecchia Nonno Giovanni ($115)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This Grappa is composed of Teroldego. 5% of it has 40 years of age on it. Toasty oak, roasted chestnuts, mesquite honey and cherry aromas are all evident. Chamomile tea, chicory, dried white fruits and spice notes to spare mark the palate. The finish is prodigiously long, honeyed and deeply layered.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Villa de Varda Grappa Amarone Stravecchia ($140)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This is aged in a combination of Chestnut, Acacia and Cherry Wood barrels. Toasted nuts, caramel and red fruit aromas are all evident. A dusting of cocoa leads the palate which also shows off dried cherry and spice. Continued toasted nuts, red fruit and bits of honey are evident on the impressive finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Villa de Varda &ldquo;Vibrazioni&rdquo; Grappa Vecchia Reserva (N/A)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Aged in Red Fir Barriques which are made from wood sourced in the Dolomites of Trentino. This is the same wood used to make violins. Chestnut and cherry aromas abound. Plum, apricot, and toasted walnut flavors are all in evidence. The long and persistent finish shows off marmalade, white pepper and hints of marzipan. Incredibly complex, delicious and extraordinary.</p> Tue, 06 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6941 Secret Sauce Wines: Murrieta’s Well Mark Angelillo <p>My admiration for Murrieta&rsquo;s Well and their winemaker, Robbie Meyer, is no secret. I&rsquo;m so glad that The Whip and The Spur are available at retail shops across the country, giving folks ample opportunity to experience these wines first-hand. The grape blends change every year to achieve maximum quality, and the brand&rsquo;s many acolytes look forward to those annual reveals. Wine lovers know a good thing when they taste it, and so Murrieta&rsquo;s Well has garnered somewhat of a cult status over the last several years. While we can speculate on the many things that make these wines so fantastic, from the property itself to the winemaker and more, I think their secret sauce is really quite simple: these are great wines, and you&rsquo;ll know it at first sip.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> But with so much attention heaped on The Whip and The Spur, it&rsquo;s easy to overlook all of the other amazing offerings in this winery&rsquo;s portfolio. During our most recent virtual tasting, I had a chance to sit down with Robbie Meyer in the company of a couple dozen wine writers to review this year&rsquo;s vintages of The Whip and The Spur. We tasted through some fresh surprises he&rsquo;s been cooking in his kitchen, too.<br /> When Robbie Meyer joined Murrieta&rsquo;s Well he was given clear marching orders: Do whatever you feel needs to be done to deliver the highest quality wines possible. The integrity of the final product always comes first, and it shows. Read on to learn more about the wines we sampled during the virtual tasting, or click here to watch the full video.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Murrieta&rsquo;s Well The Whip 2015</strong></a><br /><br /> <em><strong>Blend: </strong>30% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Semillon, 30% Chardonnay, 7% Viognier, 3% Muscat Canelli</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This was a low water vintage. Drier vintages are actually good for the vines, producing grapes that deliver more aromatic and concentrated wines. A combination of tank and barrel fermented varietals, each grape is grown and harvested to be its very best self before the final blend is created.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Murrieta&rsquo;s Well The Spur 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <em><strong>Blend:</strong> 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Petite Sirah, 14% Petit Verdot, 10% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The 2013 vintage of The Spur was driven by Petite Sirah, so I was excited to see that Cabernet Sauvignon takes center stage in 2014.&nbsp; This latest vintage is noted for its texture and tannic structure. The weight and depth on the mid-palate are undeniable. Most of all, it was blended to be &ldquo;yummy&rdquo; &ndash; a highly technical term bandied about the winery quite often, says Robbie. When it comes to tasting wine, sometimes &ldquo;yummy&rdquo; is all you need to understand.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Murrieta&rsquo;s Well Dry Ros&eacute; 2016</strong></a><br /><br /> <em><strong>Blend:</strong> 55% Grenache, 45% Counoise</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Viticulturally speaking, a lot of ros&eacute; is made with grapes not fully intended for ros&eacute; wine. The Grenache (chosen for its spice) and Counoise (chosen for its acidity) were selected and farmed to make this ros&eacute;, and nothing more. The intention effects canopy management techniques and fruit expression.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Murrieta&rsquo;s Well Muscat Canelli 2016</strong></a><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This Muscat Canelli, known as Moscato di Canelli in Italy, is well-established on the Murrieta&rsquo;s Well property. It&rsquo;s a rare white grape with a lot of history. Robbie relishes the opportunity to work with more uncommon varietals and bring them to their very best expression.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Murrieta&rsquo;s Well Cabernet Franc 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <em><strong>Blend:</strong> 88% Cabernet Franc, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> The cooler conditions in Livermore allow Cabernet Franc to achieve true varietal expression.&nbsp; The region and its gravely soils run from east to west; an exceptional position that draws bay breezes and fog in a direct path to the shore. Extreme heat can destroy the delicate herbal notes that make the varietal so elegant.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>Murrieta&rsquo;s Well Merlot 2014</strong></a><br /><br /> <em><strong>Blend:</strong> 90% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This is Robbie&rsquo;s favorite varietal on the property, and it&rsquo;s easy to taste why. All of Robbie&rsquo;s wines go beyond vineyard designation. He drills down to the blocks, the rows, and the vines used for each and every wine. The Merlot vineyard blocks at Murrieta&rsquo;s Well have more clay in the soil, a condition most adored by Merlot. Grape growing, harvesting, and winemaking with such thoughtful precision and care is always clear in the glass.<br /><br /> </p> Thu, 01 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6940 Snooth's Spirit of the Week is... Gabe Sasso <p><strong>Sombra Mezcal ($39): </strong>In the last decade the popularity of Agave based spirits has been on the rise. Tequila led the charge and Mezcal followed with a huge uptick in popularity. These spirits have things in common as well as characteristics that set them apart from one another. The choice is yours, it depends what you&rsquo;re in the mood for. So just like you may choose a Single Malt one day and a Blended Whiskey the next, you should experiment.<br /><br /> <br /> The Sombra Mezcal has been produced since 2006 by Master Sommelier Richard Betts.&nbsp; The Agave utilized was farmed organically at a high altitude. The bottle it&rsquo;s sold in is made from hand blown, recycled glass. When you stick your nose in the glass after pouring, smoky notes emerge. They&rsquo;re supported by lemon and tangerine rind. A hint of sage is evident when you take the first sip alongside continued citrus and bits of fleshy yellow fruit. Additional citrus, white pepper notes and a touch of ash dot the long finish which is punctuated with a bit of heat.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Sombra is compelling sipped neat, particularly with a bit of a chill on it. However it also makes a terrific, high quality cocktail component. I used it to up the game on my Jalapeno Margarita. Adding the smoky Mezcal to the already spicy drink adds another layer of complexity and deliciousness. Give it a try!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Smoky Jalapeno Margarita</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> 8 parts Sombra Mezcal<br /><br /> Ice<br /><br /> Kosher salt<br /><br /> 4 parts triple sec<br /><br /> Juice of 4 limes + 1 lime cut into wedges<br /><br /> 2 tablespoons agave nectar<br /><br /> 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Pour salt into a shallow plate. Moisten the rim of four margarita glasses and press into the salt. Fill each glass with ice. Pour the Sombra Mezcal, lime juice, agave nectar, jalapeno, and triple sec into a large shaker over ice. Cover and robustly shake. Strain contents into the Margarita glasses. Garnish each with a lime wedge and serve.<br /><br /> </p> Tue, 30 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6939 Snooth's Spirit of the Week is... Gabe Sasso <p><strong>Cedar Ridge Distillery:</strong> Jeff Quint, 9th Generation farmer started Cedar Ridge in 2003 with his wife Laurie. The Quint family has been in Iowa since 1881. They came from Germany where a branch of their family has run Weingut Quint since the early 1700&rsquo;s. Cedar Ridge stands as the largest Craft Distiller in the state. They&rsquo;re a true Grain to Glass producer, managing every step pf the process themselves. Their current production is 4 barrels per day with plans to go up to 8 barrels a day over the next couple of years.<br /> I had lunch with Jeff in NYC the other day and we tasted through his current line of Whiskies and talked about his plans for expansion, production methodology and the elusive true meaning of the term &ldquo;craft&rdquo; in the Spirits world. Cedar Ridge&rsquo;s plans for growth are methodical and tied to their ability to do so while maintaining consistent quality as well as being fiscally responsible. There&rsquo;s also an implicit understanding that while they have a long way to go to get there, a true Craft Distillery can only be so big. It was obvious to me that Jeff&rsquo;s expansion plans will always keep him firmly in the Craft world. Currently their largest seller is Bourbon which utilizes quite a bit of their estate corn. However the popularity of their single malt is on an upward trajectory and it seems that will end up as their most popular over time.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Jeff embodies the ideal of what most of us think of when the term Craft Distiller comes to mind. In addition to being quality focused he has also developed a proprietary Solera method for his Single Malt. Cedar Ridge is also a Winery and while the wines are only sold locally they impact the spirits too. The ex-wine, Port and Brandy barrels are used in rotation to age a percentage of the whiskies, adding to their unique and distinctly Cedar Ridge characteristics. Several Brandies, Rum and small batches of Vodka and Gin are also part of their varied portfolio.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> I tasted four of their current Whiskies and while I found the Bourbon and Rye enjoyable and well-made it was the Single Malt and Wheat Whiskey that really made me stand up and take notice. My thoughts on them follow.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cedar Ridge Single Malt Whiskey ($48)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Jeff mentioned that when creating the Solera method to make this Whiskey he took a bit of what he learned from visits to The Balvenie and Glenfiddich in Scottland. He was specifically influenced by Balvenie&rsquo;s Double Wood and Glenfiddich&rsquo;s 15 Year old Scotch. From great influence often comes delicious results and that&rsquo;s the case here. This is produced from 100% Malted Barley. There are an abundance of fruit notes on the nose underscored by wisps of vanilla and spice. Toasted pecans, dried cherries and hints of dark chocolate are all evident on the layered palate. The impressively long finish shows off white pepper, chicory and a hint of heat. This Single Malt from Cedar Ridge is of exceptional quality. It&rsquo;s complex and simply delicious; sip it neat.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Cedar Ridge Wheat Whiskey ($42)</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This offering is produced from 100% Malted White Wheat. Aging took place in barrels with a lighter toast level than average for less impact on this more delicate Whiskey. From the first whiff to the very last sip this is a truly fascinating selection. The nose is fresh, nutty, somewhat floral and just really appealing. Taking an initial sip Grape Nuts cereal came to mind. Oodles of other references to cereal are apparent on really tasty palate that has an inherent lightness on the tongue coupled with elegant depth. Tiny bits of spice are evident on the finish as well as wisps of hazelnut and tangerine rind. You could certainly make some delicious cocktails with this, but I&rsquo;m inclined to drink it neat and enjoy all of the unique aromas and flavors it offers.</p> Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6938 A Journey to the Heart of Rías Baixas Mark Angelillo <p>Have you ever tasted ten wines in sixty minutes? In my experience this is one of the best ways to get a crash course in a grape or region. You&rsquo;ll come away with a wealth of understanding and ready to learn even more. I shared this kind of tasting experience with Advanced Sommelier Jill Zimorski plus several hundred wine writers and wine lovers during our R&iacute;as Baixas Albari&ntilde;o virtual tasting. We tasted a special collection of ten R&iacute;as Baixas Albari&ntilde;o highlighting three of the region&rsquo;s five sub-regions. In the hour-long discussion we unpacked a lot about Albari&ntilde;o, a very old grape variety with Galician roots. Albari&ntilde;o vines once grew wild in Galicia which is a really good indicator of the vines&rsquo; provenance and age. Can you imagine finding wild Albari&ntilde;o growing along the road in lieu of, say, dandelions? Nowadays Albari&ntilde;o is expertly cultivated by some of the best winemakers in the business. Albari&ntilde;o is one of the most sought-after white wines in the United States and a favorite of the somm set thanks to its ripe fruit, mineral freshness, and marine notes. This is a place, and a grape, you&rsquo;ll want to know more about.<br /> <br /><br /> <strong>About R&iacute;as Baixas</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> R&iacute;as Baixas is a bastion of white wines in a country dominated by reds. It is unlike any other wine growing region in Spain. Its northwestern coastal location creates humid conditions which are perfectly suited to the thick-skinned, disease-resistant Albari&ntilde;o grape. The landscape of R&iacute;as Baixas is comprised of ocean inlets called &ldquo;rias&rdquo;. Some say they look like the fingers of a hand. The region&rsquo;s rolling hills, lush greenery, and granitic sandy soils deliver aromatic wines alive with an ocean influence you can&rsquo;t find elsewhere. &nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Drinking lots of Albari&ntilde;o from R&iacute;as Baixas is a great way to fine-tune your palate. I&rsquo;ve always been struck by the classic peach, apricot, and sea spray notes in these wines, but a keen palate will detect differences between sub-region, vintage, and producer. In this respect R&iacute;as Baixas&nbsp; Albari&ntilde;o is perfect for all types of wine drinkers &ndash; from the most casual to the most serious. It&rsquo;s a delicious drink, but it also can make you think.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Winemakers&nbsp; in R&iacute;as Baixas&nbsp; are dedicated to craft. They individually create wines true to their desires. As a result, no two Albari&ntilde;o will be exactly alike. We tasted ten different interpretations of&nbsp; R&iacute;as Baixas Albari&ntilde;o in three separate flights based on sub-region.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> Flight #1: <strong>Val do Saln&eacute;s</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Val do Saln&eacute;s is known as the birthplace of the Albari&ntilde;o grape. It is the oldest sub-region with the greatest number of wineries.&nbsp; It is also the coolest and the wettest of all sub-regions.&nbsp; A glass from Val do Saln&eacute;s is likely to deliver Albari&ntilde;o in a classic style: stone fruit, apricot, peach, with a touch of wet sand and saline.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="">Condes de Albarei Albari&ntilde;o Rias Baixas 2015</a>, SRP $15<br /><br /> <a href="">Vionta Albari&ntilde;o Rias Baixas 2015</a>, SRP $15<br /><br /> <a href="">Martin Codax Albari&ntilde;o Rias Baixas 2015</a>, SRP $16.99<br /><br /> <a href="">Pazo Senorans Albari&ntilde;o Rias Baixas 2016</a>, SRP $25<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> Flight #2: <strong>Contado do Tea</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This sub-region is furthest from the coast and therefore quite warm compared to the other sub-regions. Its name translates to &ldquo;The County of Tea&rdquo;, a reference to the river Tea which is a tributary of the Mi&ntilde;o River. Warmer temperatures can make for extra ripe fruit that packs a punch.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="">Pazo de San Mauro Albari&ntilde;o Rias Baixas 2015</a>, SRP $17<br /><br /> <a href="">Se&ntilde;or&iacute;o de Rubi&oacute;s Robali&ntilde;o Albari&ntilde;o Rias Baixas 2016</a>, SRP $18<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> Flight #3: <strong>O Rosal</strong><br /><br /> <br /><br /> This sub-region rests on the Portuguese border. Warmth is moderated by the nearby coast. Here the vines ring around the Mi&ntilde;o river, and many vineyards are carved out of terraced clearings on south-facing hillsides.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="">Valminor Albari&ntilde;o Rias Baixas 2015</a>, SRP $18.99<br /><br /> <a href="">Bodegas Terras Gauda Abadia San Campio Albari&ntilde;o Rias Baixas 2015</a>, SRP $19.99<br /><br /> <a href="">Altos de Torona Albari&ntilde;o Sobre Lias Rias Baixas 2015</a>, SPR $14<br /><br /> <a href="">Santiago Ruiz Albari&ntilde;o Rias Baixas 2015</a>, SRP $20<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Get to know more about Albari&ntilde;o from R&iacute;as Baixas. <a href="">Click here to watch the full tasting now!</a></em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo: <a href="">R&iacute;as Baixas Wines</a></p> Thu, 18 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6937 Snooth's Spirit of the Week is... Gabe Sasso <p><strong>Purus Organic Vodka ($19.99):</strong> This Italian Vodka comes from the Piedmont region. The Sacchetto family has been producing spirits in Italy for almost 70 years. In 1987 they began distilling organic grains. Purus is produced from water originating in the Italian Alps as well as the aforementioned organic grains. In addition to being certified Organic and GMO free the bottle and closure used for Purus are 100% recyclable. Purus is distilled five times and charcoal filtered.<br /> As the name itself indicates there&rsquo;s an inherent purity that runs all the way through this Vodka. Toasted grain, orchard fruit and a tiny hint of vanilla are all evident on the nose. The palate is smooth and refined with an elegance that belies the modest price point. Bits of white fruit are evident and accompanied by subtle spice notes. Limestone and wisps of white peach are in evidence on the above average finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Purus is pretty compelling sipped on its own or over ice. However it&rsquo;s really a nice blending component for cocktails. The very reasonable price point assures you can blend it without guilt. Moscow Mules are about as classic as it gets and I found that using Purus elevated my drink and lent it a lovely purity.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Moscow Mule</strong><br /><br /> 1 1/2 parts Purus vodka<br /><br /> &frac12; part fresh lime juice<br /><br /> 1/4 Part simple syrup<br /><br /> 4 parts Ginger beer<br /><br /> Lime wedges<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Pour the vodka, lime juice, simple syrup, ice, and ginger beer in a shaker and shake. Serve in a copper mug or rocks glass and garnish with lime wedges.</p> Tue, 16 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6936 Ribera y Rueda: A Tale of Two Wines Michelle Williams <p>Americans seem to be growing in curiosity about Spain. Numbers indicate Americans traveling to Spain are on the rise each year, while at the same time Spanish restaurants and tapas bars are spreading across the United States. There is even a growing awareness that much like France and Italy, Spain has a number of diverse wine regions with grapes and wine styles unique to each region. Rueda and Ribera del Duero are two such Spanish wine regions that should be on your radar.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /> Rueda and Ribera del Duero are located about an hour north of Madrid, flanking the city of Valladolid, along the Duero River in the Castilla y Le&oacute;n region. Rueda is known for its production of white wines, 85% of which is Verdejo, the most consumed white wine in Spain. Rueda was the first in Castilla y Le&oacute;n to receive DO status, having done so in 1980. Many of the 68 wineries here are small, family owned wineries that embrace the longstanding winemaking traditions of the region while producing a highly aromatic dry white wine that is ideal for the modern palate and global cuisine. The rocky soil, long cold winters and short springs, low average rainfall, large diurnal shifts, and abundance of sun exposure provide an ideal environment for Verdejo, a crisp, mineral driven, aromatic wine with fresh notes of citrus and herbs that wraps the palate in penetrating acidity and rich complexity.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Brahm Callahan, Master Sommelier, Corporate Beverage Director for Himmel Hospitality Group, and Rueda y Ribera Ambassador, shared his thoughts in an email as to why American wine consumers should add Verdejo to their white wine consumption: &ldquo;I keep looking for a reason why these wines wouldn&rsquo;t appeal to the American palate and I have yet to find one. At the most basic they are Pinot Grigio with personality. They are clean, with forward fruit and medium bodied. At their best they are compelling examples of a unique varietal that shows depth and concentration balanced by beautiful weight and distinct minerality. One of the reasons that whites are so popular in Spain is because of the value to quality ratio, and American consumers will find that their money goes really far here.&rdquo; When looking for a crisp Spanish white wine think Verdejo of Rueda. But what about a red wine of equal quality?<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Rueda has joined forces with Ribera del Duero to its east to offer the wine consumer the best of both worlds. Felipe Gonzalez-Gordon, US Director of the D.O. Ribera del Duero and D.O. Rueda, explained in an email the philosophy of joint marketing, &ldquo;The US is a very large and competitive market, Ribera and Rueda are relatively small appellations, so combining their marketing efforts made sense. It&#39;s a question of scale and efficiencies. But it also makes sense because they are complementary appellation that are geographically very close. Ribera does red wines (from Tempranillo) almost exclusively and Rueda does white (from Verdejo). Additionally there are a number of companies that operate in both appellations.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Ribera del Duero is known for Tempranillo. A land of extremes, Ribera del Duero experiences summertime temperatures reaching 100 degrees plus with long absences of rain, followed by winters where temperatures can plummet below zero. The diverse landscape, carved by the Duero River, is a collection of riverbanks, rolling hills, and high valleys that provide ideal sun exposure. Winemaking in Ribera del Duero dates back 2,000 years; however, it really began to take shape in 1982 when it received DO status. There are approximately 1,200 brands of wine produced here, ranging in classification from young reds to grand reserve, each an expression of the unique terroir of Ribera del Duero and the winemakers style.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Ribera del Duero offers its own unique clone of Tempranillo, called Tinto Fino. Brahm Callahan explains the difference between the Tempranillo of Ribera del Duero and Rioja, &ldquo;I wouldn&rsquo;t say it is Ribera instead of Rioja because while they are both technically based on Tempranillo the difference in clones (Tinto Fino in Ribera) results in a completely different varietal profile than Tempranillo from Rioja. When you add to that the difference in the climate, soils, and winemaking they really are two different experiences. I find the wines from Ribera to be more full bodied, generally have more lush fruit (as opposed to Rioja where classically the fruit profile is dried), and a more international profile than many of the wines from Rioja. It&rsquo;s because of that lush fruit, dominant oak component, and generally fuller body that I think the wines from Ribera have a very bright future in the US.&rdquo; The Tinto Fino Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero offers another wine option to consider along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chianti, and Barolo.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Felipe Gonzalez-Gordon explains why the American wine consumer should be drinking these two wines, &ldquo;US consumers should know that Ribera del Duero is one of the most highly regarded wine regions in the world, producing wines that will appeal to consumers that like Cabernet Sauvignon, even though the wines are mostly made with Tempranillo. Ribera del Duero is Mecca when it comes to Tempranillo. Regarding Rueda, Verdejo is the number one white wine selling in Spain. It&#39;s crisp, it is fresh, it is flavorful... it&#39;s a wine that will appeal to Pinot Grigio drinkers because it delivers so much more and it will also win the palates of Sauvignon Blanc drinkers because it&#39;s doesn&#39;t not have that greenness to it, it&#39;s got more fruit.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Here are some Verdejos from Rueda and Tempranillos from Ribera del Duero to explore:</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2016 Bodegas Viore Verdejo Rueda</strong></a> ($15): Pale gold with green hues into the glass; medium aromas of green apples and pears, slightly under-ripe tropical fruit, melon, white floral notes, and grassy notes; a pleasing feminine palate with bright fruit and floral notes in a medium body with a penetrating acidity and long, clean finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2016 Jose Pariente Verdejo Rueda</strong></a> ($20): Pale gold with green hues into the glass; pronounced aromas of green fruit, tropical fruit with lots of passion fruit, white floral notes and grassy notes; clean and dry on the palate with a flirt of sweetness as a result of the wine&rsquo;s pH level, round acidity and medium body in a refreshing and pleasing wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2016 Alvarez y Diez Mantel Blanco Verdejo Rueda</strong></a> ($13.99): Pale gold with green hues; pronounced aromatic notes of white flowers, ripe tropical fruit, a touch of grassy and green fruit notes; smooth and creamy texture on the palate with pronounced acidity that adds a pleasing zestiness and depth.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2016 Javier Sanz Verdejo Rueda</strong></a> ($15.99): Pale gold with green hues; pronounced bright aromas of white flowers, tropical fruit, green fruit, and almonds; racy on the palate with pronounced acidity for a lively mouth-feel and long crisp finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2005 Vega Sicilia Unico Gran Reserva Ribera del Duero</strong></a> ($399): One of the world&rsquo;s most iconic wines; it poured a deep garnet with brown rim in the glass; complex pronounced aromas of dried red and black fruit, medicinal notes, dried rose petals, Chinese Five Spice, eucalyptus, dark chocolate covered roasted espresso beans, trailing hint of leather, and vanilla; rich and round on the palate, a wine crafted for age-ability yet was drinking so beautifully, lively with an elegant lift off the palate, rich and full-bodied, wrapping the palate in sensuous velvet, a wine with lots of life remaining as is evident in its long finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2013 Protos Crianza Ribera del Duero</strong></a> ($20): Deep ruby in the glass; pronounced aromas of bright red and black fruit, sweet baking spice, graphite, rose petals, toffee, dried tobacco; integrated tannins balanced with medium+ acidity for an elegant mouth-feel, layers of flavors wrap the palate in a full-body wine with a long, juicy finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> 2014 Real Sitio de Ventosilla &lsquo;Prado Rey Crianza&rsquo; Valdelayegua Vendimia Seleccionada, Ribera del Duero ($14): 95% Tempranillo, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot; Deep ruby in the glass; pronounced aromas of red and black fruits slightly cooked, warm baking spice notes, dried rose petals, balsamic, sweet fresh tobacco, dusty earth, and vanilla; bold on the palate with grippy tannins and medium+ acidity, a long full body wine with a lingering cooked fruit and spice finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Bodegas Conde Neo &lsquo;Neo&rsquo; Ribera del Duero</strong></a> ($12): Deep ruby in the glass; pronounced aromas of ripe dark berries and plums, sweet tobacco leaves, dried herbs including eucalyptus, sweet baking spice notes, and vanilla; juicy on the palate with well-integrated tannins balanced with medium+ acidity for a rich mouth-feel, full body, elegantly long finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=""><strong>2014 Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero</strong></a> ($20): Deep ruby with purple hues in the glass; pronounced aromas of ripe black and red fruits, baking spice and Chinese 5 spice, roasted espresso beans, dried savory herbs, fresh roses, vanilla; rich full body wine with layers of flavors, integrated and balanced tannins and acidity, and a long, juicy fruit finish.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Felipe Gonzalez-Gordon says it best, &ldquo;Ribera and Rueda have a broad appeal. What&#39;s not to like when noble grapes, ideal growing conditions and passionate winemakers come together? The results can be pretty awesome.&rdquo; He is right! </p> Tue, 16 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6935 Tasting Tommasi: Amarone for the Ages Kristine Jannuzzi <p>Pierangelo Tommasi is the Co-Proprietor and Export Director of Tommasi Viticoltori, a family-owned winery founded by his great-grandfather in 1902 in the heart of Italy&rsquo;s Valpolicella Classico region in the Veneto. He is one of nine members of the fourth generation currently running the family business, which has expanded its holdings to a total of 550 hectares of vineyards across Italy. I recently had the opportunity to taste several vintages of Tommasi&rsquo;s flagship Amarone and their Ca&rsquo; Florian Amarone Riserva at a lunch hosted by Pierangelo at the New York restaurant Olie e Pi&ugrave;.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Tommasi was one of the founders of the Amarone Families, an elite association of family-owned wineries created in 2009, which caused something of a telenovela (soap opera) in the Italian wine world. But Pierangelo described its inception as the result of a casual conversation among five friends over lunch. Today the group consists of 12 historic Amarone producers who follow more stringent guidelines than the Consorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella requires for Amarone, he explained, with the goal of ensuring high quality and authenticity in their wines.<br /> Over pizza and pasta, we compared Tommasi&rsquo;s 2007, 2008, and 2009 Amarone with their single vineyard Ca&rsquo; Florian Riserva from those same years, as well as the current 2012 vintage of Amarone. The 2007 Ca&rsquo; Florian had the most finesse, while the power and complexity of the 2009 Riserva suggested great aging potential. Pierangelo said Tommasi has been moving toward producing drier Amarones, thus making them easier to combine with food. He also shared with us the 2011 Brunello di Montalcino and 2011 Colombaiolo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva from their newly acquired property in Tuscany, Podere Casisano. Both were classic and elegant, with the Colombaiolo a bit rounder and more structured. Pierangelo explained that owning a vineyard in Montalcino had been a family dream for nearly 20 years, and that the size and location of Casisano, situated on one of the highest elevations in the town, are an excellent match with the traditional Tommasi winemaking style.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em><a href=""><strong>Kristine Jannuzzi</strong></a> is a food and travel writer based in New York City. She is a frequent contributor to <a href=""><strong>Culture: The Word on Cheese</strong></a>. Follow her on Instagram <a href=""><strong>@nyccheesechick</strong></a>.</em></p> Fri, 12 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 article6934